Print and Go Back ESPN: SportsNation

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

Mac (Charlotte)

Hey Pat pull some strings and get me up to the negotiations because as far as im concerned if there is lockout we fans are affected also and besides were the ones paying most of the NFL salaries

Pat Yasinskas
  (12:57 PM)

I'm with you. Truly wish I could do something. I really fear they're going to ruin what has been a big thing. All right, chat is up and running.

Big Dan (Tampa)

Pat, besides the fact that it would be be fun to have Tikki play on the same team with his brother, would it be practical for theBucs even to consider it?

Pat Yasinskas
  (12:59 PM)

Makes for great speculation because of the Ronde-Tiki connection and that makes it a story for the moment. But I think it's a long shot. Bucs are building with youth. Tiki doesn't fit that profile. If anything, I think he might end up in Pittsburgh with Tomlin.

Blake Nichols (Natchitoches, LA)

Any word on the latest with Reggie Bush?

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:00 PM)

No, all quiet so far. No real reason for them to rush anything on that front. And, if we do have lockout, everything will be frozen and they'll have to deal with Reggie situation after lockout ends.

Dave (Virginia)

Pat, it seems that no one will win in this strike. Why should the fans be held hostage in all of this? Do you think if we go into the season without the players that the fans will come back based upon our economy?

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:02 PM)

That's why I'm saying they may ruin a good thing. They're picking the worst economic climate of our lifetime to do this. It has potential to really turn off fans the way baseball's labor problems did back in the 90s. I just did a post where I wrote about Adam Schein and Rich Gannon saying they think both sides are underestimating the fans and the economy. I think they're right.

Jake (bloomington)

Who's a guy you like to be this year's Mike Williams/LeGarrette Blount as the steals of the draft and undrafted?

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:04 PM)

One name I wrote about on blog about a week ago is Vidal Hazelton. He's a WR who may go undrafted. He's coming off an ACL and doesn't have a lot of college film because he transferred from USC to Cincy and dealt with several injuries. But he was top WR coming out of high school and has tons of potential.

Mac (Charlotte)

Also I feel they all are getting paid too much anyways, I'll set them straight

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:05 PM)

That's a whole different can of worms. One thing I will say is, yes, players make a lot of money. But they are putting their bodies through incredible abuse that catches up to many of them later. I think they need to be paid well.

Jacob (Michigan)

So if we get a full year of lost football, how about ESPN put together a team and play against whatever guys sports illustrated can wrangle up? Maybe give them 'home field' to even the odds?

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:06 PM)

There you go! We'll take on anybody, anywhere and at any time.

Bryant (Virginia)

Any update on Kareem Huggins?

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:07 PM)

From what I've heard, of all the Bucs' injuries, that's one they're most concerned about. In other words, I wouldn't go projecting him into a big role right now.

Gur (London)

Good afternoon Pat! In your estimation, who's the most intelligent player on each of the NFC South's teams?

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:08 PM)

Easy answer would be Brees, Freeman and Matt Ryan. But, beyond QBs and just going off top of my head, I'd throw out names like Jon Beason, Ryan Kalil, Ronde Barber, Jonathan Vilma I'm probably overlooking a couple, but that's my quick answer.

Stephen (Baton Rouge)

As an LSU fan I'd love to see Peterson be the #1 pick. As a Saints fan I'd hate to have to face him twice a year. With the quarterbacks in this division, what's more important, a strong D line or secondary?

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:10 PM)

Check out story that went up on blog this morning on the pros and cons of taking Peterson at No. 1.

Bryant (Virginia)

If a lockout happens, are the coaches also locked out or are they considered to be on the owners side? I ask because if a lockout occurs and the coaches are also locked out could coaches and players get together and practice?

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:11 PM)

Head coaches definitely have jobs and wouldn't be allowed to have any contact with players. It's a little more hazy on assistants. Different teams are approaching it differently. Some will lay off assistants or at least take away some of their pay. But my understanding is assistants won't be able to interact with players either.

JP (Inverness, FL)

Hey Pat, any notes on if some NFC south family will be effected by the earthquake? And to any who have friends or family out there our thoughts here in the NFC south are with you.

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:12 PM)

Not aware of any at this point. But I'll echo you and say thoughts are with everyone impacted by the disaster. Kind of puts the whole labor thing into perspective.

Keanu Reeves (The Matrix)

I love the idea of throwing replacement players on the field. Somebody call Shane Falco.

