NFC Notes: Buccaneers, Falcons, Panthers


  • Buccaneers C Ryan Jensen suffered a knee injury during Thursday’s practice and was later carted off the field. 
  • Bucs GM Jason Licht said they drafted Robert Hainsey in the third round last year to set up good depth at center and added that they have confidence in him and Nick Leverett if Jensen is sidelined. (Greg Auman)
  • Licht said he feels terrible for Jensen but they no update on his knee injury at this time. It could be several days to receive a diagnosis due to swelling: “We’re hoping for the best.” (Rick Stroud)
  • Licht had high praise for third-round RB Rachaad White, saying he’s done “a fantastic job” and comparing his mature approach to Chris Godwin. (Greg Auman)


  • Per ESPN’s Michael Rothstein, Falcons C Matt Hennessy was snapping with presumed starting QB Marcus Mariota during warmups, but when they went into drills it was primarily C Drew Dalman working with the first team. 
  • Rothstein adds Falcons HC Arthur Smith has said they’re going to try to be as fair as possible to both in the competition and be very intentional about who is getting reps with the first and second team. 
  • Rothstein mentions OT Rick Leonard worked as the second-string left tackle, and while it’s early, it feels notable for his chances of making the team. 
  • On Thursday, Hennessy and Dalman switched spots with the first-team unit, while Elijah Wilkinson worked at left guard ahead of Jalen Mayfield. (Rothstein)


Panthers QB Sam Darnold spoke about the upcoming competition between himself and incoming QB Baker Mayfield, who many believe will earn the starting job and play against his former team in Week 1.

“It’s always fun to compete and to be able to have someone to compete with,” Darnold said, via “At the same time, in our eyes, we’re both the starting quarterback for this team right now, and that’s how we’re going to view it.”

“Any time you bring someone of Baker’s competitive level — the way he competes out there on Sundays, and not only on Sundays but also on the practice field — it can only help the room, and it can only help our team,” Darnold continued. “Me and Baker are cool. We’re going to be able to compete and have fun with it. But at the end of the day, this is a business, and we both take our craft and what we do very seriously. So it’s going to be very serious when it’s time to compete. But off the field and all that stuff, me and Baker are really cool.”

  • Panthers HC Matt Rhule told reporters they plan to keep splitting reps between Darnold and Mayfield 50-50 “for the immediate future.” (Joe Person)
  • Rhule said the team is talking to free agent cornerbacks and they would like to bring one in with Jaycee Horn on the PUP list and Rashaan Melvin retiring. (Ellis Williams)

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