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September 11, 1:00 PM ET
Chat with Pat Yasinskas

RAY GORDON REID ( BLacksburg VA 24601)

QUESTION TO PAT YASINSKAS AT 1.20 HI PAT WHICH OF FOUR THE NFC SOUTH 4 QB WILL HAVE BETTER PASSING YARDS SUNDAY DREW BYRON JAKE MATT

Pat Yasinskas
  (12:43 PM)

Umm, I think I'd go with Brees this week. Welcome to the chat everyone. We're kicking it off a bit early because I'm anxious for the season to get here and I'm sure you feel the same way.

James (oregon)

hey pat, do you attend NFL games or just watch them on TV? you should go to jaguars games to help the blackout situation hahahaha

Pat Yasinskas
  (12:45 PM)

I attend. I'll be covering Dallas at Tampa Bay this week and Carolina at Atlanta next week. Don't know my schedule beyond that because we wait to see how things play out and decide what game it makes the most sense to be at.

pat (Florida)

NFC South.. who has the best offensive tackles? i say carolina

Pat Yasinskas
  (12:45 PM)

No argument here. Gross is as good a LT as there is an Otah is a rising star.

Ken (New York)

Pat why do you think Carolina is getting such little respect with the media? It seems that the only reason the media says that Carolina wont make the playoffs is because of Jake Delhomme and his bad game in the playoffs last year. I guess the media forgets that the panthers still have Williams (who was the best back last year, based on his yards per attempt, touchdowns and no fumbles). They still have Smith who i feel is within the top 5 receivers in the league and they still have Peppers, great offensive line and good linebackers. Also do you feel that the sports media favors the nfc east?

Pat Yasinskas
  (12:47 PM)

I'm not a big believer in the whole "respect from the media" thing. What does it really mean, anyway? Basically, I subscribe to the theory that you go out and earn respect. Panthers start off 4-1 and they'll be getting tons of media attention. Flip side of that, sometimes it's best to go into a season without a lot of attention. Think back to the year Panthers signed Keyshawn and everyone was saying they'd win the Super Bowl. They wound up not even making playoffs.

Cliff (Philly)

How can the NFL suspend Grant and Smith, while the Williams' get their suspension taken away when they all did the same thing? Shouldn't the Commish step in and use common sense and take away all the suspensions and not give the Vikings preferential treatment?

Pat Yasinskas
  (12:49 PM)

It's kind of out of the Commish's hands. He suspended all of them. But the Minnesota state court is still reviewing the Williams' situation. They determined no federal laws were violated, so that doesn't bode well for Grant and Smith. But we'll see if there's official word soon.

corey b (gretna, la)

i know you say you have to wait and see how the saints play to see if they are gonna be an improved team but i know from watching them you have to be optimistic too?!

Pat Yasinskas
  (12:49 PM)

Absolutely. They looked great in the preseason. Gregg Williams is going to help them a lot.

ezell (atlanta)

hi pat when will see tye hill and brian williams starting for atlanta

Pat Yasinskas
  (12:50 PM)

Probably take a couple of weeks.

Patrick (Reno, NV)

Pat, why did you choose New Orleans to finish 3rd in the division? Do you think they havent improved enough to surpass the Panthers and Falcons? I just dont see it. New Orleans lost 5 games by 3 points or less last year. You dont think they did enough in the offseason to fix that?

Pat Yasinskas
  (12:51 PM)

I picked them third because I was being cautious. But I also said and continue to say they're very capable of winning the division if things break right for them.

Mads (Denmark)

Hi Pat... Best reason why Falcons win NFC South?

Pat Yasinskas
  (12:51 PM)

Their coach.

John (Work)

What's the news with Dwayne Jarrett? Will he play a part in the offense?

Pat Yasinskas
  (12:52 PM)

He'll be third WR, but I wouldn't expect huge things from him. Fox pretty much sticks with two WRs and loves his veteran guys.

Jeff (Herndon, VA)

Pat, should the Panthers put Steve Smith in harms way as punt returner or should they take their chances with the rookie Munnerlyn?

Pat Yasinskas
  (12:53 PM)

Absolutely no way you put Smith back on punt returns. Too dangerous. Take your chances with the kids. You get into the playoffs or Super Bowl, you might think about putting Smith back there in a really big situation, but that's about it.

Mike (New Orleans, LA)

How does the courts decision affect Grant and Smith? Can the NFL suspend one group of players but not another group for the same infraction? Could the saints serve it starting this week if they chose?

Pat Yasinskas
  (12:54 PM)

It's a state issue in Minnesota. Grant and Smith were trying to ride federal tails of that. But today's ruling said no federal laws were violated, so it's back to the state court.

