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

Cobi (Gulf of Mexico)

If Graham cant play, who's gonna play TE for the Saints ?

Pat Yasinskas
  (12:52 PM)

David Thomas. Looks like he's healthy again. All right, this chat is up and running. Anyone seen Olin Kreutz?

elliott (slidell ,La)

What should the saints do with chris ivory/play him now are wait till after the bye

Pat Yasinskas
  (12:53 PM)

Might as well wait and make sure he's fully healthy. No need to rush because rest of RBs are healthy right now.

Kellen (Greenville)

When are the panthers gonna turn these moral victories into something that counts

Pat Yasinskas
  (12:54 PM)

Could happen this week. John Beck doesn't exactly have a strong track record as a starting QB.

FS (ATLANTA, GA )

Has Mike Smith gotten away from "the process"?

Pat Yasinskas
  (12:55 PM)

Ha! Good one. I haven't heard him use that phrase at all this season.

Gerald McCoy (London)

Am I injury prone?

Pat Yasinskas
  (12:56 PM)

Well, it looks like you're playing this week. So go out there, play well and stay healthy.

rell (atlanta)

Be honest Pat. Deep down in your heart, do you see the falcons making the playoffs?

Pat Yasinskas
  (12:57 PM)

Not if they continue playing the way they have been. But they've got the talent to suddenly kick into a good mode. It better happen pretty soon, though.

Ken (RALEIGH)

Hey Pat is it time to cut our losses with Jeff Otah? Do we address R-OT and the DT or vise versa, what say you?

Pat Yasinskas
  (12:59 PM)

Well, they'll have to bring in a right tackle next year. But Otah's contract situation wouldn't create a huge salary-cap benefit by just cutting him. So they might as well see if he can get himself healthy. But that's not something they can count on.

Greg (Tampa)

Have the Bucs learned from everyone elses mistakes? Will they kick to Devinn Hester?

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:00 PM)

They've said they'll kick away from him. They better kick away from him.

Jeff (Huntsville)

Pat, you keep posting about Roddy leading the league in dropped passes. Sure he has had alot of dropped balls this year, but Brandon Marshal had at least more than 7 dropped balls in the MNF game alone and the commentators said that he leads the league in dropped passes, but he is not even mentioned in your post. What gives?

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:01 PM)

In the stats I get, White is leading the league. Marshall's not even in the top three.

Ken (NY)

Is Steve Smith under contract for next year as well?

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:02 PM)

Yep, 2012 is last year of his current contract.

ac (orlando,fl)

how big of a hole are the saints in after losing Olin Kruetz?

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:03 PM)

It's gotta hurt some. I mean they're going with Brian de la Puente because Matt Tennant apparently isn't ready. But the good news is their center is kind of hidden between Jahri Evans and Carl Nicks.

Ben (Atlanta)

Can the Falcons win this weekend, and if so, how (other than containing Megatron)?

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:05 PM)

They've got to go out and score points offensively because their defense is going to give some up. Establish Turner in the running game and then take some deep shots for Roddy.

mike (greensboro)

Pat, how do you think Cam will do with this Washington D? Do the Panthers run the ball more (even with the great Wash D) or will they still be letting Cam go downfield?

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:06 PM)

I'm sure they'll try to get running game involved, but they're not going to stop Cam from taking shots downfield.

andy (lenoir) [via mobile]

Is there any chance the panthers D turns it around this season or are we going to have to wait for everyone to heal and the draft? I know Rivera has a great reputation so can we expect him to work some magic?

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:07 PM)

Unfortunately, I think you're going to have to wait for the offseason to repair that defense.

Jessie (Raleigh NC)

Do you feel that the bucs could win the game over in london and making a run at the best NFC South team at the end of the season

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:08 PM)

Sure, its possible they could beat the Bears. If they play like they did against the Saints, they can beat almost anyone. But this is a young team and I think there still will be some ups and downs.

Craig (Durham, NC)

Are the Panthers in as bad shape cap-wise for coming years as the numbers would lead you to believe? or are they simply already stocked at positions other teams have yet to fill

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:10 PM)

I looked at 2012 cap figures this morning and think Panthers already were right around $120 million. They'll have to do some trimming. Obviously Thomas Davis won't be back under his current contract and there could be some other cap casualties.

