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June 24, 1:00 PM ET
Chat with Pat Yasinskas

Garry (Arkansas)

I know you have said all along that Freeman will start after the trip to London, but do you think he will start any sooner considering all of the talk out of Tampa? Or is this a motivational tool to make McCown and Leftwich to step up ther game?

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:01 PM)

I think with what's happened recently, there's at least a chance Freeman starts sooner. He's looked really good in the workouts and I haven't seen anything real impressive from McCown or Leftwich. Hey, they're going to be a running team anyway, so maybe it makes some sense to start him -- if he keeps developing like he has been.All right, folks, let's get the chat rolling. This will be the last one for a few weeks, so let's make it a good one.

John (Alaska)

Pat since you checked out a little of the bucs otas did you get a chance to see Jermaine Phillips at OLB?If so is he making the transition well?

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:02 PM)

Hard to tell for sure in OTAs because they're not hitting and it's not real football. But he doesn't look lost out there and says he's comfortable.

CC (Atlanta)

Everyone talks about Jamaal Anderson and Sidbury but Chauncey Davis was solid last year. Assuming Sidbury isn't ready Day 1, Davis is the likely starter opposite Abraham.

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:03 PM)

Could be -- but they're going to give Anderson every chance to show himself in training camp in preseason. If he doesn't, Davis isn't a bad option at all.

Chops (Here)

Hey Pat,Which rookies do you think will make the biggest impact in the NFC South? I can see Peria Jerry with the Falcons. He sould be a starter and a playmaker right off the bat.Great artical on Stephen Nicholas BTW....... Thanks!

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:04 PM)

I think Jerry will have the biggest impact of any rookie in NFC South. There's not much bust factor with a DT and he's going to start right away. Thanks on the Nicholas story -- it was a refreshing topic to work with after all the usual Vick, Peppers, etc., stuff.

Jason (Inverness, FL)

Hey Pat! Love your stuff! What is the maturity level in the Bucs locker room like. Should we be concerned that we are too young and that we may have some issues staying out of trouble?

Larry (Asheville)

Im looking at everette brown

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:06 PM)

Very possible.

Tim (Paulding)

What are the chances the bucs or anyone in the south pick up Brooks?

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:07 PM)

Forget about Brooks coming back to the Bucs. And, for Saints fans, forget about Deuce coming back to Saints. NO CHANCE of either happening. Brooks could be a fit for the Saints, but if they're interested, they're doing a good job disguising it.

Ethan (Texas)

MSNBC SPORTS IS REPORTING BRETT FAVRE AND THE VIKINGS HAVE REACHED AN VERBAL AGREEMENT WHY ISN'T ESPN REPORTING ANYTHING LIKE THIS?

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:08 PM)

Don't know. I cover the NFC South. But I'm sure our news people are all over and maybe we haven't reported because it's not true yet. Again, I don't know, but just saying that's a possibility.

Robert (Shallotte, NC)

Here's and except from yesterdays Carolina Mailbag comments, your thoughts?Right..Now name me the QBs in the entire NFL that have gone to a superbowl and 2 NFC Championship games and three playoffs in the last 6 seasons. Go ahead think......Tom Brady, Donovan McNabb, Roethesberger, Peyton Manning and Jake Delhomme all those teams also had great running and solid defense in there playoff years. Jake has had a really bad game at times but if you want me to bore you I can show you some horrendous games from all these guys in years they went to the playoffs, including last year when Peyton looked miserable and McNabb got benched. All of you casting scorn on Jake are the ppl calling for Wienke and Carr to be given a chance...How'd that work out for ya? And for those who asked here are the teams that would start Jake if they had him this season.... Denver (Orton), Buffalo (Edwards), Washington (Campbell), Detroit (whoever), Jax (Gerrard), Miami (Pennington), Minnesota (whoever, again), NYJ (Clemens or Sanchez), Oakland (Russell), SF (Hill), St, Louis (Bulger), Tampa (anyone they have), Tennessee (Collins) and he is better than Quinn, Cassel, Anderson, and Flacco will ever be. That covers half the NFL.

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:09 PM)

I can't argue with that.

Mike (Mississippi)

This is the NFC SOUTH blog right?

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:10 PM)

Yes sir.

