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!
Does Michael Smith the 7TH round pick of the Bucs have a good chance of making the team?They really need a change of pace back.Your thoughts.
Pat Yasinskas (12:51 PM)
I would think so. They have Martin and Blount and need at least one more RB. Smith also has experience as a return man, so I think he can make the team with a decent training camp. I liked that pick quite a bit.
Rick - Kennesaw GA [via mobile]
Who do you see us going after now that we are $4 million under the cap? Marcus McNeil perhaps?
Pat Yasinskas (12:53 PM)
McNeill certainly would be one possibility. But I don't know what his health status is right now. Could be some other guys that come available later on.
Chuck (New Orleans)
As a Saints fan, it seems obvious that our coaches lied to the league about some kind of program. But I also think the NFL is being secretive and arrogant by not revealing their evidence to the players and NFLPA. The NFL has their own agendas which many believe might slant their conclusions. It seems that only the real evidence can settle the issue. What do you think?
Pat Yasinskas (12:54 PM)
Well, it's not like they were in a court of law. NFL very much had upper-hand because it didn't have to reveal all the evidence. But, if it ends up in a court of law, then we'll see all the evidence.
Hey Pat, So whats the word on Jacoby Jones visiting the Panthers? Are they really looking for a FA receiver at this point?
Pat Yasinskas (12:55 PM)
Hurney doesn't bring guys in if he doesn't have some interest in them. Still, haven't heard any word on if they made him an offer or not.
Matt [via mobile]
Man what is the deal with drew Brees. He made me a saints fan when I wasn't one I thought he's was one on the few good ones left and a true team mate. I know everybody wants to get paid but to me now it's become pride and pure greed with him. When is 20 million not enough? Thoughts?
Pat Yasinskas (12:56 PM)
I still think it will get done before too long. If he's not there for start of training camp, then I think it's fair to start pointing fingers. But, right now, it's just typical negotiating.
Matthew (Sarasota, Florida)
How do you feel about the new Tampa regime now that free agency and the draft are over?
Pat Yasinskas (12:58 PM)
Like just about everything they've done. I also like the atmosphere Schiano is creating. Have you seen the tv commercial with him? I think it pretty much sums up the attitude he's trying to bring.
Leighroy (Gainesville, FL)
So according to the stipulation in the NFLPA grievance filed in the Saints case, offenses prior to the new CBA are out of bounds for league discipline. Does that mean Aqib Talib can't possibly be suspended, if acquitted of all charges, this summer in Texas?
Pat Yasinskas (1:00 PM)
I'd have to look back at the coverage coming out of the lockout to be certain. But my memory says there was a list of about 10 guys with conduct incidents that were stipulated as not being exempt and Talib was one of them. But, again, I'd have to look it up to be sure.
I think the saints got off easy I believe everyone involved should have been suspended my question is whu hasnt the irs got involved?
Pat Yasinskas (1:02 PM)
As far as the player suspensions, yeah, you could say that. I thought there would be more players suspended or at least fined. But they made it clearly they were only going after those in leadership roles. Far as the IRS, that's kind of outside my territory. Maybe they are involved and we just haven't heard about it. Or maybe there's not enough evidence of money actually changing hands.
Matt (North Carolina)
A lot of people criticized the Panthers for not drafting a DT (and gave them lower grades because of it). Does everyone forget about Ron Edwards coming back this year?
Pat Yasinskas (1:03 PM)
Excellent point. I think a lot of people have forgotte about Edwards. He was a big free-agent signing last year and Panthers obviously believe he will come back and be a force.
Corey babineaux (Louisiana)
Everybody thinking the saints wool suffer this year because of suspensions. The offense will still put up 30+ a game and withe the additions the defense will be better. Your thoughts?
Pat Yasinskas (1:03 PM)
I think they still are very much a contender. We all know the offense is good. If Spagnuolo can get them to play a little defense, they could go a long way.
