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September 11, 1:40 PM ET
Chat with Pat Yasinskas

Brian (New Orleans)

In the past it shows that defense wins championships. Why don't the Saints see that? They are a finness team and when they play a physical team they get beat up and down the field. Shouldn't this ring a bell to Sean Payton?

Pat Yasinskas
  (10:56 AM)

Welcome everyone. Let's get started. Payton obviously realized he needed to improve the defense in the offseason. The question now is if he did enough? The injuries hurt them last week and the defense could be exposed if it doesn't play a lot better this week.

Sharell (Raleigh, NC)

What do you know about Mike Mularkey, OC of the Falcons and his play calling? It appears from watching the Tampa game that he likes a lot of "tricky" play calling. Going for 3 straight passes in the opening of the Tampa game either shows that he has faith in Ryan and or they knew Tampa was going to try to stop the run.

Pat Yasinskas
  (10:57 AM)

Mularkey is noted for his trickery, back to his days with the Steelers. But I think he might need to tone that down a bit with a rookie QB.

Robert (Shallotte, NC)

Why is the NFC South given so little credit. We have appeared in 5 of the last 6 NFC Championships and 7 in the last decade. That is more than any other division. We also are 2nd in Superbowl appearances and 3rd in victories. Furthermore, all 4 of our teams are represented in those numbers, a boast no other division can make. Yet the "NFC Beast", NFC North, and the AFC South, North and NewEngland, I mean East, all get vastly more press and praise, whilst we are relagated to a footnote.

Pat Yasinskas
  (10:59 AM)

Maybe that's not a bad thing. Maybe all those other teams can beat each other up and someone from NFC South can come along quietly and show the strength of this division.

Cade (Athens, GA)

Looking at the Falcons first two games, which offense do you think is closest to the real offensive capabilities of the 2008 team? Also, with the running game from the Tampa game, was the lack of effectiveness due to the early deficit or was week one a fluke?

Pat Yasinskas
  (11:01 AM)

Week One was something of a fluke. But Tampa's defense makes a lot of offenses look bad. Think we'll get a better read on Atlanta's offensive capabilities this week.

Will (Clemson, SC)

Hey Pat Do you feel that Carolina is still a three point underdog with Gus Frerotte and possibly no Adrian Peterson for the Vikings?

Pat Yasinskas
  (11:01 AM)

I wouldn't make Carolina an underdog in this game. I mean, if you base it on the first two games and the fact Smith is back, they should be the favorite.

Brandon Kornegay (Goldsboro NC)

Where is the Carolina pass rush. I have seen both games and other than Peppers the front 4 is non-existant. Tell me there is someone out there they can add?

Pat Yasinskas
  (11:03 AM)

I'm wondering the same thing. They need some of the guys they've already got to step up because Fox isn't big on going out and making changes in the middle of the season and there's not much out there anyway. Keep an eye on Charles Johnson. I know he hasn't done anything yet, but he's got potential.

Tom (Hackensack)

When do you see Colston coming back to the Saints...and will he provide the jolt they need to make the playoffs?

Pat Yasinskas
  (11:04 AM)

I've heard Colston is being targeted for the London game. They better play some defense until then or the playoffs could get away.

Matt (Phoenix)

2 for 1 deal: Will a Saints loss this week put them in a serious hole and do sportswriters such as yourselves have a favorite team?

Pat Yasinskas
  (11:06 AM)

Yes, loss would put them in a big hole, especially if Carolina wins. Glad you asked your second question! A lot of people don't understand how things work. No, sportswriters don't have favorite teams. We're supposed to be impartial and not root for anybody. I do my rooting for Penn State on Saturdays.

Tom (Hackensack)

Pat, Jeremy shockey = overrated?

Pat Yasinskas
  (11:07 AM)

No, wouldn't say that. But he does have to produce more than the 2 catches he had last week.

Nate (San Antonio)

Which is more likely? Dallas wins the Super Bowl or it rains somewhere in Florida within the next 2 weeks?

Pat Yasinskas
  (11:08 AM)

Probably Dallas.

Chris (Atlanta GA)

It's early, but what it your verdict so far on Matt Ryan?

Pat Yasinskas
  (11:08 AM)

It's very early. But I like him. He's tough and he's got intangibles.

John C (Austin,TX)

Do you believe Lane Kiffin is the right person as the raiders head coach?

