NFC Notes: Buccaneers, Falcons, Panthers, Saints

     

Buccaneers

Buccaneers’ HC Bruce Arians says that QB Tom Brady has exceeded all expectations during his first year with the Buccaneers.

“Totally exceeded,” Arians said, via Pro Football Talk. “With having such a limited practice, we went to New Orleans [in Week One] still learning words. When the quarterback calls a play, he should have a picture in his head. I don’t think that happened until November — just continuing to learn what words meant and what concepts meant, and then adjusting concepts as we went along. A guy might have a three- or four-way go on a route [but now] we eliminated it to two. Things like that as we just kept evolving. I think right now when he calls a play, the picture is in his head and he’s really, really playing well. He’s exceeded it. His leadership is beyond anything I’ve ever seen. Peyton Manning is the only thing close. Just the way he handles young players and veteran players. He’s another coach on the field talking to Gronk about how he’s running his routes [and] talking to Scotty [Miller] how he’s running his routes. [Talking to] anybody about where [he] expects to see you [and] protections with the offensive lineman. It’s a never-ending thing with him – the perfectionist – to get everything right in practice. Also, his calmness on the sideline in games when we’re not winning, [saying], ‘We’re going to win.’ Those type of things. You put those in a bottle and you make a bunch of money.”

Buccaneers’ OC and former NFL QB Byron Leftwich also offered praise for Brady’s approach to the game.

“It’s a special thing,” Leftwich said. “That’s what makes him a special guy. He’s a very unique guy — not a lot of guys are built like him [and] not a lot of guys are even capable of doing the things that he can do right now. Shoot, I can’t do them right now and I’m a couple of years younger than him. I still can’t do some of the things that he’s able to still do. I think he’s been taking care of his body [and] he’s really been preparing for this moment for so long. It’s no shock to him, to be honest with you. He’s been preparing to play this long — just talking to him — for a while now. He’s done everything that he can possibly do to give him that opportunity to play like this at the age he’s at. It’s something that we don’t really talk about [and it’s] something that we’re not really surprised at because of the effort he puts in week in and week out to take care of his body and also to put us in a position to win football games.”

Falcons

  • Albert Breer of SI thinks that HC Raheem Morris sticking around as head coach in Atlanta will likely ride on the decision of the GM that is hired by the team.
  • Breer expects the Falcons to take a look at Titans offensive coordinator Arthur Smith regarding their head-coaching job. 
  • Falcons promoted WR Chris Rowland, WR Devin Gray and TE Jared Pinkney to their active roster.

Panthers

  • Albert Breer of SI once again mentions two likely favorites for the Panthers’ GM spot, as both have a relationship with HC Matt Rhule. Saints’ assistant GM Jeff Ireland is a Baylor alum and 49ers’ VP Adam Peters played for Rhule at UCLA and has maintained a relationship with him.
  • Breer says another name to watch is Browns’ VP of football operations Kwesi Adofo-Mensah, who was an important hire by Browns’ GM Andrew Berry this season.
  • Mike Garafolo mentions that former Giants GM Jerry Reese is someone to keep an eye on for the Panthers’ GM vacancy in the coming weeks. 
  • According to Garaolo, Reese’s three-year absence from the NFL was due in part to Reese not playing the “politics” of professional football and declining offers to become a network analyst and several personnel jobs. 

Saints

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