Chat with Pat Yasinskas
Welcome to SportsNation! On Friday, ESPN.com NFC South blogger Pat Yasinskas will stop by to talk about the NFL.
Yasinskas joined ESPN.com in January 2008 after covering the Carolina Panthers for The Charlotte Observer for nine seasons. He began his journalism career with The Tampa Tribune in 1990 and began covering the Buccaneers and the NFL in 1993. A winner of Florida Sports Writers Awards for Best Feature and Best News story in 1997, he is a graduate of Saint Leo University and attended law school before coming to his senses. A native of Dalton, Pa., Yasinskas lives in the Tampa area.
Send your questions now and join Yasinskas Friday at 1 p.m. ET!
andy (hickory, nc)
why didnt the bucs do the three year deal to play in england? im sure they could have had it over the rams if they wanted it last year they pulled out of hbos special also. it just seems like there afraid of prime time coverage
Pat Yasinskas (12:56 PM)
Excellent question to start the chat. As soon as I saw the Rams thing this morning, I started thinking about this. At the press conference to announce Raheem Morris' firing, the Bucs also announced they had told the league they did't want to go to London for at least a few years. That was a departure from their thinking in the past. I'll have a blog post with what I think are some of their reasons either later today or over the weekend. All right, this chat is up and running. Let's have some fun.
Xhavit (Nola) [via mobile]
Hey pat, do you think the saints will go into this offseason looking to improve the defensive line now that spags is the coordinator.
Pat Yasinskas (12:57 PM)
I think they have to do that. A Spags defense is all about getting pressure from the front four. They need to add some guys with pass-rush skills to that front four to make his defense work.
Thomas DeCoud (Dancing in my home)
Am I a goner or will the Falcons bring me back?
Pat Yasinskas (12:59 PM)
If you own a home, you might want to start looking for a realtor. If you're renting, hang loose a bit. I'm sure Nolan is probably going to be watching your film very closely in the coming days.
Zion (new orleans, La)
With a new DC in Spags coming in, i'm sure we will see a new look with new faces. Do you see Porter and Harper fitting into Spags scheme?
Pat Yasinskas (1:00 PM)
My guess is Porter will be allowed to walk. Harper's contract means they almost have to keep him. They may have to adjust his role to make things work in that defense. Spags generally relies on safeties to cover and make plays. Coverage isn't exactly Roman's strength. They may have to get a little flexible with him.
tay: (Atlanta, GA) [via mobile]
Pat I'm a die hard falcons fan, but I'm beginning to wonder if Matt Ryan is just another Tony Romo. He looks amazing in the regular season, but cracks under pressure... Maybe we should start looking for his replacement in case the upcoming season is also a failure.
Pat Yasinskas (1:01 PM)
You might be a tad early on pulling the plug on Matt. Let's give him the upcoming season with a new coordinator before making any final calls on him.
Ben (Atlanta GA)
Pat - did you finish law school? I almost dropped out myself, but kept going (regrettably).
Pat Yasinskas (1:03 PM)
No, I withdrew in second semester because I had mono. Was going to go back the following January and pick up with the next class. But I fell into this business and decided it was a lot more fun than reading law books all day. So I stayed with this and never have regretted it.
Dirk Koetter...We should give the guy a chance. It's not like he's trying to rip apart the offense and rebuild it to be ranked dead last. It seems his goal is to use the pieces already in place, keep the things the offense does well, and add in some elements that werent there like more vertical passing, screen plays....maybe some draws and misdirection to offset some pressure. The offense just needs some minor tweaks and he could be the guy to do it.
Pat Yasinskas (1:04 PM)
Agreed. I think Koetter is a much better coach than a lot of Atlanta fans are giving him credit for. He's got a ton more to work with than he had in Jacksonville.
What is the status on John Kasay. Is he available for a return to Charlotte. No matter what, Mare is gone, right?
Pat Yasinskas (1:05 PM)
Kasay will be a free agent. I'd have to look at Mare's contract to see if it would make sense to just cut him now. Might be a situation where they bring Mare back to camp and see if he's worked out his accuracy issues before deciding.
Why this talk about trading Turner for a late draft pick? He was hurt and still had 1340 yards. Sounds like a bargain for 5 mil. next year.
Pat Yasinskas (1:07 PM)
He's also about to turn 30, which is almost never a good thing for a running back. He looked slow second half of season. Might have been the injury. Might have been his age creeping in. Sometimes you have to be proactive on these kinds of things and move a player before it's too late. Not saying he has to go. Just that it's a decision the Falcons have to ponder. They know better than us exactly what his injury situation was.
