NFC Notes: Buccaneers, Falcons, Panthers, Saints



Buccaneers’ QB Tom Brady opened up about whether he and TE Rob Gronkowski are truly comfortable in a new offense.

“Well, I think we all have a lot of things we’ve got to [work on],” Brady said, via Pro Football Talk. “We’re going to be improving from the time we started until the time we finish the season. I don’t think we can be discouraged by certain things. Some weeks it’s going to be some guy’s week. Other weeks it’s going to be other guys’ weeks. Everyone is working hard at practice to try to find their spot [and] their role. We’ve got to figure out what works, what combinations work, what we do well or what we don’t do well. That’s just part of the season. You wish everything would be perfect, but that’s just not the reality of football. There are too many things to orchestrate. There are too many moving parts. You’ve just got to figure out ways to win games. It starts with eliminating negative plays, turnovers [and] penalties and putting ourselves in good situations to score points. In the end, it’s got to be scoring more points than the other team. If our defense gives up 40, we’ve got to score more than that. If they only give up three, we’ve got to score more than that. You ebb and flow as the season goes. Some weeks the defense plays better, some weeks the offense plays better [and] some weeks you get contributions on special teams. Either way, we’ve got to figure out how to win the games when the opportunities present themselves to make them happen — we’ve got to be able to do it.”

  • Buccaneers’ LB Shaq Barrett addressed his return to Denver to play against his former team: “I want to show them they did have a chance to have me and they let me go, but I’m happy with my situation down here. I love it. Literally it’s the best plan that could have ever happened and it worked out.” (Mike Klis)
  • James Palmer reports that Brady is becoming increasingly comfortable in the Buccaneers’ offense and will continue to make progress with things such as in-game adjustments.
  • Buccaneers TE Rob Gronkowski was asked about his overall happiness compared to what he expected coming out of retirement: “I’m enjoying myself. I know what I signed up for.” Said it can be a grind in regular season, but overall, “it’s a pleasure, for sure.” (Greg Auman)
  • OUT for Week 3: WR Justin Watson (shoulder)


After playing hurt against the Cowboys, Falcons’ DE Dante Fowler is expected to be listed as questionable against the Bears on Sunday, according to HC Dan Quinn.

“Going into the first game against Seattle he looked fresh and recovered from (the ankle injury),” Quinn said, via Jason Butt of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. “He definitely had a setback in the second game very early. He showed a lot of toughness and resilience wanting to fight through it. He’ll have to have a good week getting his strength back in that spot. If he can do that, we’ll let it rip again. In the two games, he was definitely hobbled, but showed a lot of toughness to fight through it knowing, ‘Hey man, I want to keep going and battle for it.”

  • Falcons HC Dan Quinn said WR Julio Jones (hamstring) will be a game-time decision this weekend. (Vaughn McClure
  • Quinn mentioned that Matt Gono is prepared to start at right tackle, despite not calling him the starter for Sunday. Falcons RT Kaleb McGary not expected to play due to an MCL injury. (Vaughn McClure
  • Quinn said they have some confidence in Marlon Davidson coming back from a knee injury after he passed two tests, but he still has one more to pass. 
  • Quinn didn’t rule out DEs Dante Fowler (ankle) and Takk McKinley (groin). (Vaughn McClure
  • OUT for Week 3: S Ricardo Allen (elbow), CB Kendall Sheffield (foot)
  • QUESTIONABLE for Week 3: DE Dante Fowler (ankle), WR Julio Jones (hamstring), T Kaleb McGary (knee), DE Takkarist McKinley (groin), LB Foyesade Oluokun (hamstring)


  • Per ESPN’s David Newton, Panthers HC Matt Rhule said he doesn’t expect WR Curtis Samuel to fill in at running back despite having experience at the position at Ohio State.
  • Panthers OC Joe Brady confirmed they want to get Samuel more involved, though: “Good things happen when the ball is in his hands.” (Steve Reed)
  • Brady added they haven’t maximized Samuel as a receiver yet: “With his speed on the field, with him being able to push the ball deep, I have to utilize him more in the pass game.” (Joe Person)
  • Brady said there may be some slight tweaks but they won’t have to change much with Mike Davis starting at running back instead of Christian McCaffrey“That was the perk of when we first saw Mike Davis, seeing him able to do a lot of different things. I’m not sure whether it was noticed, but when Christian went down we had full faith in Mike running our offense.” (Newton)
  • Panthers DC Phil Snow notes their analytics team has identified 11 pressures as a key landmark for their defense to hit each week. So far they’ve tracked just five in-house each of the first two games. (Myles Simmons)
  • Panthers LT Russell Okung talked about attempting to play through his current groin injury: “It’ll be what it is, and I’m going to work my butt off to play this Sunday.” (Myles Simmons)
  • Okung adds that he doesn’t think there’s any “direct correlation” between his current groin injury and ones he has dealt with in the past. (Simmons)
  • DOUBTFUL for Week 3: G Dennis Daley (ankle), DT Kawann Short (foot)
  • QUESTIONABLE for Week 3: T Russell Okung (groin)


Saints HC Sean Payton explained that it’s still early in the season and they and expect WR Emmanuel Sanders to have more opportunities moving forward. 

“We are [just] two weeks in,” Payton said, via Luke Johnson of the New Orleans Times-Picayune. “So, I see him being a big part of what we do offensively. We didn’t have enough snaps the other night, unfortunately. That time of possession was a big factor in it. . . .

“His touches are going to come.

Saints QB Drew Brees mentioned that there hasn’t been a lot of opportunities to take shots down the field for them in the early part of the season. 

“I honestly don’t feel like there have been a ton of opportunities,” Brees said. “We’ve called some downfield shots. For example, we called two in that game that were designed to go to him down the field, unfortunately, the coverage didn’t really dictate that, didn’t really allow that.

“There was a couple other opportunities that for whatever reason, just we didn’t have the time to get it to him or there was a breakdown elsewhere that did not allow it.

  • OUT for Week 3: LB Chase Hansen (hip), WR Michael Thomas (ankle)
  • QUESTIONABLE for Week 3: DE Marcus Davenport (elbow), DE Trey Hendrickson (groin), RB Ty Montgomery (hamstring), DT David Onyemata (calf)

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