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)
pat, no offense, but how is schiano the new bucs coach the opposite of raheem? he has no nfl head coaching or coordinator experience, hes a defensive minded coach, hes young, he sounds just like raheem.
Pat Yasinskas (12:50 PM)
Andy, that doesn't offend me in any way! But Schiano is a good bit older and much more mature than Raheem. He also has a proven record as a builder and a winner. Raheem truly was a nice guy. But I don't think fans realized just how out of control things were on many levels. Schiano is known for running a tight ship. So they're very different guys.
Tyler (Athens, GA)
Pat Are the Falcons going to resign Curtis Lofton or is he going to be a FA?
Pat Yasinskas (12:51 PM)
I strongly suspect Falcons will do everythig in their power to keep hi.
Philip (Kansas City)
How was it possible that Von Miller got a sack in the pro bowl? He's a linebacker and no blitzing is allowed, correct?It's no wonder Newton had a bad day, with his team playing at half speed and the AFC playing full speed and ignoring the rules of the game.
Pat Yasinskas (12:52 PM)
As I recall, and I'm trying to forget most of the Pro Bowl because it was so bad, it wasn't really a blitz. Miller just kind of floated over the line or got pushed in that direction and ran into Newton for the sack.
Zion Lee (New Orleans)
Although given an extension last season and a new secondary coach in Ken Flajole, do you think the saints will dangle harper in the air to see if they can get a bite?
Pat Yasinskas (12:54 PM)
St. Louis might be interested because Gregg Williams adores Roman and he may not be a great fit in Spags' scheme. But, still, it would be tough to trade Roman because that's a big contract with a lot left on it for a new team to take on.
Lets incorporate the NFC South and Super Bowl in the same question. Since Thomas Dimtroff has been in Atlanta, he seems to be trying to create New Englang South here in Atlanta. What are the odds that Atlanta gets rid of high priced Michael Turner and becomes a heavy passing team like the New England Patriots?
Pat Yasinskas (12:56 PM)
Dimitroff is also the guy that brought Turner in in the first place. Smith and Dimitroff believe in having solid running game. Turner could leave at some point, but they'd bring in someone else. I don't see them just giving up on running game.
Keith: ATL [via mobile]
The Falcons are known to make a least one big splash in free agency, do you see this continuing this year with them having unrestricted free agents of their own?
Pat Yasinskas (12:58 PM)
Let's hold off a bit on naming specific free agents. Over the next five or six weeks, a lot of teams will re-sign their own free agents. So we don't really know who will be available. Also, teams will be cutting players, but we don't know who those guys will be yet either.
What do you think of the new Panthers logo?
Pat Yasinskas (12:59 PM)
No strong feeling on that. Looks pretty close to the old one, at least in my eyes.
Hey Pat, two part question. When will the NFL release the salary cap for the 2012 season and when will we see the updated cap numbers for all of the 32 NFL teams?
Pat Yasinskas (1:00 PM)
I provide you with updated figures on NFC South teams on the blog pretty frequently and will continue to do so. Believe cap will again be right around $120 million.
Mark (Charlotte, NC)
Whats all the talk about drafting a CB. Sign Corteland Finnegan to play oppo Gamble. And draft another Linebacker that can cover the run and Pass. I can see us even trading that top pick away to try and come away with multiple picks possibly in the second round. This draft is loaded with talent defensively and we should take advantage.........Go Camthers
Pat Yasinskas (1:01 PM)
Nice idea, but where are you going to get cap space for Finnegan? Panthers are No. 3 in the league in committed cap space at the moment, about $10 million over cap.
Hey pat, any chance the bucs take a look at peyton manning, since the franchise hasn't been able to sellout any games. I think peyton will sellout games and get the bucs to the playoffs, they can trade freeman and try to get a quarterback in either this years or next years draft to sit back and learn from the greatest
Pat Yasinskas (1:02 PM)
You serious??? That doesn't fit their plan at all. They're building with youth. You bring in Peyton and he plays for a year or two and that's it. Meantime, you'd be showing Freeman the door. He's a guy who could be your QB for the next 10 or 12 years.
