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October 19, 1:00 PM ET
Chat with Pat Yasinskas

Norm (Winston-Salem, NC)

Is there any chance that the Panthers trade Jon Beason? The deadline is coming up and it would free cap space in the future and open the middle for Kuechly.

Pat Yasinskas
  (12:48 PM)

Think it would be tough to trade Beason and his big contract while he's hurt. Think other teams might be scared off by his health.

sam (MA)

hi pat. should i be concerned as a matt ryan and roddy white fantasy owner about them laying off the gas later in the year? my fantasy playoffs are weeks 14-16. assuming the falcons lock things up in the nfc early... how do you see their passing attack performing later in the season? thanks.

Pat Yasinskas
  (12:50 PM)

Think that could be a very real concern for you. If they keep winning -- and I think there's a good chance of that -- you probably will see them rest their starters late in the season. Might want to start picking some people up to prepare for that.

Rio S. (Montevallo, Alabama)

Hey, Pat. Love the blog. I'm a die-hard Falcons fan. We have not played our best the last couple of weeks. We may not even be the best team in the league, but I think it's saying something that we are 6-0. Last year, some of the miscues we had would have been disastrous for us to pull out the win. I think it's telling that a team who still has yet to play it's best football is undefeated and that every week the team opposite of you is giving you their best shot. I look at this as growth. What about you?

Pat Yasinskas
  (12:52 PM)

Definitely. There's room for growth and I think it will all start to come together. They've shown good things, at times, in just about every area. I'd rather see it all click in November and December than in September and October.

rlr680 (Atlanta)

It's probably way too early to start prognosticating this but what positions will the Falcons address early in the next draft? If things continue on we will likely have a late first round pick (hopefully #32). Which position will be addressed? Especially since our LT position amazingly became a strength through 6 games.

Pat Yasinskas
  (12:53 PM)

RB and TE would seem like possibilities. Also, I think CB could be possible, if they don't re-sign Grimes.

Kurt (Gainesville, FL)

Hey Pat! If the Bucs pull off the upset and beat the Saints, would it be because the Bucs are better than everyone thought or because the Saints are worse than everyone thought (going into the game, that is)?

Pat Yasinskas
  (12:54 PM)

Probably a little bit of both.

Tim (CLT)

you seem extra snarky lately towards all things Panthers related, did Cam and Beason blow you off for an interview?? Why the hate?

Pat Yasinskas
  (12:55 PM)

Ah, I love conspiracy theories. You ever think maybe it's simply because the Panthers aren't winning???

Ben (Atlanta GA)

Pat, I know Panthers GM Marty Hurney is tight with Jerry Richardson, but it really seems like a change needs to be made in the front office. The numerous draft busts going back to 03, the multiple failures to obtain quality free agents, and the lack of postseason momentum since 2005 are hardly a hallmark of forward progress. Bearing in mind that Richardson got rid of his sons a while back (so I dont necessarily buy into the relationships vs. success arguments), do you think Hurney will be shown the door if this season continues along the dismal path it is on so far for the Panthers?

Pat Yasinskas
  (12:56 PM)

Despite their strong relationship, I think Hurney could be gone if things don't turn around quickly.

Eric (Paris, Fr.)

Jimmy Graham will play sunday?

Pat Yasinskas
  (12:57 PM)

Don't know yet. Should have a better idea later this afternoon.

Its My Birthday for real (San Jose, CA)

Pat. You started early on my Birthday. Thank you! As a Falcon fan, should I be concerned with their play? With Michael Turner being a distraction? I am encouraged with the 6-0 start, but we need to change a lot of things!

Pat Yasinskas
  (12:58 PM)

Happy B-Day. Yes, there's room for improvement. But I think it will come. It's a lot easier to improve when you're 6-0 and making small tweaks than when you're 1-5 and in full panic mode.

Tommy (South Carolina)

Looking at the Bucs' passing defense, do you think they are as bad as the numbers look? Take out one horrific display against the Giants, add in the fact that they haven't given up a passing TD in 3 games...does that make them at least average?

Pat Yasinskas
  (12:58 PM)

I think the numbers may be a bit skewed. Run defense has been very good, so opponents are passing more often.

