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March 18, 1:00 PM ET
Chat with Pat Yasinskas

dennis perret (nola)

hey pat lets do this!!!!!!!!!

Chad (Las Vegas)

Pat, I REALLY think Carolina should take Patrick Peterson #1. We know there is no CBA but it is almost certain that their will be a rookie wage scale. You won't break the bank signing Peterson and you can get a really good QB in Rd 2 that if he doesn't work out you don't have the stigma of a busted franchise QB that will set them back another 3-5 years. What do you think?

Pat Yasinskas
  (12:56 PM)

Yep, let's do it. Fire away. We're up and running. Happy Friday to all.

Pat Yasinskas
  (12:57 PM)

Going back to Chad's question, I'd have no problem with them taking Peterson. He's best player in draft. But I think they're going QB, though. And they can't get one in second round at this point because they don't have second round pick.

Chad (Las Vegas)

Pat, is it time to change your profile picture? I saw you on one of the ESPN networks last week and this picture looks like it is quite a few years ago.

Pat Yasinskas
  (12:58 PM)

Dude, you saw me a few weeks ago when I was like five days out of the hosptial and wasn't looking or feeling myself.

Chris Fiegler (Latham,NY)

What did you think of the NFL suspending Players for flagrant Hits in the Head & Neck Area?

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:00 PM)

Well, it's a physical game and things happen. But league is making it clear they're going to be even more stringent on it. As long as they're up front about it now and are consistent in how they enforce their rules, that's fine.

Mark (Texas)

Is it true that Josh Freeman has organized some type of off-season workouts for the Offense and if so will they have trainers with them?

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:01 PM)

There was talk that Freeman would do that. But they won't have any team trainers or coaches there. They're not allowed. Can only be players.

Dan (MN)

Pat, how much should we expect the Panthers draft philosophy to change with the new coaching staff?

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:03 PM)

I'm getting more and more vibes that things are changing in Carolina. Sensing they're not gonna be same old conservative Panthers. That's why I'm thinking they're gonna go ahead and get a QB at No. 1.

Adam (NC)

It seems like people who cover the NFL seem to be split on if Deangelo Williams will remain in Carolina. What if your take?

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:04 PM)

I think he stays. I mean there's uncertainty about his exact situation because of labor issues. But I think he wants to stay and Panthers want to keep him.

Cory (ATL)

Hey Pat, thanks for doing the chat. I keep hearing the Falcons are likely to take a DE in the 1st round, but if I had my choice, i would rather see us a take an OT, especially if it's someone who can play LT. What are your thoughts?

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:05 PM)

Well, I think DE is the priority. But they're at 27, so there are no guarantees that a good DE will be there. If they have to go in another direction, LT certainly would be one area I can consider.

Ollie (Townsend, DE)

The NFL and NFLPA are essentially fighting over MY money. As fans, it is OUR money. I buy the NFL Sunday Ticket every year, own a multitude of memorabilia and jerseys, and travel over 400 miles one way to go to football games 2-3 times a year. If they can't settle this VERY SOON, they will no longer have my money to fight over. The more FANS that start to feel this way, maybe they won't have anything left to fight over.

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:07 PM)

Agree, I feel your pain. It's a bad scene and you as fans are the victims here. But I think you're right that fans are going to get sick of this very quickly. I know that happened with me in the baseball labor strife in the 90s. I used to be a big baseball fan, now, not so much.

Nick (Atlanta, GA)

Pat, you are the best blogger! If you had to pick one position the Falcons would address first in the draft, would you choose defensive end or a speed wide receiver?

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:08 PM)

I'd have to go DE. Seems like some of these speed receivers they've been working out are guys they can get a few rounds later.

Joe (Myrtle Beach, SC)

Any chance this year gets played under old rules (i.e. no rookie wage scale)? Mr. Luck would have to be disappointed if that happend.

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:09 PM)

At this point, I'd say anything is possible and that could happen.

Chad (Las Vegas)

The Saints do need help on D, especially at DE and LB. That being said their recent history has proven that they just take the best player available at the time. Can they afford to do that this year or must they go D with their rd 1 pick, especially since they only have 5 picks.

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:10 PM)

Don't think they have to lock into anything. They can still fill a need or two in free agency or trades, if there are free agency or trades. Loomis has been good at balancing draft, free agency and trades and using all avenues to get best players. So I think he'll stay flexible.

JM (Charlotte)

Do you think that these local reporters are right when they say it'll be Cam Newton with the #1 pick?

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:11 PM)

Well, I don't think anyone has come out and definitely reported the Panthers are taking Newton. But that seems to be leading scenario right now.

Jeff (Huntsville)

If the lockout lingers, do you see many players going to the UFL or CFL for a year?

