NFC Notes: Buccaneers, Falcons, Saints


  • The Athletic’s Greg Auman notes the signing of DL Akiem Hicks probably curtails the chances of Tampa Bay bringing back DT Ndamukong Suh
  • However, he adds it does not rule out Tampa Bay potentially re-signing TE Rob Gronkowski later this offseason, as the Bucs could structure Hicks’ deal in a way that leaves them plenty of cap space. 


Falcons QB Marcus Mariota called his last two years on the Las Vegas Raiders was a “learning opportunity” while playing behind Derek Carr

“For me personally the last couple of years was a learning opportunity,” Mariota said, via Charles Odum of the Associated Press. “Previously when I was at Tennessee I had an opportunity to play. I was a starter. Being around that and then going and learning for a couple of years, I’m kind of hungry to get back on the field again.”

Mariota doesn’t feel reluctant about taking a mentoring role to rookie QB Desmond Ridder

“Absolutely,” Mariota said. “I kind of always view that relationship in the quarterback room as important and special. I always felt that a good quarterback room can allow everybody to be better and allow everybody to grow. … At the end of the day if they’ve got questions or I’ve got questions, they’re a great set of eyes for me as well.”

Falcons HC Arthur Smith mentioned that they aren’t stressing Mariota to resemble Matt Ryan and wants their quarterback to be himself. 

“I’m not asking him to come in here and be Matt Ryan or be Peyton Manning,” Smith said. “Be Marcus Mariota. That’s what we want.”


Saints S Tyrann Mathieu highlighted the importance of attending voluntary workouts this offseason in order to build chemistry with his new teammates.

“Just being around teammates, being around the coaches, getting in the playbook,” Mathieu said, via John DeShazier of “I’m a player that, once I understand the playbook and the scheme, I can kind of let my anticipation, my personality show. I think it was just a big positive for me to be here, get to know my teammates, get to know the coaches and how everybody likes to roll.”

“It’s all about ball production,” Mathieu added. “A lot of times when I’m watching the tape, it’s a lot of plays out there that you can make. So it’s all about just getting the grasp of the defense, understanding how your coach wants you to see it and play it. And then from there, just kind of letting your personality show and your instincts take over.”

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