NFC Notes: Buccaneers, Falcons, Panthers


  • Former NFL GM Scott Pioli highlights Buccaneers LB coach Mike Caldwell as a compelling candidate who deserves to receive interest for a coordinator job. 
  • The Buccaneers released LS Garrison Sanborn off of their practice squad. (Greg Auman)
  • The Buccaneers brought in veteran RB Kenjon Barner for a workout on Tuesday. They later signed him to the practice squad. (Aaron Wilson)



Panthers HC Matt Rhule hasn’t eliminated the possibility of QB Sam Darnold returning and playing this season, and said that both P.J. Walker and Cam Newton could see playing time at quarterback like they did in Week 14’s loss to the Falcons.

We’ll continue to play both guys,” Rhule said, via The Athletic. “I think Sam’s a week to two weeks away from being ready to play. … It’s obviously a possibility. We just have to wait and see. All I’ll say now is just that he’s out right now. He’s not a factor (currently).”

Rhule said that OC Jeff Nixon called a great game and felt that the team had one of the better passing attacks it’s had all year.

I thought Jeff (Nixon) did a nice job yesterday,” Rhule said. “I thought the tempo was there. I thought there were guys open. Take away the giveaways (and) that was one of the better passing days we’ve had in quite some time. So we’ll just try to continue to refine what we’re asking of each (quarterback). Hopefully, we can play with that same sort of tempo that we had, and just protect the football better.

Rhule was encouraged by the play of third-round OL Brady Christensen and sixth-round OL Deonte Brown.

“I thought Brady played well enough. Obviously, Brady’s played a lot of different positions. He has a lot of growth he has to continue to do. But I thought it was a good step for him,” Rhule said. “I was glad to get Deonte in there a little bit, too. … I think Deonte and Brady are both gonna be good players. Deonte’s kinda biding his time. But I do think the injury and time out surely slowed a little bit of his growth. But since he’s been back, he’s gotten better and better. I thought he had a good week last week.”

  • Panthers WR D.J. Moore (hamstring) returned to Wednesday’s practice. (Joe Person)
  • Rhule said Newton must continue learning their system and avoid committing turnovers. (David Newton)
  • As for Darnold, Rhule said on Wednesday he still “can’t really practice” even though he was designated to return and is still “a week or two” from being ready. (Newton)
  • Rhule wouldn’t elaborate when asked what would need to occur for Darnold to play again this season. (David Newton)

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