NFC Notes: Buccaneers, Falcons, Panthers, Saints


  • Fox Sports’ Jay Glazer says there’s a ton of buzz building around Buccaneers OC Byron Leftwich as a head coaching candidate for the Jaguars. Leftwich was a first-round pick and played four seasons of quarterback in Jacksonville but is also a strong coaching candidate in his own right. 
  • Buccaneers HC Bruce Arians said he was more worried with all the team’s injuries than the loss vs. New Orleans: “We lost about seven starters in this game. I’m more concerned about that.” (Jeff Darlington)
  • Arians added WR Antonio Brown and DB Mike Edwards will be back with the team this week: “It’s in the best interests of our football team.” (Greg Auman)
  • Arians mentioned WR Mike Evans is week-to-week with a strained hamstring, but could play Sunday. (Adam Schefter)
  • Arians added he thinks WR Breshad Perriman could be back this week. (Auman)


Despite dwindling playoff chances following a loss to the 49ers, Falcons HC Arthur Smith said the team is going to continue to compete and fight for the opportunity to play in the postseason.

We’re going to compete every game,” Smith said, via the Team’s official website. “We just keep swinging. A lot of crazy things have happened in the NFL. We’ll try to win the next one, to get one at home. We’ll keep chipping away and see what happens. There are a lot of things that – what it looks like today is not how it’s going to look after Week 18. You all have covered this league a long time. It usually comes down to the last week of the season. You just want to have a mathematical chance. Crazier things have happened.

The Falcons would’ve been sitting in the sixth seed if they had beaten San Francisco today.

The mood is sour right now,” Falcons S Duron Harmon said. “I’m not going to lie. We let one get away. We didn’t play the way we needed to play.

Despite getting inside the 49ers 10-yard line three times today, the Falcons failed to score on any of those opportunities. It was the first time in 40 years that an opposing defense forced three turnovers within the 10-yard line three times in a single game.

When you play a good football team in an important game, you have to find ways to score,” QB Matt Ryan said. “You have to take advantage of those opportunities. We have to be better at that moving forward.


  • Panthers HC Matt Rhule said the team is working out kickers this week. (Joe Person)
  • Rhule mentioned K Zane Gonzalez is out “a considerable amount of time” after injuring his quad pregame. (Person)
  • Rhule didn’t say who will start at quarterback once QB Sam Darnold returns. (Jonathan Jones)
  • On QB Cam Newton, Rhule said he’s enjoyed working with him: “I have absolutely respected, appreciated and loved every second that Cam’s been here. He works as hard as someone can work. All he ever says to me is, ‘Hey, keep coaching me.’ He wants accountability. He wants to help the team win.” (Person)
  • Rhule added third-round OL Brady Christensen may play more this week: “I think Brady’s going to be a starter for us for a long time.” (Person)


Saints DC Dennis Allen said he appreciates the chance to serve as an interim head coach.

“Look, I relish that opportunity,” Allen said, via Pro Football Talk. “Certainly, I really appreciate everything that Sean Payton has meant to me and my coaching career. So, for him to ask me to step in for him in this circumstance I appreciate the fact that he had the faith and the trust in me to lead this team. I really appreciate all the players and the assistant coaches and the way that they just hung together and fought and scratched and clawed for each other so that we could come away with this win. I think anytime you win in this league I think it’s a great feeling, and certainly in these circumstances, it feels good to win.”

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