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October 11, 9:16 AM ET
Chat with Pat Yasinskas

Steve: (Eugene, OR):

Rumors are out there that Atlanta offered a second round draft pick for Gonzales. Is that true? If so, why would they offer such a high pick for a player that might have two years left?

Pat Yasinskas
  (12:59 PM)

To my knowledge, I don't think the Falcons made any play for Gonzalez. Giving up a draft pick doesn't fit in what they're trying to build.

Mack (Raleigh, NC)

Is their a chance that the NFC South can have 3 teams to go to the playoffs vs. the NFC East?

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:00 PM)

That would be a very long shot, but not completely out of the question.

Jay (SC)

Is Meachem going to be active for sunday or will the return of Colston put him back on the inactive list?

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:00 PM)

My guess is he sits.

Paul (Augusta)

Every week is a test for Ryan, no doubt. Do you think the Philly D and blitz schemes in week 8 will be his toughest yet?

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:01 PM)

Could be, but Tampa Bay and Carolina were pretty tough defenses, too.

Jt (Massachusets)

Do you think the Saints game plan will have a large dose of Deuce and Reggie against the Panthers even as much as 20 carries for Deuce, after Warrick Dunn had such a good game against them?

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:01 PM)

I think it should. Panthers secondary is really good and the running game might work well against this D.

Jay (SC)

Do you know anything about Roby, the receiver the Saints signed this week? He was formerly a third round pick so there must be some potential there.

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:03 PM)

He's got some potential as a receiver, but he's never been able to really use it. Saints are just taking a shot on him and see if maybe something clicks for him.

Ryan (Napa, CA)

Pat, let's get this chat started with some predictions. How will the NFC South shake down this weekend? Bucs win and Panthers win? or Bucs win and Saints win? haha

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:03 PM)

I'll leave the predictions to the Swami and our other tv guys.

truck man (new orleans, la)

i know the Saints are overlooked by most national observers because they have 3 losses, which were all by a total of 10 points. but do you really see any team in the division who is better? had the coaches stuck with the rookie K they drafted New Orleans could be 5-1 and a top everybodys rankings

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:04 PM)

Saints are getting healthy now. Tough road stretch coming up. But if they can get through that in decent shape, anything is possible. Plenty of talent on this team.

Luke Florida

Any chance Galloway plays on Sunday Night, and do you think Seattle will even keep it close?

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:05 PM)

Think Galloway's a long shot this week. You may see him come back against Dallas.

kent (n'awlins)

Hey Pat - What's your thoughts about the Saints kicker situation... Melhalf is unproven and the Giants may release Carney any week now?

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:07 PM)

Mehlhaff is unproven, but Gramatica was "proven" and look where that got them. I'd give the rookie a chance. If he struggles for a couple weeks, then make a move.

tommy Land O'Lakes, Florida

Pat, with alot of experts predicting either carolina or new orleans to win the division. Wouldn't it be more reasonable to say the buccaneers have a better shot with the upcoming soft schedule and the way the defense has been playing?

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:08 PM)

Right now, Bucs are in the driver's seat, but there's a long season ahead.

Paul (Augusta)

Nice article on Arthur Blank. How much time do you think he has left with the Falcons, given his age, and will his departure leave the Falcons in bad shape?

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:09 PM)

I think Blank will be around for quite a while. He's in good health and remains very active with the Falcons.

kent (n'awlins)

Pat, as usual, good point about Mehlhaff! Being a Saints fan, I haven't watched the Falcons, as we haven't played them yet.... Are they for real???

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:10 PM)

Yes, you've got to say they're for real now. Are they a 12-4 team? No. But they'll at least be close to .500.

Jeff (Rochester NY)

Is there a difference in left and right footed kickers?

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:10 PM)

Only real difference is for the holder.

Bill, Boone NC

Will Julius Peppers rebound and actually look like he wants to play in the NFL this year?

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:11 PM)

We've been waiting for that for almost 1 1/2 years.

Josh, Charlotte

Is Garica the right way to go in Tb or will he eventually bust?

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:11 PM)

They've got to go with him right now and probably for the rest of the season. He's out of there after this year, though.

tommy Land O'Lakes, Florida

Which team in the nfc south has impressed you the most this season?

