Grits, Gravy, and Gumbo: NFC South News for Friday, July 19th, 2013

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Updated: July 19, 2013

Top of the morning to you, my sweltering Southern comrades, and welcome to this edition of Grits, Gravy, and Gumbo, your coffee companion piece for NFC South news on this Friday, July 19th, 2012.

Enough of the pleasantries, you say — I want my fun facts. Sounds good to me. For some reason, I am in the mood to talk about dogs today.

Did you know that ancient Egyptians revered their dogs? So much so, in fact, that , “the owners shaved off their eyebrows, smeared mud in their hair, and mourned aloud for days.” Crazy, huh? I’ll admit I cried my eyes out the last time I lost a dog, but I’ll be bejiggered if I was going to shave off my luxuriant unibrow!

BBC television presenter Helen Skelton turns 30 today.

Here’s something interesting: the phrase “sweating like a dog” is a major misnomer. Dogs don’t sweat — or at least, they don’t sweat like humans do. They only have sweat glands on their paws and their nose. That’s why they pant at the slightest exertion, because they need to cool down . . . something Southrons know all too much about.

Finally, the most common names for dogs are Max and Jake, while the most common names for bitches are Maggie and Molly. Good, old-fashioned country names, those.

Here are some big names who are celebrating birthdays today: astrophysicist and musician Brian May (66); ESPN sportscaster Stewart Scott (48); and actress Vinessa Elizabeth Shaw (37).

NFC South News

I see a link-o silhouette-o of a man. Scaramouche! Scaramouche!

Atlanta Falcons

What do you do after you have lead the NFL in completion percentage and posted the 13th-highest accuracy rate of any quarterback with at least 300 attempts in league history?

, of course. At least that is what Daniel Cox of AtlantaFalcons.com thinks quarterback Matt Ryan should make his goal for 2013. After improving from 61.3 percent to 68.6 percent in 2012, Ryan should set his sights on 70 percent for the season, a lofty mark attained by only four other quarterbacks.

Although accuracy is extremely important to a quarterback’s success, I am not convinced that ramping up the completion percentage, in and of itself, is necessarily the right goal. All that takes is moving to a short, quick passing scheme. More important, in my opinion, would be cutting back on inopportune interceptions. That will have the ancillary benefit of improving accuracy, of course.

Cox also delves into the training camp battle brewing between , both of whom have playing experience. They will be shooting for roster spots behind top dogs Roddy White, Julio Jones, and Harry Douglas.

Incidentally, tight end Tony Gonzalez recently appeared on NFL AM. During the interview, he expressed the sweeping claim that the Atlanta Falcons are building “,” although he acknowledged that the surrounding the unit is the line. Gonzalez should probably ask Green Bay Packers fans about the perils of having a high-flying offense with a questionable offensive line in the playoffs.

Tight end Tony Gonzalez admits that even though he thinks the Atlanta Falcons are building the “perfect offense,” there are still concerns about the offensive line.

Carolina Panthers

A laundry list of facts and figures about the is what senior writer Brian Strickland has in store for you today over at the team’s official website. No real surprises here, although Strickland does quote passing defense coordinator (I’ve never even heard of that title before) Steve Wilks as saying his goal was for his men to get more hands on, “to make more plays on the ball, and we did a good job with that.” He describes the offseason as “very productive” — but then again, every coach says that.

Sad news for the Carolina organization: , son of Panthers owner Jerry Richardson, died this week at the age of 53 after succumbing to the depredations of cancer. The longtime president of Panthers Stadium LLC, Richardson lead the crusade to build Bank of America Stadium, one of the premier fields in the league, and oversaw many improvements over the years. If you would like to express your condolences, consider to the team. You probably won’t hear back from them, but at least they’ll know you’re thinking about them.

will be conducted at Forest Hills Church in Charlotte, North Carolina, at 11 a.m. today. The family is encouraging well wishers to make memorial contributions to “A Better World, Inc., 4527 Freedom Drive, Charlotte, NC 28208, or Fork Union Military Academy, 4744 James Madison Highway, Fork Union, VA 23055.”

Joseph Person of the Charlotte Observer profiles linebacker Thomas Davis, who is ecstatic to finally be . Davis had struggled with knee injuries the past several years.

New Orleans Saints

Larry Holder of The Times-Picayune has been ranking the New Orleans Saints’ most compelling games of 2013. No. 2 on the list is the . A few years ago, you will remember, the 7-9 Seahawks beat the 13-3 Saints in the playoffs, so there will no doubt be a little bad blood in this game. How will Seattle hold up with a second-year quarterback in Russell Wilson at the helm?

