NFC Notes: Buccaneers, Falcons, Panthers


Buccaneers QB Tom Brady said second-round QB Kyle Trask has done well this offseason and is proving to be a “very hard worker.” 

“Kyle’s done a great job from the day that he got here. He’s a very hard worker,” Brady said, via ProFootballTalk. “Kyle’s out here early, stays late, works with the younger guys. All the things you’re really looking for in a young player. This has got to be a huge priority in your life if you want to be doing this job for a long time — you’ve got to make it a huge priority. You really don’t know what you don’t know at this point, when you’re one year in or two years in or three years in or five years in. As somebody who’s 22 years in, what I knew at five years in is very different from what I knew at 10, and very different from what I know now.”

  • ESPN’s Jenna Laine thinks QB Trask will make the final 53 man roster, while QB Ryan Griffin will be on the practice squad. However, Griffin could still remain above Trask on the depth chart. 


Falcons’ rookie TE Kyle Pitts said he’s learning from several players in training camp like TE Hayden Hurst, veteran TE Lee Smith, WR Calvin Ridley, and WR Russell Gage

“I can’t say there has been one specific person because there has been a bunch of people that I kind of go to for tips and details,” Pitts said, via D. Orlando Ledbetter of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. “Hayden (Hurst), Lee (Smith), Calvin (Ridley), (Russell Gage), all of those guys have different type of flavors in their games. Just to be able to learn and put all of that into one. That will help me be the best player.”

Pitts had high praise of Smith’s leadership in their offseason program. 

“We’re all selfless, and it starts with Lee, the oldest guy in the (meeting) room,” Pitts said. “He’s someone who’s like a mentor, another coach that’s in the room.”

Pitts added that Smith “sets the standard” around the Falcons’ locker room alongside Hurst, who are keeping younger players working hard on the field. 

“He sets the standard,” Pitts said. “He and Hayden are the older guys in the room. They make sure that younger guys, all of us, are paying attention and playing fast on the field. They do little things to help us win.”

Falcons HC Arthur Smith believes Pitts is “coming along well” in their system. 

“He’s coming along,” Smith said. “He’s right where he needs to be, that’s the best way to answer it.”

Smith credits Pitts for his maturity at 20 years old and appreciates his approach to the game. 

“You have to give him credit,” Smith said. “Give his parents credit. When we did all of the work pre-draft on Kyle, he’s certainly more mature than I was at 21. He doesn’t turn 21 until we get to London. Go figure. I certainly could not have had these expectations, this much responsibility at that age. I was running around Chapel Hill. … You have to give him credit, he’s a mature kid. He’s not a kid. He’s a man. I’m sorry.”


Panthers QB Sam Darnold won’t see a lot of work during the preseason, so he says he’s focused on staying as mentally locked in as he can leading up to the regular season. 

You’ve just got to continue to get mental reps in the film room and go about it that way,” Darnold said, via “Just continue to get better as a team mentally. Obviously stay with it physically, get in the weight room and do all the things to keep my body right.

“I think it’s about getting right mentally and making sure I’m on my Ps and Qs in terms of my reads and seeing defenses.

Darnold admitted that he needs to be better in terms of his decision-making and processing speed in live-action. 

“For me personally, I just have to be quicker with my eyes, make better decisions,” Darnold said. “I think that’s just it. Being clearer with my reads, and if something’s not there, check it down. That’s me personally.

“Just too many mental errors (Thursday), and I think we learned from that today.”

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