Here are four things we gleaned from the NFC South teams, just days removed from the 2013 draft:
1. The Falcons need Desmond Trufant and Robert Alford to be signed, sealed and healthy for the first four-pack of games
The NFL schedule-maker certainly didn't do Atlanta any favors in the first quadrant of the season, pairing the Falcons secondary against the likes of Drew Brees (Saints), Sam Bradford (Rams), Ryan Tannehill (Dolphins) and Tom Brady (Patriots) four quarterbacks orchestrating pass-first offenses.
In this era of air-tight Collective Bargaining Agreements, where contract holdouts involving rookies are scarce, there is little chance of Trufant (No. 22 overall pick) or Alford (No. 60) skipping training camp or the exhibition slate. However, there are legitimate concerns ofallfirst-year players getting injured or simply being not ready for full-time duty on September Sundays.
And if neither Trufant nor Alford are ready for game action early on, the Falcons will likely struggle to handle a quartet of passers (and deep receiving corps) with good-to-prolific track records in September. For example:
Tannehill threw for 431 yards against the Cardinals in Week 4.
Of his 10 career games in September, Bradford has attempted 30 or more passes eight times.
In his last seven September games (2011-12), Brady has averaged 41 pass attempts, 365 yards passing and 2.5 touchdowns.
In that same span, Brees has per-outing averages of 40 attempts, 344 yards passing and 2.7 TDs.
2. The Bucs' secondary might have undergone the greatest transformation since the 1981 Niners
In 1979, the 49ers forever changed the course of NFL history by drafting Notre Dame QB Joe Montana in the third round. But San Francisco didn't evolve into a viable championship contender until two years later,afterhead coach Bill Walsh had seen enough from a vulnerable secondary that couldn't stop anyone in 1979 or '80 his first two seasons on the job.