I want to say I am grateful for another year of Pat Yasinskas running the NFC South blog. It could be ran by someone who only gives quick links to other sites. And I am very excited about the Nfc South's regular season schedule. It is filled with what should be many great games and competitions.
Thank you. I'm grateful for it too and looking forward to the season. Personally, I think I've got the best division to cover. All right, let's get rolling on the chat.
Hola Pat! Keep up the excellent work man! One question, have you been to Bucs OTAs recently? If so, who looked very promising or very much improved?
I was out there yesterday, but it was hard to tell much because Raheem just ran them as punishment for the Talib incident. But a couple things that came up in talking to coaches and players -- Jermaine Phillips is doing well at OLB and Raheem said he's thrilled with four of the receivers. He wouldn't name which ones, but I think Sammie Stroughter has caught their eye.
Do you believe the Falcons will play last chance Jamaal Anderson more at DE or DT this year?
DE. But they'll move him inside in their sub-package, just like they did last year.
SI ranked Carolina 18 in their power rankings, NFL.com ranked them 16. Few are thinking they will do anything this year. Whenever that happenes, they play well.
Our power rankings are coming out Tuesday. I haven't seen the final results, but I can tell you I voted Carolina and Atlanta in the top 10.
With storer going out for the season does this mean that Earnest Graham will split time at FB with Askew?
Only in an emergency. I think they'll look for another FB. They want Graham and Ward as a 1-2 punch at RB.
How are the Bucs dealing with Barrett Ruud are they even negotiating at the moment or nothing will get done till training camp?
I'm pretty sure they're talking. My guess is they'll have it done before training camp. They need him and they've got the cap room to give him a deal.
Pat, please tell me Bates taught Adams new moves to rush the passer?
I think they're working on that every day. We'll see how it works out.
Pat keep up the great work! Which team do you think has the best defense in the NFC South?
Wow, as I think about it, that's a tough one. I'll say Carolina, although there are some questions on the DL, but their LBs and DBs are solid. Saints look good on paper, but we have to see them in reality. Bucs have a lot of changes and so do the Falcons. So right now, I think Carolina's the fair answer.
Is Kevin Carter Done in Tampa?
Yep, unless they have injuries.
how interested are the bucs in PLAX?
Supposedly, the call they made was just exploratory. But, if they're exploring it, I think there's at least reasonable interest.
What is going on with Cadillac?
Raheem said yesterday that he doesn't doubt Caddy will make it back for training camp. Caddy's said that's his goal and you can't really doubt him after the way he came back from last year's injury.
Any recent news about the Julius Peppers situation?
No, seems to be all quiet right now.
Hi Pat... What are your thoughts about Thomas Dimitroff? You have probably met more times than us, so it would be nice to hear your opinion..
Yes, got to spend some time with him during ATL's minicamp. Great guy. Very, very smart. Also, a pleasant, down-to-earth guy. Might have come from the Patriots, but he's much more social than the majority of folks in that organization.
What are your thoughts on the Talib incident is he a bad apple in the bunch? or is he just an intense player?
Gotta be worried about him and hope he grows from this quickly. But this is two incidents with teammates and that's not good.
Who do you think is going to start at QB for the Bucs' first preseason game?
I don't know what Cadillac's contract situation is, but would a trade of Sheldon Brown for Cadillac make sense? I think he would be a nice compliment to Westbrook and the Rookie.
Nice idea, but nobody's gonna trade for Caddy until he gets back on the field and shows he can play.
Pat, great work on the blog. Any news on some possible June 1st cuts in the NFC south?
June 1 isn't the big day it used to be. Rules have changed. They can cut guys before June 1, but designate them as June 1 cuts to spread the cap hit out over two years.
How interested are the Saints in Edge?
Moderately, I think. They say they're still evaluating it. Don't know that he wants a limited role. Also, they're looking for a short-yardage guy. I don't know that Edge really fits that profile.
Do you see Dexter Jackson making the bucs 53 man roster this year?
Gonna be a close call. He's going to need a really strong camp.
How's derrick ward this offseason
Everything I've heard, he's doing very well. He's in very good shape and working on learning the new offense.
Their have been reports that Beason has said that peppers will play for the panthers because it was never about the money.Any thoughts on that?
It never has been about money. Panthers offered him a huge contract last year and he turned it down. I'm not sure what Beason is talking about because I haven't seen that report. I'll take a look after we get done.
Hi Pat. Yesterday at practice, the Saints got very heated. The high power offense could barely move the ball against their new defense. With the new DC he has them doing all kinds of great things on defense. With that type of offense and if the defense makes some noise, do you think the Saints will be a real contender this up coming season
If the defense is for real, Saints should be very good. I've got a column on Saints defense over on the blog. It should be going up right about now. If it's not up yet, check back a bit later, but it was scheduled to go up at 1 p.m.
