Behind Enemy Lines is a weekly look at Tampa Bay’s NFC South foes every Tuesday. Let’s spy on the Bucs’ division rivals, shall we?

Atlanta Falcons

• The Falcons are still in the process of finding a new head coach to replace Dan Quinn and a general manager to succeed Thomas Dimitroff. The coaching search carousel added Todd Bowles as the team announced on Tuesday they had conducted an interview with Tampa Bay’s defensive coordinator. Bowles, who coached the Jets prior to joining Bruce Arians in Tampa Bay, is also expected to, or has already, interviewed with Detroit and also with Philadelphia.

Bucs DC Todd Bowles
Bucs DC Todd Bowles – Photo by: Cliff Welch/PR

Atlanta has also completed virtual interviews with 49ers defensive coordinator Robert Saleh, Titans offensive coordinator Arthur Smith, Falcons interim head coach Raheem Morris, Panthers offensive coordinator Joe Brady, Chiefs offensive coordinator Eric Bieniemy and Packers offensive coordinator Nathaniel Hackett.

Recently fired Eagles head coach Doug Pederson could also be a candidate for the Falcons’ opening although no interview has been scheduled.

• Speaking of Quinn, the former Gators, Seahawks and Falcons coach has landed a new job as the defensive coordinator for the Dallas Cowboys, who fired Mike Nolan immediately after the season.

• Atlanta has narrowed its general manager search down to three names according to AJC.com. Rams director of college scouting Brady Holmes along with former Houston general manager Rick Smith and Saints assistant general managerTerry Fontenot are the three top candidates to replace Dimitroff.

Carolina Panthers

• The Panthers have interviewed 15 people to fill their vacant general manager job vacated when owner David Tepper fired Marty Hurney late in the 2020 season. The Panthers team website indicated a decision would be coming soon.
The latest names to be interviewed were Seahawks vice president of football operations Scott Fitterer and Steelers vice president of football and business administration Omar Khan. Both were interviewed on Monday.

Two names have come up again and will be interviewed for a second time, according to NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport, indicating they may be the front-runners for the opening.

• It took a while, but the Senior Bowl, which is the annual college player pre-draft showcase, has finally found two coaching staffs willing to take on the job. Matt Rhule and his Panthers staff will take one team, while the Dolphins coaching staff has also agreed to coach the other later this month in Mobile, Alabama. The East-West Shrine Game, held annually since 1932, has been canceled due to COVID-19 precautions, but it appears the Senior Bowl is still a go.

• Panthers offensive coordinator Joe Brady could be one-and-done in Carolina, as he met with the Jets this week to interview for their head coaching position to replace the fired Adam Gase. Brady had previous meetings with the Chargers, Texans, and Falcons.

Panthers QB Teddy Bridgewater and HC Matt Rhule
Panthers QB Teddy Bridgewater and HC Matt Rhule – Photo by: USA Today

• Carolina’s Rhule has already said that quarterback Teddy Bridgewater would be evaluated like the entire roster following a solid statistical year, but one that disappointed in the win column season in Charlotte. Ian Rapoport reported last weekend that recently released Washington quarterback Dwayne Haskins was visiting the Panthers last Monday. Haskins, who was selected 15th overall in 2019, has reportedly also generated some interest from some other teams as well.

• Besides possibly losing Brady, the Panthers have reportedly already lost assistant offensive line coach Marcus Satterfield, who will become the offensive coordinator at South Carolina. Satterfield came to Carolina after coaching with Rhule at Baylor for two seasons.

New Orleans Saints

• The match-up between the two best quarterbacks in NFL history – statistically anyway – will happen on Sunday evening in front of a national audience. This week Saints quarterback Drew Brees said facing Tom Brady in the playoffs was pretty much destined to happen.

“Yeah, don’t take it for granted,” Brees said following his team’s win over the Bears last Sunday. “I’m very appreciative of the opportunity. And listen, the minute that he signed with the Bucs and came in the division, you felt like that was going to be a team to contend with, that was going to be a team that had playoff aspirations and beyond, just like us. So, I guess it was inevitable.”

The two teams faced off against each other twice this season with the Saints and Brees getting the best of Brady in the regular season match-ups. The game will showcase the two oldest quarterbacks in the league and with a combined age of 85 (Brady is 43 while Brees turns 42 on January 15), will feature the oldest quarterback match-up in NFL history. Brady had some fun this week with a tweet in regards to their age.


• New Orleans is taking no chances with struggling kicker Will Lutz and has signed former Vikings kicker Blair Walsh to its practice squad. Walsh gives the Saints insurance in case of injury to Lutz along with any possible COVID-19 issues that might pop up.

• A number of teams have expressed an interest in possibly hiring Saints assistant G.M. of player personnel Terry Fontenot, who has interviews with multiple teams, including twice with the Broncos. Fontenot reportedly interviewed with the Jaguars this week for their vacant general manager position.