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:12 PM)

Tough to say, at times, Carolina and, at times, Tampa Bay. Falcons have surprised me most and Saints have potential to be very good.

kent (n'awlins)

After the string of injured QBs this year, which team in the NFC South is better prepared for the unthinkable -- having their starter go down?

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:13 PM)

Have to say the Bucs. Griese and McCown have both started before.

Michael (Lancaster, South Carolina)

Hey pat with john Kasay playing so well this year what do you believe is his chance of making the pro bowl this year?

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:14 PM)

Possible. A lot depends on how the team does, so Panthers need to win for him to have a shot.

Ryan (Napa, CA)

Why don't the Bucs give Luke McCown more opportunity?? He showed flashes of potential last year when Garcia was out.

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:15 PM)

They're 4-2 now and have to stick with the veterans. If Gruden were that impressed with McCown in the preseason, he would have gone with him as the starter at beginning of the year.

paul (metairie, la)

With the coming back of Colston and Shockey, possibly, do you see Reggie having a great game considering the man coverage Carolina will have to employ?

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:15 PM)

I do think Saints will run more than usual. Don't know if that means big game for Reggie or Deuce or both.

Steven (ARK)

Pat, does Drew Brees make it to the pro bowl? And what about his chances at MVP?

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:16 PM)

Pro Bowl? Yes, he's a lock. MVP? Right now, he'd get my vote.

Ryan (Napa, CA)

Would any team from the NFC South easily win the North or West?

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:16 PM)

Yes, I think you could definitely make that case right now.

Josh, Charlotte

Is Reggie Bush over rated because i think Duce should get more carries.

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:18 PM)

Over rated is a pretty big term. Depends what you expected out of Reggie. If you want him to run for 1,600 yards a season, yes. But if you want a guy who can do a lot of different things, I don't think you can say he's over rated.

Bob (Port of Spain, Trinidad)

I read some were that Hollis Thomas could be brought back to the Saints after the 1st of November. Thought he had been put on IR and was out for the year?

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:19 PM)

They put him on IR first and then they cut him. That makes him eligible to come back after his injury settlement is paid up. Not sure what the exact settlement was, but that's probably about right.

Sharell (Raleigh, NC)

Do you think Fox has secured his job or will it take making the playoffs?

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:19 PM)

He's pretty close to being safe. He needs about five more wins.

Brian (Scranton, PA)

I know Michael Turner has run exceptionally well and that the coaching staff wants to utilize Norwood, but Turner only has 3 catches so far. Do the Falcons plan on using him out of the backfield more after the bye?

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:20 PM)

Great hometown, Brian. I grew up 10 miles from Scranton. Yes, I think you may see more throws to Turner. They need to diversify offense a little bit to keep pressure off Ryan.

Larry (LA)

Is it me or does the Saints' run blocking suck? Not many holes.

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:21 PM)

It's not you.

John (Fairfax, VA)

With the dual running backs of Warrick Dunn and Earnest Grahmn, will Cadillac Williams ever regain his starting position. With the rotation of players can the Bucs clinch the NFC South

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:22 PM)

Wouldn't worry about Cadillac this year. Don't think you'll see him until next year.

Benjamin Plattsburgh

With peppers looming massive contract is it a given that jordan gross hits the market since they prob. can't afford his signing bonus?

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:22 PM)

You think it's a given they re-sign Peppers? I don't think that's the case any more.

Wes (Albany, NY)

Are you crazy? With the team the Panthers have in place and Cowher cowling in fromt he booth, Fox's job is no where near safe with anything less than a playoff birth!

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:23 PM)

Telling you right now, even if Panthers fall apart, Cowher won't end up in Carolina. Look for him elsewhere.

Ulysses (Fayetteville, NC)

Pat, the Panthers were once a dynamic, big-play team fun to watch (Kevin Greene, Lamar Lathon). Nowadays, its keep it close and then we'll see what happens! Is it the coaching, personnel, both?

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:24 PM)

That's nothing new. That's been their style since Fox got there.

Mike (Enon, OH)

Pat, do you think Graham and Dunn continue to split carries, or will Graham be rewarded for his selflessness last week and get 20+ carries? I think we would take over the game if given enough carries.

