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NFC South Second Lines - Shockey Me Once Edition

Each week, I put on latex gloves and check out the blogs and websites of our NFC South brethren so that you don't have to. After the jump you'll find the most important news from the rest of the NFC South.

Carolina Panthers

As I totally predicted on the NFC South Report in December, it looks like former Saint tight end Jeremy Shockey is going to sign with Carolina. I think they might have brought Shockey in to back up Steve Smith (who might not be back next year) in the aging and volatile former star department. I'd like to see that training camp fight...

Actually, though, Shockey played the part of good solider quite well in New Orleans, leaving most of the controversy ("dehydration" issues aside) behind him in New York. He was a solid, not great, member of the Saints' electric offense, and I wish him luck (though not too much) in Carolina.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

This is slightly old news, but the Bucs have re-signed 15-year veteran cornerback Ronde Barber to a 1-year deal worth $4 million.

That signing is big money for the Bucs, bringing them from last in the league in committed money all the way up to...last in the league in committed money. Committed is really a funny term here, isn't it?

In other news, fans of Manchester United remain unsurprised about all of this

Atlanta Falcons

Falcons Head Coach Mike Smith recently told the media that disappointing wide receiver Harry Douglas is going to play a bigger part in the Falcons' offense in 2011.

Now, Douglas was coming of knee surgery during his disappointing 2010, so it's possible that he can turn it around. However, in lieu of a sarcastic comment, I'll just Rather than make a sarcastic comment, I'll just quote The Falcoholic's Dave Choate from the above-linked article:

Harry Douglas hasn't lived up to his considerable promise in three seasons with the Falcons. He arrived as the clear slot deep threat of the future, but injuries, route-running lapses and drops have kept him from locking down a prominent role in the offense.

Well, I don't see why drops and route-running lapses should prevent a receiver from being a consistent contributor to an offense. After all, just look at how consistently great Devery Henderson has...nevermind.

Mike Smith agrees. Here's his quote:

As the season progressed, [Douglas] got better and better. I think it was evident in the Carolina game [in Charlotte on Dec. 12] when he caught the deep ball.

I agree with that. If you could catch a deep ball against Carolina's stout defense*, then the next stop is undoubtedly Hawaii on your way to Canton.

*The Saints' struggles against Carolina notwithstanding

Ranking the teams

Each week, I'll rank the teams by some criteria, important or otherwise. This week, I'll rank the teams in order of how much they'll be hurt by a lockout, should one occur. After all, if there's a lockout, then there aren't any offseason activities, coaching sessions, minicamps, etc.

  1. Bucs. The Bucs are a young team that played above their head against inferior competition last year. They could really use this offseason to try to continue their growth, especially on offense, where they have a bunch of young playmakers. However, if there's a lockout, the
  2. Falcons. The Falcons aren't exactly a young team on offense, but they're still a growing team, especially on offense, where big-game lapses really cost the Falcons last year. Matt Ryan could use a good offseason working with his receivers: they were decidedly outclassed by Aaron Rodgers et al. in the Falcons' playoff loss to the Packers. This would be an ideal year to use the sting of that loss to propel you to a new level. A lockout would probably toss a monkey wrench into that idea, though.
  3. Saints. The Saints run a precision offense, but most of the players have been in the same system for a number of years at this point. I just hope Shaun Rogers doesn't move to New Orleans before offseason activities, because undermotivated DTs having unfettered access to New Orleans cuisine has hurt the Saints before.
  4. Panthers. The Panthers' problem isn't a lack of offseason. It's a lack of talent.

You can follow Stuart on Twitter or check out his Saints podcast, The Who Dat Report, which he produces each month during the offseason.