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January 6, 1:00 PM ET
Chat with Pat Yasinskas

Khalil (ATL)

I was wondering did you happen to catch the article written by Rob Parker, saying he though ATL was the worst sports city in america, and therefore the Falcons don't deserve to win in the playoffs. I think it was highly disrespectful to the residents of ATL, and it was completely inaccurate. He should be fired. I wouldn't even attack Saints fans that bad.

Pat Yasinskas
  (12:57 PM)

Didn't see it and am not allowed to criticize other media. Will just say my experience has shown Atlanta's a great sports city and Falcons are a first-class organization.

stephen (illinois)

are the panthers the first team ever to have 3 700 yard rushers?

Pat Yasinskas
  (12:58 PM)

I know the stat came out when they all got to 600 that they were the first team do do it since the Falcons in '05 or '06 with Dunn, Vick and Norwood.

Bryant (Charlotte NC)

The nine seasons you covered the Carolina Panthers, was there ever a period of optimism as there is now in the city?

Pat Yasinskas
  (12:59 PM)

When Panthers were in the Super Bowl. Lots of optimism then. But I agree this is a very optimistic time in Charlotte.

Sasquatch (Minnesota)

Write this name down : Chris Ivory. For all of the (well-deserved) attention that Brees and the receivers have been getting, Ivory has quietly been a beast running the ball late this season, and there are no more individual records to chase. You may start pre-writing your Sunday article about Ivory and the running game right now. Bank on it. Sasquatch is wise.

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:00 PM)

I like the call. Ivory has been running well lately. I think he also could be a huge factor if Saints have to play an outdoor game.

Eliot (Roswell, GA)

The Falcons were 4-4 on the road this year, 2-2 outside. The Giants were 4-4 at home. MetLife stadium has turf, not grass. The weather is supposed to be mild (for January) and sunny. Why do I still hear so many people bring up the weather argument against Matt Ryan and the Falcons? And do you agree with it?

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:02 PM)

Falcons track record outdoors is not great. Neither is Matt's record outdoors. Find it kind of hard to understand since he grew up in PA and played at Boston College. But this is his chance to go up there and shed the label.

Mike (Houston)

is there any possibility that the resigning of Brees (who might make more than any player ever) could cripple the Saints and keep them from making a run like the Patriots are currently on 9for th epast 10 years)?

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:03 PM)

No, Mickey Loomis is a smart man. He'll structure that deal in a way that won't cripple anything.

Clement (Paris, France.)

Hi there,Do you have any information about the split of votes between Brees & Rodgers for the MVP. Many voters have openly claimed that they have voted for X or Y. According to what you know, will Brees get enough votes ?

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:04 PM)

I do not know. I don't have a vote. I'm not sure if votes even have been cast yet.

Rock Knuteney (Slidell, LA)

Let's dispell one rumor spread by people who don't check their facts. While it might be true the Saints are a worse road team than home team, it is due to the fact they are so good at home. The fact is the Saints are the best road team in the NFL since 2009, posting an 18-6 regular season record.

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:05 PM)

All right, we'll get that one out there now. Might come in handy if the Saints have to go on the road next week.

Nick (GA)

Pat are you doing an all NFC South team and if so when will it be out?

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:05 PM)

Yep, I will be doing one. But let's get through the playoffs first. Or at least get the playoffs narrowed down a bit. We will get to that though.

Marc (Houston airport)

Pat, why not even contact Fisher or Billick if you're Tampa? Are they really enamored with Sherman, a man who has been fired from his last two posts?

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:07 PM)

I'm not so sure they didn't at least try to contact Fisher. Look, Sherman may indeed end up with job. But this is not a done deal yet. You'll hear they'll end up interviewing at least two or three more candidates.

Falconidae (Atlanta)

Hey Pat, what happened to Kerry Meier this year? Read your piece early in the year about how much the coaching staff loved Meier and have read many similar articles from the local media in Atlanta. Not sure if he caught a pass this year, but he has shown up in some games, so he's not hurt. Know what happened to him?

