NFC Notes: Buccaneers, Falcons, Panthers



  • Falcons rookie WR Drake London said his ankle injury has been holing up well: “My body is actually holding up very, very well. I’m very, very proud of my ankle for holding up thus far.” (Josh Kendall)
  • The Athletic conducted a trade exercise for Raiders QB Derek Carr with the beat reporters for various teams. The Commanders, Saints, Jets, Falcons and Buccaneers all made offers in the range of one or two Day 2 picks, with Atlanta offering two second-round picks straight up. 
  • The Falcons have loads of cap space to take on Carr’s deal and have some pieces on the offensive line and skill position group. 
  • However, Tashan Reed, the Raiders beat reporter, points out that Carr’s no-trade clause is an important factor, as it will allow him to dictate where he goes. Carr’s contract also creates a deadline of three days after the Super Bowl due to his guarantees vesting, so the Raiders don’t have the strongest negotiating position.
  • The Falcons’ interest in Carr or other quarterback options will be dictated by how third-round QB Desmond Ridder performs down the stretch. Falcons HC Arthur Smith said winning a game will be an important milestone to reach: “Desmond Ridder needs to go win a football game, that’s important, especially if he’s going to be the quarterback of the future.” (Josh Kendall)


Panthers’ assistant HC Jeff Nixon spoke about the team’s running attack in Week 16’s win over the Lions and thinks their offensive line was a big part of their success. 

“After the disappointing loss to Pittsburgh, it was good to see that we got the running game going right away — right from the start,” Nixon said. “For Chuba to have three runs of over 30 yards in the first half is pretty unique. And that just goes to show you how well the guys upfront were coming off the ball and blocking and getting us to the second and third level.”

Nixon feels that he’s learned from OC Ben McAdoo and is taking examples of how he plans their offense. 

“He just has a wealth of knowledge,” Nixon said. “I’ve learned from just seeing him coordinate the offense this year, some things I could have done better when I was the interim coordinator, and some things I would do differently when I get my next opportunity.”

As for the Panthers parting ways with former HC Matt Rhule, Nixon said that their coaching staff was forced to make a “quick transition” for their players. 

“The initial shock was tough,” Nixon said. “Obviously, I’ve known Coach Rhule for a long time … But that’s just the business we decided to go in. I think myself, along with the rest of the coaching staff, had to make a quick transition and be here for the players, and continue to put the players in the best situation to win football games and that’s what we did right away.”

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