Pat, after reading your blog the last couple months, it seems that you expect every team in NFC South to improve and/or be competitive. Now, how can this be true? There are never 4 competitive teams in a division and almost never 3 out of 4 teams that are good. Every division, every year has 1-2 bottom feeders and and 1-2 front runners. I understand your trying to be neutral, but when are you going to get real and give us some realistic predictions?
My predictions will come when we do our season previews the first week of the season. Most of you know that's about the only time I do predictions because my personal belief is they don't have much value. But there are lots of other people on our site that specialize in predictions and make them regularly. All right, we're kicking this one off 21 minutes early.
Why doesn't Josh Freeman get the love Stafford or Sanchez does
Umm, maybe because Bucs lost the last 10 games of last year. He was getting plenty of love at this time last year. He can get it back by going out and winning a few games. That would be a start.
Based on the 2 pre-season games did it look like to you that the Saints may actually have a pass rush? (I think so)
Yep, pretty encouraging. Looks like Spags knows what he's doing.
How big of an impact do you think Josh Norman will make this season?
Could be very big. They were extraordinarily high on him at June minicamp. He had a little health issue that kept him out for part of training camp. If he can pick up where he left off, he has a legitimate chance to start.
Beason and Kuechly are clearly starting come September 9th, but as far as TD and Anderson go, who would you rather have playing alongside them at the other linebacker position - pretending everyone is healthy that is
I think Anderson will be starting and Davis will be used as a situational player.
With the Bucs being so young and installing new systems through all three phases, any chance we see the starters left on the field longer then usual? I'd love to see our starting lineman, both ways, get some extra work in.
You never know with a new coach. But I doubt it. They usually all follow the same book on preseason playing time.
Hey Pat how did Darius Butler look? Is he going to finally live up to his draft position? It sounds like Armanti might be doing enough to make the roster what do you think his chances might be.
Coaches and front office were giving high praise to Butler. But I think Josh Norman can get back in the picture there. Armanti has been doing some nice things, but still might be a long shot to make the roster.
Id say the Falcons first team on both sides were everything they had promised. They picked apart the third ranked defense and our defense was rock solid. What was your take Pat?
Pretty much the same as your take. It was a good outing for the starters. Couldn't ask for a better start. Now, backups were a completely different story, but that's the nature of the preseason.
Do you think the Panthers will every resign Jake Delhomme to retire a Panther? Even though there were a lot of bad times, he did help bring us to a superbowl.
I think that will happen whenever Jake officially decides to retire. He is very well thought of within the organization, especially by the owner. Plus, I think he earned that right.
PLease tell everyone that this is preseason and every team is playing vanilla. Let's not get too excited or too down about these performances.
Yes, totally agree. Thank you.
How did the Panthers defensive line look at training camp? Any standouts?
Thought just having a healthy Ron Edwards made entire line look much better. Did see a couple flash plays from Thomas Keiser.
The muscle hamster is being hyped as the next Ray Rice. Can I drink the kool-aid?
Think it's fair to say he'll get every chance to be the next Ray Rice.
I don't know if Lofton got in better shape or what, but he looks fast and looks like he has the ability to be a 3 down LB. What was ATL thinking? More than happy to have him on the Saints.
Think Lofton did intentionally drop some weight. Plus, he's on a mission to prove he is a three-down LB. Like I've said before, there's more to that story. Falcons wanted him back, but not for his original asking price. He didn't get anything close to original asking price from Saints and Falcons still had comparable offer on the table. But I think Lofton's pride was so wounded that he felt he couldn't go back to Atlanta.
Do you think Greg Hardy's new form will bring bigger plays on the line this year?
There seemed to be some hope from within the Panthers that Hardy can have more of an impact this year.
Donald Penn has always been a horrendous liability in the run game; if Dotson can prove he can deal well enough with pass rush throughout the preseason, does he have a legitimate shot at unseating Penn as the starter?
To start with, Dotson would have to go out and play great in the preseason and show he can handle big-time pass rushers. They're not going to throw him out there on Freeman's blind side unless they're absolutely certain he can pass block with the big guys.
Do you agree that the Falcons could have easily resigned Lofton, but didn't because he's a 2 down LB, and is weak in pass coverage? It was Atlanta not wanting Lofton more than Lofton not wanting to come back.
Think there was more at work than that. Falcons wanted him back, but someone got it in his head that he's Patrick Willis. He's very good, but he's not Patrick Willis and Falcons weren't going to pay him like he was. Saints didn't pay him like that either.