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:09 PM)

He actually has been hurt in recent weeks -- probably last month or so. Before that, he was pretty much just making impact on special teams. He's fifth receiver and was never really able to crack the rotation. They still like him and think he has a future.

StShockey (MS)

Hey Pat! Can't wait until tomorrow! Quick question.When the new CBA was signed, they instituted a finite number of practices for each team. How does the NFL keep up with that? Is there a committee that keeps up with the number? Can teams/ coaches falsify the number of practices allowed? Also, do the number of padded practices increase for the teams in the Postseason?Thanks and bring the Kittens back to the DOME! WHO DAT?!

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:10 PM)

As I understand it, there is an "NFL observer", who keeps an eye on each practice and if they wear pads or not.

Hank (Palm Beach)

Are the Bucs the classic they were not as good as their record last year and not as bad as their record this year?

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:10 PM)

Wouldn't say that. I'd say that by the end of this past season, they were worse than their record.

JAVA (TAMPA)

Do you think Freeman will rebound with new coaching or should the Bucs trade for Tebow?

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:11 PM)

Tebow? Seriously?

StShockey (MS)

Going to either of the games tomorrow?

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:12 PM)

I will be flying to New York tomorrow -- well, actually Newark. Will cover Giants/Falcons on Sunday. But I'll watch Saints from hotel Saturday night and write a wrap-up. Colleagues Jeff Chadiha and Kevin Seifert will be in New Orleans.

Eliot (Roswell, GA)

Word of unleashing "the Predator" has surfaced in the last day or so. How much of a difference do you think it will make for the Falcons' D-line with Abraham in there for most, if not all of the snaps?

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:14 PM)

Yeah, but, at Abe's age, does he necessarily have a bigger impact with more playing time?

Michelle3231 (Atlanta)

Hey Pat, love the blog. I dont understand why everyone doesnt think the Falcons have a chance to beat the Giants. It seems that out of all the playoff teams in the NFC the Falcons match up best against the Giants. What do you think?

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:15 PM)

I can tell you for a fact that the entire organization was much happier to be playing the Giants than the Saints in the first round.

JL (La)

Hey Pat has the MVP voting already taken place, or do they wait to vote after the playoffs and announce the results super bowl week?

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:16 PM)

I don't know exact answer on that. They've changed how they do it. I know the results now will be announced night before Super Bowl. But I'm not sure when actual vote takes place. It used to be before regular season even ended. But I know it has changed.

Grant (On a slow boat to nowhere)

Does Josh Freeman need a more QB friendly offense,better QB coach,more weapons or just more time?

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:17 PM)

Better supporting cast would be my short answer.

Mark (GA)

The Falcons defense has collapsed against good competition the past few years. Any talk of bringing in another DC if this playoff run does not go well. I know this defense is essentially Mike Smiths, but we cant stop anyone when it counts.

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:18 PM)

I would think there will be a scapegoat if the Falcons don't win a playoff game this year and DC would be a good possibility.

Dennis (Plant City)

Is Ronde gonna play another year?

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:19 PM)

Think that's going to be up to Ronde.

Nick (GA)

Have you heard what teams are going to be interviewing Chud?

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:19 PM)

Jacksonville is only one I know for sure right now.

Matt Riddle (Atlanta, Ga)

Is Grimes going to play on Sunday?

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:20 PM)

Think so, Smith indicated yesterday Grimes probably would practice today.

Mike (Charlotte )

5 years from now, who is the best QB in the NFC South..... quick!

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:20 PM)

Brees would only be 37, so I'll go with Brees.

Ahmad (Winston-Salem, NC)

The Falcons have not won a playoff game since the Mike Vick era. In many ways, they resemble the Dallas Cowboys. How seriously should fans take them as Super Bowl contenders going into the future?

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:22 PM)

We'll find out a lot more about them Sunday. I've got a column up on blog now about how this game is critical for Mike Smith and Matt Ryan. If they lose this one, they're going to get stuck with the label of guys who can't win when it matters. There's some pressure on them because ownership and front office expected big things this season.

sirpurralicious (Wrightsville Beach)

As a panthers fan, I of course think the organization and fans to be the classiest. which team/organization/fans do you believe has the most class?

