NFC Notes: Buccaneers, Falcons, Panthers



  • According to NFL Media’s Ian Rapoport, Buccaneers RB LeSean McCoy has a Grade 2 ankle sprain, which will knock him out from Thursday’s game against the Bears and leave him week-to-week going forward. 
  • Buccaneers HC Bruce Arians said of the upcoming short week: “I don’t think [Chris Godwin] will be ready. [Leonard Fournette] has a chance. But losing [O.J. Howard] will be huge.” (Jenna Laine)
  • Arians called Fournette a game-time decision after he showed some improvement on Tuesday. (Greg Auman)
  • Buccaneers TE Cameron Brate says he feels bad for Howard but he’s ready to take advantage of this opportunity with some fresh legs after playing sparingly the first quarter of the season: “I’ve just been waiting and I knew my time would come…” (Rick Stroud)
  • Buccaneers DL William Gholston was fined $15,000 for a roughing the passer penalty against the Broncos in Week 3. (Mike Klis)


Once again, the Falcons are off to a slow start to the season. Monday night’s 30-16 loss to the Packers dropped Atlanta to 0-4 on the year and after taking big leads the past two weeks, the Falcons never looked competitive. The defense that Falcons HC Dan Quinn poured a lot of effort into fixing last year looks hopeless again and Quinn is a little bit at a loss to explain why the team is underperforming yet again. 

“Knowing where we are at, it’s certainly not the start that any of us envisioned or wanted,” Quinn said via the Atlanta Journal-Constitution’s D. Orlando Ledbetter. “It’s confusing. It’s frustrating for everybody, but I also told them that it’s the people inside the locker room that get to fix that, that get to change it.”

  • The Athletic’s Jeff Schultz reports there’s no indication at this time that the Falcons intend to fire Quinn this week. 
  • NFL Media’s Ian Rapoport notes the Falcons have a critical stretch of games coming up with regards to Quinn’s job security, as they play the Panthers (2-2), Vikings (1-3), Lions (1-3), Panthers again and Broncos (1-3) before the bye in Week 10. 
  • Falcons WR Julio Jones re-aggravated his hamstring injury Monday night and given it’s a short week it could be hard for him to play. (Rapoport)
  • Quinn noted when Falcons S Ricardo Allen returns from his elbow injury he’ll likely replace injured Damontae Kazee at free safety. (Vaughn McClure)


  • Per the Athletic’s Joseph Person, Panthers HC Matt Rhule remains optimistic on RB Christian McCaffrey‘s rehab. He’s eligible to return from injured reserve next week: “Christian’s attacking rehab every day. It was good to have him on the sideline yesterday. He’s much more than just a player. He’s a key component, so it was awesome to have him there.”
  • Rhule noted LT Russell Okung is close to returning and could have potentially pushed through to play on Sunday, but the team was confident in 2019 second-round OT Greg Little who ended up playing well against the Cardinals. (Person)
  • Panthers CB Eli Apple pulled his hamstring early in the game on special teams and sat out the rest of the way. His status this week is uncertain after just coming off injured reserve last week. (Person)
  • Panthers DT Kawann Short said his foot feels good coming out of the game after sitting for two games: “It was difficult dealing with the foot. I needed time to rest. Rather miss two games than potentially miss a lot more.” (David Newton)
  • The Panthers sent two scouts to watch North Dakota State against Central Arkansas. NDSU has two potential high draft picks in QB Trey Lance and OT Dillon Radunz. 20 teams in total were present. (Pete Thamel)
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