NFC Notes: 49ers, Rams, Saints



After the 49ers traded away DT DeForest Buckner, it created an opportunity for DT D.J. Jones to step up and become more than just a third-down role player.

“I know I have it in me,” Jones said, via Eric Branch of the San Francisco Chronicle. “I just need the opportunity. And I need to continue to work on my craft to get better. … I feel like if I stop my feet, I’ll be stuck in mud and I won’t be able to make any plays. As long as my feet keep working — and my hands are working — I can get to the quarterback.”

Next season he will have his chance to become a more impactful player for San Francisco and says he wants to be a household name like Eagles DT Fletcher Cox.

Fletcher Cox has heavy hands, he can get to the quarterback and you ain’t moving him on runs,” Jones said. “It’s not happening. But as far as just being grimy and just being a man in the trenches, I want to have a household name like Fletcher Cox.”

  • According to Albert Breer of SI, young non-quarterbacks could have a difficult time landing big-money extensions in the coming months, due to the uncertainty with the cap moving forward and the possibility of revenue shortfalls from the 2020 season. 
  • Breer specifically mentions 49ers TE George Kittle as being among the notable players who could fall into this group.


Every NFL team will face a challenge of how to implement their playbook and get players ready without the benefit of on-field work in the spring. For teams and coaches installing a new system, like Rams DC Brandon Staley, it’s a little bit more of a disadvantage having to start from scratch. However, Staley pointed out it’s not impossible to have success when circumstances demand minimal prep time

“When I got hired by the Bears, Khalil Mack showed up seven days before the first regular-season game,” Staley said via Mark Whicker of the Los Angeles Daily News. “And that was one of his best games. People wonder about it, but the competition starts when everything goes live.”


Saints HC Sean Payton spoke about WR Michael Thomas, who said that he wants to win for QB Drew Brees and will use his return as motivation for the upcoming season.

“That doesn’t surprise me,” Payton told Albert Breer of SI. “He’s very passionate, he’s gonna clearly wear his emotions on his sleeve. He’s a passionate person. Definitely.”

  • Over The Cap’s Jason Fitzgerald has the Saints ranked in the bottom tier in his cap health index for 2021, which measures a team’s estimated cap space, cap flexibility and pending free agents. 
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