NFC Notes: Buccaneers, Panthers, Saints


Buccaneers HC Todd Bowles has confidence in Baker Mayfield and points out that he scouted him coming out of Oklahoma back in 2018. 

“I thought he was a heck of a player,” Bowles said, via BucsWire. “I had spent some time with him down there in Oklahoma, we hit it off pretty good that way. I thought Baker was one of the few people that had the mental fortitude to actually [play] in New York… you can’t just have anybody play in New York. Certain people have to be tough-minded — I thought Baker was one of those guys.”

Bowles wouldn’t call Mayfield or Kyle Trask their starting quarterback at this point in time. 

“We don’t have a starter right now,” Bowles said. “We know Baker has played in games and Trask has not, but we’ve watched Trask over the years and we like some of the things he does, and we’re going to give him the chance to play and compete and see who comes out. We told Baker this coming in — it’s not anything new that he doesn’t know.”

Bowles wants to see who can command the huddle and which quarterback the team begins to rally behind. 

“Obviously, the practice is important. The communications of the guys, the leadership in the huddle, accuracy. You gotta make plays of course in this league to win ballgames, and who commands the huddle and who the team runs behind more, they give you the best chance to win — and that’ll be sorted out over time.”


Panthers UDFA LB Bumper Pool explained his name and his injuries, which at one point hindered him from running and eventually required surgeries to repair the labrums in both of his hips.

“I was just in so much pain that I finally got to the point at the end of the season (where) I was like, ‘Coach, I can’t even run,’” Pool said, via Joe Person of The Athletic. “I always just played as hard as I could. If you’re out on the field playing hard and being where you’re supposed to be, you can get those statistics. But for me, I just love football. So hurt or not hurt, I was gonna play as hard as I could.”

“My dad just said he was going to name his first son ‘Bumper.’ When I was born, everyone just started calling me it and it stuck,” Pool said when asked about his name. “Growing up, a teacher would ask me to write ‘James.’ And half the time I was like, I don’t even know how to spell ‘James.’ When I was in preschool, I know how to spell ‘Bumper.’ I’m 5.”

Panthers DC Ejiro Evero commented on Pool joining the team, noting he will likely be getting the chance to prove himself in the preseason. 

“Very, very productive player in college. And so far has come in and done a nice job,” Evero said of Pool. “I really appreciate — in the few days we’ve been together — his level of preparation. He’s really into it and really doing the things you need to do to be a good professional. … When preseason comes he’ll have a chance to make some plays and see what he can do.”

  • Panthers TE coach John Lilly on TE Tommy Tremble staying in Charlotte to workout with the team this offseason: “It’s kind of time for him to take another step.’’ (David Newton)


During a recent media interview, Saints GM Mickey Loomis spoke about the team signing TE Foster Moreau, who has been cleared to play following a recent Hodgkins Lymphoma diagnosis. 

“Well first of all, we brought him in because he’s a good player — versatile, well-rounded tight end,” Loomis said. “The fact that he’s from New Orleans and has a history at LSU and here really had nothing to do with our interest in him. And that’s emotional to come take a physical and discover something that’s unexpected. I know that’s tough on him and his family. And yet, they handled it so beautifully. And the great news is that the prognosis is good and even the treatment protocol that he’s under is going to allow him to do some things in this offseason, and hopefully play in the fall.”

“It’s pretty exciting because when you hear the diagnosis and you immediately think [about], A, his well-being — football becomes secondary,” Loomis added. “And then as it goes along and you get good news and hear optimism, that part of it is really exciting.”

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