Mike (New Orleans)

Every year there is a team or two with a new coaching staff that takes a dramatic rise and has a great season. '06 saints, falcons, dolphins. But the next year they inevitably come cashing back to earth when they have to play through a much tougher schedule and aren't as lucky with the injury bug. No one thought the '07 saints would go 7-9. Give me a reason that the same is not true for the Falcons.

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:10 PM)

I'll give you a couple: Mike Smith and his staff are really good. Matt Ryan is for real.

Ira (New Jersey)

Hey Pat, love the blog. We've heard for years that the falcons will be using Norwood more often. What makes this the year they actually give him consistent touches?

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:11 PM)

All I can tell you is Thomas Dimitroff told me at minicamp, "I promise you, Michael (Turner) won't be carrying 375 times this year".

Chops (Here)

Pat, Do you see the mass exodus of assistant coaches that left Carolina this year hurting the team?Defensive coordinator Mike Trgovac, Defensive tackles coach Sal Sunseri, linebackers' coach Ken Flajole, quarterbacks coach Mike McCoy and secondary coach Tim Lewis are gone.

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:13 PM)

Despite what a lot of Panthers fans think, Trgovac was a very good coach. For that matter Flajole was, too. And the loss of Mike McCoy is a big loss that kind of flies under the radar. The new hires Fox made were good and sometimes change is good. But Turgo, Flajole and McCoy were excellent coaches.

Jerious Norwood (Atlanta)

Hey Pat, do I have a 1000 yd season in 2009??

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:13 PM)

No, but put up 600 or 700 and Falcons will be thrilled.

Dave Wensel (Westmont)

As an alumn of University of Illinois, I am rooting hard for Pierre Thomas to succeed. What is his role going to be in the Saints offense this year? What is the percent of carries Bush/Thomas are going to receive?

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:15 PM)

Pierre's going to be the main running back. Reggie will do his thing(s) in different areas. But Pierre's going to be the main back and I expect a solid season for him.

Kroy Biermann (I-HOP)

Since i've bulked up to 260lbs (6'3 260lbs DE) ...... How did i look when you checked out our OTAs and have you heard any Buzz surrounding me ?

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:15 PM)

You've got a chance to be the third or fourth DE this year.

john (boro)

for the saints does the change of offensive coordinator have a factor and what kind of work do you see from the d line with the change of coach

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:16 PM)

Not too much. Payton's the real OC there and they just promoted from within their staff, so I don't think there will be much difference -- which is good.

Mike (New Orleans)

My point was that we are too quick to annoint and too quick to dismiss...For your coach rankings for example, if you had done it after the '06 season, Payton would have been the best. I think we're elevating Atlanta above Carolina too quickly. Carolina has been there and done that with Coach Fox, for all we know, atlanta could be a one year wonder.

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:16 PM)

Point taken. You could turn out being right. We'll see.

Michael (Salinas, CA)

Are you Greek?

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:17 PM)

No, Lithiuanian.

Neil (New Orleans)

Pat, who do you believe will win the 3rd WR spot for the Saints behind Colston and Moore? Meachem, Henderson or Arrington?

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:17 PM)

I say Meachem has a breakout year.

Jorge (Tampa)

Do you think it is smart for the Bucs to be talking about starting Freeman when they havent even signed him yet... could give his agent a reason to inflate the price..

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:18 PM)

It certainly could give the agent an upper hand in the negotiations.

Jason (Birmingham, AL)

Have you heard anything regarding Drew Bennett's workout last week with the Bucs?

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:19 PM)

He worked out and so did D.J. Hackett. They haven't signed either. Think they're just exploring all their options.

Matt Mosely (In a Cowboys sleeping bag)

Psh, how can you stand covering such a weak division. Don't you wish you covered THE BEASTTTTTTTTT!!!!!!!!!!!!! *Flexes the little muscle that I have* BEAST RULES!

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:19 PM)

Calm down, Mose.

Dexter Jackson (Tampa)

Am I gonna make the team this year? Or did I lose my chance after Smith took My punt return job?

Mike alstott (Tampa)

I cant beleive this pat !!! How could I not be the FB on the all decade team !!! I truly feel my skills and the way I played the game were overlooked ...

