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December 9, 1:00 PM ET
Chat with Pat Yasinskas

Cedric (Clayton, CA)

Let's begin with the assumption the Saints re-sign Drew Brees. They won't be able to keep all of the offensive talent happy if Brees gets $16 million per year. Would the receivers/TEs/running backs all take a little less to continue to have a good chance to win Super Bowls or should Drew take $12 million per year (perhaps with more guaranteed money) to keep the group intact?

Pat Yasinskas
  (12:53 PM)

Mickey Loomis is a very bright general manager and there are lots of ways he can spread Drew's salary-cap hit out over the course of the contract. It will take some creativity, of course. But that may be why we haven't seen a deal get done sooner. Loomis and Payton know they've got other very important talent that they have to keep.

Logan (Florida)

Will we see J.Freeman vs. Jags! Even with shoulder can he exploit weakened Jags secondary? Thanks

Pat Yasinskas
  (12:53 PM)

Sounds like he's going to play. He practiced with first team today.

Michael (Hickory, NC)

Hey Pat,Cam done an interview and said he wants everyone to play to his level. I think that is great but my question is with all the injuries don't you think the Panthers are at least trying to do that with what they have this year?

Pat Yasinskas
  (12:55 PM)

Think the effort has been there team-wide. But they've had injuries, so the talent level isn't quite up to par. But I respect Cam's competitive nature and desire to win.

Donneith (Columbia, SC)

Do you think Cam is going to get too "big" for the city of charlotte and want to leave after his contract is up?

Pat Yasinskas
  (12:56 PM)

I haven't seen or heard anything that would lead me to believe that. Charlotte's a great town. Cam can be the King of Charlotte, if he's not already.

Michaeltx70 (Houston)

Pat, how do you answer your naysayers that whine and moan that you favor the Saints? As a Saints fan, I'm well aware of the fact that when you're losing, you're not newsworthy unless someone on your team does something stupid. But I'm hoping to see your response to the rest of the NFC South about this.

Pat Yasinskas
  (12:58 PM)

It's the nature of my job. You have to go with the "hot" stories. Saints are winning, so they're going to get more coverage. If Panthers or Bucs were winning, they'd get more coverage.

Evan (Durham, NC)

Do you agree with a "high-ranking Panthers official" that as long as Jerry Richardson owns the team, Marty Hurney will be the GM?

Pat Yasinskas
  (12:59 PM)

Not sure where that quote is from. But, yeah, I would tend to agree with that.

Free (Pittsburgh)

Hey Pat, i see that the bucs are trying to find out what they have in there young guys such as madu, gaitor and now ahmad black as i mentioned last week. Why do you think it takes them so long to make personnel changes ? ( ie. last year, going with blount over cadillac, it definitlely made a difference in last years outcome)

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:01 PM)

It sometimes takes time to make changes because they're waiting to see progress from those young guys in practice. That's kind of how it was with Blount last year. This year, I think it's more a case of realizing they're not going to the playoffs, so why not throw the young guys out there and see what they've got?

Brett (Phoenix)

Pat I've been taking a close look at Mike Turner and he looks beat up. Jason Snelling last week touched the ball a couple of times and had about ten yards per carry. I don't understand why Atlanta doesn't use him more and take some of the load off Turner. What are your thoughts?

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:02 PM)

Well, Turner has been on injury report with groin injury. Snelling does some good things. I wouldn't mind seeing him and Jacquizz Rodgers get a few more carries.

Jonesy (Charlotte)

Do you think Shirley will touch the field this weekend? I would be curious to see a rotation with Kearsey, Neblitt and big Shirley...that's a lot of beef

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:02 PM)

I would think so. They won't play entire game with just two DTs. They'll use some sort of rotation.

Andy (NC)

How bad will it be for the Panthers run D this weekend?

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:04 PM)

Well, they actually didn't give up much to LeGarrette Blount last week. But I would expect Falcons to come out right away and try very hard to establish the running game. Might be a better idea than last week when they came out throwing deep.

Scott (Sugar Hill, GA)

Hey Pat!In all seriousness - would you be concerned if you were Atlanta and had to face the Panthers right now? I know ATL has the better record and have the playoffs at stake, but the Cam Netwon show really worries me.

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:05 PM)

Yeah, Carolina is a dangerous team right now. We know the Panthers can score some points, but their defense is a question. I don't think the Falcons should try to get in a shootout. I think they should run a lot and try to keep Cam off the field.

CC (Atlanta)

Any truth to the rumor that Coach Smith secretly inserted a frying pan in each of Julio's gloves last week? What was that???

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:06 PM)

Good line!

Phillip (Dallas, GA)

Why do you think Matt Ryan is not improving? Is this as good as its ever going to be with him?