Bobby (WV)

What is Turner's contract situation?

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:11 PM)

I'm pretty sure he's up at the end of 2012.

Sam (Raleigh)

When will B. Lafell step into the starting line-up im just not a Nanee believer.

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:12 PM)

Thinking it's got to be soon.

Randy (CT)

I don't get it! No love for the Birds this weekend? Defense is starting to gel, Edwards has arrived, Babineaux is getting healthy, coaches believing the way to win is the way of Turner...Detroits got no run game and can't stop the run! Load up on Megatron and we win...right?????

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:12 PM)

If your offense shows up, you've got a chance.

Homer (Evansville, IN)

Pat, is Smitty better than Roddy White this week?

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:13 PM)

Yep.

John (Salisbuy NC)

Is the Falcons defense a sleeping giant ? They seem to be getting better from week to week and Weatherspoon has been all over the field.

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:13 PM)

No argument that the talent is there. But haven't seen it all come together yet.

Taylor (Atlanta, GA)

Hey Pat, Scott Reed wrote on his Panthers blog that Rivera is going to reduce the reps of Fua and McClain and give more to Ron Fields. He also siad Rivera may put C. Johnson and Hardy in as DTs during some plays. Do you believe that will help the Panthers defense play better against the run?

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:14 PM)

Can't be any worse than it's been. Also, it's Steve Reed.

Jeff (Huntsville)

Tell us what we have been waiting to hear. Sam Baker is not playing.

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:16 PM)

Will know for sure a bit later this afternoon.

Matt Bosher (Flowery Branch)

I finally punted a ball 50+ yards, please share as I know this has been a past topic.

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:16 PM)

Congrats.

Matt (Pensacola)

How long until Matt Tennant is ready to go?

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:17 PM)

Don't know, but coaching staff must not have liked what they were seeing out of him if they started de la Puente when Kreutz was injured.

Ken (NY)

Is Steve Smith the greatest Carolina Panther ever?

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:18 PM)

Yeah, I'd give him the nod over Pep.

Mike (Charlotte )

Pat why is everyone giving the panthers an excuse for being a young team.And because of that they are 1-5.Young team or not 1-5 is a no no .So stop giving the panthers excuse to use

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:20 PM)

Because they are a young team with new coaches and completely new schemes. They've shown lots of promise in a lot of areas. They're going to give some teams trouble down the stretch.

brett (a club)

is adrian clayborn going to be a bust

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:20 PM)

No, Bucs are very happy with the way he's started off.

Steve (Rural Hall, NC)

Concerning Bell starting this week, you wrote, 'Unless Bell really steps forward, the Panthers might have to address right tackle in next year?s draft or free-agency period.' But the truth is that Bell has already started a few times this year and has played well. In fact you could make the case that he is so-far the second best rookie in Carolina this year.

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:21 PM)

He better do it over the rest of the season. Cam is THE FRANCHISE and they're going to make sure he's protected.

Paul (ATL)

In your mind, what is the main (negative) difference in the Falcons' O-line this year vs last? Will Baker be on the roster next year?

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:23 PM)

Think it's several things. McClure's been banged up. Losing Dahl broke up continuity and Reynolds is still working to fit in. And Baker's been worse than he was in past years. No, I think Baker will be gone next year.

Mitchell (Atlanta)

Where will you be on Sunday?

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:24 PM)

Carolina.

Trace (Tampa)

The Panthers have a horrible track record with injuries. Do you think its time to get rid of Ryan Vermillion or do you think it goes beyond his services?

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:25 PM)

Ryan Vermillion is one of the best trainers in the league. His job is to treat injuries. If anyone is responsible for preventing them, you might want to point at strength and conditioning coach.

Mike g (mass)

what is wrong with mike Williams? Is this an effort issue?

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:25 PM)

Think that may be part of it. Think he was one of those guys who could have benefitted from a normal offseason of work.

Richard (Ann Arbor, MI)

Cheap shot by Roethlisberger to claim that guys like Brees get favorable treatment?

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:26 PM)

Yep, I'd agree with that.

Jeff (Huntsville)

What happened to Peria Jerry? Corey Peters has been the one in the starting lineup.

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:27 PM)

Peria started nicely, but seems to have faded.

Hanson (Q-town)

Final score, Falcons-Lions? C'mon Pat

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:28 PM)

Sorry, I don't do predictions. We've got enough other people on our site that do that.