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:20 PM)

You could run some, but you weren't a great blocker.

Sean (TR NJ)

Pat what type of Shockey should we expect this year?

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:21 PM)

If healthy, he'll be more of a factor than last year. But I wouldn't expect anything outrageous from him. I think he's wearing down. May still be in his 20s, but I think the body is more like 35.

Lloyd (Baton Rouge, LA)

Someone, in a response to your Atlanta signing a late round draft pick blog, has said you should write a blog that updates rookie signings on ALL NFC South teams. Will you do that?

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:23 PM)

Nope, we're instructed not to write about late-round picks signing. In fact, I got some heat for sneaking that one in there. As we get close to training camp, I'll run updates on what picks remain unsigned for each team. But, as far as signings, our instructions are to worry only about the guys in the first couple rounds.

mike alstott (Tampa)

I put fear into def's, Ran over anyone and my 3yrd missle launches into the endzone will be on highlight reels for yrs to come ... No other FB in the decade can compare lets be real !!!

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:23 PM)

Lorenzo Neal was a much better blocker and that's what fullbacks are supposed to do.

Garry (Arkansas)

I know you have mentioned M. Harrision as a possibility in Tampa. Do you really think he has enough left in his tank to be a valuable contributor? Or do they sign Hackett or Bennett?

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:24 PM)

Still think Harrison's a possibility, as are some of the other big name receivers the Bucs have been tied to. Not sure Harrison has a lot left. Bucs are going to play it all out and see what's best for them.

CC (Atlanta)

Is this new chat platform as bad for you as it is for us peasants?

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:25 PM)

I admit, it's different. I'm still getting used to it. But they have worked out some of the kinks. It was real rough the first couple weeks.

Crystal (Longwood)

My ex boyfriend is a huge Bucs fan and it wore off on me... My question is if I were to buy a Bucs jersey this year who should it be?

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:26 PM)

Barrett Ruud is the safe choice. If you want to get ahead of the curve, get a Freeman jersey.

Robert (Shallotte, NC)

Pat YasinskasNope, we're instructed not to write about late-round picks signing.So ESPN decides what is interesting not the fans and customers...NICE!!

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:26 PM)

Just playing by the rules.

Will (Charleston,SC)

Any word on how D. Jarretts summer has been, could be be a key for the panthers this upcoming season, 40-50 catches??

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:27 PM)

Pretty good, from what I've heard. Think he started to win trust from coaches late last year. Look for him to emerge this year.

Lloyd (Baton Rouge, LA)

You mentioned how Lorenzo Neal was a Buc, but why didn't you mention that New Orleans drafted him and retained him for 4 years? Only the Chargers kept him longer. I'm just saying this because so many people do nothing but demean the Saints and don't give them the credit they deserve - like drafting and retaining "the best FB ever".

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:28 PM)

All right, let's give the Saints their due.

Garry (Arkansas)

Pat, are you tired of me resubmitting my questions several times? You posted one, but didn't answer it. I thought you always said repost the question.

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:28 PM)

Please send again. Questions get wiped out by other incoming questions and I don't see a lot of them.

Adam (Georgia)

Do you see the whole Ruud contract sitiation being handled before camp?

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:29 PM)

My guess is yes. From a p.r. standpoint, I think the Bucs need to take care of that one yet.

Peter (Nashville)

Any talks on a new contract for Roddy White? Can you ballpark a figure on a fair contract? Also, isn't Norwood in a contract year? If so, will the falcons pay him to keep him around in the future?

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:31 PM)

Think there have been some talks, but nothing close. It's not as urgent for the Falcons as it may seem because White will be a restricted FA in 2010.

John (Alaska)

Is Josh Johnson ever gonna get a shot at a second or third string job even if its not in tampa or is he a bust?

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:32 PM)

Don't get your hopes up. He was a fifth-round pick for a reason and they just drafted their franchise guy a year after taking him. Plus, Gruden was the guy who drafted him.

Steveq (Florida)

Pat, how do you see the Bucs RB situation shaking out?

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:33 PM)

Ward as the main guy -- they paid him the money. Graham still will have a significant role. If they get anything out of Caddy, it's a big bonus.

