NFC Notes: Buccaneers, Falcons, Panthers


The day after the Buccaneers’ 27-24 loss to the Rams on Monday Night Football, HC Bruce Arians dissected some of the problems Tampa Bay has had in recent weeks, as they’ve dropped two of the past three games. Buccaneers QB Tom Brady‘s struggles have been front and center, as after excelling on the deep ball earlier in the year, Brady has hit just one of 19 deep balls the past four weeks despite Tampa Bay’s fearsome offensive weaponry. 

“We’ve got the guys open. We’ve just missed ’em,” Arians said via ESPN’s Jenna Laine. “There are times when coverage dictates you go to that guy. I think we can do a better job of utilizing the deep ball in our game plan. … But when they’re there, we need to hit ’em. We can’t have ’em going off our fingertips and we can’t overthrow ’em.

“Other than the deep ball, I think he’s getting confused a few times with coverage that might be causing some inaccurate balls, but I don’t see it at all in practice. We’re not missing the deep ball in practice, that’s for sure, so it’s just a matter of, on Sundays, hitting ’em.”

Arians added he doesn’t think Brady is suffering from any lack of confidence or trust, he just is continuing to adjust to a new offense for the first time in decades. 

“We have Tom calling a lot of his own [plays], or picking his own on the sidelines from the game plan,” Arians said. “I don’t think it’s a confidence problem whatsoever. It’s not lack of trust — it’s lack of continuity within the offense, of the whole picture.”

Overall, Arians likes the spot the Buccaneers are in despite some of the rocky moments this season, adding if Tampa Bay can get good play out of Brady, they’ll be fine. 

“[O]ffensively, it’s just a matter of each and every week if the quarterback plays well or not,” Arians said on his weekly radio show, via “And our job is to make sure he’s comfortable and let him play well.”



  • Per ESPN’s David Newton, a number of experts and analysts expect Panthers WR Curtis Samuel to sign a deal more like a No. 2 or No. 3 receiver as a free agent this offseason.
  • Newton mentions the Panthers as a tremendous fit for Samuel’s skillset, but adds Samuel would also mesh with the Colts, Saints, Rams and Chiefs. 
  • According to Bill Voth of the team website, Panthers QB Teddy Bridgewater and RB Christian McCaffrey were at practice Wednesday in red, non-contact jerseys. 
  • Panthers HC Matt Rhule said he expects to have Bridgewater this week against the Vikings but not McCaffrey. (Newton)

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