I'm a bit confused over coach Vitt's suspension. Many have stated that Vitt will return after the Saints' bye week. This falls one game short of the suspension. Is Vitt's suspension in terms of weeks or games? If it is games then that would mean he doesn't return until two weeks after the bye. Can you clarify?
Pat Yasinskas (1:05 PM)
He is suspended for the first six games. Loomis is suspended for the first eight. It's about games, not weeks.
bird brain atl [via mobile]
who will the falcons use for a punt returner now that Weems is gone
Pat Yasinskas (1:06 PM)
Excellent question and I think that will be decided in training camp. Dominiuqe Franks, Harry Douglas and Jacquizz Rodgers would seem like possibilities.
WHich Panther rookie do you think will make the biggest impact in 2012?
Pat Yasinskas (1:07 PM)
Kuechly by far. He'll start right away.
I think Drake Dunnsmore the 7th round pick will be a sleeper for us. What type of impact do you think he will have for the bucs
Pat Yasinskas (1:08 PM)
I liked that pick and think he'll have chance to contribute a fair amount as a rookie. They can use him as a blocker and occasional target in passing game.
Eliot (Florence, Italy)
Were you surprised the Falcons didn't go after future replacements for their aging skill players on offense, namely Michael Turner and Tony Gonzalez? Or do you think the lack of a first-round pick was too much to overcome in that regard?
Pat Yasinskas (1:09 PM)
They didn't really have the ammo in this year's draft to look down the road. They had to address other areas of more immediate need.
Brandon (Apopka FL)
I know both are expected to wear down, but who do you see losing more production this year: Tony Gonzalez or Michael Turner?
Pat Yasinskas (1:10 PM)
Probably Turner. I think Gonzo can do something similar to what he did last year. Falcons already have made it clear they are going to limit Turner's carries. I think you'll see a lot more of Jacquizz Rodgers.
Whats a (realistic) worst case scenario you see happening with Brees and the Saints' contract negotiations?
Pat Yasinskas (1:12 PM)
Absolute worst case is he doesn't get a contract and decides to sit out. But I really don't see that happening. I think something will get done before training camp.
Kirk (Myrtle Beach)
Was Kuechly drafted as insurance more for Beason or Davis. It was originally thought to be Davis, but Schefter's report about Achilles tendons taking 2 years to get back to normal makes me think Beason.
Pat Yasinskas (1:13 PM)
I think Kuechly was drafted there mostly because he was best player available. But, yeah the uncertainty about Davis and Beason certainly factors in. They got wiped out at LB last year and can't afford to have that happen again.
Dale (mississippi) [via mobile]
Just wondering with all the talk if who would replace Sean Payton that went on, any word on who will fill Loomis' shoes while he's out?
Pat Yasinskas (1:15 PM)
They have several guys in their personnel department and a salary-cap guy. I think they'll all just combine to pick up the gap when Loomis isn't there. The bright side is that the bulk of his work comes in the offseason and he'll be able to do that.
Aaron (Dade City )
Hi Pat, has there been any word on the throwback game for the Bucs. If so any ideas who is in the running for the ROH?
Pat Yasinskas (1:17 PM)
Haven't heard anything yet. But if my memory is correct, that announcement usually comes later in May or in June.
Many people are talking about how scary Carolina should be this year but I would like to see Cam Newton have at least another successful year under his belt before he is crowned "the great one". Look at what happened to Freeman after a great year in 2010. Obviously his supporting cast had a lot to do with it. Do you see the same thing possibly happening in Carolina?
Pat Yasinskas (1:18 PM)
I think supporting cast is the big difference there. With Steve Smith, Greg Olsen and those RBs, I don't see Newton suddenly taking a big step back.
HEY BUCS FANS : GLAZERS STEPPED UP. NOW IT'S TIME FOR YOU TO DO THE SAME. GO GET YOUR SEASON TIX. I GOT NOSE BLEEDS FOR 350 A POP. THAT'S DIRT CHEAP. NO MORE EXCUSES. GO BUCS!!!