Debbie (VA)

Can you give us a Jonathan Stewart update? Besides the fact that he's probably out of shape, can he run w/ that achilles? He says he's playing.......

Pat Yasinskas
  (12:55 PM)

Sounds like he's fine. Panthers were being cautious. Remember, Stewart didn't do much in preseason last year.

Hristijan (Ohrid, Macedonia)

Are the saints planing to sign someone new in the front 7 since Smith and Grant face suspensions?What's the latest on Brooks? Any other LB they are interested in?

Pat Yasinskas
  (12:56 PM)

Wait until next week and see what happens -- if they officially are suspended. Saints will go with what they've got this week.

Bob (baton rouge)

hey pat i know a lot of people are high on the saint this year... but years of disappointment has made me hesitant to believe they'll get any where give me some thing to ease my mind

Pat Yasinskas
  (12:57 PM)

Well, they open at home with Detroit. For one week, that should give you peace of mine.

Ricky (Naples, FL)

Hey Pat, I'm curious about the Pro Bowl...what kind of incentives do players get for being selected, and can you recall any serious injuries happening in a Pro Bowl game?

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:00 PM)

Basically, there is a winner and loser share for the Pro Bowl. Not sure what it is, but let's say it's around $30,000 for winners and around $15,000 for losers. Last I knew it was something like that. Now, lots of individual players have Pro Bowl clauses in their contracts. Generally, it's at least $100K. In the case of Julius Peppers and some others, it's $1 million. As far as injuries, can't recall any from game itself. But that rookie running back from New England (Robert Edwards?) got hurt in a flag game on the beach. NFL did away with flag game on the beach right after that.

Stephen (Las Vegas)

Hey Pat, why does the Falcons team page show its 2006 statistical leaders? Michael Vick, Warrick Dunn?!?!?

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:00 PM)

Not sure. I'll let our people who handle that know. Thanks for letting me know.

Greg (Cleveland, OH)

Pat, sorry to hear about the passing of your journalist friend. I"m a Falcons fan, but I don't see the playoffs this year. The offense will be great, the defense is better than the preseason when they were experimenting with blitzes. But a) the Falcons have the WORST schedule in football (not only 4th hardest win%, but more teams coming off the bye than any schedule in recent history), and b) they can't be as lucky this year with injuries. NO got the honey of a schedule, with no bye-teams, and it's not like Grant or Smith did anything last year...

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:02 PM)

Thanks. Tom Berry was a great man. I'm proud the Pro Football Writers of America are doing something to keep his memory going. Greg, you sound like a Red Sox fan -- accepting failure before it happens. Your points are valid. But think back to your expectations last year at this time. I'm sure what happened far exceeded those expectations. You might be pleasantly surprised.

J.B. (Dunmore, PA)

Pat: Any idea what kind of degree Jeremy Shockey got from Miami? Seems to me he might want to put it to some use being that his NFL career is just about finished.

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:03 PM)

Don't know. You might want to look it up and see if he even graduated from Miami. Lots of players around the league, in fact the majority, never even graduated.

Scott (Flowery Branch)

Hey Pat - was driving home to day from Asheville and listened to Charlotte sports talk on the radio. Seems like eveyone is terrified about how the defense played in the preeseason. Can we all agree that the starters were never out there all together, and the Eagles have some pretty serious offensive line health problems??? I just don't see Sunday being as bleak as a lot of people think. What's your take?

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:04 PM)

Said it before and I'll say it again, DO NOT read too much into preseason. I remember covering the Bucs when the Sam Wyche teams looked great in the preseason and it didn't mean a thing.

Wally (Los Angeles)

Hey Pat, I was reading the marathon chat trascripts last night and the NFC East blogger fielded a question about the strength of the NFC South vs the NFC East and he totally acted like it was insane to think the NFC South is anything close to what the NFC East is... Didn't the NFC South have the best division last year based on record and the fact that the worst team (NO) was the NFL offensive leader! Do you think the South maintains this year as the best division in the NFC or was he right and last year didn't really matter/happen?

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:06 PM)

NFC South is the best division in football by far. You expect me to say anything else?

MJ Gill (Port Jefferson, NY)

KC Joyner should put his stats to good use, and come up with a percentage of players who actually have received a bachelors degree...

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:07 PM)

There actually was a study not too long ago of how many NFL players had degrees. Think it was less than 50 percent -- well less than 50 percent. Think it was done by Wall Street Journal or New York Times. If anybody can find it, send the league to my mailbag and I'll share it.

