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November 9, 1:00 PM ET
Chat with Pat Yasinskas

delson (The Fort) [via mobile]

a couple questions.. last week you said you'd find out about eric wrights contract for a possible release or whatever.. just checkin up on that. also dimitroffs best gm of the season so far i hated that. his offseason moves werent as great this offseason as dominiks. how can you not like the competitiveness the bucs have shown in every game since the start? dominik saved freemans career. show some recognition.

Pat Yasinskas
  (12:52 PM)

I checked. Wright's contract is guaranteed for this year and next. On the GM thing, Dominik certainly has done some good things. But how could I possibly pick him over a GM whose team is 8-0.

eric (arcata, ca) [via mobile]

whats the word on spoon's injury? he should be playin this week but he is not any concern?

Pat Yasinskas
  (12:53 PM)

As you know, Falcons are very guarded about injury info. But I think the fact they didn't put him on IR is a strong sign that they expect him back fairly soon.

Scott (Arizona)

Hey Pat,Any word on the potential suspension of Eric Wright? You would think nearly a week after Yahoo reported the story, we would have heard something from the Bucs or the NFL, right?

Pat Yasinskas
  (12:54 PM)

If it is true, word will come from NFL. I think it might have been hung up by the appeals process and the hurricane might have delayed the appeals process.

Will Mayfield (Dahlonega, GA)

Pat, what would it take for the Falcons to get some respect? Ryan is an MVP candidate and the Falcons are the ONLY unbeaten team. People point to post season woes, but they do that only with the Falcons...

Pat Yasinskas
  (12:55 PM)

Just my personal opinion, but I think the "respect" thing is getting old. Falcons are getting lots of attention.

Thomas (Dalton, Ga.)

I don't care about respect from everyone else. If we win the Super Bowl they will have to respect us. But let's get to the PO, and win there first. One game at a time, like Smitty says.

Pat Yasinskas
  (12:57 PM)

Exactly.

bigtone (new jersey)

Pat i am a die hard bucs fan, and after the mega melt down last year it feels good to see them compete in every game, i am wondering though, if they are competing so good this year whats the chances that they go from what everyone says is overachieving to bieng a really good team, schiano is not going to let this team melt down like morris did last year...your thoughts?

Pat Yasinskas
  (12:58 PM)

Who's saying they're overachieving? I don't see that. I see a team that's making nice progress and should only continue to get better.

will (tampa)

if gettis explodes and gets say a touchdown and a couple of good catches do you think he could repleace lafel because of his breakaway speed.

Pat Yasinskas
  (12:58 PM)

Gettis hasn't played in a game in a very long time. I wouldn't expect too much from him right away.

Eric (Bordeaux, France)

Hi Pat, Nice article on Bucs OC Mike Sullivan. Even nicer pic of Sully playing at West Point!

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:00 PM)

Thanks. It was a fun story to do. And thanks to the folks at West Point and our art department for coming through with that photo. Here's the story Eric is referring to:http://espn.go.com/nfl/story/_/page/veteransdayMikeSullivanBuccaneersArmy121109/veterans-day-meaningful-buccaneers-oc-mike-sullivan

MJ (Palm Beach, FL)

Hey Pat,If the Buccaneers continue to succeed and reach the playoffs, no matter how far after that they go, is Greg Schiano a lock for "Coach of the Year"?

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:01 PM)

If they make the playoffs, he's definitely a candidate. But might be hard to beat out Mike Smith if he ends up with 14, 15 or 16 wins.

andy (hickory nc)

Pat have u ever seeing anyone cheering in the press box? I'm asking because of the bobby Hebert situation

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:02 PM)

Once in a great while it happens. But that person is usually asked to leave or quietly told to stop cheering. They make an announcement at the start of every NFL game that it's against the rules to cheer in the press box.

Ben (Atlanta GA)

Pat when Rivera gets fired, and I think it is 85% sure he will, do you think the new GM will keep McDermott around? He has actually gotten the D to play better than last year.

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:03 PM)

Can't even begin to guess on how things will play out in Carolina. No idea yet on who GM will be or even if they'll go with a veteran or a young, rising star.

Nathan (Orange County)

Pat, you recently gave out your NFC awards and for GM you said that Dimitroff deserved GM of the year for NFC South. Not to take anything away from Dimitroff but don;t you think that Dominik has done far greater good for his team this year than perhaps any team in the NFL. If we are talking overall then yes Dimitroff deserves this but I think Dominik has made this team a contender from a JV squad last year.

