NFC South Watch

June 6 – The Tampa Bay Buccaneers will begin play in the NFC South Division this season along with their new division rivals -— the Atlanta Falcons, Carolina Panthers and New Orleans Saints. Pewter Report will continue to keep Club Insiders updated on Tampa Bay's new division opponents throughout the offseason. After a rather slow month of news, Club Insiders have plenty to catch up on as there has been a lot of action within the NFC South Division over the last two weeks.

NFC South Watch appears on PewterReport.com bi-monthly during the offseason.

Copyright 2002 Pewter Report/PewterReport.com
This story is intended to be read only by PewterReport.com Club Insiders only and TheInsiders.com. Sharing of the Club content with non-subscribers of this service can result in cancellation of your subscription to the service and/or further actions by the publishers.
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. Pewter Report will keep Bucs fans posted on what the Pewter Pirates' new division opponents have been doing during the offseason. It has been a rather slow month for the division in terms of news, but the Falcons, Panthers and Saints have been busy over the last two weeks.
Atlanta Falcons

Home Georgia Dome in Atlanta Georgia

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

There were quite a few cap casualties around the league on June 3, but the Atlanta Falcons had two of them – both of which were part of their backfield. As expected, the Falcons parted ways with running back Jamal Anderson, who was the third all-time rusher in Falcons history. The writing appeared on the wall earlier this offseason after the Falcons signed RB Warrick Dunn and drafted T.J. Duckett in the first round of the NFL Draft. By releasing Anderson, the Falcons freed up $2 million.

The Dirty Birds also released RB Rodney Thomas, which saved the team $650,000.

In other news, the Falcons will reportedly pursue free agent quarterback Charlie Batch, who was released by the Detroit Lions on Monday. The Falcons are searching for a capable arm to backup second-year QB Michael Vick.


Carolina Panthers

Home Ericsson Stadium in Charlotte, North Carolina

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

Just six months after undergoing reconstructive surgery on his left knee to repair a torn ACL, Panthers tight end Wesley Walls ran routes in seven-on-seven drills on Tuesday during Carolina's offseason workouts. It was a welcomed surprise as many players take an entire year to recover from such an injury.

Panthers QB Chris Weinke began throwing a football on Monday for the first time in nearly eight week Weinke had shoulder surgery earlier this offseason. But despite throwing the football, Weinke observed most of Carolina's practice. Weinke is expected to be fully recovered by training camp.

According to the Charlotte Observer, the Panthers have reached an agreement on a three-year contract with seventh-round draft selection cornerback Brad Franklin. He is Carolina's first 2002 draft pick to agree to terms.

On May 31, the Panthers claimed linebacker Brian Allen off waivers from the Houston Texans. Allen entered the league as a third-round draft selection of the St. Louis Rams in 2001. Allen was chosen 18th by the Texans in February's expansion draft.

The Panthers are expected to contact QB Charlie Batch this week in hopes of signing him as a backup behind Weinke. Detroit released Batch on Monday in a salary cap maneuver.

Although he and the Panthers are attempting to resolve some contract issues, Carolina defensive end Jay Williams participated in the Panthers' offseason workouts on Monday, June 3. According to ESPN, Williams is willing to cut his salary $1.65 million in half. Williams will continue to practice with the team while the two sides continue to try and reach a settlement.


New Orleans Saints

Home Superdome in New Orleans, Louisiana

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 released strongside linebacker Keith Mitchell on Wednesday. By cutting the five-year veteran, the Saints will save nearly $2 million. Mitchell, 27, had earned a trip to the Pro Bowl in 2000. Second-year LB Sedrick Hodge will replace Mitchell at the strongside linebacker position in New Orleans' defense. Several teams are reportedly interested in Mitchell, but don't expect Tampa Bay to be one of them.

The Saints will reportedly join the Falcons and Panthers in pursuit of free agent QB Charlie Batch. Detroit released Batch on Monday, June 3 in a salary cap maneuver.

New Orleans will reportedly target WR Herman Moore, who was also released by Detroit on Monday.

New Orleans Gov. Mike Foster said Thursday that the Saints were not an option for a Los Angeles group bidding for an NFL team. Foster said a new deal to keep the Saints in New Orleans is almost completed. Saints owner Tom Benson had threatened to move the team last year, but in April, the Legislature agreed to provide almost $7 million to build a new indoor practice facility for the team. The city is also in the process of deciding on whether or not to build the Saints a new stadium or renovate the team's current home – the Superdome.

The Saints signed center Kendyl Jacox to a five-year contract on May 30. Jacox started 16 games at center for the San Diego Chargers last season and is a four-year veteran. Jacox is a diverse offensive lineman and is expected to compete for a starting job at center as well as both guard positions. He will also contribute on special teams. Jacox entered the NFL with the Chargers as an undrafted rookie free agent out of Kansas State in 1998.

Saints WR Jerome Pathon, who signed with New Orleans as a free agent in April, has spent the offseason rehabbing from foot surgery. But the former track star recently began to participate in individual drills. Pathon, a four-year veteran, began his career with the Indianapolis Colts, but he couldn't stay healthy on a consistent basis, which contributed to him leaving Indianapolis.


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Copyright 2002 Pewter Report/PewterReport.com

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