NFC Notes: Tom Brady, Buccaneers, Falcons, Panthers


When making an appearance on WDAE Radio, Rick Stroud of the Tampa Bay Times said that former Buccaneers HC Bruce Arians is “extremely unhappy” that the organization fired several assistant coaches like OC Byron Leftwich, WR coach Kevin Garver, RB coach Todd McNairDL coach Lori Locust, offensive QC Jeff Kastl, and specialists coach Chris Boniol. 

“Not happy. Very unhappy. Extremely unhappy,” Stroud said, via “Having had some interaction with him about it … he’s disappointed. You know, he’s disappointed. I guess that’s the biggest thing. You know, he wanted Todd to have this opportunity. He wanted to keep this staff together. He wanted these [coaching] families to be together; many of them have another year on their contracts. Many of them thought they would be here as long as Todd is the head coach, were told as much, and that’s not the case. And so he’s hurt by it. I don’t know if you’re going to see him around much next year.”

  • ESPN’s Jeff Darlington says it was a tough year for Buccaneers QB Tom Brady in a lot of ways, both on and off the field. He adds Brady felt the issues in the preseason, including when he took an 11-day break away from the team, impacted his focus and helped tank the season before it even began. He was impacted physically too, losing 15 pounds at one point.  
  • Darlington says Brady has been inclined at times this season to return to the Buccaneers to “be a part of the solution.”
  • However, there are at least two teams who plan to try and lure Brady this offseason, per Darlington. Sources also told him the play-calling was frustrating for many in the organization.
  • Ultimately, Darlington says Brady is going to take some time to heal and decide what he wants to next season. There are still people close to him who would like him to retire. 


Falcons GM Terry Fontenot notes that after two seasons of getting over salary cap issues, the team will now be able to focus on what it needs without worrying about how it will pay for it. 

“We had a plan from the very beginning, and now we’re in the next phase of that,” Fontenot said, via Michael Rothstein of ESPN. “This is going to be a different offseason than we’ve had in the previous years. Yet, we’re still going to be smart, we’re still going to handle things the right way, we’re still going to set parameters and have discipline with everything that we do.”

Falcons HC Arthur Smith added that the team’s young pass rushers need to take the next step in 2023. Atlanta spent second and third-round picks on Arnold Ebiketie and DeAngelo Malone but got just 3.5 sacks total from them as rookies. 

“Clearly, we want more. We know that’s an area of improvement,” Smith said. “It’s not just because we took two young edge guys that magically, you had Lawrence Taylor Year 1. So, there are a lot of things as we build, strategically, and other pieces that you add along with it, and the development of these young guys. That’s how, to me, we need to take another step, but there’s a lot of moving parts to it.”


  • Sports Illustrated’s Albert Breer reports the Panthers deliberated over two other candidates before choosing Frank Reich as their new head coach including interim HC Steve Wilks and Cowboys OC Kellen Moore.
  • NFL Media’s Ian Rapoport adds the Panthers will quickly move to hire a defensive coordinator and have already met with candidates like Eagles defensive consultant Vic Fangio, Saints DB coach Kris Richard and Jets S coach Marquand Manuel.
  • Colts DC Gus Bradley is another coach to keep an eye on, per Rapoport, though he’s still technically under contract in Indianapolis. 
  • According to the Athletic’s Joseph Person, the Panthers’ front office was impressed by OL coach James Campen last season and hopes to retain him for their 2023 coaching staff. 

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