NFC South Notes: Buccaneers, Falcons, Panthers, Saints


Buccaneers QB Jameis Winston has rebounded well from a season opener where he threw more touchdowns to the defense than to his own team. Winston has eight touchdowns to two interceptions in his last three games and just quarterbacked Tampa Bay to a 55-40 upset of the defending NFC champion Rams. Buccaneers HC Bruce Arians said he’s impressed at the strides Winston is making under the tutelage of OC Byron Leftwich and QB coach Clyde Christenson.

“He’s just growing in the offense,” Arians said via Pro Football Talk. “I think that Byron and Clyde are doing a great job with him, fundamentally and mentally. I don’t know of anyone who’s played better over the past three weeks than he has and the numbers should show it, we’ve put a lot of points up. Especially when you jump out 21-0 you take the crowd out of it and then you just keep playing. The one thing I kept preaching was to just keep scoring. Keep scoring, keep going after it because I knew the Rams were going to score some points.”

Buccaneers RB Ronald Jones had a strong performance in Sunday’s win over the Rams with 19 carries for 70 rushing yards and a touchdown. It could have been much bigger, with two long runs called back due to holding. Jones is averaging 4.7 YPC on 50 carries this season compared to 3.4 YPC on 53 carries for his backfield running mate RB Peyton Barber. However, Arians says he’s still committed to a timeshare between the two, with whoever has the hot hand getting more of the carries.

“I like where we’re at,” Arians said via ESPN’s Jenna Laine. “Peyton had a big game and when RoJo gets going, he’ll stay in there.” 

  • The Buccaneers worked out linebackers Nick DeLuca and Tegray Scales. (Aaron Wilson)


Just like the rest of the roster, talent shouldn’t be an issue for the Falcons roster, on paper at least. Between QB Matt Ryan, WRs Julio Jones, Calvin Ridley and Mohamed Sanu, TE Austin Hooper and RB Devonta Freeman, the Falcons have some of the best skill position talent in the league. But whether it’s turnovers from Ryan, who has six interceptions and a lost fumble, or an inability for either Freeman or the offensive line to get Atlanta’s 27th-ranked rush offense off the ground, the 1-3 Falcons haven’t been able to consistently score more than their opponents so far in 2019. 

“We have a frustrated offense because we know we can move the ball,” Falcons OC Dirk Koetter said via Kelsey Conway of the official team website. “We know we can be explosive but we’re not scoring enough points and that’s the main thing we have to get answered.”

  • While the Falcons could use the talent boost Jaguars CB Jalen Ramsey would provide in the secondary, the Athletic’s Jason Butt doesn’t think they’re willing to pay the draft picks and salary it would cost to get Ramsey.
  • Butt believes cornerback will be one of the top priorities for Atlanta this offseason. 
  • Butt adds a soft rebuild this offseason isn’t out of the question if the Falcons can’t turn it around from their 1-3 start. 
  • The Falcons worked out Falcons worked out LB Andrew Dowell, OT Lukayus McNeil and LB Ahmad Thomas. (Aaron Wilson)
  • Falcons traded LB Duke Riley and 2020 6th-round pick to the Eagles for S Johnathan Cyprien and a 2020 7th-round pick. (NFLTR)
  • Falcons signed OT Lukayus McNeil to their practice squad. 
  • Falcons released P Matt Wile from their practice squad. 


  • According to the Athletic’s Jourdan Rodrigue, Panthers DT Vernon Butler could be counted on to play a larger role for the team in the absence of DT Kawann Short, who was placed on injured reserve Tuesday with a torn rotator cuff. 
  • Butler has not started a game for the Panthers since being taken in the first round in 2016. He was inactive for the first two games of the season but played well in Sunday’s game against the Texans per HC Ron Rivera, recording one of Carolina’s six sacks: “Having success, I think, can lead to more success. Hopefully, he can excel again on Sunday if he gets the chance.”


  • The New Orleans Saints worked out TEs Ian Bunting, Donald Parham and Eric Tomlinson. (Aaron Wilson)

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