NFC Notes: Buccaneers, Falcons, Panthers

     

Buccaneers

Buccaneers HC Jason Licht mentioned that QB Tom Brady‘s arm has looked better than what they saw on tape the past few years. 

“One thing that strikes me is that he doesn’t look like he’s any older. Actually, his arm looks stronger than what we saw last year on tape,” said Licht, via ESPN.com.

“His work ethic is just unbelievable. We keep saying this word, but he just sets such a high standard that you find out if guys can keep up with it or if they’re not quite ready. And I think everyone on this team wants to reach that standard. You’ve got some young guys that are learning on the fly here, but I think it’s something that, I think we said this when we signed him: Whenever he’s done — let’s just say five years from now — that standard will remain with this team.”

  • Buccaneers HC Bruce Arians explained Friday that after evaluating data from their practices last year, they determined that some of the late-season hamstring injuries suffered by Mike Evans, Scotty Miller and Chris Godwin were because “we overworked our receivers in September and October.” (Jenna Laine)
  • Arians did say that Evans’ hamstring issue is considered minor. He twisted it on a route and it’s something that they consider more of a freak injury versus an overuse injury. (Laine)
  • Licht said the key in regards to their kicking decision was seeking consistency after Ryan Succop struggled last year. Succop dealt with a knee injury last year, but his career as a whole has been remarkably consistent, especially with shorter kicks. (Greg Auman)
  • According to Licht, they’ve had extension talks with 2021 free agents like Chris Godwin and Lavonte David. Licht said he doesn’t like to set artificial deadlines and they plan to continue working on them. (Auman)
  • The Buccaneers officially ruled out WR Mike Evans (hamstring) for Week 1.

Falcons

Despite the obstacles presented by a strange offseason, Falcons QB Matt Ryan and WR Julio Jones are both coming ready to play in Week 1.

“No matter the line of work, I think everybody has had to make adjustments, so that’s part of it, and we’ll get ourselves ready to go,” Ryan said, via Tori McElhaney of The Athletic. “We all did this in college — got ourselves ready for the season and went out and played Week 1 without any preseason games, so we’ll be all right.”

“I’m conditioned for this, helmet on or helmet off,” Jones added. “I can go out there and play that first game without practice or anything. I can do it. It doesn’t matter. You have to be a professional at the end of the day.

  • The Falcons officially ruled out DE Charles Harris (ankle) and CB Kendall Sheffield (foot) for Week 1’s game and list DT Marlon Davidson (knee) as questionable.

Panthers

Since Jordan Gross retired after the 2013 season, left tackle has been a constant revolving door for the Panthers. Michael Oher locked down the blindside the year Carolina went to the Super Bowl in 2015 but apart from that it’s been a parade of average to bad options including Byron Bell, Matt Kalil and Chris Clark.

Panthers GM Marty Hurney hoped he had found the answer last year when he traded up in the second round to take Greg Little, but the rookie missed most of the season with concussion issues. Carolina traded for veteran LT Russell Okung this offseason but Hurney said that doesn’t mean they’ve given up on Little. 

“You could almost look at this like his rookie year, since he did miss time with injuries. He has worked extremely hard. I think he’s much more advanced at this stage than he was last year,” Hurney said via the Athletic’s Joe Person. “I think Russell Okung helps him. You look over there and Russell will be talking to him and working with him all the time. I think Greg’s still got a very good left tackle skill set. … He’s got a very good approach. And I think people you talk to will tell you he’s improved every week.”

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