Why didnt the Bucs look at Mike Mccoy? Are the Dolphins going to hire him?
Pat Yasinskas (1:09 PM)
I don't know the answer to that. But I would have looked at him. I covered Mike from the day he was hired as a quality control guy in Carolina. I've always thought he's had "Future head coach" written all over him. I think he's got a real good shot in Miami, so maybe the "future" part comes off of him.
Manuel (Kannapolis Nc)
Hey Pat do you see the panthers playing in a MNF game next season?
Pat Yasinskas (1:10 PM)
I would think so. They've got Cam and a team that appears to be on the rise. Those are all things the schedule makers look upon favorably.
Do we have enough talent in the front 7 to make Spag's defense work?
Pat Yasinskas (1:10 PM)
Not right now. You need to make some additions on the line and at LB.
Calvin (Newport News, VA)
Hey Pat. Do you see the Bucs re-signing Talib if he is found not guilty in his court case?
Pat Yasinskas (1:11 PM)
Can't possibly answer that yet. We don't even know who their head coach will be.
What do you think are Armanti Edwards' chances of making the Panthers' roster again next year? With David Gettis coming back and Edwards' inability to make a difference as a punt returner, it seems like it'd be difficult to find a spot for him again.
Pat Yasinskas (1:12 PM)
Armanti would have to come to training camp and show some pretty major improvement.
Willie J (My house, USA)
Which new Defensive Coordinator is a better choice and Fit. Nolan in ATL? of Spags in NOLA?
Pat Yasinskas (1:13 PM)
I think both fit well where they landed. If it had been reversed, I don't think either fit would be as good.
In your post on Turner, yoo mentioned that his role could be reduced with Koeger as the new OC. How do you see that since he ran a run first offence in Jacksonville with MJ Drew and I am not just talking about this past year either? Oh and wasn't MJ Drew 31 this year and still led the league in rushing?
Pat Yasinskas (1:15 PM)
In season-ending press conference before Koetter was even hired, Smith and Dimitroff clearly stated Turner's carries would be reduced. They don't wanted Turner carrying the ball 300 times a game. Turner's a completely different style back than MJD. You can't compare the two.
raheem (washington d.c.)
will al of my former coaches be able to find jobs? will any be hired back in tampa?
Pat Yasinskas (1:16 PM)
Seems like a fair amount, Olson, Yarber, etc. already have found jobs. But there are one or two that could end up on new Tampa Bay staff, if they're still out there whenever a new coach is hired.
Do you think the Glazers will run the risk of hiring an older "experienced" HC over what might be a more promising or hungry coordinator simply because they want the opposition of Morris?
Pat Yasinskas (1:17 PM)
Perhaps and I don't think that's a bad thing. But maybe they go with someone who's more of a blend of the two extremes you talk about.
carlun (newport news, VA)
Which Def u think will improve the most? Falcons or Saints?
Pat Yasinskas (1:19 PM)
Right now, I'd say Falcons. I think they have talent that can prosper with Nolan. But that could change with what the Saints do in free agency and the draft. Obviously, they need to do more with their personnel to get that defense ready to play Spags' style.
I don't think people give the injury to Ovie enough credit in Turner's dropped production in the 2nd half. Agreed?
Pat Yasinskas (1:20 PM)
That is an excellent and, often overlooked, point. I would expect someone from Ovie's hometown to make that point. Good job.
Kirk (Myrtle Beach)
Pat, I think it was earlier this week, or last week you posted to salary cap situation involving each NFC South team. My question is, there were a lot of bonuses that were given out, does the projections take into consideration the one's that were paid in full?
Pat Yasinskas (1:22 PM)
Signing bonuses, etc? Yeah, they're all in there. But there are some escalators that will kick in for some players that aren't counting yet. Without the list in front of me now, I don't have details. But, going off what I remember, Bucs seemed to be the ones who could have the most escalators kick in because they have so many young guys who had escalator clauses in their deals. I'll get you those numbers when they become available.
andy (north carolina)
mel kiper had the bucs taking a rb at 5, it just seems like josh freeman needs more help than that, a wide receiver or a decent tight end? seems like decent running backs can be found in later rounds.
Pat Yasinskas (1:24 PM)
It was just Mel's first mock draft and I don't think that scenario is totally out of the question. But it doesn't mean the Bucs will take an RB. Lots can happen between now and the draft. Heck, we don't even know who Tampa Bay's coach or offensive coordinator will be. Again, lots can change between now and April.
Richard F. (Chicago)
They say it's a quarterback driven league but at the same time it's also a general manager driven league, so I was a little surprised that Mark Dominik survived the Buc's housecleaning. Do you think it was a good idea retaining Dominik?
