NFC Notes: Buccaneers, Falcons, Panthers


  • The Athletic’s Greg Auman doesn’t see any of the Buccaneers’ rookies having a major impact this season, as Tampa Bay is pretty loaded. First-round DE Joe Tryon should be the first edge rusher off the bench and fourth-round WR Jaelon Darden could win the punt return job. 
  • While Buccaneers RBs Ronald Jones and Leonard Fournette are competing for carries and the lead back role and 2020 third-round RB Ke’Shawn Vaughn is pushing Giovani Bernard for the third-down role, Auman says all four should safely be on the roster. 


Regarding the Patriots’ potential interest in acquiring Falcons WR Julio Jones, former NFL GM Michael Lombardi does not doubt New England’s interest in the veteran receiver. 

“Now, the Julio Jones rumor, I don’t doubt that,” Lombardi said, via Doug Kyed of NESN. “I think what the Patriots would have to look at on Julio is, can they actually keep Julio on the team for two years? There’s nothing they do in New England that is not about sustainable values. So, what they’re always asking the question is, if we bring this guy in, can we cap him for two years? Now, they’ve made a lot of mistakes in this area. I mean, the Mohamed Sanu (trade), two years ago, they brought him in, they gave up a (second) round pick for him, and he lasted barely a year. So I’m not saying it’s perfect, because nothing’s ever perfect. But the reality here is, I truly believe that they would have to look at their cap, they know they’re going to be tight on their cap next year based on what they did this year.”

Lombardi added that Jones makes sense in the Patriots’ offense given it supplies a player who can open up the field for WRs Nelson Agholor and Kendrick Bourne. 

“But adding a player like this guy could certainly help them. I mean, that would certainly give their offense that one guy that they need that would make everybody else better and then then they could go off to the races. It would make (Patriots wide receiver Nelson) Agholor, better, it would make (Patriots wide receiver Kendrick) Bourne better. I see them being in this. I really do.”

Lombardi reiterated that he doesn’t doubt New England’s interest in Jones. 

“I don’t doubt the rumor of their interest in Julio Jones. That’s that’s how I would encapsulate that. There’s no doubt. I don’t doubt their — I think that that’s truly the case.”


Panthers third-round TE Tommy Tremble had just 35 career catches in college but HC Matt Rhule says they looked past that number and took Tremble because of how much more he could potentially bring to the team, including as a receiver. 

“We took him because of his versatility,” Rhule said via Darin Gantt of the team website. “It’s funny, after the draft I heard some people talk; we don’t really look at statistics as much as we look at skill sets. We think he’s a guy who can help us in the passing game.”

Tremble popped off the tape with his effort as a blocker and he proved himself to be a tremendous athlete at his pro day. Now his main focus is sharpening his receiving skills. 

“That’s something [Panthers TE coach Brian Angelicho]really has me working on to this day,” Tremble said. “It’s something we always practice on, but we’re not just going to throw out the blocking aspect, we’re working on that every day too. He’s just working on me becoming a complete tight end every day.”

As for the other options on the roster like Ian Thomas and Dan Arnold, Rhule says both are in Carolina’s plans in addition to Tremble. 

“I think all of those guys are going to fight to find their niche,” Rhule said. “I think for a young player in Tremble, it’s hard for me to get too far ahead of my skis and say he’s going to be this, and he’s going to be that, but we certainly believe in his skill set as a receiver.”

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