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:06 PM)

I think I gave Dominik some props in that post, as well as in some other recent posts. No question he's done a nice job. But Falcons are 8-0. If I didn't give it to Dimitroff, I strongly suspect I'd be hearing something about a lack of "respect" from Falcons' fans!

Habel (Greater Bay Area)

I feel as though the credit for Martin's breakout game is given too much to the O-Line and should be instead given to Erik Lorig, who has been fantastic all year. Your thoughts?

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:07 PM)

Did you happen to catch who was the fullback on the All-NFC South Midseason Team that ran a couple days ago?

Jason (Birmingham)

Any update on Sproles? Odds that he plays this week or next?

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:07 PM)

Think you're at least a week away from his return.

Matt Riddle (Atlanta, Ga)

The Falcons do still have a lack of respect :) And Tony G agrees with us!

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:08 PM)

Yep, but, outside of Tony, you don't hear many other Falcons talking about it.

Phillip (Charleston, SC)

Do you see either Beason, Gamble, or DeAngelo Williams getting cut at the end of the year in order to create cap room?

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:09 PM)

Possible. Panthers already are well over the salary cap for 2013 and it's obvious there will be some major changes, no matter who is there as GM and coach.

Eric (Bordeaux, France)

Best RB in the South this year?

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:10 PM)

Mark Ingram? Come on Eric, you of all people, know the only answer is Doug Martin.

Scott (Sugar Hill, GA)

Hey Pat! Love to blog and the chat! There's a lot of local buzz in CLT about the Panthers D performing in the top 5-6 of NFL defenses over the last 4 weeks. I think it's more about playing against two rookies, the Cowboys and the Bears. Am I right?

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:10 PM)

I think I'd probably side with you.

Shawn (Alaska)

Pat, do you envision anything the Bucs can do to improve their secondary at this point in the season?

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:12 PM)

Don't think there's any miracle cure right now. As best as I can tell, they didn't show interest in Routt. Seems like their plan is to go with what they've got for now and address it after the season.

Sam (Philadelphia)

Is there any concern from the Falcons that most of their wins have come from very close games and they haven't really played a complete game other than the Eagles game? The only reason I ask is because the Falcons were very good in close games 2 years ago when they went 13-3 and then got blown out in the divisional round.

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:13 PM)

Thought they were pretty good in the Denver game as well. But I agree, for the most part they haven't been able to put together complete games.

Curious in Atlanta (Stone Mountain)

Just how bad are the DBs in the NFC south if you listed Dunta Robinson on your all NFC South list?Really, even though he is playing better this season, it still does not mean much when I see him out of position quite a bit along with numerous missed tackles.

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:14 PM)

Agree, but take a look at the rest of the CBs in the NFC South this season. I had no choice but to go with Robinson and Samuel on my midseason team.

Taylor (Cov GA)

Do you see the Falcons cutting Michael Turner this offseason, saving some cap room and going a different direction? If so, I like the idea of picking up Michigan State's Le'Veon Bell. Your thoughts?

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:15 PM)

I think it's pretty likely this will be Michael's last season with Falcons. Not sure if they'll look to draft or free agency to replace him.

Ben (Atlanta GA)

Are the Panthers going to have to completely rebuild the team or do they have enough to reverse course next year pending a good draft and some tactful roster cuts?

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:16 PM)

Still a lot of individual talent there, so I don't think they have to blow it up completely.

Dwight (Atlanta)

Pat,What do the coaches think about Massaquoi? Any possibility of him getting any playing time any time soon?

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:17 PM)

He keeps showing up on inactive list every week, so I don't think they feel he's ready to contribute.

Francis T. (Brooklyn NY)

Did you see the Falcons playing this well since in the pre-season you had the saints as the best team in the NFC South. #Dirtybirdsfan

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:19 PM)

Had the Falcons a close second in those predictions. I'd have to go back and look, but I think I had them one game behind the Saints and in the playoffs. So, no, it's not a surprise. I thought Falcons would be good.

Mike (NOLA)

Do you think if the Saints went back with that old steel wool turf for the superdome that Patrick Robinson might try a form tackle rather than chest-sliding at everyone ankles?

