NFC Notes: Buccaneers, Panthers, Saints


Buccaneers TE Rob Gronkowski said the team has to re-learn how to win after winning the Super Bowl last year.

“It’s difficult, its difficult to win a preseason game,” Gronkowski said, via “It’s difficult to win on a daily basis, week to week. Just being in the league forever, whatever’s in the past is in the past. It doesn’t matter if you won the Super Bowl last year. That was great getting that ring, celebrating it. But that’s bye now, bye-bye. It’s a new season. We just got to focus and we got to get better every single day, and we got to find ways to get better. Because everyone’s coming at us, throwing whatever they got at us and we got to be ready for it.”

  • Buccaneers’ HC Bruce Arians talked about first-round pick LB Joe Tryon meeting expectations: “Oh, more than [met them]. He hasn’t been in pads in, what, two years? He’s whipping a lot of guys’ asses. That says a lot about him. He’s carving out a real, real nice role for himself.” (Adam Schefter)


  • The Athletic’s Joe Person notes Panthers sixth-round WR Shi Smith isn’t necessarily a lock to make the roster. He thinks the team could get him to the practice squad if other receivers like Keith Kirkwood make themselves more valuable on special teams. 
  • If Panthers TE Ian Thomas doesn’t bring his A-game to camp, Person thinks he’ll lose his roster spot to Colin Thompson
  • Person believes this year is the end of the road in Carolina for former second-round OT Greg Little, while there’s one spot on the roster for either sixth-round G Deonte Brown or UDFA G David Moore, with the other hopefully clearing waivers to get to the practice squad. 
  • He notes 2020 draft picks like CB Troy Pride and CB Stantley Thomas-Oliver are firmly on the roster bubble this year. 
  • Panthers LB Jermaine Carter has gone from 218 pounds to 230 pounds and impressed HC Matt Rhule, which could earn him a bigger role: “He looks like a big linebacker. I think we see some good things from him when we put the pads on and get into the games. That’s when the next step for him has to happen.” (Person)
  • Rhule mentioned CB A.J. Bouye “pulled something” in practice on Monday. (Person)


In preparation for the starting quarterback competition this year, Saints QB Taysom Hill changed his offseason routine a bit. In Hill’s prior role, he did everything from play special teams to blocking and running routes at tight end. As a quarterback though, the requirements are different and he shifted his training to reflect that. 

“I think as a thrower it’s important to have a stronger backside than it is your frontside shoulder, and it’s natural to work your frontside muscles than it is your backside,” he said via the Athletic’s Katherine Terrell. “I can tell you for me historically when I get sore it’s all your (decelerating) motions from taking so many reps and throwing so many balls. So throughout my career here, I was always trying to find that balance of being strong enough to do what I was going to be asked to do, but still be able to throw a ball and so forth. So there was definitely a transition there.”

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