HomeTrade RumorsBaker Mayfield, Kyle Pitts, and NFC Notes on Mickey Loomis, Buccaneers, Falcons,...

Baker Mayfield, Kyle Pitts, and NFC Notes on Mickey Loomis, Buccaneers, Falcons, and Saints

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Buccaneers

The Buccaneers and Lions have already played once this season, with Detroit coming out on top in Week 6 by a score of 20-6. Buccaneers HC Todd Bowles said it’s a different game and he feels that the Bucs are a better team for having gone through that loss and the other twists of a long season.

“We were where we were at that time of the year,” Bowles said via Rick Stroud of the Tampa Bay Times. “I don’t wish we would’ve done anything different or we wouldn’t have learned from it. They’re a very good team. They’re coached very well. Very fast, very physical. An electric crowd is going to be up there. Wish we hadn’t done anything different, but we’ve got to learn from it. Any of our losses, for that matter. We’re a different team now. We’re mentally tougher. I think we’ve gotten stronger from it, and we learned some things. We’re still piecing it together, but we’re happy where we’re at.”

  • In an article by ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler about what’s next for Broncos QB Russell Wilson, league sources identified the Buccaneers as a potential fit in 2024. Buccaneers OC Dave Canales was Wilson’s QB coach in Seattle and the two got along great. 
  • However, this would be contingent on Tampa Bay not being able to retain QB Baker Mayfield after his resurgence in 2023 leading the team to a playoff berth. 
  • Wilson is expected to be cut by the Broncos this offseason and be free to sign with any team for the minimum, as Denver still owes him $39 million. 
  • Wilson’s numbers were far better in 2023 than in 2022 and he has some believers in other teams who think he can still be productive. One AFC executive told Fowler: “He actually played well during their midseason winning streak. He’s still a good quality starter. He can still make all of the throws, still mobile. Honestly, his skills haven’t declined that much. It’s more about the fit as a person. His teammates seemed to like him there.”
  • However, another thought Wilson was more limited, even if still functional in the right environment: “Physically Russ is declining as his deep ball, mobility and overall accuracy are fading. I think his career arc is unique because he’s basically an older version of his younger self in Seattle. He needs a strong running game and defense once again to be a serviceable starter.”

Falcons

Falcons TE Kyle Pitts said the season was ultimately a success as he was able to suit up for every game for the team this year.

A return to play. A return to, my goal was to finish the year out and healthily get to the end,” Pitts said, via ESPN’s Michael Rothstein. “To get to the 18-game mark, a full year after the injury, that was something I was looking forward to. But the season, that was something that obviously had its ups and downs, its ebbs and flows and it just comes with it. But for the most part it’s a lot more ups than downs.

Falcons TE coach Justin Peelle believes Pitts took a step forward in his abilities this season.

In my mind, I still say that he’s a better football player right now than he was his rookie year,” Peelle said. “Just with the experience and then becoming an NFL professional and all those things that come with it.

Pitts said a big part of the year was getting his footing back under him after undergoing knee surgery.

It’s a continual growth in terms of coming off an injury,” Pitts said. “So each week was trying to get better, keep getting stronger and, you know, just doing what I need to do to get back to the bionic knee that I used to have. That natural knee, you know, after surgery.

Saints

Saints GM Mickey Loomis shot down rumors of him stepping down as general manager and indicated they’ve never discussed him changing roles. 

“I saw a couple of things,” Loomis said, via John DeShazier of the team’s website. “That was just made up. Somebody just made that up. That’s never been discussed or talked about. Now, am I slower? Yeah. I probably ran a 4.5 when I was 30 and I don’t think I could run 5 flat right now. So I am slower. But, I’ve been asked that question. You get asked that when you get to a certain age, and I’ve said, I’m just going to wake up one morning and say, ‘This is the day.’ And it’s not going to be tomorrow, but everything for the next 10 years is open.”

Loomis feels things have gotten “a little too comfortable” around the organization and plans on being more honest with players. 

“I’ve had meetings with the team before,” Loomis said. “It’s been a while. But I felt like there were some things that needed to be said to the players, just like I think there’s things that need to be said to the coaching staff and to our football operations staff, and that’s going to be said. I think maybe we’ve gotten a little too comfortable over the last few years, and so I want to make it uncomfortable.”

Loomis remains confident in HC Dennis Allen and points out that the start of Sean Payton‘s time in New Orleans didn’t go smoothly either. 

“So my assessment is, Dennis Allen is a good coach. With Sean Payton, we went 10-6 the first year but then we were 7-9, 8-8 and I heard some of the same noise. But at the time, I knew we had a good football coach. And so, I think sometimes the hard thing to do is to be patient and recognize your other shortcomings and get those fixed, and that’s what we’re doing.”

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