Love your insights Pat! Die Hard Saints Fan! It seems like Saints' fans never quite get the full story with injuries from Sean Payton, was wondering why you think that was?
Payton's not much different from most coaches. They're all guarded about giving away information that they think could put them at a "competitive disadvantage". All right, we're up and running early. Fire away.
I've been reading reports of Clausen playing very good in practice and finally throwing downfield and not just short stuff. Is there any chance he wins and keeps the starting job long term. What percent would you guess of this happening 1% 10% 30%?
My guess is Cam wins the job if he's even half-way decent in the preseason games. Panthers want to go with Cam.
Hey Pat. With the likely loss of Gettis for the year, could the Panthers be in the trade market for Lee Evans (who is reportedly on the block)? If not, who else is out there that they could look at? Thanks!
They're not looking to trade for Lee Evans. They'll wait and see who else comes available later in the preseason, but I do expect them to bring in another receiver with some experience.
Hey Pat I'm a die heart Tampa Bay fan and I was wondering why didn't the Bucs make a splash in free agency? We had the most money to spend in the league and need help in certain positions (safety, linebacker, back-up running back etc) what gives? I was proud and a little surprised how well we did last season but with the money available it seems like we could have made our team a lot better a lot faster, your thoughts?
Their plan is to keep the team good for the long term. That's why they spent big money to keep Davin Joseph and Quincy Black and I think you'll see them extend contracts of some of their other young players so that they never even get close to hitting free agency.
Great job covering the NFC South, Pat. I'm a transplanted Saints fan living in Houston. Judging from what you saw at camps so far this year, I'm interested in your opinion on who will win the starting OLB positions come regular season. I'm a big fan of Jonathan Casillas, and hoping Martez Wilson shines. We need some youth and athleticism at the position, in my opinion. Your thoughts?
Looks like Shanle and Herring for now and Casillas could rotate in. Martez is very athletic, but hasn't picked up the system yet. They're going to bring him along slowly.
Hey Pat, you know I'm a big Saints fan and I'm worried about our Tackle position. How worried should I be?
Well, it's pretty similar to what it's been the last couple years -- which isn't great, but also not horrible. They took a shot on Alex Barron and George Foster. Barron's hurt and I didn't get the impression that they're real high on Foster.
How well do you think Darren Sproles will fit into the Saints offense? Also, what team do you think will win the division?
I honestly think he'll be an upgrade over Reggie.
Do certain teams provide more access than others? It seems like you had much more detail for your blog from your visit to Atlanta's training camp than from when you were in New Orleans?
Go look at blog. New Orleans' Camp Confidential is up now. And I had several items from Saints camp yesterday. We don't run everything we get in one day. Atlanta stuff was spread out over several days and I just happened to go to Atlanta first. Plus, I was at a bit of a disadvantage because Saints changed practice schedule and that cost me a media session.
Pat with Colston having issues in NO do you see Meacham's stock rising more and what do you expect out of him this season? Thanks
Meachem's having a great camp. He's healthy now, which he wasn't last year. See him being more of a deep threat this year, like he was in 2009.
hey pat hopefully u get my question im a die hard panther fan and i would like to know what would it take to beat the giants and do u see cam newton making hes debut at all in this game.
Both will play, probably about the same amount. It doesn't really matter who wins in preseason.
Pat, I'm a little concerned about the Falcons corner depth, and whether or not Julio Jones can step into the #2 receiver role immediately. Whats your take?
Julio's going to be just fine. As for the CBs, well, they like Owens and Franks and think both have potential. But they both have to step up, stop the mental errors and make plays.
Hey, with Mike Williams on his 2nd year and knows the offence better...how do u think he will do this season?? Defences will now key him in??
Think defenses already were aware of Williams last year. Being in second season will help him and he improved chemistry with Freeman in offseason. Also think Williams will be helped a lot because defenses are going to have to worry about Winslow, who I think is up for a big year.
How many quarters do the Bucs play their rookie starters tonight? 2, 3?
Generally, starters go about a quarter in first preseason game.
Whats the progress of cam newton an how much can we expect to see him play in the pre-season?
You'll see him play a lot. They want to test him out as much as possible and if he does well, he'll be opening-day starter.
Is there more to the Ruud story that his abilities? I understand that he wasn't in the Bucs long term plans, but he signed for 1 year/$3mil. It seems like he would be a good stop gap until Foster learned the defense. Were there other issues with him?
As I've said repeatedly, I think Barrett simply wanted out of Tampa Bay. He'd been asking for a contract extension for quite some time and they didn't give it to him. Athletes are not above having their egos bruised.
