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October 15, 1:00 PM ET
Chat with Pat Yasinskas

Raheem Morris (One Buc Place)

Is Pierre Thomas playing against us this weekend or is he out?

Pat Yasinskas
  (12:55 PM)

Not looking too good on that one. But we'll know a bit more when the Saints put out their injury report this afternoon. All right, this chat is up and running early. Fire away.

Mike (Tampa)

Pat, great job on the blog and I loved the article on Talib. With him focused the sky is the limit. But it starts up front, so do you think the line will be able to get some pressure on Brees and get some sacks? Go Bucs!!

Pat Yasinskas
  (12:56 PM)

Well, they haven't done much in that regard so far, but I know that's a hot spot with the coaches and they're challenging the guys up front to do something. We'll see.

matt (JMU)

What's the deal with Myron Lewis. Is he gonna see any playing time this year or is he really struggling that bad. There was talk about him maybe stepping in as the nickel db and I have not heard his name once.

Pat Yasinskas
  (12:59 PM)

Not sure why, but I've been getting bombed with Myron Lewis questions lately. Let's look at the facts. The Bucs have two very good starting CBs and two backups that aren't bad. Lewis is a rookie and a mid-round choice. He wasn't supposed to come in and start right away. They're bringing him along slowly. The view him as the future replacement for Ronde. But that's down the road.

Mads (Odense, Denmark)

I am really looking forward to Sunday when my Falcons visit the Eagles. How do you rate the D lines in NFL South and why?

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:00 PM)

I'm looking forward to it as well. In fact, I'm packing my bags and heading to Philly in the morning. As far as D-lines, I'd go Atlanta at No. 1, New Orleans No. 2, Tampa Bay No. 3 and Carolina No. 4.

Ray (Orlando)

Pat, do you think Devin Thomas will have at least some success in Carolina? He seemed to have some potential in Washington

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:01 PM)

He's just a guy. But, heck, he might get a chance in Carolina, since they don't have much else.

Greg (Tampa)

Hey Pat, I have not seen anything in the local media as to whether this sundays Bucs Saints game is blacked out. Will it be on TV?

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:02 PM)

It will be blacked out in Tampa Bay area. Bucs aren't real optimistic about selling out any of their remaining games the rest of the season. Kind of surprising to me. I thought the winning might help.

Christian (Portland, OR)

Hey Pat,The rather aggressive signing of Dezmon Briscoe to the practice squad brings the total number of WRs hanging around One Buc Place up to 7. Is this the beginning of the end for Maurice Stovall, or do you see someone else getting voted off the island?

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:03 PM)

Stovall's just hanging on. He's there as a guy who can do special teams. But the clock is ticking. If there is a next season, I think it's pretty obvious Briscoe is being groomed to replace Stovall.

john (NOLA)

are the saints totally settled on hartley, or is it that hes the best available option?

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:04 PM)

They think he'll be fine in the long term, just got to keep him focused. They can always bring back Carney, if they need to.

vJ (Tampa Bay)

What's this I hear about Shawn Merriman being released? How do the Bucs go about securing him for our roster??? God we could use some pass rush!

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:05 PM)

Umm, that doesn't fit what the Bucs are doing right now. They're in a youth movement and it's showing some progress. They're not looking for desperate short-term fixes these days.

Danny Webb (Kinston nc)

Hey pat what kind of action do you think we will see in the nfc south before the trade deadline.

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:06 PM)

Probably none or very little. This isn't baseball. NFL doesn't go crazy with trades. But I wouldn't rule out a surprise if Carolina wants to dump somebody for draft picks, but I've heard no solid indications the Panthers are shopping anyone.

Henry (Chapel Hill)

do you think Devin Thomas will have much of an impact down in Carolina?

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:06 PM)

Not really.

Ryan (Palm City Fl)

Hey Pat you going to Raymond James Sunday?

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:07 PM)

Nope, couldn't get a weekend at home. I'm going to Philly.

Gur (Nottingham, UK)

Hey Pat, great blog! A lot is (rightfully) being made about Josh Freeman's development between his first and second seasons, but what's your take on Raheem's development as an HC since last year? Also, will a win on Sunday secure Raheem's job?

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:08 PM)

Good question. Raheem's grown up almost as much as Freeman. His job's already secure. Year 2 of a rebuilding process is about showing progress. He's already doing that. As long as Bucs don't totally fall apart and take a big step back, Raheem's safe.

Greg (Tampa)

Can you get the guys at ESPN to enable auto-refresh for your chats? Hitting Refresh is driving us nuts.

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:09 PM)

Seems like we get this one every week and it's out of my territory. Anybody out there that can help Greg? Thanks.