Pat Yasinskas (1:26 PM)
Yeah, I do. First off Dominik's contract situation was different than Raheem's. He has three years remaining on his deal. Secondly, Glazers know what was going on in their building better than we do. There were reasons why they decided to stick with the GM and not the coach.
Pat Do you think the Falcons need to cut MT? I do because I know he is good but he gets taken down by first contact way to easy with the size legs he has.
Pat Yasinskas (1:27 PM)
Again, I'd like to know more on exactly how injured he was the second half of the season. Michael's been a very productive back. But, if his age is catching up to him or about to, then you have to start considering alternatives.
Calvin (Newport News, VA)
Big Pat! Have you heard of anyone with interest in coaching Tampa's D Line? With McCoy, Price, Bennet, Bowers, Clayborn (and a chance of Haynesworth), I think Tampa's DL has amazing potential.
Pat Yasinskas (1:28 PM)
The San Fran defensive line coach's name is making the rounds as a guy who might be available.
With all those weapons and talent, why could the Falcons not get the offense to click in 18 weeks of games/practice???Was mularky really that bad, or did he have so much to work with that he just didn't know what to do with it all. Or, is the ATL Offense just really not that talented?
Pat Yasinskas (1:30 PM)
I think the talent is there, at least at the skill positions. I think O-line was a problem. They weren't set up to block for deep passing game. And I do think, to some degree, Mularkey was never able to figure out exactly what their identity should be.
JC MS [via mobile]
I see Colston and Meacham gone to make room for Brees contract. I give Loomis and Payton props for finding talent at wide receiver in the later rounds dont you?
Pat Yasinskas (1:31 PM)
Meachem might go. But I don't see Colston leaving. There are plenty of ways for Saints to free up cap space.
Kirk (Myrtle Beach)
Do you think the Panthers would prefer to trade back on draft day? They probably liked Kirkpatrick, but he was busted for marijuana. Brockers I think is their best bet, but as of right now he would be mid-first at best.
Pat Yasinskas (1:33 PM)
Draft projections are going to change a lot between now and April. Let's go through the Senior Bowl and Combine and see where some of these guys stand. Also, on Kirkpatrick, I know the Panthers will do their homework and find out what that was all about.
Don't think the saints can afford to have two guards with 8+ mil contracts so Nicks will probably walk. Do you think the Falcons would look at him or are they content with Hawley/Johnson/Reynolds? None of them have looked too promising yet.
Pat Yasinskas (1:35 PM)
I think the Saints keep Nicks. I think he's the next priority after Brees. Saints O-line is set up differently than everyone else's. They need to be strong in the middle to create room for Brees to throw because he's not 6-5. They'll pay for guards. Their tackles are relatively cheap. You don't just let the best guard in the league walk away, when he's still only about 25 or 26.
Maurice Jones-Drew turns 27 in March. He is not 31 as previoulsy posted. So not only is it wrong to compare him ad Turner by style, MJD is much younger.
Pat Yasinskas (1:35 PM)
Thanks for the clarification.
Trey (charlotte, nc)
Why do you think chd hasnt recieved a head coaching job yet? Hes showed he can excell at coaching a bad team
Pat Yasinskas (1:36 PM)
Chudzinski will be a head coach at some point. If not this year, then definitely next year.
polian family (out of work,)
any chance the bucs hire bill polian and family, and then make a run at hiring tony dungy as coach? i think tony would only come back to coaching if it was in tampa near his family and home
Pat Yasinskas (1:37 PM)
Umm, Bucs already have a GM in Dominik. I think Dungy would be the perfect solution, but it's pretty clear he doesn't want to coach.
With the talk of Harper not fitting in at safety for the Saints, do you see them converting him to a LB?
Pat Yasinskas (1:38 PM)
Might be tough. He'd really have to bulk up. Not sure that's the answer.
Pat, if Meachem leaves New Orleans, do you think Arrington plays a larger role? Are they high on him at all?
Pat Yasinskas (1:41 PM)
Look at history of Saints. It sometimes takes several years for draft picks to really make impact. Meachem is an example of that. I think they like Arrington to some degree and he's a guy who was held back by injuries somewhat early in his career. One thing they like (and Brees likes) is continuity in the WR group. So, if Meachem does leave, I think that improves Arrington's stock.
Any word on David Gettis and Ron Edward's progression?
Pat Yasinskas (1:42 PM)
Gettis is coming along and is expected to be fully healthy. I haven't heard anyting on Edwards in some time. Let me check on that one.
Kirk (Myrtle Beach)
Who do you think will be the biggest cap casualty in the NFC South?
