NFC South: Chad Ocho Cinco
Posted by ESPN.com's Pat Yasinskas
Time to start catching up on some of your mailbag questions. There are a lot of them and I'll probably do this again Sunday or Monday, but wanted to at least start into the stack of letters now. Here we go:
ChrisC in Charleston, S.C., writes: I'm in the Air Force, so most of my friends are all huge fans of different teams, making every sunday a lot of fun. We pretend during the offseason to be our favorite teams' owners and throw out possible trade scenarios. Mine was thrown out to a Cincy fan: JP for 85 and a draft pick. I know Smitty doesn't want to compete for the number 1 spot, but Chad has somewhat fallen to a number 2 guy, and they did play high school ball together if I remember correctly. Any feasibility here? And if so, ya mind whispering the thought into Hurney's ear?
Pat Yasinskas: Steve Smith and Chad Ocho Cinco (formerly Johnson) did play together in junior college. Even though that would probably help them co-exist, I don't see this move happening. Marty Hurney and John Fox are no-frills guys and Ocho Cinco comes with a lot of frills.
Ricky in parts unknown writes: Hey Pat, What are the chances Bucs go LB with the 19th pick? After losing Brooks and June...it makes sense right?
Pat Yasinskas: I think linebacker is at least a possibility, but I think there are greater needs at defensive tackle, defensive end and maybe cornerback. The Bucs did sign linebacker Angelo Crowell and are moving safety Jermaine Phillips to linebacker. They've also got some promising young linebackers on their roster. Still, I wouldn't totally rule out the possibility of a linebacker if Brian Cushing or Clay Matthews is sitting there at No. 19.
Rob in Houston writes: I understand this is not necessarily realistic with Fox dedicated to the 4-3, but there are a plethora of good LB on the roster. If Carolina made a switch to a 3-4 scheme, do you think Peppers would be happy to stay so he could reach his "full potential"? Or even in that scenario, do you think Peppers wants to leave because he can't reach his "full potential" with the coaching staff in place?
Pat Yasinskas: I don't think it would make much difference to Julius Peppers if the Panthers changed schemes and I don't see that happening because Fox is a 4-3 coach. The change would be dramatic and the roster was built to play the 4-3. Peppers hasn't been real clear about his reasons for wanting out, but it's pretty obvious if you read between the lines that it's about a lot more than the defensive scheme. For whatever reason, it doesn't seem like he's happy with Fox and wants a change of scenery.
ANTHONY writes: hey, man im a die hard panthers fan but i bet my bottom dollar that if you could even get the fact or idea out of A PEPPERS BOULDIN TRADE OR EVEN GET THE PANTHERS TO SHOW INTREST IN BOLDIN TO HELP TAKE PRESSURE OFF SMITH YOU WOULD GET A GREAT BUZZ? PLEASE COMMENT BACK HOW AND COULD THAT EVEN BE POSSIBLE! ( HMMMMM, ALSO DIDNT THEY PLAY EACH OTHER IN THE PLAYOFFS LAST YEAR LIKE I SAID GREAT BUZZ! JUST A FAN WITH A QUESTION AND IDEA!
Pat Yasinskas: You're not the only one throwing out that idea and there's buzz about it among Carolina fans. But I don't see it happening. The Panthers have very good No. 1 receiver in Smith and they've also got a lot of money tied up in him. If the Panthers are going to trade Peppers at all, I think it will be for draft picks because they've got bigger needs at defensive tackle, defensive end and cornerback.
Richard in Baton Rouge writes: Your colleague Mosley predicts the Saints to go 0-4 against the mighty NFC East. If you and he are both at the Dallas/New Orleans saturday night game, then would you pass along to us the expression on his face when the Saints roll the 'boys? Again.
Pat Yasinskas: I'll be happy to share Matt's reaction with you if the Saints beat the Cowboys. Matt and I had the debate about whether the NFC East or South was the best division last year and I think the final results spoke pretty highly for the South. Also, I usually try to avoid gloating over predictions that come true because predictions don't mean much and they're wrong as often as they're right. But, to all those Cowboys fans who filled up my mailbag with some pretty sick letters when I picked Dallas to finish third in the NFC East and out of the playoffs at the start of last season, you've been silent for months now. I miss you.
Brian in Emerald Isle writes: Just wanted to know about the health of Jerry Richardson?
Pat Yasinskas: Glad you asked because I do have a little update that I haven't gotten around to sharing yet. I was in Charlotte earlier this week and had lunch with a couple of Panthers officials. I asked how owner Jerry Richardson is doing and the update is positive. He continues to make steady progress in his recovery from a heart transplant and is in good spirits. He still has some ground to cover and hasn't set an exact target date for when he plans to resume his regular duties, but that's what he's shooting for.
Brett in Tallahassee writes: Hey Pat! With the 2009 Tampa Bay team beginning to sort coalesce, do you think Anquan Boldin would be a good fit for a deep-threat WR? Thanks, love the column. All the best, Brett
Pat Yasinskas: There's no doubt Anquan Boldin will help any team he plays for and I like the idea of him with the Bucs. However, I think it would be very difficult for the Bucs to pull off a deal like that. After trading their second-round pick for Kellen Winslow, they don't have a lot of ammunition for a trade and I'd hate to see them give up their first-round pick because they have some big needs on defense that really haven't been addressed yet.