Is anyone looking to be contending with the Saints? or are the saints too good?
Saints are very good. But I think Falcons and possibly the Panthers are at least contenders in the NFC South.
What are your thoughts on Jimmy Graham and his possibly contributions to Payton's distributive offense? Can he be an Antonio Gates or Tony Gonzalez? The coaches seem to really like him so far.
Eventually, he could become something like that. Great athlete. Needs a little polish, but he can get that being a role player beyond Shockey and David Thomas for a year or two.
Do you expect Jamar Williams to step up and create as big of an impact as Thomas Davis?
He's not going to be Thomas Davis, who was really on the verge of becoming an elite LB before the first injury. But he can be a competent fill-in.
Pat, As you know and have brought up statements fired toward the Glazer family about being "cheap" and there debt effecting the franchise(s) or not and the Glazer family denying any truth behind the debt effecting the franchise(s) (whether it is or not)...Can you please provide an opinion of your own on what you think? If it is effecting the Bucs or not in any way possible? I am a die hard obsessive Bucs fan and have really grown a big appreciation for the Glazers and am really tired of all this "Glazer hate". I don't tend to believe it but the more it's brought up the more I tend to head in the direction. Please shed some light!
Not going to pretend to be a financial expert. But I will say folks in Tampa Bay go a little overboard with their dislike for the Glazers. They've done some good things here. There are owners in the NFL far worse than them.
Care to shed any more light on Moose? It seems like you really don't like the guy. I know everyone in the NFL becomes a saint (no pun intended) when they retire, but you sound really down on the guy.
Gave my opinion on the guy after covering him for years and that's my opinion. But he also was a very good player and I give him full credit for that.
Pat, I attended the recent Saints minicamp. I asked one of the Saints coaches (who I won't name), what will happen if Pierre Thomas continues to hold out. He said, certainly we want him back and believe he'll back. But either way, a healthy Bush is going to be the featured back and earn every cent of that $8 million. He also added that they felt Bush improved dramatically last season running the football. Your thoughts on Bush getting 15 carries a game? Could this be why they are playing hardball with Thomas?
I thought Reggie looked faster than ever at minicamp. Someone close to him told me he's healthier than ever. Sounds like a formula for a big year, but I think Saints will be careful not to overuse him. If Pierre doesn't come back, they'll add another RB to the mix.
Will the saints figure a deal with pierre thomas do u think he deserves a long term deal?
He deserves a nice contract, but not sure about "Steven Jackson money".
Mike Williams is looking like he is going to be legit and a definite, dynamic contributor next season and so on, I mean the guy is lighting it up in OTA's, granted they are just that, but do you see him as the steal of the 2010 draft? His off the field issues seem like non-issues now and he is the 1st to sign with the Bucs. Your thoughts???
He has looked spectacular and he's been on his best behavior. But, folks, it is June. These practices aren't exactly the real deal. I've seen Maurice Stovall, Dwayne Jarret, Keary Colbert, Drew Carter and Michael Clayton look great in June. We've got to wait and see before getting too carried away with Williams.
Who do you think will be the breakout player for the falcons this year?
What's the skinny on McCoy and Benn's injuries?
Very minor, from what I've been told.
What are your thoughts on the Panthers moving Beason to Weak Side, Connor in the Middle, and Anderson on the strong side?
Been told that's at least a possibility. They want to put 3 best LBs on the field and Connor in middle may fit that description. But Jamar Williams and Norwood also are very much in the mix and that could keep Beason inside.
I heard Gerald McCoy had to be helped off the field yesterday (or maybe Wednesday). Any word on his status?
True, but it was a very minor hip strain, according to the Bucs and McCoy's agent. Doesn't sound like anything more than that.
Looking forward to finally seeing what the Saints' rings look like. Will you be there to cover the ring presentation?
No, unfortunately, I wasn't able to swing that trip.
Hey Pat. I am guessing you dont see the worst to first in the NFC South this year?
Probably not, but stranger things have happened.
So Pat what do you think needs to be the bigest thing the Saints need to do on defence to get better? How long do you think before Malcolm Jenkins starts over Darren Sharper?
Just my thought, but I wouldn't be surprised if Jenkins opens season as starter. Not sure if Sharper's knee will be ready or if he'll be the same.
