NFC Notes: Michael Penix Jr, Chase Young, Falcons, Panthers, Saints


When the Falcons added first-round QB Michael Penix Jr. and QB Kirk Cousins in the offseason, many were confused as the two moves seemed to conflict. Atlanta HC Raheem Morris believes it’s on Penix to focus on his development as Cousins has to worry about winning, not mentoring a young quarterback.

“I think the onus really belongs to Michael when it comes to those things,” Morris said, via Myles Simmons of Pro Football Talk. “Kirk is trying to win a Super Bowl, Kirk is in full-blown preparation mode to set the Atlanta Falcons up for the best success that they can possibly have. And I think you get no better person to sit behind than a Kirk Cousins type of guy. Obviously, there are probably better arguably on other people’s teams but I’m talking about the one on our team.”

“I just think it’s a great experience for Michael and I think he will learn a lot from watching him move and move in silence with his guys. He’ll learn on the run because really it’s empathy and humility of Michael that’s going to come out more when it comes to learning those types of things. And I think that’s the most important part of it all. Everybody wants to make Kirk have to tell him what to do, but really he is showing him what to do by his everyday movements and his actions.”


Panthers seventh-round LB Michael Barrett recalled the moment he was picked by Carolina, saying that he was overcome with emotion when selected in the seventh round of the 2024 NFL Draft.

“A couple of tears, a couple of screams,” Barrett said via ESPN’s David Newton. “When you’re in that moment that everything in your life has built up to, and the thing you want to happen doesn’t happen, it can get you upset. I’m the kind of person that doesn’t say much. But I had to let a couple out.”

Barrett considers himself to be the “steal of the draft.” 

“I’m most definitely the steal of the draft,” Barrett said. “Carolina got a great player, a great teammate, a great person, a heck of an athlete. I really like to say they got me on a sale.”

Panthers HC Dave Canales is confident Barrett will learn from LBs Shaq Thompson and Josey Jewell

“His instincts, his ability to communicate, really a sound football player,” Canales said. “I can see him learning everything he can from Shaq and Josey.”


New Orleans added free agent DE Chase Young in free agency to bolster their pass rush alongside DE Cameron Jordan. While Young is still recovering from neck surgery, Jordan is excited about their potential on the field together.

“I think Chase Young is going to be great for our defense,” Jordan said, via Christian Gonzales of “We already got Carl Granderson, who’s stellar these last couple of years. I think with growth him being on the opposite side when he gets the right health, physically. He’s going to be another piece we can add on.”

“At some point in my mind, I’m spinning like it’s going to be me, Chase and Carl Granderson on the field at the same time on a crucial third down and I’m probably going to have to go in the middle. I don’t care. Whatever it takes. I’ll line up and be that Za’Darius Smith over the middle roaming and trying to get active. I think it adds another weapon to our defense.”

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