Should Matt Ryan Get a raise for makeing it to the Playoffs in his first year? Will Mike Smith Win the Coach Of the Year? Can the Falcons Win In the Playoffs?
Matt Ryan makes enough money! Smith is COY in my eyes. Yes, Falcons can win in the playoffs. Like to see them go into Arizona.
Since the '02 Championship season, the Bucs have finished better than 18th in total offense once and hold a reg. season record of 45-50, awaiting the outcome of the Oakland game, and 0-2 in the playoffs. How hot is Jon "Offensive Guru" Grudens' seat?
I think it's suddenly gotten warmer. He's probably safe, but I think it's going to be a busy offseason for the Bucs.
Pat, first let me say that I am a HUGE fan of your blog. It has been nice this year having someone concentrate just on our division and give us opinions and feedback from a professional, more national outlook than the local media. Now, onto my question.... I am probably going to be bringing a less than popular opinion but please do not mistake my opinion as being negative because it revolves around a LONG TERM plan for my beloved Falcons. I hope that we do not win the division and that we go to Arizona and play in the wild card weekend. Why, you ask? Because I think we can walk into AZ and literally crucify the Cardinals....then come back to Charlotte and play a hard fought game against a truly better opponent in their back yard and either we lose a close game but go home with our heads held high as winners having won our first playoff game in a long time OR we actually are able to ride that playoff win high to go into Charlotte and actually come out with a win. My fear is that the Panthers will go to Arizona, crucify the cardinals while we sit at home and watch it on TV and then have them come to Atlanta and destroy us in our first play off game in our own home. I feel like for such a great season it would just get over shadowed that we lost in the first playoff game we were in. Does that make me a bad fan? --T
This is in answer to you and Ross from Georgia, who sent a similar question. Going into Arizona would be interesting and might be the best route to keep building momentum. Truly believe Falcons could win in Arizona.
Hey Pat, Great Blog!! It keeps me going all day at work. Die hard Falcons fan here with a question or two, any news on what the potential status of michael boley is? he seems to have fallen from the coaches graces recently. and what do you see atlantas offseason needs being or possible big time signings?
Boley's fallen out of grace. Think you might see him walk. Could see two new OLBs next year.
Hey Pat, Happy Holidays. Any indication of other coaches in the NFC South heading for greener pastures? I would think that some of the coaches in Carolina and Atlanta in particular are warranting attention from suitors...
Think you'll hear Mularkey's name surface before too long.
Pat, what do you think will happen with Jordan Gross and Julius Peppers at the end of the season? Will either of them be back for the Panthers next season?
Panthers think they can keep both. My guess: They re-sign Gross and franchise Peppers.
Pat, do you think Aqib will be the starter at corner next year? Phillip Buchanon has never been that impressive. He reminds me of Juran Bolden. If we don't sign Jermaine Phillips, I am very worried about our defensive back situation.
Think Talib and Buchanon will be your starters. Barber might be through.
Theres alot of talk about how the panthers got killed and whats wrong with the D and the sky is falling on the panthers.. Even though they gave up so many yards on the ground do you think the next time (if there is one) it will be different?? the panthers had there chances even with all the rushing yards. Like you said and everyone else in the football world said why the heck didnt throw the ball to smith in the second half. But they still should have won.
The sky's not falling. They lost to a good team in a tough environment by three points in overtime. Yes, the defense had it's problems. Not saying Kemo's anything special. But if he was in there, there's no way Giants rush for 300.
Did you expect more from Jerious Norwood this year?
Yes, but it didn't happen.
Say Tampa slips into the playoffs how well do you think they would fare playing on the road, even though they would most likely play Minnesota or Chicago two teams we already beat.
It would be tough. Bucs are banged up and don't have a lot of momentum behind them right now.
Why is that we keep playing Chicago in Chicago instead of playing at our home? After picking up tracy porter which in my opinion he has played really good and us rebuidling the defense what do you think our chances are next year? And do you think deuce will be back next year?
Porter was off to a nice start before the injury. Getting him back will be a big help and they'll do a lot more on D over the offseason. No, I don't think you'll see Deuce back.
Will Antonio Bryant be a Buc next year?
Yes, I think they'll make a big push to keep him before he can test free agency.
Should they sit Kemo and Lewis on Sunday, make sure they are both healthy for the playoffs?
