As usual, we covered all sorts of ground in Friday’s NFC South chat. Let’s take a look at some of the highlights.
Eric (Raleigh, N.C.): Pat, Any chance the Panthers' running game gets going anytime soon? I am loving the Cam Newton show but I don't think we are going to win many games without some balance on offense.
Pat Yasinskas: I suspect you'll see more of it very soon. Panthers realize they need more balance in their offense. Plus, with the linebacker situation, they need to be able to sustain some drives and keep the defense off the field. DeAngelo Williams and Jonathan Stewart are too good not to get some carries.
Jason (Land O Lakes): Any news on Tanard Jackson?
Pat Yasinskas: Nothing yet. Commissioner Roger Goodell doesn't have to act right away and we don't know if Jackson met all the conditions of the things he was supposed to do (and not do) during the suspension. Stay tuned.
KMan94 (Atlanta): How much should Atlanta be concerned about Matt Ryan's knee?
Pat Yasinskas: I believe it's minor. He's practiced on a limited basis the last two days. I don't think it's an issue.
Nick (Melbourne, Fla.): Any reason you can think of that the Bucs did not pursue Darren Sproles? Their 3rd down back situation has 200 year old Earnest Graham there with Kregg Lumpkin a relative no name and surely the Bucs could have outbid the Saints. Please don't talk about their youth movement. Us fans are sick of the Glazers penny pinching ways.
Pat Yasinskas: From what I know, the Bucs at least did pursue Sproles (and Reggie Bush) a little bit. But they didn't like the price tag on either.
Adam (Raleigh, N.C.): You're building a team for the long term and have your choice of the four South QBs who do you take?
Pat Yasinskas: Personally, I'd take Freeman if I could pair him with Atlanta's skill-position players.
Joel (NC): Pat, I agree with you taking Freeman as the long term guy right now, but if Newton continues as he has, it may be up for debate next year don't you think?
Pat Yasinskas: Yeah, but it's only two games for Newton. Two excellent games, but only two.
Tim (Alexandria): Have you heard anything about Jonathan Vilma's availabilty this Sunday?
Pat Yasinskas: Should have a better idea when the injury report comes out later this afternoon. But he's sat out the last two days, which isn't a great sign. But Vilma's one of those guys that doesn't have to practice. If he wakes up Sunday and feels OK, they'll throw him out there.
Matt Riddle (Atlanta, Ga.): Falcons should of never let go of Koenen, even if it meant more money. We were willing to trade up for Julio and pay big for Edwards. Now our season could be jeopardized because of a rookie and a division rival acquired Koenen!
Pat Yasinskas: True, but it was a conscious decision by Dimitroff, who doesn't believe in paying big money to specialists. If you re-signed Koenen, you might not have gotten Edwards. It was a calculated gamble and it's not looking good so far. But Falcons did their homework on Bosher and haven't given up on him yet, so they must have some hope that things can straighten out quickly.
Noah (Wimberly): What are your thoughts on the Saints Linebackers corp? Seems like Gregg Williams is having fun mixing up formations with those guys.
Pat Yasinskas: Think it's better than it’s been in recent years. Really like the way they're mixing guys in and they've got more speed at LB than they've had in past.
Here’s the complete transcript of Friday’s NFC South chat.