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November 4, 1:00 PM ET
Chat with Pat Yasinskas

Bren (Greensboro)

What will happen to Jeff Otah after this season? With Byron Bell playing reasonably well, how many more opportunities will they give him?

Pat Yasinskas
  (12:45 PM)

Next season is last year of Otah's contract. There's no big salary-cap advantage to cutting him. So my guess is they'll let him rehab and see where he's at in training camp. Bell's doing all right, but they could still look to upgrade at that spot. If Otah comes back and can play, great. But they can't really count on him.

Big Dan (Tampa)

Hey Pat, with Bucs susceptible to the blitz, how is LeGarrette Blount at pass protection?

Pat Yasinskas
  (12:47 PM)

Well, I think we might find out Sunday. With Graham out, Blount says he'll be on field in passing situations. Think you may see some of that. But they haven't trusted him before, so I don't think you'll see him pass blocking all the time. Lumpkin may do some of that and you could also see them do some other things like use an extra tight end or even some formations where they have six linemen -- with one technically an eligible receiver.

Ethan (Charlotte)

Do the Saints get back to running more this week and using Sproles and Pierre more frequently?

Pat Yasinskas
  (12:48 PM)

I think they need to. As great as Brees is, he needs at least some sort of running game to help him out.

jerry (Tampa)

whats wrong with the Bucs secondary ? every time I see a ball thrown on them the WR is wide open. I say we draft a CB in the 1st round

Pat Yasinskas
  (12:49 PM)

I think that's a decent possibility.

Clay Defayette (NY)

Will the NFC South be the best overall division for the next five seasons because of the quarterbacks?

Pat Yasinskas
  (12:51 PM)

Well, a couple of those QBs (Ryan and Freeman) need to be a little more consistent before we can go saying that.

Clay Defayette (NY)

How's Tampa Bay's pass rush this season? Will the team still need to look for players to help in that area or can the Bucs use its' draft picks elsewhere?

Pat Yasinskas
  (12:52 PM)

Think they've made some progress in that area and have a lot invested in their front four. At this point, I'd expect them to draft elsewhere.

Bren (Greensboro)

After a 2-6 start, it looks like next year could be the bounce back year for the Panthers, if their defensive leaders stay healthy. With the possibility of a high first round pick in next years draft, do they go after a DT or CB, or will they target a compliment to Steve Smith?

Pat Yasinskas
  (12:53 PM)

Lot depends on where they're sitting in the draft. But, right now, I'd say DT is biggest area of need.

Mike G (mass)

Do you think the bye week will solve some of the bucs issues? I'm hoping Freeman an williams will get back on track

Pat Yasinskas
  (12:54 PM)

Not sure if bye will solve Williams' issues. But I think the bye helps big time in that they're getting some key players back and healthy.

Tyler (Athens, GA)

Pat Do you think 10-6 is a good record for the Falcons?

Pat Yasinskas
  (12:55 PM)

Might be good enough to get them into the playoffs. But I think they'd be much happier with 11-5.

CP (Brooklyn, NY)

What's Up Pat? I have missed a few weeks of the chat, but I'm back!! What's the deal with Sam Baker? Svitek played solid vs. Detroit, any chance the move Baker to RG since Reynolds isn't working out and leave Svitek at LT for the remainder of the season?

Pat Yasinskas
  (12:56 PM)

Baker's going to be out next 3-4 weeks. If Svitek continues to play well and they keep winning, I think there's a good chance he'll remain in the starting lineup.

John kasay (New Orleans)

Panthers fans, miss me yet?

Pat Yasinskas
  (12:57 PM)

I'm sure some of them do.

Mike g (mass)

t or f? Mike Williams and Josh Freeman get back on track after the bye

Pat Yasinskas
  (12:58 PM)

Freeman maybe. Not so sure about Williams.

Matt Riddle (Atlanta, Ga)

Pat, you correctly predicted a few weeks ago that the Falcons might benefit from Julio Jones sitting out for a week or two. Now you are saying that they will benefit from his return. What has changed that makes you think that Jones might steer the falcons away from what they do best(giving the ball to Turner)? Thanks

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:00 PM)

I just think they needed to step back and re-evaluate their offense a little bit. Get back to having a strong running game. Now, with Julio back, they can build off of that running game to throw downfield. They were trying to force that early on. Let it come naturally with help from the running game.

John (Salisbury NC)

Can we get auto updat on please

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:01 PM)

I don't have that capability. Any readers want to tell John what he needs to do, please?

Richard (Ann Arbor, MI)

Since it is the big thing this week, just for kicks, do you have an opinion on LSU/Alabama tomorrow?

