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NFC South Whispers

Versatile Zuttah playing key role for Buccaneers

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By PFW staff

Here are some whispers we've heard recently from around the NFC South:

• A broken foot landed Buccaneers ORG Davin Joseph, arguably the team's best offensive lineman, on injured reserve after Week 12. While his replacement may not be as effective as a run blocker, he's drawing high praise from teammates. The versatile Jeremy Zuttah will take over at right guard after having started at center and left guard earlier this season, and C Jeff Faine recently said Zuttah might be the Bucs' MVP.

• Panthers head coach John Fox demoted CB Chris Gamble in Week 12, and Fox said that his decision had only to do with Gamble's performance. Gamble later admitted that he skipped a practice the Wednesday before that game because of a family-related issue, but regardless of what caused him to get benched, it's clear that he and Fox are not seeing eye-to-eye. Fox is in his contract year and on his way out of Charlotte, however, and one source said there is no doubt Gamble, who has four years left on his contract, will still be with the Panthers in 2011.

• Falcons rookie SLB Sean Weatherspoon's knee is still not 100 percent, and it appears he'll be playing a situational role until the team feels as though he's a better option in the base defense than Stephen Nicholas. The Falcons have continued to start Nicholas at strong-side linebacker, even though Weatherspoon has played in each of the last two games after missing four straight contests with a knee injury. Weatherspoon started the first four games in which he played on the strong side.

Drew Brees admitted that it was difficult for the Saints to re-establish their identity this season after winning the Super Bowl, but New Orleans appears to be back on track after struggling early on. "We just had to kind of find our groove and our rhythm and establish that identity again," Brees said. "A part of that was, 'Let's stop comparing ourselves with last year's team.' "

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