Sunday, April 24, 2011
Easter edition of NFC South hot spots
By Pat Yasinskas
Time for an Easter trip through the NFC South mailbag.
Owen in Chapel Hill, N.C. asks if the Panthers might try to trade for or sign a veteran quarterback as a free agent even if they draft Cam Newton.
Pat Yasinskas: I don’t know for sure, but I think that’s a possibility. When I asked Marty Hurney what kind of support system the Panthers would put in place around Newton, he said he didn’t want to go into any detail until if or when the Panthers draft Newton. But Hurney admitted he’s given a lot of thought to how the team could make Newton’s life easier. One way to do that might be to add a veteran. That guy could even start the season or end up as the starter for the whole season, allowing Newton some time to get comfortable. There are different schools of thought on this. Atlanta threw Matt Ryan into the mix from the start. Tampa Bay made a decision early on that Josh Freeman wouldn’t even get on the field until at least the midway point of his first season. You can’t argue with the results in either of those situations.
Russell in Asheville, N.C. asks me to name one quarterback who has won a Super Bowl that has a playing style similar to Newton’s. He also said Newton’s a run-first quarterback.
Pat Yasinskas: I’ll give you two – Ben Roethlisberger and Aaron Rodgers. Now, I’m not saying Rodgers and Newton are the same guy. Rodgers isn’t as big and his style of running is based more on elusiveness, but his feet are a big part of the reason for his success. Talk to scouts around the NFL and ask them to compare Newton to a current quarterback and the name you hear most often is Roethlisberger’s, although you’ll also hear Freeman’s from time to time. Those are both big strong guys and it’s not easy for them to get hurt when they’re running in the open field. But they’re not just runners. They’re very good passers who use their feet to open things up even more in the passing game. Besides, I don’t think Newton will be a run-first quarterback in Carolina’s offense. The Panthers are putting in a scheme similar to San Diego’s and there are no plans to install the Auburn offense. They’re not going to ask Newton to come in and be Michael Vick.
Robert in Sterling, Va. asks which receivers the Falcons might be interested in early in the draft.
Pat Yasinskas: A lot of people keep throwing out the names of Jerrel Jernigan and Titus Young. Jernigan is 5-foot-9 and 190 pounds. Young is a little taller, but at least 10 pounds lighter. Both guys can fly, but I just have a hard time seeing the Falcons taking an undersized slot receiver in the first round. Those guys, or guys like them could be considerations in the second round or later. If the Falcons go with a receiver in the first round, I think it will be Maryland’s Torrey Smith or Pittsburgh’s Jonathan Baldwin. Both have good size and eventually could develop into upgrades over current starter Michael Jenkins. If you take a receiver in the first round, he better be a guy you think can be a starter in a year or two. Also, I’ve been hearing the names of Smith and Baldwin connected to the Falcons a lot in the past week or so.
Gur in Edgware, United Kingdom wrote to ponder if Raheem Morris on Twitter might be more entertaining than Roddy White on Twitter.
Pat Yasinskas: Hmm, good question. Morris is a highly entertaining guy and so is White. But the difference is White is a player and Morris is a coach. As much as I’m sure some high-ranking members of the Falcons would like to throw White’s Twitter account in Lake Lanier, he’s a player and he does have certain rights to express himself. Morris is an NFL head coach, which, at least in theory means, he should have a filter and use some discretion. As a member of the media, I really appreciate the fact Morris is entertaining and a good quote because that makes my job more fun. But there are certain times he might be wise to tone things down just a bit.
Matt in Miami wonders if defensive tackle Phil Taylor would be a good move for the Saints and asks if drafting him would allow the team to move Sedrick Ellis to defensive end.
Pat Yasinskas: I’ve seen the Baylor defensive tackle tied to the Saints in some mock drafts and it wouldn’t surprise me if he landed in New Orleans. But I don’t think the Saints would be drafting him with their main intention being a move of Ellis to defensive end. Ellis is becoming a very good defensive tackle. They also signed Shaun Rogers just before the lockout. Even with those two, the Saints could use another solid defensive tackle. Like most teams, they like to rotate their defensive linemen and Taylor would give them the chance to have a high-quality rotation.