NFC Notes: Buccaneers, Falcons, Baker Mayfield, Panthers, Saints


  • Rick Stroud of the Tampa Bay Times reports there was no serious injury to RT Tristan Wirfs even though he left practice on a cart. It was eventually revealed that Wirfs was suffering from cramps.


The Falcons were able to lure esteemed NFL DC Dean Pees out of retirement to coach their defense last season. Unfortunately injuries and a general lack of talent proved to be an issue and Atlanta was 26th in the league in yards allowed. Pees is looking to change that in Year 2 in a big way. 

“We’re changing the culture around this dadgum place,” Pees said via Pro Football Talk. “It’s not going to be mediocre. It’s not going to be average. It’s not going to be in the bottom half of the league like it’s been 15 of the last 20 years. Sick of that crap. We’ve got to take charge, and it’s not going to be anyone else to do it but us. I’m tired of everybody telling us how bad we are, because after a while you start believing it. . . . Guys around here on defense sometimes believe 15th is OK or whatever. We’ve been in the Top 10 one time out of the last 20 years. That bullshit’s over. Sorry, I’m getting fired up today, but I’m tired of this crap. We’re going to change the culture of the defense around this frickin’ place. People are going to start talking about the Atlanta defense like they did Baltimore and New England. It’s going to be the same shit around here.”


Panthers QB Baker Mayfield is satisfied with how HC Matt Rhule has handled the quarterback competition since he arrived.

“Everything has been extremely transparent,” Mayfield said, via “They’re telling us exactly how they’re handling it. It’s not being said to one person, and Sam hears another thing; it’s right there in front of us and clear and concise.”

Mayfield feels like he’s growing in the offense, though it’s admittedly a work in progress and he’s still catching up. 

“For me, it’s obviously not second nature yet, but I’m trying to make those steps toward you learn the reads well enough to where it’s a reaction to get through the progressions and knowing where to go,” Mayfield said. “Last week was definitely slower than I would like it to be, but that’s to be expected. Looking to make some steps this week with repeated calls and get better.”


  • There was some hope initially that Saints DB Tyrann Mathieu would be able to return to the team after missing the first week of camp, but those expectations have diminished. Saints HC Dennis Allen said there’s no timetable for Mathieu’s return at this time. (Jeff Duncan)

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