Pat Yasinskas
  (11:09 AM)

I believe Lane Kiffin is a good coach and will succeed somewhere. But it will be in another place. I think the situation in Oakland isn't good for anyone and the Raiders should move on.

joe (york)

the London game? i thought it was 4-6 weeks for colston

Pat Yasinskas
  (11:10 AM)

I've heard closer to 6 than 4. Six would put it right around the London game.

Josh (Philly)

To follow up on your rooting interests - do you prefer teams that have Penn Staters on them?

Pat Yasinskas
  (11:11 AM)

No, not really. Don't prefer anyone on Sundays.

Tyler (Richmond)

Hey pat, what do you think about the panthers eventually starting Jonathan Stewart over Deangelo Williams. I mean i love the guy to death and I thought he should have started over Foster last year, but JStew has crazy speed for someone his size and I think deangelo would work better as a change of pace back, someone to bounce it outside after the panthers just rammed it down someones throat.

Pat Yasinskas
  (11:12 AM)

Yes, think it will play out that way. But Fox will go slowly because he usually gives the veteran every benefit of the doubt. But it will be impossible to keep Stewart off the field.

Sharell (Raleigh NC)

Shouldn't we wait on the Dallas Superbowl until they play a very good Green Bay team this Sunday?

Pat Yasinskas
  (11:12 AM)

Yes, should wait on everybody. It's only Week 3.

Chris (Greensboro, NC)

Hey Pat, love the blog. You covered the NFL for several years, have you ever heard of a team having the chemistry of a college team, the way Steve Smith described his team this past week? Seems like something special is happening in that locker room.

Pat Yasinskas
  (11:13 AM)

Yes, was in the locker room Sunday and there's definitely a different vibe than last year. Getting Smith back should only make it better.

Jon (Bristol, TN)

The panthers loaded up this year, but have left themselves with a lot of talent unsigned come next year. Of Gross, Pep, and Gamble (Leaving out King) who will they retain? who will they let go?

Pat Yasinskas
  (11:15 AM)

It's early and a lot's going to depend on how they play the rest of the season. Right now, I'd pay Gross first and Gamble second. Not sure you can pay Pep at this point. If he comes on strong, he'll break the bank and jump to the front of the order I just gave.

Tom (Hackensack)

Does Michael Turners success in Atlanta dispel the possibility that him and LT just "ran behind a great o-line". This really makes LT look like the man in my mind.

Pat Yasinskas
  (11:16 AM)

Tough to tell after only 2 weeks. Turner looked awesome in first game and ordinary in second. But I think you could have put LT on Falcons last week and he would have struggled.

Matt (Phoenix)

I hear Colston won't be back for the London game due to the early travel and since the Saints have a BYE the week after it would give him 2 extra weeks to heal.

Pat Yasinskas
  (11:17 AM)

Entirely possible. I keep hearing London game is target. But if there's any delay, it makes sense to target right after the bye.

Ben (LaGrange, Ga)

I've heard that Mike Smith prefers big, bulky defensive linemen, like Grady Jackson, to quicker guys, like Jamal Anderson. Could this play into Anderson's lack of procduction? What else about Atlanta's D could smith be looking to change?

Pat Yasinskas
  (11:18 AM)

Think that's probably fair to say. But Smith's not giving up on Anderson. There's a lot of talent there and they're going to try to coach it out of him. We'll see.

Joey (Rochester, New York)

When is Reggie Bush gonna produce like the 2nd overall pick? Since 2006 he has only had three 100 yard Receiving Games and only one 100 yard Rushing game.

Pat Yasinskas
  (11:19 AM)

Not sure that he'll ever be a pure running back. Saints have to mix things up and not run him between tackles. Throw him passes and use him as a return man to get as much as they can out of him.

Jeff (shreveport, LA)

can the saints beat the broncos this weekend and will they ever find a running game?

Pat Yasinskas
  (11:21 AM)

It's going to be tough on many levels. They obviously haven't figured out what they want to do with the running game. If Deuce is healthy, they need to get him more involved.

Dan (Athens GA)

If Delhomme gets hurt again and the season tanks, who takes the blame and what changes would most likely be made?

Pat Yasinskas
  (11:21 AM)

Fox and Hurney would take the fall. They got a pass last year because they lost their QB. They wouldn't get the same pass again.

Keith (Regina, Saskatchewan)

Will Lawyer Malloy's bust for drunk driving be a distraction this weekend for the Falcons?

Pat Yasinskas
  (11:22 AM)

Don't want to underplay it, but this team went through much bigger distractions last year.

mike (st pete beach)

is al davis waiting for the raiders to lose in buffalo before he fires his coach?

