NFC Notes: Buccaneers, Panthers, Saints


When asked about possibly missing a chance for the NFL Hall of Fame, former Buccaneers HC Bruce Arians said that he doesn’t care about those accolades and has been eager to step into a front-office role. 

“A number of people have already asked, why are you stepping away from a chance to go to the Hall of Fame and win another Super Bowl?” Arians said, via Kevin Patra of Around the NFL. “Because I don’t give a s— about the Hall of Fame. Succession is way more important to me. This has been my dream for a long time. Guys that know me, they knew I wanted one of my guys to take over. And that’s more important to me than anything, and have a place that I could go and be welcomed back. And obviously, I have a job now and the title’s pretty good. We’ll figure out what the hell it means, but it’s pretty damn good. And I get to stay and have the relationships that I love, and I couldn’t turn it over to a better person. We’ve been together, I’d hate to say how many years, age both of us. Todd’s going to do a great job.”

Arians said that he considered retiring following the 2022 season and felt that Tom Brady‘s return made it easier for him to walk away. 

“I thought about it after the season, but again, it wasn’t right,” said Arians. “Obviously, going through the combine, going through that process, and trying to build next year’s team without Tom. And then when Tom said he’d come back, I said, now it’s easy. Now it’s easy. We’re in the best shape we’ve ever been. It’s no better time to pass the torch than now. I don’t know what February brings, but I know what today brings and it makes me really happy.”

Arians confirmed that he has a “great relationship” with Brady and they frequently kept in contact after the quarterback’s initial decision to retire. 

“We have a great relationship,” Arians said. “I mean, all of the players — there are a few of them here — every one of them’s gotten cussed out, including him. So that’s just part of me, you know? That’s nothing new. But we have a great relationship. As soon as he retired, I think we texted every week. ‘Where you at? What are you doing? When are you gonna come play golf? When are you getting back down this way?’ And so… People gotta write s—, and it couldn’t be further from the truth.”


The Panthers obviously still need a quarterback, and their top decision-makers were out in force last week at pro days for Liberty’s Malik Willis, Pittsburgh’s Kenny Pickett and Ole Miss’ Matt Corral. The trio is generally seen as the cream of this flawed crop, and there’s a good chance if Carolina uses a first-round pick on the position, it will be on one of these players. 

“It was good to actually see how they interact in person. That was the biggest thing. You were at Liberty’s pro day, you saw Malik. He brings a lot of energy,” Panthers GM Scott Fitter said via the Athletic’s Joe Person. “Even when he missed a throw or they dropped a pass, he was like, ‘Wipe it off.’ And you could feel the excitement in the building. That’s what you’re looking for in that position — someone that can lift those around him. And Malik showed he can do that. Kenny is like the very stable, easy, smart, delivers the ball. And then Corral has a little moxie to him, in his game. So they’re all different. But it was good to see them back to back to back, and feel their presence on the field.”

In a separate interview, Fitterer talked more about what he looks for in a rookie quarterback. 

“I don’t think it’s all about the physical tools. Obviously, there’s a certain baseline you need. You need the arm strength, you need some mobility, awareness in the pocket. You have to be able to process quickly,” he said via Jonathan Alexander of the Charlotte Observer. “But it really comes down to who is the guy. Is he the guy that’s poised? Does he have the command? Does he have the leadership? There’s a makeup you want in the quarterback position. That’s what separates him from the other guys. A lot of guys come in really, really talented, but don’t quite reach the potential that maybe they have because they are missing a few things. … That’s what we are trying to figure out.”


  • Saints GM Mickey Loomis said they still have “work to do” on their receivers group. (Nick Underhill)
  • Saints QB Andy Dalton said that he’s coming to New Orleans as Winston’s backup. (Mike Triplett)
  • Georgia OL Jamaree Salyer recently worked out for the Saints, and he has a workout upcoming with the Bengals. Salyer also met virtually with the Packers and Broncos, amongst other teams. He’ll also meet with the Raiders. (Justin M)
  • Baylor WR Tyquan Thornton had dinner with the Saints before his pro day. (Tony Pauline)

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