Jason (Tampa)

Pat, love the blog. who wins this weekend, Bucs or Cowboys? do u think it will be a close game?

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:09 PM)

I don't do predictions. Plenty of our tv guys do that. Just hope it's a decent game because that makes it more fun to write about.

Nathan (Cary, NC)

Watch all of us look silly when the AFC West comes out and dominates this year. Al Davis and Josh McDaniels will go down as geniuses...

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:09 PM)

Haha, think we're pretty safe on that one.

Hristijan (Ohrid)

How much will it hurt the saints the missing of Jamal Brown.Can his back-up fill in as a decent replacement?

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:10 PM)

Jermon Bushrod might not be a Pro Bowler and they will miss Jamaal Brown. But the way this offense is set up with quick drops and Brees having a quick release, I think they can survive this.

Brian (O-Town)

What's going on, Pat? Any word on what the Bucs plan to do with Talib? Will he be playing the opener or are they going to suspend him?

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:11 PM)

He'll play in the opener. But you still could see something happen at some point as the legal system plays out.

Wally (Los Angeles)

Hey Pat... if the Saints lose this weekend to the Lions I should just focus on baseball because there would be no reason to watch the Saints this year, right?

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:11 PM)

Yeah, but you should be safe this week.

Aaron (Dade City)

Rank the best defenses in the south this year first to last, your opinion

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:13 PM)

All right, nobody is really blowing me away so I'm going to project a bit and go:1. New Orleans -- I think they'll take a big leap2. Carolina3. Atlanta4. Tampa Bay

kenneth (Sanford, NC)

Any work on Chris Harris' injury for the Panthers? It was a ankle injury first and now they say knee. Would this be a big blow if he misses the opener?

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:14 PM)

Don't have the Friday update yet. Fox generally gives it right about now. Yes, it would be a huge blow if Harris can't play.

Justin (Little Rock)

Josh Freeman. Starter by week 7?

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:15 PM)

Starter by the time they come back from London. They've got a bye week and then Green Bay at home while wearing throwback uniforms. Look for Freeman starting in Creamsicle, unless Leftwich gets hurt before then.

Hayden (Logan, UT)

If the raiders played the raiders, who would win?

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:16 PM)

Nothing to do with NFC South, but I love the question.

Matt (Lawrenceville)

So you think NO has the best defense in the division, to go along with the NFL's best offense last year, and you pick them 3rd for the diviosn? Doesn't make much sense

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:16 PM)

Nope, it doesn't. But that's what predictions are all about.

Chris (Tampa)

If Talib gets suspended will Elbert Mack then be the starter

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:17 PM)

Probably, there ain't much else to turn to.

Rick (Reading, PA)

If Leftwich gets injured early in the season, do you think the Bucs will promote JJ to the starting QB and keep Freeman as backup until after the bye

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:19 PM)

No, it would be Freeman. Trust me, I don't think you want Johnson as your starter any time soon.

Elliott (Chicago)

Hi Pat. What is the latest on the Pierre Thomas injury? Do you expect him to play? If he does not play do you think Mike Bell would get most of the carries over Reggie Bush?

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:19 PM)

Haven't gotten update yet today. But since he didn't practice Wednesday or Thursday, I'd guess he's probably not playing. If that's the case, look for Reggie and Bell to split carries.

Greg (Cleveland, OH)

Pat, PLEASE don't lump me with Red Sox fans, because that would mean I'd have to become an obnoxious jerk once the Falcons win something. I'm simply trying to avoid falling prey to all the pre-season kudos the Falcons are getting in the press.

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:20 PM)

Careful there, I'm a Red Sox fan. But I understand your caution.

Hayden (Logan, UT)

Dont you get bored covering the NFC South? I would.

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:21 PM)

Looks like Hayden really wants to say hello to all of you.

Aaron (Dade City, FL)

Who is the best qb on the Bucs team as of right now please say Byron Leftwich because if there not playing the best qb I won't even watch, by the way when you gonna swing by, did the keys work?

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:21 PM)

Yeah, Leftwich is the best right now. I'll swing by again soon. Need more keys.

Nathan (Cary, NC)

Hayden, don't you get bored living in Utah?

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:22 PM)

Hayden, the guys say hello.

Matt (Dallas)

How good of a realationship does Deangleo Williams and Jonathan Stewart have? Because I think they are equally good and I was wondering if there was any tension from the carries that they both get.

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:22 PM)

No,from what I know they get along fine. There are enough carries to go around.

Thomas (Georgia)

I'm 0-4 on the posts so far, this is turning into a Lions campaign. I'll try a few more times though, how do you see the Falcons secondary evolving now that they will a little more depth at CB?