Pat Yasinskas
  (11:23 AM)

Sure looks that way. Don't know why Al's waited this long. Should have done it in the offseason.

Greillen ( Georgia)

Do you see the saints making more trades this season to get better at corner or even running back if Deuce does'nt workout.

Pat Yasinskas
  (11:24 AM)

Trades aren't easy or all that common in the NFL. But I can see the Saints making some moves if things don't go well. They made it clear they're going all out to win this year. So, if they lose a few more games, I could see them going for quick fixes.

Keith (Regina, Saskatchewan)

Was Garcia's demotion completely performance based, or is there more going on there? I got the impression in the pre-season that Garcia was really chafed over the Favre rumours. has there been a falling-out between Garcia and Chuckie?

Pat Yasinskas
  (11:26 AM)

Goes beyond performance. Yeah, he wasn't happy about Favre (can't blame him) and wasn't happy about his contract. That all plays into it.

Gary(Charlotte)

Pat do you think the Vikings front is a better matchup for Deangelo than J-Stew because neither back will get much up the middle but I think Deangelo should be good cutting it back around the edges as there is not too much speed on the Vikings front.

Pat Yasinskas
  (11:26 AM)

Very good point. I agree with you. We'll see if Fox and Jeff Davidson do.

Dave (Denver)

I think Al was hoping Kiffin would resign so he would have have to pay him. Although history has shown us he refused to pay Shanahan after he fired him, NFL or no NFL, Al refused to pay per contract.

Pat Yasinskas
  (11:27 AM)

Wouldn't it be worth it to just pay him and move on?

SprungOnSports (Long Island)

What should Carolina expect from the Minnesota passing game now that Frerotte is in? Gus may not be able to run like Jackson, but he could probably get more done within their system.

Pat Yasinskas
  (11:28 AM)

Just the fact he's a veteran should make him efficient. But I think Carolina's focus will be on stopping the run. If they can do that, then maybe Peppers can have a breakout game and tee off on a slow target.

Dave (Tampa)

Hey Pat, Do you think the beginning of the end for Jeff Garcia came after the playoff game, when he called out Gruden for not using the weapons we have on offense?

Pat Yasinskas
  (11:29 AM)

Yes, exactly. That was the start of it. Then, everything else piled up.

Robert (NC)

1. When will Carolina learn that running the ball on third and long is NEVER going to work and stop doing it 90% of the time? 2. Is Jeff King the 1st string TE because of seniority, better blocking skills or is he going to lose his spot to Rosario sometime this season?

Pat Yasinskas
  (11:30 AM)

I've wondered the same thing for years on the draw play. As far as King starting, it's a combination of Fox favoring the veteran and wanting him out there for his blocking. You'll see plenty of Rosario, though. They'll mix and match them depending on the situation.

Mark (Hegins, PA

If Atlanta wins this weekend will it be because the Falcons were the better team or will it be because everybody is talking about all the rookies that KC is bringing into this game?

Pat Yasinskas
  (11:31 AM)

I think Atlanta is the better team right now. We'll see on Sunday though.

Reggie (Charlotte, NC)

Why do you think the Panthers are being considered underdogs to the Vikings this weekend? Also, why are people underrating this football even though they are beating very good teams without their best player (Steve Smith)?

Pat Yasinskas
  (11:32 AM)

Not sure who's underrating them. I think they're getting a lot of attention and it started as soon as they beat San Diego.

Brent (Asheville)

If Carolina goes to 3-0 after Sunday. How do you see their chances of winning the division? Are the "Cardiac Cats" back?

Pat Yasinskas
  (11:33 AM)

I'll have a column up this afternoon where I say they might not have to be the Cardiac Cats because they might not have to play from behind because they've finally got Fox's kind of personnel.

Ben (LaGrange, Ga)

Do you think that Arthur Blank is willing to be patient with his new coach and GM? Or does he want to win ASAP? I've heard Dimitrof talk alot about changing the culture in Atlanta, not just the win/loss record. That is gonna take some time.

Pat Yasinskas
  (11:34 AM)

I think Blank will be patient. When you hire a rookie coach, GM and QB, you've got to be patient.

Nate (San Antonio)

What future do you see for Mike Vick?

Pat Yasinskas
  (11:35 AM)

He's going to have to go to that new league - the UFL or whatever it is.

Joel (Charlotte, NC)

Pat, I heard that Adrian Peterson is going to be a game time decision this coming sunday, even if he does play you have to think he is not going to be 100% AP, I see Panthers Win and that they should be favored instead of being a 3.5 underdog, your thoughts?

