Hitting the NFC South hot spots

Let’s start the week off with a reach into the NFC South mailbag to see what topics are on your mind.

Daniel in Eden Prairie, Minn., wrote to say thanks for “remaining extremely objective with the whole [Jerry] Richardson outburst and leaving the speculation to the couch-potato blogs.’’

Pat Yasinskas: Thank you. As I’ve said before, I think the reports of what Richardson allegedly said to Peyton Manning in the meeting the day before the Super Bowl are very sketchy. Might the reports be true? Sure, they could be. But I don’t think it’s fair to portray Richardson’s tone as condescending or put all the blame on him until or unless we know more of the details of what transpired. I know Richardson better than I know any other owner in this league. The man doesn’t act or react without having a good reason to do so.

Jonathan in Florida asks if the Saints might pursue safety Bob Sanders.

Pat Yasinskas: I wouldn’t totally rule it out. New Orleans is the one team in this division that generally is most willing to bring in veterans. Roman Harper is a possible free agent and he obviously didn’t have a good game in the playoff loss to Seattle. But I think Harper remains well thought of within the organization and could end up being re-signed. Sanders comes with some durability questions. The Saints might explore him a little bit right now, but I think they wait until the labor situation is resolved and see what else might be available in free agency.

Sebastian in New Orleans asks if safety Darren Sharper might retire and take over as New Orleans’ defensive backs coach.

Pat Yasinskas: That’s going to be up to Sharper. Yes, it appears his career is near the end, and he’s a bright guy who certainly could go into coaching if he chooses. But Sharper also has the skills to go into broadcasting (and already has done some of that). The life of an assistant coach isn’t very glamorous and the hours are brutal. A guy like Sharper probably could earn a lot more money as a broadcaster, and the hours wouldn’t be nearly as long. Update: The Saints reportedly have promoted defensive assistant Tony Oden to take over as the secondary coach.

Bryan in Sydney, Australia says it seems like the whole sticking point in the labor talks is the 18-game schedule and adds that it would probably take eight or nine years to recoup the money that is lost if there is an extended lockout.

Pat Yasinskas: The proposed 18-game season definitely is an issue, but I wouldn’t classify it as the main sticking point. The biggest issue is the division of revenue. The last labor agreement gave the players almost 60 percent of the revenue. The owners want to chop that figure down considerably. The players don’t want to give up any ground from where they were at.

Eric in Paris, France, referred to the “entertaining’’ side of Raheem Morris that we talked about in Friday’s NFC South chat and asks how that impacts the players in terms of professionalism.

Pat Yasinskas: I don’t know that Morris’ loose style with the media really has any impact on how his players act. The Bucs are a pretty professional bunch. Is Morris a players’ coach? Yes, absolutely. That’s not always a bad thing. The Bucs went 10-6 last season and played hard for their coach. Success can come many different ways. You don’t have to act like Bill Belichick to get positive results.