Can't afford to sit them if they're healthy. But they may not be healthy enough to play.
Hey Pat - thanks for doing what you do! Given how the G-Men gashed the Panthers late on Sunday, do you see the Saints trying to do something similar to get a win, or do they try and get Brees the record at all costs?
Don't think the Saints have the running game to do anything close to what the Giants did.
Do you believe that Arthur Blank and Dimitroff will give Mike Mularkey a big contract to keep him from going anywhere else? I have read that Mularkey is not interested in another head coaching position.
I think Mularkey can afford to be selective and from his past experience will only go somewhere if it's a good situation.
Do you think Brees will break Marino's record sunday?
No, he'll come up a little short. Don't think he can get 400 on Carolina's defense.
Will Atlanta sit anyone Sunday knowing they have a playoff spot? Or will they go all out hoping to win and have Carolina lose and take the south? I believe they should let Turner rest some and let Norwood and Snelling get more carries. I personally don't want Turner to hit 370 carries, and he is darn close.
They've got to go all out with a shot at the No. 2 seed.
Pat, do you think Gaines Adams is a bust or is his lack of sacks more a function of the people around him?
Too early to call him a bust. There's talent there and he had some flashes this year. Yes, he's got tons of room to improve, but you've got to give him another season before you call him a bust.
Hey Pat, I grew up in Tampa Bay and have always loved the Buccs. Do you feel that the defensive melt-down came when the team found out it was losing Kiffin? It just seems that a lot of the veterans stopped playing as hard (Brooks, Barber, etc) once he decided he was leaving...and with that said, do you think Morris will be able to bring the unit back together or do you think the defense will fall further down the stat sheets next year. Thanks and happy holidays!
I really don't think the Kiffin thing factored into it. I think it was more age and injuries catching up to the defense.
So Pat, level with us, are you pulling for the Panthers to win the NFCS on Sunday or the Falcons to continue the worst to first NFCS "tradition" that started in 2003?
No, don't pull for anybody. It's my job to be unbiased. But it will be interesting to see how Sunday sorts out.
do you think kasay would have made the game winning FG against the Giants if steve smith hadn't got called for the holding penalty? if so, does he not deserve a bit more negative press instead of everyone saying the reason we lost was because we didn't throw to him...
That's a valid point. It was a bad penalty and it added at least a few yards to Kasay's kick.
With the NFC South teams being so strong at home this year, Drew Brees going for Dan Marino's record, and the worst to first tradition in the division, what do you feel the odds of the Falcons winning the division are right now? Also, why is it that Michael Turner is not getting any recognition for MVP? I know Matt Ryan has been talked about for it and I believe he deserves some talk, but shouldn't Turner also be considered? After all, he has taken a lot of pressure of Matt Ryan to make every play. Thanks.
I've seen Turner's name mentioned in MVP talk quite a bit. And I think he at least belongs in the conversation.
Is the Bucs late season collapse going to put Jon Gruden on the hot seat this offseason? Will Bruce Allen actually spend some money on free agents or will he close the wallet like he did last offseason?
I think you'll see a huge spending spree by the Bucs. Fans and ownership aren't happy with how this season played out. They've got to shake things up.
Long time Falcons season ticket holder section 134. Impressed with the birds this season. optimistically thought 8 wins would be a great achievement. Anyway do you believe that Atlanta can compete on the road either at Carolina or at New York; win; and legitimately have a shot this year at another Superbowl appearance. Hate to see this season come to an end. Thanks in advance for your reply!
It'll be tough. But I've learned that anything is possible for the Falcons this year.
which game are you at this weekend??
I've got St. Louis at Atlanta, but will be watching all the NFC South games at once in the press box.
Pat, If Atlanta and Carolina meet again, does home field sway the favorite or do you think Atlanta is a more complete team than the first time the two teams met?
All I know for sure is that home field has meant an awful lot in the NFC South this year.
Do you think Brees is going to get close to the record over a good carolina secondary? Why didnt Brees get the start for the pro bowl I mean have you seen Kurt Warner's play lately, its terrible?
Don't think he'll be able to hang 400 on Carolina secondary. But I agree he should be Pro Bowl starter.
I know that no one in Atlanta wants to talk about Vick (including me), but I would like to know what we will do with him once he is out and the commissioner lets him play again. I know we are not keeping him, but since he will still be under contract, will we trade him? Maybe get some draft picks or a free agent? Or will be release him, and wash our hands of all the negative press that comes along with him?