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:13 PM)

Have seen a couple already go to Arena League and we may see a little more of that. But I don't think it will be too widespread. I can't guess exact dates, but I still think this thing will get done without any regular-season games being missed.

Calvin (Newport News, VA)

Hey Pat. Do you feel like the Bucs should consider looking at another receiver? I feel like Williams came along fine, but Benn didn't have a great rookie season (2nd round pick, 395 yards 2 TD's). I'm not saying replace Benn because he still has time to prove himself, but I wouldn't say he's above having some competition come in.

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:15 PM)

Maybe take a shot on a WR later in the draft. But I'm not down on Benn all that much. He was starting to come on a little before he got hurt. Coaches still like him and they've got a few other guys there as well. I wouldn't panic and draft WR early, but wouldn't hurt to add another a bit later in draft.

Larry (Tampa, FL)

Do you think that the courts will order the lockout lifted on or around April 6th?

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:16 PM)

Really not my area of expertise. I'd just be guessing on this one.

dennis perret (new orleans)

saints under loomis and sean peyton have done a realy good job with undrafted free agents. with the labor problem willthe saints be able to sign these kind of players after the draft

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:17 PM)

I will double check on this. But, right now, it's my understanding they won't be able to sign those guys while the lockout is in place.

WyattBurp (Chicago)

Panthers have lots of new coaches: HC Rivera, OC Chudzinski, and DC McDermott: What to you expect from that group?

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:19 PM)

Think it will be refreshing. All have good reputations and I think Rivera's not going to be nearly as conservative as Fox. Think that's good for Panthers and their fans.

Paul Brotherton (Charlotte, NC)

Which FA QB would be the best mentor, if the Panthers do indeed decide to take one of the QB's with the #1? McNabb, Palmer?

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:21 PM)

That's always a tough one when you're asking guys who've been starters their entire careers to be mentors to young guys. Lot of veteran guys have too much ego to be able to handle that really well. Just a couple names of guys that were never cut out for that role from the past -- Doug Flutie and Jeff Garcia. You've got to really look at a guy's personality if you're going to ask him to accept a mentor's role.

Scott (Cocoa Beach)

Maybe along with a new CBA, the owners should evaluate this blackout rule. I'm over 150 miles away from Tampa Stadium and still get blacked out for Bucs games because I'm looped in with the Orlando market. The NFL needs to start thinking more about their fans, than how they divide up their fans' money.

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:22 PM)

Yep, I'm not a big fan of the blackout rule. Would like to see it changed, softened or eliminated altogether.

CP (Brooklyn, NY)

Pat, don't you think with players missing more conditioning this off-season (if the lockout stretches on), there is a very good chance we could see a serious spike in injuries? It always seems like guys that miss training camp or OTAs always turn up on the injury report... Not to mention guys that got injured late in the season i.e. Benn from T.B.

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:23 PM)

Very possibly. But just to turn the tables, lots of guys feel like OTAs and training camps are too long now and lead to injuries. They might have a point on that.

Tim (Athens)

Do you think taking a QB in this year's draft before pick 10 is a reach for any team?

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:24 PM)

No and I'll limit it to the Panthers here. I didn't always believe this or think it would happen, but it sure seems like they're going to go QB. Think they've realized they've got to go out and take a shot on a franchise guy while they're in a spot to get a franchise QB -- or at least a possible franchise QB.

Free (Pittsburgh)

Hey Pat, do you think the bucs will actually consider taking a look at Tiki Barber once we have free agency again despite there youth movement?

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:26 PM)

No, I really don't. Think we in the media, myself included, have given that story some life because of the Ronde angle. And Raheem hasn't shut the door, but I suspect that's more out of courtesy to Ronde and Tiki. But Tiki (mainly because of age) really doesn't fit what Bucs are doing.

Scott (Northglenn, CO)

Do you think Marques Colston is a top 10 WR?

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:28 PM)

Right now, no. Colston's very, very good, but he doesn't get to put up the huge numbers because Payton and Brees spread ball around so much. Now, I believe Colston might have top-10 talent and could put up bigger numbers in another system. But I think he's quite happy playing the role he does in New Orleans and being part of a winning team. He's one of the few WRs I've come across who isn't all about stats and himself.

Chad (Las Vegas)

Aren't the owners putting themselves in a BAD position by not getting a deal done before the draft? They can't trade for players or negotiate with any player during/before the draft without a CBA.

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:29 PM)

I think so. I think everyone has put themselves in a bad position. This thing could have and should have been worked out already.

Paul Brotherton (Charlotte, NC)

If the Panthers draft Cam Newton, what do you think about him and Jimmy having a wonderlic-off to see who gets to wear #2? First one to score a 25, wins the rights to the number. Ha!

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:30 PM)

Good line! I can't really add to that one.

