NFC South Notes: Buccaneers, Panthers, Saints



Buccaneers RB Ronald Jones has had a much better sophomore season after a disastrous rookie year. However, there have still been some growing pains for Jones, as he was benched for most of the second half Sunday against Jacksonville after missing a blitz pickup that resulted in a sack-fumble. Buccaneers HC Bruce Arians said Jones has improved this year, but “you can’t run the football if you can’t protect the quarterback.”

“That was a fumble. We had the game in-hand,” Arians said via ESPN’s Jenna Laine. “It was something that had been switched. We were gonna block something because of their blitzes. He went to block the guy he used to block. That wasn’t the plan.”


Panthers HC Ron Rivera told reporters he isn’t concerned about his status with the team moving forward following the disappointing loss to the Redskins on Sunday. 

“No, I’m not worried about my future,” Rivera said, per Bill Voth. “I’m worried about this football team’s future and we have a game coming up on Sunday.”

  • Sports Illustrated’s Albert Breer mentions both Patriots OC Josh McDaniels and executive Nick Caserio have been linked to potential openings in Carolina. 
  • Fox Sports’ Jay Glazer believes the Panthers will trade QB Cam Newton if they feel like their quarterback of the future is on the roster right now. 
  • If Newton does come back, Glazer says he’ll likely want a contract extension. 
  • Rivera told reporters he has had conversations with owner David Tepper, and while Tepper has been fair about the challenges Carolina has faced with injuries this year, Rivera understands the team should be done developing at this point in the year. (Joseph Person)
  • Panthers TE Greg Olsen is in the concussion protocol. (Jourdan Rodrigue)
  • The Panthers will continue to start QB Kyle Allen, per Rivera. (Rodrigue)
  • However, Rivera added some younger players could get more looks later in the year, including third-round rookie QB Will Grier. (Person)
  • Panthers first-round rookie LB Brian Burns picked up a lower back injury Sunday, but says it shouldn’t keep him out this week. (Rodrigue)


  • According to NFL Media’s Tom Pelissero, Saints DE Cameron Jordan was fined $38,602 total for two unnecessary roughness flags against the Panthers last week. 
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