Print and Go Back ESPN: SportsNation

January 21, 1:00 PM ET
Chat with Pat Yasinskas

david h (Boston, MA)

the bucs just fired pete mangurian citing they want to "head in a new direction." the bucs o-line, having lost 3 starters doing the season, still performed very well. why this move?

Pat Yasinskas
  (12:54 PM)

Think his coaching style didn't really fit well with a young team. All right, this chat is up and running.

jeff (tampa bay)

hey pat, has the chat started yet???

Pat Yasinskas
  (12:54 PM)

Yep, we're rolling now.

Eric (Paris, Fra.)

Any news on the Barber Front?

Pat Yasinskas
  (12:55 PM)

Raheem Morris said the other day that Ronde is expected back.

Tyler (Georgia)

Pat, How much longer can we expect Tony Gonzalez to play before retiring?

Pat Yasinskas
  (12:56 PM)

I listened to him after the game Saturday night. He didn't sound like a guy who's ready to retire.

Dougie (Charlotte)

Pat, I enjoy reading your articles and hearing your take on NFC south topics. I was wondering if you think that the Panthers new coaching staff, which is the NFL's youngest, will have an immediate impact on the team's productivity on the feild in 2011? In other words do you think that this will make a huge change to the point of winning games? Thanks.

Pat Yasinskas
  (12:57 PM)

I like what they've done with the coaching staff so far. But the big thing with the Panthers is they have to get some sort of production out of QB position.

pantherstud (Wilmington, NC)

I always thought Carolina's Tight Ends should be used more in the passing game. Do you think it Rivera's experience with TE's will really make a strong impact to make our passing game not so obsolete?

Pat Yasinskas
  (12:58 PM)

I think Chudzinski's experience with TEs will make the TEs a much bigger deal in that passing game.

Sam (Raleigh)

Who do you think has the better skill set at TE for Chudzinski's offense Rosario or Barnidge?

Pat Yasinskas
  (12:59 PM)

I'd say Rosario.

Rock Knuteney (Slidell, LA)

Many times teams that over achieve one year, come back to earth the next. What do you see for Atlanta and Tampa Bay next year? Both teams won some games they should not have, and like the turnovers the Saints got in 2009, those wins may not come in 2011. I see Atlanta at 10-6 and TB at 8-8.

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:00 PM)

I see Tampa Bay and Atlanta being good for a long time to come. Both have good young QBs. If Tampa Bay can get some DEs, re-tool their o-line and get a speed back to go with Blount, Bucs could be real dangerous.

TBaway (St Petersburg)

Thanks for keeping the faith in the system on your NFCS MVP nomination. Use Freeman Naysayers are RELALy happy that we're eating crow about now. So, any chance the Glazers sell the team to some real ownership so I will go to games again?

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:03 PM)

Just curious, why do you think the Glazers are so bad??? Were you not around here in the Culverhouse days??? Were you not around when Vince Namoli owned the Rays? Glazers are not nearly as bad as a lot of people make them out to be.

Mike (Charlotte )

How Charles Johnson does not make most improved player on your list is beyond me, and dont give me the cop out he was on a bad team, the fact that he was on a bad team makes his year more impressive, he got 11.5 sacks with not help and when team were running the ball most of the time on them.

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:04 PM)

Umm, I didn't have a "most improved player" category. Johnson did make the All-NFC South defense.

Aquib Talib (Tampa)

I'm the best corner in the division, right?

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:04 PM)

When you're healthy.

Mark H (Greensboro, NC)

Remember Davidson had experience with TE's too and we thought the same (make TE bigger) when he came to town.

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:05 PM)

Yep, but that was more Fox. He simply didn't believe in using tight ends in passing game.

Mitch (Orlando, FL)

Pat, thanks for your outstanding coverage on all of the NFC South once again this year. I'm definitely biased I'm sure, but I absolutely agree with your take on Freeman for NFC South MVP. As a Bucs season ticket holder (as you know, there aren't too many of us), I have to say I've never seen a player take over on offense for the Bucs the way Freeman does. It's a weird feeling for us defensive-bred fans.

