NFC South Notes: Buccaneers, Falcons, Saints

     

Buccaneers

Buccaneers QB coach Clyde Christensen will join rare air this year when he adds Tom Brady to a coaching resume that already includes Peyton Manning. Like Manning, Brady is looking to finish out his Hall-of-Fame career with another team and will have to adjust to a new environment that includes a new offense. But while Manning judged his suitors in free agency in part by how willing they were to let him implement his own playbook, it appears that Brady will learn Buccaneers HC Bruce Arians‘ offense even if he puts his own touches on it. 

“I think what we’ll see here is Bruce’s offense with a Brady influence,” Christensen said via the Athletic’s Bob Kravitz. “Bruce wants to keep the offense the same. We did some good things last year. Tom has been terrific as far as saying, ‘Just tell me what you want to do.’ And honestly, there’s a lot of carryover from all these offenses; it’s just what you call certain things. We’re looking forward to seeing how he can influence the offense. He’ll make it better. That’s what the great ones do. He’ll have some great ideas so we’re anxious to get his take on things.”

Brady mastered the art of the short pass in his time in New England, while Arians is known more for his bombs-away style deep passing offense. On the surface, it’s a curious fit, especially with some questions about how strong the 42-year-old Brady’s arm is. But the team evaluated Brady and came away with no concerns about his arm strength. 

“I looked at every pass he threw for the last four years,” Christensen said. “It was interesting because you had the possibility of [Drew] Brees, [Philip] Rivers, [Andy] Dalton, all those guys had a chance of becoming available, so we looked at all of them. And I’m telling you, anybody who says he’s lost arm strength, all I know is I must have missed something. Remember, they didn’t have those kinds of receivers [in New England] who could get deep. It wasn’t about anything that he couldn’t do. I thought he played last year at a high, high, high level, still light’s out.

On the contrary, Christensen thinks Brady could go back to his record-setting self with weapons like Buccaneers WRs Chris Godwin and Mike Evans to throw to.

“He comes here, we’ve got the two outside receivers, you think back to what Peyton had in Denver and he goes out there and sets the NFL record for touchdown passes and reaches two Super Bowls, wins one. I think that’s very attractive to Tom,” Christensen said. “Peyton had fun at his second stop. He was able to turn that place around. I think Tom’s excited about what he can do with those two cats.”

Falcons

The Falcons sent a seventh-round pick to the Dolphins to take a chance on former first-round DE Charles Harris. Though Harris’s sack totals have gone down every season since he had two as a rookie, at the cost of a seventh-round pick it’s a low-risk opportunity for Atlanta to bring him in and see if he can turn around his career. 

“We want him as part of our rotation in the defensive line, specifically at defensive end,” Falcons HC Dan Quinn said via Adam Beasley of the Miami Herald. “We want to get him in, get to know the guys, get to know the program and get the best version of him. We’re still learning him. What’s the best weight for him so he can really explode and be at his best? … I’ve been very impressed with him at the start. Getting to know the guys, getting connected. He’s been a good addition for us.”

  • The Falcons list Danny Breyer as an offensive assistant on their website. Breyer is a former defensive and analytics assistant for the Buccaneers from 2016-2018. (Greg Auman)

Saints

Saints HC Sean Payton reiterated that the team sees QB Taysom Hill, who was tendered with the first-round level as a restricted free agent this offseason and then extended, as the quarterback of the future when future Hall-of-Famer Drew Brees retires — potentially after this season. 

“When that time comes, and that’ll be probably at some point sooner than later, and Drew decides to retire. I see Taysom being a guy that has a great chance to come in there and become that QB,” Payton said via CBS Sports.

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