NFC Notes: Cardinals, Falcons, Saints

     

Cardinals

Despite the fact that Cardinals’ QB Kyler Murray has a sprained AC joint, HC Kliff Kingsbury is still expecting him to start.  

“I’m not sure about the extent of it,” Kingsbury said, via Katherine Fitzgerald of AZCentral.com. “Obviously, like we talked about (Thursday) night, he landed on it on that play, but that’s about all I know. You could tell that he was hurting a bit, but he pushed through it and gave us a chance to win at the end, which says a lot about his character and mental toughness.”

Falcons

  • Adam Schefter reports that the Falcons are putting a premium on promoting diverse candidates for their next general manager job. Schefter says this list includes former Texans GM Rick Smith, Bears assistant director of personnel Champ Kelly, Rams director of college scouting Brad Holmes and former Raiders GM Reggie McKenzie among other candidates.
  • CBS Sports’ Jason La Canfora says interim HC Raheem Morris is earning high accolades within the organization for his leadership and work on game day. Atlanta is 3-2 since Morris took over and he’s a viable candidate for the full-time role in 2021. 
  • La Canfora adds Steelers HC Mike Tomlin has been a champion for Morris for a long time, believing he deserves a second chance after becoming one of the youngest head coaches in NFL history with the Buccaneers. Tomlin works with Falcons president Rich McKay, who is spearheading Atlanta’s GM and HC search, on the competition committee. 
  • The Falcons were considering Saints assistant GM Terry Fontenot for their general manager opening but a league source tells La Canfora that the new minority coach/GM hiring rule could affect their interest: “The Saints are their main rival, they know the Saints are in cap hell (in 2021) and New Orleans has done a great job in the draft. Is it worth them getting two straight extra third-round picks — possible 10-year starters — just to hire their assistant general manager? They like Terry a lot, but I’m telling you, that’s a very real factor in the discussion. I’d be shocked if they did based on what I’ve heard.” 

Saints

Saints QB Taysom Hill led the team to win over the Falcons in his first NFL start. While h played well, Hill said he’d give his performance “a B, B-plus.

“I don’t know,” Hill said, via Pro Football Talk. “I haven’t seen the film yet. At first glance, honestly, I was happy with the game. Disappointed of the fumble and I feel like that was my biggest indicator going into the game was make sure we take care of the ball. Overall, we did that and again I was disappointed of the fumble I had. So maybe a B, B-plus with that.

Hill mentioned that he spent a lot of time preparing for the start with Drew Brees

“I spent so much time with Drew [Brees] preparing for the game,” Hill said. “And he was so great. I would say maybe the best advice I received was being patient, letting the game come to you, not feeling that I need to press in any way and make the plays when they come your way.

Hill added that there are areas he’s focused on improving leading up to his second start. 

I think a couple of throws I was a little disappointed in,” Hill said. “Ones that just kind of slipped out of my hands. . . . I think those things are easy to clean up. . . . I think that drives that went really well we were in and out of the huddle, and I think that’s one of the things that makes us so difficult to defend. . . Our tempo when we’re at our best is really good. I would just say making sure that I run and manage everything inside our offense at a really efficient level so we can play with speed and great tempo.”

  • ESPN’s Adam Schefter reports the NFL is still investigating the Saints not wearing masks during a postgame celebration a couple of weeks ago. The team is arguing no discipline is warranted because other teams have also not worn masks during celebrations. 
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