NFC South Notes: Buccaneers, Falcons, Panthers, Saints


  • Per Rick Stroud of the Tampa Bay Times, Buccaneers HC Bruce Arians said he’ll pass on giving a final assessment of QB Jameis Winston going forward until after the final four games of the season given how extreme the ups and downs have been this year: “There’s been really, really good and there’s been some really, really bad . . . I’m just going to pass until it’s over and then we’ll make a decision.”
  • Arians said Buccaneers RB Ronald Jones is still the starter despite his error that led to a benching last week. (Scott Smith)


  • Per ESPN’s Vaughn McClure, Falcons HC Dan Quinn said WR Julio Jones (shoulder) plans to play this week and has been chomping at the bit to get back. 


Regarding the decision to fire HC Ron Rivera on Tuesday, Panthers owner David Tepper said it was a “very hard move” but felt the need to make a change. 

A very hard move. Ron Rivera, besides being a good coach, is one of the finest men I’ve ever met in my life. I’ll just say that up front,” Tepper said, via Max Henson of the team’s official site. “As much respect as I have for Ron, I think a change was appropriate to build things the way I want things to be built.”

Tepper felt a move was required due to the Panthers’ results over the past two years. 

I just thought it was time given the way things have gone the last two seasons to put my stamp on this organization on the football side.”

  • According to Tepper, Panthers GM Marty Hurney will be “part of the process” in hiring a new assistant general manager. (Joe Person
  • Charles Robinson writes to “keep an eye on” Steelers GM Kevin Colbert for a possible position in Carolina’s front office given he elected to not extend his contract with Pittsburgh last summer, while Tepper is a former minority owner of the Steelers.
  • Panthers TE Greg Olsen didn’t practice Wednesday and appears doubtful to play Sunday against the Falcons after suffering a concussion this past week. (David Newton)
  • The Panthers promoted QB coach Scott Turner to offensive coordinator and he’ll get the chance to show what he can do as a play-caller over the last four games per Rivera: “He’s on the edge. He’s on the precipice. He’s ready.” (Joseph Person)
  • The Panthers hosted S Tre Sullivan for a visit on Tuesday. (Aaron Wilson)


  • According to Amie Just of the New Orleans Advocate, Saints WR Keith Kirkwood won’t rejoin the active roster this year, despite being designated to return, as he continues to recover from a hamstring injury. 
  • The Saints worked out Nate Wozniak (signed), Gerhard de Beer, and Marquez Tucker. (Aaron Wilson)
  • Saints waived TE Dan Arnold. (NFLTR)
  • Saints signed OT Nate Wozniak to their practice squad.
  • Saints released RB Ricky Ortiz from their practice squad.

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