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:24 PM)

Every NFC South team and their fans are EXTREMELY classy. I can't answer that one any other way.

Albarado (Ventura, CA)

Pat! Big fan of your blog, I check it daily. With the Saints giving up this year's 2nd round pick and next yea'rs 1st round pick in the draft for Mark Ingram, would you consider him worth it? The Saints are in a win-now type of mode, and since Ingram hasn't been overwhelming and is now injured, the Saints could deffinetly have used someone who could make an immediate impact. Seems to me Chis Ivory hasn't missed a beat since filling in for him... what do you think?

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:25 PM)

Can't really say Ingram's a bust. He did some good things when he was healthy. I'm sure they'd like to have a first-round pick. But it's not like they're a team with a whole bunch of glaring needs. They can patch some things with a free agent or two.

James (FL)

Would you say this past season was the last time Aqib Talib will be seen wearing a TB uniform? An if so do you think they go out an draft a Morris Claiborne or draft a Trent Richardson or Justin Blackmon ?

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:26 PM)

Let's see what the legal system does with Talib's situation.

Free (Pittsburgh)

Hey Pat, i think the Bucs are going to end up landing Jeff Fisher, even though there are reports that he is suppose to end up elsewhere. With free agent signings of Haynesworth, and Jevon Hayes (ex-Titans) sort of make sense. What are your thoughts?

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:27 PM)

Seriously, you think the presence of Haynesworth and Jovan Haye would make Fisher WANT the Tampa Bay job???

amar (laplace)

Love your blog. No one around the league trying to get any of the Saints' coaches ? Surprised ?

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:29 PM)

Not really. Pete Carmichael is overshadowed by Payton because Payton calls the plays. Plus, Carmichael doesn't have a dynamic personality. Gregg Williams is a known commodity, but it's not like his defense has been lighting it up the last two seasons.

Charles (San Francisco)

Hey Pat, Happy New Year. Pat are you surprised Mark Dominik survived? And though the coaches took the fall, how much did the players immaturity and lack of veteran leadership resulted in the inability to stop the bleeding?

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:30 PM)

Not surprised at all. Remember, Bucs gave Dominik a four-year contract extension last offseason. All they did with Raheem was pick up his two-year option. That right there tells me that, even after 10-6, they were sold on Dominik, but still weren't sure about Raheem.

Sam (San Diego)

Do you believe that Cam Newton has the potential to become on of the faces of the NFL in the Peyton Manning Tom Brady mold?

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:31 PM)

Sure, he certainly has the potential to be that -- maybe even more.

Matt Riddle (Atlanta, Ga)

How does Atlanta's O-line matchup against NY in your mind? Big mismatch?

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:32 PM)

New York's pass rush is a real issue for an o-line that wasn't great in pass blocking. Svitek's going to need help. But Falcons can run block, especially to the left side.

Sam (San Diego)

Do you believe that Cam Newton has the potential to become on of the faces of the NFL in the Peyton Manning Tom Brady mold?

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:33 PM)

I think he is very much in the mix for the Jacksonville job.

Joel (NC)

Locally in Carolina, people are still down on Marty Hurney, but I think this may have been his best year other than maybe 2003. He has made some mistakes the past few years, but with Cam Newton being a grand slam, stealing Greg Olsen from the Bears, and seeing LaFell develop into the #2 WR the Panthers have been searching for, I think Hurney is feeling good these days.

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:34 PM)

Hurney should be feeling good. He found a franchise QB. When you've got that, you're at least halfway there.

Eliot (Roswell, GA)

To me, one of the Falcons' biggest strengths is their run game combined with quick passes to Tony G AND Roddy White (he gets lots of short yardage). Do you agree that this will be very effective in counteracting the Giants' stellar pass rush?

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:35 PM)

Yep, because it's not like the Falcons have had a lot of success with the deep game. Take the short stuff and get what you can.

falconfanga (atlanta)

If Mike Mularky is such a good offensive mind, why aren't the falcons more exotic ontheir schemes? a lot of times even the fans know the next play by formation,player,and down.It's like taking an open book test.