Probably have to just release him. Don't think there's much trade value there.
Will the Falcons keep Brian Finneran? He's the biggest target Ryan has and is great on third down conversions, but he is getting older and has been plagued with injuries the past 3 seasons. I'm thinking Harry Douglas gets a lot more playing time on offense next year, will that hurt Finneran?
Yes, but Finneran's got value as a special teams guy and could hang around as a No. 4 receiver.
Huge Bucs from here in Jersey. How awesome if we brought Donovan Mcnabb & Mike Martz to TB and finally had an offense to be reckoned with?!?!?1
You might see McNabb. But I don't see Gruden giving up control of offense and bringing in Martz.
So the Saints D has actually been playing fairly well as of lately, and this is with a lot of starters out (McKenzie, Porter, Grant, etc.) And I pointed out in one of your last blogs about the definite need of a ball hawk at free safety. I wish we could have a Tom Myers again in the backfield. But it always seems when the D plays well, the offense lacks. But my question is of the offense. Who would you rather lose in free agency? Lance Moore, Robert Meachem, or Henderson? I don't think they have given Meachem enough playing time because everytime he has been on the field this year he either racks up a ton of yards on a few catches, or scores a touchdown. I can't wait to see what a healthy Saints team can do next year. If you look at all the other teams with as many people on IR as us, they are bottom feeders of the NFL.
No doubt you need a ball hawk on defense. Getting Porter back will be a big help. I think Lance Moore and Meachem will stick around. Like to see them get some more depth on defense and another RB.
Pat, In the playoffs, do you believe that Dome teams can't play outside in cold weather or is it more of the home field advantage that is really the factor? Also stop across the street Sunday at the State Farm Parking Lot for a vodka and oj and some pork loin
More just the home-field advantage. Wish I could join you for the party, but I'll be working. Might have to settle for straight oj.
What do you think the Panthers do with Mark Jones next season?? With Robison coming back do you think they cut him?? or put Robison at WR and keep Jones as a KR?
I'd keep Jones. He's been pretty consistent. Let Robinson work at WR and if Jones gets injured or struggles, you've got an option.
With our running back situation, Pierre Thomas has really come into his own and Reggie which even though his knee is banged up is getting a little bit better every year and now we got Mike Bell. And i know he didnt do anything this season but at the Detroit game he had some pretty good runs especially that one run where he knocked bullocks back for the first down. Will they use him as a deuce for the power runs for those short situations or will they get rid of Bell and get maybe another back in the draft?
I think Bell will go and you'll get another back in free agency or the draft.
Why is Jamaal Anderson continuing to start and play when he is not producing. What do you think his status is for next year?
He'll still be around next year. But they'll bring in someone to compete with him. There's talent there and they're hoping the light goes on. But time is running out.
So Pat if the tradition holds true in the NFC South next season. All the other teams need to be concerned about the Saints as the worst record holder in the South this season. What positions do the Saints concentrate on in the off season?
FS, CB, LB, d-line and RB.
So Pat, have you happened to glance at next years schedule? I know we haven't even started the playoffs yet, but I don't think it's too early to talk about. The NFC South has to play the AFC East and NFC East, along with divisional play and a couple of random games. Next year will be a true test of whether or not this is the best division in the NFL.
Yes, it will. But I think the South can at least compete with those teams.
After years of watching the great defenses of the NFC, where does the building of a good defense begin.
Was about to say up front. But I've actually got to say you need a stud LB. Best example is Brooks in Tampa Bay's turnaround in the mid 90s. Yeah, there was help up front (Sapp), but Brooks was the single most important guy in making that defense so good for so long.
Big Panthers fan. I'm skipping past the remainder of the season (no suspense until our rematch at the Meadowlands) and on to the draft. My Holiday wish for the Panthers is to get Peria Jerry (DT Ole Miss rd 2), Brian Robiskie (WR OSU rd 3), and Fenuki Tupou (OG/OT Oregon rd 4). Thoughs on their chances of making this haul?
Can't say I'm fully up to speed on draf prospects and where they rank yet. But I like the positions you're looking at and think they would fill needs.
Ok Pat, So Falcons turn it around this season . What play or plays during the season do you think was a key defining moment (s) on the field of play, made the falcon players truely believe?
