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NFC South mailbag

Jeff in Charleston, SC writes: Great article on Warrick Dunn and his limited partnership with the Atlanta Falcons organization. You put this whole confusing situation into perspective and gave us fans a great story about one of our all-time favorite Falcons. In your mind, what does this say about the organization that a classy, philanthropist and former player like Dunn would embark on this journey with the Falcons.

Pat Yasinskas: It was a fun story to do. I covered Dunn when he came into the league with the Bucs as a very shy and private kid. The guy I interviewed on the phone the other day was an extremely polished businessman and that was very cool for me to see. Dunn had a great career and we all know about the great things he does off the field. This move says a lot about the Falcons. Arthur Blank thinks the world of Dunn. Blank also has grown as an owner. He’s been burned in the past by some players with off-field issues, but he’s learned from that and tightened up the ship. Bringing on a guy like Dunn only makes the ship more elegant. By the way, I want to emphasize this isn’t some token role. Dunn is very serious about learning the business side of football and said he dreams of being a majority owner of a franchise someday.


Jason in Jacksonville, FL writes: Need a little help figuring out some of my fellow Carolina fans. If I recall last year about 90% of us were screaming “WE WANT (Matt) MOORE! WE WANT MOORE!’’ .Then we got Moore and he went 4-1 as a starter and only threw 1 INT. Now all I see anywhere is bring in Michael Vick, Derek Anderson, Brady Quinn etc.

Pat Yasinskas: Very true. I guess the best way to put it is that’s the nature of the beast and it’s not unique among Carolina fans. Quarterback is the glamour position and the easiest thing in the world to point at. The backup always seems to be the most popular guy in town when things aren’t going well. I can remember fans screaming for Casey Weldon and Scott Milanovich when I covered the Bucs and fans yelling for Brett Basanez when I covered the Panthers. Let me assure you, John Fox and Marty Hurney aren’t basing their decisions on public opinion. They plan to at least give Moore a shot to win the job. They may bring in someone to compete with him, but it won’t be Vick.


Peter in New York writes: Now that the Falcons have addressed the CB position in Dunta Robinson and have a wealth of young talent on the defensive side of the ball, what do you rate the possibility of them drafting another offensive weapon in the first round? If a C.J. Spiller or a Dez Bryant happened to be available, will they pull the trigger?

Pat Yasinskas: It’s possible. But I think there still are needs on the defensive side, mainly at defensive end and maybe at outside linebacker. Mike Smith is a defensive coach and I think the Falcons already have pretty good weapons at the offensive skill positions. My guess is they go with defense.


Da Truth in Woodbridge, VA writes: Pat, I've been blogging in your "How I See It: NFC South Stock Watch" article. One Panther fan seems to think they and the Saints are the team to beat this year and that the Falcons did nothing to improve their defense. Even to go as far and say Dunta Robinson is not really an upgrade--just an overpaid, tackle-after-the-fact CB. Of course I'm a Falcon fan and him being a Panther fan we're both biased toward our teams. From an unbiased point of view, who do you think will be in the better position to challenge NO for the division title and the playoffs?

Pat Yasinskas: At the moment, I think the Falcons are the team most likely to challenge the Saints. I think Atlanta has improved so far this offseason. Don’t see any way you can say the same about Carolina right now. But there still is time in free agency and the draft and I’m anxious to see what Fox and Hurney have up their sleeves.


Wes in New Orleans writes: As always, you do a great job, but your note about Jake Delhomme contained a fairly noticeable factual error. Aaron Brooks' draft status was not the reason Jim Haslett was obligated to keep him at starter. He was drafted by Green Bay and was traded to New Orleans for a draft pick. His contract had much more to do with it.

Pat Yasinskas: You are absolutely correct. Thanks to you and a few other New Orleans fans for pointing out my error. I’ll go back and fix it. Brooks was Haslett’s guy and the Saints put a lot of money into him. That’s why Delhomme never really got a fair shake in his first stint with New Orleans. By the way, he was supposed to visit the Saints on Saturday, but that got delayed because of problems with his flight schedule. Delhomme now is scheduled to visit the Saints on Sunday.