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:36 PM)

Ultimately, the OC works under orders from head coach. Maybe Mike Smith is reason you don't see more exotic schemes.

Nishant Sripathi (ATL)

Do you consider Matt Ryan an elite quarterback, Pat?

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:37 PM)

Not sure what exact definition of elite is. Tell you what, I'll make that call after seeing what Matt does on Sunday.

Matt Riddle (Atlanta, Ga)

Have you been to the NY's new stadium yet? How does it compare in noise to some of the other loud stadiums?

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:38 PM)

This will be first time to the new stadium. Old one was pretty loud.

William B. (Nassau, The Bahamas)

Happy New Year Pat, long time no chat, but I do read the chat every week. One point before labeling Ingrahm a bust. Loomis and Payton have a knack of taking draft choices to a much higher level in their second seasons. I.E. Jenkins, Robertson, Meachem, Graham, etc.

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:39 PM)

Excellent point. And it wasn't like Ingram was terrible when he was healthy. Loomis and Payton are in a spot where they don't draft for the present. They're always drafting a year or two ahead.

Paul (Augusta)

Under what circumstances does Mike Smith's seat begin warming, and do you think it is warranted given his unprecidented success?

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:41 PM)

A playoff win would help Smith very much. It's not like he's in trouble. He's been having winning seasons and has franchise on very solid ground. But, if he keeps failing to win in playoffs, he's going to become Norv Turner -- "Nice guy, pretty good coach, but can't win when it matters".

Eliot (Roswell, GA)

Been to MetLife 8 times. Jets games are loud cause of Fireman Ed and the C H A N T. Giants fans are much more tame, didn't see it have much of an effect on their opponents.

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:42 PM)

Thanks for the scouting report. Looking forward to seeing the new stadium. Will be hearing Springsteen's "Wrecking Ball" as I drive in there.

Frank (Jersey)

From a fans perspective, Mike Smith is safe. As long as he gets rid of those two coordinators if we lose again this year. If he keeps them around, there could be problems.

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:43 PM)

If they lose in first round, I think there will be a scapegoat and it will be one of the coordinators.

Al (Wausau, WI)

Pat, I heard that Raheem Morris will be interviewing with the Vikings today for a defensive coordinator type position there. Given what happened at Tampa Bay when he was a head coach, do you feel he could find better success if he just focuses on the defensive side of the ball?

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:44 PM)

I think Raheem needs to go and be a secondary coach or defensive coordinator for a few years. At some point down the road, he could be a good head coach. He was just not mature enough this time around.

Richard (Ann Arbor, MI)

Come on, Pat, Mike Smith's better than Norv Turner; Turner let the Chargers miss the playoffs two years straight now. He's going to become Schottenheimer - Great regular seasons, early playoff exits.

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:46 PM)

Schottenheimer was the other name I was going to throw in there, but I didn't feel like typing it out. But, since you did, I'll throw it out there as well.

Rock Knuteney (Slidell, LA)

I think Mike Smith is in a difficult position. I think there are factions that want a wide open offense like the Saints, but that is against his nature and experience and the result is a fractured offense. I think you saw some of that in the beginning of the season, then it swung back to Smith's way, which stabilized it a bit. Now it has to grow.

Chooch McGoo (Tucker, GA)

Pat - ever miss your days spent in the ATL working for the good old AJC?

Ken (NY)

What is the best stadium you have ever been to?

Tom Sorensen (Charlotte)

Pat did you able to read the one on one interview that I did with Mr Jerry Richardson

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:49 PM)

Yes, I did. Always good to hear what Mr. Richardson has to say.

Andy (NC)

SS contract is up after next season if I am not mistaken. If the Panthers dont make the playoffs, does he bolt for a playoff contending team?

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:50 PM)

No, I think he's pretty happy with the QB situation these days.

Brian (Charlotte)

I've heard quite a few of my fellow Panthers fans talk about getting rid of McDermott. With all the players they lost to injury this year, wouldn't you think the FO should give him at least another year or 2 to see if he pans out?

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:52 PM)

I think front office is very aware of the injuries on defense. McDermott was well thought of when he was hired. I don't think that's changed.