Troy (Pittsburgh)

Hey Pat I was listening to Colin Cowherd a couple days ago and he was talking about the elite QBs in the leauge I.E. Manning, Brady, and Brees. And how they each brought something different to the table. Brees being accurate, Manning being a genius when it comes to reading coverages and being able to audible and beat them, and Brady and Farve having the "clutch gene" where they seem to always be able to make a big play when their teams really need it. He went on to say that Rothelisberger, McNabb, and Aaron Rodgers have a little bit of one of those characteristics in them. My question is do you think Matt Ryan has any of them in him and would you see he can evolve into more of a game breaker like those elite guys or more of a superb game manager like he seems to be now.(not that there is anything wrong with the way he is playing)

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:11 PM)

I think Matt Ryan's a very good QB and can be a great one. He's in a system where he's not really asked or expected to put up huge numbers. He does his job nicely and I expect to see Falcons eventually give him chances for more big plays.

Nate Morton (Palmer, AK)

Pat, don't have much time to chat but wanted to say have a good Friday from a frigid 15 degrees up here in Alaska. Brrrrrr.....Go Bucs!

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:11 PM)

It's in the low 80s here in Tampa.

Clay (Charlotte)

At least the Panthers have cap space...ummm...right Pat?

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:12 PM)

Yep, if there is a 2011 season, I think they only have about $60 million committed to the cap.

Matt Riddle (Statesboro, Ga)

Some falcons fans are saying they hope Vick plays on Sunday because who better to defend against him than his old team? What they don't seem to remember is Atlanta's team has been completely revamped, coaching and players, since Vick left.

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:14 PM)

True, but I think facing Vick might provide a nice motivational tool for the entire Falcons organization. I'll have more on that in Final Word on my blog. Scheduled to go up about 4 p.m.

Clay (Charlotte)

How bad does it have to get before Hurney gets the heave-ho after the season too?

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:15 PM)

Honestly, I think Hurney survives and gets to pick the new coach. I think the owner remains high on Hurney.

Corey B (Brookfield, IL)

Pat, are you embarrassed for missing on the Bucs this year? Signs were there that they'd be better but it takes guts. Why do writers always go by last year? FYI - Saints will miss the playoffs.

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:16 PM)

First off, how'd I miss on them? I said they'd be improved. Second, do you think writers really care about predictions? Fans do, sure. But that's why I don't make predictions unless I'm required to.

Jason (Charlotte)

Pat, Will the panthers go with Moore next week?

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:17 PM)

I really don't know. I don't think Fox even knows yet. That one's a tough call. I'm not sure what the right answer is. What do you think?

Henry (Chapel Hill)

What do you make of Thomas Davis still wanting to come back this season? It doesn't make sense to me for him to push his way back this year with the team out of contention.

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:19 PM)

I agree. But I think he's trying to set himself up for a contract for next year. Not sure that's really in his best interest.

Corey B (Brookfield, IL)

Raheem is going to be a great coach and the Glazers are good owners. Tampa fans are the problem.

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:19 PM)

Interesting comment. I'll just throw it out there.

Lee (South Carolina)

PatWhy do you think there is not more pressure to get Panthers owner Jerry Richardson to come out and tell the fans what his plan is for the team. John Fox is starting to distance himself from this mess. How about a little press pressure?

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:21 PM)

Look back at column I wrote last week. Richardson has a standing invitation to talk and he knows it. I reminded his p.r. guy about it again the other day. In the last decade or so, Richardson pretty much has only spoken on the record to me or Tom Sorensen. I'm quite sure we both have been trying to get him to talk.

Mark H (Greensboro, NC)

Greg: Alt + F4

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:22 PM)

Thanks.

Mike (Ohio)

The auto refresh works just fine. Greg try going out of the chat and coming back in.

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:22 PM)

Or that.

JT (DC)

how long before Nicholas, Lofton, and Weatherspoon are the starting LB's for the Falcons?

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:22 PM)

Next year.

Jaime (Texas)

Is Mike Alstott still involved with the Bucs?

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:23 PM)

Not in any official capacity. But he's in the area. He comes out to practice now and then and showed up at Brooks' retirement press conference.

Jaime (Texas)

Any word on Brooks officially retiring? And if so are the Bucs going to do something for him?

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:24 PM)

He officially retired a couple months ago. Bucs had a big press conference for him. Think it's safe to say he'll go into Ring of Honor next year.

molly ward (new orleans)

hey pat, love the blog. do you think Julius Jones still has enough gas left in the tank to make a difference in the New Orleans run game? He hasn't been productive in recent years.

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:25 PM)

They're rolling the dice there. But, hey, they don't have many other options right now.

Big Mike (Nashville)

Is Mike Williams going to play this weekend? I didn't even know he was injured, then he missed practice yesterday.

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:26 PM)

We'll know more this afternoon. But Raheem was optimistic about him yesterday.

