NFC Notes: Buccaneers, Falcons, Panthers


  • NFL Media’s Ian Rapoport said Buccaneers QB Tom Brady will play Thursday night against the Eagles despite dealing with an injured thumb. 
  • Buccaneers DE Jason Pierre-Paul said he has a broken finger but he will play through both that and his shoulder injury. (Greg Auman)


Falcons first-round TE Kyle Pitts finally had the type of game people were waiting for after Atlanta made him the No. 4 pick. He dominated the Jets in a win in London on Sunday, catching nine of 10 targets for 119 yards and a touchdown. 

“I just told him right before I came in here I’m proud of him,” Falcons QB Matt Ryan said via ESPN’s Michael Rothstein. “I think there’s going to be a lot of those in the future for him. He’s done a great job of focusing on growth and development day-in and day-out and just trying to get better.”


  • According to ESPN’s Adam Schefter, the Panthers made a push to try and sign LB Jaylon Smith after he was released by the Cowboys. 
  • Money wasn’t a factor for Smith as he’s already making a sizable amount from Dallas that was guaranteed. So it came down to a recruiting pitch on role and winning, which gave the Packers the edge over Carolina and Washington. 
  • Panthers QB Sam Darnold said he know he has to play better: “We can’t go out there and make mistakes, make penalties, and I can’t go out there and turn the ball over and expect to win.” (Jonathan M. Alexander)
  • Panthers HC Matt Rhule said RB Chuba Hubbard had an “excellent” game with 101 rushing yards, adding there were other issues the team needs to clean up. (David Newton)
  • Rhule added Darnold needs to stop trying to do too much: “Sam needs to take what’s given him. If we do that we’ll get back on track quickly.” (Newton)
  • Rhule mentions he is “hopeful” RB Christian McCaffrey can play this week. (Joe Person)

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