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August 31, 1:00 PM ET
Chat with Pat Yasinskas

Pat Yasinskas
  (12:58 PM)

Well, I picked them go to 11-5 and win the NFC South in our predictions that ran yesterday. Here's the link to page with predictions from all our NFL people.http://espn.go.com/nfl/preview12/story/_/id/8295463/espn-experts-nfl-predictions-2012

Chris Fiegler (Latham,NY)

How do you think that the New Orleans Saints will do in 2012?

Pat Yasinskas
  (12:58 PM)

That last post was in response to Chris' question.

falconidaefromTATF (Atlanta)

Hey Pat, been wondering, does Bosher deliberately kick the kickoffs short? That lets the falcons try to tackle the runner before the 20 and means the special teams never let their guard down.

Pat Yasinskas
  (12:59 PM)

Yep, that sure looks like what's going on. Makes sense.

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:03 PM)

Just got an answer on that. According to a source, Ajirotutu will be released today. Looks like Edwards probably sticks.

Mitch (NC)

Does Edwards or Ajirotutu have the inside track to make the roster cut? Does Edwards have a bit of an advantage because he at least has experience returning punts?

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:05 PM)

And the last response was to Clay's question. Sorry we're having some technical difficulty. Will try to get it fixed.

Sean (New Haven, CT)

Any word on Stewarts ankle injury?

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:05 PM)

Nothing, very quiet, which worries me a bit.

Francisco Moraes (Cary, NC)

Seems like the link to the chat was not found in the blog page.

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:06 PM)

Try this one:http://espn.go.com/nfl/preview12/story/_/id/8295463/espn-experts-nfl-predictions-2012

Jamie (Atlanta)

Will Peria Jerry be a liability?

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:07 PM)

I think he's looked pretty good so far. Might be that the knee is just finally getting healthy or that he finally has full confidence in the knee.

Jeff (ABQ)

From a talent perspective, who's got the higher ceiling? Blount or Martin?

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:10 PM)

I say Martin.

Jamie (Atlanta)

Hey Pat, How is Babs looking on the Falcons D-Line?

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:11 PM)

Haven't noticed much specifically out of him, which isn't a bad thing for a DT. In other words, haven't seen him having problems, but also haven't seen any splash plays.

Karl (Valdosta, GA)

Hey Pat, I know that there's been lots of talk about Matt Ryan bulking up a bit during the offseason and some people think that has improved his arm strength, but I'm with you when you say that the arm strength has been there all along and that this is more for late season conditioning. The thing that I'm impressed with more with is Matt's ability to manipulate the pocket better than he has previously. I've seen him make plays, while avoiding the rush, that he wouldn't have made even last year. Have you noticed this better pocket manipulation?

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:12 PM)

Ding! Ding! Ding! We have a winner! What you're seeing is what I'm seeing.

Jamie (Atlanta)

What is Snelling's role this year?

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:14 PM)

Still will have a role. Won't be the first option behind Turner because Rodgers will be. But still could get some time at tailback. And I think you'll also see Snelling get some time at fullback and on special teams.

Jeff (ABQ)

Honestly, I think this could be the most "exciting" division to cover. The depth of offensive talent at prime positions is exceptional across all 4 teams. Just thought I'd say that, as a Steelers fan. And thanks for the chat!

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:15 PM)

Yep, this is a fun division. Scores extra points when that observation comes from a Steelers fan.

Adam (Asheville)

I thought Clausen didn't look half bad out there last night, 114.6 QB rating. I think they should have done what you said and let him play the whole game. People want to act like he's awful but he always get stuck working with 3rd string.

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:16 PM)

Yeah, I saw some pretty good things out of him last night. I'm now thinking they should keep him around.

Sean (New Haven, CT)

Does Shiano's conservative offense hurt or help Freeman's development this year?

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:17 PM)

We don't know how "conservative" it's going to be until we really see it in regular season. But I think it will help Freeman if there's a dependable running game. Takes pressure off him. Last year, it looked like he felt he had to force things.

Gabe (Chapel Hill, NC)

Hey Pat. Barring injury do you see Thomas Davis taking the starting job from James Anderson by the second half of the season?

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:19 PM)

Think Anderson starts and they use Thomas as a situational guy. Now, if they get well into the season Thomas is playing well and staying healthy, then maybe you consider moving him into starting lineup. But I think they'll go cautiously on this one.

Jamie (Atlanta)

Speaking of fullback, will the Falcons employ a rotation between Snelling, Cox, and Polite? Or will one of them get the majority of playing time?

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:20 PM)

Think you might see a situation where the roster has Cox and Snelling as the only options at fullback.

Sean (New Haven, CT)

Is Arrington going to make the Saints this year? Guy can't stay healthy but I've always been intrigued since his days at UM.

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:21 PM)

Think it will be a close call. There is a numbers crunch there with Arrington, Toon and Morgan.

Tim (Athens)

Pat, will you be posting your division and playoff picks soon?

