NFC Notes: Falcons, Panthers, Cam Newton, Saints


Falcons QB Matt Ryan said WR Russell Gage has done a good job filling in for WR Calvin Ridley.

“I just think he’s done a great job of staying in the scheme, doing exactly what we’re asking him to do,” Ryan said, via Michael Rothstein. “Not trying to do too much. Trying to be open in the timing of the play. We talked about that all the time. We love you to get awesome separations, but it’s got to be within the timing of the scheme.”

Gage mentioned it’s just a matter of staying patient and waiting for his turn.

“If you’re doing everything right, the ball is going to find you,” Gage said. “You know, you’re going to have weeks where you don’t get many targets at all, and you’re going to have weeks where you have a lot of targets. Defenses, they vary from week to week, so you don’t really know. You have to stay the course.”


  • The Athletic’s Joe Person says most NFL insiders expect the Panthers to move on from QB Cam Newton again after his contract expires at the end of this season.
  • However, Person raises the possibility of Newton coming back to play a Taysom Hill-style role in red zone and short-yardage packages. 
  • When asked if he’d accept that kind of reduced role, Newton responded he is focused on winning. (Person)
  • Regarding Rhule declaring Sam Darnold (shoulder) will have some playing time in Week 16, Newton said it’s not a “distraction” for him: “It’s a distraction if you make it a distraction.” (Person)
  • Newton added he’s not thinking about Week 16 possibly being his final game at Bank of America Stadium: “There’s no need to dwell on that right now. And if I’m being honest, I’m worried about winning.” (Joseph Person)
  • Panthers WR Robby Anderson believes any criticism against Newton is unfair because their losing streak isn’t necessarily his fault. (Person)
  • Panthers DC Phil Snow said that he likes DE Yetur Gross-Matos aligning on the outside over the tight end on first- and second-downs, while rotating to tackle on obvious passing situations. (David Newton)
  • Snow added that he expects “to see a lot of growth” from Gross-Matos over the final three weeks of the season. 
  • Panthers CB C.J. Henderson refused to comment on his experience under former Jaguars HC Urban Meyer before he was acquired by Carolina but added Meyer and Rhule have “different approaches” to coaching. (Person)
  • Panthers DE Brian Burns earned a fifth-year option wage increase by being elected to the Pro Bowl. (Brad Spielberger
  • By not being named to the 2022 Pro Bowl, Panthers OLB Haason Reddick missed out on a $1 million incentive despite reaching 11 sacks. (Michael Rothstein)


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