NFC Notes: Buccaneers, Falcons, Panthers


Given how the biggest change for the Buccaneers this season compared to the past two has been the swap of HC Todd Bowles for HC Bruce Arians, it’s been easy for fans and analysts to question Bowles for Tampa Bay’s underperformance. His background on defense and conservative nature has also been a contrast to Arians’ “no risk it, no biscuit” philosophy. But longtime NFL HC Tony Dungy defended Bowles.

“It’s really a mischaracterization,” Dungy said via Rick Stroud of the Tampa Bay Times. “When I went to Indy, Peyton (Manning) was scared to death. ‘Oh, you want to play 12-10, 13-10 games and I know we’re going to change.’ And I had to say, ‘Peyton, your offensive coordinator coached me in college. We ran the same offense. I love what we’re doing. We’re going to continue to score, we’re going to be aggressive. But you know what we’re not going to do? We’re not going to throw 35 interceptions. We’re not going to do crazy stuff. We’re going to be aggressive but we’re going to be aggressive in a different way.’

“We kind of co-existed and we got it together and he understood, ‘I can throw 48 touchdown passes and only eight interceptions. We can play and run the clock down and score with 30 seconds left in the half as opposed to two and a half minutes. We can manage the game differently.’ It’s a happy medium but people get frustrated with the wrong things.”


  • Falcons HC Arthur Smith on QB Desmond Ridder‘s first career start: “I learned that he is not scared of the moment.” (D.Orlando Ledbetter)
  • Ridder said he would grade his first start as a C- or D: “I have to be better in the passing game… I didn’t give guys a chance.” (Tori McElhaney)


Panthers interim HC Steve Wilks has his team close behind the Buccaneers when it comes to making the playoffs, but doesn’t want to talk about it after falling short of the Steelers on Sunday.

“I thought the focus was fine,” Wilks said, via “The execution did not prevail. And still not worrying about it last week, not worrying about it now. We gotta worry about trying to get ourselves right to win a football game. I don’t want anybody in this building talking playoffs.”

“Again, we gotta hit the reset button,” Wilks added. “Don’t allow ‘it’ to get in the way. We’ve been down this road before. That was a setback against Cincinnati, we came back the next week and played a great game against Atlanta. So, we gotta find a way as coaches, and the men in the locker room, to make plays. And we gotta do a much better job putting them in position to make plays.”

  • Wilks when asked if the team would commit to starting QB Sam Darnold in Week 16: “We’re gonna watch the tape and evaluate everybody.” (PanthersWire)
  • Darnold: “We are a much better team than what we showed today.” (Ellis Wiliams)

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