NFC South Notes: Buccaneers, Falcons, Saints

     

Buccaneers

Turnovers have been an issue for Buccaneers QB Jameis Winston during his short career so far. However, Buccaneers QB coach Clyde Christensen says Winston’s 58 interceptions in his first four seasons aren’t drastically different than other quarterbacks at that same point, such as Peyton Manning (81, Andrew Luck (55), Cam Newton (54) and Matthew Stafford (54).

“Your first four years, you throw a bunch of interceptions,” Christensen said via Sports Illustrated’s Albert Breer. “Almost all of them did. [Matt] Ryan had less, but they ran the ball in Atlanta, he went to a little bit better football team. But you look at all the numbers, [Winston] had thrown for 14,000 yards. I just hadn’t seen [the Bucs] on TV and they hadn’t won. So I wasn’t aware of it, but his numbers were solid for a guy who missed a couple of games with injury, a couple of games with suspension. His numbers were right up in there with all the others, what we would assess as really good players.”

Winston is entering the final year of his contract and playing out his fifth-year option without an extension so far, making this is a key season for his future regardless of how he compares to other quarterbacks. 

“You’re going into your fifth year, you’re not the rookie anymore,” Christensen said. “It’s time. Stuff really should show up now. That fourth and fifth year, the sixth year, is when it should click. Now, you have to put a supporting cast around him, and give him a chance too. That’s a big part of this thing. But you’re a veteran guy now. Dumb interceptions are not OK, bad judgment’s not OK, that stuff is what you’ve been working on for four years, getting the experience.”

Falcons

Falcons HC Dan Quinn said that RB Devonta Freemanlooks so much like himself” after recovering from a groin injury.   

He was another one who had so much to prove and to get back out on the field and to recapture his energy and style so quickly,” said Quinn, via Kelsey Conway. “I was very happy to see that. He looks so much like himself. For him coming back off an injury, it takes a lot of physical toughness and it takes a lot of mental toughness. He’s shown a lot of mental toughness during this rehab process.”

Regarding Falcons WR Mohamed Sanu, Quinn said the veteran receiver “came in so fit” to camp and believes his “game got sharper.” 

He came in so fit, so ready. I think his game got sharper,” said Quinn. “He was already at a good level so when you’re already performing at a good level, it can get more challenging to get to the next level and I thought he clearly showed he was ready to get to the next level. I think [with] the things he can bring to the team, he looks as quick and as fit as he ever has.”

Saints

Saints DE Cameron Jordan received an extension from New Orleans earlier this month. Now, he says it’s teammate WR Michael Thomas‘ turn, even if it means making Thomas the highest-paid receiver in the NFL.

“Pay the man,” Jordan said via NFL Media’s Kevin Patra. “Nobody’s done what he’s done in his first three years. Highest paid.”

“Nobody is catching more receptions,” Jordan continued. “Who has had more in their first three years? His catch-rate speaks for itself.”

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