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:21 PM)

They ran yesterday. Go back and look at blog.

CURTIS (ATLANTA)

PY do you see the Falcons putting Dominik Davis on the practice squad?

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:22 PM)

I'd put him on the regular roster.

Straight cash homie (mossville)

What will the Falcons do differently this year to avoid being so vanilla on offense? I can't think of a team that takes less advantage of a dome environment than them? Why not stretch the field and use speed?

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:23 PM)

Think they've been pretty open about wanting more downfield passing and getting Jacquizz Rodgers involved in multiple ways out of the backfield.

Brandon (Vancouver)

Do you think Freeman can play defensive tackle? Because, well....somebody has to.

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:24 PM)

Ha! Good one. Well, last year, he might have been able too. But he's dropped too much weight to do it now. Maybe they could get Byron Leftwich back.

Gabe (Chapel Hill, NC)

Could you explain the logic of why everyone seems to think that the Saints are going to be just a little worse than last year after all of the off season issues? It seems to me that all of that will either have a major negative impact or through overcoming adversity they'll be as good or better than last year.

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:26 PM)

You might be asking the wrong guy. I picked Saints to win the division. I don't think the offseason stuff has impacted their roster very much. If Lofton's healthy, he's better than Vilma at this point. Offense still will be fine. Only question is how much will having revolving coaches hurt? I don't know the answer to that one.

Jamie (Atlanta)

Did the Falcons cut Polite?

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:26 PM)

Haven't seen that one yet, but it wouldn't surprise me.

Mitch (NC)

Did you see enough out of LaFell to make you think legit #2?

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:27 PM)

Yep, I think so.

John (Charlotte NC)

Pat give us one reason why the Falcons are going to finish ahead of the Panthers.

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:28 PM)

I'll give you two: If their offense is as explosive as they think it will be and if their defense is more aggressive under Mike Nolan, they could be an excellent team.

John (Charlotte NC)

Could you explain the reason why you are not giving the Panthers any respect. I thought you said the Panthers are team on the rise yet you picked them to finish 3rd.

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:30 PM)

Yes, I picked them third. But I also said they'd have a 9-7 record and also said they could be even better than that and make the playoffs if they can play a little defense and catch a break or two. I love how some people take predictions so seriously and I'm not singling John out.

JM (Charlotte)

Is Armanti Edwards in or out?

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:31 PM)

Sounds like he may be in. Source tells me Ajirotutu is expected to be released today.

Karl (Valdosta, GA)

Pat, looking at Falcons schedule and we have 5 Division games on the back half including Regular season finale. Do you think the division race could be closer than some have predicted and not be decided until Week 16 or 17?

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:31 PM)

Think there's a very good chance it goes right down to the wire.

Keith (Mobile AL)

How different, if at all, will the Saints divide up the use of their RBs this year if Mark Ingram is healthier?

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:32 PM)

Think you'll see more of Ingram. He's a first-round pick and they want to get their money's worth. Might mean a little less of Pierre Thomas.

Mitch (NC)

What do you think the run:pass ratio is going to be for the Falcons? I know you're not a fantasy guy, but I'm betting for them to be in the air a lot.

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:33 PM)

It will definitely be slanted more to the pass. But they're not going to completely abandon running game.

JM (Charlotte)

Hey Pat, is it too early to be worried about a field goal kicker missing two field goals in a preseason game? Or should the Panthers be legitimately concerned?

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:34 PM)

Think you have to take into consideration both of last night's misses were in Heinz Field, which is not a very friendly place for kickers. Medlock has kicked well otherwise.

Andy (DC)

Hey Pat, regarding players being cut to make the 53 man rosters, do teams get back all the cap space they used on the players that are cut? It seems to me that going from paying 90 players to 53 would give teams a lot of spending room.

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:36 PM)

Little more complicated than that. Right now, and all through the offseason, only the top 51 salary-cap figures count. Starting Tuesday, all cap figures will count and that includes pro-rated money for guys that aren't on the roster. Usually, there's not a huge change in cap space when they make the switch.

Michael (Albuquerque)

Pat, I have only one team making it to the post season in the South, and that's the Falcons. I think people who are picking on the Saints to do well are missing the fact that Sean Payton won't be there to do his magic on Sundays. If he coaches the Saints as a Falcons fan I think the division is theirs, but he's not and I am not buying into an 11-5 or 12-4 season with Kroomer (?) and Vitt at the helm.

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:36 PM)

Your points are taken. I think there are a lot of people out there that agree with you.

JM (Charlotte NC)

Pat I think that Ron Green Jr should make the roster he look good last night against the Steelers and he even had a very nice TD catch.

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:38 PM)

Ron Green Jr. who covers the Panthers for the Charlotte Observer??? He's a great guy and a good friend, but he's a much better golfer than a football player. Plus, I think he lacks the wheels he had in his younger days. Think you're talking about Jared Green. He's got a chance, but I think it's going to be tough to keep him. My guess is he ends up on practice squad.

derrick (illinois)

Is the comparisons to derrick brooks fair to levonte david? Is he going to really be that good?