Carson (Atlanta)

Do you have anything to say about Rob Parker and his article saying that Atlanta Fans don't deserve a championship?

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:53 PM)

I'm not allowed to criticize other media. I'll just say that, in my experience, Atlanta is a good sports city and Falcons are a first-class organization.

Eliot (Roswell, GA)

Pat, think I'll be the only one in a Falcons jersey at MetLife this weekend? lol

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:54 PM)

There might be three or four others.

JAVA (TAMPA)

Do you see the league moving a team to LA in the foreseeable future?

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:54 PM)

LA has to come up with a stadium. They haven't been able to do that since, what '94 or '95?

Raheem Morris (Unemployment Line)

If I had hired a Defensive Coordinator would I still have a job? Could have blamed collapse on him...

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:55 PM)

Let it go. It's over now. There were a LOT of other problems beyond who was calling the defense. Move along.

falconfanga (atlanta)

FALCONS need Harry Douglas healthy for playoffs. When Julio and Roddy are running mid to deep routes Harry and Tony are on te short ones . There has to be some mismatch against a linebacker somewhere in that logic.

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:56 PM)

I like the idea. Have been waiting to see more of HD all year. Maybe Sunday is the day.

Jimmy (Weddington, NC)

Armanti Edwards...cut or keep?

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:56 PM)

Bring him back to training camp and see if the light comes on.

Richard (Ann Arbor, MI)

Local Lions chatter this week started at "We are terrified of Drew Brees in that Dome" on Monday, and has slowly progressed to "We only lost due to missing players. Lions definitely win this game!" Fans are definitely fired up in the state of Michigan.

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:57 PM)

Good, everyone should be fired up. It's playoff time.

Dan (MN)

Not saying you do, but why would someone in your position be allowed to, for example, blast a head coach or GM but not criticize another media member? Seems a bit of a "good Ol' Boys" kind of thing

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:58 PM)

It's not all about the media. Some people in media tend to forget that.

Ty (Nashville)

Love the chat Pat. With Colston in FA next year, do you think the Saints will try to resign him no matter the cost, sign a FA to replace him, or do you think Payton thinks his current weapons are enough to get by?

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:58 PM)

I think Mr. Brees will want to keep Colston and Mr. Brees tends to get what he wants.

Armanti Edwards. (Charlotte)

Pat did you just call me a bust.I am going to prove to you and everyone next year that I can be a great WR in the NFL

Pat Yasinskas
  (2:00 PM)

I wish you the best of luck on that.

Randy (Toledo)

Do you think Jim Harbaughs comments about focusing mainly on the Saints could distract their planning for the week? Or do Brees and Peyton stay fully focused on the Lions for this week and wait until (maybe) next week to work on the Niners?

Pat Yasinskas
  (2:00 PM)

Brees and Payton are focused only on Lions. They're both real good at dealing only with what is right in front of them.

Ty (Nashville)

Didn't Mr. Brees want to keep Reggie Bush? Still no luck on finding out what the Saints got for him?

Pat Yasinskas
  (2:01 PM)

Mr. Brees wanted Mr. Sproles more and that's why Mr. Sproles is there.

Jimmy (Weddington, NC)

Is there any chance we can get anything in return for Jimmy Clausen in return via trade?

Pat Yasinskas
  (2:02 PM)

You might be able to get a late-round draft pick. Might.

Austin (Oxford, MS)

Pat...we have heard all along how the Falcons O-Line is a mismatch with the Giants Defensive front...what mismatch do you see for the Giants?

Pat Yasinskas
  (2:04 PM)

Secondary and LBs matching up with Julio, Roddy, Gonzo and Harry Douglas.

Cedric (Clayton, CA)

Pat, are you looking forward to next week's trip to San Francisco?

Pat Yasinskas
  (2:05 PM)

If that ends up being the scenario, I'm all for it. All right, we're past deadline, so I'm ending the chat. We'll be doing Countdown Live during Sunday's Atlanta game. I'll also try to jump into Countdown Live during Saints game, as long as there are no travel delays. Please join us.