NFC Notes: Buccaneers, Falcons, Panthers, Saints

Buccaneers

Falcons

Falcons HC Arthur Smith isn’t one for doomsday scenarios and said the team “won’t live or die by the day-to-day narratives” of a season.

That’s what we’ll always try to say: Have some perspective,” Smith said, via the team’s official website. “We deserve to be where we’re at, but it’s not catastrophic. I think too many times people think of the instant result. There’s a lot of ways to go with it, but I don’t believe in that and this team doesn’t.” 

Smith challenged the team to improve its run game. Falcons RB/WR Cordarrelle Patterson said that the team made it a point of emphasis to improve that aspect of their game this week.

We all took it to heart,” Patterson said. “This whole week we’ve been talking about the run game… We made it a big target for us to just be able to run the ball.

Getting Patterson back from an ankle injury that knocked him out of most of the past two games, both blowout losses, was big for the Falcons against the Jaguars. He topped 100 yards rushing and scored twice. 

Having (Patterson) back, it adds an element,” Smith said. “He’s a physical presence who can do a lot for us. I think that’s clear.

Panthers

Panthers RB Christian McCaffrey was as surprised as anyone when he received the results from the MRI on his ankle.

I love playing football and have dedicated my entire life to what I believe to be the greatest sport in the world,” McCaffrey said, via PFT. “Getting healthy and back on the field this season has been my focus everyday from the time I wake up until I go to bed. I’ve put family, friends and all other interests on hold so I can fully concentrate my efforts on treatment, training, practicing, studying, preparing, and playing the game I love at the highest level, which is why my season coming to an abrupt end today leaves me devastated. I am thankful to everyone who continue to help and support me through this difficult time and promise I will fight with everything I have to return bigger, stronger, faster and better than ever. #KeepPounding!

  • The Athletic’s Joe Person reports, per a league source, that the Panthers have no plans to trade McCaffrey. Person adds that it’s unlikely they’d have a huge market given his salary and injury history. 

Saints

  • Saints HC Sean Payton was non-committal on whether QB Taysom Hill would be his starter this week: “We’ll see.” (Amie Just)
  • Payton said they want to see how Hill’s foot responds to practice on Wednesday before making a final decision. He is battling a plantar fascia injury. (Nick Underhill)

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