NFC Notes: Falcons, Panthers, Saints

     

Falcons

  • Per Sports Illustrated’s Albert Breer, Falcons owner Arthur Blank said he fired HC Dan Quinn and GM Thomas Dimitroff because of the “lack of winning” both this season and over the past few years: “It’s a response to three-and-a-half years, post-Super Bowl.”
  • Blank noted both signed up under a playoff mandate this year and the slow start doomed them: “It’s pretty clear when you go 0-5 that’s not going to happen.” (Jason Butt)
  • Falcons team president Rich McKay will still have a major role in the organization, telling reporters: “The general manager will have final say on personnel and he’ll report to me.” (Breer)
  • McKay poured water on any idea of the Falcons having a fire sale and trading a number of players before the deadline this year. (D. Orlando Ledbetter)
  • However, Blank notably didn’t commit to Falcons QB Matt Ryan as the team’s long-term answer, saying the new general manager would be a part of that decision, as would Ryan: “I love Matt. … I hope he’s going to be part of our plans going forward but that won’t be a decision I make.” (Mike Garafolo)
  • Blank mentioned Falcons interim HC Raheem Morris is a candidate they will consider to take over full time: ”Absolutely. If Raheem ends up 11-0, he’ll be a candidate. I think in 11 games, he’ll have a chance to show his own capabilities.” (Vaughn McClure)

Panthers

  • Per Steve Reed of the Associated Press, Panthers RB Christian McCaffrey is set to undergo more tests this week to determine his availability. 
  • While McCaffrey is eligible to come off of injured reserve this week, Reed doubts he returns in Week 6 against the Bears, as high-ankle sprains are typically 4-6 week injuries. 
  • The Panthers are hosting RB Michael Warren for a visit. (Aaron Wilson)

Saints

  • The Athletic’s Katherine Terrell writes that Saints WR Michael Thomas and DB C.J. Gardner-Johnson have clashed going back to Gardner-Johnson’s rookie year last season. 
  • Thomas threw a punch at Gardner-Johnson in practice this weekend that resulted in him being suspended for this week. The two also nearly came to blows in practice before a game against the Seahawks last year. 
  • Terrell says Gardner-Johnson is a constant trash talker while Thomas treats practice as seriously as he does games, including yelling at officials when they’re present. She adds Thomas’ attitude gets under the skin of other players sometimes, too, and Gardner-Johnson was a part of a group of players telling Thomas to “stop crying” in a minor spat during camp. 
  • Saints DT Sheldon Rankins has a bone bruise in his thumb after injuring it while punching at a ball in practice. He’ll wear a club and play through the injury though. (Nick Underhill)
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