NFC Notes: Falcons, Panthers, Saints


Falcons’ OC Dave Ragone was asked about getting first-round TE Kyle Pitts and WR Russell Gage involved in the gameplan early. 

“I’m sure he answered it the way that Coach Smith saw fit in terms of that question,” Ragone said, via D. Orlando Ledbetter of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. “For me, in general with these players, anybody especially in the skill positions, if you ask any of them, they probably want the ball early just to get involved, just to touch the ball. But the reality, is that sometimes coverage dictates where the ball goes at times. You might have good intentions to get someone the ball and the coverage might take it away. You are taught and we tell the quarterback to go where the coverage tells them to go. Again, everybody wants to touch the ball early and get involved but the reality is that sometimes your intentions are met by the reality of the defense’s intentions and the ball goes somewhere else. It’s our goal to get our playmakers the ball. There is no doubt about it and we feel like we’ve got a good assortment of those guys. Again, it’s our job as coaches to make sure that we do that.


Panthers’ QB Sam Darnold said that the team has to do a better job executing in the red zone and put the pressure on himself when asked if there was any player he wanted to play with in the red zone.

“We have to do a better job of executing down there,” Darnold said, via “And that starts with myself, obviously, and we gotta make the plays that are thrown. We gotta throw and catch. We have to do a better job of just executing down there. I don’t think it’s anything that’s a huge ‘What happened there?’ It’s more of just pitching and catching and getting on their blocks and getting into the end zone.”


The Saints have undergone a COVID-19 outbreak which has kept out six offensive assistants. Despite this, QB Jameis Winston believes the silver lining is being able to work one-on-one with HC Sean Payton

“We got to experience one of the best offensive mind head coaches ever in the game one-on-one like a staff meeting running the team,” said Winston, via Schuyler Dixon of the Associated Press. “I’ve never been in that room of watching tape with Sean, of going through situations with Sean and voicing how he would like something done. I do care about the health of our coaches, and I want them to get them back. But if they just want to let him run the meetings, I would really enjoy it.”

Winston reiterated that there’s an added benefit of working closely with Payton. 

You have so many voices from different coaches and different agendas that a coach might want to get done throughout the day,” said Winston. “When you’ve got the main guy, the guy who really runs the show, our primary leader running the show and voicing to you what he wants, how he wants it, why he wants it, that’s what you live football for.”

  • Saints’ OL coach Brendan Nugent will attend Sunday’s game while assistant HC/DL Ryan Nielsen and pass-rush specialist coach Brian Young will not due to COVID-19 protocols. (Adam Schefter)

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