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:19 PM)

That might be one of the funniest lines I've ever seen in one of these chats! Good job.

David (New York)

Why is it that statisticians use yards allowed and yards produced for their only measure of total defense and offense? Do you really think it is accurate to say there are 25 better defenses out there than the Falcons?

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:20 PM)

I don't know why, but that's the method NFL uses to rank them.

Mike (Bucsnation)

Pat, some Buc fans think that M Bennet will be too expensive to re-sign at the end of the year, I think he's too valuable to lose and will definitly be back next year, your thoughts?

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:21 PM)

I'm with you. And Bucs have plenty of cap room to keep him.

Preston (New York)

Can the Bucs beat the Falcons when they play? After all, both offenses are dangerous. Maybe the Bucs are a little more balanced, which might create some problems for ATL.

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:22 PM)

Of all the remaining opponents on Atlanta's sked, Bucs, Saints and Giants are the ones that might have a chance.

redzone jones (NY)

Over the past 4 games Freeman's been maybe the 2nd best QB in the league behind Aaron Rodgers. Why do you think he's hasn't received any mention?

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:23 PM)

Can't speak for anyone else, but I think his strong play has been mentioned a lot here in recent weeks.

andy (hickory, nc)

do you buy into jon gruden maybe coaching the eagles? i know its nfc east but he was a nfc south coach. do you see him coaching again ever? if not the eagles?

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:25 PM)

I think it's totally up to Gruden and whether or not he wants to get back into coaching.

Matt Riddle (Atlanta, Ga)

Can Doug Martin continue to have success even with his O-line injuries? (Fantasy)

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:25 PM)

Not sure he's going to put up 251 yards and four TDs every week, but, yes, I think he can continue to have success.

Jason (Birmingham)

Do you think Freeman has shown enough to earn the big contract? Would hate to end up with buyers remorse at QB like the Bills with Fitzpatrick.

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:27 PM)

I think he pretty much has earned it. Maybe see how he finishes the season, but it sure looks like it's all starting to come together for him.

CC (Atlanta)

Any chance the Bucs actually come close to selling out RayJay this year? It's pretty pathetic. And don't give us the economy bologna. It's bad everywhere.

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:30 PM)

True, economy is an issue everywhere. Florida (and I'm talking Jacksonville and Miami too) is unique because there are so many "transplants" that would rather watch the team from their old hometown than go watch their new hometown team. In baseball, Rays have put a good product on field for a while now and they have trouble drawing.

mike (williams)

is richardson more concerned with winning superbowls or selling tickets? right now it seems like neither. its hard to watch a game on tv right now

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:31 PM)

Believe me, Jerry Richardson wants to win as much, or more, than any owner. Things just haven't worked out very well for him lately.

Shiney McShine (Seat 7L)

Peria Jerry.......Could this be his last year with the Falcons? Seems like he has yet to live up to his first round status.

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:33 PM)

Entirely possible. He got his shot early this year when Cory Peters was out. Seemed like he started off pretty fast, but then faded. Think that injury his rookie year was really bad and he's never gotten back to being as quick as he was before tearing up the knee.

Jason (Birmingham)

Honestly Pat, doesn't it have to come together for Freeman with Martin going crazy, the upgrade at WR this year, D playing better, and the amazing play of the O-line? Couldn't Ponder or Sanchez play just as well on this team?

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:34 PM)

Valid points, but it IS coming together for Freeman. No, I don't think Ponder or Sanchez could do what he's doing. Ponder has Adrian Peterson and Percy Harvin and he still is mediocre.

Mike (NOLA)

Does Sedrick Ellis get more than a minimum salary deal next year?

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:35 PM)

Yep and probably somewhere other than New Orleans.

Drew Z (Atlanta, GA)

Hey Pat. So big game this week against the Falcons and Saints. The Saints have a chance to ruin our perfect record, and we have a chance to basically put the Saints out of playoff contention.Do you buy into any of the players saying this is "just another game", or that none of the players remember last years game when the Saints purposfully ran up the score for Drew Brees?

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:36 PM)

It's never "just a game" between those teams. They genuinely don't like each other.

Preston (New York)

Thanks for answering my previous question. It's appreciated.Now, if the Bucs come up just short of the post-season this year, do they maybe go "all in" this off-season and make the push to leapfrog other contenders? It might be the only chance they have before these "young guys" aren't young anymore.