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:03 PM)

Not really. Should be a good game. Kind of bummed that I'll probably miss most of it as I travel. Hoping to catch some of it during my layover.

java (tampa)

Will Tebow ever be a starting QB in the NFL?

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:04 PM)

Well, he is a starting QB -- right now. Will he be a successful one in the long term? I don't think so. That's just my opinion. I've thought all along that he doesn't throw nearly well enough to be an NFL QB. I think he'd be better of moving to TE or RB.

Mike g (Mass)

i feel like the bucs are going about the youth movement way too literally. Unless every single draft pick becomes solid player you can't rely 100% on the draft you need to get at least a few players through free agency to fill some spots.. Just look how good koenens doing and he is their sole fa acquisition . Your thoughts?

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:05 PM)

No argument here. I don't think they needed to do anything crazy in free agency. But a few mid-level free agents would have been nice.

SeenThisB4 (The French Quarter)

Pat: The Saints have lost 8 straight coin tosses at the beginning of the games. Do they keep records of that? And do you have any recommendations on a remedy for that?

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:07 PM)

Not sure. I'll have to check with our stats people. Maybe get some of that voo doo to change their luck.

Big Dan (Tampa)

Click on refresh at the top of the screen for auto on.

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:08 PM)

Here you go, John. Thanks, Dan.

John (Salisbury)

Mike Smith recently said they needed to get Quizz Rodgers more touches, Coach talk or do you see him finishing the year with an expanded role with Mughelli on IR

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:09 PM)

Probably a gradual increase. Snelling could be spending more time at fullback, so that could create more opportunities. But I think they view Rodgers mostly as a situational player right now and don't want him out there for pass protection.

Eliot (Lehrman)

Hey Pat, a few weeks ago (before week 7), you wrote that the Saints had the easiest schedule for the remainder of the season, but failed to mention that following their match-up with the colts, they handed that title to the Falcons.. Do you still think they have a stronghold on the division given that they're now 5-3 and the Falcons have the easiest remaining schedule?

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:10 PM)

I don't think anybody's got a hold on the division right now. Saints opened the door last week. Next two weeks will tell a lot with Saints playing Bucs and then Falcons.

Nick (Charlotte, NC)

I can see the panthers finishing at least 6-10 you agree or disagree?

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:11 PM)

Not out of the question. They've been competitive and they're improving. They need a little more help out of their defense, though.

Charles (San Francisco)

When players are on IR are they restricted from team activities or do they still participate in meetings, on the bench, etc.?

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:12 PM)

They can be around, but they can't be on the practice field.

Kristen (Hattiesburg, MS)

With a 4-3 record, the Bucs played 5 of their first 7 games against teams ranked in the ESPN power ranking top 12, and beat both the Falcons and Saints. Do you think a #19 power ranking is a bit low for the Bucs?

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:13 PM)

Maybe, but Bucs have been pretty inconsistent. Look great against the Saints one week and not very good against the Bears the next. I don't vote in Power Rankings, but think it's safe to say Bucs could jump up a good bit if they win Sunday.

Eliot (Lehrman)

The bucs, at 3-1, get blown out by the 49ers after beating the Falcons, no one seems to care all that much.. The Falcons could lose to the Colts sunday and people would just think they were all hype.. The Saints lose to the WINLESS RAMS in the ugliest game I've ever seen them play and they still get picked as unanimous favorites over the Bucs and are probably favorites to win the division still.. How much ground do the saints have to give up before anyone gives nearly as much credit to the teams actually 'on the rise' in the division?

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:15 PM)

When those teams "rise" with some degree of consistency would be my guess.

Bucs fan Dan (Sacramento, CA)

How is the knee of Blount? is it 100% or less, can he run wild this week like I know he can on then Saints.

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:15 PM)

Believe the knee of Blount is fine. He's had plenty of time to rest it.

Raheem (One Buc Place)

Rankings are for losers.

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:16 PM)

There is that.

Jonathan (Spartanburg)

How much do you think the bye is going to help carolina this week? Players getting better, game planning etc..

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:18 PM)

It's got to help a young team that didn't have an offseason with new coaching staff. Unfortunately, it can't bring back Jon Beason, Thomas Davis and Ron Edwards.

Ryan (Charlotte)

What improvements, specifically players, do you think the Panthers need to make on defense in order to get over the hump, as they say.

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:19 PM)

They need to be able to stop the run. DT is biggest problem area. LB became an issue with all the injuries.

java (tampa)

Do you see the Bucs finding a replacement for Talib next year or staying the course?

