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February 10, 1:00 PM ET
Chat with Pat Yasinskas

Kasy ( Hattiesburg)

Hey pat, could you clarify what role a senior offensive or defensive assistant is?

Pat Yasinskas
  (12:53 PM)

Excellent question, in light of the Butch Davis situation. Technically, it's a non-coaching position and more of an advisory position. Not sure exactly how Bucs are structuring this one, but there have been lots of examples in the past. To name just a couple, Tressell as a consultant with Colts last year. Ricky Proehl as an offensive consultant with Panthers last season.

Tyler (Athens, GA)

Pat What is the Falcons number 1 need coming into this years draft?

Pat Yasinskas
  (12:54 PM)

I'd say left tackle or pass rush.

Eric (Fresh Meadows, NY)

Why hasn't Hue Jackson been mentioned for the Bucs offensive coordinator position? In Schiano's introductory press conference, he mentioned that the Bucs are going to emphasize the running game and take shots down the field. Jackson had success doing that in Oakland. It seems to me the Bucs are going out and potentially interviewing guys who have had little to no success in the NFL, while the one guy out there who has had some success is a guy not being considered. Your thoughts?

Pat Yasinskas
  (12:55 PM)

We don't know for sure he's not being considered. Bucs have been going through this whole process with a lot of stealth. We didn't know Schiano was even in the mix until he basically had accepted the job.

Willie Stroaker (Virginia)

I heard the Bucs still want to build this team by youth. Do you think the Bucs will spend more in Free Agency this year.

Pat Yasinskas
  (12:57 PM)

Yes. Let's lay it out real straight because I think a lot of fans are getting confused on this one. The core philosophy will remain building through the draft, but they'll supplement with some free agents. It's pretty similar to philosophy Atlanta's followed in recent years and what Carolina has done for a long time. Build mostly through the draft, but supplement with some free agents. In other words, you won't see Bucs go on a free-agent frenzy, but they'll add more than a punter this year.

Charles (Houston, TX)

Hey Pat, what are the chances that a good number of free agents will come help Spags and the Saints Defense after Brees and the rest of the bunch are resigned?

Pat Yasinskas
  (12:59 PM)

It'll be a little tricky because of their salary-cap situation with Brees, Nicks and Colston. But Mickey Loomis is an aggressive cap manager. Spags obviously needs to add some personnel to fit his style of defense. I'm sure they'll come up with ways to free up cap room to add a few free agents to that defense.

Mike (Panama City, FL)

Do you believe Drew Brees will continue having record breaking and just flat out phenomenal seasons? Or is he on the downward slope of his career. Also on that note when should New Orleans start looking for a replacement.

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:00 PM)

I don't see Brees slowing down immediately. He's got a good five years in him -- at least that's my guess.

Jonathan (Atlanta)

Pat if the falcons don't sign abraham back would it be a better idea to draft a replacement in early rounds? or do we sign a FA? and what FA would be a top choice for Defensive End

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:01 PM)

I say draft one in the second round. There's a kid from Arkansas (can't remember his name off top of my head) that's projected as a second-round pick, who I think could fit. They've already got a good amount of money tied up in Ray Edwards.

Baton Rouge, La. [via mobile]

Is there any chance the Falcons resign Lofton, Grimes and Decoud. and still have room to sign a nickel cornerback or defensive end and a good left tackle..... of course releasing baker!

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:03 PM)

I think it's possible. Falcons aren't in terrible cap shape right now and could free up even more room, if needed.

andy (one buc place,)

pat, any chance the bucs get a backup qb in case freeman doesnt bounceback? dont get me wrong i think hes great but if anything did happen to him, injury or anything id rather have someone besides jossh johnson.

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:04 PM)

I think you may see a new backup anyway. Josh Johnson is a free agent and could be out of there.

Joe (Waycross)

Who gets Franchised Grimes or Lofton?

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:04 PM)

Franchising is only a last resort. I don't see any reason why they can't sign both of them.

andy (hickory, nc)

when do teams have to start speending a minimum as a team total under the new cba?

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:05 PM)

2013 is my understanding.

Richard (Ann Arbor, MI)

In both Giants' SB runs, they held every opponent to 20 points or less. The Saints have only managed this feat twice, fittingly both times were during their own SB run. Defense wins; now just have to hope that Spagnuolo is the right guy.

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:07 PM)

Well, Spags has pretty good defensive history. His philosophy is very different from Gregg Williams. Spags believes more in shutting you down all game, while Williams was about coming up with key turnovers. But, again, Spags is going to need some personnel additions to really make his defense work there.