The Pro Bowl has to be one of the worst games to watch, ever. With this being said, what are your thoughts on changing the format to a NFL "Futures" game(ie. Senior Bowl) and recognize the all stars during halftime? Viewership would be huge with the draft junkies....
Pat Yasinskas (1:04 PM)
I'd be all for it. Might have to cut through some red tape with the NCAA, but it sounds like a great idea to me. Pro Bowl always has been a non-event and it got far worse this year.
Pat-- always fun to join your chat, but what/who are the Bucs waiting on in requards to hiring more staff? I like the Schiano hire, but it seems to be taking them longer to fill the other spots. Thanks
Pat Yasinskas (1:05 PM)
Well, I'm sure they're working on it. They might have some deals in place or close to it, but not expecting to hear anything until Monday. The league kind of tells other teams to keep things quietfor the couple of days around the Super Bowl.
Casey (Jackson, MS)
I hear players talk highly of Jeff Faine's leadership, but I generally see his production on the field as slightly below average. Do you see the Bucs resigning him, or is there talk of sliding Zuttah to center and upgrading at left guard?
Pat Yasinskas (1:07 PM)
He's not a free agent, so they wouldn't be re-signing him. But he does have a pretty high cap figure and isn't young and, like you said, I'm not sure his production matches his cap figure. With a new regime, it's at least possible they go in a different direction.
CP (Brooklyn, NY)
Falcons have to bring back Abe don't they? I mean there is no other pass rush on the roster and from the looks of Free Agency, there's nothing out there either, especially without a first rounder...Thoughts Pat?
Pat Yasinskas (1:08 PM)
Yeah, unless somebody else gets cut somewhere else, I don't think there's much choice. Abe is aging, but he's still their best pass rusher.
How significant will a change in coordinators be for Atlanta? What major differences should fans expect to see next season?
Pat Yasinskas (1:11 PM)
On offense, they really want to get more deep passing. They wanted that last year too, but it didn't happen because o-line wasn't set up for deep passing. I'm sure Koetter and new line coach will work on that. On defense, I'd look for Nolan to try to instill more aggressive attitude. There's talent on that defense, but it's never been a particularly aggressive bunch.
Stephen (SUPERCAM) (Winston-salem)
Hey Pat, I'm as big of a Panther fan as they come, just look at profile picture, and yes it is me. How can you write that g. hardy is a good all around DE. He has shown flashes of that, but stats show how well the run did when running at his side, And yes I know its not all on him, but they avoided BIG MONEYS side... IMO
Pat Yasinskas (1:12 PM)
I was simply pointing out that he was on the field more than any other DE in the division. Wasn't saying he's an All-Pro or anything like that.
Steve A (Ventura CA)
Pat! Love your blog, I check it daily. Whats your take on the big name free agents the Saints have next year? What do you anticipate the Saints doing with Will Smith, Robert Meachem, Tracy Porter, and the 2 big guys up front Franklin and Rogers? I think they should all be cut because none of them stepped up and really did anything this year. I agree that Colston, Nicks are must stays, and even Vilma should be given another shot, but everyone else should be left walking. Thoughts?
Pat Yasinskas (1:15 PM)
Obviously, Brees stays and I think they'll find a way to keep Colsto and Nicks. Might be tough to keep Porter and Meachem. They might bring Franklink back for one more year. Will Smith has huge cap figure and they could clear up a ton of room by cutting him. But they don't have another pass rusher. So the answer there might be to restructure Smith. Vilma's a tough call. I know he's almost an icon. But he's making big money and his play slipped last season. The knee obviously was part of the reason for that. But, at his age, you have to worry that the knee could be a chronic thing.
So does Carolina have Chud for one more year?
Pat Yasinskas (1:16 PM)
Sure looks that way, unless somebody goes out and fires their coach now and hires Chud.
Zack Morris (Bayside High School)
Instead of the wretched and unwatchable Pro Bowl, how about a "best of division" game. Kind of like your article on NFC South's best players against NFC North best players. But at full speed.
Pat Yasinskas (1:18 PM)
Yeah, but it's tough to get players to go at full speed and risk injury after their real season is over and there's nothing at stake. I liked the idea earlier about a "futures" game.