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:25 PM)

Back to Graham getting the bulk. You don't want Dunn getting 20 carries a week at his age.

Benjamin Plattsburgh

Whoa whoa whoa back up, repeat and explain....... Peppers may hit the market?

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:25 PM)

You ever think maybe Peppers wants out of there?

Josh, Charlotte

How weak is teh NFC South to the rest of the league?

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:26 PM)

Not weak at all. I'd rank it second to NFC East.

Steve: (Eugene, OR):

How long are the Falcons on the hook for Michael Vick's signing bonus? What might someday be realistic to get for him in trade?

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:27 PM)

They'll end up just cutting him. Nobody will give up anything in trade.

jake PA

Could the Nfc south compete with the other Nfc teams or not?

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:27 PM)

Yes, absolutely. They've done a pretty good job so far.

Josh, Charlotte

Whos a better reciver Joey Galloway or Steve Smith?

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:28 PM)

Smith.

Eugene (College Park, GA)

What positions do you think the Falcons will look into after the season?

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:28 PM)

Secondary, o-line, d-line, punt returner, WR.

Benjamin Plattsburgh

Do you agree with me that the Falcons will make a huge run at and probably land Albert Haynesworth this offseason?..... (cant be franchised if he makes pro bowl)

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:29 PM)

No, he's not Atlanta's style right now. They're building with youth. Also, he's got baggage and they're not going to touch that.

terry, or

Johnathan Stewart doesn't look to good, whats the problem? And is Matt Moore the future for Carolina, good college QB, but more of a back up dependable player?

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:30 PM)

I think Stewart as looked good. Matt Moore the future? Don't think there's any way you can say that at this point. Jake's got a few years left in him. Moore's just a guy right now.

jake PA

Is joey Galloway really making an effect or not?

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:31 PM)

Good question. I think that's open for debate.

kent (n'awlins)

Which game will you be covering this weekend?

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:32 PM)

I'll be at New Orleans/Carolina. From there, I will leave for London and do Saints/Chargers the following Sunday. I'll be with the Saints all next week.

Bob (Port of Spain, Trinidad)

What are you hearing about Sedrick Ellis' recovery from knee problems?

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:32 PM)

Couple weeks. Probably right after the bye.

Benjamin Plattsburgh

when you said Pepper may hit the market first thought I had was the Texans would go after him.... pairing him and mario together would make the texans instant contenders..... am I nuts?

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:33 PM)

No, not a bad idea.

Michael (Lancaster, South Carolina)

If julius peppers isn't resigned how do you think the panthers will replace him? are there any other free agent DEs out there or will be going to the draft?

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:34 PM)

Think you'd have to go through the draft in that situation.

Gary Raleigh NC

Pat, Do you think Peppers production will pick up like it once was or is he on his way out?

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:34 PM)

We've been waiting 1 1/2 years for that. It's not looking too promising.

Greg Harrisburg PA

Why did arthur blank waive off jenks catch

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:35 PM)

He got a little excited and confused. Heat of the moment.

rob (jersey)

Atlanta Falcons fans - you guys can have D'Angelo Hall back for free - - thanks for letting me say my peace.

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:35 PM)

Like the question. Just wanted to share with everybody.

Paul (Augusta)

You been asking for patience with Jamaal Anderson, and it payed off last week. If he begins to look like a top 10 draft pick this year, would you say that the Falcons have one of the best End combos in NFL?

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:36 PM)

If it continues, as pass rushers, yes.

Will (Houston)

I don't hear too many commenting on the play of Jonathan Vilma. I think his play thus far has to make him a candidate for the Pro Bowl. What say you?

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:37 PM)

Played well, but he needs a few big plays and better job by rest of the defense to make a real strong case.

Bob, Suwanee, GA

Mike Smith is getting a lot of credit for the turnaround, but Mike Mularkey deserves a lot of credit also. Do you think he wants to stay in Atlanta or does he want to be a head coach again? Do you think Arthur Blank will make a preemptive move against him leaving by giving him a new contract (more $$$)?

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:38 PM)

Mularkey will end up as a head coach again in a year or two.

Will (Columbia, SC)

Jon BeasTon or Vilma?

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:38 PM)

Beason

Daniel Tampa

What Bucs do you think have a legit shot at the Pro Bowl?

