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August 19, 1:00 PM ET
Chat with Pat Yasinskas

Chris Fiegler (Latham,NY)

Who do you think will be the Best NFC South Team in 2011?

Pat Yasinskas
  (12:46 PM)

You'll find out Sept. 1. That's when our preseason predictions are scheduled to run. All right, this chat is up and running early. Fire away.

mack (atlanta)

does michael palmer get more playing time after the release of justin pelle and the signing of reggie kely?

Pat Yasinskas
  (12:46 PM)

I think so. When I was visiting Falcons, coaches said he was having a surprisingly good camp.

Kyle (Indy)

Pat, I know it's still relatively early so I don't want to overreact. I'm gona take the Bucs first two games with a grain of salt. But should I be alarmed that the Bucs starting offensive line looked lost and sluggish last night. The starting defense looked equally lost.

Pat Yasinskas
  (12:47 PM)

You should probably be a little worried. But don't ever read too much into preseason games.

Nick (Charlotte, NC)

If Cam plays well, throws a touchdown and no picks. He will be the Starter when they play week one. Agree or disagree?

Pat Yasinskas
  (12:49 PM)

Agree. Will have a poll going up on blog shortly in which you can vote for who you think Carolina's opening-day starter will be. My vote right now is Cam. Unless he goes out and just plays horribly tonight, I think he gets the job.

Max (Salt Lake)

Do you think that the NFC South is now the best tight end division in football? With future hall of famer Tony Gonzalez in Atlanta, Kellen Winslow averaging 800 plus yards a season with Tampa Bay, The tandem of Greg Olsen and Jeremy Shockey in Carolina (new offense rumored to heavily favoring tight ends), and what could be the next basketball turned football athletic freak in Jimmy Graham rising fast with New Orleans. I can't find a division with better tight end potential this season. Can you?

Pat Yasinskas
  (12:50 PM)

Agree totally. You might be reading a little something along those lines on the blog between now and the regular season. Did some interviews on that very topic as I made my rounds of training camps.

Jeffrey T (Boone, NC)

Your NFC East colleague called out New York's punt coverage team. Was Armanti good or New York bad for the Panther's last week?

Pat Yasinskas
  (12:51 PM)

I thought Armanti was pretty darn good, but I'm sure the Giants played a role.

E.B. (Decatur, GA)

Pat, I feel like the Falcons are close to contending for a championship. I would have liked to see them go after another veteran corner although they have Owens and Franks battling it out for the Nickel spot. What do they need to do in your mind in order to bring a title home this season?

Pat Yasinskas
  (12:53 PM)

Understand your thinking. But their thinking is that Owens and Franks both have lots of potential and one of them should step up. They could have gone out and re-signed the veteran they had the last couple years (drawing a blank on his name at the moment, but he played in Jacksonville before Atlanta). They thought about it, but decided if they brought him back it would hold back the development of Owens and Franks.

Eric (Raleigh, NC)

Pat, I am getting concerned about Jeff Otah's knee issues. Is there any chance the injury is a chronic injury that won't go away? This preseason is reminding me a lot of last years when Otah was supposedly rehabbing & before you know it he was on IR.

Pat Yasinskas
  (12:54 PM)

I've not heard any real details at this point, but I'm as concerned as you are. When you're talking about a guy that big and knee issues, it can become a long-term problem.

Max (Rochester, NH)

Who do you think wins the RT job for the Saints, Charles Brown or Zach Strief?

Pat Yasinskas
  (12:54 PM)

My guess is Strief.

MJC (Georgia)

What predictions do you have for the NFC South games? Who will have the best record in the division?

Pat Yasinskas
  (12:55 PM)

Again, we'll roll out predictions Sept. 1.

David (Florida)

Pat do you see Meacham being used more this year or will it be more of the same as in past years?

Pat Yasinskas
  (12:56 PM)

Think he'll be more of a factor this year. He looked good when I was at camp this year. Think he was banged up much of last year and never really got on track.

Pat Yasinskas
  (12:58 PM)

Looks to me like he's very much on the bubble. Obviously, special teams stuff is going to come into play as they decide on fifth and/or sixth receivers.

Eddie Williams (Atlanta)

There have been rumors that Atlanta will get another difference maker within a week have you heard anything about that?

