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!
How's the battle for MLB playing out with the Falcons? Have you personally seen who's taking snaps with the 1st unit?
Pat Yasinskas (12:51 PM)
I'll let you know when I get to Atlanta's camp. I'll be arriving there a week from Saturday. My guess is they'll open with Tatupu with the first team, but I think they really are hoping Dent can step up and win the job.
Will Peter Konz,Lamar Holmes,Jonathan Massoqui,or Travarian Robertson start this year?
Pat Yasinskas (12:52 PM)
I think Konz is the best bet of that bunch.
Pat, what's up with bagging on Elbert Mack lately? I mean, I know he's no Deion Sanders, but he also isn't the worst player in the NFC South either.
Pat Yasinskas (12:54 PM)
Just having some fun. Go back and read Raheem Morris' comments after his last game. He had just gotten thumped, everyone knew he was fired and he came out and his first words were about how Elbert Mack was still giving 110 percent in the second half.
Allen H. (Forest City,NC)
Have you heard anything about Brandon Hogan? I remember someone saying that he could be a starter when they drafted him,but he was injured and I have not heard much more about him.
Pat Yasinskas (12:55 PM)
When I was at minicamp, the coaches seemed high on both Hogan and Josh Morgan. They're hoping one of them can win starting job so they can move Captain Munnerlyn to nickel.
tim (in payne)
Pat, If you had to pick Blount or martin to be on your fantasy football team who would you pick?
Pat Yasinskas (12:56 PM)
Martin. But if you're league is real heavy on TDs, Blount might not be a bad choice.
Mr. Come on Man.... (The backfields of the NFC South)
Hi Pat - great work on the blog overall. I understand your point that Blount-Martin are going to have to work to be in the league of Sproles-Thomas-Ivory-Ingram, or Williams-Stewart-Tolbert this year....but you can't be serious about Turner-Rodgers-Snelling being better than Blount-Martin? Turner is surely at the tail-end of a good (but not great) career; who is Rodgers; and Snelling has done nothing when given his chances. Could you give us a bit more about why for the coming year Atlanta backs will be better than Buc backs - not even counting how much better the Bucs O-line is? By the way, we all make mistakes and it's perfectly acceptable to just say you would like to reorder the list now...I won't think less of you as a really good blogger on the NFC South.
Pat Yasinskas (12:59 PM)
Ummm, if you're talking about the post from yesterday, which I assume you are, I wasn't RANKING the backfields. I was just pointing out how Tampa Bay isn't going to be counting on just one guy and comparing their backfield situation to others in the division and how they all have depth in the backfield.
TKS (Princeton, NJ)
Hello Patrick,I am not going to argue your top 25 list too much as it is based on your view of things. But I do have a few thoughts. First, Jimmy Graham is the #2 best player in the NFC South in my opinion. Second, if you think Carl Nicks is the better of he and Jahri Evans, fine. But to make it seem that he is head and shoulders better or the undisputable #1 player "at his position" is where I disagree. The players voted Evans #32, Nicks #76. Then a former scout who writes for Nfl.com placed Evans as the top offensive lineman in the league and Nicks at #3. See here: http://www.nfl.com/news/story/09000d5d82965009/article/nfl-podium-awards-jahri-evans-headlines-offensive-linemen I noticed that you did not bother linking either of those things--Evans' ranking on NFL top 100 or his podium award recognition--and I wonder if it is because it defies your own opinions on the matter. Also, you seem to devalue Ben Grubbs as just another guard. I do not think he is as good as Evans or Nicks, but he deserved to be on the top 25. In fact, backs running behind Grubbs averaged 4.8 yards to the 4.1 yards back running behind Nicks averaged. And in terms of pass blocking, Grubbs played with Flacco, not the mobile, quick-arm Brees. Finally, Colston at #25? Behind the overrated Vincent Jackson who Colston has outshined and Julio Jones who is there off potential? If this is a list basd on potential, then Patrick Robinson (4 picks, #9 best QB rating %) and Martez Wilson could also be put on the list.Your thoughts?
Pat Yasinskas (1:01 PM)
If you chop this down to a couple sentences, I'll try to answer it. But we move pretty fast on the chat and I can't take time to read all of this.
The Saints might have a tough going at first, but they should have the pieces putt together at some point, maybe by Oct. is my guess. Do you see them being a formiddable opponent from the start or do you mostly agree with me?
Pat Yasinskas (1:02 PM)
Actually, I think they may get off to a fast start because I expect them to come out highly motivated after what they've gone through in the offseason. The challenge might be keeping that emotion going all season.