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:06 PM)

Yep, first time Bucs have had a true franchise QB. And don't tell me Doug Williams -- he was very good, but he played on teams where the defense was what won games.

Kyle (Washington DC (displaced Saints fan))

Why are the ATL coaches and players so resistant to crediting the other team when they lose? Mike Smith, Roddy White, ... they didn't credit the Saints or Packers.... Sean Payton always starts with crediting the other team, win or lose. I think Smith's poor sportsmanship hurts the Atlanta team.

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:07 PM)

Are you serious? Smith is probably the most humble coach in the NFC South. He always gives praise to the other teams -- and he actually means it.

Mike (Charlotte )

Pat, my mistake, I meant breakout player, not most improved, Charles Johnson should have been breakout player of NFC South.

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:08 PM)

Well, I chose Malcolm Jenkins for that and I'll stand by it. Johnson definitely qualifies as a candidate for that. But the Saints had a much better year than the Panthers and Jenkins won a couple of games for them with big plays.

TBaway (St. Petersburg)

Because they weren't AS BAD as those two examples doesn't mean they are good. How about the most raised ticket prices at RayJay over any other venue? Or the fact that we're the 3rd highest average cost of any venue (Chicago and maybe NE beat us?). Add that to being the lowest payroll consistantly during the same span...and you have my distaste for them.

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:10 PM)

They've won a Super Bowl and had a competitive team for most of their tenure. Look around the league at some other owners. Glazers might not be the best, but they're not half as bad as a lot of people make them out to be.

Crum (Atlanta)

If their is a minimum salary cap next year, how will the Bucs get to that minimum? Free agents or sign some young guys to big contract?

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:12 PM)

As of now, there is no salary cap maximum or minimum. That's because there is no labor deal in place. If they get one, I'm sure there will be a max and a minimum.

chris(hungry as i speak) (greensbor NC)

do u like the coach rivera?

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:12 PM)

Haven't met the man personally yet. But everything I've heard about him has been positive.

chris(hungry as i speak) (greensbor NC)

is steve smith leaving the panthers

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:13 PM)

Only if he decides he wants out.

Tony B (Winston-Salem)

who is the leading cadidate for Panther QB coach?

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:13 PM)

Sounds like Shula.

Sam (Tampa)

Pat, Jonathan Vilma is not best linebacker in the NFC South like you said, its Jon Beason. This is pretty much consensus around the league.

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:15 PM)

Beason's a great player. But the Panthers were 2-14. You can't exactly heap praise on their guys after that kind of season. Beason was bouncing back and forth from middle to outside. He didn't exactly light it up this year.

Curt (NJ)

Pat, do you think that Reggie Bush will be amenable to letting the Saints restructure his contract? If not, where do you think he could end up?

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:16 PM)

My best guess is they'll re-work his contract so he can stay.

Al (Wausau, WI)

Pat, I would have to say I was very impressed with LeGarrette Blount's performance in 2010. Do you feel Blount will continue to play at a high level going forward?

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:17 PM)

Yeah, but I'd like to see them add another solid back. You need two good backs these days. Blount's running style is very physical. He could get banged up, so you need someone else to pair with him.

Scott (Austin)

Drew Brees... hall of fame lock? First Ballot?

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:17 PM)

I think so.

Joel (Binghamton NY)

Yea but can you put that on Beason, you going to downgrade his year because he was a good soldier. What would have happened if Beason made a huge stink of going to OLB and stayed at the inside Backer

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:18 PM)

Agree, you can't put it on Beason. In a good year and on a good team, there's no doubt he's a great LB.

Eric C. (Jackson)

When will the Saints give Brees the extention he deserves?

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:18 PM)

Probably as soon as a labor deal is reached. Nobody's going to do much of anything until that gets done.

Sam (Raleigh)

Has John Kasay ever considered retirement while I love the guy and he is as accurate as ever he seems to be losing power at an ever increasing rate and it's a burden on the team to have to carry a kickoff specialist because Kasay doesn't have the leg strength anymore?

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:19 PM)

Kasay can keep playing as long as he wants as long as Jerry Richardson owns that team.