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About the Author: Mark Cook

Mark Cook currently is the director of editorial content and Bucs beat writer and has written for PewterReport.com since 2011. Cook has followed the Buccaneers since 1977 when he first began watching football with his Dad and is fond of the 1979 Bucs team that came within 10 points of going to a Super Bowl. His favorite Bucs game is still the 1979 divisional playoff win 24-17 over the Eagles. In his spare time Cook enjoys playing guitar, fishing, surfing and family time at the beach. In addition, Cook can be found in front of a television or in Doak Campbell any time the FSU Seminoles are playing. Cook is a native of Pinecrest in Eastern Hillsborough County and has written for numerous publications including the Tampa Tribune, In the Field and Ya'll Magazine. Cook can be reached at mark@pewterreport.com
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Pete Wood
8 days ago

I want the Bucs to win Sunday, but I really like Brees. He’s a class act who doesn’t take himself too seriously.
I don’t see Bowles being offered or taking the HC job in Atlanta. That franchise is a train wreck. I think he’d rather stay here and get a super bowl ring.

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surferdudes
Reply to  Pete Wood
8 days ago

F Brees.

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Pete Wood
Reply to  surferdudes
8 days ago

It’s just a game. He’s not Hitler.

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drdneast
Reply to  Pete Wood
8 days ago

I like Brees top, just not when he plays the Bucs

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drdneast
Reply to  Pete Wood
8 days ago

Falcons are hardly a train wreck especially when you consider the fact that the owner genuinely wants to win a Super Bowl for his city;
Like most teamsm they need a GM and staff who can judge football talent and not go by what draft experts on TV say.

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Pete Wood
Reply to  drdneast
7 days ago

Well said, drdneast. You make a good point. my comment about Atlanta being a train wreck was not well contemplated.

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Captain Sly
8 days ago

Last time Brees faced the Bucs he got 7 ribs broken. I am sure that is in the back of his mind this week as he’s preparing one last showdown…. If Bowles has any hopes of getting another HC job he’d better draft a scheme to shutdown the Saints this weekend especially with the talent on this roster. There isn’t a job opening that features this level of talent so it’s “Put Up or Shut Up” for Bowles.

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Dude
Reply to  Captain Sly
8 days ago

Unfortunately, that wasn’t the Bucs, it was the 49ers. But hey, maybe the Bucs were the ones who cracked them first?

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chefboho
Reply to  Dude
7 days ago

Actually he was partly right. He sustained 1 cracked rib against the niners and 6 against the Bucs.

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Spitfire
Reply to  Dude
7 days ago

Yeah he broke most of the ribs against us and they didn’t notice until after he broke more the next game.

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Dude
8 days ago

That pic of Brady above kind of looks like Brett Farve.

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Dave
Reply to  Dude
8 days ago

Omg lol. I was thinking the exact same thing. Trim the beard down quit a bit and that’s Favre lol

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Dave
8 days ago

A train wreck team like Dallas, with a dumpster fire defense, goes out and hires Quinn as their DC to try and solve their defensive problems lol. Good god. What has Quinn done as a defensive mind in this league? Other than not screw up the HOF caliber defense that Pete Carroll put in front of him. Reminds me of all the job offers Adam Gase got as a so called “offensive guru”, because he was the “OC” when P.Manning was in Denver. No, that was all Manning. Gase was along for the ride. Good luck Cowboys lol

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Last edited 8 days ago by Dave
Spitfire
7 days ago

Yeah Brees said that crap at the beginning of the year. Like I get it that obviously, we went after Brady to make us better, but the backhanded compliment that basically we were never interested in being a contender ever before that is a f**k face thing to say. Yes we have a long history of up and down but year in and year out our guys have done everything to our a competitive team together and then that team played their butts off for the most part. Just because we struggled since the Super Bowl doesn’t mean we didn’t… Read more »

Spitfire
Reply to  Spitfire
7 days ago

Also, after the first game of the year, Cam Jordan joked that playing in front of no fans due to Covid was just like playing a game in Tampa. Yes we have averaged on the low end of attendance with a 51k average, but Cam Jordan can eat his own a**. Just because New Orleans is the biggest dirt pile scum bag city in the country and they have nothing to look forward to each day other than banging their own sister, throw up on Bourbon Street and go to watch the leagues most showboating bunch of scumbags doesn’t make… Read more »

inspecto
Reply to  Spitfire
7 days ago

easy spitfire easy
Go Bucs !!!

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plopes808
7 days ago

There is a lot of turnover and turmoil upcoming within the NFC South. We have a young, talented team and are in a good cap situation. No other team in the division can say that. With a solid draft class and a plan in place for life after Brady, now is our time to claim our spot at the top of the division.

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