Jamie (New Orleans)

Rollong the dice is saying the Saints are out of it already.

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:27 PM)

No, not at all. They're rolling the dice on Julius Jones to help get them through another week or two until they can get Pierre and Reggie back.

Henry (Chapel Hill)

Is Charles Godfrey emerging into an impact player? He already have 4 INT's and that number may grow I'm thinking. Also, who else do you see emerging on that defense? yes, i'm looking for anything positive about my Panthers

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:28 PM)

Yep, Charles Godfrey might be the most positive thing you've got going right now. Wish I could give you more.

Paulitik (Alexandria)

i know the Coach and the FO would never admit it, but don't you think that there is a big revenge motive for Atlanta this weekend? Do you think Mularkey and Smith will open up the Atlanta offense and try get the score up? It was totally classless of reid to put Vick in after they had a comfortable lead and run up the score. As a fan I hope we massacre the Eagles.

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:29 PM)

As I said before, I'll have something on that topic in my Final Word on the blog at 4 p.m. today.

J (TX)

Pat do you think that with Jenkins back, and douglas back at #3 the falcons will put him back as the main punt returner? weems is okay, but he lacks the breakaway speed.

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:30 PM)

Maybe, but not right away. They'll let Jenkins ease back in for a week or two.

brandy (charleston sc)

Not true pat...look at our LBs Beason, Anderson, Conner are the best thing we got

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:31 PM)

All right, yes, I'll give you that one.

Jaime (Texas)

Is Freeman's thumb 100%?

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:31 PM)

Sure looked like it last week.

Gur (Nottingham, UK)

Assuming a new CBA gets agreed upon, in your opinion is Ruud likely to get a new contract or is this his last year in the red & pewter?

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:32 PM)

Think he might move on. Not saying I agree with this, but not sure the Bucs view MLB as all that important a position in their system.

Jeff (Huntsville)

You need to tell Mike Sando to replace Matt Ryan with Roddy White on his MVP Watch. As you mentioned in before Roddy has definately been the MVP f the Falcon's so far this year.

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:32 PM)

Consider it done. I'll get in Sando's ear after we finish the chat.

Falcons Fans (Atlanta)

Weatherspoon injury update? Any inside info?

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:33 PM)

Not really. But I wouldn't expect to see him this week.

Rum (N'awlins)

Hey Pat, what's the deal with Merriman's IR & release? I'd like to see the Saints take a shot there--but he hasn't done anything meaningful since his steroid suspension, has he? Would be nice to see a Rickey Jackson-type LB again in the Black

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:34 PM)

Not saying it will happen. But, if there's one landing spot for him in NFC South, that would be the one.

J (TX)

Pat, what do you think is atlanta's top 3 needs for the next draft?

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:35 PM)

Let's wait until we get a little closer to the draft for that.

Jason (Bmore)

Do you expect Julius Jones to get any work this week?

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:35 PM)

I think you'll see him get some carries. Not a lot, but some.

Falcons Fans (Atlanta)

I love how you barley touched on the World Champion Saints losing to a undrafted rookie vrs the Cards. But in one game, the first one of the year albeit, you were ready to write off the Falcons as some kid of fluke... Shame on Pat

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:37 PM)

What grade are you in? I think I hit the Saints several times this week. If I had been at the game, I would have done more with it, but that wasn't my assignment. I've been singing the praises of the Falcons the last four weeks. I work with what they give me.

JP (Inverness, FL)

Dude Falcons Fan really do you even read the blog??

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:39 PM)

Thank you, JP. Who do the Citrus High Hurricanes have tonight? I keep telling my buddy who is an assistant principal at Hernando that I'm going to come up one of these Friday nights and check out the Leopards.

Jaime (Texas)

Have the Bucs been practicing anything different to get the pass rush going?

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:40 PM)

If they are, they aren't going to alert the media. Their practices are closed to us anyway.

Rum (N'awlins)

I think Julius might play more than expected--Payton coached him at Dallas--and he has a short fuse with backs that turn the ball over.

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:40 PM)

Good point.

JP (Inverness, FL)

Tavares in Tavares, my co worker's son just got moved up from JV to varsity.

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:41 PM)

Tavares? Wow, brings back memories. Covered a playoff game there years ago.

Abdul-Azim Mohammed (Tehran Iran )

Pat i want to let you know that you have fans here in Tehran that read your blog.Keep up the great work that you are doing

PJ (Honlulu, HI )

I know you have said that you don't think caddy is done in tampa, but starting kareem huggins and blount couldnt end any worse than starting caddy could it?

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:43 PM)

Before starting them, I think they need to play them in rotation with Caddy a bit and see if anybody rises up.

Josh Freeman (Tampa)

Pat, how much better would I be if I had some established WRs to throw the ball to? Man, I must be really good if I'm doing this with a bunch of rookies and 2nd year guys.

