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NFC South Whispers

Goodson won't keep Panthers' RB job when Stewart returns

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By PFW staff

We've been hearing the following whispers from around the NFC South:

• Second-year RB Mike Goodson is getting a chance to be the Panthers' featured back with DeAngelo Williams (recently placed on injured reserve), Jonathan Stewart and Tyrell Sutton dealing with injuries. He rushed for 100 yards in his first career start, but, even if continues to succeed as the No. 1 rusher, we hear he'll revert to his former role as a complementary back when those ahead of him on the depth chart are healthy.

• Buccaneers third-year veteran James Lee, who had played in only one game heading into the season, is getting some starting experience at right tackle while Jeremy Trueblood recovers from a sprained MCL. Lee has done a decent job in three starts, and we hear he's getting more comfortable with the role. He may be well on his way to allowing the Bucs to consider letting Trueblood, who will be a free agent in 2011, walk in the offseason.

• Falcons SLB Stephen Nicholas lost his starting job to rookie Sean Weatherspoon before the season, but he's been given another chance to play with the first-team defense while Weatherspoon deals with a knee injury. We're told the team has been happy with the way Nicholas has defended the run.

• PFW asked Saints MLB Jonathan Vilma if having FS Darren Sharper back since Week Seven has helped him do his job better. "Maybe not better, but it does give me a sense of calm, knowing that with a veteran back there, he's not only going to get himself lined up, but he's going to help me get everybody else lined up," Vilma said. "We have good guys back there (in the secondary) for us to be No. 1 in pass defense without Sharper all these weeks, but it's always great to have a wily, old vet come back."

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