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:38 PM)

Brooks and Ruud. Maybe Faine.

Blake (Tempe, AZ)

Thanks for sharing your time with us, Pat. Some fans seem to be irate with Arthur Blank at times (Vick, sidleline appearances). I sense that he truly cares about placing a winning product on the field. As someone who knows him, what is your take?

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:39 PM)

He cares deeply about putting a good team on the field. He was humbled by the whole Vick thing and has learned from it. I think he's a very good owner.

Gary Raleigh NC

Pat, Jake has a few years left in him, but what do you see the Panthers doing in the future in terms of QB?

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:40 PM)

So much depends on other things. Like, if Fox is still there. But I don't see him making any big moves at QB for a couple years.

Bob , Suwanee, GA

Otah or Baker, who has played better so far this year out of the two rookie left tackles?

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:41 PM)

Both playing well. Otah's playing right side and Baker left.

Benjamin Plattsburgh

the falcons should keep mularkey no matter what.... young qbs need stability at OC..... need it...... look at alex smith.... Blank needs to pull out all the stops to make sure ryan progresses

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:41 PM)

Give QB coach Bill Musgrave some credit there, too.

Benjamin Plattsburgh

How good are the falcons triplets compared to other league triplets?

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:42 PM)

Pretty good and going to get a lot better.

Jay (Evans, GA)

Will the Falcons have any Pro Bowlers this year? If so who?

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:42 PM)

Abraham, Turner and maybe Roddy White.

Bill, Boone NC

What Panthers would you put in the Pro Bowl at the end of this year.

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:43 PM)

Beason. Chris Harris. That's about it right now. Maybe Smith if he comes on.

David (Whittier CA)

Pat, who would you vote in for Tampa's ring of honor?

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:44 PM)

Start with old guys -- Selmon, Doug Williams and Gruber. Then, Brooks. Then, Alstott, Lynch, Sapp, Barber and Dungy. Might put John McKay in there too, at some point.

Garth (Norman, OK)

Man it must suck to be stuck with the crappy division you are forced to cover.

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:45 PM)

Wouldn't trade it for any other.

Gary Raleigh NC

Pat, What do you think the likelyhood is that Peppers is signed to a long term contract after this season, and do you think he wants to remain a Panther?

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:45 PM)

50-50 on your first question. On second question, my doubts are growing each week.

Benjamin Plattsburgh

is mike jenkins worth resigning for the falcons?

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:46 PM)

Yes, as a number three WR.

Adam (Jersey)

How about Hardy Nickerson? Shelton Quarles?

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:46 PM)

Not at the start. Maybe down the road. But I don't feel real strongly about either.

Steve (NO)

Should the Saints draft defense again in the first round? It seems like they have more luck with their offensive picks (Colston, Bush, Meachem)?

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:47 PM)

Yes, absolutely. They've got enough offense.

DAVID NAWLINS

BEST QB INTHE LEAGUE?

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:47 PM)

Brees, right now.

WIlliam, Charlotte NC

Why is panther's offense so "vanillia". Where are the plays to get the ball to Steve Smith.

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:47 PM)

Excellent question. Been wondering that for a couple weeks.

Bernard ( Augusta GA)

Which is your favorite Carolina or Tampa Bay?

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:48 PM)

Neither. I can't root for anybody in the NFL because I'm supposed to be impartial. I do my rooting on Saturdays -- for Penn State.

Dave (Columbus)

Two questions for you since I'm a long time Buc's fan. Why didn't the Bucs try harder to pick up a speed receiver like Ocho Cinco and what role has Rich McKay has played in the Falcon's success this year since his authority was reduced?

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:49 PM)

I think the Bucs stayed cheap on WRs. McKay has more clout than you think. He still does contracts and did Matt Ryan's deal.

Skip (Louisiana)

Despite his injury, do you think Tracy Porter is going to be a decent CB for the Saints in the future?

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:49 PM)

Liked him an awful lot before the injury. We'll see how he bounces back.

Nizar ( Emerson, NJ)

Who is your favorite rookie in the NFC South ? Mat Ryan ?

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:50 PM)

Yes, without a doubt.

rob (jersey)

Pat - No Simeon Rice in the ring?

