NFC Notes: Buccaneers, Falcons, Panthers

     

Buccaneers

  • ESPN’s Jenna Laine lists safety as the biggest position battle on the team, with Jordan Whitehead one probably starter and second-round rookie Antoine Winfield Jr., D’Cota Dixon and Andrew Adams also competing for playing time. 
  • The Athletic’s Greg Auman says there will be extra pressure on the Buccaneers offensive to replicate their performance over the final six games last year, when they allowed just 11 sacks, to protect QB Tom Brady.
  • Auman notes Buccaneers LT Donovan Smith likely needs a good year in 2020 given he has no guaranteed money left on his deal next year which makes him a potential cut. 
  • He adds G Ali Marpet and C Ryan Jensen also have eight-digit contracts with no guarantees, so they’re in a similar boat as Smith though they’ve been playing better.  
  • Auman thinks Buccaneers OL Aaron Stinnie and Zack Bailey have an edge over the rest of the depth chart for backup positions. 
  • Buccaneers rookie WRs Tyler Johnson and Josh Pearson were limited and worked to the side at Thursday’s practice. Buccaneers S Justin Evans remains on the PUP and watched practice. (Auman)

Falcons

  • ESPN’s Vaughn McClure lists running back as the biggest position battle on the team, as the team will need to manage starting RB Todd Gurley‘s health and workload. 
  • Falcons RBs Ito Smith, Brian Hill and Qadree Ollison will compete to spell Gurley. 
  • McClure notes Gurley was noticeably limping during the acclimation period but still showed speed and burst during drills. He says a source familiar with him from the Rams told him: “He can’t put his foot in the dirt and go like the old Todd Gurley, but he could still be a productive back.”
  • Falcons WR Julio Jones says he didn’t need any surgeries this offseason and just focused on “body maintenance.” (D. Orlando Ledbetter)

Panthers

  • ESPN’s David Newton lists cornerback as the biggest position battle on the team, with fourth-round CB Troy Pride pushing veterans Eli Apple and Donte Jackson for playing time. 
  • Per the Athletic’s Joe Person, Panthers WR Robby Anderson is excited from what he’s seen of OC Joe Brady‘s offense so far: “It’s creative. It’s smart. And it’s going to put everyone in their best element.” 
  • Panthers WR Curtis Samuel said he’s focused on the team and improving after his name came up in trade rumors this offseason: “We’re past that point now.” (Person)
  • Panthers second-round S Jeremy Chinn said he’s been playing “defensive athlete” in DC Phil Snow’s defense, lining up at safety, nickel and dime defender, including a fair amount of work in the box. (Person)
  • Even though Luke Kuechly isn’t a teammate anymore, Chinn said one of the perks of being drafted by Carolina is he still gets to talk to Kuechly with his role in the front office: “I get to come in and pick Luke Kuechly‘s brain every single day.” (Person)
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