NFC Notes: Buccaneers, Falcons, Panthers


Buccaneers QB Tom Brady said that he’s able to refocus his energy toward “football improvement” this offseason now after dealing with a lingering knee injury last season. 

“From this point to the beginning of the season, to the beginning of training camp, I really feel like I can really work hard at football improvement as opposed to getting back to a rehab, you know, place where you’re more baseline,” Brady said, via “It was an injury I dealt with really since last April, May. I knew I’d have to do something at the end of the year, and happy I did it. It was probably something that certainly needed to be done and there was a great outcome, so I’m very happy about that. I feel I’ll be able to do some different things this year than I was able to do last year.”

Brady said he feels “really good” after undergoing surgery earlier this offseason and is “really happy” with his rehab. 

“I feel really good. Every player deals with different things. I never like to talk about injuries. I’m just a little bit old school in that way in that you deal with them and then you just make the most of them,” Brady said. “The good part is I’ll be able to commit a lot of time to other parts. I’m sure I’ll be faced with different adversities this year, but I had to spend a lot of time tending to that particular injury, which happens when you have something that you ultimately need to have surgery on to get fixed. So I had my knee surgery, and that was about 15 weeks ago today. Really happy with my rehab process, and it’s been great communication. Alex [Guerrero] and I worked really hard to try to get back to full speed, to get what I need to do to begin to improve. It’s been a good process of learning, and I feel like I’m there now.”

Brady added that he has a better understanding of Buccaneers HC Bruce Arians‘ system now entering his second year with the team. 

“I just think back to where I was a year ago at this time, it was a very different situation in terms of what I knew — the knowledge of the offense. And I think starting at a place like I’m at now allows me a better grasp of things,” Brady said. “We’re starting at a good place. We just have to build on it.”

  • According to Rick Stroud of the Tampa Bay Times, Buccaneers S Curtis Riley suffered a slight Achilles tear in Wednesday’s practice.
  • Arians was asked Wednesday if he wants to coach as long as Brady plans on playing and he said: “Maybe longer.” (James Palmer)


The Falcons faced an interesting dilemma this offseason with a cap situation that desperately needed cleaning up and an older quarterback in Matt Ryan who isn’t so old that he is completely out of gas yet. Rather than going all-in on a rebuild or trying to contend, Atlanta has tightroped it, trading away WR Julio Jones but passing on a first-round quarterback to take another weapon for Ryan in TE Kyle Pitts. The approach received mixed reviews in league circles. 

“If I’m the Falcons, I’m ripping the bandaid off and going full rebuild,” an AFC scout told FanSided’s Matt Lombardo. “Draft a quarterback next year and use the picks from the Julio trade to rebuild. You can’t try to win now and try to rebuild now. That’s how you wind up in purgatory.”

However, others thought the Falcons had enough pieces to compete sooner rather than later. 

“They have some pieces,” an NFC executive said. “Their offensive line is solid, for the most part. Ryan, Ridley, and Pitts are a nice trio. Grady Jarrett, A.J. Terrell and Deion Jones are nice pieces on defense. The cupboard isn’t completely bare. Ryan and a new coach will make up for some of that team’s deficiencies.”


Panthers K Joey Slye has a booming leg but consistency has been the rub in his two years in Carolina. His accuracy hovers in the 80 percent range and he’s missed seven PATs, some in critical situations. Slye said he’s been seeing a sports psychologist to help and also working with P Joseph Charlton, the holder, on details to fine-tune their operation. 

“If you miss a spot by a couple inches here and there, even a couple half-inches here and there, it can really affect the ball where I make contact with it. That’s what we’ve been focusing on — giving him an area where he can miss that I know I can still make my kicks,” Slye said via the Athletic’s Joe Person. “It’s been a focal point to build some confidence within our unit. I think the more we continue to do that, the more success we can have on the field. It’s been imperative for us to get it figured out.”

  • Panthers RT Taylor Moton took some snaps at left tackle on Wednesday but it was just due to needing a body there and not something Panthers HC Matt Rhule is seriously considering: “He’s just got so much time put in there (at RT). So to go over, people could do it. But he just doesn’t have much time over there. It’s fun for him. It’s not something we’re really majorly doing, though.”
  • The Panthers are discussing holding joint practices with the Ravens as well during training camp. 
  • Panthers DC Phil Snow said that LB Shaq Thompson has added about 10 pounds this offseason and is up to 235-237. (Person)
  • Snow mentioned that last year, they used Jeremy Chinn from front to back. However, their plan now is to flip that while still taking advantage of his versatility. (Person)

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