NFC Notes: Buccaneers, Falcons, Panthers, Saints



The Buccaneers have struggled to start games for a good portion of the season and it was a problem again against the Falcons Sunday. Tampa Bay overcame holes of 17-0 and 24-7 to rally for a victory thanks in large part to a terrific second half by QB Tom Brady. As to why the Buccaneers are starting slow, HC Bruce Arians said their scripts to start the game are good, they just need to execute better. 

“A lot of thought goes into scripting what plays Tom likes, what we like. It has nothing to do with scripting the plays, we just need to execute better,” Arians said via WDAE.


  • Per Jason Butt of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Falcons interim HC Raheem Morris said RB Ito Smith has been playing ahead of RB Todd Gurley because he’s more productive, not because Gurley is hurt. 


  • According to NFL Media’s Ian Rapoport, some potential candidates for the Panthers’ general manager vacancy include Patriots executive Nick Caserio, Colts assistant GM Ed Dodds, Saints executive Jeff Ireland and Bills college scouting director Lake Dawson
  • The Athletic’s Joe Person also mentions 49ers executive Martin Mayhew, former Giants GM Jerry Reese and former Texans GM Rick Smith as potential candidates. Panthers cap manager Samir Suleiman is an internal option for the job as well. 
  • Sports Illustrated’s Albert Breer says Panthers owner David Tepper‘s decision to fire GM Marty Hurney wasn’t sudden and Tepper had been talking with Hurney for a couple of weeks now about his desire to modernize the personnel department. 
  • He also points out 49ers VP of player personnel Adam Peters played for Panthers HC Matt Rhule when he was an assistant DL coach at UCLA and the two have maintained a relationship. (Breer)
  • In a presser, Tepper said the two sides decided it was best to part ways. He pushed back against the idea that Rhule pushed Hurney out for control over the personnel. (Person)
  • Tepper thought about moving on from Hurney last year when he fired HC Ron Rivera but he thought Hurney’s experience would be valuable for both himself and Rhule. (Person)
  • He also admitted Hurney having the option to join Rivera in Washington played a role in the timing of his decision: “I think some of the timing of this decision was out of respect for Marty so he can look at other places.” (Person)
  • Tepper won’t use an outside search firm and said he hopes to keep player personnel director Pat Stewart “in some capacity.” (Person)
  • At quarterback, Tepper didn’t rule out exploring other options besides QB Teddy Bridgewater: “Unless you have that guy that gets you to playoffs and the Super Bowl, you have to keep evaluating.” (Person)


  • Per ESPN’s Mike Triplett, Saints QB Drew Brees said he’s not quite 100 percent yet from his rib injury a few weeks ago: “No, but I’m on my way.”
  • Brees admitted he’s still got some recovery work to do: “I’ll be honest. I think there’s some things that I’m still kind of working on. But it is what it is.”
  • Saints DE Cameron Jordan will not be suspended for the punch that got him ejected Sunday, though a fine is on the table. (Tom Pelissero)
  • Saints DE Trey Hendrickson suffered a stinger Sunday and will be evaluated in practice this week. (Nick Underhill)
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