I love that you had 3 players from Car in your top 25! Besides our first round Pick who is the biggest rookie to watch in preseason?
Pat Yasinskas (1:04 PM)
Pretty sure there were three in the top 10 and a couple more in the rest of the top 25.
MountaineerdudeJersey (Jersey City)
You said the panthers defense was the best in the NFCS but in your top 25 the saints have the most defensive players. Explain.
Pat Yasinskas (1:05 PM)
Is that an order?
TKS (Princeton, NJ)
Ok, Pat, here's a chopped down version:Nicks over Evans by you=fine. But the players and many general managers/scouts still have Evans #1. So why is Nicks treated by you as the undisputable #1 player at his postion?How is Colston behind the overrated Vincent Jackson who he has outshined and Julio Jones who is there on potential? If the list is about potential, why no Patrick Robinson (4 ints and held QBs to a pass rating of 65, which ranked him #9 in the league)?
Pat Yasinskas (1:09 PM)
Thanks. Nicks and Evans are both excellent. But the scouts I talk to say Nicks is a notch above Evans. True on Julio being there on potential, but the list is my projected top 25 players for 2012. Think Jackson will fit in well with Bucs and that's why I put him a little higher. I'm not trying to sell Colston short. He's very good, but they spread the ball around so much that sometimes it's easy to sell him short. On Robinson, your point is taken. I think he has a chance to be very good.
Mountaineerdude (Jersey City)
You said the panthers defense was the best in the NFCS but in your top 25 the saints have the most defensive players. Can you explain? Happy now?
Pat Yasinskas (1:10 PM)
Just my opinion. Saints have some good individual talent, but I still want to see how their D-line shapes up.
Ben (parkland,fl) [via mobile]
do you think the bucs should draft a better franchise qb next year?
Pat Yasinskas (1:11 PM)
No, let's see what Freeman does this year.
A lot of people on ESPN and NFL network and other media for football, have been saying the Falcons won't make the playoffs? Whats the reason for that? I mean they really improved this offseason and I don't feel like they're getting due credit. Personally I see them having the second best record in the NFC.
Pat Yasinskas (1:12 PM)
Yeah, I've seen a fair amount of that. Don't agree with it. Think the Falcons will be a playoff team. But preseason rankings don't really matter.
TKS (Princeton, NJ)
Pat, I seem to think that the Saints could have a top 10 defense. I think there achilles' heel has been there linebacking play. They vastly improved that with Lofton and Hawthorne, the two top linebackers in free agency. Added Bunkley also helps and should make them very solid against the run. I think Spags will generate a pass rush with Wilson, Jordan, Gallette and Smith when he returns. Keep in mind, the Saints ran more 3-4 under Williams and asked their defensive linemen to contain so that their blitzers could get up field. Do you think the potential is there?
Pat Yasinskas (1:15 PM)
Really like what they've done at LB. I think Wilson and Gallette have potential, but we'll have to wait to see if Spagnuolo can draw it out of them.
If everyone knows the falcons have a line issue why havent the falcons fixed it already i dont see the complication could u please explain?
Pat Yasinskas (1:16 PM)
Not saying this is how I feel, but I think the Falcons feel they have enough talent on the offensive line already. If they didn't, they would have done more already.
Mr. Come on Man... (The backfields of the NFC South)
Hi Pat - my bad - I went back and re-read your post and you weren't RANKING the backfields. Good points about depth too. Let me ask you this, do you think Blount's blocking and catching "issues" are real or just the previous staff's view? Will Blount be limited in time most by 1) Martin, 2) fumbles or 3) issues with blocking and catching? Thanks again!
Pat Yasinskas (1:19 PM)
Thank you. I suspect Blount's issues could still linger. He says he's worked on them this offseason, but we'll see. If you're going to be able to pass block and catch passes, you should show some signs you could do that in your second season. He didn't. He'll get a chance with the new coaching staff, but they used a first-round pick on Martin for a reason.
Pat pretty much what I'm trying to ask isn't it fair to say that Cam and Company will be able to look at what teams were trying to do at the end of the season last year and use that to there benefit we have tape on them just like they have tape on us
Pat Yasinskas (1:21 PM)
Yeah, but I think it works that way pretty much all around the league.
will jeremy shockey be in the league this year?
Pat Yasinskas (1:22 PM)
Wouldn't be surprised if he signs somewhere right before camps start.
by the way Pat I work 10 minutes away from espn I would like if we could if you can open up a few minutes out of your busy schedule to talk football it would be an honor!