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:14 PM)

Still think that was one of worst sports movies ever. Actually, I was in Ravens stadium covering a game against the Panthers (think it might have been a preseason game) when they were shooting crowd shots for that movie.

Scott (Northglenn, CO)

At the end of the day, if Carolina is convinced that Gabbert or Cam is a franchise QB, they have to bypass possibly higher rated talent, right?

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:14 PM)

Yep, if they really believe one of them is a franchise guy, they've got to go get him.

Jared (Chicago, IL / Tampa, FL)

Good afternoon Pat, I read a posting by your fellow ESPN Writer Tim Kavanagh that stated that the Bucs are concerned with the progress of Brian Price's recovery, then went on to mention that Price's "hamstrings are attached to his pelvis by screws -- which is rare for professional athletes, so there is not much of a track record regarding his body's ability to withstand the explosive rigors of the position." do you think that he will be fully recovered by training camp (If that even happens)? I know its way to early to determine how Price will preform but do you think we need more depth at DT in case he is not able to come back?

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:16 PM)

From what I've heard, Price's recovery is coming along well. So is McCoy's. They've got pretty good depth beyond that with Roy Miller, Al Woods and a couple other young guys that played all right when given a chance there last year.

Richard (Ann Arbor)

How much longer can Michael Turner endure 300-350 carry seasons?

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:17 PM)

Not much longer. Think they ran him more than they really wanted to last season. That's why I'd get another RB in this draft. Doesn't have to be first round, but somewhere in first four rounds.

Bryant (Virginia)

How long is Blount under contract?

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:18 PM)

Off top of my head because I don't have time to look it up during a chat, but I'm pretty sure it's just through 2011 season.

Gur (London)

You often get asked which QB from the division you'd pick if starting a franchise from scratch. What about which coach? (Thinking for long-term success)

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:19 PM)

Mike Smith -- and that's following your guideline of long-term success.

Scott (Northglenn, CO)

What kind of WR is most needed by the Falcons - a deep threat, a playmaker, a slot guy...of course obvious is an all-in-one like Julio Jones...

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:20 PM)

I think just a slot guy. Roddy's great. Like him or not, Michael Jenkins plays the exact role Falcons want him to. Think they need to add a slot guy who can stretch field some to go with those guys.

JD (Tampa)

I know that Raheem seems to love Josh Johnson as a back up but do you see the Bucs drafting a midround QB to upgrade depth? If so where do you think we would do it?

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:23 PM)

I'd like to see them get a better backup somewhere. Josh Johnson filling in for Josh Freeman for an extended period wouldn't be good, in my eyes. Maybe somebody like Pat Devlin in later rounds or sign a free agent with some experience. That's just my take. But I think Raheem probably sticks with Josh Johnson.

Scott (Northglenn, CO)

Would pursuing a Turner clone like Mike Bush be ideal, or getting a change of pace guy? Isn't that what Norwood is though?

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:24 PM)

I'd stay away from a Turner clone and get a speed guy to mix with him and Snelling. Norwood never could stay healthy enough to make an impact. Get somebody like Norwood, who can stay healthy, and I think that's the best route.

Jaquay (Charlotte)

How do the Panthers feel about Blaine Gabbert?

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:26 PM)

They're not tipping their hand yet. They're busy doing their homework and their doing even more homework than usual. My thinking at this point is Gabbert doesn't have as much upside as Newton, but he doesn't have as much downside. If Panthers decide to draft QB, I'd say Gabbert. But, personally, I'd rather see them get a transition QB and draft Peterson or one of the DLs.

Neil (Jackson, MS)

I've got no problem with Smith as the team builder, but I'd want Payton if I had to win a playoff game. Agree or disagree?

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:27 PM)

Agree. That's exactly how I'd frame it. Smith for long term, Payton if you have to go out and win one game.

Kevin (Lexington,KY)

Pat, Do you see the Glazers giving up on the Tampa bay area and trying to get out of their RayJay lease? Possibly for L.A.?

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:30 PM)

No, I think they've got a good deal and a great stadium in Tampa. NFL wants a franchise in Tampa for many reasons, including future Super Bowls. There are other franchises that would be way ahead of Bucs in line for LA -- if LA can ever get a stadium act together. Personally, I doubt LA's going to pull that off anytime soon.

Jay (Tampa)

Why do people always ask if the Glazers are going to uproot the Bucs from Tampa, they have seemed very committed to the Tampa Bay are since day 1?