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:07 PM)

I thought we'd see a big step forward from him this year. But it hasn't happened. I think O-line and play-calling are partly to blame, but some of it also has to go on Matt. Still think there's a lot of potential there that hasn't been reached.

John (Charlotte)

Pat I know that the Panthers are 4-8 but do you think that Ron Rivera should get some vote for Coach of the Year.?thanks

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:08 PM)

Might be tough with guys like Jim Harbaugh. But Rivera has done a nice job and has his team headed in a good direction.

Sagacious (Charlotte)

Do you know whether Jordan Gross will be playing or not on Sunday. I know he was held out of practice

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:09 PM)

I know he was held out Wednesday and Thursday. Have you seen anything saying he was definitely out today? If he was out, then I'd say it's real doubtful he'll go Sunday.

RonnieDonnie (Kennabrah)

Most valuable Saints player not named Brees?

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:10 PM)

Sproles.

Phillip (Dallas, GA)

Pat, next time you drive up to Flowery Branch could you take Roddy and Julio some "stick'um" ?

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:11 PM)

Well, I'm going to Charlotte tomorrow. I'll see if I can smuggle some in my carry-on bag.

Ken (NY)

Pat I liked the article about the QB rankings by Trotter right up to the point where he had Tebow ranked as the 5th best QB.. Now im thinking is this guy joking. I don't see how you can have Eli, Smith, and Newton behind Tebow. I guess Trotter rankings are based just on the second half of the 4th quarter. Your thoughts?

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:11 PM)

I think he was basing rankings on right at the moment. As we all know, Tebow is a bit polarizing and people have very different opinions on him.

Mike G (Mass)

Will the bucs wake up and realize they cant rely 100% on the draft this offseason?

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:12 PM)

Still to be determined. Bucs have a lot of serious thinking to do about a lot of things in the coming weeks and months.

Adam (Raleigh NC)

I know people try to sound "smart" but is there really a single soul out there that would take Dalton or Tebow over Newton as their QB?

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:14 PM)

Not me. Anybody have other opinions?

aUSTIN (aTLANTA)

Pat, I noticed that Turner is on the injury report this week. Is there any updates on whether he practiced fully Friday? What do his role look like this weekend facing the weakest run D in the NFCS?

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:15 PM)

We'll get an update on his status later this afternoon. I'll post it on the blog as soon as I get it. But my guess is that he plays.

John (Charlotte)

Pat why is Tebow getting more love then Cam is getting? When Cam is having a much better season then Tebow is ?

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:16 PM)

Not saying I agree with it, but I think the simple answer is Tebow's winning. Also, it's not like Cam is going totally unrecognized.

CP (Brooklyn, NY)

Pat, I'd much rather you smuggle Mularkey OUT of Charlotte and never return him to ATL.

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:17 PM)

Well, you should send letters of recommendation to the Jaguars for their head coaching job.

Andy (NC)

DALTON = GAME MANAGER NEWTON = GAME CHANGER

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:18 PM)

No argument here.

Ken (NY)

If you were starting a team would you want Tebow to be your QB?

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:18 PM)

No, I would not. But that's just my personal opinion.

Phillip (Dallas, GA)

What is Sean Weatherspoon's upside? I think he has potential to be perrenial pro-bowler ala Derrick Brooks. How is "Spoon" thought of in NFL circles?

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:20 PM)

He's seen as a rising star and is showing lots of flashes. Scouts will tell you he's best LB in division right now, after injuries to Beason, Davis and Vilma. In fact, they'll tell you Weatherspoon and Curtis Lofton are two best LBs in the division.

Jonsey (Charlotte)

Panthers' injury report 4 ATL: LB Jason Phillips (calf), LB Kion Wilson (calf) out; OT Jordan Gross (ankle) questionable; everyone else prob Ron Rivera said Gross ran on the side today and looked better. Veteran tackle hasn't practiced all week after spraining ankle at Tampa Bay.

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:23 PM)

The fact he ran and looked better would make me guess he'll play. He's a vet and it doesn't matter if he missed practice time.

Andrew (Atlanta)

Other than Matt Ryan's sporadic accuracy and all the dropped balls, what do you see as the biggest problem with the Falcon offense?

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:24 PM)

Don't think they've ever fully figured out exactly what their identity is. Think they have forced the downfield passing thing at times, at the expense of the running game.

Adam (Raleigh NC)

I'm not trying to ruffle any feathers, but has it crossed anyone's mind that Matt Ryan is as good as he will ever get? Ryan is a good QB, but they were trying to call him elite year two when that may have been premature and Ryan is "suffering" because of unrealistic expectations.

