NFC Notes: Falcons, Panthers QB Competition, Saints


Falcons DC Dean Pees expects the team to open up the playbook defensively this year after only utilizing the basics last year.

I kind of know [that] the guys that are back kind of know what to expect,” Pees said, via PFT. “You know what we’re really looking for. Last year, I’d say we put in, at the end of the year, maybe 60 percent of the defense that we really want to run. This year, it’s going to be 100 percent.


While the Panthers have said publicly and privately that new QB Baker Mayfield will have to compete for the starting job, he’s widely considered the heavy favorite to win given how poorly QB Sam Darnold played in 2020. However, it doesn’t seem like there will be much tension in Carolina’s QB room, as Darnold reached out proactively to Mayfield after he was traded to help him set up workouts with his new receivers. 

“Sam reached out, got my number first,” Mayfield said via Darin Gantt of the team website. “We’ve been talking about how to get the guys together the last minute before camp. It’s been great. Sam just wants to win. That’s just who he is. Our personalities might be different, but that doesn’t mean we don’t have the same goal, and that’s to win and help this team out. I’m really looking forward to being in that room with him and just challenging each other, and elevating each other.”

Mayfield said the competition is actually something he’s looking forward to with the Panthers, as he’s always done better with a chip on his shoulder. 

“I want to be a starter, I want to be a franchise-level quarterback for years, and hopefully, it’s here in Charlotte,” he said. “But for me, it was about competing, getting to a place where the competition is going to make me get better. And I want a level playing field, and I want to elevate the guys around me and be the best version of myself.

“I know it’s not going to be easy by any means, I’ve got to go earn it, but I’m looking forward to the competition and the challenge.”


Saints S Chauncey Gardner-Johnson is not one to hold back, recently saying he believes that he is part of the best defense in the NFL.

“Of course, I mean from the first level, second level, third level,” Gardner-Johnson said via “You got Cam and the front to pop it off, Shy, Marcus Davenport. Then you got Demario in the middle calling all the shots. . . . You saw what they were doing last year with . . . Pete, Elliss, all those guys in the middle. Then the back end, bringing in the Honey Badger. We just had a Super Bowl safety, two-time Super Bowl safety (Malcolm Jenkins), and now we are bringing in another hometown hero, who won a Super Bowl, Pro Bowler. So he knows, and we know what to expect. We’re just going to go out there and dominate and take advantage of the opportunity. Cause all this talent, why not? Can’t waste it.”

Looking for the latest NFL Insider News & Rumors?

Be sure to follow NFL Trade Rumors on TWITTER and FACEBOOK for breaking NFL News and Rumors for all 32 teams!

Leave a Reply