Hey pat, thoughts on Jared green, any chance he can make the panthers or is he a practice squad guy?
Looks like we're hitting some technical difficulties. Let me try signing out and coming back in. Should be back in a minute.
What's going on with Brandon hogan? Is he still having issues with the knee or is it something else?
All right, I think the technical issues are gone now. It's still the knee on Hogan. He's been doing everything he's supposed to in rehab, but still is experiencing some pain.
Should Panther fans be worried about Beason's "minor" hamstring injury? We have heard it too many times before... Granted this is RR's team now, not Fox
Think you answered that on your own. Rivera says it's minor and Beason will be practicing next week. No reason to doubt him and no reason to put Beason out there for 10 snaps in the first preseason game.
Based on your observations, and given his bad clutch kicking last year, are the odds in favor of Mare getting cut from the CAR roster in favor of Justin Medlock?
Mare is very much on the hot seat. It's going to come down to how he and Medlock kick in the preseason.
behind Martin & Blount, who do the Bucs have at RB in camp?
Mossis Madiu, Michael Smith and a few other young guys that are long shots.
With the expectation that Julio will be a huge factor in the Falcon's offense this year do you see Roddy putting up big numbers with Julio getting a lot of attention from the DBs?
I think Roddy and Julio both can put up big numbers.
Tell me the NFL is going to agree to a deal with the veteran referees. These replacements are out of position and seem to be melting in the spotlight. I complain as much as the next guy about officiating but this is painful to watch.
I especially liked the one ref repeatedly referring to "Arizona" in a game in which the Cardinals were not playing!
i haven't heard much about Jimmy Graham in camp. is he poised for a big season?
Umm, I think there's been plenty of hype about Graham and I think most expect another big season from him. He sat out last night, but I don't think the injury is serious.
When is David gettis expected to return? Thought his hamstring injury wasn't considered too serious
Rivera implied that early next week is the apparent target for a return.
What do you think of schiano trading/cutting players like briscoe, price, winslow, and jackson but not a player like talib? What exactly is the message hes sending?
By all accounts, Talib has been a model citizen since Schiano's arrival. He says he knows he can't have any more problems and maybe he won't. If he does, he'll probably join the others very quickly.
Do you think LaFell can step up and put in over 600 yrs receiving this year for CAR?
Yeah, I do. I got the impression they have firmly settled on him as their No. 2 WR.
Who has the biggest chance of taking the starting spot from Captain Munnerlyn?
I'd say Josh Norman if he can stay healthy the rest of camp and preseason. If not, Darius Butler seems to be next in line.
Having Ronde Barber at free safety should definitely help Mark Barron's transition to the NFL. Do you think Mark Barron will be the impactful, hard-nosed playmaker that he was at Alabama?
Yep, liked him in college and think he has everything necessary to be a good pro.
Hi PY!! What are your thoughts on ATL LT's position. I am not to worried that they are at least going to give BAker another try, however I am worried about who's behind him and not bringing in someone who can seriously compete.
Personally, I would have liked to have seen them bring in someone as insurance. But they seem convinced Baker is healthy and ready to have a good year. I know some fans are thinking Lamar Holmes has a shot to win the job. I don't think that's the case. Holmes could be starting in a year or two, but not right now.
Pat I am sure you get this question a lot, so advance apology, but now that you have seen the CAR camp, and given that Barnidge looks to be fully recovered, do you think Shockey will get a call from CAR at some point later this month?
Pat based on what you saw of him in camp, will Luke Kuechly be the difference maker for CAR on D this year?
Think he'll be a part of it. But I think having Beason and Edwards back is extremely important too.
should Atlanta be in the market for a backup QB? they looked pretty terrible last night
No, I think Redman is decent if you have to use him with the first team. What's out there that's better? There aren't a lot of good backup QBs in the league these days.
Pat a huge part of the problem for CAR ST last year was punting - what are your thoughts on who will get the job coming out of camp?
I was told the Carolina punting job is a dead heat so far. So that's one thing to watch closely in the preseason games.
Any updates on Ewing or Dent's injuries?
No, Smith isn't meeting with media today. So I suspect we'll have to wait for word tomorrow.
Thanks for answering my question, one more. What do the bucs do with the DT position? Hope mccoy and akoye stay healthy and that roy miller can do something?
Pretty much and throw Gary Gibson in there with Miller. Gibson is a Rutgers guy, so that scores him automatic points.
