NFC Notes: Buccaneers, Falcons, Panthers, Saints


  • According to the Athletic’s Greg Auman, Buccaneers DE Pat O’Connor (knee) will not require surgery and has a chance to return for the playoffs.
  • ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler says Buccaneers WR Chris Godwin‘s ACL injury isn’t expected to impact his potential free-agent market too severely, as teams will be viewing him as a long-term investment. 
  • Buccaneers HC Bruce Arians said WR Antonio Brown (ankle) is doing “fine” and played up to his pre-injury standard in Wednesday’s practice. (Greg Auman)
  • Buccaneers recently signed RB Le’Veon Bell admitted that he contemplated retirement and was “waiting for an opportunity” that he wasn’t sure was coming. (Jenna Laine)


  • Falcons HC Arthur Smith thinks first-round TE Kyle Pitts is “just scratching the surface” of his potential in the NFL. (Michael Rothstein)
  • Smith didn’t have any update on the status of WR Calvin Ridley: “Same as it’s been. As soon as I get an update, you’ll have an update.” (D. Orlando Ledbetter)


  • Panthers HC Matt Rhule confirmed that QB Cam Newton will start in Week 16, but Sam Darnold (shoulder) will play at some point. (David Newton)
  • Rhule added that WR D.J. Moore (hamstring) will likely be a game-time decision on Sunday. (Joseph Person)
  • As for his standing as head coach in 2022, Rhule said he’s had no conversation with owner David Tepper about his future with the team. (Newton)
  • The Panthers brought in five kickers for workouts on Tuesday including Taylor Bertolet, Blake Haubeil, Alex Kessman, Taylor Russolino and Sam Sloman. Kessman was signed to the practice squad. (Aaron Wilson)


Saints DE Cameron Jordan said the team put an emphasis on pressuring Buccaneers QB Tom Brady and forcing him to escape the pocket.

“Everybody knows Tom is a scrambler,” Jordan said, via The Athletic. “When he goes, we have to get after him. That’s just it, we made him that uncomfortable in the pocket that he had to get out. I thought Marcus (Davenport) had him dead to rights, and again, Scrambler Tom took off and we had to make a play.

Saints DC Dennis Allen, who was the acting head coach with HC Sean Payton out, presented the game ball to the entire team following the win.

“This wasn’t in any way a one-man show,” Allen said. “This was an organization that came together and won a game.

Veteran LB Demario Davis called Allen a great leader.

I wanted to give him a game ball, but I wasn’t going to step outside my job responsibilities. But he definitely deserves it. He’s a great leader.

Saints QB Taysom Hill said the team’s goal on offense was to keep the ball out of Brady’s hands and rely upon the defense to execute.

I think the play calling was reflective of how well our defense was playing,” Hill said. “We didn’t want to do anything careless to give them a short field. That field goal late in the second half was big to make it a two-possession game. I think we felt offensively that if we did our assignments, didn’t turn the ball over, made them go the long way, our defense was going to give us the opportunity to win. And that’s the way the game went.

Looking for the latest NFL Insider News & Rumors?

Be sure to follow NFL Trade Rumors on TWITTER and FACEBOOK for breaking NFL News and Rumors for all 32 teams!

Leave a Reply