NFC South Notes: Falcons, Panthers, Saints

     

Falcons

New Falcons OC Dirk Koetter spoke about what the Falcons expect from WR Russell Gage during the upcoming season.

“I think Russ is very very talented, and I think we will see a jump in his game,” Koetter said, via AtlantaFalcons.com. “When Russ got more opportunities, his talent started to show up. I think part of it is his confidence grew, and as his confidence grew he got better. Just for any player that goes from a role player to at least a part-time starter, I think consistency is the next phase.”

Koetter also discussed the speculation surrounding the health of new Falcons RB Todd Gurley.

“The main question, that no one seems to know, is what is his health status, what’s his workload,” Koetter said, via Vaughn McClure. “He averaged about 17 touches a game last year, which is a little bit lower than he had been when he was All-Pro. We’re just gonna have to find that out once we get here and get him working.”

Panthers

  • Daniel Jeremiah says to keep expectations low for the Panthers and new HC Matt Rhule as he rebuilds the franchise from the ground up.
  • Jeremiah also notes that the team is attempting to add speed on offense such as WR Robby Anderson, as well as adding length, range, and speed on defense. The team only selected defensive players in the draft. 

Saints

The concept of load management has become en vogue with NBA teams using it to help some of their stars, particularly older players, make it through the rigors of a full season relatively fresh. The Saints backed into the concept when QB Drew Brees came back with a vengeance later in the season after missing five games due to a thumb injury. Saints HC Sean Payton said that while holding Brees out for any games is out of the question, they could scale back the 41-year-old’s practice workload. 

“I don’t think a pitch count relative to in the regular-season games,” Payton said via the New Orleans Times-Picayune. “Certainly during the week of practice. For the last couple of years, Wednesday’s been a down day. He’s rested his arm. I know last year there was five weeks he didn’t play and then he came back playing extremely well. I understand the question, a lot of people have mentioned that. I just think in our game with 16 games, a little bit different than maybe basketball or baseball or even hockey. The value of each game is such, I think most importantly for us, it’s training camp and even during the workweek and modifying maybe even Thursday. So the pitch count for us would be up until the game itself, but it wouldn’t include a regular-season game.”

  • Saints HC Sean Payton said on 105.7 The Fan that he is excited to work with QB Jameis Winston and thinks he would “grade fairly well”  among the other quarterbacks in the incoming draft class.
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