Pat Yasinskas (1:23 PM)
I'm not based in CT. I live in Tampa. But next time I get up to Bristol, I'll let you know.
Chris (Winter Park)
The other day I read an article on NFL.com about Michael Bennett having a breakout season stepping in for Bowers. What's your take on the subject?
Pat Yasinskas (1:24 PM)
Possible. I don't think Bennett's a bad player at all. If he and Clayborn get some help from the inside guys, that could be a pretty good defensive line.
Will Kealoha Pilares and Armanti Edwards be on the Panthers' final roster? I believe one of them may be gone with the addition of Joe Adams.
Pat Yasinskas (1:25 PM)
Think Pilares will be there. Doubt it on Edwards.
Pierre Thomas (New Orleans)
Is there anything I can do to either get more playing time or force my way out of town?
Pat Yasinskas (1:27 PM)
Just keep doing what you do. Someone may step up and try to trade for you in the preseason or injuries could increase your role with Saints.
Is Brian Price ready to go to camp? Is his nephew living with him in Tampa?
Pat Yasinskas (1:27 PM)
Schiano said yesterday everyone is expected to be ready for camp with the exception of Bowers.
Tony (Richmond, CA)
Will Kroy Biermann or Ray Edwards be able to give the Falcons some pass rush opposite and Abrahams this year?
Pat Yasinskas (1:29 PM)
Think Edwards will be better than he was last year. Not saying he'll get 10 or 12 sacks, but thing he could deliver something like eight. He wasn't ever completely healthy last year.
Murph3000 (Morgantown, WV)
Hey Pat, can you clarify: Assuming Vilma is suspended for the year, he does or does not count against the Saints Cap? If not, will the saints go after a veeteran pass rushing DE (i.e., Freeny)?
Pat Yasinskas (1:30 PM)
When a player officially goes on the suspended list, he comes off the books. That certainly would give them enough room to go after Freeney or someone else.
TKS (Princeton, NJ)
Mark my words: Mark Ingram will rush for 1300 yards this season!
Pat Yasinskas (1:31 PM)
All right, we're putting you on the record for that one. I'd be surprised if it happens. Think the carries (and yards) will be divided again.
Why is the media making a story out of Cam signing autographs for money but we hear nothing about when other QBs like Brees do it? Seems like there is some double standard there.
Pat Yasinskas (1:32 PM)
Can't speak for others. I personally don't have a problem with it. I think Cam has a right to do what he wants. If people don't want to pay for his autograph, they don't have to.
Will Dwight Freeney end up in Atlanta?
Pat Yasinskas (1:33 PM)
Doubt it, unless they really get creative with their cap room.
As a Falcons fan that observed MLB Ed Hartwell career pretty much end, from tearing his achilles. How is John Beason doing? You really think he'll be the same? I also find you comment about the Panthers defense being possibly the best in the NFC south this coming year quite laugh-able.Time will tell!
Pat Yasinskas (1:34 PM)
All indications are Beason has done well with the rehab and is ready to go.
No Sleep Til (Brooklyn)
Role Reversal:Which total will be higher in 2012... Malcolm Jenkins' sack total or Roman Harper's INT total?
Pat Yasinskas (1:36 PM)
Hmm, I'll go with Harper's INT total since I don't think Jenkins will be blitzing very often in this system.
Shane (Los Angeles)
Hey Pat, what are the chances the Panthers take a look at Luis Castillo since the Chargers just released him? Rivera connection, and we still have some cap space from cutting Wharton.
Pat Yasinskas (1:37 PM)
I think just about any former Charger is a possibility in Carolina.
You see where Andy Reid said Samual Was in steep decline? What do you think about it?
Pat Yasinskas (1:38 PM)
He may be declining but not sure it's "steep". I think he can give Falcons a good year or two.
Should Falcons fans be concerned about only 1 player in your Top 10 NFCS for 2012?
Pat Yasinskas (1:39 PM)
No, I think there was a pretty good bunch of Falcons that were in the teens.
Matt Ryan is going to be a lot higher on your "Top 25" list next year. All it will take is fixing the o-line... crossing my fingers!
Pat Yasinskas (1:40 PM)
If the O-line plays well, I think you'll end up being correct.
Do you think the Panthers will keep Jonathan Stewart after this year? They've got a lot of money tied up in DeAngelo and the backfield seems crowded.