Think you could probably start with Matt Ryan's very first pass. And the 11-second game, too.
Do you think the Bucs will make the playoffs?
It's not looking too good right now. But it's still possible.
What do you think of Curtis Loftons chances for defensive ROY?
He's at least in the mix. He's had a very solid season on a defense that's better than people give it credit for.
Love u pat! Do you think the nfcs will be the best division next yr or will it be some1 else? Afc west maybe? Lol
Think you can probably rule out AFC West and NFC West already.
Any chance Charles Godfrey wins defensive rookie of the year?
Probably a long shot. He had a nice season. But, just from the NFC South, my vote would go to Curtis Lofton.
Its probably a good thing the Panthers didnt get the #1 seed. If the cowboys make it that would be a tough divisional game.. Do you think they will sit Kemo and Lewis for New Orleans?? I think they should because all New Orleans going to do is throw the football.
Gotta play Kemo if he's close to healthy. Too much at stake. But I'd limit his snaps and pull him if they get a big lead.
Any word that the Falcons are looking to give Roddy an extension? I was hoping they might lock him up this year (one year before free agency, and he's still on a 500K rookie deal) and get somewhat of a discount in the process.
I believe the Falcons will try to lock up Roddy. That would be the smart move and Dimitroff has been making all smart moves so far.
how much time has jamaal anderson got left in atlanta?
They bring him to camp next year and hope the light comes on. But they'll also bring in a guy or two to push him or to take his job if the light doesn't come on. They're not ready to completely write him off yet because there is physical talent there.
What do you think about Matt Ryan and Michael Turners Christmas gifts to the o-line? Good idea? Bad? I know Troy Aikmen used to do the same, seemed to work out good for them.
What did they get the o-line? I didn't happen to see. But they definitely should reward them because they've done a great job.
Pat, any word on a hidden injury for Roddy? He was limping all game against the Bucs after that 20-yarder in the first quarter and had little but the OT catch after that. Then he was almost a ghost of himself in MIN. Just a bad two games or is he nursing something?
Haven't heard anything on him being hurt. But he could be a little worn down this time of year.
Will Dunn be back next year? Also, will the Bucs go after a speed back in free agency or the draft?
I think they'll go after a speed back in free agency or the draft. Dunn could come back as a role player, but I don't think his role will be that big.
Ryan and Turner went in together and bought them all flat panel televisions. Thought it was pretty cool. Saw it on a locker room interview with Matt Ryan yesterday.
Cool. Well deserved. That line really played over its head this year and Ryan and Turner's success is largely because of those guys.
I know things have quieted down on the StarCaps front, but any additional information on the Grady Jackson situation? He was being treated differently anyhow, so I was curious if that--because it wasn't subject to a court injunction--was moving forward and might affect the playoffs.
It's been very quiet on that. My hunch on that -- and this is only a hunch -- is that if there's any punishment for Grady, it won't come until next season.
QUESTION TO PAT YASSINSKAS AT 1.55 PM HI PAT GIANTS OR VIKINGS
Hey Pat, Hate to say this but Jamaal Anderson is the biggest flop for the falcons especially considering we drafted him 8th in the first round. Why do teams stay with whats not working (like him opposite of #55) versus benching him and looking at other teams practice squads. Any trade value in him in the off season? Whats his problem besides lack of effort?
Don't think there'd be much trade value at all. Think they'll bring him back to training camp and try to light a fire under him with some competition.
steve smith or roddy white?
Hmmm, tough one. For one game, Smith. For the long term, White.
Do you think Gibbs is gone after this year? If so who do think would be a good fit?
My guess is Payton tries to keep him and write this year off to injuries. But there might be pressure from above to make Gibbs the scapegoat for this season.
Hey, it's me again. Why is it that Gruden is so fascinated with the horizontal passing game(with the exception of 89)? Does he not release a qb throwing for 150 yards every week is not how you win championships?! Or am I just being a couch coach?
I'm with you on that. It's painful to watch and offense that just goes side to side. Gruden blames it on what he's got to work with. But he's been there long enough that his team should be able to play the way he wants.
how many years has john abraham got left in him?
If they keep using him like they have this year, he could go another three years perhaps.
