Around the NFC South

Time for a quick run through some headlines from around the NFC South.

  • Peter Finney has a column featuring Joe Vitt, who is running the Saints with coach Sean Payton serving a year-long suspension. Vitt came to New Orleans with Payton in 2006, just as the region was starting to recover from Hurricane Katrina. He knows what the Saints mean to the region. That’s why he’s following the words Payton said as he left the building to start his suspension -- “Do your job’’.

  • John DeShazier has a column on New Orleans running back Darren Sproles, who said he’s working to become more of a power runner. I thought Sproles ran pretty well between the tackles last season and even Payton acknowledged he was a little surprised at how effective the undersized back was as a runner. Sproles already brought several dimensions to the New Orleans offense. Sounds like another one could be on the way.

  • New Carolina fullback Mike Tolbert sounds like a very optimistic guy. He’s talking about the Panthers reaching the Super Bowl. It may be a long shot. But, hey, stranger things have happened. The Panthers reached their only Super Bowl in coach John Fox’s second season. This is the second year for coach Ron Rivera.

  • Tampa Bay’s signing of paralyzed former Rutgers player Eric LeGrand was recognized as the acquisition of the year at the recent Sneaker Soiree, an event to celebrate professional sports in the region.

  • Scott Carasik compares Atlanta linebacker Sean Weatherspoon to Cornelius Bennett. Weatherspoon hasn’t quite been on that level yet. But he’s done some very good things in his first two seasons. With Curtis Lofton gone, Weatherspoon will be asked to be more of a leader and he has the skills for that. In Mike Nolan’s defensive scheme, the Falcons want Weatherspoon to be an all-around linebacker that can produce some big plays. Weatherspoon also has the skills to do that.