Pat,Thanks for all you do. I'm an avid reader of your blog.I was wondering if you had any hunch as to who may be the starting LB for the position vacated by Fijuta. Previously you stated there is good competition at the position, which I agree, but the one who stands out to me the most is Dunbar. This guy punishes people on special teams. He's an aggressive player and hard hitter which fits extremely well with Williams scheme. My only concern is how he handles coverage, which I have not seen much of. In the season finale againts the Panthers last season, he seemed to hold his own, but I'm still not convinced this isn't an area of weakness for him.All the same, I still cosinder him to be an exciting durable player who delivers monster hits, and would love to see him in Williams' blitz packages. I believe you said he was getting most of the reps in OTA's. Do you think the Saints are leaning mostly toward Dunbar now, or perhaps newly aquired Ingram, or second year players like Arnoux or Casillas?Thanks again,Razza
Dunbar seemed to get the most work when I was there for minicamp. Ingram's still getting over an injury, but should be a factor.
Wondering if you think the Bucs have a legit chance in making the post season. Also, when will people start respecting Rah as a coach....
Win some games and the respect will come.
What do you think Atlanta's chances are of making the post-season this upcoming season?
Think Falcons are a very real contender. They won nine games last year despite injuries and tough schedule. Think they got better in the offseason.
Pat - Do you think the Saints will bring in a veteran QB to back up Brees, or do you think they are ok with the QBs in camp right now?
I'm almost certain they will bring in a veteran. Think Patrick Ramsey is probably the leader.
You earn respect and Rah hasn't done anything to earn that repect.....yet.
Have you heard anything regarding John Henderson signing with the Falcons? If so, who would be cut.
Know there's speculation out there and know Henderson's supposed to make a decision real soon. But haven't heard anything concrete to lead me to believe Falcons are seriously involved. But we should find out for sure soon.
Pat, bigger loss for the Panthers next season: Thomas Davis or Julius Peppers?
Davis. They were really counting on him. They'd been preparing to lose Peppers for at least a year. Plus, Davis was a strong presence in locker room and on field as a leader.
I liked your best coaches of the NFC South article but it has to be hands down Payton. Look at what he has done with the Saints. And Chucky knew every play the Raiders were going to call in that SB because they were too dumb not to change their calls. That brings him down a notch in my book.
I'm probably leaning toward Payton right now. But I'm still thinking this one over. At the moment, I think I might have Dungy and Fox ahead of Gruden. Go ahead, tell me Gruden won Super Bowl. I know that. But I'm thinking the total body of work by Dungy and Fox, considering where their franchises were when they started, are pretty impressive.
How has the rookie Patrick Robinson looked during minicamp with the World Champion Saints?
Like a rookie. Had some rough spots against great WRs and QB, but you can see the talent there.
Pat, just a thought, did Clausen falling add a year or two more for the Panthers to be able to afford both Stewart and Williams? Seems like eventually one of them will want a bigger contract and, since they won't be spending 1st round QB money, they might be able to fit them both in the budget a little longer.
Gotta hang loose on that one until we see what happens with the CBA.
While I believed Atlanta would have a stellar year offensively last year they sort of disappointed me excluding the game in San Fran. I believe that had a good bit to do with Harry Douglas not being on the field (just look at his stats in 2008 as a rookie) Do you beleive there is any truth to my theory?
I agree totally with your theory. Falcons had big plans for Douglas last year and his injury had a trickle-down impact on the entire offense. Think his return will help a lot.
Pat, if you had to guess right now, and only for the NFC South, who would be your offensive and defensive rookies of the year?
Right now, I'll go with Sean Weatherspoon and Mike Williams.
Pat, Gruden was the best coach in the South, he showed he could win with two teams and he didn't luck into an Pro Bowl QB like Payton did, he won the Superbowl with Brad Johnson.
Yeah, but couldn't you make the argument he basically didn't do much with Bucs after the Super Bowl?
Pat, give me the top 5 players overall in the NFC South.
1. Drew Brees. 2. Steve Smith. 3. Jahri Evans. 4. Jordan Gross. 5. Jon Beason. All right, that's a quick list off top of my head. Who'd I leave off.
Dungy is by far the best coach ever in the NFC South.
Not sure that I disagree with that. That's why I'm taking a little time to think about it.
Have you heard anything about Myron Lewis? To me in this "passing league", we really need to have a plan for life after Ronde. Talib can't cover both sides!
I appreciate the Myron Lewis questions. But I haven't really had a chance to watch him yet. That's what training camp is for.
