NFC Notes: Buccaneers, Falcons, Saints


Bucs HC Bruce Arians says DT Vita Vea‘s weight is close, but not exactly where the team wants it to be.

He looks good,” Arians said, via PewterReport. “He’s almost got his weight where it needs to be. We had a nice target date of next Saturday, so I think he’ll hit it.

Arians said the team has given Vea a target date of this Saturday to shed the weight to reach his target goal.

While he still has a few pounds to shed, Arians is confident that Vea can meet that goal.

[He has] Only about three or four [pounds to lose],” Arians said. “He probably sweat it out today, so if he’s smart he’ll go jump on the scale now.


Falcons HC Arthur Smith was hands-on with first-round TE Kyle Pitts during a practice session Monday, working with the fourth-overall pick on executing routes and the nuances of the position.

We’re throwing a lot at Kyle,” Smith said, via “It’s like I told him, it’s a long journey, and you try to remind these guys but there’s little nuances then there’s things that he’s going to have to learn on his own. I tell him obviously, Justin Peele can tell him pretty good and then he’s got veterans in the room. There are certain things we’ll ask him to do that (TE) Lee Smith has never done.

Smith added that mental reps will help slow the game down for the rookie.

Sometimes in the act of doing it, it slows down, showing things in the classroom, you may have film of clips of other guys, here’s how they done it. Some guys need to feel it. Like I said there’s a lot of different ways to teach. That was just an example right there. We were working, just kind of going through the nuances there.

Smith added Falcons OLB Dante Fowler will be expected to earn his role following a stint on the COVID-19 list, but the team expects it to be a significant one.

We’re in a position where we can try to increase his workload every day,” Smith said. “He hasn’t been able to practice for multiple reasons, but now he’s back and he’s fired up ready to go. We like guys that want to go. He wants to do more, and we have to pull him back a little bit, but it’ll be a several-week evaluation. We got a lot of outside linebackers on the roster right now. There are good opportunities in these preseason games, and then hopefully we can make the best objective decision for the team.


Saints HC Sean Payton said he did not expect CB Patrick Robinson‘s decision to retire on Tuesday prior to talking things over with the veteran cornerback. 

“No,” Payton said, via John DeShazier of the team’s official site. “Normally you don’t. He’s played in this league a long time. He and I spoke for about a half an hour, and he’s had a great career. He’s been smart with his money and it was something that deep down inside he felt.”

Payton added that it isn’t unusual for players to retire during training camp and that Robinson clearly “felt comfortable with his decision.”

“It’s not unusual, really, in training camp. It’s happened a number of times. It’s hard to ever see somebody and how they’re feeling. When you have a large group of players like this, someone who has played as long as he has, he felt comfortable with his decision and certainly, we respect that. He’ll get on to his next chapter and we go from there.”

  • According to Ian Rapoport, it’s clear that the Saints and Michael Thomas‘ relationship is “not in a good place” after the receiver opted to undergo surgery in June against the team’s knowledge. 
  • As for the possibility of the Saints trading Thomas, Rapoport does not think that a deal is off the table but points out that it would be “complicated” given he’s still recovering from surgery and unable to be traded. The organization would also incur $8 million in dead money this season to go along with $22 million in dead cap in 2022. 
  • Saints HC Sean Payton said there’s no timetable on their decision to name a starting quarterback and would like to observe them in all three preseason games: “I’d like to see these guys operate, both of them, in all three of these (preseason) games. Certainly by the end of the preseason games and possibly maybe before that, a week prior to the last game.” (Dan Graziano)

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