Thanks for taking all the Falcons questions. I have a suggestion to pass along to the ESPN research crew (I would say guys, but I noticed there have been some women researchers, too in the blog notes): Turner's nearly a lock for the mythical "370 carries" barrier this season. I did some poking around myself, and it appears that many of the guys who supposedly had giant falloffs the following year had monster years the year they broke 370, so they were due for regression to the mean. There were also about 2/3 of them who had 20-70 additional carries in the playoffs...but this also occurred for guys with less tahn 370 carries, who then broke it in the playoffs. Can you turn the researchers loose on this topic and get us some info? I'd love to see Turner be more like Emmitt or Edge and have many good seasons after a big-carry one, rather than another Jamal Anderson.
I will get them on it. Thanks for the suggestion.
Pat; Jake Delhomme or Matt Ryan?
One game: Delhomme. Long term: Ryan.
I think the top three draft position needs for the Falcons are Safety, Linebacker, and D-Line. What do you think?
Yeah, I'll go with you on that. But I'll also throw in a pass-catching TE, too.
is abe's lack of playing time the reason why lesser DEs got in the pro bowl ahead of him?
Yes, unfortunately. But I still think he gets into the Pro Bowl as a "need" player.
Who is better suited to make a run in the playoffs, Atlanta or Carolina?
Let's see who has home-field advantage.
Hey maybe the saints will have the same success they did in 2006 cause we have to play both the NFC East and AFC east. Both divisions we played then. Whats your outlook on that?
Well, the Saints will have history on their side because teams at the bottom of the NFC South usually bounce back big time. They've got some offseason work to do, but they also have a lot of talent already in place.
Should the Bucs have any "cap casualties" this offseason?
They don't need to have any because they've got lots of room. But I think you can see the handwriting on the wall for some of the older guys, like Galloway.
If the panthers extended D-will's contract wouldnt that open up cap room? If so wouldnt that be a good move...I just dont want to see williams leave...How can AP also be talked as MVP but D-Will isnt...Turner and Peterson have less yds per carry...less td's(totoal and rushing)...and more fumbles...Williams is also the only HB in top 10 rushing yds with 0 fumbles...Shouldnt he be the first HB talked about for mvp? and why isnt he being talked about...
I think he is getting some talk now. Kind of came on late in the year compared to some of the others and some of the others have fallen off. But he belongs in the conversation now. Good thing is the voting isn't until after the season, so I think the rising buzz about him will get him some votes.
Hard for Jake to win that one game Pat with John Abraham laying on top of him
pat what are the panthers are disrespect by the media??sure we lost to the giants.But as a panthers fan i know that if they meet agian the panthers will beat the Giants
Not sure what media you mean. But I still respect them plenty. They lost to a very good team on the road in overtime by three points. Even in losing, they showed they can play with anyone. And they had a chance to win that game.
More of a curiosity, but: does ESPN give you formal guidelines on the blog? Numbers of posts, ideal topics, etc? Or do you let it rip and hope it gets page hits?
Pretty much let it rip and base it on what's going on around the division.
Pat, which NFC South QB do you want running your 2 min drill?
For the moment, Brees. In a year or two, Ryan.
Do you think Brooking is gone after this season? Or do you think we keep him around as a backup and some veteran leadership?
Might be up to him. If he's willing to stick around in a backup role, they'd probably keep him.
are smith/dimitroff still concerned about the process or are they ready to go all out this and next season. It seems to me the D is still a bit smoke and mirrors not legit at all (apart from 55)
Think part of the process will be to upgrade talent on defense. Think they knew that already and were able to get by better than expected this year. Not saying they'll go out and sign Haynesworth, but I think they'll be active in getting more help for the D.
Who would you rather have in a crucial third down play at DE; John Abraham or Julius Peppers?
Pat, what do you think about John Fox's conservative style of play, it seems to really hurt the panthers if they get an early lead, and then Fox goes ultra-conservative and we stop scoring.
There's good and bad in that. It comes with the territory with Fox and, overall, his style works. But it is frustrating (and boring) at times to see him be so conservative. All right, I'm past my 2 p.m. cutoff time. Got to run. Thanks for stopping by. Happy Holidays.
Pat u wanted to know what media...Chris Collingsworth(maybe spelled that wrong) has been putting us down all year...Now after the giants game he gave us some credit...But a lot of media does put the panthers down...On NFL on showtime they have said all year that all NFC east teams are better then all NFC South teams...They normally put the panthers down...
Last question. Well, that's their problem. Let's see what happens in the playoffs.