NFC Notes: Buccaneers, Panthers, Saints


Buccaneers QB Tom Brady talked about how much of an advantage it is to have as deep and talented a receiving group as Tampa Bay has, with receivers Chris Godwin, Mike Evans and Antonio Brown. While it can be difficult to get everyone as many targets as they may be used to getting or think they deserve — Evans had just three catches last Thursday — Brady believes the benefits outweigh the hassles.

“It’s a great luxury for a quarterback,” Brady said, via “I’m sure it can be frustrating for a receiver. Because you know most great receivers that I’ve been around want the ball a lot. But our guys are very unselfish. I’d say there’s been times in my career where we’ve been really limited at those positions and you try to force the ball to one particular player.

“Every time the defensive coach calls the defense, he’s trying to take away something. And when you’re limited on skill players, you’re trying to force the ball to one person regardless of the coverage. That’s a bad way to play.”


Panthers HC Matt Rhule defended OC Joe Brady and the offensive playcalling, particularly within the red zone.

I had no issue with the play calling. We had a seam route to (TE) Ian Thomas that we have to throw and catch, and that’s a touchdown. We had a fourth-and-1 that walks in if we don’t put the ball on the ground,” Rhule said, via The Athletic. “We had a guy open again (on another possession). I thought Joe called a good game down there. I just think we have to execute better. I say that, that starts with me as the head coach (with) practice and all those different things.

Rhule added that the team needs to do a better job of protecting QB Sam Darnold in the pocket.

Sam was under too much duress, too much pressure,” Rhule said. “I thought he was fearless. He stepped up (with) pressure in his face. We have to do a better job collectively of protecting the quarterback.

  • The Athletic’s Joe Person reports the Panthers would still owe the Giants a seventh-round pick if they re-sign K Ryan Santoso, but he doesn’t expect that to happen.


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