NFC Notes: Falcons, Marcus Mariota, Panthers, Saints, Jameis Winston


Falcons HC Arthur Smith said that he’s not asking QB Marcus Mariota to do anything other than to play within himself.

He’s his own guy. That’s what you like about certain players, but he’s authentic,“Smith said, via” PFT. “He is who he is. He doesn’t try to be anybody. We’re not asking him to come in here and be Matt Ryan or to be Peyton Manning. Be Marcus Mariota. That’s what we want. He’s also – I think everybody when you get another shot at something, there’s lessons learned and they’re hard lessons but if you take them the right way, you’re more appreciative of the opportunity. It’s been fun being around him again, not just as a player but as a person. He’s one of those people you enjoy being around and he’s doing a good job right now with what we’re asking him to.


The Panthers didn’t see much of 2021 first-round CB Jaycee Horn last season due to a broken foot suffered in Week 3. The little they did see was excellent, however, and would have put Horn in the running for end-of-season honors if he had been able to keep the pace up. Instead, he’s starting from scratch in a way.

“It ate me up. I ain’t gonna lie, it killed me. Because regardless of circumstances, I didn’t hit my goals last year,” said Horn via The Athletic’s Joe Person. “I wanted to be in that conversation. I wanted to be in the playoffs. I wanted to win. I couldn’t do any of that. I was hurt. So even though I couldn’t control it, it still ate at me bad. So all I can do is keep stacking the days and wait till Game 1.”


Saints QB James Winston said he will wear a knee brace next season but does not feel any limitations with his mobility.

“I am going to be wearing the brace during the season, I think everyone does that after an ACL, especially at the quarterback position,” Winston said, via John Deshazier of the team’s official site. “There’s nothing limiting, there’s nothing that really bothers you from that perspective. So, I’m commanding the brace now.”

Winston mentioned that he’s able to drop from the line of scrimmage at full speed but is still working on rolling out and running.

“Drops are at full speed right now,” Winston said. “Still progressing into running. But I’m more just taking advantage of every opportunity I can get. I’m happy I can take full-speed reps with passing, not rolling out and stuff yet. (But) everything is going great.”

Winston feels that he was at his current stage of recovery after three months and has used his rehab to strengthen other parts of his body.

“I felt in three months that I was back to this point,” Winston said. “But I’m always embracing the process, always trying to find new ways. It’s actually a blessing in disguise, being able to strengthen other muscles – my hip flexors, my glutes, my quads, and hamstrings. Just kind of revamping my whole body and just making sure everything is tight-knit and ready to go.”

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