Joe (Waycross)

Do you see the Falcons restructuring and extending Matt Ryan's contract. They have to pay him 13.5 mil next season and if they can work a deal out it woulld open money up for free agent targets.

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:07 PM)

I think that would be a possibility.

Cameron (Atl)

Do you think the Falcons will be significant players in free agency this year? Any ideas who they'll go after?

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:09 PM)

History shows they usually go after one big player a year. Obvious needs are DE and LT. As I said earlier, I'd take DE in the second round. Left tackle might be the spot they go for in free agency. There's not a lot out there, but Marcus McNeil should become available. His health might be a question. There are some other LTs that also could come available.

Ken Feist (Pineville NC)

Do you think the panthers make the playoffs next year ... if CAM stays healthy how long before he brings us a ring??

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:10 PM)

Gotta get that defense better. Do that and you'll have a shot.

john (pa)

Is it time for smith and ryan to go. Watching atlanta in the playoffsis like watching a marty shothiemer coach team and carson palmer at qb. there i said ryan has topped out never going to be a frachise qb just a very good one like carson palmer was in his prime.

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:11 PM)

Think you're a little premature on that. They've had four straight winning seasons. But you are correct that the pressure now is turned way up. They need to start winning playoff games.

andy (buccaneers)

the comissioner stated all teams now will have a prime time game with the new thursday games, do you really think the bucs will get any prime time? i cant imagine being one of the worst teams the bucs get any nationally televised games

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:12 PM)

They will get at least one because that's the way the NFL is doing it now. But I wouldn't look for it to be a Monday night or a Sunday night game.

Richard (Ann Arbor, MI)

Will Smith came back from suspension and was instantly the Saints' best D-lineman, despite missing time, and he has to know that. That seems to complicate matters with regards to what to do with him.

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:15 PM)

Yep, that one is a very tough call. His cap figure is outrageous. But he's their best pass rusher up front and that becomes even more important because Spags relies mostly on front four for pressure. Could save a lot of cap room by letting Smith go. But it's not like they are loaded with other pass rushers. Best approach might be restructuring his deal and knocking that cap figure down.

Andrew (Nicaragua)

Think the Falcons will be less likely to keep Grimes since Nolan likes bigger, physical corners?

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:17 PM)

The other thing to watch there is that Grimes has made a bit of a name for himself around the league. Teams could decide to overpay him. I suspect Falcons want to keep him, but have a figure in mind that they won't go over. They like him a lot, but they also know better than anyone that he's still a 5-foot-8 cornerback and you can't overpay him, especially when you've already got a fortune tied up in Dunta Robinson.

Dr. H. Doofenshmirtz (Tri-State Area)

How big is Baker's cap number? Should they release him or just move him to RT, or the bench?

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:18 PM)

Look back through the blog. I laid out the numbers on Baker, believe in early January. Don't have numbers in front of me. But, as I recall, it's pretty clear they should just cut him. He's nearing end of his rookie contract, so they'd actually be creating cap room.

Chad (Tampa)

What do position do you think the Bucs will draft in their first pick??

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:19 PM)

I think CB is a definite possibility.

Dr. H. Doofenshmirtz (Tri-State Area)

Because of their cap issues, do you think the Saints will be content sitting out the first round of the draft?

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:20 PM)

Yeah, they've been drafting a year or two ahead anyway. Plus, they're pretty good at getting some real players later in the draft.

Robert (Shreveport, LA)

Do you think Cameron Jordan will improve next season? And if he doesn't how long do you see the Saints giving him before they go out and try and replace him?

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:21 PM)

I think having Spagnuolo running the defense should help him considerably. But I don't know that Jordan ever will be one of those guys that will go out and give you 12 or 15 sacks in a season.

Dave (Haverhill)

What are the saints waiting for? When will they sign Brees?

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:23 PM)

I suspect it's just a matter of the structure of the deal. Obviously, the Saints have cap concerns and want to keep Brees' cap number as low as possible.

andrew drace (one buc place,)

have you heard how the bucs are doing on ticket sales? are season tickets up or down? i was hoping for excitement with a new head coach.

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:24 PM)

I have not heard anything on that. I'll ask. But I didn't see any big lines outside the ticket office last few times I drove by the stadium. Their hire wasn't the kind that will generate instant excitement. Going the Schiano route means he'll have to come in and win before they really see results at the box office.

This Guy (GA)

Do the Falcons Cut Ovie?