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:20 PM)

Think they'll wait to see what happens with his legal situation.

Brian (Charlotte)

Pat, do you agree with giving Dalton ROM over Cam? It seems the voters believe in "QB wins." Have Dalton & Cam switch defenses and the records would probably be reversed, if not worse for Dalton.

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:21 PM)

There aren't voters involved in that one. That's done by the NFL office and I think they go out of their way to try to spread things around.

Tom (Charlotte)

Pat, can you guess which NFC South corner is second to Revis when it comes to QB rating when thrown against them?

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:22 PM)

My guess would be Jabari Greer. But, since the question is coming from Charlotte, I'm thinking it might be Gamble or Munnerlyn. Let's hear it?

Frank (Jersey)

Pat, agree or disagree, Atlanta's passing game is awful right now because the o-line was built to be a run first, and is barely mediocre in pass blocking.

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:23 PM)

Agree.

Brandy (Charleston SC)

Best WR in NFCS right now?

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:23 PM)

Steve Smith, by far.

Big Dan (Tampa)

How is Rudy Carpenters' arm strenght? Tebow was thied string and jumped to first, if Josh gets injured, is Johnson watching his back?

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:24 PM)

Rudy's on practice squad right now. Doubt you'll see him on the field anytime soon unless they have several injuries.

Nick (Charlotte, NC)

I cant see the panthers picking a DT if they have a high pick in the draft, Because right now i dont see a DT worthy of that high of a pick. Although i can see them taking a WR agree or disagree

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:27 PM)

Would not rule out WR. LaFell is coming on, but still not sure how good he'll be. They need someone to complement Smith and eventually replace him. Franchise is being built around QB, so they'll want to give QB all the weapons they can. Then again, solidifying the defense might help the QB more than anything.

Mat (Denver)

Pat! Are you going to be in Atlanta next week?

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:27 PM)

Atlanta next week. Have Bucs-Saints this week.

Brandy (Charleston SC)

Theres a lot of talk of Chud becoming a HC next year. Do you think he may want to stay to be part of Cams superbowl run?

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:29 PM)

If he does get an HC opportunity, those are pretty hard to turn down. Think he still might be one more year away from a real strong HC opportunity.

Greg (North Carolina)

Panthers fans and Charlotteans have missed Kasay since he was cut. Terrific player and great person. It wasn't our decision to cut him, it was a business decision by the team's front office to spare a position.

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:29 PM)

Actually, more of a football decision than a business decision. Mare's getting paid quite a bit of money.

Sam (NYC)

Do you agree that the Saints biggest problems are pass blocking and stopping the run? The Bucs have a solid pass rush and a bruising RB. I'm worried about another division loss. Honestly, I like the Bucs chances this week in New Orleans, as they beat us in the dome the last couple years in a row.

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:32 PM)

Bucs have shown they match up well with Saints. But I think Saints might come out a little angry and extra motivated after what happened last week.

Frank (Jersey)

Falcons make it to the playoffs and lose, who gets the axe, Mularkey, BVG, or both?

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:32 PM)

Right now, I'd lean more to the offensive side.

John (Salisbury )

Matt Bryant has made 27 consecutive FG's , I think he needs a write up on your Blog

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:33 PM)

I'll add that to the "to do" list.

Eliot (NY, NY)

Not a fan of Sam Baker.. he looked like a blow-up doll against Babin and the Eagles and I haven't forgiven him since... How do you think the Falcons will fare with him out for 3+ weeks?

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:35 PM)

They did pretty well without him against Detroit. If Svitek plays reasonably well and they keep winning while Baker's out, he's probably gone next year.

CC (Atlanta)

Cam is a turnover machine yet you only single out Ryan and Freeman for shoddy play. I get that Cam is a rookie but he is SO careless with the ball.

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:36 PM)

True, but Cam's putting up some other big numbers.

java (tampa)

Do you think Josh Johnson test free agency after the season, or is he comfortable being Freemans backup?

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:38 PM)

I would think anyone in his situation would at least test FA to see if there's a possible shot at a starting spot. If there's not, I think Bucs coaches would be very happy to have him back.

John (Salisbury )

Brent "Optimus" Grimes is a FA next year, does he stay in Atlanta or does some other team offer a big payday?

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:39 PM)

Think there's a good chance Falcons try to make sure he never hits free-agent market.

CC (Atlanta)

And Carolina is 2-6 thanks in part to alot of Cam's TOs. Come on Pat!

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:41 PM)

And their lack of anything close to a defense. I'm not saying Cam's perfect, but he's far better than anyone has expected. He's made them competitive and interesting to watch. So far, I'd give him a slight edge over Jimmy Clausen's electrifying rookie season.