Pat Yasinskas
  (12:59 PM)

I know there's been someone tweeting that. But I've not seen or heard anything that would back that up. Besides, what's out there right now that really would make a difference?

Michael (Hickory, NC)

Hey Pat big fan!!! How do you see Thomas Davis playing tonight in his first game back in 21 months.

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:00 PM)

I wish him all the best. Thomas is a really good guy. He's been through a lot with the injuries. Hope he can get back to being even close to what he was before the injuries.

Neal Alsop (Baltimore, MD)

A lot of people have compared Mark Ingram to Emmit Smith. If he has half of the career that Smith did he will be the Saints all time leader in pretty much every important category. Do you think this is a realistic possibility for Ingram based on what you have seen?

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:02 PM)

What I saw of Ingram in camp and in first preseason game was nothing but impressive. I had only seen him on tv in college. When I saw him in person in camp, he was much quicker than I expected.

Steve (Indio, CA)

Beau Bock tweeted a few days ago that the Falcons were contemplating a roster move that would make the fans go crazy and signify that the Falcons are thinking "This year" Is this a bunch of nothing or have you heard anything?

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:04 PM)

I am aware of the tweet. But like I said, I've not seen or heard of anything that would back it up. Can't imagine what it would be at this point. Who knows, maybe they're gonna sign Tiki Barber? I am just kidding on that one. Let's not go starting more rumors.

Eric (Atlanta)

Our new punter/kick-off specialist looked shaky in the opener. Should Falcons fans be concerned?

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:05 PM)

Give him a little more time. They drafted him for a reason and they're pretty good at doing their homework in the draft.

Greg (Charlotte, NC)

With Tyrelle Pryor receiving a 5 game suspension because of his trouble from college, do you think any Univ. of Miami players (Like Beason or Winslow) will receive some type of punishment if the accusations are true?

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:07 PM)

No, I don't think NFL can go back and punish a guy for something that happened in college -- if those things really did happen. Not questioning if the story was true. It was very well done and involved some intense reporting. But I've got to put the qualifier on their just to be fair.

Ted (Charlotte, NC)

Let's be honest, Cam Newton is a rookie and could very well not have a good game against the Dolphins. What does it take for Cam NOT to be named the starter week 1?

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:09 PM)

Go out and throw a couple picks and look totally lost in the offense. It could happen. But, at the same time, I think he'll be surrounded by the starters and that should prevent any major disaster.

Sanvene (Atlanta)

hi Pat, I was wondering if you have heard anything about Atanta's offensive and defensive coaching. It seems like MM can hold this offense hostage. the same with BVG, asking Abraham repeatedly to go into coverage...what have you heard?

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:09 PM)

I think the lockout gave Atlanta's coaches a lot of time to look at what they do. I suspect you will see some adjustments in their philosophies going forward.

Greg (Charlotte, NC)

After watching New England's first team dismantle Tampa Bay's first teamers last night, do you think Tampa Bay might have a harder time continuing on the success they had last year, especially against tougher teams like the Pats?

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:10 PM)

Certainly were lots of issues that were obvious last night. But, again, I don't think you should read too much into preseason games.

JC (MS)

Like your take on the Bucs game last night! Funny! But the Glazers better come up with a way to fill those empty seats at Ray Jay, last night didnt help, what do you think they should do? Free beer night?

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:14 PM)

That is a tough one. I know the economy is tough all over, but it's particularly bad in Florida. They've got a young team coming off a 10-6 season and are having trouble selling tickets. They've been creative with marketing and such. But it's a very difficult market at a very difficult time. I don't know what the answer is.

the DCHAV (Wuxi, China)

What's the deal with New Orleans Guard Carl Nicks? I hear he graded out as one of the best Guards in the league last year and he's real young and feel he'd be worth making a run at. My understanding is that he's restricted and would cost a 1st round pick? Any information or thoughts on him as a player/acquisition? Would New Orleans Franchise him next year? I'm a Bears fan and would love to have him on the interior of our line. Thanks!

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:15 PM)

I suspect the Saints will try to lock him up with a long-term deal at some point.

Brandon (NJ)

How do you think Carolina's defense will do this year? They looked pretty good against a so called Eli-te quarterback.

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:15 PM)

And they get to go against Matt Moore tonight!