Tim (CLT)

Your articles have subtle digs at Cam, latest one with the Madden simulations for instance "now ord on whether Madden has Cam pouting on sideline" No conspiracy theory here, you are the one writing the articles. Have you ever had a chance to speak to Cam one on one??

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:00 PM)

When a team or a player isn't performing well, it's my job to criticize them. Should I be writing, "Everything's wonderful with the Panthers and Cam Newton's having a great season"? If I did that, I wouldn't be doing my job.

Eric (Paris, Fr.)

Would you resign Freeman if you were Mark Dominick?

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:01 PM)

I'm leaning in that direction, but would wait a bit to see how Freeman continues this season.

Ryan (Sonoma, CA)

What's up with the absence of Dwight Clark and Luke Stocker in the passing attack of the Bucs? Freeman loved throwing to Winslow but hasn't used his TE's much this season.

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:02 PM)

Dwight Clark might have more left in the tank than Dallas Clark.

Al (Wausau, WI)

Pat, now that the Saints have won a game, do you feel they have their "legs underneath them" enough to start winning on a more regular basis? If so, is there any chance they could push for a playoff spot by season's end?

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:03 PM)

Might be getting ahead of things a bit. They still need to get a lot better on defense.

Awayne (Indy)

Is Bounty gate and no Coach Payton causing some to overlook some serious flaws on the Saints and cause them not make some changes that are needed?

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:04 PM)

I think the salary cap might have prevented them from signing some of the personnel they needed to add in the offseason, particularly on defense.

Corey (Fantasy Land)

Any chance Cam turns it around against a stout Dallas D?

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:05 PM)

Anything's possible. Cam's still talented and so are the skill-position players around him.

rlr680 (Atlanta)

Does Mike Smith get your vote for Coach of the year thus far?

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:06 PM)

Right now, probably so.

Michael (CLT)

An article in the Observer yesterday stated that when a reporter asked Rivera about the possibility that Beason and / or Gamble could be placed on IR he "sighed deeply". Any chance or word that you've heard that it's a real possibility either could be done for the season?

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:08 PM)

Watched the video of Rivera's press conference on Panthers' website and his response definitely raised concerns about IR. But I haven't heard anything beyond that.

Kevin (PA)

Pat is the seat starting to get a little warm for Ron Rivera and Marty Hurney (it better be for him) in Carolina? Hurney has proven he is not a good NFL GM with his poor drafts over the years and his horrible habit of over paying for players that certainly didn?t deserve it.

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:09 PM)

Yeah, as I said before, I think the seat is hot and will get much hotter if this season doesn't turn around quickly.

Dwight (Atlanta)

Pat. do you think the Falcons might shuffle their Oline at the bye like they did last year? Think we might see Konz at RG or C?

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:10 PM)

Possible. But Smith is old school and superstitious. He might be hesitant to make big changes while they're winning. But my personal opinion would be to go ahead and get Konz into the lineup.

Joel (NC)

Pat, you are completely right that everything seems imminently more fixable when you are 6-0 than 1-5, and the Falcons are almost a shoe-in for the playoffs at this point, but there is no way if I were a Falcons fan I would feel as though the Super Bowl was definite. The NFC (outside of the NFC South) is wide open and there is no team right now dominating the way the Packers and the Saints were over the past couple of years. They still haven't beaten a team above .500

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:11 PM)

Agree. Even though they're 6-0, I don't think Falcons have played, thus far, like best team in the NFC. But not sure who best team in NFC really is.

Joshua (San Antonio)

Any word on Matt Ryan getting a contract extension..this would be a great week to get it done.

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:12 PM)

All quiet. I think it's more likely it would come after the season. Unless they can agree quickly, I don't think Matt (or the Falcons) would want it to be an in-season distraction.

Al (Wausau, WI)

Pat, which game will you be attending this weekend?

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:13 PM)

Saints at Tampa Bay.

Ben (Atlanta GA)

Pat - lost in the shuffle of the Panthers terrible start has been the great play by Thomas Davis - I have to admit I had my doubts but he has been really good since coming back from the third surgery. Do you think he is a candidate for comeback player of the year?