Stephen (SUPERCAM) (Winston-salem)
Hello Pat, Since the Panthers have said don't expect BIG changes to the uniforms, can we atleast change HOME jerseys to the Blue ones? Or does the NFL control that? Sorry wasnt trying to say that you were calling him all-pro, the title just threw me.
Pat Yasinskas (1:19 PM)
No, that's the team's call. I'll try to check on that. But it's probably a little too early. They'll likely make decision on that later on.
CP (Brooklyn, NY)
More likely to NOT be with Falcons next season Michael Turner or Roddy White? I know it sounds crazy but if the Falcons could find a way to swing a Roddy for Calvin Johnson (Hometown kid, serious cap issue for Detroit right now) trade, that would be unreal! I know Matt and Roddy have clicked and Roddy is a fan favorite but CJ is an upgrade for sure!
Pat Yasinskas (1:21 PM)
If you could get Calvin Johnson in a trade for Roddy, Dimitroff could be charged with robbery. Not going to happen. Johnson's in his prime. Roddy's good, but getting along in years. Don't see Detroit making that trade.
If Nicks some how doesn't get resigned by the Saints. Whats the possibility of the Falcons trying to bring him in?
Pat Yasinskas (1:23 PM)
First, I think Saints find a way to keep Nicks. I could see the Falcons making a play for him. But the big need on the line is LT. Not sure you'll be able to get a good LT if you sign Nicks.
Would the offense have taken a step back if Chud had gone elsewhere?
Pat Yasinskas (1:24 PM)
Possibly, but I don't think so. I think they would have kept exact same scheme and promoted Shula.
gerald mccoy (hickory, nc)
pat, how is it that i get paid more than josh freeman, yet i cant stay healthy for an entire season, am i a bust yet?
Pat Yasinskas (1:25 PM)
Appreciate your persistence in posting this one dozens of times. So I'll throw it out there in case anyone has an opinion they'd like to share. I think it might be a little early to call McCoy a bust. Injuries have really held him back.
Steve A (Ventura CA)
With the Saints loaded up at RB with Thomas, Ingram, Sproles and Ivory, do you see the organization hanging any of them out as trade bait? We all know what happened to the Saints in last year's playoffs against the Seahawks, but cuts need to be made in order to revamp the defense, not keep that much talent sitting around in a rotation with such a high powered offense. What do you think Pat?
Pat Yasinskas (1:26 PM)
I don't think you hang them out there as bait. Everybody knows Saints are loaded at RB. Wait for another team to get desperate at RB and approach the Saints. If the compensation is good, then you could trade one of them.
ronde barber (one buccaneer place ( andy ))
am i going to come back? retire? go to the redskins and play for raheem?
Pat Yasinskas (1:27 PM)
You tell us. A lot of it is up to you and if you want to continue playing or not.
Pat, since the Panthers are now letting Cam do interviews, is he on your list anytime soon?
Pat Yasinskas (1:29 PM)
He's been making rounds at Super Bowl, which a lot of players do. But I'm not in Indy, so I didn't get chance to spend time with him. Sure I'll see him at minicamp in a few months.
Richard (Ann Arbor, MI)
Has there been any word of lingering concussion symptoms from Pierre Thomas? Watching it live, I was seriously worried that the inevitable concussion would be a Sidney Crosby level injury.
Pat Yasinskas (1:30 PM)
Very quiet on that one. Payton said in his wrap-up press conference that Pierre was okay. But I thought the same thing when it happened. It looked like a particularly bad one.
Simple question Pat. Who wins on Sunday.
Pat Yasinskas (1:31 PM)
All right, most NFC South fans know I generally don't make predictions. But I'm making one for the Super Bowl -- Giants 28, Patriots 24. I think Coughlin is about to start getting recognized as an elite coach.
Mike (Winston Salem)
I sent you a letter about Jerry Richardson this morning. He called my cell phone yesterday after I wrote him a letter. I hope you got to read my letter. It was such a cool experience. The Panthers are so lucky to have him as our owner
Pat Yasinskas (1:32 PM)
Will check out your letter. Mr. Richardson is one of the classiest people in the NFL. Heck, he's one of the classiest people I know, period.
