NFC Notes: Buccaneers, Falcons, Saints



  • ESPN’s Jenna Laine writes the biggest question for the Buccaneers in 2020 is how they will integrate QB Tom Brady into a new offense for the first time since he entered the league. 
  • The abbreviated offseason is a challenge, as is the lack of a clear passing-down back, but Laine expects the Buccaneers to incorporate more short passing and be more selective with their deep shots with Brady under center. 
  • After that, the team’s biggest question is whether their bet on a young secondary improving will pay off. Tampa Bay added just S Antoine Winfield Jr. in the second round this year and will be relying on CBs Jamel Dean, Carlton Davis and Sean Murphy-Bunting to develop further. 
  • The Buccaneers claimed K Elliott Fry off waivers in May to push incumbent K Matt Gay. Buccaneers HC Bruce Arians wanted Gay to practice this offseason kicking toward the south end zone, which doesn’t have the benefit of the pirate ship shielding the wind, but that didn’t happen because of the pandemic: “When you look at the history of that stadium, that’s where most kicks are missed because of the crazy wind across that back side of the stadium. I think it’s definitely in his head right now, that end zone. The other end zone is no problem.”


  • The Athletic predicts Falcons WR Calvin Ridley will be the team’s breakout player in 2020 and make the Pro Bowl. 
  • Per ESPN’s Vaughn McClure, Falcons QB Matt Ryan was impressed by the deal Chiefs QB Patrick Mahomes signed: “Man, it’s a good time to be a QB in the NFL, right? I’m happy for him. He’s an unbelievable player; has had an unbelievable career so far. For him to kind of have that long-term security… like I said it’s a good time to be a QB in this league.”


Saints DE Cameron Jordan is sold on the potential that the team has as he enters into his tenth season as one of the NFL’s premier pass rushers.

“Absolutely, I’m heading into year 10. I love it,” Jordan said on SiriusXM NFL Radio on Monday. “I’m super excited about it. You know, there’s nothing in me that is telling me that our team isn’t close to a championship or being a championship-caliber team if you look at the last three years. You know, playoffs, playoffs, playoffs. Playoffs, NFC Championship, playoffs. This is something that we have to capitalize on. You talk about Drew Brees coming back, our addition of Jameis Winston. You talk about, you know, we lose Vonn Bell, we bring in Malcolm Jenkins. We go draft an outside linebacker in this Zack Baun kid. You know, Alex Anzalone going to be healthy. There are so many positives on paper, I just want to get back to the field and really see what we have.”

Jordan also thinks the potential pairing of Brees and Winston could help to put Winston on a new level, which might help the Saints in 2020.

“I mean, three years ago, we brought in Teddy [Bridgewater] and, you know, Teddy B. had sort of, you know, created his own thing,” Jordan recalled. “He was able to step in when Drew went down and went 5-0 when he was down. This year, you know, he goes off to Carolina, we bring in Jameis Winston. I don’t know if our window is minimizing. I think we’re maximizing everything we have on our table. Now, you know, you talk about Alvin Kamara, Mike [Thomas], guys who are electric playmakers who are young in their career, we’re going to capitalize on everything we can as a team. Again, so if Drew goes down, now we have Jameis, who you know can throw for over 4,000 yards. You know, can score touchdowns, who has the arm, and now is under, I would say, direct tutelage of one of the greatest quarterbacks to ever play the game. So, you know, now, I’m believing the hype. When Jameis said, ‘Hey, you know if I correct a couple of interceptions, I’m going to be the greatest quarterback.’ Now, we have the exact tutelage to get him in that realm.”

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