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November 16, 11:00 AM ET
Chat with Pat Yasinskas

Chris (Atl)

How active is Darren Sproles likely going to be this week? Returning, running and receiving?

Pat Yasinskas
  (10:54 AM)

He practiced Thursday, so unless there's some sort of setback, I'd expect to see him back in his regular role (or pretty close to it) Sunday.

Jsmooth in new orleans [via mobile]

Do u think the saints can make a playoff run?

Pat Yasinskas
  (10:55 AM)

Can't write them off, but it's going to be tough. Not a lot of margin for error.

Singing Toilet Water (())

Was there more to Ray Edwards being released by the Falcons beyond his mediocre production?

Pat Yasinskas
  (10:55 AM)

I've gotten some indications that he might not have been fitting in well in the locker room.

Quez (Muck Bowl, FLA)

Pat, with Freeman re-establishing himself in the top-10 of NFL QBs, do you think we will resign him before the season ends? If so, what kind of money do you think he could get??

Pat Yasinskas
  (10:57 AM)

I think, at this point, they'll wait until after the season. Best to avoid distractions. But I think an extension will come shortly after the season. As to how much he'll get, I don't think it will be Brees/Manning money, but it will be significant because he's a guy who's got tons of upside and seems to be a perfect fit in their offensive system.

DEJUNE (NOLA)

Any chance Saints would activate all four of their RBs (if Sproles is healthy) Chris Ivory is just too hot right now to sit. What would be an advantage/disadvantage to activating all four? Seems that each of them have a different strength they bring to offense.

Pat Yasinskas
  (10:57 AM)

I think there's a good chance all four will be active.

Eric (Raleigh, NC)

Pat, Is there any chance Jerry Richardson will go after a big fish who is both coach and GM? He obviously struck out with Ron Rivera going with the guy that has no experience. I am hoping for a proven Head Coach. I would love for it to be Andy Reid. I think in order for Reid to come here he would have to offer the GM role as well. Any chance this could happen?

Pat Yasinskas
  (10:59 AM)

Just going on Richardson's history, I'd say no. He made Seifert coach and GM and that was a disaster. After that, Richardson said he'd never give one person all the power again. But, hey, he could change his mind.

Chris (Tampa)

I'm a biased Buc fan but surprised Lavonte David doesn't have more Pro Bowl votes. He's #2 in the NFC in tackles. Will he make it?

Pat Yasinskas
  (11:01 AM)

Get out there and vote. And get your family and all your friends to vote. He needs to keep doing what he's doing and Bucs need to keep winning. Then, he might have a chance. And, remember, it's not just fans who decide who makes the Pro Bowl. I think David is being noticed by coaches and players around the league.

Sheldon (Wake Forest, NC)

It appears odds are good that there will be whole sale changes with the Panthers coaching staff for 2013. If that turns out to be true do you think the Panthers would entertain making an offer to Sean Payton? I see a lot of positives with that move, helps Cam Newton and it would show the fans that the front office is ready to give it their best shot.

Pat Yasinskas
  (11:02 AM)

No, if Payton goes anywhere but New Orleans, Dallas is the only place. Besides, do you really think Richardson would hire him? Cam Newton was one of the players the NFL said was targeted in the bounty program.

Francis T. (Brooklyn NY)

Pat I have to give you credit regarding Matt Ryan. You were the only one that pointed out that he was being handcuffed by Mike Mularkey. Now that Koetter is letting him loose, he is finally playing to his potential.

Pat Yasinskas
  (11:03 AM)

Thanks, but I'm not sure I was the ONLY one that was saying that. Think there were a few others in the media that said it and maybe some people in Flowery Branch that at least quietly thought that.

Kyle (ATL)

What was the tipping with Ray Edwards? Why release him now? Do the 3 guys mentioned as replacements have the talent to produce?

Pat Yasinskas
  (11:05 AM)

Like I said, I think it was more than just his lack of production. Maybe his attitude wasn't the best and maybe there were concerns about that impacting the locker room. Are the other guys ready to produce? Not sure about that. But at least they'll give maximum effort.

Kirk (Myrtle Beach)

Where do you get your 2013 Cap figures from? And can the public see them?

Pat Yasinskas
  (11:06 AM)

They're not public. But I'll share them with you whenever it's relevant.

Zach (Atlanta, GA)

Do you think the Falcons will struggle Sunday if they are without both Sean Weatherspoon and Julio Jones?

