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Wednesday, August 25, 2010
NFC South mailbag

By Pat Yasinskas
ESPN.com

Robert in Dallas writes: Can you provide some insight on a rumor that doesn't have a chance of happening? I read that the Redskins are in talks with the Bucs for a possible trade involving DT Albert Haynesworth for receiver Michael Clayton and a player to be named? I doubt this occurs but your insight is very much appreciated!

Pat Yasinskas: I strongly doubt there’s going to be a trade of Albert Haynesworth for Michael Clayton or anyone else. Yes, I know there’s a rumor out there, but I’m not aware of any actual talks between the two clubs. I think this one has sprouted wings of its own and gotten a little out of control. From what I know, the genesis of this “rumor’’ came when The Tampa Tribune’s Roy Cummings was asked in a radio interview if he thought a trade for Haynesworth made sense. Let me make it clear that Roy is a friend, former co-worker (he took my spot on the Bucs’ beat when I left to cover Carolina in 1999) and someone I respect. We have a policy of not criticizing other media here, so I’ll just say Roy’s speculation had some solid logic, but I also see some flaws in the idea of a trade for Haynesworth. Yes, the Bucs made a big play for Haynesworth when he was a free agent last year. But things have changed since then. The Bucs used their first two picks this year to draft defensive tackles Gerald McCoy and Brian Price. Bringing in Haynesworth would take away snaps from them and the Bucs previous interest in Haynesworth came before the Bucs had really wrapped themselves around the idea of a youth movement. It also came before the Bucs truly started emphasizing character and the importance of team chemistry. They’ve been thrilled that their preseason has been so quiet and controversy free. Bringing in Haynesworth would create enormous distractions. Yes, Washington already has absorbed a huge chunk of his contract, but the Bucs still would have to pick up a lot of salary and fans always accuse the team of being cheap. Finally, why does anyone think Michael Clayton has trade value? The guy could be on the waiver wire in the next few weeks. Stranger things have happened in the NFL, but I don’t really see Haynesworth getting traded to Tampa Bay.


Nate in Witchita writes: I was wondering with the success of Chase Daniel during this preseason will lead to possible smaller big armed QBs who were undrafted (Graham Harrell) will get a chance on NFL franchises in the future?

Pat Yasinskas: Daniel’s success certainly doesn’t hurt. Neither does the continued success of Drew Brees. It shows that shorter quarterbacks can have success, but they do have to make some adjustments and it helps to be in the right offensive system.


James in Shreveport, La., writes: What have the Atlanta Falcons done since last year to have people picking them to win the NFC South?

Pat Yasinskas: I can’t speak for others in the media and I haven’t made my predictions yet. But I know Atlanta is a trendy pick by a lot of members of the national media. My best guess is they’re trying to be different and they’re basing much of their thinking on the fact Michael Turner is healthy and Dunta Robinson and Sean Weatherspoon should help the defense.


Niko in Clemson, S.C., writes: I have a question about Jon Beason. I don't understand why the team would move him to the weak-side lb position when he was a Pro Bowl MLB for the past two years... It doesn't make sense to me to force him to change the way he thinks after he performed so well in the middle. Why not just put Dan Connor (who i think was replacing him in the middle... i could be wrong) on the weak side and leave Beason where he was?

Pat Yasinskas: First off, Connor doesn’t have the tools to play the weak side. He’s a natural middle linebacker. Second, the Panthers elected to move Beason after Thomas Davis, who played the weak side, went down with a serious injury. I asked Beason about the move when I spoke with him early in training camp and, when I asked him if he could make as many impact plays from that spot as he did in the middle, he gave what I thought was a very strong answer. Beason said in Ron Meeks’ Tampa Two defense, everything is designed to come toward the weakside linebacker. He then mentioned that a guy named Derrick Brooks used to make a lot of plays from the weak side in the original Tampa Two.


James in Salem, Ore., writes: I am a little on edge with the injury to Josh Freeman and have been on the watch for rumors/news of them signing a veteran QB. So I'm a bit surprised that the only move they have made so far was to bring back Jevan Snead. Are the Bucs that confident that Freeman will be ready Week 1? Some more experience at QB would certainly help the team regardless if Freeman will be ready, but no wind of bringing on a veteran. What is your take?

Pat Yasinskas: Snead is a guy the Bucs brought back because he knows their offense and can help them get through practices the next few weeks. That’s it. They have no grand plans for Snead, whom they already cut once. There really are no other quarterbacks of consequence available right now. However, I would hope the injury to Freeman opens the Bucs’ eyes to how thin they are at quarterback and, as other teams make roster cuts, they bring in someone with a little NFL experience. And, yes, the Bucs expect Freeman to be ready for the opener.


Kenneth in Boston writes: Why would the Saints ever cut Troy Evans? He was a special-teams leader and the Saints themselves said the key to this season would be leadership and responsibility. The special teams are already weak, why would the Saints make it weaker?

Pat Yasinskas: At least in the eyes of the Saints, cutting Evans doesn’t make the special teams -- mainly the coverage units -- weaker. Evans was getting older and may not have had the speed he once did. The Saints have added a lot of young guys like Stanley Arnoux and Jonathan Casillas in recent years. Maybe their philosophy is to give the young guys a chance to improve the coverage units. Evans was a special-teams captain last year, but the Saints obviously decided they have a chance to be better without him. Also, this move was not about money. Evans was scheduled to make $755,000 this season, which is the minimum for a player with his experience and there were no hidden bonuses on the horizon.