NFC Notes: Buccaneers, Falcons, Saints



With DT Vita Vea out for the season, the Buccaneers jumped at the chance to acquire DT Steve McLendon in a trade with the Jets. Former Jets’ coach and current Buccaneers DC Todd Bowles told the media he is one of McLendon’s biggest supporters, noting that McLendon even drove from Miami to Tampa in order to show his commitment to his new team.

“They asked me, and yes, I stood on the table for him,” Bowles said, via Pro Football Talk. “We need depth down there. Like I said, it’s a long season. You rarely get through the season with the guys you have. It’s a long season, he’s a quality player, he can help us, if not now, then down the line [and] he was a good guy to get for us. Any time you can get a good player and a good person, you try to get him. He’s not just a great locker room guy — he has a great motor. He’s a very good nose tackle. We need some depth down there at that position because it’s a long season. He brings energy, he brings toughness [and] he brings strength to us. He’ll fit in quite well with the guys.”

McLendon explained what transpired last week before he was officially traded to the Buccaneers. 

“I got the news on Saturday night, that a car would be waiting for me after the game Sunday to come to Tampa,” McLendon said, via “I was like, ‘OK.’ Sunday morning, I woke up, I prayed, and I was like, ‘This is one last ride.’ I told my boys, I was like, ‘This is one last ride together.’ A lot of guys were saying, ‘Man, you’re really gonna play?’ And I was like, ‘Man, this could be the last time I play with y’all in my career.’ I said, ‘Let’s go out here and make it a great one. Let’s go have some fun.’

“Even though we had lost that day, it was some good football played between us. When it was over with, it was emotional — very emotional — because I made a lot of great friends there and family members there that I call family now.

“The biggest thing is I’m here now. This is one of the greatest opportunities for me in my career. And it’s a great, great opportunity to come be part of an organization that wants you at this age.

  • Buccaneers HC Bruce Arians said of RB Leonard Fournette (ankle): “He’s good to go. He’s practiced full and he’ll reassume his role. He’s ready to go.” (Adam Caplan)
  • QUESTIONABLE for Week 7: S Andrew Adams (hamstring)


Falcons’ TE Hayden Hurst said that his rapport with QB Matt Ryan has been improving each week and that the two plan on becoming more comfortable with one another.

“I think it’s developing each week,” Hurst said, via Jason Butt of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. “We didn’t have (an exhibition season), so it’s hard being the new guy kind of finding my way in this offseason. I think Matt’s trusted me, and he’s gauging my speed and my size, and how I run routes — using my speed and my size to get open on guys. It’s just an ongoing thing that we’re working on. I think the past couple of weeks it’s gotten better, especially this week. We’ve done some more one-on-one stuff. Hopefully, that comes to fruition. Like I said, it’s an ongoing relationship. The more I can show him what I can do on Sunday, the more he’s going to trust me.”

  • QUESTIONABLE for Week 7: DE Takkarist McKinley (groin)


  • Katherine Terrell of The Athletic writes that if the Saints were to consider making a trade right now, it likely would be for defensive help.
  • Terrell mentions that the Saints’ interest in Jadeveon Clowney is a clear indication that they either coveted him or were worried about their defensive line or possibly both.
  • Should the Saints sell off pieces, Terrell considers DT Sheldon Rankins to be the most logical candidate, considering that he’s in the final year of his contract and has come up as a potential trade candidate in recent months.
  • Another trade possibility for New Orleans is QB Jameis Winston.
  • As for players the Saints could target as additions, Terrell lists Texans DE J.J. Watt, Bengals DE Carlos Dunlap, Washington EDGE Ryan Kerrigan, and Cowboys DE Everson Griffen.
  • Sean Payton confirmed that WR Emmanuel Sanders tested positive for COVID-19, but says this is something he got at home. 
  • According to Payton, they’ve conducted 20 tests on people who might have been near Sanders and all came back negative. CB Ken Crawley was exposed to Sanders so he is also being placed on the COVID-19 list. (Nick Underhill)
  • OUT for Week 7: G Nick Easton (concussion), WR Michael Thomas (ankle, hamstring)
  • QUESTIONABLE for Week 7: S J.T. Gray (hamstring)
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