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:32 PM)

That's what I always say. Glazers might not be best owners in the world, but they're not the worst. They're certainly way better than what Bucs had in past. I don't really understand why so many Tampa Bay fans seem to have so much venom for the Glazers.

Nick (NC)

I understand you wanting them to draft one of the DLs but I dont think Ron Rivera is sold on them and I think he wants to start the with his own Franchise QB.

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:33 PM)

I understand that they need a franchise QB. But I'm not sure there is a true franchise QB in this draft. Maybe there is. Or maybe they force their thinking to believe one of those guys is a franchise QB and they turn him into Alex Smith.

JD (Tampa)

If the Bucs for some crazy reason decided to sign Tiki after the CBA is in place would that mean the Bucs are wiping their hand of Caddy? I know that Tiki goes against the youth movement in Tampa but do you think he would be an upgrade over Caddy as a 3rd down/ pass protection back?

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:35 PM)

I think it would be crazy. Tiki's 35 or 36 and has been out of football for a while. Caddy's not a feature back anymore, but I'd take him as a third-down back way before Tiki.

Michael (Orlando)

In one of your posts you talked about Reggis Benn and the posibillity of him not being healthy at the begginning of the season... If he cant go do the Bucs need to add another WR and if so who should they target?

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:36 PM)

Actually, from what I've been told, Benn is ahead of schedule right now and they're optimistic he'll be ready for season.

D (Florida)

Arent all these FA talks and moves mute until the CBA gets takin care of?

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:37 PM)

Yes, very true. But I'd rather talk about speculative or hypothetical personnel moves than talk about CBA negotiations. It's much more interesting.

Brian (Lexington, NC)

Come on man answer my question. Do you think it's time for ATL to trade up in the first round to take a possibly more talented player than at their current pick such as Miller, Quinn or possibly even Jones. I don't see how you can be an explosive team without explosive personnel decisions in the draft and free agency.

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:39 PM)

Possible. Dimitroff isn't afraid to be aggressive. But the CBA and possible rookie pay scale could impact how easy or difficult it is to trade up. And don't rule out a splash or two in free agency, if we have it. Dimitroff has history of that too.

Stephen (Baton Rouge)

If there is no CBA in place, could there be some "player to be named later" or cash traded for draft pics?

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:40 PM)

My understanding is no.

Tom (Auburn )

Why don't you think Cam can be a franchise QB?

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:42 PM)

I think potentially he could be franchise QB. Has raw talent to be an all-time great. But I also think there is downside there, questions about background issues and fact he really only had one year as a college starter. Like I said, big upside and big downside. All depends on if Panthers think he's worth rolling the dice.

Adam (Ocala, Fl)

Aside from the fact that it goes against everything the Bucs have been doing for the last two years, if I am not mistaken Tikki is not known for being the great lockerroom guy like Ronde so what would be the point?

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:42 PM)

Exactly.

Nathan (Orange County)

Am I wrong for thinking that Tampa should sign Tiki to a 1 year deal for the sole purpose of getting Media attention? He may not be a super star but any player who was once deemed as significant by any means comes out of retirement and happens to have a Twin brother playing on the same team he signs for, it could bring in some much needed media attention to the now deserving Bucs. Thoughts?

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:44 PM)

If you make a move just for media attention, you're making a mistake. Bucs will continue to get more media attention focused on Freeman, Williams and Blount as they continue to develop. That's the kind of non-manufactured media attention you should want.

Tim (Clayton, NC)

I haven't heard anything about the Panthers going after Carson Palmer or Kevin Kolb on any network other than our chats. Is there any rumor they will go after one of them?

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:45 PM)

Really nothing they can do as far as a trade until CBA is resolved.

FormerlyStShockey (Jackson, MS)

is it me or are the past few days indicative of a decertification and lockout? i for one feel really pessimistic about this!!!! not too happy!

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:47 PM)

I'm with you. Will let you in on a little secret. We've got a plan if there is a lockout. We're going to take a look at how it will impact each team. I've already got it written for NFC South and am ready to push the button if we get word there officially is a lockout. Heck, I'm even pinch-hitting for NFC East right now and have items written and ready to go on Dallas, Washington, Giants and Eagles. I'm bracing for the worst.

CJ (West Lafayette, IN)

How much do teams listen to their players who ask them to draft certain college players?