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:23 PM)

Tye Hill can only help. Could turn out to be like Foxworth last year and that would be nice.

Jason (Bmore)

Brees seemed to have a very good rapport with Lance Moore last year. With Colston coming back, is he the go to guy?

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:25 PM)

Colston's main guy simply because he's phenomenally talented. But Lance isn't just going to fade away. Brees has great chemistry with him, so he'll still catch a lot of passes.

Sharell (NCFalconFan)

PY what game will you be covering on Sunday? Should the Falcons be scared of the Dolphins and the Wildcat?

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:26 PM)

I'll be at Dallas/Tampa this week and Carolina/Atlanta next week. From there, we'll play it by ear.

Nathan (Cary, NC)

I have not seen Brian Williams play in a while, but he was never the fastest guy - is he still a viable cover corner?

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:26 PM)

Think they're looking at him more as a safety at this point.

Matt ((atl))

Hey Pat random question, Do any of the South coaches get to watch college football during the season? or are their schedules to full?

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:28 PM)

Good question. No, they don't get to see a lot because they're usually traveling or taking care of last-minute details at home. But I have seen quite a few coaches watching college games on Saturday nights in the team hotels.

Gregg (Taylosville)

Chris Harris practiced today and is listed as questionable according to Panthers.com.

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:29 PM)

Take that as a good sign. With Fox, if they practice, they usually play.

Hayden (Logan, UT)

Pat, who is your favorite team in the NFL and why?

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:29 PM)

None. I cover the league, so can't have a favorite team. I do my rooting on Saturdays -- for Penn State.

Chuck (Raleigh, NC)

Hey Pat, are my questions getting ignored, or is there some kind of queue?

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:30 PM)

Nobody's questions are being ignored. Just please understand it's impossible to answer every one. There are 360 in front of me right now. I hit as many as I possibly can.

johnny (greensboro nc)

how good of a fit are Ra'Shon Harris and Louis Leonard for the panthers and are they looking for another d.t?

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:31 PM)

They'll still look at any DT that comes available. Harris and Leonard are just "guys".

J.B. (Dunmore, PA)

How do you think the Bucks will fair this year (and I'm not talking Tampa)?

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:32 PM)

Well, I know Dunmore usually is pretty good. Not up on them right now. But I do know my Lackawanna Trail Lions are working hard to rebuild.

Freeman (Tampa)

Will u answer my ?.....Will I live up to expectations, and do you personally think I have what it takes not just physically?

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:32 PM)

Let's see you play a little first.

Justin (Little Rock)

Is it just me or is the Panthers Scouting department 80% retarded and 20% lucky.

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:34 PM)

They're better than that. Come on, Beason, Gross, Williams, Stewart, Otah -- all great draft picks. Chris Harris -- great trade. They've had their share of bad moves, too, but all teams do.

Chris (New Orleans)

Hey Pat out of who you have met who is the funniest guy in the Nfc South??? (Player, Coach, Gm, Trainer, Owner it doesnt matter)

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:36 PM)

Hmm, probably Jordan Gross or Delhomme. Nick Goings was a master practical joker. Back in the day, Sapp could be very funny -- on his good days.

Jimmy (NC)

Pat - Matt Ryan - stud in the making or expect a soph slump this season? How much does Gonzo help him out?Thanks

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:37 PM)

Stud, without a doubt.

Chad (Las Vegas)

I vote for Pat Yasinskas as the funniest person in the NFC South. Saints best O and D yet 3rd and a Penn St. fan. Sounds funny to me!!

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:37 PM)

There you go.

Gary (Charlotte )

Pat a Philly writer in his breakdown of the game said the Eagles backs were better than the Panthers. Do you agree with me that this writer is totally wrong.

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:38 PM)

I'd have to see the actual article to give you my thoughts. But I think it's tough to find a better backfield than Carolina's.

James (Memphis TN)

Do you think I'm being to much of a fan here. I'm thinking Tampa may beat Dallas. 20-13

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:39 PM)

You might be too much of a fan, but anything is possible.

Wally (Los Angeles)

Pat, I know you are really high on Matt Ryan but I am worried you might be wrong. Here is my reasoning. He plays a MUCH tougher schedule, Turner is way more likely to be less productive then more productive, and teams are going to game plan much more for his style then they were able to last year. Am I insane or are these fair concerns?

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:40 PM)

Fair concerns, sure. But I saw the guy look better from the end of last season to minicamp and even better in training camp. I just think he's a machine and Gonzalez will only help.

