This is a weekly update by Times NFL writer Darrell Fry on the Bucs' new opponents in the NFC South:
By DARRELL FRY, Times Staff Writer
© St. Petersburg Times
published August 25, 2002
ATLANTA: There isn't a quarterback competition, but it's hard not to notice that backup Doug Johnson was 24-for-33 passing for 269 yards and one touchdown in the first two preseason games, and starter Michael Vick was 15-for-27 for 123 yards, two touchdowns and one interception.
Johnson, the former Gator, is playing well enough to be a starter, but concedes there's little chance of that this season.
"Do I want to be a starting quarterback? Yes," Johnson said. "This year? No. I won't be. But in the end, I'll be a starting quarterback in the NFL."
He obviously doesn't lack confidence.
* * *
CAROLINA: The Panthers are giddy about punter Todd Sauerbrun. They are giddy about his 55-yard average before Friday night's game against New England, but they are even more delighted by his toughness.
Twice against Dallas, Sauerbrun, who is 5 feet 10 and 211 pounds, lowered his shoulder and delivered jarring hits on punt returners and once stood over the returner after the hit in a taunting way.
He got a penalty for unsportsmanlike conduct, but otherwise the Panthers loved his aggressiveness.
"I'm sure (the coaches) will tell me ... not to lay my shoulder out like that. But you know what? I'm going to do it anyway," Sauerbrun said. "I'm sorry, but that's just me. I'm going to inflict punishment if I can."
* * *
NEW ORLEANS: Tampa's Kevin House is trying to make the roster as a cornerback. Signed as a rookie free agent out of South Carolina, he has looked solid in preseason.
House, son of former Bucs wide receiver Kevin House, is a long way from making the roster, but can't help but dream of being on the team when the Saints open the regular season Sept. 8 at Raymond James Stadium.
"That would be really big to come back to Tampa and play in front of all my friends and family," House said. "I'd probably lose my mind."
-- Information from other news organizations was used in this report.
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