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:43 PM)

Your rookies and second-year guys are pretty darn good. In case the bosses haven't told you, part of the plan was to let you guys all grow up together. Seems to be working.

Lloyd (Baton Rouge, LA)

Hey Pat, this is just my opinion, but the Saints D has been doing a darn good job this year -- I think better than last year minus the turnovers. The biggest problem is the offense and their inability to hold on to the ball or catch passes consistently. With that being said, I think the rest of the league has something to worry about if the biggest problem with the Saints right now is their offense. Once that is fixed, and I hope it does get fixed, then I expect the Saints to start kicking butt.

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:44 PM)

Just sharing an opinion from one of the readers I respect most.

Rock Knuteney (Slidell, LA)

It is all a matter of perception. I was feeling you were in love with the Falcons, but then I am a Saints fan. People see what they want to see and their intake is tempered by their own bias.

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:46 PM)

Listen, I understand you guys are passionate fans and that's great. But use the chat rooms or the comments sections to fight it out with each other. I truly don't care who wins or loses. I write what the biggest stories are. Last year, it was the Saints almost all year. Right now, it's the Falcons. That's the way my business works.

Jamie (New Orleans)

Pat, what's the latest on Pierre Thomas and when he may be able to start?

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:46 PM)

Nothing official until later this afternoon, but I wouldn't count on seeing him this week.

Corey B (Brookfield, IL)

How long is Faine out? Zuttah starting?

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:47 PM)

Supposed to be around six weeks. Yep, Zuttah will start.

C Holl (Baytown)

Is Reggie's presence that important?

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:49 PM)

It really is. Not just about his numbers. It's about the matchup advantages he creates for other guys.

Adam (Raleigh)

I know the panthers are terrible now, but do you see them being very good in the future with the flashes of talent we have seen from the rookies?

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:51 PM)

Hard to say I've seen many flashes. But, in some ways, they might be like last year's Bucs -- if you're going to tear it down, tear it all the way down. It may be painful, but it's going to turn around at some point in the future.

Rum (N'awlins)

Reggie pulls 2 guys from the D--leaving Drew to play 10 on 9.

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:52 PM)

Ding, ding, ding. Rum knows what he's saying.

JP (Inverness, FL)

Pat you do not have to defend yourself. Rational fans already know that your great and you do your job well, and irrational fans are exactly that...irrational.

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:52 PM)

Thank you sir. Your check will be in the mail!!!

Tom (England)

I've seen very little mentioned about Atlanta's running D. They've held Hillis and Gore very well this year, as well as Rashard Mendenhall until his 1 breakaway run. Just hoping to get them some very deserved props, the run stats aren't as jazzy as INTs but IMO they've played a huge role in the Falcons going 4-1.

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:53 PM)

No argument here. Overall, Atlanta's defense has played very well this year. If they're really going to go deep into playoffs, the defense will be the reason.

Jason (Iowa)

Are we seeing the beginning of the end of Norwood in ATL? With Snelling producing behind Turner, along with Norwood's injury history, and a contract year and a possible lockout looming, what are your thoughts?

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:54 PM)

Yeah, don't think I'm going out on any limb here. But you've seen the last of Norwood in ATL.

brandy (charleston sc)

yikes pat....it feels like you have no hope for the panthers in the next few years

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:55 PM)

Well, I'm only going with what I'm seeing from them. But it's impossible to really see into the future with this team. Too many variables -- who's going to be the coach, will the owner start signing free agents, etc.

Rum (N'awlins)

Hey Pat, since you are going to Philly this week--what's your prediction: Tony Luke's or Pat's cheesesteaks?

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:56 PM)

Neither, I'm going out to the burbs to see some family.

rich king (charlotte)

Do you think Carolina needs to trade for an o-lineman for otahs spot

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:57 PM)

Need more than that.

Greg (Tampa)

If you were coach, who would you start at SS? Sabby or Sean Jones

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:57 PM)

Jones.

Richard (Ann Arbor)

Don't write the Panthers future off, yet. Clausen will grow and mature into a real QB soon enough; such is the way of the NFC South.

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:58 PM)

I'm definitely not writing off Clausen. I think there is potential there. Just hope they don't ruin him before they get some talent to go around him.

Gin (New Orleans)

Hey Pat, when you have time, can you get the stats of the Saints win/loss record with and without Reggie Bush? I bet that would be very telling.

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:59 PM)

Actually, it's not what you would think. Go back on the blog. I did an item on that when he first broke his leg. I think they were something like 8-4 without him before this year.

Gur (Nottingham, UK)

Cheers for answering our questions Pat, have a good weekend!

Pat Yasinskas
  (2:01 PM)

Thank you all. We'll see you next week. Have a great weekend.