Pat Yasinskas
  (11:06 AM)

It sure isn't going to help them. But they're at home with the Cardinals, so I think they can get by.

Kirk (Myrtle Beach)

You said a few weeks ago that the new GM for the Panthers is going to have his work cut out for him due to the Cap being so close. Where did you get your numbers because from what I can see they should be under the Cap?

Pat Yasinskas
  (11:08 AM)

They're not under the cap for 2013 right now. At the moment, they've got about $135 million committed toward what likely will be a cap of around $121 million.

James Stephens (Atlanta)

With Turner's lack of speed burst and his size, do you think Falcons would be better using him as a FB and then using Quizz as RB on some plays? Allowing Quizz to use his quickness to get to the hole and Turners size to catch the a LB or D-Lineman in the backfield.

Pat Yasinskas
  (11:08 AM)

Not sure about using Turner as FB, but wouldn't mind seeing Jacquizz get a few more carries.

whodatnation (New Orleans)

Where do you see the saints ending up when the season is over, and do you see the saints defense keep making improvements.

Pat Yasinskas
  (11:09 AM)

I'm sure that's the first thing they will address in the offseason.

Rachel (Massachusetts)

What are the chances that the Bucs make a run for the playoffs this year?

Pat Yasinskas
  (11:10 AM)

Schedule gets tougher coming up. But Bucs are improving. Think they at least have a shot at the playoffs.

Ed (N.O.)

With the depth the Saints have at RB, why didn't they attempt to trade one of these guys for help on the defensive side of the ball?

Pat Yasinskas
  (11:11 AM)

Maybe they did try and weren't able to get anything. Player-for-player trades are pretty rare in the NFL.

King (Atlanta)

The Falcons are struggling to run the ball right now. Do you see them having a kind of resurgence like the Giants did just last year in their playoff run? Went from 32nd rushing to 116 yards per game.

Pat Yasinskas
  (11:12 AM)

Would be nice, but I don't see any magic solution for them in that department.

Rob (State College PA)

Pat, with Kuechly and Norman making strides, is it likely Beason and Gamble are cap casulties in the offseason?

Pat Yasinskas
  (11:14 AM)

They would clear a lot of cap room if they release Gamble. Think it would be around $6 million. I'd have to go back and look at numbers on Beason, but, as best as I can recall, I don't think there would be big savings there. In fact, I think they'd take a pretty big hit.

rob (minneapolis)

Matt Ryan needs to take on a bigger leadership role (ie downplaying Roddy White's idiotic comments) before he can be considered truly elite -- oh, and win a playoff game or two... thoughts?

Pat Yasinskas
  (11:15 AM)

I get the point about not having won a playoff game. But what makes you think Ryan is not a leader? I think he is very much a leader.

Adam Creed (Boone)

Hey Pat. I'm a student at App State, so you probably know what's coming. Any news on Armanti? I know he sat out yesterday, but what are the chances in seeing him in the return game, due to some team injuries. Or maybe even a little more at WR, with the deep catch he had a few weeks ago?

Pat Yasinskas
  (11:16 AM)

We'll get an updated injury report from Panthers later this afternoon. But it sounded yesterday like there's a decent chance he won't be available Sunday.

Will Rogers (New Port Richey)

I know Q. Black wasn't our best player on defense but he had decent speed. With Adam Heyward replacing him, is it going to affect the way they keep Cam bottled up this week like they did in week one?

Pat Yasinskas
  (11:17 AM)

Hayward's not bad at all. Let's see how he does Sunday.

The sky is falling!!! (C. Little)

Before any of your Falcons fans lose it.....Just remember the Falcons had it close. They were in the game until the end and this game was against a divisional rival on the road.

Pat Yasinskas
  (11:18 AM)

Just tossing this one out there for Atlanta fans.

King (Atlanta)

As per Rob's comments, I guess Flacco and Sanchez are elite since they have both been to the AFCCG. Roddy is going to say what he wants and he is a great teammate. Could be worse (say TO maybe?).

Pat Yasinskas
  (11:20 AM)

Roddy is Roddy. I don't agree with everything he says, but he always shows up to play.

Adam Creed (Boone)

I doubt there's room cap wise, but has there been any thought of Ray Edwards going to the panthers? / Any word on where he might go?

Pat Yasinskas
  (11:22 AM)

First off, Ray Edwards wouldn't command a big contract right now. Second, Panthers have about $4.5 in cap room for this year, but are over cap for next year. Lastly, in talking to some people with Panthers, I don't think they're real high on Edwards.

