How I See It: NFC South Stock Watch


1. Geniuses from New Orleans. I’ve been guilty of it too, but I think the media in general gets carried away with labeling coaches as “geniuses’’ or “gurus’’ like we did with Sean Payton and Gregg Williams last season. They might have been somewhat close to deserving those tags last season, but this season is proving that they’re just football coaches. I still think both are good at what they do, but when you go up against an undrafted rookie quarterback (Max Hall) and you’ve got Drew Brees and you lose, nobody’s going to call you a genius.

2. Jeff Davidson, offensive coordinator, Panthers. I’m the first to put the blame for the unimaginative offense on head coach John Fox. But don’t all the fans who tried to run Dan Henning out of town a few years ago feel just a tad guilty about that now? And what about that supposed “passing camp’’ the Panthers had in the offseason, where the entire passing game was going to be overhauled? Well, maybe they should have used the word “demolished’’ instead of overhauled. If Fox doesn’t make it through the rest of the season, and that’s looking possible, Davidson’s way behind defensive coordinator Ron Meeks on the list to take over as the interim coach.

3. Perceptions that Reggie Bush is a bust. Since the New Orleans running back fractured his leg, the Saints have lost two of three games. Suddenly, the Saints can’t run the ball and they can’t pass it nearly as well as they used to. Yeah, I know there’s a school of thought that Bush is nothing more than a role player. But it’s becoming pretty clear that his role is to confuse defenses and make everyone around him better. The Saints are suffering without that.


1. John Abraham, defensive end, Falcons. He was supposed to be old and washed up after last year’s lackluster season. But guess what? He’s not. Abraham racked up two sacks against three-time Pro Bowl tackle Joe Thomas on Sunday. Abraham delivered a hit that knocked out starting quarterback Seneca Wallace and forced the Browns to put a gimpy Jake Delhomme on the field. In addition to reviving his own game, Falcons officials are also delighted with the way Abraham has embraced serving as a mentor to young defensive linemen -- helping Kroy Biermann and Jamaal Anderson have productive seasons.

2. Redemption songs in the Tampa Bay secondary. Cody Grimm, Sabby Piscitelli and Aqib Talib have seen hard times in the past. Grimm got toasted by Pittsburgh in his debut, Piscitelli took more than his share of the blame for last year’s disaster and Talib was suspended for the first game for an off-field incident. But each of those three guys came up with an interception Sunday and Piscitelli’s pick set up the game-winning field goal.

3. Micheal Spurlock, receiver, Buccaneers. This little guy is showing signs he might be more than just a return man. After Piscitelli’s interception, Spurlock made a great catch on a great throw by Josh Freeman. He kept both feet in bounds long enough and the play allowed the Bucs to kick a game-winning field goal.