NFC Notes: Tom Brady, Buccaneers, Panthers, Saints


Bucs QB Tom Brady said this offseason has been great for him, as he’s finally healed from a torn MCL that he suffered his final year in New England. Brady is finally getting the opportunity to fully prepare for this year.

(It’s been) a lot different,” Brady said, via Tampa Bay Times. “Last year was pretty tough, just from basically having the MCL reconstruction, and I basically tore it in my last season in New England and I went the whole offseason with a torn MCL. I didn’t get a reconstruction, because I thought it would just heal back. So I didn’t do anything. The following year, I just taped it, basically, every day. And then finally getting it reconstructed last year, it felt for the first time this offseason, it’s been really good.”

It’s been fun just to kind of, you know, run around a little bit. Work on some sprinting stuff. I know Aaron has probably rushed for more yards in a game than I have my whole career. But for me, it’s been kind of interesting to be able to train in certain ways. Like, a single leg jump. I haven’t done a single leg jump in I don’t know how many years, because I couldn’t do it because I never wanted my knee to be unweighted, because it was just kind of wiggling around. It’s been good this year to do it. Contrary to what Aaron said the other night, I haven’t been practicing,” Brady said. “I’ve got some stuff planned this weekend coming up. You said the other day that I’ve been practicing with my shoulder pads on and my helmet.


There’s still plenty of time before Week 1 for the Panthers to sign or trade for another potential starter at quarterback, but for now Sam Darnold remains the incumbent despite plenty of effort to try and replace him. Panthers HC Matt Rhule acknowledged there’s a chance Darnold gets a second crack at the starting job despite a dismal 2021. 

“What Sam’s been through this offseason’s hard. Your back’s against the wall. Everyone’s questioning, hey, can you do this or not?” Rhule said via the Athletic’s Joe Person. “And I think Sam has to have confidence in himself — his ability to work through and grind and develop — and at the same time identify the things he has to improve upon. I think we’ve seen a guy that’s shown up that’s got a little more edge to him, a little more, ‘Hey, I’m gonna go show people what I can do.’”

“Sam’s got all the tools,” Rhule added. “He’s got the arm. He can make every throw. He can get out of the pocket and run. I think when you look at areas when he’s struggled, when he’s gotten pressure, his feet have kind of gotten a little antsy.”


  • Saints HC Dennis Allen said QB Jameis Winston has “looked good” in his return from a torn ACL but still has a “ways to go” before he’s ready: “I think he’s looked good. I think he’s made a lot of progress. We still got a ways to go to get him ready, but we like the progress he’s making. We like where he’s at and hopefully that will continue.” (Saints Twitter)
  • Allen said Saints WR Michael Thomas is still rehabbing from his ankle injury: “I think he’s doing well in his rehab. He’s not ready yet, but he’s here, he’s rehabbing, getting himself better and we’re certainly anxious to get him out here.” (Field Yates)

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