NFC Notes: Buccaneers, Falcons, Panthers, Saints


  • Buccaneers HC Bruce Arians said RB Leonard Fournette will start their NFC Divisional Round game against the Saints and RB Ronald Jones (quad, finger) will be a “game-time decision.” (Jenna Laine)
  • Arians praised Fournette for his performance in last week’s Wildcard game, which included 93 rushing yards, 39 receiving, and one touchdown: “He’s a helluva a player, he played really, really well last week and we’ve trusted him all year.” (Rick Stroud)
  • Mike Garafolo reports that Buccaneers DC Todd Bowles was scheduled to interview for the Lions’ head coaching job on Friday but the two sides decided to cancel after there were “indications” that they were going to hire someone else. 


  • Now that the Falcons have hired Arthur Smith as its next head coach, Jeremy Fowler of ESPN reports that Bears passing game coordinator Dave Ragone has a “good chance” to become Atlanta’s next offensive coordinator.
  • Bruce Feldman of Fox Sports reports that the Falcons’ run game coordinator Tosh Lupoi is “in the mix” for the University of Oregon’s defensive coordinator job. 


  • When examining what the Panthers must do this offseason, Joseph Person of The Athletic writes that Carolina must “establish a plan at quarterback.” 
  • Person believes the Panthers should either select North Dakota State’s Trey Lance, Alabama’s Mac Jones, or Florida’s Kyle Trask with the No. 8 overall pick in the 2021 NFL Draft, or trade-up for one that falls past the Jets at No. 2 such as Ohio State’s Justin Fields and BYU’s Zach Wilson.  
  • Another task for the Panthers is to re-sign OT Taylor Moton to an extension or use the franchise tag on him. 
  • The Panthers must also prepare to hire a new offensive coordinator if Joe Brady lands a head-coaching job.
  • Person names the following coaches as possible candidates for the Panthers’ offensive coordinator job: Panthers’ RBs coach Jeff Nixon, Lions’ interim HC Darrell Bevell, Chargers’ QBs coach Pep Hamilton, former Lions’ HC Jim Caldwell, Clemson OC Tony Elliott.
  • Person mentions that the Panthers must make “difficult roster decisions” with DT Kawann Short, DE Stephen Weatherly, and P Michael Palardy. 


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