Jamie (Wilmington)

I see a good chance the following players will be gone from Carolina next year, tell me where I am wrong. Beason, Gamble, Gross, D. Williams, and Smitty.

Pat Yasinskas
  (11:24 AM)

Like I said, I'd have to look back at Beason's contract. But I think you're right on Gamble and Williams and, possibly, Gross. However, I could see that being a situation where Gross retires. I also think that if Smith is out, it more likely will come as a retirement than a release.

Richard (Ann Arbor, MI)

Ok, so with the sudden time change, I'm here after all. Those four little words, "and a defensive stop", are still important.

Pat Yasinskas
  (11:25 AM)

Yes, very important. Glad you could make it with the time change. This is for this week only, due to a scheduling conflict.

Adam (Asheville)

I understand you get disrespected being 2 - 7 but 29th in the power rankings? Sure it's awful but they aren't the 4th worst team by a long shot. Schedule has been a meat grinder, 6 winning teams (5 will be in playoffs) and 1 score games in all but 2. Experts have Miami 11 spots higher @ 18th and they've only played 2 winning teams, Carolina would destroy Miami. Do you know how bad you have to be to lose to both the Jets and Bills? If you look at both schedules Carolina will easily win 4 more games, Miami will win one.

Pat Yasinskas
  (11:26 AM)

When a team is 2-7, I don't think it's worth nit-picking about where they're at in the Power Rankings.

JT (Stafford, VA)

I thought I read somewhere a Falcon O-lineman saying they were blocking OK just blocking the wrong way? Is that on Matt Ryan, Todd McClure, or Dirk Koeter?

Pat Yasinskas
  (11:27 AM)

Didn't see the quote. But, if it's true, I'd say Koetter and Pat Hill, the O-line coach.

john (mobile) [via mobile]

Pat do you really think Payton is considering leaving for the Dallas job? Do you see the saints going de or db in the draft?

Pat Yasinskas
  (11:28 AM)

I can't read his mind. It's really up to him. But nothing would surprise me. As far as the draft, I'd go DE first.

Ryan (Sonoma, CA)

I've watched every Bucs game to date. I think Mark Barron has looked great and had very lil growing pains. He's gotten burned for a long catch or two but what he adds in the run defense and his big hits on WRs has been exciting to watch. What's your take on his performance?

Pat Yasinskas
  (11:29 AM)

Pretty much same as your take. Every safety is going to get burned from time to time and it's not always totally their fault. Overall, I think Barron has been very good.

Eliot (New York, NY)

Hey Pat, long time no chat. For a long time, Mike Smith has preached establishing the run early in the game to set up play-action, but I wonder if this current Falcons team should take the opposite approach and establish the pass to set up the run. Seems to play more to their strengths. Thoughts?

Pat Yasinskas
  (11:30 AM)

Yes, like the idea a lot. Was thinking the same thing the other day. Now, do Smith and Koetter think the same way as us? Don't know.

Justin (Minneapolis)

Steve Smith retiring?REALLY? i'm a lifelong bucs fan and him and Vick are the only bucs rivals i ever liked,hope he doesnt

Pat Yasinskas
  (11:32 AM)

No, I wasn't saying he will retire. Just saying that whenever the time comes for him to go, I think it will be a retirement rather than a release. He and the owner are very close and I'd have a tough time seeing Richardson release him. But, then again, Panthers did release John Kasay.

Kirk (Myrtle Beach)

I'm pretty realistic when it comes to big name head coaches, and them wanting a big market. Since Carolina is a smaller market, the only big name head coach I could see us getting is Cowher and that is only due to location. Who do you think would be a good fit for Carolina?

Pat Yasinskas
  (11:33 AM)

Let's wait a little bit on that one and see who GM is and how Rivera fares over the next few weeks.

Tom [via mobile]

Bucs...playoffs??

Pat Yasinskas
  (11:33 AM)

I've said it several times already in this chat, I think they at least have a shot.

Looking in to the future..... (20/20)

Looking back since the Falcons hired Mike Smith, I find it hard to argue that he may be one of better coaches in the NFL. Do you think he could be on the level of the Belicheks, et al of the NFL some day?

Pat Yasinskas
  (11:34 AM)

If he can win some playoff games and a Super Bowl or two, absolutely. His regular-season record is on par with some of the greatest coaches ever.

