NFC Notes: Buccaneers, Falcons, Panthers, Saints

     

Buccaneers

  • Buccaneers G Ali Marpet returned to practice Wednesday as he continues to progress through the concussion protocol. (Greg Auman)
  • Buccaneers WR Chris Godwin said he still has pins in his broken left index finger that he’s playing through: “I don’t really remember how many.” (Rick Stroud)

Falcons

Since Falcons owner Arthur Blank bought the team in 2002, he’s been a member of the NFL’s Workplace Diversity Committee. During that time, Blank has hired Jim Mora, Bobby Petrino, Mike Smith and Dan Quinn as head coaches — all White men. The NFL’s lack of diversity in leadership positions has become an even greater issue in the nearly 20 years since Blank joined the league and he pledged that the pool he would consider for Atlanta’s latest opening would be as diverse as possible. 

“We will be very intentional about making sure the candidate pool is rich with diverse candidates,” Blank said in an interview with NFL Media’s Steve Wyche and Jim Trotter. “Beyond that we’re going to interview everybody as though they are the same color. Whatever color you want to pick — red, blue, green, black, white, I don’t really care. We’re going to look for the very best person. I’m never going to put myself in a position, or our organization or that one person in position where they’re going to feel in any way, shape or form (that) they got the job because of the color of their skin. That’s doing them a huge disservice and that’s the wrong message to send.”

Included in that pool is Falcons interim HC Raheem Morris. Blank raised some eyebrows when he joked that Morris would absolutely receive consideration for the job if he finished 11-0, which fell flat for some who pointed out the double or unfair standards some minority coaching candidates already face. However, Blank says Morris is absolutely putting himself in consideration given the team’s 3-1 record since he took over. 

“The reality is, in all of our businesses and me personally, I am colorblind,” Blank said. “I would have made that same comment no matter who the interim coach would have been. I don’t think we should make a head coach selection or a GM selection based on the color of somebody’s skin. I clearly think that diversity … people know who I am and what I am in that regard.

“Raheem will be looked at as any other coach will be. I’ve known him for a long time, I think he’s a good guy. I think he’s got a lot of credentials. He’s not the same man he was when he was 32 (and) became a head coach. Twelve years later he’s matured a good bit. Thirty-two, it’s hard to be a head coach in the NFL. It’s not impossible but it’s hard to do. Twelve years later, I think he’s had a lot of great experiences and I think he’s learned a lot and I wish him all the success he could possibly have, for his benefit and for our benefit.”

Panthers

  • According to the Athletic’s Joe Person, Panthers RB Christian McCaffrey is getting a second opinion on his shoulder injury.
  • McCaffrey didn’t practice Wednesday and won’t play in Week 10 against the Buccaneers. 
  • ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler reports the Panthers have no plans to shut McCaffrey down for the rest of the season, they just didn’t see a need for him to push through a painful injury to play this week. 
  • Panthers HC Matt Rhule told reporters it’s an AC joint issue for McCaffrey and confirmed the team doesn’t anticipate him being out a while: “More like day-to-day, week-to-week.” (Person)
  • Panthers WR D.J. Moore has had just two catches each of the past two games but Rhule said he expects Moore to break out of his slump since he’s getting separation: “If it happens again this week then there’s probably more to it.” (David Newton)
  • Panthers second-round S Jeremy Chinn said he had knee swelling last week and he’s working to try and get back. He was limited in practice Wednesday. (Person)
  • The Saints released QB/TE Tommy Stevens from the practice squad and the Panthers are reportedly showing interest. New Orleans appeared to make a point to trade back into this past year’s draft to take Stevens and prevent him from signing with Carolina as a priority UDFA. (Amie Just)

Saints

  • In an interview on the Rich Eisen Show, Saints QB Drew Brees says he’s not thinking about next year and potentially playing another season given how strange 2020 has been: “I’m in the moment, I really am. That’s really the way it’s been the last couple of years.”
  • The Athletic’s Katherine Terrell paid close attention to WR Michael Thomas during the Saints’ Sunday night game and didn’t notice any signs of friction with his teammates. 
  • The Saints released QB/TE Tommy Stevens from the practice squad and the Panthers are reportedly showing interest. New Orleans appeared to make a point to trade back into this past year’s draft to take Stevens and prevent him from signing with Carolina as a priority UDFA. (Amie Just)
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