Mike (Delaware)

Isn't it true that the Panthers have the most starters on the IR right now? Which might also be a reason for the 1-5 record not just another excuse but a reason!

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:29 PM)

Not certain on that. But I posted a blog item this morning about Panthers having $16 million in cap space on IR.

Sean (Auburn)

Any news on Blounts injury? What do you think about him returning after the bye?

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:30 PM)

He's been declared out for Sunday. My guess is you'll see him after the bye.

Hanson (Q-town)

What did the '98 Falcons have that this years/last years doesn't?

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:31 PM)

Chris Chandler?

Nick (My saint Leo dorm room(the college you went to!!!))

Do you think that freeman needs a better #2 WR? Do you see the Bucs drafting somebody like Nick Toon of Wisconsin?

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:32 PM)

Might need a better No. 1 more than a better No. 2. Give Benn a little more time and see what a healthy Stroughter can do. Greetings to Saint Leo.

Richard (Ann Arbor, MI)

Were the Saints exhibiting the stress of a long road trip, or was there something more fundamentally wrong with their performance against the Bucs?

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:33 PM)

Think the road might have played into it. But give Bucs credit. They played best game they've played since they've been there.

Paulitik (DC)

Come on Pat, Matt Ryan is light years above Chris Chandler. The Falcons OL, sketchy secondary, and questionable playcalling are what are holding the Falcons back. This team is as talented in the skill postions as any in the NFL.

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:34 PM)

I was JOKING on Chris Chandler.

Jeff (Huntsville)

Love the answer you gave to Hanson Pat. Chris Chandler. LOL.

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:34 PM)

Glad somebody got it.

Francis T. (Brooklyn NY)

My Ex factor for the Falcons this seek is Ray Edwards. He's going to have a big game. What's your thoughts?

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:35 PM)

He's started to show up lately and he's got plenty of experience against NFC North teams.

Raj (NJ)

Do you feel the Atlanta brass still thinks highly of D. Robinson? I can't remember the last time our secondary was "good"!

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:35 PM)

Was probably in 1998.

Jaelen Rollins (Simi Valley, CA)

Do you think Vikings should let Christain Ponder should run at quarterback or keep starting McNabb?

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:37 PM)

I'll step outside the NFC South for just a moment. Vikings are doing right thing. McNabb's time is up.

Joel (Fort Myers, FL)

The Bucs run defense has been both outstanding and awful at times this year... With Matt Forte looming, which one shows up on Sunday?

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:39 PM)

Better hope it's the good one because Forte can do lots of damage. But it's looking like Bucs are getting healthy on d-line.

Charles Johnson (Charlotte NC)

Did you see the picture of me that I tweeted wearing a Falcons hat?

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:40 PM)

Yeah, but is that REALLY your Twitter account?

Paulitik (DC)

Speaking of the Falcons secondary, I've noticed a little more press/man coverage the last few weeks. Do you think Van Gorder has finally figured out that the soft zone, especially on 3rd down rushing 3, is the reason we can't get off the field as opposed to a lack of talent? As far as the Chandler thing, the media has unfairly turned on Matt Ryan, so I can't tell when anyone is joking anymore. You'd think Matt was a bum from the coverage lately.

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:41 PM)

Think BVG might be acting on orders from Smith. As far as Ryan, he's having a rough stretch, but I still think he's a very good QB.

Liam (Honolulu, HI)

Do you think Earnest Graham will have a great game like last week? Also do you think if he does have a good game, do you think the bucs might give him the starting running back job over Blount?

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:43 PM)

Anything's possible with Earnest. But I suspect Blount will be back as the feature guy when he's healthy.

Hanson (Q-town)

How big of a disaster are we in for when Old John Abe hangs it up?

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:45 PM)

Better go out and find a replacement. Edwards is all right, but not dominant and Biermann is pretty ordinary.

Willow (Southside)

Will the Bucs be breaking out their Dreamsicle uniforms in honor of playing their former NFL Central rival?

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:46 PM)

No, that will come at game in Tampa later on.

Francis T. (Brooklyn NY)

What about Sidbury who has 2 sacks this Season as Abe's replacement?

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:47 PM)

Ah, forgot about LSid. I'd put him in Biermann category. Might have a little more upside, but don't think he's going to turn into Abe.

