NFC Notes: Buccaneers, Falcons, Panthers


Buccaneers QB Tom Brady sustained a thumb injury on his throwing hand in Week 5 after making contact with a Dolphins’ helmet on a follow-through. Brady doesn’t think that it is a “serious injury at all.” 

“Look, a quarterback’s right hand is important, at the end of the day,” Brady said, via Greg Auman of The Athletic. “It’s not like it’s your left hand. If it was my left hand, I wouldn’t even think two seconds about it. The fact that it’s your throwing hand, there’s not many things that are that important to a quarterback. Probably your right shoulder, your right elbow, your right hand. Any time you get banged on one of those, it could be an issue. There’s no serious injury at all. It’s more a discomfort, but I think that should be gone in the next day or two.”

Brady reiterated that his hand issue is nothing more than usual “bumps and bruises.” 

“It’s football, so there are bumps and bruises,” said Brady. “It’s a contact sport. We signed up for a contact sport. … You play a game, you get hit. You deal with different bumps and bruises over the course of the year. It’s just this bump and bruise happens to be on my hand. I’m just trying to be preventative and precautious and smart.”

As for Tampa Bay’s Week 6 matchup against the Eagles, Brady thinks Philadelphia is an “ascending” team with a “very explosive” defense. 

“They have a talented group of players, no doubt,” Brady said. “I think they’re kind of an ascending football team. They’re a very dangerous football team. They’re very explosive on defense. … They’ve got a few little tricky blitzes and coverages. They really make you earn it — don’t give you anything. It’s a challenging game, absolutely.”



Fresh off a breakout 2020 season with a new contract in hand, big things were expected from Panthers WR Robby Anderson this year, especially because he was reuniting with former QB Sam Darnold. Yet five games into the year, the two have glaringly not been on the same page. Anderson has just 12 catches on 29 targets. 

“I don’t know. It just hasn’t,” Panthers HC Matt Rhule said via the Athletic’s Joe Person. “We’ve worked on it. We had routes to go to Robby. I think Sam was out of whack early, passing on the first read, pressure up front. I don’t think it was a very good day. Why? I’m working hard to figure out the whys to create those opportunities.”

A couple plays late in the game summed things up. Darnold put the ball too far in front of Anderson on an out route on a key third down, though it wasn’t an uncatchable ball. The next play was a blocked punt, and then on Carolina’s final drive Darnold was picked off throwing toward Anderson. Afterward on the sidelines, Anderson was spotted venting at WR coach Frisman Jackson.

“Players put a lot into it. There’s gonna be emotions at times. We’re a tough staff. We coach hard. Players are tough,” Rhule said. “I have no issue with a guy (getting upset), as long as it stays within a certain realm. But if it becomes personal — either a coach to a player or a player to coach — that’s not who we are.”

“Robby’s a good player. He needs to be more involved. At the same time, when he has his opportunities — whether it’s the two third downs we threw to him — we also need to go make those plays, too,” added Rhule. “Robby knows I love him. I’ve known him a long time. He’s gotta go make those plays and we’ve gotta do a better job of getting him involved. This is one of those pretty disappointing days globally. This isn’t one of those, ‘Hey, it was just one thing.’”

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