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:25 PM)

I still like Ryan and think he can be very good. But I think Adam poses a very valid question.

Ryan (Atl)

Pitt would you agree me with that with the way the Panthers have play as of late.That beating the Falcons on Sunday should not be consider a major upset?Thanks

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:27 PM)

No, I don't think it would qualify as a major upset because Panthers have stayed close with a lot of good teams. However, I think the Falcons and their fans would be very upset if they lose. This game is very important to their playoff hopes.

Mitch (NC)

Pat, do you agree that Rivera has been an absolute genius with the Panther's offense? First Cam was allowed to basically only throw to tight ends on one side of the field. Then both sides. Then wideouts on one side, then both. Then a full passing offense. All while giving Cam some running plays. Now he's started getting success w/ Stewart and Williams. He may not be McDaniels when it comes to developing a quarterback, but I can't see any other another coaching staff doing a better job.

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:29 PM)

Well, I think a large part of the credit should go to Rob Chudzinski and Mike Shula. Rivera is the head coach and certainly has say in what they do, but his background is on defense and I think he's trusted his offensive coaches with Cam.

Brandon (Vancouver)

Pat, I thought your Dungy piece was pretty interesting, but isn't Cowher the logical "big time" coach to come in and fix the Bucs? He is known as a disciplinarian and would liekly be interested in the Bucs (franchise quarterback, stable front office, good young defensive line talent).

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:30 PM)

Yeah, but does Cowher want to build? Not sure about that and also think, if he coaches, it will be in a very big market.

Phillip (Dallas, GA)

Tell Adam he's half right.......Matt Ryan will never be elite - but with a better Offensive Coordinator, he would look much better.

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:31 PM)

Could be right.

StShockey (MS)

i thought Vilma looked like he was dragging his knee the other night... did you notice him looking sluggish with his scoped knee?

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:33 PM)

Thought he looked all right for first game back after surgery. But didn't look like the Vilma of a year or two ago. Might bounce back as he gets into the flow and further out from surgery.

theProf (Georgia)

Do you think that Dunta Robinson is currently worth his $57 million contract with the Falcons, and how do you rate his CB play according to the following scale: great, good, above average, average, below average, or poor?

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:34 PM)

Somewhere between good and above average. But definitely not great.

Chuck (Charlotte)

commentWhy has the media twisted Cams words when he said "get on my level", he was clearly talking about players getting on his level of how much they hate to lose, not in terms of talent.

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:36 PM)

Can't speak for others, but I took it same way you did -- he basically was just saying he wants to win.

Tim (Athens)

RE: Free (Pittsburgh)So will the Bucs be playing like the would in the preseason? Not putting their best players on the field in order to evaluate youth seems counterintuitive to playing to win this season. I would think the league, tv networks, and fans frown who all want to see the most competitive football in the regular season.

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:37 PM)

No, I don't think they're approaching it that way at all. They're just going to throw a few young guys out there from time to time to see what they've got. That's pretty common for teams that are out of the playoff picture.

John (Charlotte)

Do you think that Charles big Money Johnson is currently worth his big deal that he got in the off-season?

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:38 PM)

Pretty close to it. He's at, what, 8.5 sacks? If he finishes in double digits, then he's doing his job.

Steve "Spags" Spagnuolo (St. Louis, MO.)

tell Mike Smith I will move to Flowery Branch and FIX the defense in 2012 after I get fired up here in Ram-Land.

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:39 PM)

You got anybody you can bring along to fix the offense?

Sam (Raleigh)

pat, after the interview that cam had,can you see him leaving when his contract is up or do you think that the panthers will extend him before hand?

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:40 PM)

That's down the road a way. But, at this point, I would think the Panthers do everything possible to make sure he never gets close to becoming a free agent.

Steve Reed (Charlotte)

Pat just want to pass this along that OT Jordan Gross (ankle) did not practice today and is listed as questionable for Sunday's game.

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:41 PM)

Yes, but he also ran on the side and Rivera said he was encouraged. Tell the real Steve Reed I look forward to seeing him Sunday in Charlotte.

CC (Atlanta)

Why are you even fielding questions about Cam leaving? He's in year 1 of his contract!! That's like addressing a question about Pujols and his next contract... in 2022!

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:42 PM)

I agree, it was out of left field, but the question was popping up quite a bit from a number of Carolina fans.

Chris (Pensacola)

I think Del Rio may have that job!!

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:43 PM)

Well, there is a very obvious connection there.

Rum (N'awlins)

It's the chris paul syndrome, probably

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:43 PM)

Good one.

Ryan Lee (Charlotte)

pat can you please explain to me how come the Rams and Jaguars who are playing worst the Panthers.Get to play on prime time .While the panthers don't even get one Prime time game.

