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Grits, Gravy, and Gumbo: NFC South News for Friday, August 23rd, 2013

Good afternoon, folks! Welcome to this August 23rd, 2013 edition of Grits, Gravy, and Gumbo, your WCS source for NFC South News! All I have to say is TGIF.

Soap star Kimberly Matula turns 25 today.

Soap star Kimberly Matula turns 25 today.

It’s time for some more real fun facts!

  • The Carolina Panthers drafted a defensive tackle in the first round this year. That means they now have the best defense in the NFL.
  • Jonathan Stewart probably broke his ankle on the way to his laptop to read these facts.
  • Steve Smith is probably on his way over to punch me in the face.
  • Carolina’s third-best receiver is a pro at the alligator chomp.
  • Cam Newton will probably never . . .

Oh, crap. Cam Newton just stole my laptop — so after calling the police, I had to hop on the desktop.

NFC South News

These links now drive a Chevrolet movie theater . . . stolen from Ted Ginn, Jr. by Cam Newton.

New Orleans Saints

The New Orleans Saints practiced red-zone installations yesterday in preparation for their Week 3 preseason game against the Houston Texans.

Safety Roman Harper wants to get back to being a good defense this season. I think we may see the safeties blitzing a bit more than last year under new coordinator Rob Ryan.

Here are my five things to watch for this Sunday:

  1. How well can the Saints offensive line protect quarterback Drew Brees from defensive end J.J. Watt & Co.?
  2. How many carries does Mark Ingram get? Signs point to him being the feature back this year. Let’s see if he impresses.
  3. Can the secondary — in particular, rookie safety Kenny Vaccaro — keep wide receiver Andre Johnson in check?
  4. Will the defensive front seven be able to contain running backs Arian Foster and Ben Tate despite injuries in their linebacking corps?
  5. Does defensive end Cameron Jordan embrace a leadership role and make big plays versus a potent offense?

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers are keeping the pressure on rookie kicker Derek Dimke by signing veteran Ryan Lindell, who was recently cut from the Miami Dolphins roster. Whether or not Lindell wins the job remains to be seen. It seems the move was made mainly to give Dimke’s leg some rest.

Quarterback Josh Freeman needs to spend less time posing as Michael Jackson and more time working on his fundamentals if he wants to turn the Tampa Bay Buccaneers into a playoff contender.

Quarterback Josh Freeman needs to spend less time posing as Michael Jackson and more time working on his fundamentals if he wants to turn the Tampa Bay Buccaneers into a playoff contender.

Apparently, Buccaneers players are on the rise in fantasy football circles. No more do people bandy around phrases like “running back Doug Martin is almost certain to be a first-round pick.” If he isn’t, you’re in the worst league imaginable. If you’ve been listening to Robert Russ or myself, however, you were already aware of how highly we value Doug Martin and wide receivers Vincent Jackson and Mike Williams. In addition, Josh Freeman should be a very good bye-week plugin and backup quarterback this year.

As the Buccaneers prepare to play the Dolphins this Saturday, here are my five things to watch:

  1. The offensive line. With guard Carl Nicks out (foot), we will find out if the team moves Jeremy Zuttah from center to guard as they did last year, or if they turn to another play to fill that role.
  2. Josh Freeman. He needs to have a good showing tonight. He did almost nothing last week.
  3. The secondary. Can the secondary hold receiver Mike Wallace in check? Consider he’ll have Ryan Tannehill throwing to him, this shouldn’t pose too much of a challenge.
  4. Run defense. They were best in the league last year for rushing yards given up. Can they hold Lamar Miller to a modest performance?
  5. Mike Williams. With Martin and Jackson drawing most attention, will we get a preview of what could be to come from the third-year receiver?

Carolina Panthers

The Carolina Panthers made the most of their opportunities last night, scoring touchdowns on four returns against the New England Patriots. However, quarterback Cam Newton looked unimpressive yet again, completing just 10 of 19 passes for 99 yards and no touchdowns. The offensive line remains a problem; Newton was sacked three times for 21 yards, and the run game was held to a abysmal 3.1 yards per carry. It’s probably time to start worrying about the offense.

On a positive note, the defense and special teams looked very efficient. Linebacker Luke Kuechly looks like he is only going to improve on his Defensive Rookie of the Year-winning season.

Against the Baltimore Ravens, Ted Ginn, Jr. proved he can still be a huge threat in the return game for the Carolina Panthers.

Against the Baltimore Ravens, Ted Ginn, Jr. proved he can still be a huge threat in the return game for the Carolina Panthers.