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:37 PM)

Other than improving at CB, I'm not sure there's a lot of other major moves that have to be made. Seems like they've got pretty good talent in most places.

Dwight (Atlanta)

Pat, you listed the Falcons as the 26th ranked D in a post recently, but the stats page here at ESPN shows them as 15?

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:38 PM)

I'll go back and check after the chat. But I think I typed it in wrong. I think they were No. 15 in overall defense and No. 26 against the pass.

Chris (Tempe, AZ)

What is your midseason assessment of McClain so far? I think he's better than Owens and Franks personally since he hasn't given up any big plays really.

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:39 PM)

Yep and I think the coaching staff agrees with that and that's why he continues to get more playing time.

andrew (bucs country, nc)

with the flex schedule,any chance week 17 between bucs and falcons is moved into primetime?

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:40 PM)

Maybe, but Falcons might be sitting their starters by then, so that might eliminate that possibility.

Adam (Ridgefield)

Freeman has been playing very well lately, but his WRs have been making some phenomenal grabs. I am still concerned about his accuracy, particularly on mid-range passes. If the Bucs face a strong pass rush, he is going to need to rely on the short and mid-range passing game more than the deep game. Has that been something the Bucs are working to address?

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:41 PM)

I don't think he's ever going to be like Brees when it comes to accuracy on short and medium passes. That's just not his game. His strength is the deep ball and he's been hitting on it lately.

redzone jones (NY)

What are the chances Ronde retires after this season? The guy's been so good that any time he decides to leave the team will take a significant hit.

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:42 PM)

Think that's going to be entirely up to Ronde. But I think, with the way he's played this year, Bucs will try very hard to convince him to come back for another season.

Mike (ATL)

When will Arthur Blank lock up Matty Ice to a long-term deal?

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:43 PM)

Suspect that will be item No. 1 on their offseason agenda.

Bert (Raleigh)

So I think Andy Reid is going to love having Cam and Keuchly to build around. What do you think Pat?Hey he can even keep Sean Mac....

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:44 PM)

Think that could definitely be one to keep an eye on.

andy (hickory, nc)

the last time the bucs drafted a rookie rb he went out and got rookie of the year ( cadillac williams ) any chance martin wins it also? just seems like people pay so much attention to qb's. im afraid luck or rg3 wil get it.

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:45 PM)

Normally, it's very tough to beat out a QB. But Martin has definitely put himself on the radar. If he keeps doing what he's doing and Bucs win a few more, I think he'll have a legitimate shot.

John Ryan (Charlotte NC)

Pat why are we keep hearing that the Panthers might considering moving to LA?

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:47 PM)

Because Panthers are making noise about wanting taxpayer money for a new stadium.

andy (hickory, nc)

pat im going to see THE WHO in concert tonight woohoo will you be at the bucs panthers game next weekend? ill be there.

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:48 PM)

Will be at Falcons/Saints.

VDS (ATL)

Pat, how is this season different compared to the 201/ Falcons season? They've won a bunch of close games and are likely to face one of 4 very good teams in the 1st rnd of the playoffs. Should i keep my expectations low?

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:49 PM)

I think the two new coordinators have brought a different attitude on both sides of the ball. I think this is a different team. But we'll find out for sure in January.

Zack Anchorage AK [via mobile]

With Bennett playing strong, McCoy playing great (aka healthy), Clayborn coming back from injury, and Bowers improving it seems like we could have a strong d line. Between that and hopefully get 1 or 2 new corners can we be a top 10 defense?

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:51 PM)

If you can upgrade the CBs and McCoy, Clayborn and Bowers all can stay healthy, yes, that's possible next year. Foster and David are turning into very good LBs.

redzone jones (NY)

Have the Bucs looked at Standford Routt?

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:52 PM)

Think it was at least discussed, but I don't think there was a lot of interest. Heard this morning he could be headed for the Lions.

Patrick (Charlotte)

Why all the baseless speculation about the Panthers moving without noting that Sunday will be the 100th regular season sellout in a row?

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:52 PM)

Well, let's note it now.

andy (hickory, nc)

how can any team expect a new stadium after a stadium thats less than what 16 years old? im not a panthers fan but i go to the games and theres no reason to builld a new stadium with how much they cost that stadium is fine for football. and they have plenty of luxury boxes ( money

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:53 PM)

It's kind of the nature of the NFL. You could also make the case the Georgia Dome is just fine and Falcons don't need a new stadium, but they're asking for one.