CJ (West Lafayette, IN)

Pat, have you heard any news on the Saints bringing Darren Sharper back? Especially now that the defensive backfield is going through some injury concerns this preseason.

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:17 PM)

Have not heard anything along those lines. But it's logical, especially if the injury problems continue.

Gur S (Edgware, UK)

Ochocinco has said that if Mason Foster gets fined for the hit that drew an unnecessary roughness call, he'll reimburse Foster, saying that "that's the way the game should be played". Your take?

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:18 PM)

Definitely don't think it was anything intentional at all. But the way the league rules are right now, I wouldn't be shocked if he does get fined.

John (Charlotte)

Pat what will it take for Jimmy Clausen to understand that as a Quarterback you can't hold on to the ball for ever.And if the Defense is near you.That you must either run with the ball or throw the ball away and not take a sack ?

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:19 PM)

I did see Clausen wisely throw one away last week. I also saw him tuck and run when pressured once. It only went for four yards, but it was a smart move by him.

Jeff (Stamford, CT)

Pat, what do you think the odds are of NFC South putting 3 teams in the playoffs this year? We were close last year...

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:19 PM)

I'm all for having a very busy January. It's definitely possible.

Sharell (NCFalconFan)

Very happy with my team (everyone can say that in preseason). My 2 concern, Smitty and Mularkey play calling, will they still be a run heavy, run first, run all the time offense. The secondary is always worry me. Brian Williams was the player we let go, he is still a free agent. If we have a bad showing in the pre-season, I'm sure he will get a call.

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:21 PM)

Like I said, I think they re-evaluated things during the lockout and you will see some changes. Mainly, more downfield passing. Now, they're not going to suddenly just abandon the run. But the presence of a downfield game should only help Michael Turner. Yeah, Brian Williams is right. I almost wrote Jimmy Williams, but knew that wasn't right. Thanks.

Scott (Carolina)

Pat, do you expect Dan Connor to get much playing time on D? He's too good a player to be a mere backup.

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:23 PM)

Let's see how Thomas Davis looks. He was a wonderful player before the injuries. But he had two major injuries and I don't know if he'll be the same. They may have to shuffle things and get Connor on the field.

Rum (N'awlins)

Hey Pat, what do you think of Chase Daniel? Think he's learning from Drew?

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:24 PM)

Yeah, saw some positives from him last week. Drew's definitely a good influence on him. But not sure Chase has the physical skills to be the heir apparent. But I don't think they need the heir apparent yet. Right now, I think Chase could be a solid backup and do a decent job if he had to step in.

Rich (Charlotte)

I truly feel that Clausen has been overly scrutinized the since Matt Moore crumbled last season and the rest of the Panthers organization, players, coaches, and ownership did nothing to aid a then "Rookie" quarterback. The kid has tools, and I am not knocking Newton by any means, I just don't think we have even seen Clausen scratch the surface of his potential. Best of luck to both because regardless as a Panthers fan I just want to see wins! As should any fan for their team.

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:27 PM)

There's no doubt Clausen didn't get a fair shake last year. He still could develop into a good QB. But, when a team uses a No. 1 overall pick on a guy at your position, it usually doesn't bode well for your long-term future with that team.

Tim (Colorado Springs)

who do see getting the most carries out of New Orleans backfield?

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:27 PM)

Ingram, by far.

Paul (Chabai)

Pat, I was at Panthers practice and noticed Pilares has really stepped it up. One of the quickest guys I have seen in a while. Any chance he lines up with Steve Smith?

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:28 PM)

Pilares might be used as a situational guy, but I don't think he starts.

Joel (NC)

I think Clausen has been unfairly maligned. However, I think Pat's assessment of Clausen is the same as a guy like Chase Daniels. Solid backup and can do a decent job managing the offense. Doubt he has the franchise potential of Brees, Ryan, or Freeman. Newton is by no means there yet, but he does have that potential.

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:29 PM)

Agreed. And I'll go a little further and say that with the right supporting cast and situation, Clausen someday could be a respectable starter.

Eric (IA)

Is Dez Briscoe the potential long term starting flanker for the Buccs or is he just keeping Benn's spot warm?

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:30 PM)

He could be. Coaches really like him and they probably will go slowly with Benn in the short term. If Briscoe really steps up, he could stay there. But the other thing coaches really like about him is that he can play all three WR spots in their offense.