Pat Yasinskas (1:19 PM)
A quick commercial break!
Matt Riddle (Atlanta, Ga)
After a mediocre season Ray Edwards has all but disappeared from the discussion as a pass rush threat. Have the Falcons completely lost hope that Edwards can reach his potential
Pat Yasinskas (1:20 PM)
I think they hope he'll step up this year. They've talked a little about how his knee wasn't healthy last year. Plus, I think Ray was a little embarrassed by last year and should be motivated.
Interesting to see Kiper's comments in his Draft grades that the Saints didn't address LB...Ummmm Lofton, Hawthorne, Chamberlin...Your thoughts
Pat Yasinskas (1:21 PM)
Thought Saints did a tremendous job of addressing LB in free agency.
Brian (Baton Rouge)
How big an embarrassment would it be for the NFL if the NFLPA's grievances lead to the suspensions being overturned?
Pat Yasinskas (1:22 PM)
Pretty big. But I don't know if there's much chance of that happening.
Do you think Carolina will resign Shockey?
Pat Yasinskas (1:24 PM)
Think that's pretty much up to Shockey. It's pretty obvious Panthers have made him a one-year offer for minimum or close to it. If he wants to come back, he's welcome. If he wants a better deal or wants to go to another team, that's up to him.
kyle (northampton, pa)
i love the bucs signing Eric LeGrand. i saw several comments on them selling his jersey & putting it towards his treatment. Are the Bucs paying him anything in this deal?
Pat Yasinskas (1:26 PM)
They couldn't pay him anything in the contract because of the salary-cap implications. Nothing official yet on jersey sales. I've checked and it's something that's being looked into. If and when official word comes on that, I'll be sure to share it with you on blog.
Brian (Baton Rouge)
Contract year for Sedrick Ellis. Do you think he blossoms in Spags' system?
Pat Yasinskas (1:27 PM)
I've always though Sedrick has some good qualities, but never has put it all together consistently. Sometimes a contract year changes things. Plus, maybe Spags finds a way to get him to put it all together.
I personally love Freeman, but after watching last year's season, do you think it's possible that Freeman isn't good enough to warrant the title of a franchise quarterback?
Pat Yasinskas (1:28 PM)
I like him a lot too, but I think last year leaves some questions. One way or another, we'll find out answers this year.
Lawrence Jones (Afghanistan, From Natchitoches,Louisiana)
Jemele Hill said it best. The NFL can end all of this by providing evidence which they have not yat provided. What is the hold up?
Pat Yasinskas (1:30 PM)
Like I said earlier, I don't think they've been required to provide all evidence yet. They're not in a court of law. If they get there, then they might have to provide it. But I think admissions by Gregg Williams and Anthony Hargrove give a pretty strong overview.
Since when is it the NFL's duty to turn this investigation into a public matter for all eyes to see?? The sources need to be protected, if the NFL is forced by the public to reveal the identities, that would be absurd. As a journalist, would you reveal your sources if the public demanded it???
Pat Yasinskas (1:33 PM)
No and the NFL outside counsel was pretty adamant about not revealing sources when she spoke yesterday.
Jersey Guy (NJ)
Any truth to the SAINTS looking to trade Chris Ivory?
Pat Yasinskas (1:33 PM)
Haven't heard that one, but would think it's possible. Saints certainly have an abundance of RBs.
Greg (Watertown, CT)
Shouldn't we be including Asante Samuel in the Falcons' draft evaluations? And doesn't that make their draft look better?
Pat Yasinskas (1:35 PM)
Yeah, I think you could make that argument. He certainly makes their secondary better. He also should help their pass rush because QBs may be holding onto the ball for an extra split second or two.
Matt Ryan looked, quite frankly, looked unmotivated when he played the Giants in the playoffs last year. Has there been any word from Ryan or the Falcons camp on this?
Pat Yasinskas (1:35 PM)
I don't think motivation has ever been a question with Matt.
