NFC Notes: Buccaneers, Falcons, Panthers, Saints

     

Buccaneers

  • Per the Athletic’s Greg Auman, Buccaneers HC Bruce Arians said they got good news on WR Mike Evans‘ knee injury: “The MRI showed no structural damage.”
  • Evans has little swelling and is day-to-day. Arians noted Evans basically played three games on one leg earlier this year: “We’d have to fight to keep him off the field.” (Sara Walsh)
  • Arians doesn’t expect Buccaneers LB Devin White to clear the COVID-19 list by Saturday’s playoff game. (Jenna Laine)

Falcons

  • Per the Athletic’s Tori McElhaney, Falcons owner Arthur Blank thinks the team could be competitive faster than people think: “I think the opportunity is there to win in 2021.” 
  • Blank noted no candidates like Rick Smith or Anthony Robinson have expressed concerns about the Falcons’ cap situation during their interviews. (Jason Butt)
  • He added he doesn’t see the presence of team president Rich McKay as a negative as it has been portrayed, saying getting the chance to work with McKay would be a positive and only a weak candidate would feel threatened by him. (McElhaney)
  • Blank said the door is open to moving on from QB Matt Ryan and WR Julio Jones if the next general manager wants to, saying his job as owner isn’t to put player mandates on his front office. (Butt)
  • Asked about what has gone wrong for the Falcons, Blank responded: “I think we make some mistakes in the draft, which hurt us. I think we made some mistakes in free agents, which are some dangerous water to tread in.” (Butt)

Panthers

  • ESPN’s David Newton says Panthers HC Matt Rhule will have the final say over the 53-man roster and the new general manager will be in more of a supporting role. 
  • Rhule didn’t rule out the Panthers from making a move at quarterback this offseason. He specifically cited durability and noted he didn’t think starting QB Teddy Bridgewater got better as the year went on: “Teddy has to have a tremendous offseason.” (Newton)
  • Bridgewater said if the Panthers drafted a quarterback it wouldn’t change anything for him: “That doesn’t affect me. I train every day like it’s mine.” (Newton)
  • Panthers RB Christian McCaffrey said he won’t need surgery this offseason for any of his injuries. (Joe Person)
  • McCaffrey told reporters he shut it down for the season when Rhule told him to before the last game: “Obviously it was a tough season for me. Couldn’t get healthy.” (Newton)
  • McCaffrey noted he would be confident in Bridgewater as the starter in 2021: “Yes, I would. Teddy is a great leader. That’s one thing I noticed is poise. Through good times and bad times he’s always poised.” (Newton)
  • Panthers DT Kawann Short said he hasn’t had any discussion with Rhule yet about his future but he’s not naive about what season-ending injuries the past two years means: “We’re all grown here. … For me to have an injury back to back, it will definitely put the hint in your head.” (Person)
  • Panthers RB Mike Davis said he would like to be back in 2021: “As far as next year, I want to come back. But that’s not up to me.” (Person)
  • Panthers QB coach Jake Peetz and offensive assistant DJ Mangas will interview with LSU for the offensive coordinator and passing game coordinator titles respectively. (Pete Thamel)

Saints

  • NFL Media’s Tom Pelissero says the Saints are optimistic they’ll have RB Alvin Kamara and WR Michael Thomas in time for Sunday’s playoff game. 
  • Thomas is eligible to come off of injured reserve while the team is hopeful Kamara can clear the COVID-19 protocols if he continues to test negative. 
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