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:26 PM)

Tough call. It would definitely free up cap money and he is coming off injury. But he's a very good fullback when healthy. Look at how their rushing numbers dropped off after he went down.

Dr. H. Doofenshmirtz (Tri-State Area)

Do you think Brees will get close to a Brady/Manning type contract?

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:27 PM)

Yep, I think those two deals are the basic frame work for Brees' deal. After the season he just had, he could even argue that he should get more than either of them. At very least, he should get what they got.

The guy you seem to be ignoring (Huntsville)

With all of the FA the Falcon's have, is Harry Douglas also considered one they want to keep, or do they consider him replaceable?

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:28 PM)

I think they like HD as a slot guy. But the problem is someone else could pursue him for a starting job, with starter money.

Dan (Charlotte, NC)

Do you think the Panthers would really draft a OT in the first round this year instead of going defense?

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:30 PM)

I'd say defense is priority, obviously. But you're sitting there with a top 10 pick, which in general terms is the one place where you can get a sure-fire LT. Gross is getting older. They might not have a top-10 pick again for a long time, so I think they at least have to consider it.

Luke (Northdale)

I think we can all agree there was a lack of talent and a lack of coaching in Tampa last year. My question is, which do you think was worse? In other words, can a new coach provide immediate changes with the talent level currently on the roster?

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:31 PM)

Well, it certainly would help if they added to the talent level. But I think they're automatically better just because they have a coach who will be much more structured.

Field (LA)

Do the Saints keep both Colston and Meachem or do we see Adrian Arrington with an increased role next year?

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:32 PM)

Think you could see Meachem walk and Arrington in a bigger role next year.

Spence (Raleigh, NC)

with new Def coach do you think the falcons are going to blitz more or are they going to continue to play zone D all the time and play the bend don't break??

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:34 PM)

I think -- and quite honestly hope -- that you'll see a much more aggressive approach from that defense. There is some talent there and I think Nolan can get more out of it with an aggressive approach.

CP (Brooklyn, NY)

Afternoon Pat. So Mario Williams could hit the FA market( if he doesn't get tagged), who's more likely to go after him, Falcons or Saints?

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:35 PM)

I think both would be interested in him. But I think the cap situation for the Saints might make it impossible for them to get him.

Ross McRobert (Glasgow, Scotland)

Pat, do you think if Colston leaves New Orleans the Saints target a big name FA reciever like DeSean Jackson?

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:36 PM)

I'd be shocked if Colston leaves. If he somehow does, they'll go out and get another WR because obviously that's a key spot in their offense.

Sean (Vegas)

Brees, Nicks, Colston. That's the order I see as priorities in resigning FA. Could you see Brees aigning a contract that is less than Manning and Brady to make sure the Saints are able to resign Nicks and Colston?

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:39 PM)

I see that same order. As great a guy as Brees is, I don't think you'll see any hometown discount. He's got pride and he's earned a huge pay day and this will probably be his last contract. He may be willing to work with them on the structure of the contract to keep it cap friendly to try to keep the other guys. But he's not going to sign some bargain contract and his agent's not going to let that happen either.

Chase (Pantherville)

Pat, have you heard anything about the Panthers trying to resign Shockey yet?

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:40 PM)

Not yet. Little early for that. That kind of stuff will start happening during and right after the Combine.

Dr. H. Doofenshmirtz (Tri-State Area)

The Bucs have all kinds of money to spend. Do you see them going after one of the big names (M. Williams, D. Jackson) in free agency?

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:43 PM)

Once again, let me say it: Bucs will be more aggressive in free agency this year. But that doesn't mean they're going on a free-agent frenzy. They could sign one big guy, but I suspect more mid-level guys. Also, yeah, they've got some cap room, but it's not as much as it's been in past years. The Freeman and McCoy contracts are starting to get in their prime years and are taking up a lot of space.

Steve (California)

Do the Falcons have any kind of plan for Tony G's retirement? I know he's gonna play this year but if he retires after the season what are they gonna do with that huge hole?

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:44 PM)

Wouldn't be at all surprised if they draft a TE somewhere in the middle rounds this year.

Sean (Vegas)

Will Smith has to restructure his deal. I think he's coming in at around 10mm against the cap. He must know there isn't a team out there who will come close to matching that. Saints could save around 5-7mm there.

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:44 PM)

Agreed, I think that's how it will go down.

andy (hickory, nc)

gerald mccoy is making alot of money and was on the field less than 25 percent of defensive plays, its the second year hes been hurt, at what point do we spend the money elsewhere? somebody who can stay on the field!!!!