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:50 PM)

Umm, no.

Benjamin Plattsburgh

John Fox used to be a innovator..... now hes hopelessly predictable... too long in one place?... what happened?

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:51 PM)

I don't think the offensive approach has changed since Fox has been there. Then again, that might be a problem.

Chaz (Scranton, PA)

Speaking of Penn State, do they finally beat Michigan this year, and whats up with your boy LJ?

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:52 PM)

I hope so. I'm afraid LJ's walking in the footsteps of Ki-Jana Carter, Curtis Enis, etc.

Eric (NEW Orleans)

Do You think Jeremy Shockey will be a bust. He's really good at towel twirling.

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:52 PM)

Can't say he's a bust yet. I think you'll see him back very soon and he'll have an impact.

Jeff (Charlotte, NC)

A lot of people seem to think Carolina played a bad game against the Bucs and not giving the Bucs much credit. The way I see it was an under estimated Bucs team that is far better than people think. Your thoughts?

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:53 PM)

They were pretty darn impressive last week.

Shane (Lafayette, La.)

Heaven forbid something happen to Brees, but do you not think the backup could do an efficient job with these skilled players

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:53 PM)

Not over the long haul. Brunell might be fine for a game or two, but he doesn't have a lot left in him.

isaac (ashburn, va)

who is the best nfc running back this year?portis, turner, or peterson

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:54 PM)

Turner.

Brian (Lakeland Florida)

Is coach Pattons job in jepordy if the Saints dont make the playoffs?

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:54 PM)

Not unless they totally fall apart. They just gave him a 5-year extension. It would be tough to fire him.

Joe (MS)

Sean Payton, has called some questionable plays so far this year. Should he go back to basics and not try to be as creative?

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:55 PM)

Yes, very good point.

david slidell la

do you think the saints will make the playoffs

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:55 PM)

Hard to say at this point, but they've got a shot if they can be at .500 by the end of the road trip.

Greg (la)

Do you see Brees as a franchise player for the Saints? Possibly (10+ years) like a Favre, Marino, Montana?

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:55 PM)

Yes.

Gary Raleigh NC

Pat, Do you see Dwayne Jarrett becoming a big weapon for the panthers as time goes on?

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:56 PM)

No, I really doubt it. Couple more questions and I'll have to run.

Shane (Lafayette, La.)

How could Shockey be considered a bust? If you watched the games that he was a part of, you see he made some very clutch catches. Don't you think?

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:56 PM)

That's what I'm saying. Give him a chance to be on the field before you decide anything.

Chad (Savannah, GA)

Best player in the history of the NFC South?

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:57 PM)

Derrick Brooks.

joe, charlotte, nc

Pat - miss you at the observer, but enjoy your espn work. I saw Otah and Kalil are out against the Saints. Can they get the ground game going to control the clock and keep Brees off the field?

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:57 PM)

They'd better get it going better than last week or else they'll be in big trouble.

kent (n'awlins)

Do you think Reggie returns any more punts for touchdowns this year?

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:58 PM)

I'm gonna guess and say two more.

isaac (ashburn, va)

what makes michael turner better than portis or peterson?

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:59 PM)

Impact on team overall. Look what he's done for Ryan. And for the defense.

Trey Charlotte

Pat Who wins the NFC South

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:59 PM)

Ask me in 10 weeks. I leave the predicitions up to tv guys. Two more questions and I've got to hand it off to the next chatter.

Adam ( Columbia SC)

Pat, After last weeks loss should I be worried about where the Panthers are headed?

Pat Yasinskas
  (2:00 PM)

No, don't judge everything by one week.

John Crofton, MD

why haven't the Bucs been able to make any trades for a big name WR. are they even trying? i think a big play WR would make a huge difference from possible playoff team to Super Bowl favorites. were they in running for Roy Williams?

Pat Yasinskas
  (2:00 PM)

Think they might have sniffed around Roy Williams, but weren't going to pay a big price for anybody.

David Fairborn, OH

Bruce Matthews > Derrick Brooks

Pat Yasinskas
  (2:01 PM)

We're talking NFC South. Brooks is, hands down, the best ever from this division. All right, I'm going to run. Thanks very much for stopping by. Enjoyed it.