Around the NFC South

Let's take a look at some odds and ends from around the division:


D. Orlando Ledbetter has left tackle Sam Baker at No. 9 on his list of the top 25 Falcons. After struggling with injuries and inconsistency in his first four seasons, Baker put it all together last year and had a breakout season. That earned him a hefty new contract. Now, the challenge is to stay at a consistently high level. Baker also will need to take on more of a leadership role after the departures of center Todd McClure and right tackle Tyson Clabo.


Scott Fowler reports that Nike has apologized for briefly marketing a T-shirt that featured the Panthers’ logo along with an image of the state of South Carolina, instead of North Carolina.


WWLTV.com examines how Will Smith will make the transition from defensive end to linebacker as the Saints switch to a 3-4 scheme. It’s going to be a challenge. Smith is 32 and has played his entire career at defensive end. But the move could help Smith because he now will be able to start off his pass rushes standing up.


The team announced several moves in the front office. The most significant might be the addition of Scott Cohen as senior personnel adviser. Cohen spent the last five years as assistant general manager with the New York Jets.

Tickets for individual games went on sale Wednesday morning and the Bucs are optimistic that at least some of their home games will be allowed to air live on local television.