- Pat Yasinskas, ESPN Staff Writer
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Posted by ESPN.com's Pat Yasinskas
Time for another edition of the mailbag.
Nathan in North Carolina writes: Pat,During the Giants-Panthers MNF game, Gruden, who by the way was one of the better new announcers I have heard in years, made a comment about an argument throughout the league about whether DeAngelo Williams or Adrian Peterson was the better running back. Was this just filler, or was he serious? I was under the impression that league sentiment held that Peterson was the best, and then everyone else was in another level altogether. I went back and looked at last year's stats, and most interesting was their respective touchdown-to-fumble ratio. What are your thoughts?
Pat Yasinskas: I heard Jon Gruden's comments and it made me think. I'm of the opinion that Peterson is the league's best running back at the moment. But, who's next after him? It just might be Williams. When finally given the chance last year, he put up huge numbers and he looked very good in the preseason opener on Monday.
Chris in Marietta, Ga. writes: This is a four part question. will norwood, and turner see more equal amount of carries this year (1). will the falcons new defence playoff claiber (2).who do you think will be the three falcons wr this season (3). and do u believe the falcons will adopt the wild cat offence this season?(4)
Pat Yasinskas: Let's go with a four-part answer. First, it's safe to say Michael Turner won't be carrying 376 times again. The Falcons realize that's too much and want to lighten his load. Jerious Norwood might get a few more carries, but it won't be anywhere close to a 50-50 split. The Falcons still want Turner carrying the bulk of the time. Second, I think the defense can be better than it was last year. Yes, there are five new starters to work in. But they've got fresh legs and the personnel also is a better fit for coach Mike Smith's defense. Third, Roddy White and Michael Jenkins are obviously the first two receivers and Robert Ferguson has made a good impression since signing with the Falcons. If he keeps it up, I think Ferguson will be the No. 3 receiver. Fourth, I wouldn't rule out the possibility the Falcons use the wildcat a few times. But it won't be common. The wildcat is a gimmick offense that you don't really need when you've got a real quarterback. The Falcons have Matt Ryan. Doesn't make sense to take the ball out of his hands.
Richard in Ann Arbor, Mich. writes: By the rules of the NFL, a player is credited with serving his 4 game suspension so long as he doesn't play in the first four weeks, even if he hasn't signed with any team. So, in theory, the Saints can test-drive a stable of 3rd string RB's, and then, if they haven't found one they like by their bye week, cut them all and bring Deuce back in, able to play right away.
Pat Yasinskas: I understand the strong attachment to Deuce McAllister by Saints' fans. The guy had a great career there and did a lot of good things off the field. But he's not coming back to play for New Orleans. I get the same thing from Tampa Bay fans about Derrick Brooks, but that's not happening either. When you make a decision to cut ties with a player like McAllister or Brooks, it's final and there's no turning back.
Troy in Duluth, Ga. writes: Pat, what's the status of Adrian Arrington? I've read you and several others mention that the Saints had high hopes for him over the offseason, but I didn't see him play vs Cincinnati and haven't seen his name mentioned in quite a while.
Pat Yasinskas: Arrington's been banged up again. He's had some hamstring problems this preseason. The Saints like Arrington's potential a lot, but his injuries have prevented him from really showing what he can do. With all the depth the Saints have at receiver, it might be tough to keep Arrington around.
Sam in Newport News, Va. writes: Dear Pat, on the Panthers website they have released there preseason depth chart, and one thing that sticks out the most is the DE's. Tell me why they would waste a 1st round pick on a guy who's going to be a third string end. And i thought this was the year Charles Johnson has a breakout year, but yet they have sorry Tyler Brayton ahead of him along side Peppers. Can you please make any sense of this because I can't.
Pat Yasinskas: This answer applies to all teams, not just the Panthers. Do not pay any attention to preseason depth charts. They really don't mean anything. Coaches are careful not to tip their hand about regular-season plans. Plus, a lot of them feel obligated to veterans and list them ahead of rookies, even if they're not. Depth charts don't mean much until the regular season.