Jersey Guy (NJ)
Maybe a Ivory for Osi Trade?
Pat Yasinskas (1:36 PM)
I'm just guessing, but I think they'd have to give up a little more than Ivory to get Osi.
Corey B (Chicago)
Pat, in your opinion are you somewhat suprised that Benson hasn't made any changes to the culture in New Orleans? As an owner, I would be pissed if my employees were found to have lied to the league partners and circumvented the rules on player safety and the salary cap. Is it all about winning with Benson as opposed to doing the right thing?
Pat Yasinskas (1:38 PM)
It is Benson's team, so he has the right to make whatever decisions he wants.
James Lewis (Charleston, SC)
CAN YOU ANSWER MY QUESTION PLEASE!!!!!!!!!!!!!! After looking at how some "so-called" sports analist ranked the Panthers 20 or below in the latest power ranking (which I believe they clearly didnt watch them last year if they can rank them that low), what would you rank the Panthers, In the league, conference and division?
Pat Yasinskas (1:39 PM)
Personally, I'd put the Panthers right around the middle of the league, but I don't vote in the power rankings.
Stephen P (Charlottesville, VA)
There hasn't been any word recently on the alleged Saints' wire-tapping scheme. What's going on there?
Pat Yasinskas (1:40 PM)
Haven't heard anything recently. Last I heard was FBI and state police were still investigating.
Joshua (Charlotte, NC)
Hey Pat, long time reader of your blog and I have a rare Friday off... Pat what do you think the best pick was for all the teams in the South? Overall pick?
Pat Yasinskas (1:41 PM)
In my draft wrap-up, I went with Kuechly as the best move, simply because he is pretty much a can't-miss prospect. I also liked Tampa Bay's first three picks.
Pat whats your prediction as of now for the final standings in the NFC SOUTH next year? Im going to say Falcons, Bucs, Saints, Panthers
Pat Yasinskas (1:43 PM)
I'll give you my prediction in late August or early September.
Nick (Tampa, FL.)
Hey Pat, What impact do you think Mark Barron will have on the Bucs? Does he remind you of any current or former players?
Pat Yasinskas (1:45 PM)
Big impact. He'll come in and start right away. Adding him means safety is no longer weakest spot on the roster. He supposedly has great leadership skills and this team needs leadership. As far as comparing him to current of former players, let's just say that he better be something close to Ed Reed, Ronnie Lott or at least John Lynch to justify his draft position. But I think he can be something close to that. Bucs certainly seem totally sold on him.
Martin M. (San Diego, CA)
If Cam Newton can create a ton of national exposure and support for the Carolina Panthers, what are the odds Mr. Richardson capitalizes and expands his Bojangles empire to the West Coast?
Pat Yasinskas (1:46 PM)
Umm, Mr. Richardson doesn't own Bojangles. He used to own Hardees, but got out of that business when the Panthers came along.
Scott Hammond (Saint amant La.)
Do you think the media is giving Drew Brees too much of a free pass on his contract negotiation? From what I've heard he is demanding $23 million a year and refusing to budge, in light of Manning and Brady's contracts in the $18-19 mil range that doesn't sound like a very reasonable stance at all.
Pat Yasinskas (1:48 PM)
Not sure we're ever getting the whole story any time there are leaks in what supposedly is going on in negotations.
Joseph (Chapel Hill, NC)
PAT, I READ YOUR BLOG EVERY DAY! please answer my question!Do you think the Panthers addressed enough of their needs on both sides of the ball to make the playoffs this year? Any predictions how they'll finish as far as W/Ls and position in the NFC South?Also random ?: Can Vilma play in the playoffs since he's out for only 16 games?
Pat Yasinskas (1:49 PM)
Like I said before, I'll do predictions in August or September. But I will say I think Panthers have a chance to at least contend for playoffs. On Vilma, no, it's not a 16-game suspension, it's for the entire season, no matter how long it goes.
What do you think the chances are of the Panthers actually signing Jacoby Jones and considering that he only has 1700 yards over the last 5 seasons how productive (yardage) do you think he will be?