We haven't heard anything about the Vicodin allegations thrown at Sean Payton and the Saints front office. What can we take away from this? Is it safe to say the case is closed and nothing has come from it?
All I know is that once it went to mediation or arbitration it was no longer a matter of public record and media no longer had access to what was going on.
Hey Pat, Tampa Bay fan here. Is the fact that they aren't planning to play Benn tonight worrisome, or are they just being extra cautious....and how has he looked to you?
Don't worry on that one. They're just being cautious. He's way ahead of schedule.
Do you think the Saints should go out and get Randy Moss out of retirement?
Hey Pat-Have the Bucs shown any interest in Lofa Tatupu?
Not that I've heard of.
Hey Pat, any update on how Jimmy Graham is looking? Heard he is Brees' favorite target this preseason. Thanks!
Graham looked very good when I was there. Obviously, they're high on him because they cut Shockey. Had a good chat with Jimmy after practice the other day and will be doing something on him in the coming days.
No need to post, but my apologies, I sent this two days ago before you added all the Saints detail to the blog. Big fan you do a great job.
Thanks. No problem. Try to spread it around as much as possible, but can only be in place at a time.
I'm already getting tired off Philly being called a "dream team." Thoughts?
Me too. In my eyes, there was only one "Dream Team" and that included Larry Bird, Magic Johnson and Michael Jordan.
Hey Pat...good read on camp confidential. In your opinion which camp looked most crisp?
Tough to give you a fair answer because I saw them at different stages and that mattered a lot coming out of the lockout. Saints and Falcons looked the most crisp, but they were my last two stops, so they had a little more time. Panthers were still getting into routine, but their practices were very fast paced -- new coach cramming in new systems. I hit Bucs for first two days when they were just in shorts and then saw them last Saturday night at stadium and they were crisp. Planning to be out at Bucs again Sunday and Monday.
The Panthers were busy spending money in free agency. Do you think they've done enough to improve from last year?
No doubt they'll be better, but it's not going to be easy in this division.
WHODAT!!! Pat, Is it game time yet? Since Saints practice schedule threw off your visit--did you get to visit the remodeled 'Dome?
Only saw it from the air. Stayed out in Metairie.
Pat, liked your interview with Kris Jenkins. He looks like he could swallow you whole
Jenks is a huge man. I'm not exactly small, but he made me look tiny.
Loved the Saints Camp Confidential piece today, Pat, lots of really great info. Have you heard anything on Sharper? I feel like at this point, his best move would be to just re-sign with the Saints as Jenkins' backup and take a shot at one more ring.
Think Sharp's doing the smart thing for a guy in his position -- just sitting out there and waiting to see if some team has injuries and gets desperate enough to offer him starting job and decent money.
Hey Pat, do you think Kerry Meier is the type of player that you can just plug into Finny's old spot? His hands are ridiculous if you look at his youtube highlights
Yep, Kerry is the reason they let Fin go. He can do what Fin did and more.
Colston is always injured and even when he comes back, Moss might be able to step in and be a deep threat. Could possibly open uo things for Colston.
They've got other receivers and don't need the distraction. Then again, Brees might be able to keep him in line. He did it with Shockey.
FYI- Lee Evans went to the Ravens
Thanks for the update.
Has any Panther ever been put under the microscope as much as Cam Newton is about to be?
Probably not. Kerry Collins was under the scope, but it was a different world back then. Cam's gonna face it 20 times more than Kerry did.
Great column Pat...Whats the real deal with Ray Edwards knee surgery? Why did the Falcons coaching staff keep it under wraps? Will he be productive as other or will this hinder him in the regular season?
All I know is I talked to someone with Falcons after Smith revealed it and this person swore it was really minor and they're just being cautious with it.
Matt Ryan seems to say and do all the right things. Can you try to piss him off in an interview? ...just for fun?
Ah, sometimes I have some fun with Matt and say, "Why didn't Joe Paterno even recruit you when you were in his own backyard?" But Matt just laughs.
Pat, what ever happened to Kareem Huggins? I didn't see him at all on the teams depth chart.
Hurt. Didn't pass physical and I think they released him. They may bring him back later.
Moss would never work here--Gruden said it best, "The Saints WRs don't have egos--they're here to win football games!"
Very true. Saints WRs are the only collective group of WRs I've ever encountered that didn't have at least some pretty large egos.
If you know, what consequences can the Bucs face if they don't get to the allocated salary cap floor, since they are, I think you said, $29 million under the cap?
