NFC Notes: Buccaneers, Falcons, Saints

     

Buccaneers

When asked about who will start between Buccaneers RBs Ronald Jones and Leonard Fournette, HC Bruce Arians said they will determine their starting running back throughout the offseason and preseason process. 

“No. That will all be defined through practice and OTAs and training camp and preseason,” Arians said, via Jenna Laine of ESPN. “There are no starters. This is a new football team. I made that message clear when they left, that that team won the Super Bowl. This team hasn’t done s—. All those things will be defined in practice.”

Arians feels Fournette and Jones were “really good” options last season, but he still expects a “breakout year” from Ke’Shawn Vaughn.

“Those guys. They all know what the system is. The best players are gonna play,” Arians said. “Obviously we had two really, really good ones at that position, and I really like Ke’Shawn Vaughn. I think with an offseason, he’s gonna have a breakout year also. All those roles will be defined when we get to the last week of the preseason.”

As for the possibility of re-signing free-agent WR Antonio Brown, Arians said the receiver has other offers and is taking a wait-and-see approach. 

 “[We’re] just gonna take our time. There’s offers out there, and we’ll see how it goes,” said Arians. 

Arians expects Buccaneers TE O.J. Howard (Achilles) to be “ready to go” for training camp but he hasn’t fully recovered yet. 

Yeah, he’s real close,” Arians said. “He’s not running on the grass yet, but he’s really close. The last time I checked, he was 80, 85% bodyweight running on Ultra G, and he looks fantastic. I don’t see any setbacks. If and when we can get together this offseason program, on the field, he’ll be ready to go. What a huge addition to have him back because he was having a great year. … The sky’s the limit for what he can do in this offense.”

Falcons

After being drafted sixth overall by the Browns back in 2013, LB Barkevious Mingo has had to get used to moving around to a new team each year.

“It’s taken some getting used to,” Mingo said, via Jason Butt of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. “I will say that I’ve come to like the idea of playing on a different team. I guess most people wouldn’t say that — you want to stay on one team your whole career. … It has its ups and its downs, its challenges, and its rewards. I like to look at it from the standpoint of I’m getting to meet a lot of different people, learn from a lot of different people and play with a lot of different people. Ultimately, I feel like it’s helped my career from that standpoint.”

After playing for the Seahawks, Texans, and Bears, Mingo is now hoping for the opportunity to reunite with Falcons’ OLB coach Ted Monachino once again in his career.

“It’s more so a trust factor, I can say. He’s a trustworthy person,” Mingo said. “He tells you exactly how he sees it and doesn’t hold anything back. As a player, we all respect that. He’s not going to BS you. He’s going to say this is how it’s going to be. If it’s in his control, that’s the way it’s going to be. And I respect him and love to play for a coach that way.”

Mingo spoke about the role he would be playing with the Falcons, although said it isn’t his decision to make.

“I’m open to playing as much as they need me to,” Mingo said. “I think as a competitor, you want to be able to be on the field and have an impact. That hasn’t changed for me. I love playing this game and I love it more when I’m on the field playing the game. We’ll discuss that later, it’s not my decision to make.”

Saints

  • ESPN’s Mike Triplett notes the Saints have a major decision to make with DE Marcus Davenport this offseason, as a decision on his fifth-year option is due by May which will guarantee him $9.5 million in 2022. 
  • Davenport has flashed the talent that prompted New Orleans to spend a future first to trade up for him but injuries have held him back from establishing consistency. 2021 is a key season for him though the team, including DE Cameron Jordan, is optimistic he’ll step up to the challenge: “Marcus is a physically blessed athlete that has shown flashes of how good he could be when healthy. This year will be the year to affirm that the flashes he has shown already can be a constant.”

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