NFC South Notes: Buccaneers, Falcons, Panthers

     

Buccaneers

Buccaneers WR Emanuel Hall said he had six or seven teams offer him spots on their practice squad, but he elected to stay in Tampa Bay. After the Buccaneers claimed the speedy undrafted rookie free agent out of Missourioff waivers from the Bears, they worked hard to try and make sure they’d be able to keep him. 

“During the games, I was a little worried, like ‘I’m not playing at all.’ In practice, I got a lot of snaps,” Hall said via the Athletic’s Greg Auman. “… I’m here at the end of the day.”

  • Buccaneers WR Bobo Wilson says he feels like special teams gave him the edge for one of the final roster spots: “Doing the little things, being able to block, stick my nose in there, get involved in the dirty game.” (Auman)

Falcons

Falcons owner Arthur Blank has consistently said he wants to sign WR Julio Jones to an extension. For his part, Jones has consistently said he trusts Blank and did not skip OTA’s or hold out from training camp. With only a few days to go before the start of the regular season, though, Jones remains unsigned.

Blank said the two sides are in “serious negotiations” with the goal of completing the deal before Sunday, but things would have to take their course. 

“I’ve said this publicly and privately to Julio and Julio has said the same thing to me, both privately and publicly,” Blank said via D. Orlando Ledbetter of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. “We expect Julio to be a Falcon for life and we have no reason to think that’s going to change at all. The negotiations continue to move along in a positive way. It’s a big contract and it’s complex and what have you. It takes a little more time than we’d like. Probably a little more time than he would like, but I know we are in a good place.”

Blank also said he has great confidence in both HC Dan Quinn and GM Thomas Dimitroff. Some have speculated the pair could be on the hot seat after last season’s poor record. Quinn took over as defensive play-caller and will continue that role in 2019 after major shakeups on the defensive coaching staff.  But Blank believes injuries had more to do with 2018’s failure and the team is set up for success. 

“Last year was not a good year, but most of that I would attribute to the injuries that we had and lack of performance on the offensive line,” Blank said via the Athletic’s Jeff Schultz. “But I think they’ve addressed that in the offseason, both in free agency and the draft. Barring any unforeseen injuries, which sadly is the nature of the sport we’re in, it’s not ping pong — maybe there’s injuries in ping pong, I don’t know — I think we’ll have a very competitive team this year. I like where we are. I like where we are offensively and defensively. Dan has taken over the responsibility of defensive coordinator and will call the plays himself, which I think will make a huge difference. All the players we had last year are coming back. I’m pretty optimistic about both sides of the ball.” 

  • Both Falcons LB Deion Jones and OT Kaleb McGary practiced in full. (Vaughn McClure)
  • Quinn said the team has yet to decide on starters at left guard and right tackle. James Carpenter and Jamon Brown are the options at the former, McGary, Ty Sambrailo and Matt Gono at the latter. (McLure)
  • Quinn added McGary’s conditioning level would be a factor on if he starts or not, as the rookie missed a large chunk of camp and the preseason following a heart procedure: “[For] a full half, he really went after it in the last game. So, let’s see where it goes. That’s why, I think, we want to make sure we go through another full three days and good reps, good conditioning to see where it’s at.” (McClure)

Panthers

  • Panthers QB Cam Newton was not listed on the team’s official injury report and practiced in full on Wednesday. 
  • Panthers DE Bruce Irvin (hamstring) and OT Greg Little (concussion) did not practice on Wednesday.

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