Around the NFC South

Time for a look at the top Thursday morning headlines from around the NFC South.

It already had been reported that New Orleans offensive coordinator Pete Carmichael had been given permission to interview for the Raiders’ job as head coach. But reports also are surfacing that the Colts have interest in interviewing Carmichael after they fired Jim Caldwell. The Saints also have to find a defensive coordinator to replace Gregg Williams. The front-runner is Steve Spagnuolo, who either interviewed Wednesday or will interview Thursday (reports on his schedule have varied). They also need to find a receivers coach to replace Curtis Johnson, who has left to become head coach at Tulane.

New Orleans receiver Lance Moore missed the final three games, including the playoff loss to San Francisco, with a hamstring injury. Moore discusses his disappointment about the San Francisco result and on not being able to play in that game.

We told you Wednesday that new Atlanta defensive coordinator Mike Nolan plans to stick with the 4-3 scheme. But Knox Bardeen adds a little more to Nolan’s future plans. Nolan said the Falcons might use the nickel package more often, because offenses are passing more frequently.

The proposed budget by Georgia Governor Nathan Deal includes $15 million for a land purchase, and a local official says that money could be used to buy the land where a new outdoor stadium for the Falcons could be built.

The Bucs don’t have a new coaching staff yet, so they have only their scouting staff working the practices for the East-West Shrine Game. A general manager for another NFC South team said that’s not unusual, that these practices are generally watched by scouting staffs and a few general managers. But most coaching staffs attend next week’s Senior Bowl in their entirety. There’s no guarantee the Bucs will have a new coach before the Senior Bowl. Even if they do, it’s almost certain he won’t have his entire staff in place in time for the Senior Bowl. Stephen Holder points out the situation puts the Tampa Bay scouts in a bit of a unique position, because they don’t know what schemes the team will be using.

Alabama cornerback Dre Kirkpatrick is a name that has been tied to the Panthers with the No. 8 or 9 (depending on a coin flip) in the upcoming NFL draft. But Kirkpatrick reportedly was charged recently with marijuana possession. Could that change his stock with the Panthers? For years, Carolina went out of its way to avoid players who had off-field problems. That changed a bit last season after the departure of coach John Fox. The Panthers took a chance on cornerback Brandon Hogan, who had some off-field issues, in the fourth-round last year. But there’s a big difference when you’re talking about first-round picks and fourth-round picks. As long as owner Jerry Richardson and general manager Marty Hurney are running the show, I doubt you’ll see the Panthers taking chances on guys who have been in trouble, unless they fully investigate the issue and decide it’s unfounded.