NFC Notes: Buccaneers, Panthers, Sam Darnold, Deshaun Watson



  • Panthers HC Matt Rhule said G John Miller‘s ankle injury is “pretty bad.” (Joe Person)
  • Rhule added while QB Sam Darnold will start this week, he doesn’t regret benching him on Sunday: “I think I made the right decision yesterday.” (Jonathan Jones)
  • Rhule mentioned he isn’t sure where the report of the team’s interest in QB Deshaun Watson came from: “I know there is a report out there. You guys know that wasn’t from me. I have nothing to add to that.” (David Newton)
  • Rhule said he and OC Joe Brady met to try and figure out the issue with the offense. (Person)
  • Rhule pushed back on the thought of replacing Brady as the offensive play-caller: “I wouldn’t say that now.” (Newton)
  • On third-round OT Brady Christensen, Rhule said he wasn’t good in his first appearance on the left side: “To be quite honest, Brady (Christensen) struggled.” (Person)
  • Rhule expects OT Cam Erving to return this week but is less sure about CB Stephon Gilmore, DB Juston Burris and LB Shaq Thompson. (Person)

Sam Darnold

Panthers HC Matt Rhule wasn’t ready to say that QB Sam Darnold isn’t the guy to lead the team into the future, but did acknowledge that they need better play out of the quarterback position in order to win.

Nope. I wouldn’t say that,” Rhule said, via the team’s official website. “Obviously, it wasn’t what we wanted. I’ve been on record; quarterbacks go through ups and downs and highs and lows. Look at (Giants quarterback) Daniel Jones tonight. He went through the same kind of game last week (four turnovers in a loss to the Rams), and he came out tonight and played great. Sam’s got to take care of the football. Sam’s got to throw on time. And if it’s not there, find the check downs. We can’t be driving with a chance to take the lead and throw interceptions. His sense of urgency this week, I expect to be heightened. I try to put that sense of urgency on our coaches, obviously it didn’t show up. We have to coach better, and our players have to play better, and that starts with the quarterback.

Deshaun Watson

  • ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler reiterates multiple teams are interested in potentially trading for Texans QB Deshaun Watson, including the Dolphins and Panthers. 
  • Fowler adds he was told directly Watson is willing to consider multiple options and it’s not “Miami or bust” in terms of waiving his no-trade clause. 
  • Fox Sports’ Jay Glazer says another team has entered the bidding for Watson but came away with the impression that the offer from the Dolphins is currently the one to beat. Glazer adds Houston’s asking price is currently in the realm of three first-round picks and two additional picks or players. 
  • NBC Sports’ Peter King writes that he’s heard the NFL won’t tell any team what it plans to do should a team trade for Watson and try to activate him, though others have reported the league would not place Watson on the commissioner’s exempt list. 

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