Ever since last nights injury to dent I was wondering who atlanta could bring in if the injury is serious?
Not sure there's anybody worth it currently available. Might have to wait for other teams to make roster cuts and see who pops free. Or maybe even try to trade for someone. But let's wait to see what Smith has to say about the injury. If it's a fairly standard concussion, then Dent should be ready to go before regular season.
Does nokamura have the advantage over Sherrod Martin at free safety?
No, he's in the mix. But Martin still has slight edge. It looks like Martin is responding well to the challenge.
Do you think a team like Buffalo could be interested in a trade for Clausen, and if so would Carolina consider it?
No idea on Buffalo. But, if Panthers can get anything for Clausen, I say take it and run.
Matty Ice's screen pass to Julio last night looked pretty solid! Would've like to see Jacquizz get one as well!
Pretty sure you'll see plenty of screens to Jacquizz in the regular season!
Have the Saints decided yet who will be the HC for the first 6 games while Vitt is out or will they just draw straws at kickoff?
No official word from Saints. Early reports said Aaron Kromer will be the guy, but Saints insist no decision has been made.
With about 8 mil in cap space, any chance Carolina can extend Stewart's contract or are they going to let him test the market next off season?
They could extend him. But they could also save that money and carry it over to next year, which would help their chances of keeping him.
Do you see Clausen getting extended snaps in the preseason so the panthers can either A) see if he can be a suitable backup over derek anderson or B) trade him to another team once someone gets injured
Think they already have settled on Anderson as No. 2. But you could see them try to showcase him in preseason to try to drum up some trade interest.
With 2 stellar RBs already on the roster, do you see CAR using Tolbert more like NO uses Sproles?
Well, Tolbert and Sproles are two completely different types of players. Tolbert is power and Sproles is speed. I think you'll see Tolbert getting some work at fullback, getting some carries at tailback and catching some passes out of the backfield. Plus, I think you'll also see him playing some on special teams.
Hey pat, How do you feel about the status of Davis will he be ready tomorrow night, and what are your thought on the way Armanti looked durring camp the past few weeks?
Thomas Davis? They're already said he won't play in first preseason game. No sense rushing him. Armanti definitely has looked good, but still going to be hard for him to stick on a roster that already has a lot of numbers at WR.
Which def looks more improved, so far? Spags with Saints or Nolan with Atlanta?
I'd call it a tie right now. They both looked very good, at least with the starters, last night.
Given Roddy White's past 100-catch seasons, and Julio's aptitude for explosive plays, were you surprised to see a bit of a role reversal last night with JJ11's 6 receptions compared to Roddy's 3?
Think back to last preseason. It seemed like they showcased Julio then. I think part of that was to get defense thinking about him and to take attention away from Roddy. Last night might have been more of the same.
Is Greg Olsen going to become a big player in Carolina's passing attack this year with the departure of Shockey?
Yep, I don't give out a lot of fantasy football advice, but I'll make an exception here and say you might want to draft Greg Olsen.
Hey Pat, do you think passing numbers will be down this year? Defenses had an offseason to work, and numbers tailed off down the stretch last season.
Think the rules still are very much in favor of the offenses.
Pat, call it: More regular season passes this year from Armanti Edwards (in the wildcat) or Jimmy Clausen?
Saw both LaFell and Armanti throw out of Wildcat at practice this week. After seeing that, I'd rip that play out of the play book. You don't want to see it.
Pat Lofton IS nothing more than a 2 down back, he just happens to know how to tackle like a real pro, I find it funny Saints fans think they've got something special, when in fact they've never had a good run stopping LB like Lofton for the past few years....
Joshua, is your real name Mike Nolan or Thomas Dimitroff???
Hi Pat, love the job you're doing, keep it up. If last night is any indication, I think Julio Jones may well be the best wide receiver in the NFC South. (and no I haven't forgotten about Steve Smith) Agree or disagree?
Can't put up much of an argument, IF he plays like that all the time. Spread his numbers out over four quarters and he would have had 24 catches for 436 yards and four touchdowns, if my math is correct.
Pat, do you think Vilma will play this season?
Even if the suspension is overturned somehow, I'm not sure he's healthy enough to play right away.
Do Jerry Richardson and Cam have the same close relationship that Richardson has with Steve Smith?
Think they're working on it. The Smith relationship was formed over time.
Luke McCown looked horrible last night. I know he was signed while Brees was gone but what chance is there they cut him soon?
Going by recent history, my guess is only two QBs on regular-season roster are Brees and Daniel.
