NFC South Watch

March 13 – The Tampa Bay Buccaneers will begin play in the NFC South Division in 2002 along with their new division rivals—the Atlanta Falcons, Carolina Panthers and New Orleans Saints. Buccaneer Magazine will keep fans updated on Tampa Bay's new division opponents throughout the offseason.

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers will begin play in the NFC South Division in 2002 along with the Atlanta Falcons, Carolina Panthers and New Orleans Saints. Buccaneer Magazine will keep Bucs fans posted on what the Pewter Pirates' new division opponents do during the offseason.
Atlanta Falcons

Home Georgia Dome in Atlanta, Georgia

Last Season 7-9 record. Finished tied for third place in the NFC West Division.

Head Coach Dan Reeves (also calls offensive plays)

Defensive Coordinator Wade Phillips

Special Teams Coach Joe DeCamillis

The Atlanta Falcons released starting quarterback Chris Chandler in order to clear cap room before Mar. 1, which clears the path for second-year QB Michael Vick to lead Atlanta's offense in 2002.

The Latest The Falcons were in hot pursuit of 49ers free agent running back Garrison Hearst, but on Wednesday, Hearst signed a six-year contract with San Francisco worth $20 million.

Atlanta is also interested in Bucs free agent RB Warrick Dunn, but Philadelphia and Tampa Bay appear to be the front runners in the race for Dunn.

Atlanta recently signed Green Bay Packer free agent cornerback Allen Rossum. The ex-Packer made the Pro Bowl in 2000 and is a talented nickel back and return man.

The Falcons are trying to land retired and former Packers general manager Ron Wolf to fill a position with Atlanta in the same capacity.

The Falcons also signed Seahawks free agent offensive tackle Todd Weiner. The ex-Seahawk was a second-round pick out of Kansas State University. Atlanta signed Buffalo free agent safety Keion Carpenter. He led the Bills entire team in interceptions in 2000 with five.


Carolina Panthers

Home Ericsson Stadium in Charlotte, North Carolina

Last Season 1-15. Carolina finished with the worst record in the NFL last season and in last place of the NFC West Division.

Head Coach John Fox (Hired after Panthers 1-15 season. Former Giants defensive coordinator).

Offensive Coordinator Dan Henning (Former Jets Offensive Coordinator. Worked under Bill Parcells).

Defensive Coordinator Jack Del Rio

The Latest The Carolina Panthers lost free agent wide receiver Donald Hayes to the Super Bowl champion New England Patriots. Hayes caught 52 passes last season for 597 yards and two touchdowns. Hayes was a productive receiver with Carolina, but struggled with rookie QB Chris Weinke as the team's starting quarterback.

The Panthers signed Baltimore free agent linebacker Brad Jackson.


New Orleans Saints

Home Superdome in New Orleans, Louisiana

Last Season 7-9 record. Finished tied for third place in the NFC West Division.

Head Coach Jim Haslett (also serves as team's defensive coordinator).

Offensive Coordinator Mike McCarthy

Special Teams Coach Joe Baker

The New Orleans Saints parted ways with running back Ricky Williams. The Saints, who traded all of their 1999 draft picks for Williams, traded him to Miami for in exchange for a first and third-round draft pick. New Orleans and Miami swapped 2002 fourth round draft picks as well.

The Latest The Saints signed Vikings free agent WR Jake Reed and Denver free agent and four-time Pro Bowl CB Dale Carter to a seven-year contract. The Saints also lost free agent DT La'Roi Glover to the Dallas Cowboys. Dallas signed Glover to a $22 million, five-year deal that included a $6 million signing bonus.

The Saints also re-signed K John Carney to a one-year contract.

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