Chad (Las Vegas)

Why wouldn't a 1 or 2 year deal for Tiki not fit into the Bucs plans. Which would you prefer; some veteran leadership on a young team at a position that takes a beating or the 53rd man on a roster that will see no playing time and can still be put on the practice squad should any injuries occur?

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:32 PM)

Chad, yeah, Tiki is a veteran. But at no point in his career was he ever accused of being anything close to a leader. Go back and read some quotes from some of his former teammates in New York. He was never a well-liked guy or a big favorite in the locker room.

Larry (Tampa, FL)

Pat, assume that the lockout is lifted prior to the draft and trades can be made. Cinn calls Carolina and offers Palmer for a swap of 1st round draft picks and a 4th. Do you make that deal?

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:33 PM)

I do make that deal. I'd rather see them go with a transition guy like Palmer for a year or two. I think you plug Palmer in and that team is suddenly respectable. However, that's only what I'd do. I think the Panthers are going to draft a QB.

Calvin (Newport News, VA)

Thanks Pat, lovin the Tampa questions. Do you think Tampa will be more active in free agency this year (when it comes around)? They keep having cap space, and keep not making big free agent moves. Since they're winning hopefully it will be easier to draw players in.

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:36 PM)

If they want to get free agents, they certainly have a lot on their side. Tampa's always been a place players want to come -- no state income tax (very important to players and agents), great stadium with a grass field that's one of the best in the league and good weather. Throw in the fact the team appears to be on the rise and lots of players will want to come here. But, seriously, the way the Bucs have been running things in recent years, I don't see them going crazy in free agency.

CP (Brooklyn, NY)

Biggest NFC South surprise this off-season is?

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:36 PM)

So far or projecting ahead? Little tough to give you one so far because things have kind of been frozen.

Francis (West Palm Beach)

Hey Pat, do you think Plaxico Burress would make a good fit anywhere in the nfc south?

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:38 PM)

Not really. Jerry Richardson wouldn't touch him and I don't think Arthur Blank would either. Tampa Bay doesn't have huge need at WR and Burress' age works against him. New Orleans is team in division that generally is willing to take some chances and Brees could keep him in line. But it's not like the Saints have much need at WR.

WyattBurp (Chicago)

Bucs RB LeGarette Blount was awesome, last season -- have they provided a contract sufficent to retain his services?

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:39 PM)

Off top of my head, I think he remains under contract through this season. If lockout ends and Bucs are smart, I'd go ahead and lock him up with a nice contract.

Paul Brotherton (Charlotte, NC)

If/When football starts, wanna' come to Charlotte and catch a Panthers game? I normally have 2 extra spots to bring people to the games. Sadly, no box seats though.

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:40 PM)

I'm sure I'll be there some. But I've got a pretty nice seat in press box, which is one of the better ones in NFL. In fact, it's looking like I'll be in Charlotte for the draft. Looking forward to that. Not much better than spring in the Carolinas and Panthers are obviously holding the keys to the draft.

Scott (40,000 feet over Ohio on my way home)

2-14 was brutl for us as fans in Carolina last year. I may sound like a homer, but with the core talent on this team and new injection from the coaching staff hires, I think a Carson Palmer additiion would be a huge step in respectability over night. Is there any reailistic chance Plamer ends up in Charlotte?

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:42 PM)

That's what I'd really like to see. If not Palmer, McNabb or Kolb would be fine in my eyes. But I think the Panthers are going to draft QB at No. 1. Not what I'd do, but I think it's what they're going to do.

Paul (United Kingdom)

Hey Pat - IF (BIG if) there is a new CBA, prior to April 28, w/a Rookie Pay Scale in it would it be in place for THIS years draft? How do you think that might affect any draft day trades knowing Top 10-15 picks might not cost so much to sign players....think some teams might be more willing to move up?

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:43 PM)

Yes, absolutely. Think that could make teams a lot more willing to trade up than in the past.

Z (Atlanta )

What would say the chances are that 3 of the 4 NFC south teams select a defensive end?

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:43 PM)

Pretty darn good. Wrote a column about that topic yesterday. It's still on the blog. Just scroll down a little way.

WyattBurp (Chicago)

I have to say that Bucs HC Raheem Morris was impressive, last season. How do Bucs fans feel about what he's done with the team?

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:44 PM)

You'd have to ask fans for their take. But I think Raheem did a really nice job and grew as a coach from Year 1 to Year 2.

Z (Atlanta )

I'm seriously convinced that the Falcons should trade up, anywhere from 17-19 in order to secure a pass rusher. What do you think Pat?

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:45 PM)

Well, that would leap them over Saints and Bucs, which are two teams that very well could be looking at DEs. Dimitroff has shown willingness to be aggressive when needed, so I wouldn't rule it out.