Tom Selleck's Muxtache (Tom Selleck's Face)

Gotta say it, Pat: I like Ernest Graham too, BUT him over Blount is a laughable premise. They wouldn't even give Graham the job when they're only other options were a struggling Caddy Williams and the Derrick Ward experiment. They'd rather have him block, for some reason. IMO he's a good player, and valuable asset, but he's not better than Blount at this point. At least, not as a runner. Your take?

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:48 PM)

Agree, that's why I said I expect Blount will be back as main guy as soon as he's healthy.

Willow (Southside)

Not a question, but a comment that I hope you are getting the chance to travel to London for the game. Awesome historic city to visit.

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:50 PM)

Wish I was. But, no, my assignment this week is to go to Charlotte. Got to go to London with Saints in 2008 and it was a wonderful experience.

Jeff (Huntsville)

Speaking of Abe, you know how he always follows a productive season with an unproductive one? That sure seems to be the case so far this season. Do you think he will turn it around before the season ends or is this a good sign for next year?

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:51 PM)

At Abe's age, I wouldn't be taking a quiet year as a good sign.

redhand1 (DC)

The discussion in the office this morning is which division will provide wild-cards in the NFC. Consensus is South and North (Bucs and Lions) what do you say?

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:51 PM)

Think NFC South has a real chance to send two to playoffs. And I'm not counting out Falcons just yet.

Adam (Asheville)

Hey pat, why can't the NFC south get as much recognition as these large market teams? I'm sick of not being able to watch sportscenter or the nfl network without them spending 15 minute segments on the jets or cowboys. If they were winning teams I could understand it a little bit but they're both THIRD in their divisions with losing records, and they have horrible QBs. How stupid is it that coach ryan makes the news for saying he'd have won superbowls if he had been coaching the chargers, nobody cares i'd rather hear about the saints or the bucs.

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:53 PM)

That's why we're all here right now.

Joel (Fort Myers, FL)

After last week's performance against the Saints, it seems like we're getting back to the Josh Freeman we knew last year. Were the expectations on him too high, or was he really having problems in the beginning of the season?

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:54 PM)

No doubt he looked a little off early on. Might have had something to do with his supporting cast. But it looked like he got it together last week.

German (Chicago)

I love the England matchup sunday. I believe the bears travel better simply because tampa cant even sell out their own areana. Home team is actually the bears. Agreed?

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:57 PM)

Wouldn't go that far. Bucs have a very popular fan club in London and team has been very visible while spending the whole week there. Besides, it's a different environment over there. When I was there with Saints, a lot of fans didn't know when to cheer and when to boo.

Otto (CA)

Do you think Jimmy Clausen is any good?

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:58 PM)

Wow, there's a blast from the past. Think he still could turn into a good QB, but it will have to be somewhere besides Carolina.

John (Salisbury NC)

Turner runs for a 120 yards 2 TD's and Harry Douglas scores his first touchdown of the season. Mark it down

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:59 PM)

All right, John we're going to hold you to that. Couple more questions.

mike (England)

why do some many Americans think us brits have no idea about nfl.

Pat Yasinskas
  (2:00 PM)

Wasn't saying that as a categorical statement. Realize there are strong fans over there. But the game I was at in '08, the crowd definitely was different than anything I've seen.

Buckley (Tampa)

Are you surprised with Cam Newton's accuracy? At the combines, he was throwing the ball all over the place.

Pat Yasinskas
  (2:01 PM)

Yep, think that's been the biggest surprise for everyone.

Sean (Vegas)

Kreutz walks away. How will that effect Saints?

Pat Yasinskas
  (2:03 PM)

Hurts in the short term. He clearly was at end of his career, but they obviously haven't seen anything to convince them Tennant is ready. That's why they're going with de la Puente. Obviously, will have to address that spot in offseason.

Max (Atlanta)

Do you think that the Falcons might play better without Julio? Maybe run more and pass less? Maybe get a resemblance to the team last year?

Pat Yasinskas
  (2:05 PM)

Kind of what they did last week. Not knocking Julio. But, in the short term, his injury might be a good thing because it forces Falcons to reevaluate their offense and it might make them better in the long run. All right, we're past deadline. Thanks to all for stopping by. We'll see you next week.