I am stationed in the middle of no where, so this is a treat. How are the Falcons looking? I need to be able to brag to my battle buddy, who is a Saints fan, that this year is the Falcons turn at a SB run!
Go ahead and start it. I'm not ruling out a repeat by Saints or making any guarantees for Falcons. But I think they're going to be very competitive with each other this year.
What is your favorite part of being the a NFC South Journalist? What is your favorite team? How does that play into your reporting?
Not having to spend much time in cold weather. Don't have a favorite team.
I think listing top 5 overall is an impossible task. You could make arguments for Matt Ryan, Deangelo Williams, Roddy White, maybe Davin Joseph
Wouldn't argue against any of those.
I guess you can't argue with your list of the top 5 players though I do not know that Gross belongs there. I think Will Smith and Jonathan Vilma are better players at what they do than Gross.
Gross has been an All-Pro left tackle. Those guys are hard to come by. Vilma and Smith belong in the conversation, though.
Not one Buc made the top 5? Talib is better than most give him credit for.
Talib is pretty good and might become great. But, right now, Chris Gamble and Dunta Robinson are better than him and Jabari Greer and Tracy Porter are better than Gamble and Robinson.
Payton's moved ahead of Mora as Best Saints Coach, but I don't think his true stock as a coach can be evaluated until Brees retires. How much is Payton, how much is Drew? We learned much about Belichick's coaching worth when he had to go without Brady for a season.
Fair way to look at it -- and this one is coming from a big Saints fan.
Loved seeing the Saints players visiting the region affected by the oil spill. Does any team in the League do a better job of being part of the community that the Saints. This team just gets "It".
Gotta give them lots of props for what they've done in recent years.
Who have the Bucs been working at left tackle with Penn holding out?
Okay how about a toughy...best owner in the NFC South?
I'd have to say Jerry Richardson, but that's mainly because I know the man much better than I know any other owner. I have the utmost respect for Richardson. Like Arthur Blank and how he's grown as an owner. I'm not as down on the Glazers as a lot of their fans are. Can't really say I know Tom Benson.
Could you see T.O. in Carolina?
Absolutely not. There is NO way Jerry Richardson would allow that. Don't think Fox and Hurney would want it anyway. Keyshawn didn't really work out there and Keyshawn didn't come with nearly the baggage T.O. carries.
No favorite team? Do you even like football?
Man, it's a different world for me. It's my job. I'm not allowed to be a fan. As many readers know, I get my fan fix on Saturdays with Penn State.
Do you think that Coy Bierman and Lawrence Sidbury can step up at the DE spot to get the pass rush the falcons need?
Falcons are really counting on Kroy Biermann and Sidbury to step up. They both have upside. Is that Hazleton, PA, home of Rays manager Joe Maddon???
Is anyone else having trouble with the auto-refresh?
Anyone got an answer for Daryl??
Pat, your favorite team in the NFCS is the one making the biggest and best headlines!
Probably true because that pays the bills!
It's jusit Daryl. No problems here. Try clicking on to another chat and back to this one. That works sometimes.
Hey Pat, I vote for JD Roberts as the Saints best coach--it takes skill to completely forget how far on YOUR OWN side of the 50 you are on and send in Tom Dempsey to kick a 63yd FG to win your 1st game and make you look like a genius.Then again, John North could kick a mean ballcap in flight. ;)
Little before my time.
No Jim (MS), Pat hates football. That's why he does this job. Makes perfect sense, no? Come on man!
One of the funniest lines to ever pop up on here.
Should we be concerned about Brent Grimes' hamstring pull? Those things seem to linger on and on, and it seems a CB just can't afford one.
Not sure. But we've got, what, about six or seven weeks until camp? I'm sure Grimes and training staff will be working to have him ready.
Heres the case for John Fox. The best coach in nfc south history before this last season would hands down be John Fox. As of right now he should still have the edge over Sean Payton. He turned a 1-15 team into a NFC champs 2 years later, and was maybe only a john kasey kickoff away from a SB title. 2 years later he made it to the NFC championship game again. He never had back to back losing years. He also never had a QB named drew brees. Fox is prob the best coach as far as the draft goes. Dont forget thet payton was maybe a coin flip away from losing the nfc title game. Maybe over time he will overpass Fox, but as of right now Fox is the best coach in the nfc south history.
All valid. Think Fox's whole body of work is pretty darn good.
