NFC Notes: Buccaneers, Falcons, Panthers, Saints


  • Buccaneers HC Bruce Arians said CB Antoine Winfield Jr. is still in the league’s concussion protocol and must go through an independent neurologist evaluation. (Jenna Laine)
  • Arians added that Buccaneers WR Antonio Brown missed Wednesday’s practice due to a sprained ankle. 
  • Arians shot down trade rumors involving RB Ronald Jones, explaining that it’s a “long season” and they might need Jones later if someone gets hurt. (Jenna Laine)


Fifth-round picks aren’t often instant contributors. But Falcons fifth-round OLB Ade Ogundeji has steadily seen his role grow to the point where he was in on more than 50 percent of the snaps in Atlanta’s last game, where he also recorded his first career sack. Falcons OLB coach Ted Monachino said he saw potential in Ogundeji right away. 

“Right away I knew, number one, he was a draft pick and we needed a draft pick and he was going to be on the roster. I wasn’t going to waste, I can’t redshirt a guy that’s one of our top four or five players at the position,” Monachino said via D. Orlando Ledbetter of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. “He is still a developmental player and sometimes you got to learn under some pressure and under some stress and in real football game. We can baby him and pull him back and say he’s not ready. But I don’t think that’s fair to him. I don’t think it’s fair to our team. I don’t think that that risk-reward that comes with playing a young player, as long as that continuum is in the right place, right, the risk is high but so potentially is the reward. I’m all about playing that young player because I think it’s only going to help him be …. as all these players move in and out of the building, at some point we’re going to ask Ade to be the bell cow in the room. We’re preparing him for that right now.”


Panthers WR D.J. Moore is in the middle of a breakout season so far. He already has 40 catches for 513 yards and three touchdowns, and defenses have started shading coverage his way which is a sign of the respect he’s getting around the league. He’s even more highly regarded inside the building by the team, not just for his production but all of the other little things he does. 

“The good thing about DJ is he is all around. He’ll block for you. He’ll catch the ball. You never really appreciate those guys until you see it,” Panthers secondary coach Evan Cooper said via the Athletic’s Joe Person. “He just works. You don’t hear him very much. He shows up on Sunday, just like he shows up every day and gives you all he’s got. You can build a franchise around those guys.”

“He’s such a good player. He blocks for us. He runs routes even when he knows he’s not gonna get the ball open. He went in the backfield to run routes out of the backfield,” Panthers HC Matt Rhule added. “…I say all that because I don’t know if people, even on our own team, recognize how much of a pro he is. And that’s why he’s having so much success.”


  • Although the Saints just spent a third-round pick on LB Zack Baun last year and traded up to do so, ESPN’s Mike Triplett doesn’t rule out the Saints dealing him given New Orleans has depth at linebacker and Baun has been passed on the depth chart.

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