NFC South Notes: Saints, Panthers, Short

Running back C.J. Spiller says he’s ready to live up to the billing he received when he inked a four-year, $16MM deal with the Saints last March, Joel A. Erickson of The Advocate writes.

When I’m 100 percent and able to do what I’m able to do, I know I can flourish in this offense,” Spiller said. “This offense is built for my type of skill set. I wouldn’t want to be in any other one — a great head coach that knows how to put players in position to make plays, and then you’ve got a quarterback that’s a future Hall of Famer, that knows how to win matchups and to take advantage of each and every play. I’m just happy that I have a chance to revamp or redeem myself and give this team hopefully 100 percent.”

Last season, Spiller amassed only 112 yards on a meager 36 carries and caught 34 passes at just 7.0 yards per reception before being placed on IR in December.

Here’s more from the NFC South:

  • Panthers defensive tackle Kawann Short “checked in” at the beginning of minicamp, a source tells Joe Person of the Charlotte Observe (Twitter link). Short is skipping OTAs in the hopes of landing a new contract, but with those talks reportedly on hold, Short may have thought it wise to make an appearance with the team, especially given that head coach Ron Rivera has subtlety voiced his displeasure at Short’s absence.
  • Falcons defensive coordinator Richard Smith said that undrafted rookie outside linebacker Ivan McLennan has some pass rush ability and he’s a player to watch at minicamp, D. Orlando Ledbetter of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution writes. McLennan will be fighting for a roster spot at strongside linebacker and could push 2014 seventh-round pick Tyler Starr for a place on the team. The linebacker played two years of JUCO football before spending the past two seasons at Washington State. He racked up 15 sacks and 34.5 tackles for losses over his collegiate career.
  • More from Ledbetter who wonders if there is a sleeper in the Falcons‘ cornerback group. The most intriguing player fighting for a spot is C.J. Goodwin, a 6’4″ former basketball player and wide receiver who is looking to make it as a CB. Atlanta secondary/senior assistant Marquand Manuel praised Goodwin for his play so far in practice and noted that he was able to stay with Julio Jones in man-to-man coverage.
  • The Saints are trying out a pair of UDFAs today in outside linebacker Royce LaFrance (Tulane) and linebacker Chris Weatherd (Tennessee), as Evan Woodbery of The Times-Picayune tweets. Defensive tackle Lawrence Virgil is also in the house as a tryout invitee (link).
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