There are misconceptions about that. First off, teams don't have to spend to the cap floor this year. The league on average has to get to 99 percent. Bucs are at $29 million right now, but that's misleading. That's only top 51 salaries. When you count all they're salaries, they're at about 90 percent of the cap. Plus, I think they're going to extend some of their own guys.
Warren Sapp said he see's Josh Freeman as a real MVP candidate this season. Is the big guy correct?
I didn't always see eye to eye with Warren when I covered him, but I wouldn't argue with him at all on that one.
I have been/ still somewhat remain undecided on Cam Newton as the franchise savior, but he has said (and more importantly done) everything you could possibly ask out of him so far. I have been to a couple of practices, and he is one of the hardest working guys out there. If he doesn't pan out, it won't be for a lack of effort.
I liked what I saw when I was there and, to that point, Panthers were very happy with everything he was doing.
Now that John Kasay's likely retired how long do you think it will be until he's in the hall of fame?
He'll be in Panthers ring of honor, probably have his number retired and a statue outside the stadium. But you're talking Pro Football Hall of Fame? Probably not going to happen. As much as I like and respect John, it's very difficult for a kicker to make the HOF.
Also, I noticed the AJC had an article about position battles and listed Snelling and Rodgers as a battle to be sorted out. Isn't Atlanta likely to use them for different roles equally. I see Snelling as more of a compliment to Turner. Rodgers is the direct opposite.
Yeah, they're two different styles of backs. I think each will have a role.
Great blog Pat, do you ever attend preseason games or do you just save the traveling for the regular season?
Just finished my rounds of training camps. We do not generally travel to preseason games and save that for regular season. But, since I live in Tampa, I will go out to Bucs' two preseason home games. Also, will probably take a ride over to Jacksonville when the Falcons come down to practice with the Jags.
Pat, are you going to write pre-season articles where you pick break out player, MVP, ect. in the NFC South this year?
Know I'll be doing a breakout player. Not sure if our predictions package will include division MVPs, etc. Should find that out soon.
Kasay better not make the HOF before the Great Dane Morten Andersen.
I think Morten actually may have a chance and that's not meant as disrespect to Kasay at all.
Hi Pat I was wondering is it just me or does it sure seem like that Ron Rivera is much more open then John Fox was.Even in training camp I don't recall Fox being so open to the media as Rivera has
It's not just you. Believe me, Rivera is WAY more open than Fox ever was. Fox was great if you were just chatting. But, once the microphones and cameras went on, he got real defensive and quiet.
Hey Pat, how's the fan energy been during your camp visits? I know da WHODATS already seem to be in regular season form. ;)
Outstanding everywhere. NFC South fans are best in the world!
Pat why are you not going to Miami next week to watch the Panthers take on Fins .After all it not a long ride from Tampa to Miami
As I said, we don't really travel for preseason games. I will be monitoring all preseason games on television and computer and providing observations on all.
Last month, a few friends and I each made one "bold prediction" for the Saints' upcoming season. They were - total defense will rank higher than total offense, Colston leads the league in TD receptions, Jimmy Graham makes the Pro Bowl, and my own is that Meachem will lead the team in receiving yards. Which one do you like the most?
Graham in Pro Bowl. Meachem leading in receiving yards could happen too.
Pat, I know its early but how do you see the D line for the Bucs from last year with the rookies they drafted?
Let me see them tonight and Sunday and Monday in practice before forming any opinion. First two days I was out there they weren't in pads. Saw them last Saturday in pads at stadium and saw some promise, but let me see a bit more.
Hi again Pat. It seemed like I had heard numerous good things about Michael Palmer prior to the teams organized practices. Was this unwarranted? Or do you think he has the potential to break out and be our long term Gonzalez replacement at TE?
Was told by Atlanta's coaches that Palmer's having a great training camp. Has been catching everything thrown his way. Not sure if he'll ever be anything close to Gonzo, but he might have a chance to be pretty good.
Pat, no twitter account to get live updates from camp visits?
What's up Pat!? When will Josh Freeman get his props in. the leage...?
You don't think he's getting props already? I see a lot of people forecasting greatness for him. I'm one of them.
Pat, is this Will Smith's last year in a Saints uniform? At his salary it doesn't seem like the Saints can afford to pay him for last years production, especially with Brees and Colston extensions coming up.
Could be. He's getting up there in age and they just used a first-round pick on a DE.
