Around the NFC South: McKenzie returning for Saints

Posted by ESPN.com's Pat Yasinskas


Cornerback Mike McKenzie will get his first game action tonight since tearing his ACL late last season. With McKenzie back in the lineup, rookie Tracy Porter will start on the other side and Randall Gay will be the nickelback. That's probably the same lineup the Saints will use in the regular season.


Veteran receiver Brian Finneran, who has missed the last two seasons with knee problems, is making a strong case for a roster spot.

The Falcons gave rookie Curtis Lofton the start at middle linebacker and he played well. Lofton probably will open the season as the starter.


With a bunch of injuries at wide receiver, Saturday night's game could be crucial for second-year pro Dwayne Jarrett. After a horrible rookie year, Jarrett came on strong in training camp. A good outing tonight could put him in the good graces of the coaching staff. With Steve Smith suspended for the first two regular-season games and uncertainty about some of the injured receivers, Jarrett possibly could have a chance to open the season as a starter.


Quarterback Jeff Garcia is expected to make his preseason debut tonight. But don't be surprised if his appearance is brief. The Bucs want Garcia to get an opportunity to work on his timing. But they don't want to risk Garcia aggravating his injury or suffering a new one. They also want to get Chris Simms some playing time to showcase him for a possible trade. Garcia can work on his timing in practice. Don't be surprised if he's only in for a few series.