NFC Notes: Buccaneers, Falcons, Panthers, Saints


  • Per Rick Stroud of the Tampa Bay Times, Buccaneers RB coach Todd McNair said the team was intentional not to bench RB Ronald Jones after his fumble early against the Panthers. He ended up rushing for almost 200 yards: “It’s huge. You can’t every time a guy makes a mistake yank him out…we have to let him know we totally trust him, we have his back.”



Panthers LB Shaq Thompson has taken on more of a leadership role as one of the core pieces of Carolina’s rebuilding defense. That entails speaking up more, including reaming out his teammates after the loss to the Buccaneers Sunday. Panthers HC Matt Rhule said it was less the loss and more the way it happened, with the Panthers surrendering 46 points, over 500 total yards and allowing 17 points in the fourth quarter. 

“Wouldn’t you be embarrassed at what happened at home?” Thompson said via the Athletic’s Joe Person. “We’re a damn good football team, but we’ve gotta play as a football team. I was just frustrated. I love my teammates. I love my brothers. And I know we’re gonna turn this thing around.”

Rhule said both Panthers QBs Will Grier and P.J. Walker would compete in practice this week to determine who will start against Detroit if Teddy Bridgewater can’t play. 

“Both guys have worked really hard and deserve a chance to practice. So we’ll let them practice it out and see who deserves the right to go,” he said. “I’m really pleased with Will and P.J. so far this year. I have confidence that both those guys can win a game.”

  • Person notes Panthers RB Jeff Nixon interviewed for college head coach openings last year and could do so again this year. 
  • ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler says the word is the Panthers really like the potential quarterbacks available in 2021 but with Bridgewater playing well they have the flexibility not to force anything. 
  • The Panthers ruled out RB Christian McCaffrey for Week 11 against the Lions. 
  • Rhule noted he’s not sure when exactly McCaffrey will be back but he does expect him to play again this season. The team will listen to doctors and the player: “No one knows their body better than Christian.” (Person)


  • Albert Breer of SI notes the specific reason QB Jameis Winston was listed at No. 2 on the Saints’ depth chart at quarterback, was due to Taysom Hill having other responsibilities on the team aside from being a backup to QB Drew Brees.
  • Breer still believes that Winston will be the starter due to his experience and the fact that he gives the Saints a better chance to win.
  • As for Hill, he will likely get more reps at quarterback in practice, but Breer adds that he will still stay in his “gadget” role on Sunday against the Falcons.
  • NFL Media’s Ian Rapoport says Brees is looking at an absence of at least two weeks with cracked ribs on both sides. Brees’ timeline will be re-evaluated after that depending on how he feels. 

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