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:46 PM)

Hey, gotta tell you all, I'm EXTREMELY impressed. It's 1:45 and I haven't seen a single question about NCAA tournament. Good job. Let's keep it up.

CP (Brooklyn, NY)

How about so far and projected surprises? Give me what you got, it's going to be a slow off-season or so it seems...

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:48 PM)

Having a tough time with suprises so far. But I'll project one and say we Steve Smith traded out of Carolina. Just a hunch more than anything.

Cmore (Charltte NC)

Do the Panthers keep the #1 pick next year if we have no football season this year?

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:49 PM)

I get that question a lot. Logic would say so. But I haven't been able to get anybody in NFL office to flat out say. Don't think they really have thought that far ahead or at least put in a firm plan.

John (Normal, IL)

Second question (if you can squeeze it): Post-draft, are teams NOT allowed to bring in rookie draft picks for mini-camps, provide playbooks, anything? Just wondering how much value a rookie will be next season if his first day of exposure to an organization is in August/September, versus April.

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:50 PM)

Yep, that's the way I understand it as far as rookie camps and minicamps. Not certain on the playbooks, though.

D (metairie,la)

having a huge crawfish boil during the same time tehy will be in town for the meetings.it will be right there at the park next to the saints training facility.you should stop by and enjoy some new orleans food at its finest

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:51 PM)

I just might do that. Thanks for the invite.

Kevin (Atl)

Will the falcons get passed the first playoff game this year or will Matt Ryan be known for a good regular season but never winning in post season

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:52 PM)

Matt Ryan's gonna be fine. Give the Falcons a speed receiver, a speed back and a strong pass rusher and I think they'll have no problem taking the next step.

Larry (Tampa, FL)

Pat, in reference to my prior question. IF Cinn traded Palmer to the Panthers for a swap of 1st's and a 4th, they could still draft a QB at Cinn's old slot (the 4th pick) and probably get either Gabbert or Newton. Think the Carolina front office might try that?

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:53 PM)

Hmmm, hadn't thought of it in those terms. Gut reaction is that I like it.

Jake (Durham)

If Gabbert does well this weekend, and they dont trade-- Dont you think he would fit the franchise better when it comes to overall image JR wants? -- I am referring to what seems like red flags wi Cams attitude towards authority. --

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:54 PM)

In the past, and as recently as a couple of weeks ago, I would say yes. But I'm hearing Newton has pretty much satisfactorily answered their questions and passed their background test.

Paul (Charlotte, NC)

I live 5 blocks from Bank of America Stadium. What's your favorite restaurant in CLT? Expensive and inexpensive.

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:55 PM)

Used to be Frankie's and McIntosh's, but, sadly, I heard both have gone out of business.

tom (orlando)

Pat, hypothetical question here, but what if a player is married to a team trainer? (Hey, it's possible!) How would that work as far as no contact with team coaches or trainers?

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:57 PM)

Good hypothetical question!! Would think NFL might give a little flexibility on that one. But this thing is so crazy and so ugly, that I could see them not allowing contact. All right, couple more questions.

Shannon Fray (Raleigh NC)

i guess im banned thanks pat

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:58 PM)

Fire it again. I don't think I saw your question. I don't see them all.

Z (Atlanta)

Who's your personal favorite prospect in the draft?

Pat Yasinskas
  (2:02 PM)

I'll be a bit of a homer and go back to my PA roots. I'll say Delaware QB Patrick Devlin. He was better than Matt Ryan in high school. Went to Penn State and lost out a very close competition to Darryl Clark because Joe always favors the veteran. Develin then transferred to Delaware. Kid can play. Not saying he's first-round material or anything close. But I think some team could get a nice surprise with him in the fourth or fifth round.

John (Atlanta)

If the Panterhs draft a QB #1 do they intend ot have an open competition or just start the guy? Seems to me if you take a guy#1 he should be starting...

Pat Yasinskas
  (2:03 PM)

That's generally been my opinion. But I liked what the Bucs did with Freeman his rookie season. They made it clear they didn't want him starting anytime before they came back from that London game at midseason. That ended up being a smart move.

Tim (Athens)

Time watch some basketball Pat?

Pat Yasinskas
  (2:06 PM)

Sounds like a plan. Thanks to all for stopping by. Pleasantly surprised attendance was so good with basketball going on. Shows that even in a lockout and a quiet time, NFL remains No. 1. All right, enjoy the basketball and have a great weekend. I'm heading to New Orleans on Sunday. League meeting officially starts Monday and I'll bring you all the NFC South stuff. But we might even have some before meeting even starts. Sounds like I'll be getting together with an NFC South coach whose name rhymes with "Ike Mith" Sunday afternoon or evening.