Pat Mushin Muhammad is not a Hall of Famer, but looking at the body of work, I think he at least deserves a glance. 860 receptions, 11,438 yards, and 62TD's. Not to mention two pro bowls, one all pro and the longest reception in superbowl history.
Very, very solid career.
Raiders sign Henderson.
True? I'm obviously tied up right now.
Oh yes the one and only Hazleton, PA. Home of Third Base Lunch, where everyone cheers on Joe Maddon.
I know Hazleton well. Grew up straight up Interstate 81 in Dalton, just on the other side of Scranton. Will be up that way in a few weeks.
Pat - you heading down for the 3rd pre-season game between the Dolphins & Falcons in Miami?
Not sure yet. Haven't even talked to bosses about preseason games yet. But I would think a drive to Miami is a possibility.
Yep, it's true. http://sports.espn.go.com/nfl/news/story?id=5276220
There it is. Well, guess we don't have to worry about him landing in NFC South.
whats funny to me is that during the year we had all these Drew Bress haters and now we talk about the best coach and now all of a sudden he is a great quarterback and the reason for Paytons success
World is full of what have you done for me lately types.
Flyers or Phillies fan then?
Not a hockey guy at all. Actually follow Red Sox (and, now, somewhat, the Rays) in baseball. Do like Temple and Villanova in college basketball.
how did Heath Evans look?or di he not do any drills?
Yep, he was doing some drills. Not all, but some. Think he'll be fine by training camp.
What is Drew Brees' legacy so far? Is he in the Hall of Fame yet?
Got to think he's pretty darn close.
Payton the best coach in NFC South history? Didn't you have him ranked 3rd in the division last year?
Like I said, this league is a lot of "what have you done lately?"
Pat, you should give hockey a chance. Great sport - talk about some tough sob's... Let's see a football player play after losing 7 teeth!
Like going to Lightning games in person and will watch hockey in the Olympics. Just don't follow hockey all that closely.
Pat, with the recent success of the Saints Middle round picks( Jahri Evans, Carl Nicks, Jermon Bushrod) Do you see similar success for second year players Stanley Arnoux and Chip Vaughn. Vaughn in particular seems like he could be a good one if he can pick up the mental aspects of the safety position.
Coaches seemed high on Vaughn at minicamp. Could have a chance to get on the field.
What do you think will happen with Bush in the USC Scandal as far as NFL repercussions?
I don't think it's really an NFL issue.
Do u think Matt Grothe will get picked up by anyone??
Probably going to have to go UFL, Canada or Arena.
What was your story on in 1997 that won you "Best Feature"...Can you post it so we can all enjoy?
Story on the birth of the son of Mike Imhoff. He was a former football coach at Hernando High School in Brooksville, Fla. and a great friend early in my career. He was murdered about six months before his wife gave birth. Toughest story I've ever had to write. Still keep in touch with the wife and happy to say Mike's son is a promising young baseball player. Not sure, but you might be able to find story in Tampa Tribune's archives.
yes. last 2 weeks auto-refresh has not worked.
I apologize for this. I will let our tech folks know.
Grothe plays for Orlando Tuskers.
Sounds about right. Thanks for the update.
Hey Pat,One from left field here. Have you seen anything of Xavier Fulton from Tampa? I know he missed all last year with injury. I've heard he could be in play to take Sears spot at LG.
Can't really judge o-linemen until camp. They don't even hit in these workouts.
What do I have to do to get the long term contract I deserve. I wanna retire a Panther?
Go out and win 11 or 12 games, get the players and the owners to agree to a new CBA and you'll be just fine.
Grothe QB from the Bulls? He's a guy I'd have thought Payton would have signed instead of drafting a QB. Seemed to have all the leadership skills needed.
Saw Grothe's workout before the draft and he was still recovering from injury. Think he still might not be 100 percent. He probably needs a year in UFL to show he's healthy to get a shot with an NFL team.
I apologize...I had no idea, i was assuming something regarding Dungy. I apologize for asking to "enjoy" the article...
No, no need to apologize. Story was tragic, but also positive in some ways about how the birth gave the family something positive to focus on. That's turned out to be true and Mike left a good legacy.
so as far as Bush is concered, think he gets less ad deals? Plays worse? Fan resentment?
Really don't think it will impact him.
Freeman, Davin Joseph and Winslow on offense. McCoy and Ruud on defense. All right, I'm well past the 2 p.m. cut-off time. Thanks to all for stopping by.