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:14 PM)

Been a great story and good for Thomas. But I think he probably will have a tough time getting more votes than Peyton Manning.

Gary (Houston, TX)

Hey Pat I know Jerry Richardson is well respected throughout the league but it seems that he just doesn't seem that interested in putting a consistent winning product on the field. I know the philosophy in Carolina has always been build through the draft don't spend on high priced FA but at some point don't you have to make changes if that isn't working and the fan base myself included feel it's time for a change but you can't fire the owner so what happens in Carolina going forward?

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:15 PM)

It may not be working out that way, but I can assure you Richardson wants to win. The man spent a fortune coming out of the lockout and part of the reason he didn't keep Fox was because he never put together back-to-back winning seasons.

Joel (NC)

Pat, did you anticipate the NFC South being so bad this year?

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:15 PM)

No, definitely not anything like this.

Ben (Atlanta GA)

Pat - right now it looks like Frank Alexander is outplaying Greg Hardy on the Dline for CAR - do you think we will see Alexander supplant Hardy for more snaps?

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:16 PM)

Certainly seems like they're moving in that direction.

Sharell (Raleigh, NC Falcon Fan)

Hi PY, what is the problem wit ATL's running game. Turner, the OL, the new OL coach or the play calling. I am somewhat of a believer in Turner still, I think he gets better as the game and season goes on.

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:17 PM)

Partly the O-line. But sad to say, I think the major reason is Turner. Seems very slow to me and the next question will be along these same lines.

Matt Riddle (Atlanta Ga)

Do you think we've seen the extent of Koetter's plans for Jacquizz?

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:18 PM)

Following up on Turner, I think you'll continue to see more of Jacquizz as the season goes on.

Mark H (Greensboro, NC)

Pat, it has been a long time since I've been on here! How bad does it get for the Panthers if they lose to Dallas? Will we see any coaching changes mid season? Trades?

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:20 PM)

I doubt they'd change coaches midstream. But anything's possible. There's a lot of frustration there and I think it would grow a lot with another loss.

Ben (Atlanta GA)

Pat it seems that if Beason misses more time Kuechly may replace him in the middle. That being the case, will Beason accept a future role at the Will or the Sam, or do you think he will demand a trade to stay at the Mike?

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:21 PM)

Just from my experiences with Beason, I think he's a team player and would move outside if that's what they ask him to do.

Sean (New Orleans)

Pat, are you ever going to objectively report on the "bounty scandal", such as running a piece on Jimmy Kennedy's calling Goodell out for being the liar he is, or continue running offensive articals about bounty scandals in the pee wee league? Are you ever going to admit that the NFL's "investigation" was shoddy and full of holes?

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:22 PM)

The Jimmy Kennedy thing ran on our news side.

Gary (Houston, TX)

Pat do you think its possible Ron Rivera and his staff are in over their heads? Rivera is starting to remind me of Wade Phillips great defensive mind but not a great head coach. What would be the chances he is gone after this season?

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:23 PM)

Pretty good, if things don't turn around.

Lee (ATL)

Pat the Falcons have 7 games remaining that kickoff at 1.00pm ET. Are the NFL flex scheduling changes going to occur this season and might the Falcons get some games flexed to Sunday nights?

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:23 PM)

Would think that's a good possibility.

Pete (New Orleans)

Its your job to criticize players...why not criticize Drew Brees? He was selfish with his holdout, the team needed leadership in the offseason and he was worried about $19mm vs $20mm. Yet you never touch the golden boy. You were probably a Lance Armstrong supporter too.

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:25 PM)

Because I don't share your opinion on Brees. I thought he did what he had to do. It's probably his last contract and he earned the right to be the highest-paid player in the NFL.

Matt (Pensacola)

Any chance that Vilma starts at OLB on Sunday?

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:27 PM)

If he plays, I think they'll start him, mainly as a courtesy. Not sure he'll be able to go the whole game or anything close to it. It's been a long time since he's been on the field, so I'd expect his role to be limited, if he plays.

Jason (Birmingham)

Why do you think the Bucs organization is still standing by Talib? Because they need him this season or because they think he is a quality individual who made a(nother) mistake? I mean, how many chances does the guy get?