Does Jonathan Massaquoi have future starter potential?
He did some nice things last night and that was encouraging. But not ready to declare him a starter just yet, although it could happen down the road.
Pat you do know that the Patriots were missing 3 of their 4 starting O-linemen last night, right? The Saints really weren't being tested against the first team squad.
Think they started five offensive linemen, but I get your point. Still not a bad outing for Saints' defense.
Any chance Carolina only goes with two QB's this year and add a 7th widout to the roster?
That wouldn't totally surprise me. In fact, it makes a lot of sense. They have a lot of young WRs they like and that would be a way to keep more of them around.
How has Ray Edwards looked in camp and can he really be the pass rusher opposite JA55 that he was brought to Atlanta to be?
Looked pretty good when I was there and they all were raving about him. They also were emphatic in pointing out that he never was healthy last year and is healthy now.
Who are going to be the 5 starters on the O line for the Falcons when the season starts?
I say Clabo, Konz, McClure, Blalock and Baker right now. But still think there's a chance Hawley could take McClure's place.
With the Panthers expecting to keep 6 WRs, and Smith, LaFell, Murphy, Pilares, and Gettis all expected to make it - who gets that last spot? Seems like Adams or Ajiritutu (spelled that wrong I'm sure) would be the favorite, with Armanti next, then Jared Green. Though if Gettis doesn't come back, who knows... Or, is there any chance they keep 7?
Tough to cut Adams, who they just drafted. They also are pleasantly shocked with everything they've seen out of Green. Nice problem to have. They could have an injury or two and still have plenty of depth at WR.
Who is your favorite to be the panthers slot reviever? Gettis, Murphy, Pilaris or someone else?
Gettis, if he can get on the field.
Who is getting cut on Defense?
Give it a couple more preseason games. Still too early to tell at some spots.
Pat, how can anyone really predict or judge the buccs at this point? they have a offensive scheme and new players in key positions. I get hyped reading the material but then come to realize, this is a new team.
Yeah, but it will be fun to watch tonight, just to start getting an idea what the new offense and defense will look like.
What will Mike Tolbert's true role be with the Panthers this year?
This may sound overly simple, but I honestly see him doing a little bit of everything. Blocker, runner, pass catcher, decoy and special-teams player.
Who is going to be the next break through player of this year. spicificaly for Fantasy Football
Not sure if Julio Jones qualifies as too obvious. If you're looking for under-the-radar guys, I'll throw out Doug Martin, Jacquizz Rodgers and Brandon LaFell.
Did Frank Alexander do anything good in camp, and do you expect him to have a roll this season? .... If so do the cut applewhite or norwood?
Didn't notice Alexander doing anything special and his name was not mentioned to me as someone that's standing out.
Does anyone have the inside track on the vacant DT spot (the non-Edwards spot) for the Panthers? Comments from Rivera, so far, have been positive in general, but not so much when talking about specific players - other than that undrafted rookie... Nate Chandler, if I remember correctly.
McClain is the leader in the clubhouse at the moment, but I got impression that job is still very much open.
What about Shockey in Tampa?
You think he's a Schiano kind of guy???
Could Thomas Keiser see some significant time at DE this year if Hardy doesnt step it up?
His name came up as someone that is having a good camp.
Besides Kuechly, Who was the panthers standout rookie
Well, this is a whole different level and I'm not saying he will make the final roster, but Jared Green has had an incredible camp and they seem to like everything about him.
Ok, Ok, Pat. I wanted to leave the chat and actually get some work done but this is just to good of a chat today. Last question. Does Matt Ryan win his first playoff game this year? And if yes, is it because of the new OC and scheme get him over the hump?
Yep, this will be the year. The new OC will help, but really it will just come down to Matt putting it all together. He has the skills and he has the talent around him. Assuming the offensive line blocks for him, he'll be fine.
Do you think CAR has a fundamental flaw in drafting WRs? It seems we have had more busts at that position than any other since Smitty was drafted ?
Hmm, good question. First off, I think it takes a special kind of WR to succeed opposite Steve. Muhsin Muhammad is the only one that really ever has. Then again, drafting WRs can be tricky. Look at Bucs' history of drafting WRs. Then again, Saints seem to have figured it out, but they have Brees, who makes WRs look good.
Ben of Atlanta, that is why I will never criticize the Julio Jones trade. Great WRs are rare, but when you get a good one it's special.
Good point, Sharell. We'll call it a chat on that note. Thanks to all for stopping by. See you next week.