NFC Notes: Buccaneers, Falcons, Saints


Buccaneers GM Jason Licht said QB Tom Brady‘s decision to come back essentially paved the way for HC Bruce Arians‘ departure, but not in the way other reports suggest. Arians has wanted to turn things over to his assistants for a while but was planning to stay on to try and shepherd them through the transition away from Brady. When Brady came back, it was the perfect time to hand things over to new HC Todd Bowles and OC Byron Leftwich

“He’s got such loyalty to his assistants,” Licht said via Sports Illustrated’s Albert Breer. “He wanted to promote one of his assistants to head coach, in this case Todd — and he thinks the world, and we all do, of Byron. And we’re all very confident Byron’s gonna be a head coach, maybe next year. But we started talking about that, ‘If Tom doesn’t come back, he’d said, I’m not gonna leave you high and dry. I’m gonna help you weather this storm with whoever the quarterback’s gonna be.’ Out of loyalty, of course, but he also wanted to make sure his coaches had a chance. And I know that he was probably thinking if we won six, seven games, we would probably open the search up next year — no guarantees.”

Licht reiterated once again Arians stepping away had nothing to do with any friction between him and Brady. 

“I don’t like to keep the fire burning, but I’m telling you, these guys have a great relationship,” Licht says. “I know there’s a lot of conspiracy theories out there, and I know you feel like you know Bruce, a lot of people do because he’s such an open book. But if you really knew him — the hours upon hours that I’ve spent with him, or his people have spent with him, his staff, going on four decades — it’s no surprise that he would do this. He’s all about giving and all about paying forward. I mean, he’s been instrumental with the league in setting up rules to interview minorities. It’s just him. He’s got a huge heart, his whole family. … It’s just … it’s in their DNA.”


  • Falcons EDGE Lorenzo Carter said his goals for 2022 are to set the team’s “culture and tone.” (Michael Rothstein)
  • Falcons OL Elijah Wilkinson said he’s “most comfortable” playing as a right tackle. (Michael Rothstein)
  • Falcons WR Damiere Byrd‘s one-year, $1.187 million deal includes a $247,500 of his  $1.035 million salary guaranteed and a signing bonus of $152,500. (Aaron Wilson)
  • Falcons S Dean Marlowe‘s one-year, $1.187 million deal includes a $152,500 signing bonus, and $147,500 of his $1.035 million salary is guaranteed. (Aaron Wilson)
  • The Falcons invited North Carolina OT Jordan Tucker to their local prospect workout day. (Aaron Wilson)
  • Aaron Wilson reports that Pittsburgh LS Cal Adomitis is working out for the Falcons and Bengals and has workouts scheduled with other teams as well. 


Saints QB Jameis Winston took his time returning to New Orleans in free agency this offseason but is ready to pick up where he left off by continuing to improve his game.

“I can do everything your favorite quarterback can do,” Winston said, via Mike Triplett of ESPN. “Hopefully I’m your favorite quarterback…I wanted to know that teams could value me at least a quarter of what I value myself as. And now I have that opportunity, I’m gonna do my best, and I’m gonna make the most of it. I’m really excited to focus on my intermediate accuracy. Getting those easy completions to Alvin Kamara. We saw that in the [victory at the Seattle Seahawks last year], how effective that was. You know, really perfecting the passes from behind the line of scrimmage to 10 yards down the field. I know I can make the big plays, but really just staying in the rhythm of completing the football, and keeping the offense going throughout the course of a game is something that I’ve been able to focus on…I’m excited to focus and work on that even more with this being the second year. … I’m excited to continue to grow as a quarterback, to grow as a leader, and to grow in this offense and get things rolling.”

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