NFC South Notes: Buccaneers, Falcons, Panthers, Saints

     

Buccaneers

The Buccaneers have gone to great lengths to try and fix QB Jameis Winston‘s turnover issues this season, correctly identifying that as one of the main problems with the team and the biggest obstacle to Winston’s standing as a potential franchise quarterback. The coaching staff goes as far as to review turnovers by quarterbacks across the NFL with Winston to try and hammer home ball security. Still, Winston has a staggering 18 interceptions and 11 fumbles in 2019. 

“[W]e haven’t gotten them fixed,” Buccaneers QB coach Clyde Christensen said via JoeBucsFan.com. “It has to get fixed. And he knows it. I know it. We all know that. And I think the hardest thing to teach in this league is a quarterback who can get himself out of trouble and make some plays. . . . When do you cut your losses and get rid of the ball and punt it? These guys are wired such that it’s hard for them to give up on a play. You know, I get frustrated like [Jameis] does, like fans do, like everybody does. . . . That’s a hard teach, just because of how they are wired. It’s hard to just give up on a play. It’s a skill that has to be learned.”

Christensen says Winston has made progress in some other areas, but turnovers continue to be an issue that could jeopardize the quarterback’s long-term future in Tampa Bay. Buccaneers HC Bruce Arians has shielded Winston from some blame this year, but in the final season of his rookie deal, leading the NFL in interceptions is not making a compelling case for an extension for Winston. 

“We should be learning it now,” Christensen said. “It’s the fifth year. We’re not a rookie any more. And slowly but surely I think he’s got better on the protection thing and not taking the sacks and just being able to throw the thing out of bounds. But we still have the turnovers. We had the four this week. And they’re not all on the quarterbacks. Ours are unit-wide, but certainly, you know, our [quarterback] part is significant and we have to cut them out.”

Falcons

  • According to ESPN’s Vaughn McClure, Falcons TE Austin Hooper (sprained MCL) won’t play this week, but could start to run in practice later in the week and potentially return to play next week. 
  • Falcons S Kemal Ishmael was ruled out for Sunday’s game against Tampa Bay with a concussion. (McClure)
  • Falcons HC Dan Quinn mentioned P Matt Bosher could return in a couple of weeks against the Panthers. (Kelsey Conway)

Panthers

  • The Athletic’s Sheil Kapadia lists Panthers CB James Bradberry, DE Mario Addison and LB Shaq Thompson on his top-50 potentially available free agents in 2020.
  • According to ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler, multiple sources believe Panthers HC Ron Rivera needs to make a strong push and win over the last few games of the season and perhaps even make the playoffs to avoid being fired. 
  • Per the Athletic’s Joseph Person, Panthers owner David Tepper held a press gaggle with some reporters, with the only rule being he wouldn’t answer questions about the job status for Rivera or GM Marty Hurney
  • Tepper acknowledged he was frustrated with Sunday’s blowout at the hands of the last-place Falcons: “Every time we have a loss, my mood is shitty.” 
  • He added that expectations for the team entering 2019 were high, but he would take into account losing QB Cam Newton to a foot injury when evaluating the football operations. 
  • Tepper said there would be no decision made on Newton’s status with the team until he was fully healthy, also saying in a perfect world a healthy Newton would lead the team to a Super Bowl. 
  • He explained Newton’s absence has affected attendance at home games this season, along with an average home schedule and issues with mobile ticketing. 
  • Per Tepper, if the Panthers were interested in signing QB Colin Kaepernick, they would bring him in for a normal workout. He pointed out the team was already willing to sign S Eric Reid who protested alongside Kaepernick. 
  • Tepper mentioned he would like to build a new stadium sometime in the next 10 years using a combination of his own cash plus public money. He said the lack of an air-conditioned bubble could also keep the team from hosting training camp at Wofford. 

Saints

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