How do you believe the Panthers will fair against the Giants when they meet in December? Steve Smith usually has big games against them.
Long way off and injuries could change a lot between now and then. But Fox always coaches well against the Giants. I thought the 2005 playoff game against them was the best game he's ever coached.
It's been 5 long and painful years since the Panthers were last taken seriously by the rest of the NFL. And now that they're 7-2 and playing a more complete game than anyone, journalists and commentators still refuse to consider them a super bowl threat. Please Pat, help me set the record straight.
I think people are taking them seriously. They were ranked No. 3 in our power rankings this week. Besides, it doesn't really matter what people think. It all comes down to if they keep winning.
Hey Pat. With Cadillac Williams back in the lineup with the Bucs, how much better of a team does he make them ?
Don't think it will make a big difference right away. I think they're going to ease him into the lineup very slowly.
I'm the best rookie QB since... well, I can't think of a better rookie, am I right?
Dan Marino, but that was before you were born.
I'm guessing that the Bucs stack 10 in the box and dare the Vikings to throw all game haha. But in all seriousness, how effective do you think the Bucs running game will be against this Vikings D?
Going to be tough. If Askew plays, that will help a lot.
When I look through the list of inactives for the week I usually see Matt Moores name. But when the games come on hes usually dressed and runs out with the team. Whats up with that? can inactives dress for the heck of it? Also I would like to say I'm sorry to all the Atlanta fans for underestamating Matt Ryan and the team period. Cant wait until next week it should be fun!
Moore is listed as the inactive 3rd QB. Unlike the other inactives, the third QB can dress. If he enters the game before the fourth quarter, the other two QBs can't return to the game.
Do you think Matt Ryan has a legit chance to get to the Pro Bowl?
He's got a shot. Warner, Brees and E. Manning are probably ahead of him right now, but that's about it.
Do you think the Falcons secondary, especially D. Foxworth can shut down B. Marshall and E. Royal like they did to the 'Aints last week?
They did a great job last week, so anything's possible. Some pressure up front would help a lot.
What do you expect Monte Kiffin to do against AP and the AP oriented Viking offense? Lots of Corner and Saftey blitzes?
Put 8 or 9 in the box all day long.
Your Thoughts on the Falcons Panthers Rivalry game being moved to 4:30? And How big do you think this rivalry will rank in a year or two?
Great for both teams. NFL has long wanted this to be a big rivalry. Hasn't worked out that way for various reasons, but now it has the potential to be a very good rivalry.
Hi Pat, Nice article on Antonio Bryant, sounds like he's in a good place mentally and physically.That's great news for him and the Bucs....Any word on Alex Smith, go or no go for Sunday?
Thanks. He was a fun guy to talk to and it does seem like he's got things together now. Check the blog after 4 for an injury update on Smith, but it hasn't looked too promising.
Pat, what can the Saints do going forward regarding their DL? A ton of $ and 1st round picks (Grant, Smith, Ellis) and yet they generate zero pass rush.
Probably draft some more DLs. It's puzzling because the guys they have are talented, but don't produce consistently. I thought the new DL coach would help, but it hasn't.
What have you thought of Chevis Jackson so far? The knock on him coming out was his speed.
He looked fast enough running for a TD last week. Coaches like him and think he's got a good future.
Do you think the Panthers see Matt Moore as their QB of the future of will they draft one soon? Also, I know Fox will never take away Delhomme's starter status, but how long do you think he has left?
I think it's a big stretch to expect Matt Moore to be the guy. You could see them draft somebody. Although they really like McCown. He could end up being the guy.
I know you've alreay discussed all four teams defenses, but which team do you think has the overall best D in the long run?
Toss up between Tampa Bay and Carolina.
Any word if Graham will be playing Sunday? If not, can Dunn give us an effective running game?
Check the blog after 4 p.m. for injury update. But Graham did practice yesterday, so that's encouraging.
What is the status of Reggie Bush, and will the Saints even need him sunday?
I think you'll see him Sunday, but probably limited somewhat.
What's the scoop on Kalil. Guy hasn't played in over month.
Looks like he'll be out again this week. Get used to Geoff Hangartner at center.
What happened to Carolina? They choked big time and still came up on top of Oakland... Same vs Detroit?
No, I think they got their "flat" game out of their system and will bounce back.
Pat, Jake Delhomme's performance against Oakland has me worried. He's such a competitive guy, but I'm wondering if that competitiveness might have him hiding some new trouble with that surgically repaired elbow. He was floating almost every throw Sunday like his arm was giving him trouble. He's had zip all year, but not against the Raiders. Do you think he might be hurt and hiding it?
