NFC Notes: Buccaneers, Falcons, Panthers, Saints


Buccaneers HC Bruce Arians was asked about new RB Leonard Fournette and his Week 1 performance. 

“He’s only been here about 10 or 12 days, so I thought he did OK with what he had,” Arians said, via Pro Football Talk. “He’s learning every single word. If [his role] increases, it increases. If it doesn’t, it doesn’t. He’s working hard to get some more snaps.”

  • Bucs WR Chris Godwin was back at practice on Friday with a helmet, which shows he’s making progress towards clearing the NFL’s concussion protocol. (Greg Auman)
  • However, Buccaneers HC Bruce Arians told reporters that Godwin is still going through the concussion protocol and doubtful to play on Sunday: “He’s still going through the [concussion] protocol. That was part of the protocol and we’ll do some more stuff tomorrow. He’s still doubtful, but he did get through this part.” (Adam Caplan)
  • Arians said he expects LT Donovan Smith to bounce back and play well against Carolina: “He’s working his tail off, and I’ve got all the confidence in the world in him.” (Greg Auman)
  • OUT for Week 2: TE Antony Auclair (calf)
  • DOUBTFUL for Week 2: WR Chris Godwin (concussion)


Falcons OC Dirk Koetter explained that he’s a believer in analytics when addressing the two of fourth-down attempts they were unable to convert in Week 1’s loss to the Seahawks. 

“I do believe in analytics,” Koetter said, via Jason Butt of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. “But here’s what everyone has to remember about analytics. Analytics play out over 16 games. When you say you should go for two every time or you should go for it on fourth-and-1 every time — if you play that out over 16 games, yes, the numbers will come out in your favor. But just as we saw (Sunday), when you have that 0-for-3 game, you’re not feeling very good about it, right?”

Koetter reiterated that attempting to convert fourth downs is worth the risk based on the analytics involved. 

“If we get two of those three, we’re maybe singing a different song,” Koetter said. “But we didn’t get them. I believe in them. I understand the math. Believe me, I’m really good at math. Believe it or not, I was a really good math student. But what I don’t think most people understand is you got to apply it to the whole season.”

Falcons HC Dan Quinn said that he uses analytics in some of his decision making, but it is ultimately up to him in the end. 

“I would say part of analytics is you get the information, then you do trust your gut to say that this is a moment to use all of it or one to not. … When the moments are there, you want to go take them,” Quinn said. “In-game feel, your gut has a good feel for it as well. Somebody told me a good line (about analytics), if I remember correctly, ‘It’s on tap but not on top.’ It’s part of the decision, but not at the top of it.”

  • Quinn told reporters that WR Julio Jones has been dealing with his hamstring injury for a couple of weeks but adds, but his “concern level is low” for it impacting his play. (Will McFadden)
  • Quinn is confident Jones and LT Jake Matthews will start Sunday’s game against the Cowboys without significant physical issues. (Ed Werder)
  • OUT for Week 2: DE Charles Harris (ankle), CB Kendall Sheffield (foot)
  • DOUBTFUL for Week 2: DT Marlon Davidson (knee)
  • QUESTIONABLE for Week 2: T Jake Matthews (knee)



  • Saints’ QB Drew Brees mentioned the possibility of having to head into Week 2 without WR Michael Thomas: “(It’s a) next man up mentality. I think everybody is always ready to step into a role. Our coaching staff always does a good job putting us in a position to succeed and building a game plan around the strengths of the guys we do have.” (Mike Triplett)
  • Adam Schefter reports that despite his high ankle sprain, Thomas “felt fantastic” at practice Thursday and there’s a “little glimmer of hope” he can play Monday night.
  • Schefter admits that it’s still unlikely, but the Saints were pleased and surprised at Thomas’ progress and condition Thursday.

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