NFC Notes: Buccaneers, Panthers, Saints


Buccaneers RB Ronald Jones has been catching on quickly as he works with QB Tom Brady. Bucs HC Bruce Arians said that Jones is expected to be the team workhorse while the other younger running backs will fight for roles in the offense.

“RoJo is the main guy,” Arians said of Jones, via Rick Stroud of Tampa Bay Times. “He’ll carry the load. All of those other guys are fighting for roles, (for) who goes in second when he gets tired, maybe who is the third-down guy.”

  • Buccaneers GM Jason Licht said they knew Brady and TE Rob Gronkowski were close, so beyond a tight end being a quarterback’s best friend, they couldn’t pass up the chance to add their quarterback’s actual best friend. (Stroud)


  • The Athletic’s Joe Person writes if none of the options battling for the No. 3 tight end spot stand out, Carolina could try and make a waiver claim to address the spot. 
  • As for the backup quarterback battle between 2019 third-rounder Will Grier and former XFL standout P.J. Walker, Person says it could come down to who knows the playbook best. 
  • Person mentions Panthers WR Pharoh Cooper, signed this offseason, likely has the inside track at a roster spot because of his return experience. Fellow free-agent addition WR Seth Roberts is the most experienced member of the rest of the receiving corps battling for a spot. 
  • Person says Panthers 2019 sixth-round OL Dennis Daley and free-agent G John Miller are the two current leaders to start at guard. He adds new G Michael Schofield has experience under current OL coach Pat Meyer and the team plans to test 2019 second-round OT Greg Little at guard as well. 
  • Panthers LB Jermaine Carter is the current favorite for the third starting linebacker spot in base defense, per Person, with Andre Smith, Adarius Taylor, Jordan Kunaszyk and UDFA Sam Franklin pushing Carter and competing to round out the pecking order. 
  • Person lists Panthers EDGE Marquis Haynes as a player on the bubble heading into camp, while adding HC Matt Rhule praised what UDFA DE Myles Adams has done so far in conditioning work. 
  • Panthers DE Stephen Weatherly is ready to start for Carolina after he played primarily as a rotational end for the Vikings: “I feel like I’m ready to go out there and show what I’ve got for sure.” (Myles Simmons)
  • Weatherly admitted he considered opting out because his family wouldn’t be able to come to road games but they gave him their blessing to play. (Person)
  • So far, Weatherly has been impressed with Panthers first-round DT Derrick Brown: “He’s big. I mean, I’m big. But he’s BIG. And he doesn’t move like he’s big.” (Person)
  • Panthers K Joey Slye said he hasn’t changed his mentality since winning the kicking competition by default when Carolina released veteran K Graham Gano: “Pretty much have the same mental approach whether Graham was going to be here or not. For me, things really haven’t changed. Since he has been gone I’ve been doing the same thing I had been doing.” (David Newton)


  • Bleacher Report’s Master Tesfatsion confirmed the knee injury Saints RB Alvin Kamara suffered in Week 6 against the Jaguars was a torn MCL. 

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