Pat great job covering the south...do you consider Kellen Winslow a leader when he cant even show up for OTA's?
He says he's taking care of personal business and Bucs say they're okay with it. But if I just got a big contract, am joining a new team and have a bit of a bad rep, I'm gonna make it a point to make sure I get in there with new teammates from Day One.
Nice work, Pat. Thanks. Saints question: Does Malcolm Jenkins make an impact this year?
Yep, you draft a guy at No. 14, you've gotta play him. At worst, he's the nickel guy. At best, he starts.
Pat, any news on Roy Miller's injury?
Raheem said it's minor and they're just being cautious.
Hey Pat. What are the chances of Elbert Mack overcoming Ronde Barber and being the #2 guy next to Talib?
Possible. Not sure they'll open the season that way, but I think it could happen as the season goes on.
Admit it... it makes you chuckle when someone says "the Saints new D-coordinator is doing great things" based on a May practice.
A little, but after the way the D played last year, I'm sure Saints fans are anxious to hear about what Williams is doing.
Hey Pat, what do you think Thomas Brown's impact will be this year? Special teams? Kick-off/punt returner, which he did well at in college at UGA? Some carries out of the back field?
Probably special teams. Has a chance to be No. 3 RB.
Do the bucs pick up any vet dts
Man, I hope so. I look at that as a real weak spot.
Big time Bucs fan here. Buress? i think the bucs will have their hands full with the attitudes of winslow and bryant, being in albany I'm in Giant territory and i cant see a player like him working out with Morris at the helm, especially after giving clayton that deal.. Would getting him help or hurt?
I'd stay clear of him for all the reasons you just said.
Do you think i will start at SS this year.
Yep, I do.
Pat who's the best defensive player in the NFC South? I like Beason, think he is the glue to the Panthers D.
I'd have to say Beason, too. Vilma and Ruud are up their, too. And John Abraham in a specialist kind of role.
Has Jermaine Phillips bulked up for WLB?
I don't see any noticable difference. But he already was almost the same weight as Brooks.
PY, with Bucs of old being removed from the sides of Ray Jay, who do you think will be the new faces of the stadium for this year?
Freeman, Ward, Graham, Ruud, Faine, Winslow, Talib.
Are you surprised Carolina did nothing to upgrade their WRs this offseason?
Not really. They didn't have cap room and they don't exactly have a bright history when they bring in free agent WRs. They better hope Jarrett's ready to step up.
No one seems to be talking about Angelo Crowell.. is he just flying under the radar or are his best days past him?
No, I think Crowell will be fine. He'll be solid on the strong side.
Seriously, how can Plax play football from prison?
How do you see the Vick playing out? Do the Falcons release him as soon as he is reinstated or they try to control where he lands and to get a draft pick, even if it is a late roudner?
They release him the MOMENT he's reinstated and just put an end to it all.
Early early prediction - ATL 1, NO 2, TB 3, CAR 4. What do you think?
You'll see my votes in the power rankings coming out Tuesday, but mine are significantly different than your's.
How do you think the defense will look this year? Years to come? Can this draft class be as good as last years?
To borrow a phrase from Mike Smith, it will be a "process". They're going to be very young on D. But they've got some good talent. I think they can become a very good defense in time.
Does Peppers have the worst agent in the NFL??? Not even one offer?
Can't argue on that one.
Would you agree that the key to the Saints D is Sedrick Ellis? Grant and W. Smith are both underacheivers... that's been established. But if Ellis develops, that whole line becomes much better which help the LBs and DBs. Btw, I don't think it happens... just throwin' it out there.
Yeah, Ellis is the key. I liked what I saw of him last year and he should keep getting better. He might help Smith and Grant. He definitely helps the LBs.
Being in Orlando, I loved the Summers for Bucs training camp at Disney. With it moving to One Buc, do you still see it being open to the public? There's a great opportunity to allow tours of the facility and get fans pumped for the new regime
Yes, it's going to be open to the public. All training camps are. I heard some of the plans yesterday and it sounds like it will be fan friendly.
Pat! Repeating my question i know u get alot...Do the Saints wear the gold jerseys?
Don't know. I'll try to check on it and will post something in the blog if I get an answer.
Hey Pat, Look fast question. With all the talent the saints have at WR, should they not try to make a deal with say the Giants or Chicago for one of thier big backs? those 2 teams really need help at WR. your take?
Not a bad idea. I like that better than signing Edge.
How weak is the DT position now that Bates new system doesn't require them to be premiere pass rushers just run stuffers?
Show me one guy on that line right now that's a good run stuffer? Roy Miller might grow into it, but I don't see anybody else.
