Time for an afternoon trip through some headlines from around the division:
We touched on this a few times during the season. But, for reasons that I can’t figure out, quarterback Matt Ryan had way better statistics on the road than he did at home during the regular season. Colleague Mike Sando has the breakdown of Ryan’s home and road stats.
In their final college season, Peter Konz was playing center and snapping the ball to Russell Wilson. Now, Konz is playing guard for the Falcons and Wilson is Seattle’s quarterback. Konz said he and Wilson remain friends. But Konz said he’s not talking to Wilson in the days leading into Sunday’s playoff game.
The Falcons are urging fans to arrive early for Sunday’s game. I’m going to follow their advice. I generally leave my hotel three hours before kickoff. But I’m going to depart 30 minutes earlier this time. Part of it is due to the probability of increased traffic. But the bigger reason is that I’ll be chauffeuring John Clayton. Things tend to move a little slower when you’re with Clayton because he gets the rock-star treatment from fans and it’s not uncommon for him to stop to pose for pictures or sign autographs. On second thought, I might leave the hotel four hours before kickoff.
Linebacker Luke Kuechly and guard Amini Silatolu were named to the Pro Football Writers of America All-Rookie Team. Kuechly also was chosen Defensive Rookie of the Year by the same organization.
Joseph Person reports that former Chicago special-teams coach Dave Taub has interviewed with the Panthers. Taub has some history with coach Ron Rivera.
NEW ORLEANS SAINTS
Russell Paternostro, who spent 16 years as the Saints’ strength and conditioning, coach passed away at 71.
TAMPA BAY BUCCANEERS
Running back Doug Martin, linebacker Lavonte David and safety Mark Barron were named to the Pro Football Writers of America All-Rookie Team.
Stephen Holder writes that defensive end Michael Bennett is hitting free agency in a good year. The crop of defensive ends isn’t that impressive and he could command big money on the open market. But I think the Bucs, who have plenty of salary-cap room will make a push to sign Bennett before he has a chance to hit the market.