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:46 PM)

I don't think you can pull plug on him yet. He's a talented guy who was looking pretty good before this year's injury.

The ignored Tampa fan (Tallahassee)

What positions do you think Tampa needs to target in free agency?

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:47 PM)

CB, LB, RB would be a start.

Steve (Miami, FL)

Do you think there's any chance Brees' negotiations will get ugly?

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:48 PM)

No, he wants to stay and they want to keep him. I think it's pretty clear what he should make. I think the only delay is because it's such a big deal and they're trying to work through the complicated process of spreading out the cap hits as much as possible.

Richard F. (Chicago)

I noticed you feel Schiano and crew will be a big upgrade in coaching for the Bucs. Why didn't you ever state what a lousy job Raheem did while it was going on?

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:49 PM)

Umm, I think I might have mentioned it a few times during the 10-game losing streak.

Dr. H. Doofenshmirtz (Tri-State Area)

You said you'd be surprised if Colston left the Saints. What are the odds that Nicks comes back?

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:50 PM)

I'd be even more surprised if Nicks left.

greg schiano (one buc place)

have you heard anything about ronde barber yet? retirement? redksins? bucs? should i call him myself?

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:50 PM)

You probably should already have talked to him.

The ignored Tampa fan (Tallahassee)

Why is Tampa hiring position coaches without having coordinators in place?

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:52 PM)

I think they're taking what they can get when they can get it and then filling in the blanks. Remember, they got a very late start on the process because Schiano was hired so late.

Josh (Chicago)

hey. just wondering which big name players from the NFC south you could see hitting FA

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:53 PM)

I think Brent Grimes is the one that could get away. As I said before, I think there are some teams that may be willing to pay him huge money. I think Falcons want to keep him, but also have a figure in mind that they won't go over.

Mort (Rural Hall, NC)

PAT. You have taken only 3 Panther questions so far. Whats the deal?

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:55 PM)

If you have a question -- and this is only one I'm seeing from you -- please send it several times to increase your chances of getting an answer. The way this works is that the questions come in so fast that I don't always see them all.

Ross McRobert (Glasgow, Scotland)

What about Vilma, he has a high cap hit this year, production was down, Saints d never really missed a beat with Jo Lonn Dunbar in there last year, what are the chances vilma is not back?

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:56 PM)

I know Saints fans don't want to hear that, but I think it's a very real possibility. He does have a big cap figure and he's definitely slowing down.

Mort (Rural Hall, NC)

How about your opinion about Jordan Senn. Do you think his physical height will limit his ceiling of development as a player? Does it make sense to resign him when the Panthers do not have a lot of cap room?

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:57 PM)

There, I caught one of your questions. Rivera's on record saying he'd like to give Senn a chance to start next year. They like him and he's not the kind of guy that's going to get offered big money elsewhere.

Bryce (La Quinta, CA)

Hey Pat. With Michael Turner about to hit the top of that age 30 hill. Do you think the Falcons should try to get something for him while they can(trade)? Or do you think that The Burner has a couple more 300 rush attempt seasons in him?

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:58 PM)

They might not be able to get a lot for him because other teams probably would be scared off by his age and all the carries he's had the last few years. I say keep him, but add someone to share the load with Turner and Jacquizz.

will (college class)

who do you think has the most improved/breakout season under Mike Nolan this year for the falcons

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:59 PM)

I'll give you one that may surprise you. I'll say Ray Edwards. I say he comes back motivate because a lot of people have called him a bust or an underachiever after last season.

Ross McRobert (Glasgow, Scotland)

Pat you said earlier that Spags philosophy is to shut you down the full game, do you think the saints have the talent on the d side to play that way?

Pat Yasinskas
  (2:00 PM)

Not yet, they've got some work to do on that.

Jimmy (Macon, GA)

Who do you think the star assistant will be on the Falcons new staff? Is there any buzz around the league that makes you think any of the position coaches can realy get the best out of their players?

Pat Yasinskas
  (2:01 PM)

I know some Atlanta fans may disagree, but I still say Dirk Koetter is going to make your offense a lot better.

G (north of NO)

Pat, any word on the health of Greg Rommeus.

Pat Yasinskas
  (2:02 PM)

I think they expect him to be fully healthy for training camp. They knew in advance they'd have to write off his rookie season. So this will be his rookie season. All right, we're past the deadline. Thanks to all for stopping by. We'll do it again next week.