You know there is not much to talk about when Panthers beat writers are speculating about flocks of nighthawks in the Charlotte area.

Atlanta Falcons

Defensive end Osi Umenyiora is already shaking things up in Atlanta. He changed his number from 90 to 50 after his parents told him they didn’t really like the number 90. Just something to take note of when watching the Falcons take on the Tennessee Titans this weekend.

The Falcons partnered with the Make-A-Wish Foundation to give cancer patients at Kennestone Hospital a meet-and-greet with the cheerleaders, general manager Thomas Dimitroff, and the players, who signed anything the patients wanted.

Randy Benson, a longtime volunteer at the hospital, said, “I don’t know if the Falcons realize how huge this is. Sometimes for some patients, this is the last thing that they may get to do. This is massively huge.”

Middle linebacker Akeem Dent is pushing himself to be a three-down player this season, and head coach Mike Smith says he is making strides. But he has some good competition this offseason in Paul Worrilow and Joplu Bartu.

Here are my five things to watch for in the Falcons/Titans match-up:

  1. Run defense. Can the Falcons continue their success against running back Chris Johnson? (Over at the team’s official website, staff writer Daniel Cox asks the same question.)
  2. Brian Banks. Mike Smith says he is going to get significantly more play time these last two games. This is his chance to make the cut. I still think he has a shot to make the last linebacker spot on this team that lacks depth and high talent at linebacker behind Sean Weatherspoon.
  3. Lamar Holmes and the offensive line. They made big strides last week. Can they continue to improve?
  4. Steven Jackson. He impressed last week. Can he continue to do so with an extended number of carries? Or will they try to keep his legs fresh for the regular season?
  5. Tony Gonzales. This will be he first preseason game. He’s always stayed in great shape, but will he show signs of rust?
How well offensive tackle Lamar Holmes plays will greatly affect the Atlanta Falcons' success in 2013.

How well offensive tackle Lamar Holmes plays will greatly affect the Atlanta Falcons’ offensive success in 2013.

264 comments
Kpistol81
Kpistol81

This article is garbage tho...

aciddragon
aciddragon

so i ordered something on Ebay a week ago and still haven't gotten it yet, how long should i wait to start bitching?

SuhDidNothingWrong
SuhDidNothingWrong

Just caught the highlights of the Lions- Pats preseason game.    Looks encouraging.   There were a few stupid penalties, but I liked the fact that the defense was getting turnovers for the Lions.   Obviously, New England doesn't have the greatest skill players around Brady atm, but it was nice to see, nonetheless.

Ded®eggie
Ded®eggie moderator

New Zealand is home to just over 4 million people, and 70 million sheep.


...Sounds like Wisconsin people live in the wrong place.

 ✔

Mulligan's out.   I don't like it.

Ded®eggie
Ded®eggie moderator

A hippo's milk is pink.

aciddragon
aciddragon

@adambballn @aciddragon nope, nothing. which is kinda pissing me off. i already paid him, and it only has to come from Oshkosh so it's not like it's a long journey 

aciddragon
aciddragon

@falconsriseup19 so is Wisconsin, i could upload a ton of pictures from places just a 10 minute drive from my house 

aciddragon
aciddragon

@adambballn @aciddragon yeah i'll give it till Monday and see what happens if i don't get then i'll raise hell, granted the damn thing is a tank, but still 

adambballn
adambballn

@aciddragon @adambballn 

You need to file a complaint with Ebay... I've had this happen before.  That's too long to not receive a response.... they'll refund you after they try and contact the seller.

aciddragon
aciddragon

@adambballn that's my fear, but again as long as they don't do any stand alone Batman movies wit Affleck then i'll be fine wit it and skip those movies 

aciddragon
aciddragon

@adambballn yeah i'm not happy about that at all, hopefully they keep him only in the Superman movie and move in a different direction for the new franchise

aciddragon
aciddragon

@adambballn a friend of mine brewed a Batman inspired black IPA that he says is great but i haven't tried it yet 

aciddragon
aciddragon

@adambballn i'm not a fan of Stouts for drinking for cooking they are great, but for drinking i'd rather drink road tar 

adambballn
adambballn

@aciddragon @adambballn 

We have that one on local tv out here... then the Bears at 8pm on the NFL Network.  Not sure if they're going to join the Bears game in the middle or start at the beginning... hoping for beginning start.

aciddragon
aciddragon

@adambballnand getting ready to watch the awesomest team in the history of football, the Green Bay Packers beat the shit out of the lowly Seagulls 

aciddragon
aciddragon

@falconsriseup19 having never been there i can't say. but i have pictures that look straight out of the Lord of the Rings