Give him one more game before you get too concearned. If he looks like that again, then start worrying.
Will Cadillac Williams make a difference this season for the Bucs?
Not right away. But maybe down the stretch.
Do you think Jon Beason will make the pro bowl this year? Also do you think he should be considered for defensive player of the year since he leads a defence that ranks 2nd in the league??
Pro Bowl, yes. Defensive MVP might be tough.
What is up with Jeremy Shockey? Will his stay in NO be cut short after his spat with Brees last Sunday?
My guess is one season and gone.
What do you think of Tanard Jackson and Charles Godfrey? They are virtually the same player, both smart, good tackling college CBs who have become very good FSs. Will their success lead more teams to look for similar prospects?
Very good point. They are very similar. Yeah, I think more teams will start looking that way.
How worried should the Saints be of LJ, Thigpen and the suddenly dangerous Chiefs offense?
With the Saints' defense, they should worry about any offense.
Pat, Glad to see the NFC South getting some national recognition with the changed start time of the Panthers and Falcons next Sunday. With it being nationally televised do you think it will live up to expectations?
Yeah, I think it will be a very good game. Similar styles of play. Should be very interesting. Looking forward to covering that game.
Matt Ryan or Jay Cutler, who would you take for the next ten years?
I'd take Ryan.
Which is the biggest and largest team in the NFC South as far as market size goes? And where do they rank in the entire NFL?
Atlanta's the biggest market. Tampa's around 15th in national tv markets. Charlotte's in the low 20s, I think. Not sure on New Orleans, but it's probably around 30 in terms of tv market. Lot of people make the mistake of thinking NFC South is all small markets, but it's not. As far as revenue, Carolina ranks in the upper half of the NFL consistently. With the Falcons playing well, that really boosts the whole division because Atlanta's a huge market.
Pat, Kalil has been hampered by that ankle injury most of the season. Do you think this is a bump in the road or is his career as the Panthers starting center in trouble?
You have to at least worry about that. He is a bit undersized.
What are the odds that Thigpen sets multiple career highs on Sunday?
Very possible. But then again, I don't think the bar is set too high.
Who is the most balanced team in the Nfc South and do you think the panthers have a realistic shot to be the number one seed in the NFC??
Panthers are most balanced, but Tampa and Atlanta have their good parts as well. Somebody's going to have to knock of the Giants a couple times for that No. 1 seed to be open.
Did Steve Smith show any sort of anger that he didn't have a good day at all last Sunday?
He always shows anger. That's what makes him so good.
Pressuring the QB has been an issue all year for the Falcons with Abraham being the only consistent rusher. Which positions will need an upgrade in the offseason?
The other DE spot.
Am I proving that Vick was overrated all along due to Jenkins and White actually being good this year?
I think you could say that.
Thanks for the Chat Pat, great job this year covering the NFC South! Will the Bucs O-line be able to protect Garcia enough? Will Clayton show up Sunday?
Bucs have done a decent job protecting him most of the year. Look for quick drops, so they don't leave him hanging out there. As for Clayton, I think he's looked all right recently.
I think the TB ATL game should be on NBC on Dec 14, dont you? The MNF game against carolina the week before will be a pivitol game! Why not? When does NBC decide?
Believe they have to make the decision two weeks in advance.
What gives with golic picking against the falcons every week? He's getting as bad as greenies' picks on baseball.Also, who has the easiest and toughest schedule remaining in this division?
Can't' speak for him. Carolina's got the toughest sked and Tampa Bay the easiest.
Wow, Pat, you've been telling us Falcons fans to be patient on Anderson, but now you say we will need to upgrade the other DE position in the offseason...What has changed your mind?
We're 10 weeks into it and I haven't seen much progress.
What's going to happen to Brent Grimes since Foxworth is paying off? Will we see Thomas DeCoud this season?
Grimes has been a little banged up. They still like him. Not a bad thing to have three decent CBs.
When Vick gets out of prison, if he were willing to switch to WR, and take a hefty pay cut, do you think the Falcons would consider keeping him and using him in a "Wildcat" type of package?
Absolutely not. No way Falcons would take him back.
I told coach Fox he didn't need to draft a RB with the 13th pick.
Stay healthy the rest of the season and keep doing what you're doing. Then, you've got a point.
So Pat, are you now saying that Jammal Anderson is on the verge of being a bust?
I don't think that's much of a stretch.
Do you think that the winner of the Carolina/Atlanta game next week will win the division?
