Here are some whispers we've been hearing from around the NFC South:
• The Buccaneers haven't been satisfied with RB LeGarrette Blount's performance in short-yardage situations and have been considering using FB Earnest Graham instead of Blount in those scenarios. We're told the Bucs are not giving up on Blount as a straight-ahead rusher, but adjusting to that style of running hasn't been easy for Blount, who was more of a lateral rusher in college at Oregon, and Graham has shown he can fulfill many different roles.
• After showing some flashes of potential late last season, Falcons second-year DE Lawrence Sidbury has been active in only six games this season and he has yet to record a tackle. Atlanta is hoping he will develop into a potential replacement for 32-year-old DE John Abraham, but Sidbury isn't coming along as quickly as some had hoped.
• Rookie WR Armanti Edwards has been active in just one game this season, and we hear Panthers fans shouldn't expect to see him get more involved on offense before the season is over. Head coach John Fox has decided he has little use for Edwards, who played quarterback at Appalachian State, and it doesn't appear he'll get a chance to play much, if at all, until next season.
• Two starting offensive linemen — C Jeff Faine and ORG Davin Joseph — have landed on injured reserve for the Bucs in recent weeks, and injuries have been an issue for Tampa Bay's front five for much of the season. Undrafted rookie Derek Hardman has taken over as the starting right guard, but we hear the team is prepared to move ORT James Lee over to replace Hardman if he struggles. Jeremy Trueblood would get his starting job at right tackle back if that were to happen.