NFC Notes: Falcons, Panthers, Saints


  • Via Pro Football Talk, Falcons HC Arthur Smith said they have “to play a lot smarter” than they have in their past two games. Atlanta has been steamrolled by a combined score of 68-3 by the Cowboys and Patriots. 
  • Smith said Monday “we became obvious” on offense and if they can find a way to play with more balance, it’ll put them in better situations. (Tori McElhaney)


Carolina’s thinking by re-signing QB Cam Newton was that competent quarterback play would go a long way toward helping push a team that already was playing at a high level on defense over the hump and into the playoffs. But in the Panthers’ loss to Washington in Week 11, it was the defense that failed to hold up its end of the bargain, surrendering 190 yards rushing in a 27-21 loss. 

“My message to the guys is, play great football and everything takes care of itself,” Panthers HC Matt Rhule said via Darin Gantt of the team’s website. “You can’t give up 190 yards rushing and say we’re still in the race. Good teams don’t give up 190 yards rushing. right? So let’s clean that up, let’s get the football right. It’s not about [Christian McCaffrey’s] back, [Cam’s] back, it’s about a whole team. The whole team has to execute. It’s about all of us and a sense of oneness where we play a lot better.”


Saints QB Trevor Siemian said the team isn’t feeling sorry for themselves due to injuries, and the urgency within the building to win is “high.”

I think we can do it. I think we have the players,” Siemian said, via The Athletic. “I think the one thing no one is saying is, ‘Hey, we’re dinged up.’ It’s the NFL. The train is moving. We’ll be ready to play Thursday. The urgency is high right now as it was before this game. (The urgency) is high, for sure.

The Saints were without a number of key players, including RB Alvin Kamara, who is the focal point of the team’s offense.

That’s part of football,” said RB Mark Ingram. “It’s tough, but I think regardless of the injuries, we were in a position where we could’ve left with a W today. Nobody cares about your injuries. Everybody has to deal with injuries. Everybody has to deal with obstacles. I don’t think the injuries caused us to lose this game today. I think that mistakes, turnovers … we all have our hands in it, I turned the ball over, which is unacceptable and I have to do better as an individual to help our team have success. We all have to improve, we all have to do better. The margin for error in this league is very slim.

Siemian notes that the turnovers he committed early put the team in a hole that was extremely tough to dig out of.

Three turnovers — two were (from) me in the first half,” Siemian said. “I’d be curious to know what the percentage is on teams that turn it over three times and win the ballgame. I bet it’s pretty low. So that’s on me. I put our team in a hole early and it’s just too tough to dig yourself out of that. Like I said last week, the margin for error is so small.

Siemian wasn’t about to take moral victories from garbage time stats.

Yeah, once you get (down by) three scores, you get a lot of shell defense and there’s a little more space back there,” Siemian said. “You’re not quite playing the game on your terms there. In the fourth quarter you’re getting chunks, but it’s really not chunks because you have to get back in the game so quickly. Or try to, at least. Everything looked pretty bad going into halftime and then (the Eagles defense) loosened up. They looked like they were trying to squeeze the ball on offense a little bit. Just didn’t do enough.”

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