NFC Notes: Buccaneers, Lions, Packers



Regarding suggestions that the Buccaneers’ gameplan is putting Tom Brady in a position to call plays he’s uncomfortable with, OC Byron Leftwich said Brady has “quite a bit of involvement” in their gameplan and calling plays. 

“You hear the critics, and I know they’re chipping. Some of those folks had said that it seems like Tom is trying to play someone else’s offense. But I know that he does have quite a bit of involvement in the game planning and even calling some of the plays. So can you just kind of speak to his level of involvement in taking control of this offense?,” said Leftwich, via ProFootballTalk

Leftwich added that he understands the questions about the Buccaneers’ offense and Brady’s struggles this season. 

You guys know how I am, I tell you this all the time,” Leftwich said. “The quarterback is the offense. I say that all the time. Remember, I understand that it’s still a version of entertainment, so something has to be said. And when plays don’t work and when things don’t work, that’s what comes with losing in this league. We all accept that, we understand that. All we can do is hopefully get the next opportunity where we can be in position to do the right thing so we can have the opportunity to win the football game. It’s hard to win week in and week out, we understand that. Everyone expects us to win every game. We get that. But our job is to go out and prepare ourselves and get in position to try to win every football game also. So we understand those responsibilities.

  • Buccaneers’ HC Bruce Arians provided the information that CB Jamel Dean will not play on Sunday due to a concussion and that LT Donovan Smith will be a game-time decision. (Jenna Laine)
  • The Bucs are also still waiting to see if LG Ali Marpet will clear concussion protocol after missing three games. Marpet was a full participant in practice this week for Tampa Bay.


Lions’ owner Sheila Ford Hamp said that Saturday initiates their search to “find the right leadership” at head coach following the decision to fire HC Matt Patricia. 

“Our efforts to find the right leadership for the Lions begin today,” said Hamp, via Tori Petry

Hamp called the Lions’ 20-0 loss to the Panthers in Week 10 and 41-25 loss to the Texans on Thanksgiving “extremely disappointing.” 

“Both of those games were extremely disappointing. It seemed like the path going forward wasn’t what we wanted it to be,” said Hamp, via Petry. 

She added that the last two games contributed to Patricia and former GM Bob Quinn‘s dismissal, but it “clearly wasn’t working.” 

“It clearly wasn’t working. It wasn’t what we had hoped for when we hired them,” said Hamp, via Petry. 

Hamp reiterated that firing Quinn and Patricia was the “right thing” to do for the organization. 

“I wanted to do the right thing by this organization, and that’s the bottom line,” said Hamp, via Petry

As for the upcoming search, Hamp promised to do an “extremely thorough and comprehensive” search for both positions. 

“I promise you we are going to do an extremely thorough and comprehensive search for both positions. We’re going to lean on all sorts of resources and the league will probably be one of them,” Hamp said. 

  • According to Kyle Meinke, the Lions’ top personnel executives will report to team president Rod Wood. 
  • Hamp mentioned that she does not intend on changing Wood’s role past this season. (Petry)
  • According to Adam Caplan, Lions’ personnel director Lance Newmark will oversee the team’s personnel department for the remainder of the season following former GM Bob Quinn‘s release on Saturday. 


Packers’ LB coach Mike Smith elaborated on the current situation developing between LB Rashan Gary and LB Preston Smith, with some pundits concerned that Gary deserves more playing time than Smith.

“Rashan is playing too well and he deserves more reps,” Mike Smith said, via Matt Schneidmann of The Athletic. “He’s proven himself in practice in the week and he’s feeling good and he’s in a good place. It’s all starting to come together for him. He definitely deserves more reps. Since the day he walked in the building, you knew there was something special. I saw it in training camp (this season) and really the first two games of the season and then he had the hiccup with the ankle that set him back two or three weeks. Just picking up the defense and now that’s natural to him, and then the techniques of an outside linebacker. We all know he’s explosive, he’s fast, loves football, is very physical. Right now, he’s doing a great job with the run, he’s affecting the quarterback. He’s playing really good football right now. The game’s slowing down for him. Couldn’t be more proud of him. The more we get going, the more reps he’s going to get and he deserves more reps.”

Smith addressed the issue that Preston Smith’s weight may be affecting his play on the field.

“Might be a little bit,” Mike Smith said. “It’s one thing with Preston and all these guys – Z, RG, they’re naturally big guys. You’ve always got to monitor their weight. The same thing when I had Justin Houston (in Kansas City), especially getting around these holidays, it can get really crazy. I think the thing with Preston is just staying positive, staying focused. He just has to use his power more. When you’re dancing in place, shaking back and forth, all that type of stuff, you’re going nowhere. You got that, and then some high rushes. You’ve got long arms. God gave you long arms for a reason. You can scratch your ankles standing up, so get that long arm in there and start getting these guys to set and swipe. That’s the thing I’ve noticed the last couple of weeks with him. I think it’s going to start coming around for Preston because I know he wants to be good, and he’s frustrated.”

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