Ben (Orlando)

I think Gerald McCoy belongs in the Pro Bowl for how much disruption he creates at the line, even though he doesnt have GREAT stats. Agree or disagree>

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:54 PM)

He's having a very nice year. Just shows what he can do when he is healthy.

Taylor P (Atlanta)

Name idea for new Falcon stadium "The dome Ryan built"

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:55 PM)

Yeah, but isn't it supposed to be a retractable roof?

Phillip ((Villa Rica, GA))

If Sam Baker really is this good in 2012, and he really was that bad(and hurt) in 2011, why did Mike Smith keep throwing Baker out there in 2011 knowing he was hurt too bad to be effective?

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:56 PM)

Because he didn't really have another choice. When they finally did make a move, they went with Will Svitek, who may be a nice guy and hard worker, but that was a sign of pure desperation.

andy (hickory, nc)

what do you think of the nfl cancelling the pro bowl? but still announcing who the pro bowl players would be/ seems odd

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:57 PM)

Have you watched the Pro Bowl in recent years? It's become a joke. They need to just do away with the game. Still name Pro Bowl teams and give the guys recognition, but stop playing a game that the players don't want to play in.

CC (Atlanta)

You expect the Saints to come after Ryan like they did Vick? If so I'd expect Julio, Roddy and Tony to have huge games. Teams really shouldn't blitz him, no?

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:58 PM)

No, I think they'll treat Ryan much differently than Vick. Can't really afford to blitz too much because Ryan and his supporting cast will take advantage of that.

Chris (Tempe, AZ)

I'm a huge Falcons fan and when the Saints drafted Ingram I was pretty scared because of the noise he made in college. Why hasn't Ingram been that great on the Saints?

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:59 PM)

Hasn't really had a chance because they use a committee of RBs. I think Ingram could be good on another team if he was used as a true feature back. Couple more questions before we wrap it up.

Rob (Houston)

With as decent as Munnerlyn is playing at CB for the Panthers, do you think he's proven he can be more than just a nickel guy, in spite of his height. You could make the same argument about Smitty back in the day....

Pat Yasinskas
  (2:00 PM)

And Brent Grimes back in the day. I like Munnerlyn, but it's going to be up to the new GM and whoever is coaching the Panthers next year.

Patrick (Charlotte)

Have you been following the Panthers stadium situation? They aren't looking for a new stadium but to upgrade the current one. And the city is more than willing to give money since they toured of a couple stadiums to see what kinds of upgrades to invest in.

Pat Yasinskas
  (2:02 PM)

Right, they're looking to renovate Bank of America Stadium. I've written about it several times. And just because city officials have toured other stadiums doesn't mean they're ready to give a blank check. You're talking about tax-payer dollars and that's always a touchy subject.

Phillip (Villa Rica, GA)

SLB-Stephen Nicholas(Falcons) is playing at a very, very high level - but is getting ZERO attention from anyone.......what say you?

Pat Yasinskas
  (2:03 PM)

He was on my All-NFC South Midseason Team. I think he's having a great year.

JM (Charlotte)

Would you give Ron Rivera a zero percent chance of returning next year?

Pat Yasinskas
  (2:04 PM)

No, I think there's a slight chance he could stay. One guy I've talked to that is interested in the GM job (but has yet to have any contact with the Panthers) said he thinks Rivera can become a good coach and he'd consider keeping him if he got the job.

CC (Atlanta)

If Ingram really was that good wouldn't the Saints use him more? Seems silly to say otherwise.

Pat Yasinskas
  (2:06 PM)

That's a unique offense and Sproles has to be on the field a lot of the time. Put Ingram with, let's say Atlanta or Tampa Bay as a true feature back and I think he could be solid.

Ben (Charlotte)

@Patrick in Charlotte, were you around for the Bobcats Arena saga? this city does not like paying for stadiums. had to force it through after being voted down by the citizens ...

Pat Yasinskas
  (2:07 PM)

No city really loves paying for a new stadium or renovating an existing one. It's always a tough fight. All right, we've gone way past deadline on this chat. Thanks to all for stopping by and have a great weekend.