NFC South Watch

April 3 – 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 continue to keep Club Insiders 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 have been doing during the offseason.
Atlanta Falcons

Home Georgia Dome in Atlanta Georgia

2002 Draft Pick No. 17 overall pick in the first round of the NFL Draft

Host Tampa Bay Sunday, October 6, 2002 1:00 PM

Visit Tampa Bay Sunday, December 8, 2002 1:00 PM

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

How They Ranked Last Season

Offense 15th overall 16th rushing 17th passing

Defense 30th overall 21st rushing 30th passing

The Latest

The Atlanta Falcons hired Bobby Beathard as a senior advisor to Falcons owner Arthur Blank. In Beathard's 38-years in the NFL, his teams have made seven trips to the Super Bowl. The last time Beathard made the Super Bowl was in 1994, when he served as San Diego's general manager.

In other news, Atlanta signed former Green Bay Packers defensive end John Thierry. He was originally a first-round draft choice of the Chicago Bears in 1994 out of Alcorn State.

Atlanta also signed linebacker John Holecek. He is familiar with defensive coordinator Wade Phillips' 3-4 defensive scheme. Holecek spent his first six seasons with the Bills and Atlanta's defensive coordinator when he served as Buffalo's head coach.


Carolina Panthers

Home Ericsson Stadium in Charlotte, North Carolina

2002 Draft Pick No. 2 overall pick in the first round of the NFL Draft

Host Tampa Bay Sunday, October 27, 2002 1:00 PM

Visit Tampa Bay Sunday, November 17, 2002 4:05 PM

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

How They Ranked Last Season

Offense 30th overall 29th rushing 26th passing

Defense 31st overall 28th rushing 28th passing

The Latest

Carolina will hold its first mini-camp under new head coach John Fox, starting April 2. It will be a three-day mini-camp held at the Ericsson Stadium practice fields

The Carolina Panthers also signed defensive lineman Shane Burton to a three-year, $2.125 this week. The former Jet was released by New York on February 26. He spent his first six seasons with Miami, Chicago and New York.

Panthers wide receiver Mushsin Muhammad received probation last week after pleading guilty to misdemeanor drug and weapon charges from a traffic stop this year. He received a 30-day suspended sentence as well as 12 months of probation along with a $150 fine.

In other news, the Panthers are reportedly expressing interest in acquiring the services of free agent quarterback Jeff Blake.


New Orleans Saints

Home Superdome in New Orleans, Louisiana

2002 Draft Pick No. 13 overall pick in the first round of the NFL Draft

Host Tampa Bay Sunday, December 1, 2002 8:30 PM

Visit Tampa Bay Sunday, September 8, 2002 4:15 PM

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

Offense 19th overall 18th(T) rushing 10th passing

Defense 16th(T) overall 14th rushing 10th passing

The Latest The New Orleans Saints bolstered their offense last week by signing Detroit free agent tight end David Sloan to a four-year, $7.05 million, which included a $1.2 million signing bonus.

In other news, the Saints signed veteran linebacker Bryan Cox to a one-year contract worth $750,000. Cox was part of the Super Bowl champion New England Patriots' team last year, but chose not to join his former teammates at the White House on April 2.

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