Any word on Peria Jerry's knee injury?
Just a mild sprain. They held him out the final day of minicamp just as a precaution.
What would it take for them to can Fox and Hurney? Miss the playoffs this year? Losing season?
Losing season might do it. But let's not start that talk yet. They were 12-4 last season.
Are you ready to just say the Saints run away with thge south yet? we both know this man!
No, I won't say that just yet. They have the potential to be very good, but we'll see in September.
Pat, I know you said that Carolina and Atlanta were in your top ten for the power rankings, where do the Saints rate?
I think I had them either 14 or 15.
Is this the year the Falcons finally get back-to-back winning seasons?
I say yes. But the schedule is brutal.
Other than abraham who will have the biggest impact on the falcons D?
Lofton. Had a nice rookie season and they plan to use him as an every-down guy this year.
Do you think DJ Shockley will still be on the team come regular season? Norwood or Thomas Brown returning kicks? Thoughts on Stephen Nicholas ahead of Wire? Who's starting at DT besides Babineaux? Thanks Pat.
I thought Shockley looked good in minicamp. Think he stays as No. 3. I'm guessing Norwood on kicks. Think Nicholas can be a breakout player. Peria Jerry's gonna start at the other DT.
The new NFLPA Exec visited the bucs just recently. Did he exclusively meet with the players only? And who is the player rep for Tampa anyway?
Yeah, he met with the players. He's got no jurisdiction with coaches or anybody else. Not sure who Tampa's rep is. I'll check on that and post a blog item with reps for all division teams. I know Carolina's got to get a new one because Jason Kyle is gone and I think Lawyer Milloy was ATL's guy.
early reports had raheem morriss being "in over his head". your thoughts? after the first mini-camps.
It's a concern, but it's way too early to judge him.
Probability that Brees throws for 4500 this year?
Pretty darn good. They're not going to stop throwing the ball.
Wasn't the resigning of Ryan Sims for run stuffing purposes i know he's not a pass rusher but does he have potential to do well in Bates system considering the other succesful defensive lines Bates has had with not so popular DT's?
Yeah, but I don't think you can count on Sims as the answer. If he turns out to be, great. But he hasn't exactly had a stellar career.
there is talk about the saints are one that have talked to the falcons about Vick? true or false?
Not sure that they've talked to them. But I know Herm Edwards speculated Saints as a landing spot and using Vick in some sort of hybrid role. I think he'll get a chance to be a QB somewhere else.
They should've suspended Talib 2 games just like Carolina suspended Smith 2 games for fighting.
Don't disagree. I think he should have gotten at least one game.
Chances Turner and that offesive line turn into one year wonders?
Turner's for real. O-line can run block and Paul Boudreau's one of the best o-line coaches in the league. Right side of line isn't particularly talented, but they do a nice job of covering up their weaknesses and playing to their strengths.
They suspended Smith one game for his first reported altercation too. Talib got off with nothing. Kind of slack down in TB, aren't they??
Perhaps. And actually the Anthony Bright thing was Smith's second altercation with a teammate. He had a training camp fight in the dorm with some undrafted WR whose name I can't remember. He didn't get suspended for that, but I think he might have been fined.
Pat, big fan. I heard the Falcons are wearing the throwback jerseys. Do you know what game this will be for?
They haven't decided which game yet. But they will wear their 1966 uniforms.
i have to give Fox credit for one thing, he's always been very proactive with their suspensions and punishments. the league never has to step in, because Carolina does not give preferential treatment to their players. Smith or Bridges or Jarrett, they look at the crime, not at the player.
Very true. And give some of the credit to Jerry Richardson for that, too.
I saw you allude to that in a blog post earlier, care to elaborate? that was never mentioned in the papers that i can recall...Did they force the media to withhold that story?
No, it came out. Not right away. But I wrote it when I was at the Observer. Believe it came out when Smith had the incident with Bright. I think the kid's name was Julian something. He wound up quitting and leaving camp right after the incident.
2 questions 1. Was you impressed with Chris Owens and Lawrence Sidbury ? 2 How much 3-4 will the Falcons play ?
Very impressed with Sidbury. Wasn't able to get a real good read on Owens because they were spending a lot of time just coaching him. You'll see the 3-4 here and there, but not a lot.
Pat. Meacom, Arrington or Moore as starter?
Of all the rookies in drafted in the NFC South which do you think will have the biggest year?
Peria Jerry or Everette Brown.
Tamps is going to wear the Creamsicle Jersey this year right? If I were a fan, I would definitely buy one of those.
Yes, that's the plan.
this is what's great about the NFC south chat... CC from Atlanta mocking the new saints' D-coordinator could be either a Falc-fan or part of post-katrina scattered and smothered saints fan in Atl...