Jon Richardson, son of Carolina Panthers founder and owner Jerry Richardson, succumbed to cancer this week at the age of 53.

Also reaching No. 2 is the ongoing series about the Saints’ top 25 players. Second-place honors go to , whom the writers describe as “one of the most dynamic weapons ever to play the position in the NFL.” Fans will be pleased to know that he is now “fully healthy” after recovering from a wrist injury. Quarterback Drew Brees will be happy to have one of his favorite targets back on the field in full health again.

Over at NFL.com, “Around the League” editor Gregg Rosenthal names running back on his list of the top 40 NFL players poised to “make the leap” in 2013. He admits some may consider Thomas an odd choice, since he’s a “certified Super Bowl hero who won’t ever have to buy a drink in New Orleans again,” but he points out that head coach Sean Payton has informed his team they will be running the ball more this year. Thomas is likely to be the primary beneficiary of that change in focus.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

It’s standard practice for rookies to report one week before the veterans to training camp, and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers are no exception. Head coach Greg Schiano calls this preparatory period his “” in which he prepares the youngsters to better integrate with the team and compete with the incumbents for roster spots.

The ever-anonymous writers at TampaBayBuccaneers.com go today and look at the most compelling training-camp battles for each team. It’s a bit of a daunting read, with some of the longest, densest paragraphs I’ve ever seen on a sports site, but worthwhile to bone up on your familiarity with rival teams.

After losing placekicker Connor Barth for the season to a non-football-related Achilles tendon tear, general manager Mark Dominik moved quickly to a free agent coming off a 2012 season in which he ranked No. 2 in the league for total scoring. No team wants to lose its starting kicker in July, but the smart money says that the Buccaneers couldn’t be more pleased with the caliber of kicker they were able to sign.

Brian McIntyre of the “” blog at Yahoo! Sports writes that 2013 will be a pivotal season for quarterback Josh Freeman, who will be playing for a contract. He also argues that running back Doug Martin’s nickname “Muscle Hamster” should be changed to “Bargain.” Arguably one of the most talented backs in the league, Martin will be playing for $698,524 (fully guaranteed) this season, ranking him 61st in the league for salary.

Don’t feel too sorry for him, though: more than “$3.7 million, or 55 percent of the total value of the contract, was paid out in 2012,” so it’s not like he is hurting for cash. If this doesn’t demonstrate the positive benefit for teams that the new Collective Bargaining Agreement affords, nothing well.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers placekicker Connor Barth was place on the Reserve/Non-football injury list this week after tearing his Achilles tendon.

About the author(s)

Rourke Douglas Decker covers the Green Bay Packers beat for Water Cooler Sports. He resides with his family in the Twin Cities. He can be reached for questions or comments at . Connect with .

1287 comments
Childerz...
Childerz...

Dilemma.... get 5 hrs of OT on this check.,... or clock out at 2 and go golfing. 

robertj72
robertj72

Off to have a glorious Fap 'n' Nap session. Peace


falconsriseup19
falconsriseup19

will any falcons fans be attending the training camp?

Niners_Never_Die
Niners_Never_Die

Lots of Arodge hate going on at SKA... But he is a dbag.

tmonson78
tmonson78 moderator

 

Would the overtime be enough to cover the cost of golfing?

If not, go golfing.

tmonson78
tmonson78 moderator

 

pfffft.

Their training camp isn't sponsored by Chase and RC Cola.  They lose.

rocketman6969
rocketman6969

 Nope, though I will be going to the final preseason game. You know, the one where no starters play.

But hey, the tickets were free.

Rourke
Rourke

 It always interests me how people who call Aaron Rodgers a douche can never provide a substantive reason for thinking so.

Childerz...
Childerz...

 Golf is $18 for a cart and 18 holes with my little gold card. 

Niners_Never_Die
Niners_Never_Die

  yeah and do you make minimum wage if so go golfing haha

tmonson78
tmonson78 moderator

 

Also, "Flowery Branch?"

Is that Matt Ryan's favorite lesbian club?

Johnathan Wood
Johnathan Wood moderator

  my wife tried to buy me tickets to that game for the Bears for my birthday.

I got wind of it and told her in no uncertain terms I would be pissed if she did.

Niners_Never_Die
Niners_Never_Die

  I provided many... his whole personal demeanor. Stupidly smirking at everyone and every questions asked as if he is something special. Inability to be gracious in defeat. Not honoring things he promised to do. Carries himself like an arrogant asshole with an underlying inferiority complex.

Childerz...
Childerz...

 yeahhhh but the extra money is soooo tempting! 

tmonson78
tmonson78 moderator

at that rate, your decision should have been made a while ago.  Go golfing man!

