NFC Notes: Tom Brady, Buccaneers, Falcons, Panthers, Saints


Buccaneers HC Todd Bowles said Tom Brady will miss their first two preseason games for a personal reason which has been discussed prior to the start of training camp.

“Tom has been excused today. He’ll be taking — he’ll be back somewhere around after Tennessee. He’s going to deal with some personal things,” Bowles said, via the team’s official Youtube. “This is something we talked about before training camp started. We allotted this time because he wanted to get in and get chemistry with the guys and go through two weeks of training camp, knowing he wasn’t going to play the first two games. He didn’t want to take away reps from Blaine [Gabbert] and Kyle [Trask] as well as ‘Griff’ [Ryan Griffin] as far as going into these next two games. And it’s something he needs to handle. We trust him. We talked about it. It was scheduled way before training camp and he will not be here until after Tennessee.”

Buccaneers GM Jason Licht added that Brady’s absence was “pre-planned” and is “the least of our concerns.”

“All I’ll say is this was pre-planned, we talked about this, it pre-dates camp starting that he wanted to take this time off. Of course, we’re going to let him do what he needs to do. He’s as focused as ever, he’ll come back even more focused and it’s the least of our concerns. It gives some of our other guys some opportunities; Blaine [Gabbert] and Kyle [Trask], we ran the ball pretty good today. We’re not worried about it, it’s not a real bid deal to us,” said Licht, via Zac Blobner. 

  • Bowles added he has a “pretty high level” of confidence that Brady will play in Week 1, though notably not guaranteeing it: “Mine’s pretty high… There’s no doubt. Obviously there’s always going to be doubt, but I have a pretty high level of confidence.”  (Greg Auman)
  • Bowles said Brady’s excused absence was planned and is a situation the quarterback needed to handle: “It’s something he needs to handle. We trust him. It was scheduled way before training camp that he will not be here until after Tennessee.” (Auman)
  • Bowles doesn’t think Brady’s absence will inhibit the offense’s development this preseason: “I don’t think it stops it at all. We have a system in place. We have guys we want to see. It gives us a chance to see backup quarterbacks and the receivers trying to make the team.” (Auman)
  • Ian Rapoport mentioned on the Pat McAfee Show that Brady’s absence is not health or family related, but is an attempt to find a good “work/life balance”: “To my knowledge Tom Brady & his family are fine & it’s not a medical emergency.. the best description I got was it’s important to find a work/life balance.”
  • Bowles indicated WR Russell Gage tweaked his hamstring on Wednesday and is considered day-to-day. (J.C. Allen)


  • The Athletic’s Josh Kendall has an updated 53-man roster prediction, with some of his biggest changes leaving off WR Auden Tate, WR Frank Darby and LB Nick Kwiatkoski
  • He notes Tate and Darby are candidates for the practice squad, along with UDFA WR Jared Bernhardt. Tate and Darby have been seemingly passed by WR KhaDarel Hodge, however. 
  • While Kwiatkoski was signed this offseason and has familiarity with some of the defensive staff, Kendall points out Falcons LB Deion Jones seems to be a bigger part of the team’s plans than previously realized, and if he stays, there probably isn’t room for Kwiatkoski. 
  • He expects the team to try and bring Kwiatkoski back to the practice squad if he doesn’t get interest elsewhere. Falcons OT Rick Leonard is another strong PS candidate. 
  • Kendall mentions guys like DT Anthony Rush and CB Mike Ford are making strong bids to start at key role positions like nose tackle and nickel corner. 


Panthers QB Baker Mayfield has drawn praise from HC Matt Rhule for the amount of offense he has been able to grasp in his first ten days.

“He’s definitely improving as he gets more and more of a feel for what he can do at the line of scrimmage. What he’s done in 10 days is pretty impressive. He’s making really good jumps,” Rhule said, via Scott Fowler of the Charlotte Observer.

  • Panthers OC Ben McAdoo said that there is no bad blood between Mayfield and QB Sam Darnold this offseason: “As long as we don’t resort to cannibalism, I think we have a chance to get out of this pretty good.” (


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