NFC Notes: Buccaneers, Falcons, Marcus Mariota, Panthers


Buccaneers LT Donovan Smith is eagerly awaiting the team’s starting left guard to emerge and likes the competition between the group, believing the strongest player will win the job. Veteran Aaron Stinnie is probably the incumbent, but there will be a stiff challenge from second-round G Luke Goedeke and 2021 third-round OL Robert Hainsey

“I enjoy it. To be able to see guys just go out there and make a name for themselves, establish themselves in the position to be able to help the team is huge,” Smith said, via Pewter Report. “Between Stinnie and Luke, you’ve still got Hainsey that’s out there, Nick Leverett . . . So, it’s not gonna do anything but just make everybody better.”


The last time Falcons QB Marcus Mariota played in HC Arthur Smith‘s offense, he was benched for Ryan Tannehill and never got his job back with the Titans. Both seem to believe the second time will go differently, however. 

“With everybody, you get another shot at something, there are lessons to be learned, they are hard lessons, but if you take them the right way, you’re more appreciative of the opportunity,” Smith said via the Athletic’s Josh Kendall.

“He’s authentic,” Smith added. “He is who he is. We’re not asking him to come here and be Matt Ryan or be Peyton Manning. Be Marcus Mariota. That’s what we want.”


  • ESPN and Pro Football Focus listed Panthers CB Jaycee Horn as one of their top second-year breakout candidates heading into the 2022 season. 
  • Horn appeared in just three games before breaking his foot but allowed just one catch in his 95 snaps in coverage. 
  • They also listed G Brady Christensen, who was shuttled all over the line but graded out decently at left tackle. He’s expected to start at left guard. 

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