Pat Yasinskas
  (11:36 AM)

Agree. I don't know how point spreads really work, but I think Panthers should be favored based on first two weeks.

JL (Hoboken, NJ)

Why did the Bucs cut Ben Troupe?

Pat Yasinskas
  (11:36 AM)

They got Jerramy Stevens back from suspension.

Clint (monroe, LA)

The Saints need to use Duece and Peirre in the running game and put Reggie in the slot. Problem solved. Saints win the super bowl.

Pat Yasinskas
  (11:36 AM)

Not sure about the Super Bowl, but I like your idea -- if Deuce is anything close to the old Deuce.

Shane(Dayton, Ohio)

WHy do you think they have not played Duece more?? I don't get it. I know he is a humble guy, and thank goodness that he is, or he would be ticked off. Another question for you as well; What is your take on Meachem?? I think this guy could be great. Where do you see him in the game?

Pat Yasinskas
  (11:38 AM)

The coaches see him in practice every day. Either they're being very cautious or they don't think he's got a lot left.

Robert (NC)

Matt williams of Scout inc. is underrating them ranking them 13th in power ranking and San Diego 6th, a Philly team that gave up as many points in one game as we gave up in both 2nd and a lousy looking Indy team 7th.

Pat Yasinskas
  (11:39 AM)

Probably shouldn't say this, but what do rankings really mean? I know they get people talking. But the standings are the only thing that really matters.

Jesse (Harrison, Maine)

Do you think the Giants made a mistake in trading Shockey to the Saints, and not trying to make it work in New York?

Pat Yasinskas
  (11:40 AM)

No, if a guy's that unhappy, it's time to move on.

Jonathan (Lafayette, LA)

Do you still have New Orleans as favorites to win the division? I don't see them being able to run up the middle and Deuce is no longer the threat he once was. All things considered, I think Carolina is the most complete team in the NFC South and the clear favorite to win the division. Thoughts?

Pat Yasinskas
  (11:40 AM)

Right now, I'd have to agree with you.

Sharell (NC)

If the Saints lose on Sunday, and I think they will, can we please stop putting them in the Superbowl. Why is their so much hype around this team and the Panthers, who have imploded the last 2 years? Granted I am a Falcon Fan :-).

Pat Yasinskas
  (11:42 AM)

I know you're a Falcons fan! Win your game on Sunday and Atlanta will get some hype.

Nate (San Antolio)

Thanks for the insight on Vick ... now what the heck is the UFL? Maybe I should google it.

Pat Yasinskas
  (11:42 AM)

Think it's the United Football League, but not certain. They were supposed to start in spring of 2008, but they pushed it back a year.

Clint (Monroe, LA)

I have given up on the saints. Should I step back from the ledge or is there no hope?

Pat Yasinskas
  (11:43 AM)

Hang on for a week or two, but last week certainly wasn't encouraging.

Chris (Charlotte, NC)

How do you feel about Fox sticking with Williams as the starting back? Is this another example of Fox having too much loyalty to veteran players, or was that solved when we got rid of Morgan, Jenkins, Wahle, and Foster?

Pat Yasinskas
  (11:44 AM)

Not saying I agree with it all the time, but that's the way Fox operates. Still, plenty of carries for DeAngelo and Stewart.

JT FL.w

whats up with shaun alexzander would he be a good fit in new orleans

Pat Yasinskas
  (11:45 AM)

Not sure he's got anything more left than Deuce does.

Adam ( Columbia)

What mistake do you see that could cost the Panthers the game this week?

Pat Yasinskas
  (11:46 AM)

Having Chris Gamble try to throw a pass on a punt return.

Jeremy (New Orleans)

I'm a Saints fan and watching the posting of other "fans" make me sick. It's been 2 weeks w/injuries and everyone is talking like they are 2-12 or something. Jumping of the ledge, fire the coach. Come on, give the guys a chance to get healthy and do their jobs.

Pat Yasinskas
  (11:47 AM)

Yep, said it before and I'll say it again, it's only Week 3.

John (Oakland)

Are there any other teams out there to discuss besides Panthers and Saints? This seems like the Carolina, New Orleans show.

Pat Yasinskas
  (11:47 AM)

It is an NFC South chat.

Mike (TN)

How do you think Kalil will do in his matchup with Pat Williams? He handed it to Jamal Williams week one.

Pat Yasinskas
  (11:48 AM)

Kalil's got a good future. But he's a little undersized. Think they've got to give him some help this week.

