NFC Notes: Falcons, Lions, Packers


Falcons QB Matt Ryan was excited when the Falcons drafted TE Kyle Pitts with the fourth pick.

“I was fired up!” Ryan said via Albert Breer. “I mean, I watched this guy play through college, so it was like, Oh, alright, let’s go! I was watching it with my wife, and I think she was probably more fired up than me.”

Ryan said he is already enjoying learning HC Arthur Smith‘s new system.

“There’s a natural level of excitement that comes from it being different,” Ryan said. “And I love Dan [Quinn] and I love Thomas [Dimitroff], have so much respect for those guys, and I learned a ton from them. And I think that’s going to serve me better moving forward with a new staff. But there is excitement. It’s a little different. There’s a different energy, a level of wanting to prove yourself, show what you can do, all of that stuff is there.”

“I think it makes it exciting, keeps it fresh for a guy in Year 14 and certainly provides plenty of motivation and gives you the energy to get out of bed and get moving.”


Lions’ OL coach and former NFL C Hank Fraley is expecting big things from G Halapoulivaati Vaitai, who is still making the transition from tackle to guard. He also points to the fact that the Eagles were able to win a Super Bowl with Vaitai as their left tackle.

“Yeah why wouldn’t you,” Fraley said, via “That guy can do a lot of things that a lot of people in this league can’t. He’s athletic he’s big. He can move the line of scrimmage. He can pull. He can pass protect. He’s played a lot of ball. (The Eagles) won a Super Bowl with him playing left tackle. I’m excited for him.”

  • Sports Illustrated’s Albert Breer confirms the Lions did have interest in Iowa State HC Matt Campbell but things never progressed to the point where a contract offer was made. 
  • Breer says Campbell has a relationship with Lions executive Chris Spielman and the organization had several conversations indicating interest. The Lions were preparing to fly in and interview Campbell in person before he took his name out of the running for the job. 
  • Breer adds five of the seven teams with openings this past coaching cycle reached out to express interest in Campbell, so he should have plenty of options going forward. 
  • Lions defensive assistant Kelvin Sheppard will now coach outside linebackers. (Justin Rogers)


  • Ravens director of player personnel Joe Hortiz, who is friends with Packers GM Brian Gutekunst, said he thought they were going to take WR Rashod Bateman with pick No. 29. He also praised Bateman’s route-running and polish. (Jamison Hensley)

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