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:39 PM)

Like what I've seen so far, but think it's way too early for those comparisons.

Mitch (NC)

With a much improved/healthier D line and LB corps, what do you see as the biggest weakness on D for the Panthers now? CB? Also, is Special Teams their biggest overall problem?

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:40 PM)

Yep, special teams remain big concern in my eyes. And CB -- don't know how they're going to handle the Captain situation yet.

Jim (New Orleans)

Following up on the Mark Ingrim question. If Pierre Thomas will have a reduced roll this year why not trade him to a rb needy team like the Lions for a 2nd or 3rd round pick?

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:41 PM)

Well, if a team like the Lions actually would give up a 2nd or 3rd round pick for him, I think Saints would have to give it strong consideration.

Ben (Charlotte)

how's smitty's foot?

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:43 PM)

Rivera says Smith will return to practice Sunday. Rivera wouldn't say it if he wasn't pretty sure that's the case.

Tim (Athens)

Pat, what are your odds that Gerald McCoy plays in all 16 games this year?

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:43 PM)

Don't know the odds. But, if he does, I think Bucs' d-line could suddenly be pretty good.

Adam (Asheville)

There's a lot of talk about Carolina's #2 receiver, but it seems to me like if Smith got hurt then the season would be over for them. There's a reason they don't ever have a solid #2, they haven't taken a WR in the first round since 1997. (And that pick was used on Rae Carruth) If they were loaded at WR instead of the run game I think they'd be a much better team.

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:45 PM)

And I think previous regime deserves lots of blame for not properly developing Keary Colbert and Dwayne Jarrett. They were pretty high draft picks.

JM (Charlotte)

Do you think Kuechly will be in the conversation for DROY?

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:46 PM)

Yep, I picked him as DROY.http://espn.go.com/nfl/preview12/

JM (Charlotte NC)

Pat where are you going to be in week one ?

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:47 PM)

New Orleans. But I'll be in Charlotte for Sunday of Week 2. Then, I'll go down to Atlanta for Monday night game with Broncos. Then, I'll come back to Charlotte to do the Thursday night game with Giants.

Karl (Valdosta, GA)

With NO offense being a powerhouse, CAR offense being a powerhouse (provided Cam doesn't have sophmore slump), ATL offense looking to become powerhouse, and TB offense a bit unknown at this point; true or false team with best DEFENSSE wins division?

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:48 PM)

I'd like to say yes. But Saints won it last year without much of a defense.

Francisco (Cary, NC)

Do you think Cam Newton will rush less this season? It seems we have a trend of mobile/rushing quarterbacks in the league that's growing.

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:49 PM)

Think they will ask him to be more selective on when he runs -- like only when he needs to.

derrick (illinois)

Does Keith Tandy make the roster? and if so,, Cb or S? does he make much of an impact this year?

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:50 PM)

Not sure. There have been some reports today that he's been released, but that hasn't been confirmed yet. Same with Cody Grimm.

Mitch (NC)

With all of the questions that popped up when Rivera picked up Tolbert, he's looking pretty smart right now w/ Stewart sidelined.

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:51 PM)

Absolutely.

JM (Charlotte NC)

Pat would it be safe to say that Cam Newton can have a better season then they had last year

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:52 PM)

Sure, he's had an entire offseason program with the coaches this time around. He didn't have that during the lockout.

Jeff (Huntsville)

Just saw Falcon's cut Dominique Franks. Are you suprised by that one?

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:53 PM)

Have not seen that. Will check into it when we finish here in a few minutes. That one would surprise me. Thought he was pretty secure as fourth CB and punt returner.

JM (Charlotte NC)

Pat FWI the Panthers so far have cut DT Ogemdi Nwagbuo and DE Ryan Van Bergen

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:53 PM)

Can't say I'm shocked by either of those.

Karl (Valdosta, GA)

Projection of passing yards: 1) Brees 4600+ 2)Ryan 4500-4900 3)Newton 4000-4500 4)Freeman 3900 Agree or Disagree

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:54 PM)

Wow! You must play a lot of "Madden".

Steve (Long Island)

If Freeman regains 2010 form, do the bucs have enough talent to make the playoffs

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:55 PM)

Not impossible, but they would need a lot of other things to fall nicely for them.

Rich (Philly)

Pat- how many games do you believe it will take for VJax and Josh to get on same page?

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:57 PM)

Don't know for sure. Opening drive of third preseason game was encouraging. But hard to tell from rest of what we've seen in preseason.

Mitch (NC)

Thanks Pat! One of the two chats I look forward to all week. Always appreciate you.

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:59 PM)

I'll wrap it up there. Oh, important note. We'll be having a day-long chat Tuesday with all the NFL people taking turns. My shift comes from 1 to 1:30 p.m. ET on Tuesday. Please stop and join us. Have a great weekend and stay tuned tonight to blog for roster analysis on all four NFC South teams, once we get official announcements on their roster moves.