NFC South Notes: Newton, Falcons, Bucs

Four paragraphs into an article about the Panthers’ Fan Fest, Charlotte Observer writer Joseph Person quotes Cam Newton, who admits his ankle isn’t fully healed yet: “I can’t stress enough that I’m not 100 percent yet. I’m treating it day in and day out.”

Here’s some more NFC South reading:

  • One of Newton’s newest blockers, 21-year-old rookie guard Trai Turner, is drawing early praise, according to the Observer’s Jonathan Jones, who quotes veteran center Ryan Kalil: “He’s so young and he’s doing such a good job.”
  • Falcons head coach Mike Smith was interviewed the Atlanta Journal-Constitution’s Orlando Ledbetter. Smith said there will be competition at the Falcons’ free safety spot, but veteran Dwight Lowery is the starter to begin training camp. As for the nickel back job, Robert McClain, Josh Wilson, Javier Arenas and Ricardo Allen are vying for reps.
  • Buccaneers new head man Lovie Smith isn’t deviating from the coaching philosophy and roster structure that sustained him for nine years in Chicago. He’s hand-picked his game managing quarterback in Josh McCown, writes Chris Urso of the Tampa Tribune: “The Bucs don’t need a Drew Brees. Lovie Smith would settle for a Trent Dilfer, a Brad Johnson. The man went to the Super Bowl with Rex Grossman at quarterback.” And on the defensive side of the ball, Smith has demanded players trim down in order to play fast and execute his Tampa 2 scheme, writes Alan Dell in the Bradenton Herald.
  • Jason Fitzgerald at gave his reaction to yesterday’s Carl Nicks news, saying, “The contract was a good example of the problems that can occur with the all cash salary cap model that is employed by Tampa Bay. Because all cash contracts contain no signing bonus it often leads to lower cash flows in the first year of the contract than awarded in more traditional NFL contracts. The players also receive no “dead money” protection in the contract. These factors lead to teams overpaying for talent and guaranteeing large portions of the contract. Nicks received a ridiculous $25 million in fully guaranteed salary upon signing, an unheard of total for a guard. $31 million of the contract was guaranteed for injury.” Ultimately, the Buccaneers payed Nicks $25MM for nine games of work.
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