TBaway (St. Petersburg)

Can Carolina possibly compete in this now PREMIERE QB division if Clausen doesn't work out and they don't get a quarterback next year?

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:21 PM)

No, they can't compete until they find something solid at QB. The other three all have at least very good QBs and that creates a big gap.

Mark smith (Charlotte)

Pat how come you did not give any love to Charles Johnson for Defensive Player of the Year i guess you forgot that he had 11.5 sacks .Pat as a journalist you supposed to be objective.Ones again you prove to everyone that you are a Panthers Hater

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:22 PM)

Player of the Year??? You're serious??? He was on a 2-14 team. I put him on the All-NFC South defense. That's all you're gonna get in a 2-14 season.

JM (Charlotte)

Do you think the Panthers would be reaching to take a qb with the #1 pick? If they did, who would make the most sense?

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:24 PM)

I'm starting to see some mocks where the Missouri QB is going in the top five. If he's No. 5 overall in some eyes, is it really a reach to take him at No. 1? I'm starting to think it's not, if he's the only shot you've got at a franchise QB.

Sam (Tampa)

PAT HE HAD 16 MORE TACKLES AND MORE PASS DEFLECTIONS SWITCHING POSITIONS BACK AND FORTH THIS YEAR, SO IF BEASON DIDN'T "LIGHT IT UP" THAN VILMA SURE AS HELL DIDN'T. PLEASE, COME UP WITH SOME LOGIC TO YOUR REASONING.

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:25 PM)

He might have spent a little more time on the field than Vilma. Saints sometimes stopped other teams.

Mark smith (Charlotte)

2-14 is not Charles Johnson fault. There were couple of players on the Panthers Roster who had a very good season even in a 2-14 season.One of them is Charles Johnson and the other one is James Anderson .Had it not been to both of this guys the panthers would have been 0-16

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:26 PM)

Okay and there's a big difference between 2-14 and 0-16???

Haile (Durham/NC)

Pat you dont even think we can be competetive with great skilled players ? Imagine A.J. Green, S. Smith, B.Lafell, D.Gettis,D.Williams, & J Stewart... We would be stacked everywhere but QB

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:26 PM)

Yep, but it would be nice to have a QB that's at least somewhat competent.

Sam (Tampa)

PAT, BEASON HAS MORE TACKLES THAN VILAM EVERY YEAR OF HIS CAREER, THAT FACT THAT HE DID IT AGAIN THIS YEAR IS NOT A FLUKE, SO AGAIN I SAY COME UP WITH SOME LOGIC TO YOUR REASONING.

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:28 PM)

I think I've done that repeatedly. The Panthers were 2-14. Let it go.

Greg (Albuquerque)

Pat, I understand the idea that the Falcons need to "stay the course" on D, meaning no D-coordinator change. But as a longtime Georgia resident, I watched MANY Bulldog games when BVG was DC, and they NEVER "won" a second half with defensive changes. I felt like last Saturday I was re-living that mediocrity in coaching. Is there any sense from Flowery Branch that Smitty et al recognize this? I'd have taken McDermott's aggressive 4-3 approach in a heartbeat, personally...Thanks!

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:30 PM)

Keep in mind, Smith comes from a defensive background and is very involved on that side of the ball. I don't think you can put it all on BVG.

chris(hungry as i speak) (greensboro NC)

sam what he is saying is u have to be on a winning team to get props......period

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:30 PM)

Pretty much.

Sam (Tampa)

NO PAT YOU HAVEN'T, I WILL LET IT GO WHEN YOU STOP LETTING YOUR PANTHERS HATE EFFECT YOUR LOGIC AND JOURNALISTIC INTEGRITY.

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:32 PM)

Win some games and I'll sing their praises. Ask Bucs fans how that process worked from last year to this year.

Karl (valdosta)

Pat, are you seeing my questions, because I don't exactly know how this thing works, it's my first time.

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:33 PM)

I'm seeing this one. Haven't seen any others.

Sam (Raleigh)

Bigger surprise Bucs going 10-6 or the Seahawks Knocking Saints out of the playoffs?

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:33 PM)

Seahawks knocking off Saints. Never thought that would happen.