Eric (Atlanta)

With the changes to the third-quarterback rules, shouldn't all teams consider going with a wildcat-type third stringer to give themselves more options. You can always keep a John Parker Wilson on the practice squad. And what does that theory do to a guy like JPW? Thanks! Aopreciate your work.

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:32 PM)

My philosophy on that is, if you've got a real QB (Drew Brees or Matt Ryan), you don't take the ball out of his hands by using gimmicks.

Geoff (DC)

Concerned for a sophmore slump for Blount/Williams?

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:34 PM)

Not really. I think Williams is for real. And Blount is a very physical runner, who got lot of yards on his own last year when it was very obvious he was getting the ball. Think the fact they're trying to work some balance into his game will only help him.

Rum (N'awlins)

Hey Pat, Sean Payton seems to specialize in finding diamonds in the rough through UDFAs or late rounds of the draft--any insight into this? (Closton, Pierre Thomas, Chris Ivory, Nicks, and now maybe Bussey & Morgan?)

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:35 PM)

Bussey's the one I've heard some very good things about. Morgan looked great in first preseason game and could be another diamond in the rough. Give some credit to Saints scouting department -- they're the people that find those kids.

zack (indiana)

Is the Saints defense improved enough to be championship caliber? We don't need another "Seattle"... Breesus can't play defense....

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:36 PM)

Well, at least in the preseason opener, it sure seemed like Gregg Williams was sending a strong message that they want to be more aggressive and get back to creating lots of turnovers.

Mark H (Greensboro, NC)

Hey Pat, it's been a long time since I've been on here. Question, which is going to be more of a security blanket for Cam (assuming he is opening day starter); A) Double Trouble or B) Greg Olsen

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:39 PM)

Olsen sure will help, but I've got to go with Double Trouble. If you've got a good running game, it makes life a lot easier. If Cam's the guy, he just has to show enough to keep defenses from putting eight or nine guys in the box.

Jon (Winston Salem, NC)

Just an observation: Steve Smith & Armanti Edwards are almost same high/weight/frame

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:41 PM)

Yes, they are. But Steve is a one-of-a-kind player. I think he used his chip on his shoulder to will himself into becoming a great all-around receiver. I think Armanti will be more of a situational/specialist type player.

Eric (Atlanta)

Some consider ATL's safety tandem to be up-and-comers, and some consider them to be a potential liability. Your thoughts? I want to think that Moore is a big hitter and DeCoud is a ball-hawk, but more in-depth expert analysis (from you) would be appreciated.

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:43 PM)

Feeling is both are good young players with potential to get better. But they need to cut down on the mistakes and become more consistent tacklers in the open field.

Rum (N'awlins)

Hey Pat, sorta a follow up on my last--SP really digs up some WR talent from far & wide (we've got a couple more UDFA WRs playing this week), is it talent? Or does having a QB like Brees, Manning, or Brady really make them better?

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:43 PM)

I'm sure talent plays a role, but I also think Brees is a huge factor.

Shane (Los Angeles, CA)

Im a Cardinals fan relocating from L.A. to Georgia this fall (via the Air Force). What are some must see ATL or TB games I should target for tickets?

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:44 PM)

Atlanta when New Orleans comes to town. Tampa Bay when Peyton Manning visits.

Tom Selleck's Mustache (Tom Selleck's Face)

Heya Pat!! I'm of the opinion that, if they're both handled correctly the Newton/Claussen situation in Carolina could turn out to be a boon for the Panthers. No matter who wins the job this year (its certainly gonna be Newton, IMO) if they coach both QBs up and develop them effectively it gives the team options and depth in the short term and the loser of the QB competition (HAS to be Claussen) could return some good players/picks in trade a year or 2 down the line. Not a bad deal, I'd say. Possible? What do you think?

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:47 PM)

Possible. Hurney and Richardson always talk about having "currency". Clausen could become currency if he plays some during the regular season and does well or gets some good preseason tape next year. No need to talk about trying to trade Clausen right now. You keep him for a year and see how things shake out.

Joel (NC)

How big of a concern is the Ray Edwards injury? Seemed like the Falcons got a deal for the 3rd best DE on the market but given there didn't seem to be much of a market beyond the Falcons, was that a sign the injury might have been viewed as more serious than reported? Or that no one wanted to pay top money for a DE who many thought was a benficiary of the Williams Bros and Jared Allen?

