NFC South Notes: Buccaneers, Panthers, Saints


Buccaneers HC Bruce Arians says DE Jason Pierre-Paul has been recovering on his own away from the team facility. Some teams prefer players to do their rehab where they can keep a closer eye on the progress, but Arians says he’s fine with Pierre-Paul staying away. 

“He knows how to rush the passer and that’s all he’s going to do,” Arians said via Eduardo Encina of the Tampa Bay Times. “He’ll know where to line up. I don’t want him getting bumped on the sideline or anything else. . . .Nothing really to tell progress-wise, but I have talked to him.”

  • According to Dr. David Chao, Buccaneers RB Ronald Jones could miss the start of the regular season, as the hyperextended left knee injury he suffered in the preseason against the Dolphins looks like it includes at least a bone contusion. 
  • Arians says Buccaneers WR Mike Evans won’t play in the third preseason game after injuring his quad earlier this week. (Jenna Laine)
  • Arians adds the kicking competition between Matt Gay and Cairo Santos will “go down to the wire.” (Laine)
  • Arians believes Buccaneers QB Jameis Winston feels responsible for the team’s performance last year and former HC Dirk Koetter’s firing and that affects his play: “He feels bad that they didn’t win and his coach got fired. I can tell.” (Kimberley A. Martin)  


The Panthers traded up in the second round for OT Greg Little because he was one of the few remaining guys on the board they thought had the potential to play left tackle. So far, though, Little has worked behind veteran OT Daryl Williams on the left side as Carolina eases him into the NFL.

Depth was an issue for Carolina in 2018, as both projected starting tackles were hurt in training camp. The Panthers hope at the very least, Little addresses that problem this year. 

“He’s doing a nice job. He’s a guy that right now gives you first-class depth,” Panthers HC Ron Rivera said via the Athletic’s Joseph Person“Daryl’s had a very good camp, and you saw it last week (against Buffalo). You’ve seen it in practice … so you just feel that Daryl’s coming back,” Rivera added. “So having both Greg and Dennis, Tyler Larsen — guys like that — you have the depth you’ve never had. So hopefully, knock on wood, we can stay healthy.”


Saints QB Taysom Hill does a lot for the team. His statline in 2018 of 64 yards passing with no touchdowns and an interception, 196 yards rushing with two TDs, a receiving touchdown in the NFC Championship Game, two fake punt conversions, a blocked punt and 14 kickoff returns is unique for a quarterback. Hill is athletic enough to play pretty much anywhere on the football field, but he says quarterback is where he wants to find his home ultimately. 

“I’ve been a quarterback since I was a little guy, and that has always been the end goal and the end opportunity. So I want to play quarterback,” Hill said via ESPN’s Mike Triplett. “Coach Payton and the other guys on staff have made it clear that they care a lot about my progression at the quarterback position, which gives me a lot of pride. So that’s definitely a priority for me, while making sure that I stay up on all the other things that I’m asked to do.”

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