Jon Beason, Steve Smith Return to Practice for Panthers, and More NFC South News

Knox BardeenNFC South Lead WriterSeptember 4, 2012

Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images
Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

The entire Carolina Panthers roster braved the insanity of the Democratic National Convention being in town—and all the traffic jams and overcrowding issues—to hit the practice field. But two players in particular made storylines by being there.

Linebacker Jon Beason and wide receiver Steve Smith were both back at work Sunday.

Beason, who missed most of the season last year with an Achilles injury, aggravated his hamstring in training camp and had been out of action for nearly a month, according to the Charlotte Observer.

Smith had a foot infection and missed two weeks of practice.

Both players are integral to the Panthers' success, and both expect to start on Sunday when Carolina plays in Tampa Bay.

Smith worked with the first-team offense but said he’s not 100 percent physically ready at this point and had some catch-up to do prior to Sunday.

Beason, who missed the entire preseason schedule, said he’d put himself at 85 percent, even though he’s tested his hamstring and doesn’t feel it at full speed.

Both players being back in the lineup would be a huge boost for the Panthers.


Atlanta Falcons

This Fox Sports South outlook has the Falcons with 10 wins and possibly an NFC South title.

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution spoke with general manager Thomas Dimitroff, who spoke about the shakeup at quarterback behind Matt Ryan, the offensive line and the decision between Dominique Franks and Robert McClain.


Carolina Panthers

A lack of consistency and the arrival of Dwan Edwards was the reason why the Panthers cut defensive tackle Terrell McClain, according to the Charlotte Observer.


New Orleans Saints

According to WWL TV, linebacker Curtis Lofton (ankle) and wide receiver Adrian Arrington (knee) are ready to play in Week 1.

Offensive line/running game coach Aaron Kromer, who will act as interim head coach until Joe Vitt returns from suspension, talks about his new role and the Saints' Week 1 game. []


Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Greg Schiano commonly refers to "time is our enemy" to convey to his team to use time wisely to prepare for the next opponent. This Tampa Tribune article says that for Week 1, time and Cam Newton are equally important enemies.

The Buccaneers will get nothing in return from the Seahawks for tight end Kellen Winslow, according to the Tampa Bay Times, because the trade was conditional on Winslow making the roster. Winslow was cut on Sept. 1.


NFC South

Pro Football Talk lists every team's cap space as of Sept. 3. Tampa Bay has the most money to play with in the NFC South at $14.9 million, while Atlanta is in the worst shape with only $3.4 million of cap space available.