NFC Notes: Buccaneers, Panthers, Saints


Buccaneers DC Todd Bowles believes the younger players on his defense are still on the rise including players like ILB Devin White, S Mike Edwards, and CBs Jamel Dean and Sean Murphy-Bunting, who are all entering their second year in the NFL. 

“Physically, they’ve grown. Mentally, they’re still puppies,” Bowles said, via Jenna Laine of ESPN. “They played what we called last year and they played it well; they understand what we’re doing on defense. But this year, they have to graduate mentally to understand what the offenses are trying to do to them to get a better grasp of the game that way.”

Bowles said the Buccaneers’ defense must do better in terms of disguising coverages, but he expects them to improve by “leaps and bounds” in that department. 

“We’ve gotta get better from a disguise [coverage] standpoint of understanding the details of the defense. I think we can take leaps and bounds in that aspect,” Bowles said.

Bowles added that the Buccaneers’ addition of Tom Brady will help “sharpen” their defense. 

“Playing against a guy that’s gonna come after you every day can only sharpen you,” Bowles said.

As for other improvements, Murphy-Bunting said the Buccaneers’ secondary must create more turnovers after missing out on a lot of opportunities last season. 

“What we need to make our secondary known for is creating turnovers and getting interceptions,” said Murphy-Bunting. “We had a lot of plays where we were in position to make a play and we didn’t, or we broke the pass up. And obviously, those things are always good, but at the end of the day, we want to be great.”


Panthers’ new HC Matt Rhule said he is comfortable with their guard position despite losing Trai Turner, Greg Van Roten, and Daryl Williams this offseason. 

I feel good about that position. We have some young guys and we have some vets that could all get in there and battle it out,” said Rhule, via Tim Weaver of PanthersWire

Rhule added that G Michael Schofield, who was signed as a free agent, can play both tackle and guard roles. 

Schofield to me is a guy that can play tackle, can play guard… To me, he’s a guy that’s still young as an offensive lineman. He’s really smart, really tough. Brings a ton of versatility.”

Rhule also praised Panthers’ second-year OL Dennis Daley and pointed out how they signed veteran G John Miller. 

We see Dennis Daley, a guy that really played well at times last year — his best football is right there in front of him. . . Another guy that was on the roster last year, and you go back and watch the tape and say he’s got a chance to be a really good player if we can do it right on our end is Chris Reed. And obviously, we signed Johnny (Miller).

  • Ben Volin of the Boston Globe thinks the Panthers will be more affected by the unique challenges of the 2020 season given they’re installing an almost entirely new coaching staff led by HC Matt Rhule, OC Joe Brady and DC Phil Snow


  • Ben Volin of the Boston Globe thinks the Saints are positioned well to weather the unique challenges of the 2020 season given how much continuity they’re bringing back. 

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