John C R LaFleur stripeseducator (New Orleans)
ESPN Does Not cover NCAA base ball why or does not have a visual aid of NCAA base ball and it is a popular sport from Ca. to Va & Fla to , Tx
Pat Yasinskas (1:33 PM)
Sorry, don't have an answer for you. That's not my territory.
Can I get this answered without posting it 12 times like the previoud guy? Im curious who you think is more likely to NOT be on the Panthers come 2013, DeAngelo or Stewart?
Pat Yasinskas (1:33 PM)
Let's wait and see what happens in 2012. That could determine the whole thing.
Jacksonville has the 7th overall pick and they need a defensive end and a wide reciever. Could we package Roddy and (as bad as I would hate to see him leave) Kroy and send them to Jacksonville for that 7th pick and then draft Trent Richardson if he's on the board. Could you see the Jags jumping at that as well as Atlanta offering it?
Pat Yasinskas (1:35 PM)
With all due respect to Roddy, who is still an excellent WR, Jacksonville's not going to part with a No. 7 overall pick for a WR closing in on 30.
Heard Peyon just announced he's leaving Indy?
Pat Yasinskas (1:36 PM)
Officially? Can't say it surprises me. Hand writing has been all over the wall. But, classy way to do it? Couple days before Indy hosts a Super Bowl? Seems a little selfish to me.
MJ (Palm Beach, FL)
Pat,With the surprise hiring of Schiano, is it possible the Bucs could do it again with their coordinators? Maybe a Brian Billick or big-name splash
Pat Yasinskas (1:38 PM)
At this point, would Billick really be a big-name splash. He's been out of it for a long time. And it's been over a decade since he was a coordinator. His own brother-in-law, Mike Smith, didn't hire him.
Peyton can't decide to leave, Pat. He either get's his contract option picked up, or the Colts cut him loose. Think Mike may have been asking if you had heard, or he's just trolling.
Pat Yasinskas (1:39 PM)
Okay, I rely on you guys to give me any updates during chat because I'm focused on all your questions and don't have e-mail or Twitter on while I chat. If you want my opinio, Colts will cut Peyton loose.
Stephen (SUPERCAM) (Winston-salem)
AMEN to that Pat, Mr. Richardson is classiest owners, I was able to listen to Mike and Jerry's phone call yesterday. (I work with Mike) Talk about making some fans day with a 6minute phone call!!!
Pat Yasinskas (1:42 PM)
That's how Mr. Richardson is. When a former co-worker of mine was going through a major illness, Mr. Richardson was visiting or calling him constantly. When I had a death in my family, Mr. Richardson was one of the first people to call.
With all the changes do you see the Falcons competing next year?
Pat Yasinskas (1:43 PM)
Absolutely, I think they'll bouce back and be better than they were last year. And that's before I even see what they do in free agency.
Flagg (Parts Unknown)
Pat, with Tony G announcing his retirement after next season, do you see the Falcons using their first pick on a TE? I'm really liking what I've seen out of Coby Fleener from Stanford.
Pat Yasinskas (1:43 PM)
They need to get an heir apparent at some point. But Tony saying 2012 probably will be his last season doesn't mean it will. He's talked retirement before and kept on playing.
Nothing on ESPN or Twitter saying Peyton is gone. Don't think Irsay would be that classless to do it during SB weekend.
Pat Yasinskas (1:44 PM)
Thanks. Yeah, NFL would really frown on team anouncing it now. But the person that sent the first item said Peyton had said it.
Does building a new stadium in ATL seem excessive? Seems like renovating the Gdome with a retractable roof would make more sense. Besides, Ia??m pretty sure that facility hasna??t been paid off completely yet.
Pat Yasinskas (1:46 PM)
I'm no construction expert, so have no idea if a retractable roof on the dome would even work. It might be more costly than a new stadium.
Do you think the Panthers will look to add another WR? If so will they search through the draft or via free agency?
Pat Yasinskas (1:47 PM)
Could come in either draft or free agency, but I think they will add a WR at some point. Not a dire situation, though. Smith has several years in him and they have high hopes for LaFell and Gettis.
what are the chances John McNulty gets out of his contract to go to the Bucs?
Pat Yasinskas (1:48 PM)
From what I've heard it doesn't sound like that's going to happen.