Pat Yasinskas (1:43 PM)
Jonathan Vilma or Will Smith wouldn't surprise me. Not saying either one definitely happens. But they wouldn't surprise me.
Matt Riddle (Atlanta, Ga)
Do you think there's any logic in trading Roddy White?
Pat Yasinskas (1:45 PM)
If you can get good value, yes, some logic. Roddy's also getting to an age where he could decline. The number of drops this season have to be a concern. And Julio's waiting in the wings to be a No. 1 WR. They could get another No. 2 pretty easily. But, that said, you don't just give a guy like Roddy away.
Trey (charlotte, nc)
Pat, after drafting cam newton, is marty hurneys job secure for the next couple of years?
Pat Yasinskas (1:46 PM)
I think so. Newton was definitely a home run for him. Plus, you have to understand how Marty is viewed by the owner. Basically, when Richardson fired his two sons, he started looking at Hurney and Danny Morrison almost as two sons. Richardson thinks the world of Hurney.
Once Sproles went to the slate with power I thought WE had the game won. Did it surprise you that Alex Smith was more than a "game manager"??
Pat Yasinskas (1:47 PM)
Surprised wouldn't be the word. Perhaps "stunned". But good for Smith. He played a heck of a game.
roody white is still a top 5 receiver in the game and he complements julio jones's dynamic playmaking perfectly with his intermediate game
Pat Yasinskas (1:48 PM)
You really think he still is top five? I'm not so sure.
Do you think it possible, given Dimitroff admiting bad years from Robinson and Edwards, that either or both of those flashy but unproductive FA signings get cut?
Pat Yasinskas (1:50 PM)
I'd have to have the contracts in front of me to really give you complete answer. But the fact Edwards has played only one year means they'd take a cap beating on pro-rated money, so I doubt they'd cut him. I'll take a look at Dunta's contract and cap implications and will probably do a post on it some time next week to see if it would make any financial sense.
Scott (Cocoa Beach)
Pat, do you think the Glazer's can stop stepping on themselves. Sherman, really? Childress? It's not good when you have your soon to be Hall of Famer Warren Sapp calling out Dominik. You think the few season ticket holders they have will renew when even your former players (Sapp, King) are holding them to the fire?
Pat Yasinskas (1:50 PM)
What did Sapp say? I don't think I've seen that.
Andy (Whispering Pines NC)
Who is the Panthers biggest cap casualty.
Pat Yasinskas (1:51 PM)
Easy one -- Thomas Davis. Sad, but true. Could end up coming back, but the way his contract is structured, they'll have to release him.
Hey Pat, Could you post Mel Kiper's draft projections for the NFC SouthThanks
Pat Yasinskas (1:53 PM)
I did that a couple days ago. Go back and look at blog. But, remember, it's only Mel's first-round mock, so only Bucs and Panthers are on there because Falcons and Saints don't have first-round picks.
Sapp blasted against the signing of Haynesworth and claimed that the front office had no clue what they were doing, and that the signing was horrible
Pat Yasinskas (1:56 PM)
No question it was a move of desperation because they were getting wiped out at DT. But, financially, bringing in Haynesworth didn't do any real financial damage in 2011. Now, if they keep Haynesworth at his scheduled contract for 2012, then I think you've got a really big issue. Also, let me add, I respect Warren's opinions. When I covered him back in the day, Warren was very opinionated and I always appreciated fact he was willing to give opinions, which usually had some pretty strong basis.
Thomas Floyd (North Carolina)
Yeah Thomas Davis is like another Dan Morgan. He got to many injuries. What a shame, because he was a great player.
Pat Yasinskas (1:57 PM)
Agree totally. Both were really talented guys and really good guys. Just could not stay healthy. Happy that Dan is back in the league as a scout for Seahawks. Touched base with him recently. One of the best guys I've ever covered.
Thomas Floyd (North Carolina)
Pat, what should the Panthers do about Jimmy Claussen?
Pat Yasinskas (1:59 PM)
Probably gone. They can get out of that contract easily and save some money. Plus, I think Hurney wants to be fair to Clausen because Fox wasn't fair to him as a rookie. I suspect Hurney will let Clausen go, so he can get a fresh start.
andy (hickory, nc)
thanks for the chats pat, i hope you do it all winter ( off season ).
Pat Yasinskas (2:00 PM)
Thanks, Andy, for the waist-high fastball for me to close the chat. Yes, we'll continue doing chat for at least most weeks during the offseason. Not sure yet on next two weeks. Chance I might be pulled into Super Bowl coverage. But I'll give you updates on blog. But we'll be here most Fridays throughout offseason. Thanks to all for stopping by. Have a great weeekend.
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