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:27 PM)

My personal take on that one is they'll bring him back this season and then let him walk after the season.

Gary (Houston, TX)

Pat do you think starting this week the Panthers will get away from this college style offense that hasn't worked and go to a more traditional offensive with Cam under center while occasionally mixing it up with read option?

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:28 PM)

Cam certainly has value as a runner. But I'd like to see them, at times, use their running backs like real running backs. And I'd also like to see them, at times, let Cam simply be a QB.

Tim (CLT)

Bingo...so you choose to criticize who you want to choose. You don't like Cam, thus you criticize him without ever meeting him or speaking to him....case closed

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:31 PM)

Umm, I've met Cam. I also covered Beason on a daily basis when I worked in Charlotte and like and respect him a lot. But that has nothing to do with whether I'm critical of him or not.

Jon (Falcon Fan) (GA)

How can Vilma start when he has been suspended?

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:32 PM)

Because he's not suspended while he's appealing his suspension.

Brad (Atlanta)

Following up on the questions on Turner and Rodgers. Given what you have seen from him and his surprising ability to run between the tackles. Do you think Rodgers could ever be the feature back for ATL? I would worry about durability due to his size.

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:33 PM)

I'd have the same concerns. My guess is they'll bring in another RB to pair with him next year.

Joel (NC)

One thing that really frustrates me as a Panthers fan (an I know you personally don't hold this opinion) is the idea that Panther fans aren't loyal or passionate. Yes, we are not a "big market" team or have a multi-decade history, but the team has sold out every ticket for the past 10 years, and I believe our fan base is more passionate than any in the NFC South outside the Saints. Our return on investment hasn't been too great the last few years, but the idea that the Panthers don't have a passionate fan base is simply not true.

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:35 PM)

Who does have that opinion? I lived their for almost nine years and my opinion is Carolina has a very dedicated fan base.

Jon (Falcon Fan) (GA)

So if Vilma plays in a few games while he is appealing his suspension, does that mean that his suspension will carry over into next year if it is upheld to make up for the games he plays in this year?

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:36 PM)

My understanding is, let's say he plays in three games and then suspension comes back into place, then he'd still be suspended for 13 games next year.

JON (SoFlo)

Now that a good chunk of the season has been played...What position do you feel is the biggest need going into the offseason for the Bucs in 2013, whether it be in the draft or free agency.

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:37 PM)

It's still pretty early to say much on the Bucs because new coaching staff is still finding out what it has in a lot of places. But I think it's safe to say that safety and cornerback probably would be on the list.

redzone jones (NY)

When do you think the Bucs will start working in Bowers?

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:39 PM)

Schiano keeps implying it will be a couple weeks. But the fact that they waived a DE this morning, makes me wonder if Bowers might be activated for Sunday. But I doubt it. Seems like they'd want him to have more practice time to get in "football shape".

Richard (Ann Arbor, MI)

That math doesn't work out. If Vilma plays three this season, then you would expect him to be suspended for three next season to make up for it.

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:40 PM)

I think it's 16 games, no matter how it's broken up. That's assuming the suspension is upheld, of course.

JM (Charlotte)

In three years, will we be talking about how Cam Newton went the Vince Young route? Or how he turned it around to become a great QB?

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:42 PM)

Although I seem to be getting accused of being a Cam "basher", I'd say it's way too early to make any comparisons to Vince Young.

Brad (Atlanta)

Pat, where would you put Arthur Blank in terms of owners around the league?

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:43 PM)

Near the top. I think he's a man that's learned from past mistakes. Also think he does a good job balancing being hands-on, while also letting his football guys do their jobs.

Joel (NC)

Pat, heads up, Chris Gamble is out and Jon Beason is "very doubtful" for Sunday. Panther fans better hope the "self-scouting" the offense did in the bye week is going to pay off

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:46 PM)

Well, that's certainly not good news.

redzone jones (NY)

Do you think the Bucs will bring Ronde back again after this year?

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:47 PM)

I think that will be more up to Ronde and if he wants to go another year.

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:48 PM)

Gotta run, folks. Breaking news: Roger Goodell reportedly has recused himself from the Vilma situation.