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iceshack149 07-14-2003 07:36 PM

NFC South
 
Updates on the NFC South picture (minus the Saints.):


http://profootballweekly.com/PFW/The...?mode=nfcsouth
Snag with McFarland extension could change Bucs’ plans

Tampa Bay

When the Buccaneers decided to focus on signing DT Anthony McFarland to a contract extension this offseason, it signaled that Warren Sapp’s days in Tampa might be numbered. But the team may be forced to change its line of thinking now that talks with McFarland have reached an impasse. McFarland hoped to be signed to a new six-year deal by the start of training camp but balked when the Bucs asked that 40 percent of the proposed salary be deferred to the final two years of the contract. McFarland is willing to backload the contract with 30 percent of the money, but the Bucs are holding strong to their offer and no movement seems forthcoming on either side. If nothing can be worked out, McFarland will go into the season playing the final year of his deal hoping to cash in next year on the free-agent market. If that happens, the Bucs could be forced to turn to Sapp once more should the bidding for McFarland get too out of control. McFarland is viewed as a better option for the long term because he is five years younger than Sapp and is just coming into his prime, but those traits also will make him attractive to potential suitors.


Atlanta

The impact of the turnaround of the Falcons has gone far beyond the playing field. With the team enjoying a 97 percent increase in season-ticket sales and a 97 percent renewal rate from last season, the NFL recently asked the Falcons’ executive director of marketing, Dick Sullivan, to speak at the league’s symposium on brand development. The Falcons sold out their season tickets for 2003 — only the second time in team history that has happened — and there now is a waiting list of 15,000 people to buy season tickets. They also sold out 1,000 tickets that were made available to the public July 12 for each of the team’s two home preseason and eight regular-season games in just 26 minutes. Sullivan and owner Arthur Blank have been credited with making the team more profitable by making the Falcons more fan friendly, and the NFL added Sullivan to its executive marketing committee. But some insiders believe the league may be looking at the wrong person. Although the Falcons’ performance at the box office has been impressive, sources say the team’s marketing and community ties aren’t the reason for the renewed interest. It is QB Mike Vick, coupled with a winning team, that has Atlantabuzzing about a possible Super Bowl run. Blank and Sullivan have made the experience at the game more enjoyable by lowering ticket prices, but without the product on the field — and the electric Vick making everyone hold their breath on every snap — the Falcons might be just another team struggling to sell tickets.


Carolina

We’re told Panthers QB Chris Weinke has been tearing it up in workouts and has shown the strongest arm of any of the quarterbacks on the team’s roster. With everybody looking forward to the Rodney Peete-Jake Delhomme battle for the starting job, Weinke has been the forgotten man at times in Carolina, and there are some who believe he deserves another chance at the starting job. But insiders say that Weinke always has been a great workout guy and has the physical tools to be an NFL quarterback. The problem comes when he is forced to face a real pass rush instead of teammates in T-shirts and shorts. Weinke isn’t the most accurate passer around and has had trouble adjusting to the speed of the game, often making poor decisions. Considering that head coach John Fox values players who make few mistakes and don’t take risks, it is that last point that will keep Weinke out of the running for the first-string gig. In fact, Weinke will be battling second-year QB Randy Fasani for a spot on the roster, and there are some in the organization who would prefer to go with the younger Fasani as the Panthers’ quarterback of the future.

New Orleans

Saints head coach Jim Haslett was miffed by the fact that DT Grady Jackson showed up at minicamp in May weighing well over the 330 pounds listed on the team’s roster, and he expected Jackson to show a renewed sense of commitment to dropping some pounds. Sources say the team is looking forward to finding out just what kind of shape Jackson reports to camp in, and Haslett is concerned that Jackson won’t be in a good frame of mind should his weight still be a problem. Haslett was very upset with Jackson at minicamp, telling reporters that he was disappointed that Jackson hadn’t taken part in the team’s offseason conditioning program. “Iââ‚ ¬Ã¢Â„¢m disappointed in Grady’s weight,â€? Haslett said. “Iââ‚ ¬Ã¢Â„¢m probably more disappointed that Grady wasn’t here, being with his teammates and as a part of the team. Everybody was here but him.To me, it’s just being professional, coming in. He’s bad-looking and I don’t think he's in very good shape.â€? We’re told that Jackson didn’t take too kindly to the criticism, but he also hasn’t made an effort to keep the team apprised of his condition, something that has the Saints worried.

Nothing new here on the Saints. I'm interested in how Jackson responds to this however. Will he be back in better shape and change his attitude or does he become lazy and whiny therefore becoming this years version of Turley?

[Edited on 15/7/2003 by iceshack149]


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