Pat Yasinskas (1:41 PM)
Let this year play out. They could have injuries or DeAngelo could start slowing down. Lots of things could happen that could make them want to re-sign Stewart before he even gets a chance to test free agency.
Akeem Dent or Lofa Tatapu whos starting?
Pat Yasinskas (1:43 PM)
I say Dent. I think he's the guy the coaches really want to start -- assuming he has a good camp and preseason. I think they view Tatupu more as a fall-back option or maybe a temporary solution if Dent's not completely ready to start at the beginning of the season.
Razza (south FL)
Pat, you mentioned how the Saints are now under the cap for this year. Since they are expected to be over the cap for the next few years, is it possible they restructure some current contracts to eat up more of this years cap and be more cap friendly in the following years?
Pat Yasinskas (1:44 PM)
Think that's entirely possible and probably would be a good idea.
Roger (Smyrna, GA)
Hey Pat, I want to believe that Samuels is a good pick up. But the Eagles have been VERY GOOD at letting players go at the right moment. Are we not overrating this move a bit in hopes for the best?
Pat Yasinskas (1:46 PM)
Dimitroff and his scouts are pretty good at what they do as well. I'm sure they've factored in his age and have done their homework and believe they can get a good year or two out of him.
Roger (Smryna, GA)
Hey Pat, love the blog! Two questions. There are some people in the media who are headed for a decline based on the bounties. I do not see it, even as a Falcons fan. Do you? I hope my team plays them tough no matter what. Second, at what point does Matt Ryan become overrated? He's getting close.
Pat Yasinskas (1:47 PM)
I find it hard to just write off the Saints, mostly because the offense is so good. And the defense has some talent too. As far as Ryan, I think it's fair to say he's entering a crucial season.
Trey (Charlotte nc)
If the panthers have the cap space to resign Stewart why dont they
Pat Yasinskas (1:50 PM)
I'm not ruling out that possibility, although a lot of others already have Stewart headed out of town. I wouldn't be surprised if Hurney works an extension with Stewart during the season.
James (Vero Beach)
How is Lavonte David looking? Heard reports that he could be the next Derrick Brooks, is that true?
Pat Yasinskas (1:50 PM)
Not ready to declare that just yet. But I think he'll have an impact right from the start of his career.
Ryan (Atlanta, GA)
Saw the comment about Sameul. We play in a division with two young QBs. Even if Samuel doesn't play like he did in his prime, he's still viewed as a dangerous corner. Young QBs arent going to want to have to try and throw on him much. Same thing with Robinson. He's always been viewed as a shut down guy so QBs are more cautious. Just Samuel's presence on the field and his reputation are enough to be effective in the defense. Just a thought. I'll let Pat get back to doing the answering haha.
Pat Yasinskas (1:51 PM)
Actually, Ryan, I think that's a pretty good answer.
Who's better this year Julio or Roddy?
Pat Yasinskas (1:53 PM)
I'm saying Julio, but I still think Roddy is very good.
Sajid [via mobile]
Why dont the bucs sign cedric benson one year contract great fit with big O line teach blunt something could be a steal just like thomas jones back with the gruden era
Pat Yasinskas (1:54 PM)
They just invested two draft picks on RBs. Don't think they're looking for more right now.
I see the saints winning the division as they are just too good to fall off to much.
Pat Yasinskas (1:56 PM)
As I said earlier, I don't think you can write the Saints off.
Pat, under the new CBA any unspent cap space can be rolled over to the next year at the club's request. If Vilma's suspension stands can his cap space be rolled over to next year?
Pat Yasinskas (1:58 PM)
I'm not completely sure on that one. Will have to check.
Christian (Charleston, SC)
I've seen many analysts predict a regression for Cam Newton this year, thinking defenses will catch up and adjust to him. I would think that a young QB would actually improve after having a year of facing NFL defenses under his belt. Which do you think will happen?
Pat Yasinskas (1:59 PM)
I think he progresses. He didn't have an offseason with his coaches as a rookie. He's had entire offseason program this year.
Pat, when will we get your division predictions?
Pat Yasinskas (2:00 PM)
We haven't gotten exact schedule on that yet, but they generally come the week leading into the start of the regular season. I expect timing will be about the same this year.
Pat, training camps start next week, get some rest. We expect plenty of updates.
Pat Yasinskas (2:01 PM)
Will do. Camp tour starts next Thursday in Metairie, then onto Flowery Branch, Tampa and Charlotte. Thanks to all for chatting and have a great weekend.