No, I say the winner of Carolina/Tampa Bay Monday night game in December will win it.
Resigning JPeppers is a must. What are your thoughts on Gross. He will get a huge deal, but I think he is an average, at best, LT.
Yeah, but average or above-average LTs are hard to come by.
I see Vick's lawyer thinks he'll be back in the NFL upon release...Is he for real??
Yeah, but he still could have to serve an NFL suspension.
So, you don't think Atlanta will beat out Carolina and Tampa for the Division? Why not?
Anything's possible, but I'm just going the safe route.
Baker is shaping up to be an injury magnet eary, will he be back soon and is he an improvement over Weiner/Gandy?
When he's healthy he's way better than those two guys.I think you'll see him back by December.
How many divisions in the NFL are better than the NFC south?
Maybe one -- NFC East.
Vick is still on the Falcons roster and takes up salary cap room. When/If he is reinstated to the NFL, he belongs to the Falcons. Do they cut him? Or will there be some trade value left in him?
They cut him instantly.
Vick fans get over it!!! He will never be a Falcon!!
I am BY FAR the most underrated player in the NFL, give me some props Pat!
There are your props. Hit the AFC West chat. I think it's on Thursdays.
I didn't understand the Stewart pick either. Regardless of how good he turns out to be, it will be a wasted pick considering quality complimentary backs can be drafted in the 3rd and 4th rounds. Heck, they could have had Torrian or Hightower in the 5th.
Yeah, but Fox wanted to make sure he had some depth at that position. He couldn't have known for sure if D. Williams would hold up and he didn't want to get into the situation he had a few years ago where Goings ended up as the feature back.
Is it too early to pronounce the South Better than the East? No is better right now than Dallas, and the other six teams match up quite well... What do u think?
It's at least an argument. But I've still got to go with the NFC East.
Do you think if Marshall doesn't eventually get a starting gig he'll want to leave when his contract runs out? He can't be happy being the best nickel back in the country.
Yes, that's something he's talked about. Being a starter is important to him and someone would pay him.
Brooking looks as though he's slowing in Atlanta. For example Philly constantly attacked him with runs and passes to the TEs and the RBs. Do you think the Falcons will use a high draft pick (1st or 2nd round) to try and find a replacement, or is Nicolas just waiting in the wings?
They've got two young LBs who are studs. Don't see them using an early pick on an LB.
Can someone remind Steven in A-ville that the Falcons have yet to win a division game yet!
Actually, they beat the Saints on Sunday.
Should Sean Payton give up play calling duties? He is beginning to look like a one year wonder.
Good point. I think Payton will have to shake up his staff of assistants after the season.
If Vick is taking up salary cap space (which I wasn't aware of) wouldn't it be prudent to cut him this offseason? He had a huge number, and I don't see how they could sign free agents (or extend Roddy White) with that number on there. They aren't going to get any money out of Vick anyway, have you seen his bankruptcy papers?
They can't cut him until he's reinstated by the NFL.
what's with Jake's horrible throws and trying to force the ball to smitty, and also what's with the the offense looking lost when they've faced tough Ds like Tampa, Minny and even Oakland...You think that'd be an issue on the play-offs?
As I said before, give him another week. Might have just been a bad game.
Come on the saints don't count! I meant a NFC south team with a winning record.
What did you think of Gruden giving the players a true week off during the bye? His resting of players pre playoffs backfired last year...
Different situation. I think the time off was really needed right now.
Pat, that doesn't answer the question then - if they can't cut him, why is he eating salary cap space? Doesn't seem fair that the Falcons have to compete with less space because Vick enjoyed killing dogs..
Diggs isn't a big play guy, but very consistent and balanced. Is it his good play from him or weak play from Landon Johnson that has him starting?
Little bit of both.
How many wins to get the wildcard? Guessing - Atl, Tamp, Wash, Dal, Chi, Minn. 6 teams fighting for 2? Thanks, Pat
Considering the boost Rhys Lloyd has given Carolina's special teams, do you think other teams will copy them and pick up a kick-off specialist?
Some may, but it's tough to sacrifice a roster spot.
Will Atlanta use a high pick (1-3) to add some depth to their WR core?
Possible, but they still think Laurent Robinson has the potential to develop into something.
What record will it take to: 1) Win the division 2) Take a wilcard place
11 or 12 to win it, 10 for a wild card.
Diggs and Landon are stop-gap guys. I will make the trasition to OLB next year and give the Panther's the NFC's best set of LBs.
I'm with you Dan, but only because you played for Penn State.
