NFC South Notes: Buccaneers, Falcons, Panthers, Saints


  • Buccaneers HC Bruce Arians believes WR Chris Godwin can catch 100 passes next season because he’ll also take on slot receiver duties.  (Rick Stroud)
  • Arians said the two major areas for improvement in 2019 are the running game and offensive line.  (Stroud)
  • Regarding newly signed QB Blaine Gabbert, Arians explained that their history together in Arizona was a big reason the Buccaneers brought him in: “Blaine has been in this offense. I love him.”  (Greg Auman)
  • The Buccaneers plan to use CB Vernon Hargreaves as an outside cornerback and find someone else to play nickel.  (Stroud)
  • Arians specifically praised the draft’s top-two linebackers, LSU’s Devin White and Michigan’s Devin Bush, saying, “those cats are special.”  (Jenna Laine)
  • Arians told reporters QB Blaine Gabbert was signed because of his game experience to compete with QB Ryan Griffin for the backup quarterback position.  (Auman)
  • According to Arians, Gabbert probably had the edge, though the team could carry three quarterbacks: “It’s an open competition, but it’s probably not.”  (Auman)
  • Arians mentioned RB Dare Ogunbowale as a potential kickoff returner. He did not say who would take over for WR Adam Humphries on punt returns. (Auman)
  • Arians cited the versatility of new Buccaneers OL Earl Watford, who can play all five spots on the line.  (Auman)


Falcons owner Arthur Blank said there was no timetable on a potential extension for WR Julio Jones.

“We don’t have a timetable. I think the timetable will be what it is,” Blank said via ESPN’s Vaughn McClure. “I think it’s about making the kind of progress we’d like to see. I think that they’ve begun that process. It’s a dance you have to go through, and you work closely with the player and the agent. I know we’ll come out in a good place, but it’s going to take some time.”


  • Panthers HC Ron Rivera says all the medical reports for QB Cam Newton‘s shoulder rehab have been good, though there’s no specific timeline for a return yet.  (Person)
  • Rivera told reporters that they cleared C Matt Paradis medically and he’s confident in his availability.  (Jourdan Rodrigue)
  • GM Marty Hurney said they haven’t made a decision on DT Vernon Butler’s fifth-year option yet. (Joe Person)
  • According to Rivera, they still have to decide if Taylor Moton or Daryl Williams will play left tackle.  (Joe Person)
  • Rivera added getting Williams back was, “a little bit of a pleasant surprise.”  (Rodrigue)
  • Rivera mentioned the Panthers would like to bring back DT Kyle Love to shore up their depth on the interior defensive line.  (Rodrigue)
  • Panthers S Rashaan Gaulden will get “a really long look” at nickel this spring.  (Rodrigue)
  • Greg Van Roten “isn’t sexy” at left guard per Rivera, but his consistency playing every snap in 2018 makes him the frontrunner for the starting spot.  (Rodrigue)
  • The Panthers will host North Carolina WR Anthony Ratliff-Williams for a workout in April.  (Phil Orban)


  • Saints HC Sean Payton said he was “frustrated” by the lack of dialogue in negotiations with RB Mark Ingram and the transition from him to RB Latavius Murray happened quickly.  (Larry Holder)
  • Payton says the addition of DT Malcolm Brown fills a hole on the defensive line.  (Holder)
  • Payton told reporters that Nick Easton will slide into the starting spot vacated by Max Unger‘s retirement.  (Holder)
  • According to Payton, the Saints were looking at WR Adam Humphries before the price got too high.  (Sean Fazende)
  • Payton views QB Drew Brees‘ situation as year-to-year.  (Holder)
  • While WR Dez Bryant has been rehabbing, Payton says he “wouldn’t be able to forecast the future” with Bryant and the Saints.  (Triplett)
  • Larry Holder adds he doesn’t get the sense Bryant will be back with the team.
  • Payton says the team has high expectations for DE Marcus Davenport once he’s healthy: “We feel like this guy is going to be a dominant player for us. He played exceptional against Minnesota and 2 or 3 games after that. His toe slowed him down.”  (Jeff Duncan
  • Payton believes strongly in both his backup quarterbacks, including QB Taysom Hill: “I think he has a great chance to start as a quarterback. I think he is a passing quarterback. I think Teddy Bridgewater is a starting quarterback. We would change our offense with whoever is at quarterback. You tailor your offense to your QB’s strengths.”  (Duncan)

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