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The Pro Football Notebook


April 14, 2010 2:00 PM

Spring Overview: NFC South

New Orleans got the NFC South out of obscurity. Not since 2002, when this division came into being with the current alignment and Tampa Bay won the Super Bowl, had the South risen again. The Saints have been pretty quiet in the offseason, so far only signing Alex Brown at defensive end and opting againt retaining safety Darren Sharper, a move I think is risky in the short-term.

Atlanta is the likeliest team to challenge the Saints, and made the eminently logical move of working on the secondary. The re-signed corner Brian Williams and went out added Dunta Robinson, signing the former Houston defensive back to a six-year deal. If Atlanta is improved in the defensive backfield, while New Orleans is weaker, that's a big deal in a division where teams play in domes or warm-weather climates and throwing the ball is easy.

It was a season of change in Carolina, as is to be expected when your season completely collapses. What's not to expected is that the Panthers became the rare team who really did fire the players rather than the coach. They let Jake Delhomme go, and allowed Chicago to sign Julius Peppers in free agency. But head coach John Fox is back. Meanwhile, Tampa Bay made no serious effort to get better via free agency. Let's see what happens in the draft.

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