NFC South Notes: Buccaneers, Falcons, Panthers, Saints



Buccaneers RB Ronald Jones was benched Sunday against the Jaguars for missing a block in pass protection that led to a sack-fumble. However, HC Bruce Arians affirmed that the second-year back remains Tampa Bay’s starter, and Jones has responded by rededicating himself to the playbook.

“Just get back on my film, put in some extra time and get on the same page with Jameis and everybody,” Jones said via Rick Stroud of the Tampa Bay Times. “I just got to keep it going. I don’t want to take any steps backward. Definitely just trying to keep on that path.”

  • ESPN’s Bill Barnwell thinks a multi-year deal with no guaranteed money beyond the first year makes sense for the Buccaneers and QB Jameis Winston, as he does still fit HC Bruce Arians‘ scheme despite the turnovers. 
  • Barnwell mentions Panthers QB Cam Newton as someone Arians could be interested in if available. 


  • Per ESPN’s Vaughn McClure, Falcons C Alex Mack missed practice despite not being listed on the injury report. McClure later clarified Mack had a veteran rest day. 
  • Falcons G James Carpenter also missed practice Thursday with a concussion. 


  • ESPN’s Bill Barnwell writes that Bengals QB Andy Dalton makes sense as a short-term replacement if the Panthers move on from QB Cam Newton
  • Barnwell adds, however, it makes a lot of sense for Carolina to keep Newton on for the final year of his deal, as his ceiling is higher than any other quarterback they could reasonably hope to acquire. 
  • Panthers OC Scott Turner confirmed the team would be sticking with QB Kyle Allen as the starter: “We feel good about Kyle. He’s earned the right to play and he’s going to continue to play.” (Max Henson)
  • Panthers second-round OT Greg Little said a high ankle sprain is what’s been keeping him out of practice this week. (Joseph Person)
  • New Panthers interim HC Perry Fewell declined to say who would call the defensive plays for Carolina. Panthers DC Eric Washington held that role for most of last season before former HC Ron Rivera took over. (Henson)


  • ESPN’s Bill Barnwell believes if the Saints win the Super Bowl, there’s a strong chance QB Drew Brees decides to retire. Otherwise, he’ll be back as New Orleans’ starter in 2020. 
  • If Brees retires, that leaves QB Teddy Bridgewater as the logical option to succeed him as the Saints starter. However, Barnwell points out Bridgewater could look for a starting opportunity elsewhere if Brees comes back in 2020. 
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