NFC Notes: 49ers, Buccaneers, Saints


49ers DE Arden Key said after Sunday’s practice that he was happy about being waived from the Raiders, while adding that he “wanted to get out of there.”

I definitely wanted to get out of there,” Key said, via David Lombardi of The Athletic. “I was more happy than surprised (about being waived). But hey, I got what I wanted.

Key was eager to find a new situation following three years with the Raiders in which he only tallied three sacks during his time there.

It was just bad all around for me,” Key said. “Bad system — it just wasn’t the right fit for me.

Key’s time with the Raiders wasn’t all negative, as he was able to take away how to deal with adversity in the NFL and how to cope when things don’t always fall into place as planned.

The good thing I got out of that, there were a lot of teaching moments,” Key said. “How to be a pro when all things aren’t right for you, when not everything that you imagined in your head (happened). Because you get to a place, you don’t wanna start pouting around, moping around and bring the energy down of the guys around you.

You still got to come to work and put your best foot forward. You’re somewhere you don’t wanna be, but you still got to come every day and be prepared for work. So that got me. Growing up, becoming a man instead of a little boy.


Buccaneers QBs coach Clyde Christensen compared Tom Brady‘s knee injury in 2020 to a nagging headache and that it inherently changed some of the quarterback’s mechanics. 

“If you have a headache, it’s just a headache, but you just want to feel good,” Christensen said, via Judy Battista of “I think it’s hard to get your knee, you’re throwing a football, and you’ve got the knee taped so tightly, you don’t have mobility, you can’t step through it. It just changes everything.”

Christensen is grateful that Tampa Bay was able to retain players this offseason. 

“There are some years you don’t want everyone back, you need fresh blood, you need change,” Christensen said. “On this team, because we still haven’t had a lot of time on task and we’re still deficient in reps, and we have such good guys, we had a good thing going on. And football was the last thing to come.”

Christensen recalled Brady showing frustration with the Buccaneers’ offensive line in training camp after they allowed multiple sacks. He thinks the veteran quarterback is the cure to any complacency issues. 

“He won’t allow it personally and he won’t allow it in a practice or on the team,” Christensen said. “Sometimes the great leaders have a knack for when to stir it up, even if it’s just for stir it up’s sake sometimes.”


Saints HC Sean Payton said he’s looking forward to observing Jameis Winston and Taysom Hill in all three of New Orleans’ preseason games and would like to make a decision on their starting quarterback “a week prior to the last game.”

“I’d like to see these guys operate, both of them, in all three of these games,” Payton said. “Certainly by the end of the preseason games and possibly maybe before that — a week prior to the last game [we’ll reach a decision]. But I haven’t sat down as a staff and said, ‘This is the date.’”

Payton points out that both Winston and Hill are respected around the Saints’ lockerroom and are “really, really good leaders.” 

Hopefully it’s something we begin to see a little more clarity on. Both of these guys are working their tail off, they’re both well-respected by their teammates, they’re really, really good leaders. And that’s a good thing.”

Winston said he’s grateful for his opportunity with the Saints and feels he’s been through “thick and thin” while in the NFL. 

“Man, I am grateful to be out here and have an opportunity,” said Winston. “I’m grateful to talk to you guys, right? I have embraced this process. I have been through the thick and thin as a quarterback in this league, man. I am never taking a day again for granted.”

Hill said he’s been working on stepping up in the pocket and working through his progressions this offseason. 

“When I’m at a practice, there [are] situations where I would have run in a game. But I want to work on stepping up, getting the ball out, working through my progression and everything else,” said Hill. “I’m going to treat it just like a game.”

Hill mentioned that he’s received the “most reps I’ve ever had” in training camp during his five-year career with the Saints. 

“This is the most reps I’ve ever had here in New Orleans,” said Hill. “And I think every day my comfort level of getting out, seeing things and making quick decisions just gets better and better.”

  • The Saints gave LB Kwon Alexander a one-year, $1,127,500 deal with $387,500 worth of guarantees. If Alexander plays 50 percent of the time, he can also make $200,000 in 13 games, $300,000 in 15 games, and $400,000 in 17 games. (Nick Underhill)

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