Childerz...
Childerz...

 after taxes its about 90. but yes that is hard to... walk away from.. but its finally just super nice outside. 

Johnathan Wood
Johnathan Wood moderator

  Detroit had zero first downs in the second half until Lovie switched up his D and let them march right down the field.  

God I hope the Bears stop doing that shit now.

Johnathan Wood
Johnathan Wood moderator

  also against Detroit in the Calvin non-TD that should have won the game for the Lions in 2010

tmonson78
tmonson78 moderator

 

Repeated against Tebow in Denver too.  He had been shut down the entire game, so, naturally, Lovie went to prevent.

Johnathan Wood
Johnathan Wood moderator

  I more hate the Bears' coaches for their stupid sissy defensive strategy that 1) Gave Atlanta great field position and 2) failed to defend the only possible route that could help Atlanta.

TERRIBLE coaching, a hallmark of Lovie late in games when he had the lead

tmonson78
tmonson78 moderator

 No biggie.

I'm just bored and having some fun.  I don't mean anything by it.

Although I DO still kind of hate Ryan for beating the Bears in 11 seconds a few years back...

tmonson78
tmonson78 moderator

 

My team's QB is Jay Cutler.

Enjoy.

SDL
SDL

.

I'm pretty much right with Rourke on this issue.  Fans of also rans in the NFCN and hatters around the league make all these allegations and claims about his demeanor and his attitude.

In every interview situation I've ever seen / heard, I think he handles himself very well for a 29 yr old multi-millionaire SB-winning / League MVP

... so, I guess your buddies can still suck my fat hog

... Oh, and I agree - CK is a huge douche

(I keed I keeed)

Niners_Never_Die
Niners_Never_Die

  30's.... Huge Favre fans lol

Hey man, People call CK a douche all the time... I get it. Rodgie is your qb and he's amazing at it. His demeanor is just one that rubs me the wrong way and maybe my shit talking has swayed my buddies.. after I pointed out his little smirk and snarky bs smartass comments that's all they see LOL

SDL
SDL

See, I don't get that.  Part of it is undoubtedly that I became convinced last season that he is the best NFL QB I have ever even heard of.

Even so, I've never had a problem with the way he acts or the things he says.  

I'd guess he has 40 IQ points on Favre and that he actually thinks before he starts running his pie hole

These friends of yours are how old?


Niners_Never_Die
Niners_Never_Die

  Ok I will, but they probably won't care. They think he reminds him of the typical arrogant ass at work or from school that they hated.

SDL
SDL

.

Tell your friends they're not real fans and nobody gives a shit how they feel about someone they don't know

.

... oh, and tell 'em they can all suck my fat hog, too


Niners_Never_Die
Niners_Never_Die

  Yeah I know that shit is just media play... but for me its just his personality.. he makes me want to break his nose when answers questions like a smart ass.. Fuck it. I just don't like him.

Niners_Never_Die
Niners_Never_Die

 I just think he acts like a giant douche bag. I have friends that are packer fans and they can't fucking stand him.

Rourke
Rourke

 He claims that the whole jersey bet was a joke, and the band never contradicted his side of the story. He is contractually forbidden to wear the jersey of another team. Much ado about absolutely nothing.

And as for the cancer patient, another nothing. He didn't ignore her -- he had given her tons of shit in the past and the PR group asked her to step aside.

Niners_Never_Die
Niners_Never_Die

   No bader is loving his new found power and virtual blow jobs he gets from the westie bitches.

matt_vfalcon32
matt_vfalcon32

   as in aaron rodgers? well shit I looked like a dumbass.

Kuato Face
Kuato Face moderator

  He does not look small. Oh...you must be talking about... down there.

matt_vfalcon32
matt_vfalcon32

  are we talking about the guy who's name is bader? 

Childerz...
Childerz...

 he also hates cancer patients and has small man syndrome. 

Niners_Never_Die
Niners_Never_Die

Two losses to them in a year and doesn't even have the decency to accept defeat and be respectful. First the Jersey thing then talks shit after losing.

tmonson78
tmonson78 moderator

 cancer patient.

And yes.

Kuato Face
Kuato Face moderator

   Didn't he snub a crippled kid too?

matt_vfalcon32
matt_vfalcon32

  I remember arguing with that SOB on espn before they started that website...he is a fucking total moron.

Niners_Never_Die
Niners_Never_Die

   not so much, now they moved on to him calling CK and JH a gimmick after their playoff loss.

tmonson78
tmonson78 moderator

  

Are people still that upset that he didn't wear Smith's jersey?