Are the days of the 4-3 defense coming to an end? Thanks Pat.
No, actually I'll make a prediction that the 3-4 won't work for a lot of teams this year. It was great when two or three teams ran it because they could get the right personnel to run it. I'm not sure there's enough true 3-4 guys to make it work for 12 teams.
Loyal Saints fan here. The idea of Vick joining the Saints does nothing but turn my stomach. Do you think this nightmare ever comes true? What are the odds E. James ends up here as well? I'm personally not a fan of that move either. That being said, do you think our group of young RB's can handle the big job thats ahead of them without a guy like James?
I'd go with one of the young guys or Mike Bell as the power back. I think you'll see Vick playing QB elsewhere.
I hate to burst some bubbles, but Steve Smith was suspended for the first TWO games of the season. not one.
Smith was suspended for two games last year for the Lucas fight. He was suspended for one game in 2002 or 2003 for the Anthony Bright fight.
Pat you plan on making a trip down for the Super Bowl in 2013?
Sure hope so. If I was Roger Goodell, Super Bowl would be in NOLA every year.
Will Fox call for more running plays? I'm tired of watching Delhomme throw every other pass up for grabs.
Wow, a Panther fan asking for more running plays? Bring back Dan Henning.
hey Pat, whats the depth at QB behind Drew Brees right now? did we release Tyler Palko?
Brees, Brunell and Joey Harrington. Not sure if Palko is back or not.
Have the Bucs announced who will be the inaugural inductees to their new ring of honor this year? My 2 cent suggestions: Selmon, D.Williams, Sapp, Lynch, Alstott... and Dungy is a must.
Haven't announced it yet. What about Brooks? I think he's got to be in the first class. I'm with you on everyone else, although I wouldn't be too upset if Alstott went in with the second class. He was very good, but not sure he ranks up there with the others. Also, I think John McKay probably goes in the first class.
he pat any new on D.Brooks?
Can I respond to Anthonys questions earlier.. Why would you want more running plays.. its 75% of the offense already... I love Double Trouble but please no more running!
Hey, at least there won't be any more draw plays to Goings.
I think the Bucs have solid young players on the defensive side of the ball, anybody going to step up and have a big role in that defense besides their high draft picks that have already shown something.
Elbert Mack's the guy I see big things for. Stay dry in DC. It's pouring over my house right now.
Pat wasnt Steve also suspended for the kick to groin on a Texans player back in 03 or was it just a fine?
I'd have to double check. But I think that was just a fine.
Best restaurant in a) New Orleans b) Tampa c) Atlanta d) Carolina
Varsity in ATL. McIntosh's was best in Charlotte, but it just shut down. New Orleans -- there's tons of them, but I like Felix's. Old Absinthe House is one of my favorite bars in the world. Tampa -- the Colonade and the Proud Lion Pub, owned by my buddy -- and huge Bucs fan -- Johnny G. Lyon.
Pat any chance of a Super Bowl in Charlotte? Also I heard rumours of a second UK game, one possibly played in Scotland, any chance of that happening? There are alot of NFL fans in Scotland!
Yeah, there's talk of a second UK regular-season game. I think it will happen. As for a Charlotte Super Bowl, probably not. Outdoor stadium and weather can be an issue that time of year.
Any recommendations for Charleston, SC? Heading down tomorrow for the week.
Awesome restaurant. Not sure of the name, but it's a number. Something like 401. It's the address and it's right on a corner on the main drag. Charleston's awesome.
One more time. Who do you think the best coaching staff is in the NFC south? Have a good weekend Pat.
ATL right now. Would have said Carolina a few years back, but they've had some major changes.
Pat would you want a hot head like Steve Smith on your team? Yeah the guy can make some plays, but you cannot turn you back on him. Especially his own teammates.
Just throwing it out there for all of you to debate.
I thought about McKay too, given that the whole Ring of Honor was to commemorate the 79 Bucs. I'd hold off on putting Brooks in there until he's retired. And I agree on A-Train; he and Dunn would make 2nd class, along with Hardy Nickerson
Well, if Brooks is still playing somewhere, yes. But I'm starting to think retirement's looking pretty possible.
I would not want Steve Smith. TO was bad enough for the Iggles. One vote against Steve Smith
Couple more questions before my time is up.
How did i look at the mini-camps and what type of year do you think i will have ?
You looked good running with first team. Jerry's gonna start, but you can be the No. 3 if you stay healthy.
How is Sam Baker recovering? It was amazing that he came back to play four games after back surgery to help the Falcons make the playoffs.
All indications are he's fine.
where will i play this year?
United Football League. All right, time to run. Thanks for stopping by and have a great holiday weekend.