NFC Notes: Buccaneers, Lions, Saints

     

Buccaneers

One of the pretty evident ways it was clear Buccaneers TE Rob Gronkowski enjoyed his year off from football is the way the hulking former Patriot shrank to a little bit more of a normal size. In fact, Gronkowski says this past year was the first time his weight dropped below 260 pounds since his senior year of high school. But now that he’s returning to the NFL, he says he’s almost put all the weight back on. 

“Now it’s time to build back upon it, put lean muscle on my body and get ready for the NFL season like I never have before,” Gronkowski said via CBS Sports. “It’s a different way, a different type of training style I’m doing and everything. I’m about 257 pounds right now. Everyone thinks I’m like 240, 230, but I’m basically four more protein shakes away from being at my playing weight. I’m excited about that. I’ll definitely be at my weight when it’s time to go. I’ll be at 260 to 265 when it’s time to roll.”

Lions

Before Lions QB Matthew Stafford went down with a back injury halfway through the 2019 season, he and Detroit’s offense were on a tear. Strictly prorating his stats over the rest of the season would have had Stafford pushing a 5,000-yard, 40-touchdown season. Heading into his second season under OC Darrell Bevell, Stafford is hoping the Lions can pick up where they left off. 

“It doesn’t hurt to be in a second year of an offense and not try to learn something new and try to be a rookie quarterback or second-year guy coming in,” Stafford said via Tim Twentyman of the official team website. “Definitely, I feel like it’s a positive for us as a team and for myself. When I get out there and throw with those guys, when I get chances to work with them I feel like I can teach them as good as our coaches can on what we’re looking for and what they need to do. That’s an advantage for us. Now let’s just hope that shows up on Sundays.”

  • Free-agent DT Mike Daniels said he absolutely would consider coming back for another season with the Lions: “Oh, yeah….Detroit had a bunch of hard, tough guys. That’s just the attitude. I really enjoyed that.” (GMFB)

Saints

Plenty of quarterbacks have made it a priority to find a way to work out with their receivers even amidst the current climate. However, Saints WR Michael Thomas said he hasn’t had a chance to catch passes from QB Drew Brees yet this offseason. He’s not worried, though, as the duo have arguably more on-field chemistry than any QB/WR pairing in the league right now. 

“Drew and I have played a lot of football together now,” Thomas said via Nola.com’s Luke Johnson. “So I think with just having that type of relationship, you go and do the work. Whether somebody is watching or not, you’re still going to find ways to get better. You’re still going to find ways to make sure you’re doing what Drew’s expecting you to do. That’s all.”

  • Geoff Mosher mentioned on the “Inside the Birds” podcast that the Saints are among the interested teams in free agent OLB Vinny Curry.
  • The Saints have officially named Shone Gipson their new head athletic trainer. (Luke Johnson)

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