Joel (NC)

Pat, you think Steve Smith has an outside shot at HoF, especially if he can have 2-3 more years like this. His numbers have suffered due to bad QB play/ system and some injuries, but he has been one of the best WR in the league for 10 years now

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:43 PM)

He needs several more years with the kind of stats he's putting up. It would also help if Panthers gave him a few playoff runs. I know Steve is in his 30s, but I haven't seen any sign of him slowing down. So I wouldn't rule anything out.

Greg (North Carolina)

C'mon Pat, you know it isn't fair at all to compare Clausen under John Fox in a lame duck position to Cam Newton with a new coach and Chud's awesome tailored playbook. Just sayin'.

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:45 PM)

That was intended with a heavy dose of sarcasm.

Casey (Jackson, MS)

Thanks for penning an article about Donald Penn. I am glad he plays for my team. I think he could be the Bucs midseason MVP after his performances against Freeney, Abraham, Peppers, etc.

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:46 PM)

My pleasure. Penn's fun to talk to and he has been playing quite well.

Mat (Denver)

Best defense in the south right now?

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:47 PM)

Really? I've got to pick one? I'm not crazy about any of the four. But I'd say Atlanta and Tampa each have done some good things at times on defense and each of them has the potential to be a good defense if they can be more consistent.

Clay (Charlotte)

Pat, any good Sam Mills stories?

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:49 PM)

Yes, one of my all-time favorite interviews came when I was doing a free-lance story on the USFL for a magazine. I sat down with Sam and Panthers equipment man Jackie Miles (who also worked in USFL) and they told USFL stories for about two hours. Sam was a great and fascinating guy. I still have the tape of that interview. Might have to do a USFL book someday.

steve smith (charlotte, nc)

Can we finally agree that i'm back to being the best WR in the league?!

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:51 PM)

One of our other writers called me yesterday to talk about the midseason All-Pro team he's doing for next week. I mentioned your name. He had forgotten about you. But I think you're now going to make his team.

Ricky (Bradenton)

Do you think Davin Joseph is a pro bowl player? He is so powerful-looking on the field, but it's hard to judge guards as a common fan.

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:54 PM)

It's hard for writers, who don't fancy themselves as scouts or coaches, to judge that too. I seek out opinions of coaches and scouts on things like that. The consensus is Joseph is pretty good, but not great.

Zach Attack (Tampa, FL)

I know Raheem praises consistency, yet the players have struggled with this for two years. Is this due to having the youngest team in the NFL, or do you think it is due to coaching?

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:55 PM)

Think there's some of both at play there. When consistency problems spill into a second year, then I say it's not all on having a young roster.

Sean (Las Vegas)

Sam Mills is a Saint first, Panther second.

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:57 PM)

True and he was also a Philadelphia Star. More than anything, he was a great person.

mike (greensboro)

have you met cam yet? seems like a pretty nice kid!

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:59 PM)

Been around him in group interviews several times, but not one-on-one yet. Seems to handle himself well in group interviews and not many rookie QBs master that right away. Couple more questions before we end the chat.

Sharell (NCFalconFan)

Hi PY..Just joined...We have a lot to look forward to the 2nd half, but my FALCONS look really off, esp. offense, do the OL miss DAHL that much. Is it over for Baker?

Pat Yasinskas
  (2:00 PM)

You almost missed us! I think it's been a combination of Baker and Reynolds struggling and McClure's injury didn't help. Yeah, I'm pretty sure this will be Baker's last year with Falcons.

Mike (Charlotte)

To the guy who said Cam is a turnover machine, HE IS A ROOKIE, those other two guys have been in the NFL 2+ years, Cam has an excuse.

Pat Yasinskas
  (2:01 PM)

And Drew Brees is tied for second in the league in INTs.

Max (Maryville College)

Will this be Ronde's last year?

Pat Yasinskas
  (2:02 PM)

You'd have to ask Ronde. Think it's all up to him. He's still playing well. If he wants to keep playing, I think they'd give him another contract.

Jordan (Charlotte)

How much longer until Rivera lets Lafell start? He has outplayed Nenee every game with a lot less opportunity.

Pat Yasinskas
  (2:03 PM)

I think it's got to come soon. Seems like they've been gradually increasing LaFell's playing time. I say throw him out there all the time.

Mat (Denver)

Bye pat! you put in some over time this week! Preciate it! Sincerly, your fans

Pat Yasinskas
  (2:05 PM)

Yes, we are past the time limit, so I'll cut it off. Thanks to all for stopping by. We'll do it again next week.