NFC Notes: Falcons, Panthers, Sam Darnold, Deshaun Watson


Falcons WR Calvin Ridley said he’s been working on his footwork on the agility ladder every day and feels it will help his breaks in route running. 

“Every day, just coming out here and hitting the ladder. That literally will change my footwork. I’m snapping it down and trying to get out of breaks. Just the ladder will help me transition out of my breaks faster. It just takes, you know, reps. If you do it every your feet are going to get better. That’s anybody,” said Ridley, via D. Orlando Ledbetter of the Atlanta Journal Consitution. 

Ridley called route running an art form and mentioned that he takes a lot of inspiration from Hall of Fame WR Jerry Rice

“It’s not a science. It’s an art. It’s art. It’s drawing. It’s lines. It’s separation, angles and stuff. That’s really what it is. I like Jerry Rice a lot. I think he did it the right way. Speed, cutting and just getting the defender to think (you’re doing) something else is what I’m trying to do. What I’m trying to look like kinda, if that makes sense.”


Panthers GM Scott Fitterer said first-round CB Jaycee Horn is already showing the vocal presence and toughness this preseason that made him a compelling option for their pick in the first round. 

Panthers Helmet

“He’s vocal. He’s tough,” Fitterer said, via David Newton of ESPN. “A lot of guys can be vocal and not back it up. Jaycee’s a guy who backs it up.”

“That’s the attitude and toughness that we want our team to be identified with,” Fitterer added.

Horn said it’s Carolina’s “standard” to play physically and thinks he fits into the system. 

“It’s a standard we’re supposed to be at,” Horn said. “We play hard, fast and physical, and that’s just the standard. I see myself fitting right in with that. Any time I’m doing something to hurt the team, I won’t let the receiver get in my head and get me to do [something]. I’m a smart player; I know when enough is enough.”

Sam Darnold & Deshaun Watson

Panthers’ new QB Sam Darnold is getting comfortable in the team’s offense but says there needs to be more focus on the minor details ahead of the season.

“We just need to fix the details, for me personally,” Darnold said, via “Just clean up some of the reads. I think that’s the biggest thing from tonight. I think if something’s not there, understanding where my outs are.”

  • Jonathan Jones reports that the Panthers are not entertaining a trade for Texans’ QB Deshaun Watson at this time.
  • Joseph Person reports that while things could change, the Panthers are currently uninterested in Watson and are looking forward to starting the season with Darnold at the helm.

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