Rick (Reading, PA)

If Freeman does start for the Bucs, do you see them keeping Josh Johnson as the third QB and letting Leftwich go?

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:34 PM)

Possible, but Johnson would have to have a real good preseason. For that matter Freeman would have to have a great preseason to convince them to keep only one veteran.

Brad (Dahlonega, GA)

Matt Jones to the Bucs?

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:34 PM)

I've heard of anything real on that one, but it's always nice to speculate.

Lloyd (Baton Rouge, LA)

Pat, who will have the better year? P. Jerry in Atlanta or Sederick Ellis for the Saints?

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:35 PM)

Tough call. I like them both. But I'll give Ellis the slight edge right now. Liked what he did when healthy last year.

Thomas (Georgia)

This is a test comment to see if it actually gets through...

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:35 PM)

I see this one. Send a question again and I'll try to catch it.

Coach Morris (Tampa)

I wanna trade Griese, Leftwich, and J. Johnson what is my potential value in dealing these wanna be's?!

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:35 PM)

Nothing.

glenn (baton rouge)

any good lb's left in the market for the saints to pick up?dont say brooks

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:36 PM)

Saints are fine. Actually, I think Harrington might move up to No. 2. In their system, with a good offense around him, he could be all right -- if for some reason he has to play.

george (england)

Matt Ryan breaks 4,000 yards in 09. your thoughts?

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:37 PM)

No, actually, he won't. They still will be a run-first team. If he gives them something like 3,600 yards, I think they'd be happy.

mitch (jersey)

duddeee your missing questionss... they are posting but ur not answering. whats up with that man!?

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:39 PM)

Is that really happening??? I'm answering them and I just looked down at the most recent transcript and it looks like the answers are posting. Tell me if this is a real problem or not, please.

Mac (Tampa)

What do you think of Tanard Jackson? I thought he should have gone to the pro-bowl as a rookie but had an unsteady sophmore season.

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:40 PM)

That's what I thought too and that's why he didn't make my list of top 10 dbs in the NFC South, even though I caught hell for that from fans and the Bucs.

Lloyd (Baton Rouge, LA)

Isn't Matt Jones a bust? I mean if people can call Reggie Bush a bust then why isn't Matt Jones? And who would want a bust like Matt Jones? (Sarcasm should be noted) People want Matt Jones, but some call Bush a bust. I just don't get it.

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:41 PM)

Don't sell Matt Jones short. I think he's a TREMENDOUS bust. I'd stay clear of him and his baggage.

Thomas (Georgia)

Who wins MVP if they have similar numbers, Brees or Ryan?

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:41 PM)

Depends on what their teams do.

Jeff (FL)

How concerned should buccs fans be about Aaron Sears' injury?

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:42 PM)

Gotta be careful with that one. It's delicate. Let's just say we all should be wishing the best for Sears.

glenn (baton rouge)

pat i asked about linebackers not quarterbacks lol

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:44 PM)

My bad. Misread it. Think they'll probably stick with what they've got at LB. Not a bad group if the d-line shows up this year.

Yes (Orlando)

some questions are being posted buy your not answering them ive counted at least 5 so far

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:45 PM)

Thanks. I apologize for that happening. Obviously, there still are some kinks to be worked out with the new chat format. Hopfeully, we'll get that done before we resume our chats just before training camp.

mitch (jersey)

I guess its just my computer cause all i'm seeing is questions. no answers.

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:46 PM)

Again, apologies. I'll post a full transcipt on my blog when we finish.

Brad (FL)

Can you post where to find your top ten DB list. You should be embarassed for not listing TJack.

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:46 PM)

It's on the NFC South blog. Sometime last week. Look for headline something like, "Ranking the NFC South Defensive Backs".

kyle (atl)

Please comment on Jerry's contract negotiatins with Atl. How soon should we expect a signing?

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:47 PM)

My guess is he'll sign a week or so before camp. That's the way it usually works. Shouldn't be any reason for a holdout on the No. 24 pick -- or any NFC South picks this year.

Allen (Mandeville, LA)

Hey Pat, great blog! I was wondering with all the All-Decade awards ESPN is putting out, if there was anyway we could have an NFC-South All Decade Team and moments?