Sharell (NCFalconFan)

I love our coach and waiting for his contract extension but with that said, will FALCON FANS still be talking about the lack of explosive plays on offense this time next year? I like our style but we can't seem to make the adjustment when it comes to playing offensive teams such as aints, philly and green bay, who are all on our sked next year. How stubborn is Smith?

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:35 PM)

Pretty stubborn. He might want to learn to adjust or else he'll turn into John Fox.

TBaway (St. Petersburg)

I can vouch for being a Bucs fan that sent hate-mail to PY last year. It sucked him telling us like it was. Don't worry Panthers fans...the time will pass.

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:35 PM)

Thanks. That's how it works. I can only work with what the team does.

Zach (Chape Hill)

I have a theory that you're in fact a die-hard Panther fan. Was this season as hard to watch as any?

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:36 PM)

It was hard to watch some good people in that organization suffer through a dismal season.

JM (Charlotte)

Who's mock draft do you agree with more? McShay's or Kiper's?

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:38 PM)

Way too early. Those things are going to change multiple times with the Senior Bowl, combine and private workouts.

Mike (Winston Salem, NC)

Have you heard anything on Jim Skipper?

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:39 PM)

No, I have not and that's surprising. I'm starting to wonder if Skip might think it's time to retire. Maybe that's why we haven't heard anything on him.

Matt (IL)

Which is the bigger need after DE for the bucs, LG, Safety, or a speed rb?

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:40 PM)

DE, without a doubt.

TBaway (St. Petersburg)

Do you like baseball at all, Pat (leading into my next question...do you ever attend Rays games)? Kinda neat that both teams are trying to do so much with so little and succeeding.

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:42 PM)

I follow the Rays, but only have been to a couple games. I'm a Red Sox fan from way back, but have sort of adopted Rays as second team. It's a long way from where I live to The Trop, so I usually just watch on tv.

Sam (Raleigh)

What do you think of $200 tickets to watch the Super Bowl from outside?

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:43 PM)

Are they really doing that? Wow, I'd say you're better off watching it in your living room and using the $200 to buy food and drinks and probably getting some change back.

Calvin (Virginia)

Pat, do you really think Brees had a better season than Ryan and Freeman? He was 2nd in the league in INT and single handedly lost the Browns and Cardinals games. There aren't really any knocks on the other 2 though.

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:45 PM)

It's hard to compare those three and you have to look at it from different angles. Brees didn't have his best year, but still threw for a lot of TDs and yards and his team won 11 games.

Karl (Valdosta)

I wonder if Mike Smith and Mike Mularkey will get together to open up the offense more, but to also make Matt the focal point of the offense. your thoughts...

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:45 PM)

I hope they do. I think they need to do that.

Mike (Orlando FL)

Does Davin Joseph start for the Bucs next season?

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:46 PM)

I think he stays.

joshie (tampa)

have you seen Matt Ryan improve over the past few years, i dunno he still looks like he did when he was a rookie to me. he seems like he doesn't get much better then when he was a rookie.

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:47 PM)

I think there has been definite improvement. But, like I just said, I'd like to see Falcons open things up for him a bit. Use more no-huddle and use the slot receiver more.

Rock Knuteney (Slidell, LA)

What do the Saints need more, Pass Rush or Running Game?

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:48 PM)

Pass rush and some more guys on defense who can tackle.

Ryan (College Park )

Pat, what do you think of the Falcons signing Charles Johnson to solidify their pass rush?

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:49 PM)

Well, let's wait and see if he actually makes it to free agency. I'm sure Panthers will try to keep him.

Mike (Winston Salem, NC)

Is it true there is no deadline on the franchise tag this year because of the CBA?

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:50 PM)

That's my understanding. If there's no deal by March 3, everything is frozen, except for the draft. There definitely will be a draft.

Andrew (Tupelo)

What do you think about Donovan McNabb in Carolina?

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:51 PM)

Personally, I'd love to see it. I think very highly of McNabb. But my guess is you won't see it happen. He doesn't fit with Carolina's youth movement.

chris(hungry as i speak) (greensboro NC)

next season....saints 9-7 atl 10-6 bucks 8-8 panthers 12-4.......any argument here

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:51 PM)

Stranger things have happened in the NFC South in the past. But I'm not making any projections in January!!