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:44 PM)

Decisions were made before the season.

Dee (TB)

What's the outlook for TB next season after this down year?

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:45 PM)

Let's wait and see if there are changes at, or near, the top and then we'll figure it out.

Steve Reed (Charlotte)

Pat I am looking forward to see you also on Sunday.Make sure to dress warm as it will be cold on Sunday in Charlotte

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:46 PM)

Already packed the warm clothes after seeing the forecast. I should have booked an earlier flight tomorrow so we could have played some racquetball like the old days.

Jaquay (Charlotte, NC)

Pat can you please tell all the Panther fans worried about Cam leaving that it will not happen unless something dramatic occurs.

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:47 PM)

I think Jaquay sums it up. And, seriously, why are all these "Cam leaving" questions suddenly coming out of the woodwork?

Alex (Springfield)

What's wrong with the Saints defense ?

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:47 PM)

Nothing, other than it could use a few more turnovers. Thought the D played pretty well over all against the Lions.

Alex (Springfield)

Is it forbidden to ask questions about the Saints or did I miss something ?

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:48 PM)

Love it, now I'm getting accused of not enough Saints stuff! Go ahead, send a question, Alex.

CC (Atlanta)

If nothing else, Freeman's bad year means no big contract extension in the offseason. Do you agree that 2012 is his make or break year in Tampa? Problem w/ that is he'll likely be learning a new offense.

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:49 PM)

Yeah, I don't think it would make a lot of sense to extend him right now. See how he does next year. That will be key season for him.

falconidae (atlanta)

For those thinking Ryan has been inconsistent- his receivers have dropped 3 game winning/tyingTDs- drops hit their hands, and half his INTs are either mis run routes by the WR or tip drills off the receivers hands. With a little more help, he'd be looking much better.

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:50 PM)

And there is that.

CC (Atlanta)

Do you see Andrew Luck re-signing with the Colts after his contract is up in 2017? What about after his 2nd contract in 2023?

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:51 PM)

You're on a roll!!! I like it though.

Steve Young (Charlotte)

Pat with few upgrade on defense side in the off-season and getting Jon Beason and Ron Edwards back.Do you agree that the Panthers should be consider a super bowl contender next year?Thanks

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:52 PM)

Let's start with playoff contender and not get too carried away just yet. But I will admit I see the Panthers as a team on the rise, kind of like they were at end of Fox's first year and we know what happened in his second.

Mike (Hickory,NC)

This is why there are some many questions Pat, "That's the type of person that I am. I'm that lion. The house that I?m in is somewhat of a tarnished house where losing is accepted. But I?m trying to change that, whether I'm going to have to turn that house into a safari or I'm just going to have to get out of that house.?

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:54 PM)

Understood, but it's a 22-year-old kid talking and he's got a big desire to win. I don't think he's already looking to get out of there.

Alex (Springfield)

Why doesn't Brees get the same media coverage as Brady or Rodgers? Can you really say that Aaron Rodgers is better than him when you watch Drew playing?

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:55 PM)

Go back and look at column I wrote off Saints' Monday night win against the Giants. I wrote that Brees at least belongs in the conversation with Rodgers for MVP. I mean, the guy is probably going to break Marino's record for passing yards in a season.

Scott Hammond (Saint Amant, La)

Cam Jordan doesn't have a sack yet and is getting no love from the media but when I watch him he is all over the field, very high motor, and looks like a solid contributor. Do you think he's validated that 1st round pick so far?

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:57 PM)

I think he's been all right. Saints were looking for an every-down end, not necessarily just a pass rusher. So I think he's close to meeting their expectations. Still, would be nice to see him get a few sacks.

JT (NO)

Is there any chance Drew Brees doesn't extend his contract and is a Free Agent next season?

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:58 PM)

I can't see either side wanting or allowing that. If it ever did happen, there would be big trouble in the streets of New Orleans.

Adam (Asheville)

I think Brees might not get the same coverage because he's been elite for a long time now, he's had shots at dan marino's record for many years in a row. brady's been around a long time too now and doesnt get nearly the attention he used to, notice the one getting the most attention right now is a new kid on the block

Pat Yasinskas
  (2:00 PM)

I think another factor in all that is the Packers have enormous national appeal. Not diminishing Rodgers at all. He's great, but Packers are a national media darling.

Andy (NC)

Have a good weekend Pat. Look forward to the chat Sunday.

Pat Yasinskas
  (2:01 PM)

We'll cut it off on that. Thanks Andy and thanks to all for stopping by. Yes, a reminder that we'll be doing the Countdown Live chat throughout the Panthers/Falcons game. Please join us. Just come to NFC South blog and you'll see how to get in.