NFC Notes: Buccaneers, Falcons, Saints, Jameis Winston


Former Buccaneers HC Bruce Arians quieted down any chatter that his relationship with QB Tom Brady is what caused him to leave his post in order to work more closely with GM Jason Licht.

“We have an absolutely great relationship,” Arians told “I stand behind the quarterbacks every day in practice now every single day. And we talk all the time. There was nothing to any of that stuff.”

Arians also admitted he had no problems turning the keys over to new HC Todd Bowles.

“I don’t like the hiring process,” Arians explained. “Once Tom came back, it was very easy for me to turn the whole thing over to Todd [Bowles]. Succession was very important to me. Being able to keep my hand in the pile, and let someone else coach the team. He’s a brilliant teacher. He has all of the respect of everybody in the building, the players, coaches, management, everyone respects him. He’s a heck of a coach. He should have been a head coach during the last two hiring cycles. There’s no doubt in anybody’s mind that he’s going to do a heck of a job.”

  • ESPN’s Jenna Laine reports Buccaneers C Robert Hainsey suffered an ankle injury against the Colts and OL Nick Leverett suffered a shoulder injury. Both are awaiting results from MRIs but should be ready to play in Week 1.
  • Bowles explained the team moved on from WR Tyler Johnson due to his lack of prowess on special teams, noting that despite providing value as a pass-catcher, he was unable to be a strong contributor on special teams as the fifth or sixth receiver on the depth chart. (Laine)


  • Falcons HC Arthur Smith denied that recently acquired OT Chuma Edoga will compete for the right tackle spot: “Nobody we claimed is competing for the right tackle spot. Everybody on this roster is competing to play, but I’m going to knock that narrative out of here.” (Josh Kendall)
  • Currently former first-round OT Kaleb McGary is slated to start on the right side in Atlanta. 


While rehabbing his torn ACL, Saints QB Jameis Winston took the opportunity to improve his intermediate accuracy this offseason. 

I have a plan every offseason of what I want to work on, and this year, probably because of my knee, I was able to work the intermediate game because I wasn’t able to drive the ball down the field as much,” Winston said via ESPN. “I always was confident in throwing the ball down the field. I just…wanted to improve on my intermediate accuracy.

Saints quarterbacks coach Ronald Curry pointed out how Winston has revamped his game in New Orleans. Winston was a gunslinger in Tampa Bay that was always looking for the home-run play, in the Saints’ offense, Winston is taking what the defense gives him and is playing safer, limiting turnovers.

The backs never really got out,” Curry said. “It was a big protection team, so he never really had to do that. Here, that was a big part of Drew’s game…You always had [Alvin Kamara], you had [Darren] Sproles, you had Reggie (Bush), you had those guys that we want to get out to patterns. And their stuff is 5 yards and in. It was like he had to train for one style of play, really his whole life, until the last three years. And that’s what he’s been working on, and I think he’s been doing a great job of it.

Winston believes that he made strides this offseason and believes that he’s going to be a much better quarterback this year.

I’m a different quarterback today than I was with my last game with the Saints,” Winston said. “I take a lot of pride in trying to and preparing to get better every single year…knowing everyone’s strengths and weaknesses and being more honest about my strengths and weaknesses. Every practice, every day, I’m evaluating myself to get better.

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