NFC Notes: Buccaneers, Panthers, Saints



There are far more pros than cons to the Buccaneers’ signing of QB Tom Brady, who instantly should put the team into the conversation as Super Bowl contenders. But Brady and the Buccaneers will have to navigate 20 years of habits the Hall of Fame quarterback built up in New England. Embracing that challenge is part of why Brady moved on from the Patriots, though, and Buccaneers OC Byron Leftwich is working closely to help him transition to Tampa Bay’s offense.

“I think the greatest challenge is this: He’s been somewhere for 20 years,” Leftwich said via Kyle Wood of the Tampa Bay Times. “You guys know, some of you may have worked at the same job for 20 years. And you’ve done something for 20 years in one spot and there’s change, it’s automatically different. It doesn’t matter if it’s for better or for worse, it’s just different. And I try to communicate with him. I want him to just talk football. I know you’ve been saying things a certain way for so long. . . . So it’s not a play that he hasn’t heard of. It’s not a play that he hasn’t ran. Now we just got to figure out what he does well and make sure we run a lot more of those plays on Sunday than not.”


  • The Athletic’s Mike Sando lists the Panthers as a team that should pursue free-agent QB Colin Kaepernick. When Sando polled NFL evaluators in 2016 before Kaepernick’s protest, he was generally seen as a high-level backup. 
  • Panthers ST coordinator Chase Blackburn said K Graham Gano‘s rehab from a knee injury is going well. Blackburn adds the team feels fortunate to have two established kickers competing with Gano and Joey Slye: “We’ve got two very capable kickers with really talented legs.” (Myles Simmons)


  • ESPN’s Mike Triplett notes the Saints still haven’t revealed if first-round OL Cesar Ruiz will play center or guard. 
  • Either Ruiz or last year’s starting C Erik McCoy will slide out to replace Larry Warford at guard, with training camp providing the answer per OL coach Dan Roushar: “Those things will be determined as we come to camp and attack this thing.”
  • Saints TE coach Dan Campbell cautioned that it might take some time for third-round TE Adam Trautman to develop: “With the exception of Drew Brees, nobody has to know more about this offense than our tight ends do.”
  • However, Campbell raved about Trautman’s potential, saying he could be better than both TEs ahead of him on the depth chart in Jared Cook and Josh Hill: “I’d like to think before it’s all said and done, he’s a hybrid of those two players. He’s able to do the dirty work that Josh Hill does, but yet he’s got receiving ability kind of like Cook.”
  • Sports Illustrated’s Albert Breer mentions Saints HC Sean Payton as a member of the $10 million a year in salary club among NFL head coaches.
  • Saints RB coach Joel Thomas says no one knows how much RB Alvin Kamara went through to play through knee, back and ankle injuries in 2019. (Nick Underhill)
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