NFC South Notes: Buccaneers, Falcons, Panthers


One of Buccaneers HC Bruce Arians goals for his team is to have a running back just as good in the passing game as the running game. While he said Buccaneers RB Ronald Jones is growing, as evidenced by his 1,000 total yards in 2019, he mentioned another player he’s coached, Cardinals RB David Johnson, as the standard he’s looking for at the position, though he quickly backtracked to avoid any potential tampering allegations. 

“I can see them all run. I want to see him catch,” Arians said via the Athletic’s Greg Auman. “College football right now, they don’t do a lot of pass-blocking. That’s always a big step for them. But can they receive? That separates guys from having to come off the field. I had Christian Okoye, who led the league (in rushing), but never played on third down. Edgerrin James never came off the field. Marshall Faulk never came off the field. For me, I’m looking for that type of guy, a David Johnson type of guy. I can’t use his name.”

  • Arians said he was confident LB Shaq Barrett, who led the NFL in sacks after signing a one-year deal in Tampa Bay, wasn’t a one-year wonder: “You don’t get 19.5 being a one-year wonder. He’s not a fly-by-night guy. It’s going to be real for a long time.”
  • Ben Volin of the Boston Globe writes not to count out the Buccaneers in the sweepstakes for Patriots QB Tom Brady after the comments by Arians and GM Jason Licht at the Combine. 
  • The Buccaneers are looking for more stability at quarterback and Tampa Bay does have the weapons Brady reportedly craves at this stage. Volin says a lower-rankings Buccaneers source acknowledged the fit: “It does make sense.”
  • LSU C Lloyd Cushenberry said he met with the Buccaneers at the Combine. (Twitter)
  • St. John’s OT Ben Bartch will meet with the Buccaneers at the Combine this week. (Greg Auman)
  • Tampa Bay met with Houston OT Josh Jones informally at the Senior Bowl and Louisville OT Mekhi Becton at the Combine. (Rick Stroud)


  • According to Pro Football Network’s Tony Pauline, the Falcons have told people at the Combine that addressing replacements for TE Austin Hooper and LB De’Vondre Campbell are priorities in the draft, along with center. 
  • Per D. Orlando Ledbetter of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Campbell plans to keep in contact with the Falcons as he hits the open market to see if a return works out. 
  • The Athletic’s Jason Butt reports while the Falcons got serious trade interest from the Lions for RB Devonta Freeman, they ultimately didn’t pull the trigger because they didn’t want to upset the locker room midseason. 
  • Georgia Southern K Tyler Bass met with Falcons ST coordinator Ben Kotwica at the Combine. (D. Orlando Ledbetter)
  • Georgia K Rodrigo Blankenship met with the Falcons Monday at the Combine. (Ledbetter)
  • Ohio State RB J.K. Dobbins met informally with the Falcons at the Combine and will have a formal interview Friday. (Ledbetter)


  • Wisconsin WR Quintez Cephus said he had a formal interview with the Panthers. (Gery Woelfel)
  • Michigan C Cezar Ruiz said he had a formal interview with the Panthers at the Combine. (David Newton)

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