NFC Notes: Buccaneers, Falcons, Panthers


  • USA Today’s Josina Anderson reports the timetable for Buccaneers TE Rob Gronkowski to return is “next week, maybe?”
  • The Athletic’s Jeff Howe says Buccaneers QB Tom Brady‘s thumb injury won’t keep him out of games, but it’s not so minor as to dismiss entirely. He’ll continue to receive treatment until it heals. 


Falcons RB/WR Cordarrelle Patterson has been one of the biggest pleasant surprises of the 2021 season, as at 30 years old the former first-round pick is one pace for his best season ever. Atlanta has embraced Patterson’s versatility under HC Arthur Smith and has made a point to design plays to his strengths in the game plan each week. 

“I feel like they believe in me,” Patterson said via PFF’s Doug Kyed. “As a player, you want your coaches to believe in you. They feel like you can accomplish something, and you go out there and do it. … I tell them each and every week, ‘I’m going to give you my all.’”

Patterson has continued his conversion to running back that was started by the Patriots a few seasons ago. But he hasn’t forgotten how to play out wide, as his highlight-reel touchdown catch from a couple of weeks ago against Washington proves. 

“Honestly, obviously, it’s still in me,” Patterson said. “I’m a running back, but I’m a wide receiver at heart. When my number gets called to go out there and line up wide, I start smiling because I’m ready to catch it. I miss it when I’m in the backfield.”

Really it’s unfair to call Patterson a running back playing wide receiver or a wide receiver playing running back. He’s a true “offensive weapon” — a queen on a chess board capable of causing damage at either position. 

“Don’t even try to label me as a running back or a receiver, just call me an athlete because whatever coach needs me to do, whenever my number is called at a position, I will go out there and make a play,” Patterson said. “That’s just something I’ve been doing my whole life since I was younger, just going out there and having fun.”


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