Thomas (Georgia)

When you and the other division bloggers get together over coffee or beer or whatever it is you guys do, is it a good conversation or arguing back and forth over who has the best division? A measuring contest of sorts if you will, ha ha

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:43 PM)

Well, we only all get together once a year for a meeting in Bristol. I guess we'll have to argue it out on the blogs. Actually, somebody suggest last week that the bloggers should all do a 100-yard dash. You wouldn't want to see that. But, at least on paper, we could put together a decent basketball team. Seifert and Kuharsky as the point guards; Walker, Mosley and me as the 2 guards or small forwards; Graham and Williamson at power forward and Sando at center. I don't know if Sando can play a lick, but he's like 6-6.

Jack (Chicago)

I miss the old Bucs uniforms...they were great.

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:44 PM)

You will see them Nov. 8 against Green Bay.

Ryan (Napa, CA)

I know Meachum is your pick for breakout player. Where does that leave Lance Moore in the Saints passing game? Will he be very productive?

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:44 PM)

Yes, plenty of passes to go around in that offense.

Joel (Detroit)

Would it be smart for the Saints to suspend Grant and Smith week 1, because the Lions are so bad?

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:45 PM)

The Saints can't do it. It's up to the NFL and they will definitely play this week. Next week might be a different story.

Henry (UNC)

How big of a role will Kenneth Moore will play for the Panthers this season? Isn't he the 3rd receiver?

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:46 PM)

He could be. Not sure they're sold on Jarrett.

Mark H (Greensboro, NC)

Who are your Off and Def Rookies of the Year in the NFC South this year? Everrette Brown and Mike Goodson? :)

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:48 PM)

No, I'll go Malcolm Jenkins (or maybe Peria Jerry) and ...well, I will go Goodson on offense -- unless Freeman plays early.

Justin (Little Rock)

I use to play WR in High school. I bet I could help the Panthers.

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:49 PM)

Can you play DT?

mark (Charlotte, NC)

Hey pat love your blog. First of all it seems that Nick hayden really stepped up in the last two preseason games. I think it was just a matter of time. Second in my opinion the panthers are at their best when they are underrated, in the John Fox era and they are at their worst when they are too confident like the arizona game....Didn't the panthers go 0-4 in the preseason of 2003

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:50 PM)

Yes, in Fox era, their history shows they're at their best when nothing is expected and their worst when expectations are high.

Justin (Little Rock)

Pat. I'm only 200 lbs. Let me grab some twinkies and get back to you.

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:51 PM)

Call Kris Jenkins for his diet plan. If you can add 100 pounds, I think Panthers would take you.

Chuck (Raleigh, NC)

I've heard there have been a lot of plays added to the Carolina offense, but.....this is a John Fox team. Do you expect to see some new things from the Panther offense this season, in terms of formations and trick plays?

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:54 PM)

Like you said, this is a John Fox team. You might see some new wrinkles for Goodson, though.

Matt (Lynchburg, VA)

Pat, do you think anything will materialize between Panthers and Dexter Jackson? Could they get more out of him as a reciever and returner than Bucs did?

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:54 PM)

Don't get your hopes up. If anything, they might sign him to practice squad.

CADILLAC (TAMPA)

WE WILL BE BETTER THAN YOU THINK! I PROMISE YOU!

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:55 PM)

Hope so. That would be a nice story.

Not Wally (Not Los Angeles)

Reggie Bush... does he return punts this year, or will the Saints play it safer and only use him on the offense?

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:56 PM)

Think you'll see him on some punt returns, but not all the time. Couple minutes left on the chat.

Hayden (Logan, UT)

Cadillac isnt even their #1 back anymore right?

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:57 PM)

He's No. 1 on depth chart they put out this week. Not sure if that was just a nice gesture or the real thing. We'll find out Sunday.

Ryan (Napa, CA)

What's Cadillac W. like? Is he a good guy? Cuz after all he's been through I couldn't be happier that Raheem put him as #1 on the depth chart.

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:57 PM)

Great guy.

Justin (Little Rock)

Just got off the phone with Kris. He told me to hold out for more money.

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:58 PM)

You'll need it to buy all those Twinkies.

Nick F (New Orleans )

Do You This Mike Bell Will Get A Majority of The Carries Sunday? And How Do You Think He Will Do??

Nathan (Cary, NC)

Kris is an expert on underperforming...

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:59 PM)

Wouldn't say that. He definitely had some issues. But, at times, he was the best DT in the league.

Hayden (Logan, UT)

Have a great weekend, watch some grass grow if you get bored.

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:59 PM)

You have a great weekend, too. All of you. We'll talk next week.