NFC Notes: Buccaneers, Rams, Saints


  • The Athletic’s Greg Auman writes it will be hard for Buccaneers third-round RB Ke’Shawn Vaughn to unseat RB Ronald Jones for the starting job before Week 1. 
  • Auman thinks Tampa Bay could still make an addition at outside linebacker for depth, mentioning Clay Matthews and Markus Golden, though he mentions Matthews would be cheaper and more likely. 
  • Buccaneers DC Todd Bowles says each of the safeties on the team have individual strengths and weaknesses and the goal is to use all of them in ways that play to their strengths: “We let elephants be elephants and giraffes be giraffes.” (Auman)
  • Bowles is expecting 2019 first-round LB Devin White to take a big step forward if he can stay healthy: “The biggest thing about Devin, obviously he got injured, is for him to stay healthy number 1, going in, and mentally get a better grasp… of the system going in and take command of the defense.” (Michael Giardi)
  • Buccaneers CB Sean Murphy-Bunting will continue to start on the outside while moving inside to nickel in those packages. (Jenna Laine)


The Rams underwent a significant makeover this offseason as they shed veterans whose contracts they couldn’t fit under the salary cap anymore. One of those appeared to be DT Michael Brockers, who signed a major free-agent deal with the Ravens. However, the deal ended up being voided when Baltimore had some questions about Brockers’ health and the veteran returned to the Rams. No one was happier about that than Brockers’ running mate along Los Angeles’ defensive line, DT Aaron Donald

“I was sick about that,” Donald said via NFL Media’s Steve Wyche. “Brockers is a huge part of the defensive line. Everybody always looks at the sack numbers but from a run stop production, he’s been there. One of the tops in the National Football League for the last couple of years. After they brought him back I was excited for him.”

  • Donald doesn’t see much of an issue for him with the league’s modified schedule, as he’s fairly accustomed to not working during OTAs: “I still have to get on grass and be ready as far as technique and things like that, but I’ll be ready, we’ll be ready to play.” 


  • While the Athletic’s Larry Holder says that Saints QB Drew Brees might not even know for sure if 2020 is his final season, he thinks all the signs are pointing that way. 
  • Holder expects WR Emmanuel Sanders to be a big upgrade from Ted Ginn, especially as a reliable target. Former third-round WR Tre’Quan Smith could step into Ginn’s role as a deep threat. 
  • Sports Illustrated’s Albert Breer mentions Saints CB Marshon Lattimore as a non-quarterback who could merit an extension this summer and could also help reset the cornerback market. 

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