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:48 PM)

Good idea. Tell you what, how about I put up a post asking for you guys to submit your teams? I'm going to be taking a little down time, but I'll post some results the week of July 20.

preston (wisconsin)

what is the deal with julius peppers is he gonna play with the panthers or not

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:49 PM)

He doesn't have much choice unless he wants to hold out for entire season and give up $17 million.

Jake (Tampa)

Ryan Simms gonna be force this year??

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:50 PM)

Ryan Sims a force? No. But I do think, it Bates' system, he can at least be decent.

Tym (Orlando)

PY, Better RB tandem Dunn/Alstott in the late 90s/early 00's or Williams/Stewart from last year?

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:51 PM)

Williams/Stewart. Dunn and Alstott were great for a year or two. Williams and Stewart should be good for a long time.

Chris Houston (ATC ( At The Crib ))

Do you think this will be my breakout year ?

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:52 PM)

You're already pretty solid.

Austin (Lancaster PA)

Will the bucs sign Plax

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:52 PM)

I'd bet against it.

josh (idaho)

Im big on e-mack do you see him starting in the 2 spot and throwing ronde in the nickel role?

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:53 PM)

Can see that happening as the season goes on.

Garry (Arkansas)

Pat Let me have the 1st and last question.If "Flip" doesnt work out at OLB he obviously stays the starter at SS. That being said does Sabby then push Tenard for the starting FS job, or become the backup again?

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:54 PM)

If that happens, no Tanard and Flip would be starting safeties. Only way I see Flip moving back is if Piscatelli flops.

austin (middleton, wi)

you think curtis lofton will be a leader for the defense this year?

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:54 PM)

Absolutely. He already showed good signs of that as a rookie.

Chris (Monroe)

Why was Hoover not considered for all decade fullback. He runs, he blocks, he catches, he does what he is asked to do and all the while being undrafted. That in itself speaks volumes.

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:56 PM)

I didn't pick the team, but Lorenzo Neal is considered perhaps the best blocking fullback ever. Got no problem with him as the choice. However, I think Hoover has been an excellent player over a long period of time. Does everything well and is a classy guy.

Roman Harper (Big Easy)

Will I have a Pro Bowl year under Williams' new defensive system?

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:58 PM)

I think you'll at least be recognized as a quality strong safety. People got down on you last year, but it wasn't your fault. Strong safeties aren't supposed to be hung out in deep coverage. In the new system, I think you'll be able to do what you do best.Couple more questions before I have to run.

commish goodale [via mobile]

This is the best divison in football not the nfc lEast

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:59 PM)

Thanks for weighing in, Roger. Now, learn to spell your last name correctly.

Jamar (Florida)

With the offseason.. nearing training camp.. do you see the south being very competitive like last year (Nobody can really win or the road) or do you see some1 taking hold of the division??

Pat Yasinskas
  (2:00 PM)

As of right now, I see it being VERY competitive. Saints should be better than last year and Panthers and Falcons are already good. We don't know what we'll see out of the Bucs. But I think NFC South will be perhaps even more competitive than last year.

Carlos (Panama City, Pa)

Pat, which Bucs qb do you think is the best fit for the new offense coach Jagodzinski is bringing? I personally think that Freeman is the best fit at his offense, therefore one of the other points that should be added to why Freeman should be allowed to start.

Pat Yasinskas
  (2:01 PM)

Long term? Freeman. But that also might be a reason to start him in the short term. Much like Atlanta with Ryan last year, I think things will become obvious in camp and in the preseason games. Freeman steps up, he starts. He doesn't step up, they go for a while with one of the other guys.

preston (wisconsin)

which recievers in the nfc south do you see going a long way in the nfl like the hall of fame

Pat Yasinskas
  (2:03 PM)

Steve Smith would be the guy with the best chance right now. Needs some more big seasons and a Super Bowl win wouldn't hurt. But if he can keep playing like he has been a few more years, he'll have a shot.

Roman Harper (Big Easy)

Pat, you left me hanging...So will I have a Pro Bowl year under Williams' new defensive system?

Pat Yasinskas
  (2:04 PM)

Maybe not Pro Bowl, but you'll have a good year. All right, I'm past my alloted time here. Thanks to all for stopping by. We'll resume the chats the week of July 20.