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:48 PM)

Some, but not always a big factor. Bigger deal is when team likes a guy from a certain college and then goes to one of players already on roster that knows him and asks him about the guy. Team listens more in that situation.

Joel. Binghamton ny [via mobile]

Hey pat, your thoughts on Carolina taking Marcel Darius as the number 1 pick. I think he fits Rivera's scheme better than Fairly

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:48 PM)

Seems to be growing sentiment that he might have moved ahead of Fairley.

Tom (NC)

Lets say Blaine Gabbert Blows the Scouts and Coachs out with his ability at his pro day and then starts to look like a Franchise type player do you see the Panthers then taking him?

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:49 PM)

If he does all that, very possible.

Sam (Raleigh)

Of Lafell, Edwards and Gettis who has the most upside of the young Panther's WR's?

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:50 PM)

Panthers folks like LaFell a lot and I agree. But scout I talked to the other day is really, really high on Gettis.

Adam (Ocala, Fl)

I dont think manufactured attention will sell tickets in Tampa if the Rays and Ligthing who top teams cant sell tickets. Didnt you say that the Yankees are not selling out? I think the Bucs shoudl stay the course and try to get another great draft.

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:52 PM)

Agree. I went to two Yankees games last week. First one was a day game with Astros and that was nowhere close to sold out. I also went Friday night when they hosted Red Sox and that was full. But that's Yankees/Red Sox and you're only talking 11,000 or 12,000 seats in that stadium. Bucs just need to stay the course of continuing to work to put good young product on the field -- and hope the economy comes back.

Corey (D.C.)

Can you please not post any more tiki questions...after mine.

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:53 PM)

Deal.

Gur (London)

Do One Buc Place want Ronde to stay involved in a coaching or FO role once he finally hangs up his cleats?

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:54 PM)

We're not there yet. That will be more up to Ronde when the time comes. Sometimes it's tough for a big-name player who has made huge money to be an assistant coach and make relatively little money. A guy like Ronde could have other options in broadcasting. Pretty much depends what his goals are.

J.P. (Kenner, La.)

If there was a poll that asked people around the league who they would choose out of Smith and Payton as their head coach, short-term and long-term, I would have to say Payton would win in a landslide. How can you pick the coach that has had LESS success?

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:56 PM)

I'm not saying Payton's a bad coach by any means. The guy has won a Super Bowl and a lot of games. But I answered the question about long term and went with Smith. Think about this, Smith has had winning seasons in every year he's been head coach. Payton hasn't.

Aaron (Dade City)

Do you do a mock draft like everyone else? if so who do you got at the 20 spot for Tampa

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:58 PM)

Hey, long time no see. Hope things are going well up in DC. I need to get up that way next week and might stop by. Anyway, we'll do a blogger's mock draft as draft approaches and I'll be doing picks for all NFC South teams. We'll see how it shakes out in the first 19 picks. But right now I'd say I'd probably grab the best available DE. All right, couple more questions before we end the chat.

Tom (Tampa)

Pat, I think the bad blood for Glazers stems from different things that have transpired over the years including using tax money to build that extravagant training facility on Himes. I know I'm reminded of that driving to work everyday.

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:59 PM)

Point taken. I'd like to hear other reasons why fans are so down on Glazers. We're about to end chat, so feel free to send your thoughts to my mailbag.

Richard (Ann Arbor)

Will the vote of confidence inherent in a 5-yr contract help Hartley's consistency?

Pat Yasinskas
  (2:01 PM)

I think that was the intention when they did that contract. They think he's a fantastic talent, but has been a little erratic. Think they might be looking to try to settle him down.

CJ (West Lafayette, IN)

Do you drink a cup of coffee and listen to soothing music while you do these chats?

Pat Yasinskas
  (2:02 PM)

No, I don't drink coffee at all. I've got a Pepsi and am watching earthquake news on CNN.

Ryan (Tampa)

Haven't heard many mocks about Tampa lately. Are they still projecting Kerrigan or Clayborn?

Pat Yasinskas
  (2:02 PM)

Those are the most common scenarios I've seen.

Aaron (Dade City)

Thanks Pat have a great and safe weekend

Pat Yasinskas
  (2:04 PM)

All right. We'll call it a chat. Thanks to all for stopping by. Let's all hope for the best on the lockout front and on the earthquake front. Again, I think the tragedy of the earthquake kind of puts the labor situation into perspective. Hard to feel sorry for bunch of billionaires and millionaires when you've got a crisis like this playing out.