Pat Yasinskas (1:50 PM)
I think he'd be a guy to compete with LaFell and Gettis. I think Panthers still have high hopes one or both of those guys can really step up this year.
Barron is crazy overrated. Nowhere near as a good a prospect as Berry or Thomas. He will be nothing more than an average to above average safety in this league.
Pat Yasinskas (1:51 PM)
So I'm going to go out on a limb and guess that your last name isn't "Dominik".
Saints fan. I don't understand why people are so convinced the Saints won't play up to their recent standards. The offense (assuming Brees is back in the fold) is the same. The defense has always been the question and that will most likely be better this year. I just don't see the suspensions of 2 players being the difference with this team.
Pat Yasinskas (1:52 PM)
Yeah, coaching stuff aside (and I realize that is significant), I don't think Saints are in bad shape at all on the field.
Is Joe Adams a big play slot WR for the panthers? and would Armanti make a better QB than WR? I think it would be interesting to let him play QB as a 4th qb in preseason
Pat Yasinskas (1:53 PM)
I think Adams, Gettis and Pilares all could end up in slot. As far as Armanti at QB, I highly doubt it. Why would you want to take the ball out of Cam's hands?
Pat - we still have a long way to wait and see, but I think Schiano will buck the trend of unsuccessful college coaches in the nfl. He reminds me alot of a Tom Coughlin, strict and disciplined, your thoughts
Pat Yasinskas (1:55 PM)
Time will tell, but I like everything I've seen and heard from Schiano so far. He is a very organized guy and is strict, but seems to be a little looser than Coughlin, at least in dealing with the media.
Pat, predictions aside, I'll get to that in August or September myself, the Bucs aren't nearly as bad as people are making them out to be. They started off 4 dash 2 last year with wins over the Saints and the Falcons. They lost faith in their coach and quit on the season. Add in the draft and F/A period this year, 8 and 8 should be the floor, not the ceiling. Of course I just took a big ole' sip of the homer koolaid, but how far off do you think I am? (Predictions aside)
Pat Yasinskas (1:57 PM)
I don't think you're unrealistic at all. They've had a very nice offseason and there was some talent in place. The change in coaching can't be anything but a positive.
Pat, in all honesty, what is your opinion of carolina WR's. I think they have huge potential, and a lot of speed for that vertical passing game
Pat Yasinskas (1:58 PM)
I think there is lots of upside. Gettis showed a lot of promise before his injury. LaFell developed some last year and still has lots more upside. Adams and Pilares both of speed. If they can get down the field, cam can get them the ball.
Do you think that Cam Newton will run more or less next season? Did they pick up Tolbert to limit his carries and reduce chance of injury?
Pat Yasinskas (1:59 PM)
I think they might ask Cam to tone down the running just a bit this year. But just a bit because it is part of what makes him good.
Pat, Richardson and his partners own 60% of the bojangles franchise.
Pat Yasinskas (2:00 PM)
Do they? I'm not aware of that, but I could be wrong.
SAINTS FAN HERE: Pat, I congratulate the Bucs for landing Carl Nicks, but to me his replacement with the Saints (Ben Grubbs, AFC Pro Bowler) makes this nearly a wash for an already good Saints OL. Plus, an off season for the OL to gel with other OL members still there... Hmmm to me this was a good salary cap move for the Saints, and a good acquisition for the Bucs. Your thoughts?
Pat Yasinskas (2:02 PM)
Grubbs isn't Nicks, but he was the next-best thing and Saints got him at a price that fit under their salary cap, so I don't think the loss of Nicks destroys their o-line by any means.
Joshua (Charlotte, NC)
Pat have a great weekend, thanks for the time. Be blessed.
Pat Yasinskas (2:02 PM)
Thanks to all for stopping by. Enjoyed it. No chat next week because I'll be taking a little time off. We'll pick it back up the following week. Everybody, have a great weekend.