Pat, Do you think that the Atlanta Falcons are arguably the most improving team week after week? I mean it seems that their defense gets better and better and their offense as well.
Yes, definitely can make that case. I think the D really has improved tremendously.
Any chance all the favorable press is going to have the Falcons believing their press clippings? Mike Smith and Matt Ryan seem pretty grounded, but I'm concerned about falling into a trap with Denver.
Doubt it. Like you said, Smith and Ryan are pretty grounded and they set the tone for that team.
Pat, Did you get a chance to hear Gruden crying about how much losing Stovall hurts the team? It hurts special teams, but I really don't think his 3 receptions are going to be missed. Is there any hope that Gruden takes the Tennessee job?
I don't think Gruden's going anywhere.
Pat, what players would you choose for each of the 4 teams as defensive suprises so far this season?
Carolina -- Charles Godfrey. Tampa Bay -- Kevin Carter, just how well he's playing this late in his career. Atlanta -- take your pick, Chris Houston, Erik Coleman, Curtis Lofton. Saints -- can't think of a real positive surprise on this D.
Pat, how about those Hawkeyes.
Thanks for the reminder.
Do you think Tampa needs to draft a Franchise QB or can they get by on using veterans for a couple of years and do you think they will draft a QB.
Do I think they need to draft one? Yes. Do I think Gruden will do it? No. He'll just bring in another question.
would you say WR is carolinas weakest position? And what positions do carolina need to adress in the draft the most?
Not weak with the first two guys, but yes they could use some depth. As far as draft, wait and see what happens as far as keeping their own free agents.
Given your previous answer, I guess you think the Saints won't try to hard to resign Vilma.
Not saying that. Vilma's been solid. But I don't think you can say he's been a surprise.
That is the one thing that I think the bucs are missing. I think with a franchise qb they would have a true leader to take them to the superbowl the last few years have been fill ins..
Problem is, you kind of have to take a step back when you draft a rookie QB. Bucs aren't in a position to do that.
Pat, thanks for answering my mailbag question. About the NFC South in general: a lot of guys were 'caught' with a diuretic...any off the press word on when those cases might happen? We're getting down to only a few weeks left to play and presumably 4-week suspsensions. Do suspensions carry over to playoffs, by the way?
I believe it's tied up with legal issues. Tell you the truth, I'm not sure if a suspension can carry into playoffs. I don't think so. Anybody got a definitive answer?
The Bucs drafted a rookie QB this season. Josh Johnson
Yeah, but we're talking franchise QBs. Johnson doesn't qualify for that.
Why does gruden refuse to marry a qb? Surprised he didn't bring in Culpepper for a week or two... heck, maybe he's waiting for tim tebow, who lives in the florida area... good fit?
No, lot of scouts tell me Tebow's a middle-round guy at best. In fact, I know one team that thinks his future is at tight end.
I believe the surprise for the Saints' Defense would have been Tracy Porter had he not been lost for the season.
Yep, I'll give you that one. I was really impressed with him in the opener.
What does the NFL "grapevine" think of Sean Payton's coaching?
About the same as the fans in NOLA think these days. There's a school of thought he might have been just a good coordinator and not ready for anything more.
Will Charles Johnson be the Panthers starting LDE in 2009? He's got 4.5 sacks in limited action and is solid against the run.
Yes, Tyler Brayton is just a short-term answer.
How many Buccs are Honolulu bound? Joseph and TJack?
How 'bout Bryant? Just a thought.
Ya I wasn't impressed with Tebow's play either. To be honest what good QBs are coming out of the draft next year?
Knock on him by the scouts is that he just doesn't throw the ball well enough.
What do you think the Panthers' record will be at the end of the season?
11 or 12 wins. Couple more questions before I have to run.
I think all these people downing Stewart will be eating their words in a few years. I think he has a bright future in this league and hopefully with the Panthers! Your thoughts on that Pat?
I sure wouldn't give up on him yet. He's looked good at times. DeAngelo's having a nice year, but I'm not sure he's a long-term guy in their system.
I think the Buccaneers have the advantage over the Panthers as far as their remaining schedule. After this week, it gets pretty brutal for the Panthers. Will the Monday night matchup between these teams ultimately decide the division?
Yes, I think the MNF game will probably decide it. Agree with you on the scheduling observation.
You really think Tanard Jackson deserves to go to the pro-bowl?
He's close. Right on the border, but could be a year away.
Where should ATL go in the draft? I know DE, but their line is already good.... line backers are good, qb good, rb good, young talent at Wr... what's the glaring weakness?
All right, I've got to run. Thanks very much for coming by. Enjoyed it.