With the news breaking that NFL commissioner Roger Goodell had recused himself from hearing appeals of player suspensions in the New Orleans bounty saga, I didn’t get a chance Friday to go through film of the NFC South chat.
So let’s take this opportunity to run through the team-by-team highlights:
Dwight (Atlanta): Pat. do you think the Falcons might shuffle their Oline at the bye like they did last year? Think we might see Konz at RG or C?
Pat Yasinskas: Possible. But Smith is old school and superstitious. He might be hesitant to make big changes while they're winning. But my personal opinion would be to go ahead and get Konz into the lineup.
Joel (NC): Pat, you are completely right that everything seems imminently more fixable when you are 6-0 than 1-5, and the Falcons are almost a shoe-in for the playoffs at this point, but there is no way if I were a Falcons fan I would feel as though the Super Bowl was definite. The NFC (outside of the NFC South) is wide open and there is no team right now dominating the way the Packers and the Saints were over the past couple of years. They still haven't beaten a team above .500.
Pat Yasinskas: Agree. Even though they're 6-0, I don't think Falcons have played, thus far, like best team in the NFC. But not sure who best team in NFC really is.
Ben (Atlanta GA): Pat, I know Panthers GM Marty Hurney is tight with Jerry Richardson, but it really seems like a change needs to be made in the front office. The numerous draft busts going back to 03, the multiple failures to obtain quality free agents, and the lack of postseason momentum since 2005 are hardly a hallmark of forward progress. Bearing in mind that Richardson got rid of his sons a while back (so I dont necessarily buy into the relationships vs. success arguments), do you think Hurney will be shown the door if this season continues along the dismal path it is on so far for the Panthers?
Pat Yasinskas: Despite their strong relationship, I think Hurney could be gone if things don't turn around quickly.
Gary (Houston, TX): Hey Pat I know Jerry Richardson is well respected throughout the league but it seems that he just doesn't seem that interested in putting a consistent winning product on the field. I know the philosophy in Carolina has always been build through the draft don't spend on high priced FA but at some point don't you have to make changes if that isn't working and the fan base myself included feel it's time for a change but you can't fire the owner so what happens in Carolina going forward?
Pat Yasinskas: It may not be working out that way, but I can assure you Richardson wants to win. The man spent a fortune coming out of the lockout and part of the reason he didn't keep Fox was because he never put together back-to-back winning seasons.
NEW ORLEANS SAINTS
Pete (New Orleans): Its your job to criticize players...why not criticize Drew Brees? He was selfish with his holdout, the team needed leadership in the offseason and he was worried about $19mm vs $20mm. Yet you never touch the golden boy. You were probably a Lance Armstrong supporter too.
Pat Yasinskas: Because I don't share your opinion on Brees. I thought he did what he had to do. It's probably his last contract and he earned the right to be the highest-paid player in the NFL.
Matt (Pensacola): Any chance that Vilma starts at OLB on Sunday?
Pat Yasinskas: If he plays, I think they'll start him, mainly as a courtesy. Not sure he'll be able to go the whole game or anything close to it. It's been a long time since he's been on the field, so I'd expect his role to be limited, if he plays.
TAMPA BAY BUCCANEERS
Tommy (South Carolina): Looking at the Bucs' passing defense, do you think they are as bad as the numbers look? Take out one horrific display against the Giants, add in the fact that they haven't given up a passing TD in 3 games...does that make them at least average?
Pat Yasinskas: I think the numbers may be a bit skewed. Run defense has been very good, so opponents are passing more often.
Jason (Birmingham): Why do you think the Bucs organization is still standing by Talib? Because they need him this season or because they think he is a quality individual who made a(nother) mistake? I mean, how many chances does the guy get?
Pat Yasinskas: My personal take on that one is they'll bring him back this season and then let him walk after the season.
Here’s the complete transcript of Friday’s NFC South chat.