Greg (Albuquerque)

Pat, thanks for the answer on BVG/Smith...so does this mean the Falcons are doomed to fail against superior QBs in all playoff matchups? I mean, crossing ones fingers for "perfect execution" of a minimally complex gameplan borders on insanity.

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:53 PM)

Again, I think that's why Smith has to learn to adjust a bit. It's nice to have the basic concept of a system like Fox did with "run the ball on offense and stop the run on defense". That's a good start, but you have to be flexible, at least a little, depending on what you have that particular year and who you are playing.

Matt (IL)

Pat, who would you say Josh Freeman reminds you of? Has there ever been a guy that size with that much athleticism that can make all the throws with that kind of 4th qtr poise?

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:54 PM)

Roethlisberger, maybe. And Culpepper when he was having his good years. But Freeman has a chance to evolve into a league of his own.

Trent (Columbia)

Pat, will the Panthers have the best linebacker trio in the division if Thomas Davis comes back healthy? Davis, Beason, Anderson... I don't see a better group in the division.

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:55 PM)

Yeah, it would be tough to top that group if TD is healthy and you also factor in Dan Connor because he is from THE Pennsylvania State University!

dennis perret (NOLA)

todd macshay had mrak ingram falling all the way to new england at 26 or 28, why would the saints not take him at 24

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:56 PM)

I'd grab him in a heart beat at 24.

Calvin (Virginia)

Hey Pat, have you heard why the Bucs fired their OL coach? The line was hit pretty hard by injuries, and still played pretty well throughout the season.

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:56 PM)

Think there were some style and personality conflicts there.

Mike (Winston Salem, NC)

Any word on Deangelo or are we going to have to wait on the new CBA? I mean the dude is a stud and a former 1st rd pick. Surely the Panthers would just let him walk right? Franchise him or something please PANTHERS!

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:57 PM)

I don't think you'll see anything happen until there is a new CBA. At that point, I would expect the Panthers to make a strong attempt to keep DeAngelo.

Matt (IL)

DeAngelo would look great in pewter n red

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:58 PM)

DeAngelo would look good just about anywhere. He's a heck of a player and a good guy. All right, two minutes left in this chat.

Jeremy (Norfolk, VA)

Are there any rumblings about a team looking to trade up to the #1 pick - thereby giving the Panthers more picks?

Pat Yasinskas
  (2:00 PM)

Not yet. It's not like there's a clear-cut guy yet that somebody would want to trade up for. Also, the labor uncertainty could make teams hesitant to trade up. If there is some sort of rookie cap and a new deal is done before the draft, then there's a better chance that someone might want to move up.

Sharell (NCFalconFan)

I agree with Greg. I think Smith thinks so much of his philosphy that did get him 13 wins this year, not sure if we will see a lot of adjustments. Knowing what you know about Dimtroff, what do you think his conversation with Mike Smith is going this offseason.

Pat Yasinskas
  (2:02 PM)

Good question (as always). They work well together and I think both realize or will realize they need more explosive plays on offense and defense. Some of that involves adding personnel and some of it includes putting personnel in position to make those plays. They don't need to tear things down and start over. Just need a few tweaks.

JM (Charlotte)

Do you think Lafell and Gettis have proven that they can be solid WRs in this league?

Pat Yasinskas
  (2:03 PM)

Think they showed some very promising signs and I know the front office feels that way.

andy (charlotte)

will the players work out at team facilities? or stay away to prove there point?

Pat Yasinskas
  (2:03 PM)

They'll be locked out of the facilities.

Steve (winston-salem, nc)

what do you think of ricky proehl becoming a WR coach for the PAnthers?

Pat Yasinskas
  (2:04 PM)

Would love to see it. I think Ricky would be a great coach.

chris(hungry as i speak) (greensboro NC)

see u later pat wish the panthers luck

Pat Yasinskas
  (2:05 PM)

Thanks. Good luck to the Panthers and all NFC South teams. Thanks to all for stopping by. We'll see you next week.