NFC Rumors: Buccaneers, Panthers, Saints


  • Buccaneers HC Bruce Arians said he’s unsure if WR Antonio Brown (ankle) will return after their Week 10 bye and that it could be a “long-term” issue.  (Greg Auman)
  • According to Auman, Brown’s injury is not considered serious enough to land him on the injured reserve. 


  • According to CBS Sports’ Jonathan Jones, the Panthers were interested in QB Deshaun Watson toward the end of the preseason and some in the building regained interest in recent weeks. However, Carolina is “no longer players” for the Texans quarterback. 
  • Jones added that if Watson is still on the block this coming offseason and his legal outlook is clearer, Carolina could reinvolve itself. He does say owner David Tepper is aware of the potential blowback acquiring Watson could cause given he took over the team after the fallout from previous owner Jerry Richardson’s sexual misconduct. 
  • Panthers HC Matt Rhule said LB Shaq Thompson (foot) was limited in Wednesday’s practice and is hopeful that he’ll play in Week 8. (David Newton)
  • Rhule said QB Sam Darnold took all the first-team reps in Wednesday’s practice and is planning to start him despite being benched in Week 7’s loss.  (David Newton)
  • When asked about the Panthers not pursuing Watson, Rhule responded that he’s focused on developing Darnold: “I’m focused on Sam [Darnold] and getting him back to the level he was playing at.” (David Newton)


  • The Athletic’s Katherine Terrell doesn’t think the Saints will shop CB Bradley Roby even though the veteran isn’t playing much, as New Orleans surrendered a third-round pick to trade for him earlier this season. 
  • Saints HC Sean Payton said rookie K Brian Johnson earned the game ball for Week 7 at Seattle after hitting the eventual game-winning field goal with 1:56 remaining: “He did a good job. Fantastic in conditions like that. He was outstanding. I was really proud of him. He got a game ball.” (Jeff Nowak)
  • Payton called their receiving corps a “work in progress” when asked if they got open consistently enough: “It’s ongoing. We had some real good looks last night. I didn’t think we played as well at receiver last night as I would’ve hoped… It’s a work in progress. We’ll continue to grind on it.” (Mike Triplett)
  • Payton said likes how the Saints’ defense responded after allowing a long touchdown reception to Seahawks WR D.K. Metcalf: “I thought it was a hard-fought game. I don’t know how well it was officiated. But nonetheless we can’t control that.” (Mike Triplett)

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