NFC South Blog
The Saints used a third-round pick on quarterback Garrett Grayson. This decision does not worry star QB Drew Brees. As a matter of fact, the 36-year-old veteran embraces bringing in a young arm. "I've got a great relationship with Luke McCown and Ryan Griffin and I'm sure that as I get to know Garrett, we'll very much be like that as well," Brees said. "All the quarterbacks are great together. We push one another, we compete, we get the best out of one another. That's what you kind of like about surrounding yourself with those types of guys. And Garrett seems to be that kind of guy … I'm worried about winning a championship. Trying to be the best player I can be, trying to be the leader that I can be, that applies to how can I help get the best out of everyone who is on the team."
The Atlanta Falcons' homerun threat at running back Antone Smith is still not cleared after fracturing his right leg last season. While he is making great progress and is getting very close, he's not quite there yet. "The recovery is going pretty good," Smith said. "I'm up and running. I'm almost full force, but not quite where I need to be. In time, that will take care of itself. I can't give you a time table on what they are doing. But with me, right now, I'm just learning the playbook with everybody else. I'm familiar with some of the things. There are a lot of different techniques and different language."
Panthers' second-year wideout Kelvin Benjamin strained his hamstring last week. He will not participate in on-field team activities next week when the team opens its next phase of OTAs. The injury is not believed to be serious and his inactivity is more precautionary than anything else. The most interesting development here may be that rookie wide receiver Devin Funchess has been taking Benjamin's first-team reps in his absence.
The Buccaneers will have a running back competition in camp this offseason. Doug Martin, Charles Sims, Bobby Rainey and Mike James will all be competing for the job. Martin is the assumed starter, however, the coaching staff is reportedly "very high" on Sims. The talented second-year back missed nearly all of his rookie season due to an ankle injury. He was highly touted heading into last season and that has not changed this season. After back-to-back disappointing seasons from Martin, he's far from a lock to win the starting job.
Atlanta Falcons' long-time wide receiver Roddy White "wasn't himself last season". He was once again plagued by a "variety of injuries" and is now 33 years old. This is a make-or-break season for White who needs to prove he still has something left in the tank. White is healthy and like always is expected to start opposite Julio Jones in Atlanta.
Falcons' second-year running back Devonta Freeman has looked great in camp. He has reportedly "already impressed the new coaching staff with his pass-catching ability". Freeman appears to have a slight edge on incumbent rookie Tevin Coleman at the moment. His ability both catching passes and in pass protection could earn him the starting job over Coleman.
Many believed Julio Jones would holdout in order to get his massive contract extension that is inevitably coming his way. Instead he showed up on Tuesday to the Falcons' voluntary OTAs ready to work. No one would have blamed Jones had he done what he had to, to get paid. Especially considering his injury history. Nonetheless, Jones is in camp and ready to roll.
The competitive war of words between second-year back Devonta Freeman and rookie Tevin Coleman have been well documented. Both men have vowed to be the Falcons' starting running back this season. Well, Freeman has drawn first blood. Freeman opened up OTAs as the first-string running back. He appears to have the upper hand, at least for the time being. However, this battle is a long way from over.