Training Camp Questions – NFC South

Atlanta Falcons

Is 2008 NFL Rookie of the Year quarterback Matt Ryan due for a sophomore letdown season after a magical first year?

Will running back Michael Turner be able to come close to duplicating his 2008 performance (376 carry, 1699 rushing yards, and a franchise-record 17 touchdowns)?

How will perennial Pro Bowl pass catching tight end Tony Gonzalez adjust to more blocking duties with the Falcons after coming over in a trade from the Chiefs?

How much better will receiver Roddy White get after a career year during the 2008 season (88 receptions, 1382 yards, and 7TDs)?

Will the Falcons be able to produce another double-digit win season even though they are facing a very tough schedule (play NFC East and AFC East)?

 Carolina Panthers

 After a disappointing finish to a 12-4 season, is Panthers head coach John Fox on owner Wally Richardson’s hot seat?

Is quarterback Jake Delhomme totally recovered from elbow surgery and should have the Panthers pursued an insurance quarterback in the offseason?

Is it possible that the Panthers running game will be as effective (RB’s Jonathan Stewart and DeAngelo Williams combined for 3,251 rushing yards) as in 2008?

How happy is franchised defensive end Julius Peepers and will he have another high sack year (14.5 sacks in 2008)?

Can the 2009 Panthers produce their first back-to-back winning seasons in their team’s history (not done in 14 years of existence)?

New Orleans Saints

After an 8-8 and second consecutive non-playoff season, is head coach Sean Payton feeling the heat to win in New Orleans?

How healthy is RB Reggie Bush’s knee and have the Saints figured out ways to use him other than the miscast role of a featured rusher?

With the addition of three defensive draft picks and several other defensive free agent pick-ups will the Saints cut down on the almost 25 points per game that they allowed in 2008?

Will the Saints achieve more balance on offense with emerging running back Pierre Thomas or will quarterback Drew Brees continue to “wing-it” all over the field (threw for over 5,000 yards in 2008)?

Will Saints receiver Marques Colston bounce back from a sub-par season (47 rec, 760 yards, and 5 TDs) or will another receiver (Lance Moore, Bobby Meachem, Devrey Henderson) need to step-up?

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Is young head coach Raheem Morris ready to take over as an NFL head coach after not much experience?

Who is going to be the quarterback (Byron Leftwich, Luke McCown, or Josh Freeman) and will they be able to get the ball to comeback receiver Antonio Bryant?

Will the Bucs be able to replace the leadership of veterans LB Derrick Brooks, QB Jeff Garcia, WR Joey Galloway, and RB Warrick Dunn?

What defensive system will the Bucs be playing and will new defensive coordinator Jim Bates be able to replace Monte Kiffin?

Did the Bucs make the right move by trading for volatile former Browns tight end Kellen Winslow and giving him a huge extension this offseason?


Lloyd Vance is a Sr. NFL Writer for Taking It to the House and an award winning member of the Pro Football Writers of America (PFWA)