Kenny, Bx [via mobile]
Schiano was lucky. Not a builder. Had Coach P not gotten fired from Cuse, Rice and Greene never go to RU. Rice singlehandidly brought wins and credibility to Rutgers. Rutgers was awful before he got there and Schiano used Rice as a springboard to the Anthony Davis and Britt type players. Besides Louisville 7 yrs ago, when was the last time Rutgers beat a national or better program? They played a pitiful Out of conf schedule and never won a watered down BE. Not saying GS will flop but the disciline and rah rah stuff is good for college or a ready made team like the Giants or Pats.
Pat Yasinskas (1:49 PM)
I'll take your word on the Rutgers history. It's not like I've followed Rutgers closely. But, on the discipline thing, that's going to help the Bucs a lot. It was something that had been completely lacking.
One more question. Why does everyone view Dunta Robinson as a failure in Atlanta. Cornerbacks are prone to giving up a big play here and there. It happens. But for the most part, you dont see many WRs have big games on him. Sure he didn't bust the INT piggy bank but Qbs just do not throw his way too much. In Houston he played press and was unbeatable. Teams still view him as a shut down corner. Also, any chance Nolan starts letting him play up close on a WR?
Pat Yasinskas (1:50 PM)
I'm with you on that. Dunta hasn't been a bust. The INTs haven't been there, but he and Grimes have formed a nice CB tandem the last couple of years.
I think the 2nd best hire the Falcons made this offseason could be the new OL coach. What do you know of him?
Pat Yasinskas (1:52 PM)
Had a pretty good rep at Fresno as head coach. Before that had a very strong rep as O-line coach. Smitty wouldn't have hired him if he didn't think he was the guy to fix their O-line. Of course, he's going to need some help from the personnel people in adding a couple of bodies.
Saw all of the Peyton talk. To me, the Colts would be wise to talk him into retiring and hire him as the QB coach to keep at camp and on the sideline with Luck.
Pat Yasinskas (1:54 PM)
Sounds nice in theory. But do you really think Peyton's ego would allow him to do that? And do you really think Peyton would sign on for a job that pays about $200,000? I don't.
Regarding Dunta, he hasn't been great at coverage under the very soft zone coverage of Brian Van Gorder. With Nolan bringing in tighter man coverage, he could very easily earn his money's worth.
Pat Yasinskas (1:54 PM)
Steve A (Ventura, CA)
Okay Pat, you've been awesome and answered 2 of my questions so far. This is the last one, least for this week... besides free agency, what is the Saints' #1 priority defensively? Pass rush or LB versatility?
Pat Yasinskas (1:55 PM)
Pass rush -- that's the key to a Spags defense. But also no doubt they could use some more athleticism at LB.
What's the best strategy for fixing the O-line and keeping Ryan on his feet?
Pat Yasinskas (1:56 PM)
Get a good LT. But that's easier said than done. They don't have a first-round pick and the list of LTs that are scheduled to be free agents isn't overwhelming. Couple more questions before we wrap up.
Scott (Northglenn, CO)
Is the consensus that Trent Richardson is better than Mark Ingram? Or will he go in the mid-to-late first round like Ingram??
Pat Yasinskas (1:57 PM)
It's early in the draft process, but everything I've seen has Richardson going anywhere from No. 5 to No. 15.
Scott (Northglenn, CO)
%Chance that Grimes ends up changing teams?
Pat Yasinskas (2:00 PM)
Probably about 50-50. He's developed into a very nice player for Falcons and they like him. But his reputation around the league also has grown. Some team may be willing to pay huge money. I'm sure Falcons will place a limit on what they'll pay him. After all, wonderful athleticism aside, he still is a 5-8 CB.
Bob (canon city co)
with the bucs not having a coaching staff in place yet, how does that affect the free agency for them
Pat Yasinskas (2:01 PM)
Well, they're still about six weeks from free agency, so there's time. But they need to get that coaching staff in place pretty soon. Like next week.
Enjoy your weekend and the Superbowl Pat!!
Pat Yasinskas (2:02 PM)
Thanks. Hope you all enjoy your weekend and enjoy the Super Bowl. Hopefully, there will be an NFC South team in the Super Bowl next year. Thanks again to all.