NFC South Notes: Buccaneers, Falcons, Panthers, Saints

     

Buccaneers

Buccaneers QB Jameis Winston entered the final year of his contract in 2019 needing to play well to ensure his long-term future with the team. While there’s still three-quarters of the season yet to go, Buccaneers HC Bruce Arians says Winston is so far proving he can be Tampa Bay’s franchise quarterback. 

“So far, yeah,” Arians said via Sports Illustrated’s Albert Breer. “But everybody’s contract’s up next year! You can get fired at any point, any time, whether you’re a player or a coach. We’re all playing for next year. Right now, we’re playing for this week. And this week, we’re playing for first place.”

  • According to TMZ, Buccaneers DE Jason Pierre-Paul‘s agent says his client will return from a neck injury suffered in an offseason car accident to play in Week 8. 

Falcons

The Falcons’ 7-9 record last season came as a huge disappointment, but it was easy to point at the rash of injuries on the defensive side of the football as the reason a team that had high hopes fell off the rails. This year, the answers aren’t as simple to why the Falcons have started 1-3, leading to HC Dan Quinn‘s seat getting exponentially warmer. That said, Quinn told reporters he’s not focused on the state of his job security.

“I honestly work on how our team improves,” Quinn said via D. Orlando Ledbetter of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. “I spend most of my time thinking that way. How can we do it better? How can we tweak this? How can we work that? How do we feature the guys in the best way? Any time that I would spend away from that, would be 100 percent not productive for me. I’ve always coached to win. That’s what I end up doing. That’s where I focus all of my time and attention.”

Panthers

Just about the only blemish on Panthers QB Kyle Allen‘s two starts — in which Carolina is 2-0 — are his five fumbles. Four of them have been recovered by the opposing team, including three in Sunday’s 16-10 win against the Texans. That’s led to a week of ball security drills for Allen as he looks to clear that up ahead of the next game. 

“For me it’s unacceptable, and I can’t put the team in a position like that if we want to win games,” Allen said via Steve Reed of the Associated Press. “So I take that to heart and I’m working to get better.”

  • Panthers OC Norv Turner talked about limiting RB Christian McCaffrey‘s load coming into the season, but he isn’t concerned about how that hasn’t happened so far, particularly after Sunday’s 37-touch performance: “I don’t think it’s an issue unless it happens too frequently. We can’t have him have that kind of load over a long period of time, but he handled it great.” (Max Henson)
  • Panthers DT Gerald McCoy did not practice Thursday, though that’s just part of the routine per HC Ron Rivera. (Joseph Person)
  • According to Howard Balzer, the Panthers brought in WR Anthony Ratliff-Williams for a workout on Wednesday. 

Saints

  • Sports Illustrated’s Albert Breer mentions Saints DC Dennis Allen as someone who could draw head coaching interest this offseason. 
  • Saints QB Drew Brees was at practice in a non-contact jersey working on gripping the ball with his right hand. (Katherine Terrell)

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