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:48 PM)

From what I know, Edwards' knee was not serious at all. I think the contract was a reflection of reality. His top sack season was 8.5 and that was playing with all those guys around him. Sure, Falcons hope maybe he can blossom and give them double digits, but I think they'd take 8.5, as long as it takes some blockers away from Abe.

Aaron (ATL)

Hey Pat, any word on Ray Edwards playing tonight?

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:49 PM)

Don't think we'll know until right before the game. Smitty left it up in the air when he last met with media on Wednesday night in Jacksonville.

John (Atlanta)

FYI: Brian Williams is the guy Atlanta let go to make room for Owens and Franks.

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:49 PM)

Yep, gotcha. Thanks.

Nick (Charlotte NC)

Pat why has the Panthers not signed anyone in the secondary? They need help there at CB and Safety or are they waiting till after cuts to find someone?

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:50 PM)

Still think you will see them add a CB before all is said and done. They are well aware that it's a need. Just waiting for the right guy to come available at the right price.

Jon (Winston Salem, NC)

With so many people talking about Cam after the first preseason game, I think the play of the Panthers' D was really overlooked. Take away the pick-6 and the Panthers held the Gmen to only 3 points and very few yards. Think we'll see more of that tonight?

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:52 PM)

Rivera's a defensive coach and he and McDermott have some talent to work with. I think that D can be pretty good. Just unfortunate that Ron Edwards got hurt because I think he really would have helped them.

HPRon (High Point nc)

I assumed the Panthers were not signing a good cornerback due to being almost a mil $ over the cap. Now I read that they're UNDER the cap by 2 1/2 mil. If both are true, who did they cut that accomplished it...they haven't restructured Kalil have they?

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:54 PM)

Think you just saw two different sets of figures and maybe one was more current than the other. My understanding is they're around $2.5 under, but I'll check on that later. No restructures yet. They still could free up a lot of room -- sign Kalil to a long-term deal or restructure Gross, Smith or Gamble. Lots of ways for them to free up quite a bit of money.

Ficus (Washington)

Donald Penn makes Jeremy Trueblood look good.

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:55 PM)

Ouch!

CJ (West Lafayette, IN)

Do you ever feel like the national media neglects the NFC South? It seems like the Eagles, Pats, and Jets have got 99% of the media attention since the lockout ended.

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:55 PM)

You're preaching to the choir on that one. But, it is what it is. Big markets are always going to get more than their share of attention.

Luis (Albuquerque, NM)

Hey Pat why aren't people talking about the Falcons, they were 13-3 last season and the No. 1 seed. Personally I love being under the radar but I hate the lack of Respect they aren't getting. When will they get their due?

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:58 PM)

Think respect is in the eye of the beholder. Can't speak for rest of national media, but I regard the Falcons very highly. Couple more questions before we finish up.

Joel (NC)

Pat Yasinkas using a John Fox euphemism!!! The Mayans are right- world must be going to end next year!!

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:58 PM)

You cover a guy for all those years and you start talking like him!

Chris (NOLA)

Pat, do you see any problems with the change from Goodwin to Kreutz at C for the Saints?

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:59 PM)

Not sure. Curious to see what Kreutz has left. Thought Goodwin was a very good player and it was a bit risky to let him go.

Greg (Tampa)

Roy Miller heading for IR? It is reported he has a MCL tear

Pat Yasinskas
  (2:01 PM)

You sure it's a "tear"? I thought I saw "sprain" or "strain". There's a big difference.

time2getBUCwild (TPA)

Okay serious question here...If the Bucs digress significantly over the course of the season, will Morris be on the hot seat?

Pat Yasinskas
  (2:02 PM)

It would have to be a huge regression. But one thing to keep in mind is Bucs gave Dominik a four-year extension. They haven't extended Raheem yet.

Jim Szoke (sun life stadium miami FL)

Hi Pat I am looking forward to interview you today at 5:25 to preview the panthers vs dolphins game and the rest of the NFC south preseason game for week 2

Pat Yasinskas
  (2:03 PM)

Not sure if this is the real Szoke, but I will be joining him at 5:25 or 5:30. All right, enjoy the games for the Falcons and Panthers tonight and Saints tomorrow night. We'll chat next week.