NFC Notes: Buccaneers, Falcons, Panthers

     

Buccaneers

Buccaneers QB Tom Brady is nothing if not competitive. He was paying attention when Hall of Fame QB Peyton Manning left the Colts to go to the Broncos at the end of his career and ended up winning a Super Bowl with his second team. That became part of Brady’s motivation for leaving New England and coming to Tampa Bay. 

“[T]here was a part of him the first time I met him, and I had never met him before we picked him up,” Buccaneers QB coach Clyde Christensen told CBS Sports Radio’s Zach Gelb via JoeBucsFan.com. “He said one of the things that looked really fun and challenging to him was what Peyton did at Denver. Like kind of the same scenario [in Tampa]. . . There was something about that challenge that hit [Brady] right. ‘Hey, I’m going to go see if I can do this again somewhere else.’ I do think that the challenge of that was a huge thing for him. . . . He’s mentioned several times that he was impressed [with Manning’s accomplishments in Denver] and that looked fun and challenging to him.”

  • Potential first-round Northwestern CB Greg Newsome has met with a host of teams virtually ahead of the draft, including the Buccaneers. (Justin Melo)

Falcons

When asked about his evaluations of the Falcons’ offense, recently hired HC Arthur Smith said he is still in the “early stages” of looking at the roster but mentions that he has confidence in some of Atlanta’s offensive linemen and receivers. 

“We are still in the early stages. We feel good about some of the guys that have been here, that we have,” said Smith, via D. Orlando Ledbetter of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. “There is a good young linemen up front that we are excited to work with. We are excited to work with some of the receivers of the outside as well. We are going to look to add at all times during the season. You never know when you can pick up players. Last year in Tennessee, we picked up Geoff Swaim, a tight end, in the middle of August, and he ended up being a big contributor down the stretch for us as we made that playoff run. We are going to always, it’s a constant evolution there. We feel good about some of the pieces that we have coming back. We are always continue to look to add value and depth.”

Smith called Falcons K Younghoe Koo his biggest surprise thus far in roster evaluations, while also praising WR Calvin Ridley, G Chris Lindstrom and veteran QB Matt Ryan.  

Let’s go with Younghoe Koo. Let’s just hope he doesn’t kick as many field goals next year. He had a very productive season. There are a lot of guys. Systematically, we won’t change. Some of it, you’re seeing what is going to fit for us going forward, especially on the defensive side of the ball. Then offensively, like I said, there are some good pieces here. Calvin Ridley had a heck of a year. Matt (Ryan) is still … he threw it at a high level. You’re excited about Chris Lindstrom. I could go on and on. So, there are some good pieces. We are going to ask those guys every day and whoever we bring in, you’ve got to earn your job. I’ve got to earn my job today. That’s going to be the same thing that we ask those guys, whether your going into Year 14 or Year 2. We feel good. There are some pieces, and we’ll continue to add,” Smith said. 

As for reuniting with DC Dean Pees, Smith believes the veteran coach’s experience “speaks for itself” and he’s a coordinator capable of quickly adapting. 

“Dean’s body of work kind of speaks for itself. But is Dean is also somebody that is not set in his ways. Dean is very flexible. He’s adaptable. I feel really good about the entire staff, but on the defensive side we got some really good experience over there. Combining that with some young guys, it’s a good mix. Dean and I have a shared vision. We’ll play to our strengths of our team. We’ll be multiple. It was really beneficial for me, being a first-time head coach and I’m still going to call the plays, is that you have somebody with that kind of experience that you can lean on, especially on that side of the ball,” Smith said.

Panthers

One NFL agent told Matt Lombardo of FanSided that OT Taylor Moton is the player to watch in free agency this offseason.

“There are so many bad tackles hitting the market this time around, and so many older guys that Moton’s is a deal that I’ll be watching closely,” the agent said.

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