NFC Notes: Buccaneers, Falcons, Saints

Buccaneers

Buccaneers QB Tom Brady feels the team was “still an ascending football team” at the latter portion of 2020, which gives him optimism for what their ceiling could be in 2021.

“Our team at the Bucs has done some really cool things over the course of last season, that I really want to see, how committed we are to improving those processes. I thought we got really good toward the latter end of the season, and I thought we were still an ascending football team,” he said via SiriusXM NFL Radio.

Brady didn’t elaborate on a candid moment on HBO that got a lot of run a couple of weeks ago, but hit again at teams that passed on him as a free agent. 

There’s private things for me that are going to remain motivational for me,” Brady said. “They know who they are … it’s fine. Everyone has a choice to choose. I think what you realize is, there’s not as many smart people as you think. That’s just the reality. I think it’d be a no-brainer if you said, ‘Hey, you’ve got a chance to get Wayne Gretzky on your team, or you got a chance to have Michael Jordan on your team.’ … ‘Oh, we don’t need him, no thanks. We’re good.’ In my mind, I’m kind of thinking, ‘OK, let me go show those teams what they’re missing.’ At the same time, let me go prove to the team that did bet on me, and the team that really showed they really wanted me, and committed to me, that I’m not going to let them down.”

Falcons

  • Even after the Falcons drafted Kyle Pitts in round one, Scott Bair of the team website thinks TE Hayden Hurst will still be involved enough in the offense to beat his totals from 2020 of 56 catches for 571 yards and six touchdowns.
  • Bair also expects veteran TE Lee Smith to make the team handily, with the potential for Jaeden Graham to also make the roster as the No. 4 tight end.  

Saints

  • The Athletic’s Katherine Terrell points out the Saints’ situation at defensive tackle is suddenly dire after David Onyemata‘s six-game suspension. The top two options based on snaps last year would be Shy Tuttle and Malcolm Roach but New Orleans would be relying on them to take a step forward that they currently haven’t shown. 
  • The Saints also have a pair of former Bengals in Ryan Glasgow and Christian Ringo who have flashed some potential in the past but since then have had their career derailed by injuries. 
  • Terrell highlights former UDFA Jalen Dalton as someone to monitor, as he’s the biggest defensive tackle on the roster and had a good shot to crack the final team last year before tearing his triceps in training camp. 
  • A collection of current and past undrafted free agents round out the group, including Josiah Bronson, Albert Huggins, and Lorenzo Neal
  • Terrell expects the Saints to make some kind of addition at defensive tackle, but points out most of the veterans available — Geno Atkins, Jurrell Casey, Kawann Short and Corey Peters — are coming off major injuries. 

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