Brian (Charlotte, NC)

Do you think the Panthers lack of pass rush is there biggest issue right now? They appear solid just about everywhere else. Thank you.

Pat Yasinskas
  (11:49 AM)

Yeah, think that would be fair to say. Not seeing many weaknesses right now.

MJ (Boston)

Is Chris Gamble a good corner? How bout Lucas? A few years ago Lucas was considered a top corner.

Pat Yasinskas
  (11:50 AM)

Gamble's a very good corner. Probably better than Lucas right now.

Todd (FL)

Seems like Atlanta's offensive line has improved quite a bit since last year. When did they finally realize how important it is to have a good o-line?

Pat Yasinskas
  (11:51 AM)

When Mike Smith took over and when they drafted a rookie QB. Seriously, one other subtle but key move was hiring Paul Boudreau as O-line coach. He's a good one.

Robb(Charlotte)

Are you surprised by the Saints slow start? Many "experts" picked them to win the division. I had trouble understanding that pick-but I understand they had to pick someone, since the NFC South always seems to look week on paper.

Pat Yasinskas
  (11:52 AM)

I was one of the people to pick the Saints. I still wouldn't give up on them. It's early.

Chance Evanston, WY

Do you think Griese is strong enough to lead the bucs to the post season?

Pat Yasinskas
  (11:53 AM)

I think the bigger question is if the Bucs are good enough elsewhere (on defense and in running game) to win with Griese. He is what he is.

graham (nola)

historically, the saints have always been bad, still a fan but think everyone else is misguided on the notion they are contenders

Pat Yasinskas
  (11:53 AM)

You guys are sounding like Boston Red Sox fans.

SprungOnSports (Long Island)

Is Joey Galloway playing this week, and if not who has to step it up against the Bears in his absence?

Pat Yasinskas
  (11:54 AM)

Doesn't look like he'll play. Antonio Bryant and Michael Clayton have to step up for them to do anything in the passing game.

MJ (Boston)

Pat even though you ranked my Cowboys 3rd in the NFC East I still like ya!!! Hows Julius Peppers doing? He was supposed to have a rebound year from last...

Pat Yasinskas
  (11:56 AM)

Peppers is taking heat for not having a sack yet. But I think he's been much more active than last year. I think he'll get some shots for a sack with Frerotte starting this week.

David (Charlotte)

Based on your earlier comments, Do you think Marshall may get the staring CB job this year in Carolina over Lucas?

Pat Yasinskas
  (11:56 AM)

Not this year. Lucas is still good. They've got three good CBs and that's a nice luxury to have.

Jeremy (New Orleans)

"passionate" Saints fans are MORE UNSUFFERABLE then Rex Sox. Instead of playoff heartbreak, We suffer Pre-season Heartbreak

Pat Yasinskas
  (11:57 AM)

I understand your pain. Couple more questions and then I've got to run.

James ATL

Do you think the Falcons can pull the worst to first this year? Just to keep the trend going in the NFC South?

Pat Yasinskas
  (11:58 AM)

That's a lot to ask for. I think 6 or 7 wins would be a nice year.

Chance (Evanston, WY)

Do you think the bucs will be able to run the ball effectively against a very tough bears run D?

Pat Yasinskas
  (11:59 AM)

Gonna be tough. But they're gonna have to run it if they want to win.

hondo (los angeles)

Cadillac Williams on anyones radar?

Pat Yasinskas
  (11:59 AM)

Honestly, don't think you'll see him until 2009.

Eric (Charlotte, NC)

So far this season Chris Harris has looked good, where do u rank him among the NFLs top safties?

Pat Yasinskas
  (12:00 PM)

Playing the run and forcing fumbles, he's as good as anyone. Knock on him in the past was in coverage, but I think he's looked good there this year.

Clint

What do you think of Tracy Porter?

Pat Yasinskas
  (12:00 PM)

Great first game. Not so great second game. That comes with the territory. He's going to be good though.

Jarric (Kansas)

speaking of micheal clayton, what happened to that guy?

Pat Yasinskas
  (12:01 PM)

He put on weight. Galloway came along. He fell into Gruden's doghouse. Bunch of things. But this week is his chance to re-invent himself.

Bert (Raleigh)

Pat glad to see you still here. Do you think the ball is still going to get spread around now that Steve Smith is back. And give us a guess on yards/TD's 89 gets in his first game back?

Pat Yasinskas
  (12:02 PM)

I'll go with 150. I expect him to have a huge game. All right, gotta run. Thanks very much for stopping by. Enjoyed it.