Let’s take a look around the NFC South and check out the latest SB Nation news and notes revolving around each team, starting with our Carolina Panthers.
In Charlotte, the Panthers officially brought on former New York Giants head coach Ben McAdoo. In doing so, the team is signalling a desire to rely on a more veteran offensive coordinator presence after disposing of the 32-year-old Joe Brady during the season. One Cat Scratch Reader writer questions just how effective the hire will be.
Meanwhile, we gave report cards to each of the offensive and defensive rookies. And as for next year’s rookies? We took a look at the new mock drafts from both Daniel Jeremiah and Pro Football Focus. Jeremiah suggested the Panthers draft Cincinnati cornerback Ahmad Gardner with their first round pick while Pro Football Focus chose a left tackle, Mississippi State’s Charles Cross.
Finally, the Panthers promoted director of player negotiations and salary cap manager Samir Suleiman to a newly created position — VP of football administration.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Over in Bucs Land, the team is reportedly about to lose offensive coordinator Byron Leftwich, who the Jacksonville Jaguars are set to hire as head coach.
Source tells me that Byron Leftwich is the #jaguars pick but the hold up is over who will have control of the roster. Leftwich wants Trent Baalke out and the #Jaguars to hire Adrian Wilson who is the Vice President of pro scouting with Cardinals. https://t.co/TBlgdwaMEk— Chris Porter (@ChrisPorterFCN) January 27, 2022
In the Antonio Brown saga, the former Buccaneers receiver and his lawyer Sean Burstyn went on “Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel” on HBO. Burstyn shared that they have documented evidence of Brown telling head coach Bruce Arians about his injured ankle while on the sidelines of the New York Jets game. He claims General Manager Jason Licht interviewed Arians that evening following the Jets game and texted the receiver’s camp with notes of the discussion between Licht and Arians, which included Brown’s claims of telling the coach on the sidelines of his injured ankle.
“Both sides, at least privately, are in agreement that Antonio’s ankle was injured and he directly told the team about it,” Burstyn stated during the interview.
In Atlanta, the Falcons could be losing national scout Ruston Webster. He’s currently being interviewed by the Las Vegas Raiders for their vacant general manager position. Webster was the Titans general manager from 2012 to 2015.
Meanwhile, Dave Choate argues that the progress of the 2021 draft class is going to be instrumental to Atlanta’s 2022 success, which seems like a pretty fair argument. Chief among that argument would be the future play of talented tight end Kyle Pitts.
Lee Smith conquered his family's battle with alcohol.— Atlanta Falcons (@AtlantaFalcons) January 25, 2022
Now, he wants to help others break the cycle. pic.twitter.com/3DjCjlAKIE
New Orleans Saints
Just one season after franchise quarterback Drew Brees hung up the cleats, Saints head coach Sean Payton has decided it’s time for him to move on, too. The longtime New Orleans boss decided to step away after 16 seasons as head coach.
With no starting quarterback or head coach at the moment, the Saints organization has a lot of big moves to make over the next few months.
Payton’s departure also has some fans wondering how quarterback Taysom Hill will fare going forward. It’s fair to say that Hill benefitted significantly from Payton’s presence. Without the offensive guru, will be continue to be as effective?
To end off with a bang, let’s take a look at a memorable Twitter spat involving former Saints and Giants cornerback Eli Apple. Apple, a current corner on the Cincinnati Bengals, targeted his ire at fans of the Saints and the Giants. For that, fans and even a current Saints defender shot back at Apple.