NFC Notes: Buccaneers, Cowboys, Washington

     

Buccaneers

After a rocky stint in Jacksonville, RB Leonard Fournette may have questions surrounding his personality. However, his new HC Bruce Arians isn’t concerned.

“No,” Arians said, via Pro Football Talk. “The people that I really, really trust gave him high, high marks in everything that I care about. I can’t say what’s going on in Jacksonville, but all I can say is what’s happening in Tampa [and] he’ll fit right in.”

Prior to signing Fournette, the Buccaneers had added RB LeSean McCoy and still had RB Ronald Jones as their starter. They also used two draft picks on running backs in the draft.

“That’s one position I don’t think you can have enough good guys,” Arians said. “That’s the one area where nicks and bruises really add up and when you can get a player of that caliber — I’ve gotten great reviews from people that know him and have coached him. He’ll fit right in and then we’ll see what role happens and how fast it can happen. RoJo is our guy, Shady is ready for his role, so it’s just going to be building roles as we go along and having enough quality players to finish this thing.”

Arians believes Fournette should have no problem picking up the Buccaneers playbook in such a short amount of time and says that the starting job still belongs to Jones and is his to lose.

“He’s a very bright player and everything I’ve heard from the guys coaching him — he’ll pick it up really quick,” Arians said. “We’re not going to force him; we don’t have to force him. We’ll just let him get in his pace and if I know him, he’ll be pretty fast-paced. We’ll try to get him up to speed as fast as we can and see if he can have a role for next week. We’ve just added a heck of a piece of insurance to see what kind of role he can cut out. RoJo — it’s his job if he wins it or loses it. He’s already got it, so he’d have to screw it up. I don’t see that happening.”

Cowboys

  • Ed Werder of ESPN reports that the Cowboys have had no contact with former Ravens’ S Earl Thomas following the release of S Ha Ha Clinton-Dix.
  • Cowboys’ VP Stephen Jones said of releasing Clinton-Dix: “Just felt like with what we were trying to get done that we needed to go in another direction. We’re certainly going to look at all avenues. I wouldn’t rule anything out. Obviously won’t speak to any specific players, but certainly, we’ll be trying to improve our football team.” (Jon Machota)

Washington

Even being a future Hall of Famer, RB Adrian Peterson was still a bit shocked when he was called in to be released by HC Ron Rivera on Friday morning, as Washington opts to go with rookie second-round pick Antonio Gibson as their starting running back.

“It caught me by surprise,” Peterson told Josina Anderson of ESPN. “I was having a strong camp. It was showing up on film, taking the number one reps all the way to this week. I just got notified by the running backs coach yesterday that they want to give these young guys some reps, but I didn’t know I was going to get cut, there was no indication. Today (Ron) Rivera just said this is always tough, but yes we’re gonna release you and go with this offensive style. I respect the coach. Look (Antonio) Gibson is a hell of a talent. This system really fits him. I feel like I can do that pony style too, more as a receiving back. We were all working on it, but they really want one main guy to do it & they drafted Gibson for it. Trust me, I still have a lot in me, more to strive for and do again. Even when there’s doubt. I feel strong and I can build on that as the season wears on. I’ll do it again.”

  • Peterson says he noticed that his role would be diminished during practice this past week: “I noticed that my role would be reduced. We got Gibson and J.D. and though We were all learning the same things, there are guys they selected during the draft and have in mind that they want to use for certain positions.” (John Keim)
  • Rivera says he woke up at 4:03 am and wondered what he would say to Peterson: “It was difficult. It’s not about what he didn’t do it’s about what these other guys were doing for us and allows us to go in the direction we feel good about. The guy’s got football left in him.” (Keim)
  • Rivera also had this to say on releasing Peterson: “It’s tough because I know this guy is a first-ballot Hall of Famer.” (Nicki Jhabvala)
  • Rivera noted that the team was ready to invest in their prospects going forward: “We’re going to find out about our young players.” (JP Finlay)
  • In the wake of Adrian Peterson‘s release, Rivera spoke highly of Gibson and RB J.D. McKissic also mentioned how well RB Bryce Love has done this offseason. (Finlay)
  • Rivera made comments on another running back still on the roster in Peyton Barber: “I always liked him in Tampa when I coached in Carolina. Barber gets the tough extra yards, very physical, good in pass protection, and sneaky as a receiver.” (Finlay)
  • One reason that Rivera said he wanted to move on from Peterson was that when teams see him on the field they have a better idea of what the offense might do, which is more difficult with any of the other four running backs in the lineup. (Rhiannon Walker)
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