NFC Notes: Buccaneers, Panthers, Saints

     

Buccaneers

The Buccaneers’ 31-9 Super Bowl win shone a spotlight on the talents of their two primary coordinators — OC Byron Leftwich and DC Todd Bowles — who each put together masterful gameplans. Bowles interviewed for a few head coaching vacancies but wasn’t viewed as a serious candidate. No one even requested an interview with Leftwich. Hopefully their performance Sunday changes that. 

“If it does, it does. Hopefully so,” Leftwich said via Pro Football Talk. “Me and Todd were focused on what we needed to do to win the football game. To have this opportunity, to have three African-American coordinators on the same team and find a way to win the Super Bowl, obviously it will open people’s eyes, but I can’t speak on if it changes anyone’s mind or thoughts around the hiring process. All we can do is just coach football. All we are trying to do is help these men grow and be in the best position and be the best football players they can be. That’s our goal. Our goal is to help these players be at their best. Especially when you have these moments where you can grow. I still think we are getting better. I think a week from now, we will be getting better. Two weeks from now, we will be playing even better football. It’s exciting. I know it just happened, but I am excited about what we have coming back and what this team has become.”

  • Buccaneers HC Bruce Arians reiterated he has no desire to retire after winning the Super Bowl this season: “Hell no, I ain’t going anywhere. I’m trying to get two, and then we’ll see.” (Albert Breer)
  • Buccaneers TE Rob Gronkowski also sounds like he plans on giving it another go: “I’ll remain unretired. I’m a free agent … but I definitely see myself coming back.” (Nicki Jhabvala)
  • Arians said the impact of adding QB Tom Brady this season went beyond his production on the field: “It makes a total difference in your locker room. We came from behind two times from 17 points down. The leadership he brings … it permeated through our whole locker room, his belief that we’re going to do this.” (Greg Auman)

Panthers

  • The Athletic reports that while the Panthers do have a connection to Eagles QB Carson Wentz in player personnel director Pat Stewart, they’re not viewed as serious bidders for him. 
  • Carolina is expected to be far more interested in Texans QB Deshaun Watson if he’s made available and will offer more than the package they offered the Lions for Matthew Stafford.
  • Current starting QB Teddy Bridgewater might be untradeable due to his $23 million cap hit in 2021 and lack of teams who would be interested. But there’s a growing sense he could be back as a starter, as OC Joe Brady is a big fan. 
  • The sense is the Panthers will have to trade up from No. 8 overall if they want either Ohio State’s Justin Fields or BYU’s Zach Wilson in the draft. 

Saints

  • Pro Football Network’s Tony Pauline notes he’s heard the Saints mentioned as a potential landing spot for Bears QB Mitchell Trubisky in free agency. 
  • The Athletic reports that the Saints are widely seen as the landing spot for QB Jameis Winston as an unrestricted free agent this offseason. He’ll have a chance to compete for a starting job and is unlikely to be in high demand elsewhere. 
  • CBS Sports’ Jason La Canfora says some executives have reached out to the Seahawks to inquire about a trade for QB Russell Wilson and the Saints seem to be one of them. 
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