Pat, with Gettis out, let's assume that Carolina's spending spree is done and they are content to see what they have in their young corps, who do you see stepping into that number two spot, and who do you see taking most advantage of a bump one spot up the depth chart in the year. Personally I'm praying Pilares gets a shot to strut his stuff on the field, while either Armanti Edwards or Brandon LaFell step into the #2 role...
Think they're hoping LaFell is No. 2 and Armanti can be a role player.
any word on when/if the Starcaps suspensions will be enforced? any chance Smith & the other guys get a pass due to the new CBA?
All I know is Sean Payton said he thinks Smith will be suspended for four games. NFL will have to announce that pretty soon if it is indeed going to happen.
Hey Pat, How does Sean Weatherspoon look in camp this year? I'm hoping he could be the rushing linebacker that the falcons haven't had for some time.
Very good. He was off to a good start before he hit a couple of injury bumps last year. He's healthy now and they think he can make some big plays.
everything I've read on Mark Ingram says he's been lighting up Saints practices thus far, but how has he done with picking up the little things? young running backs often don't see the field because of trouble with blocking or running pass routes, could these kind of concerns keep Ingram on the sidelines early?
Ingram's been great and he's picking things up fast. I don't think they'll have to hold him back very much.
Do you think that the Saints are better off without Reggie Bush?
I think Sproles can do the same things Reggie did -- and more.
Pat, can Talib still get suspended after the season start??
Theoretically, I suppose so. But NFL usually likes to do those things at start of season. If it's coming, I'd expect decision from league in next week or 10 days. They like to give teams a chance to prepare to be without a guy.
Pat, Did you happen to catch the E:60 Special on Freeman? What were your thoughts?
I haven't had time to watch tv recently. But I hope to catch it on repeat. I was out at USF one of the days when they were getting ready to film some stuff for that.
Huge Bucs fan from Canada. Do you think Bowers is going to win the starting left DE spot before camp breaks?
I think so, but let's see how he looks tonight.
From what you seen at camp did the Falcons correct their defense?
Well, it was tough to tell because Edwards, Grimes and a few others couldn't practice the first day I was there. On the second day, they came out on the field as soon as the CBA was officially ratified, but didn't do a whole lot. But, on paper, I think the addition of Edwards and having Weatherspoon and Peria Jerry healthy will help a lot.
Pat, who has more yards and tds this year? Blunt or Ingram?
Probably Blount. I think Ingram's going to be good, but he's going to be sharing carries with several other backs.
Pat, is Will Herring really stepping up enough to take a starting job? I know you don't have to be elite to start at outside linebacker for New Orleans right now but I can't help but wonder if this is more of an experiment than a definitive move
Everything I saw and heard made it sound like they really like Herring.
Pat, will you being traveling to London for the Bucs game this season?
Hoping for that. But don't know yet. We generally don't plan our travel until a week or two weeks ahead of time in regular season and a lot depends on how the teams are doing and what games are shaping up to be important.
Pat is this just me.Or why does the so called export be it in Las vegas on the Media .Ignoring the fact the panthers lost 11 key players last year. It seem like for one reason or anther.The People in the Media hate the Carolina Panthers.Is it because in 96 the Panthers beat the Dallas Cowboys which is a team that the Media love
I think Panthers will be much better than last year. But my advice to you would be don't worry about Vegas or the national media and go with what you believe. It's probably closer to the truth. Perceptions can get skewed by a 2-14 record. Couple more questions before we wrap this chat up.
Pat when will you make your NFC south predictions for this year?
Believe that's on the docket for the first week of September.
Hey Pat, I am still suprised at the long term deal ATL gave Nicholas. Is that to cover Peterson's eventual exit? or will they match up Witherspoon and Nicholas based upon opponent? (ex: Spoon in when Sproles is in, Nicholas in when Ingram is in.)
I was surprised by it too. I think you'll see more Nicholas and less Mike P. as the season goes on.
Obviously if Cam and Jimmy perform the same Cam will become the starter, so how much better does Clausen have to be to start over Cam?
Clausen has to play lights-out in the preseason and Cam would have to have a really bad preseason.
CAn you please tell me why the Falcons havent done anything to add depth to their secondary. Our two safeties are young and make me nervous and what happens if grimes or robinson get hurt. Chris Owens is a joke and single handedly lost that game against green bay. Please tell me why no one has even mentioned this all year
They think Owens is growing up and same on Dominique Franks. They're also high on the safety, Shann Shillenger, who was hurt last year. All right. We're past the 2 p.m. deadline. Thanks to all for stopping by. Enjoy the games tonight -- and tomorrow.