Richard (Ann Arbor, MI)

Since Tracy Porter's only playing on a 1-yr contract, could the Saints afford him if Denver decides not to resign him? Could use the help in the secondary.

Pat Yasinskas
  (11:35 AM)

Agree they can use help in secondary. But not sure Porter would be the guy for them. There were reasons why they let him go in the first place.

Kevin (Largo)

What do you think of Doug Martin as ROY?

Pat Yasinskas
  (11:36 AM)

I think he's a strong candidate. But it might be tough to overcome Andrew Luck, simply because he's a QB and has a huge profile.

Chris (Omaha)

Pat, do you think the Bucs will release Blount in the offseason and pursue a RB to play behind Martin?

Pat Yasinskas
  (11:37 AM)

Well, they wouldn't release him. He's scheduled to be a restricted free agent. So they would either make a tender to him or not. Even if they're not sold on him, I'd make a tender and see if you could get a draft pick for him. If not, they can always rescind the tender.

Eliot (New York, NY)

For weeks, I've been saying I could legitimately seem the Falcons finishing 14-2 and getting swept by the Saints. What is it about them? Do the Saints just match up really well? Are they the kryptonite to Smith's conservative play-calling? I can't put my finger on it.

Pat Yasinskas
  (11:40 AM)

I think there could be a mental block involved there. When you lose to a team 11 out of 13 times, it's got to play on your mind at least a little bit.

Brad (Atlanta)

Pat, who do you think the Saints would part with first of their RBs? And do you think any of them might be an answer for the Falcons? Think Ingram or Ivory would be pretty good in the ATL backfield.

Pat Yasinskas
  (11:41 AM)

Think Ingram would be a great fit in Atlanta. But don't think the Saints are ready to let him go.

Tom [via mobile]

Is Bob Bostad one of the best o line coaches in the game?

Pat Yasinskas
  (11:41 AM)

Certainly doing an outstanding job this season.

JT (Stafford, VA)

Offensive tackle Tyson Clabo said, ?I still think we have a chance to be a good short-yardage team. It?s not that we aren?t blocking well, we?re just not blocking the right people.?the piece was on the AJC Blog on tuesday.

Pat Yasinskas
  (11:43 AM)

Not blocking the right people? Hmm, sounds like that should fall on the coaches. But also think there might be a bit of finger pointing going on there.

Kevin (Largo)

If Bucs stay above .500, does Greg Schiano get coach of the year?

Pat Yasinskas
  (11:44 AM)

Think I said this last week -- he certainly would be a candidate and get some votes, but might be tough to beat out Mike Smith if he finishes with 13 or 14 wins.

Straight Cash Homie (Oakland)

I don't understand the Panthers offensive woes. There roster isn't that much different. Does it all start with Cam?

Pat Yasinskas
  (11:45 AM)

I honestly don't know the answer. I've been trying to figure it out all season. Cam certainly deserves some blame, but I think there are a lot of other factors involved.

Ryan (Sonoma, CA)

Pat, what game you going to this weekend?

Pat Yasinskas
  (11:46 AM)

Cardinals at Falcons.

run game change (1 yard and a cloud of dust)

Looking back at the Falcons/Saints game, I'm guessing that's the worst performance by Atlanta on the ground this season. Sure they've had issues, but no way can they be that bad all season....

Pat Yasinskas
  (11:47 AM)

Yeah, it was probably their worst. But they haven't been great on the ground all season.

Creme Bucs (FL)

Has Freeman changed his game much this year and is that the reason for improvement? Or is it Vincent JAckson's presence? Or a different offensive scheme?

Pat Yasinskas
  (11:48 AM)

You kind of answered your own question. Offensive scheme is playing to his strengths and Jackson was brought in to give him a true No. 1 WR. Also, I think Doug Martin's presence has helped him a lot.

Straight Cash Homie (Oakland)

I understand Doug Martin is great, but why/how has Blount fallen off the plantet like this? He was so great last year, right? Shouldn't he get 10 touches per game?

Pat Yasinskas
  (11:49 AM)

Umm, think it was two seasons ago that he was "great". I don't think new coaching staff has ever warmed up to him.

Dylan (Rock Springs, WY)

What can the Falcons do to improve their run game?

Pat Yasinskas
  (11:50 AM)

Not sure there's much they can do right now. But it surely will be an offseason priority.

JT (Stafford, VA)

Does Peter Konz have a future as a Center, or do they keep him at Guard

Pat Yasinskas
  (11:50 AM)

I think he stays at guard and Hawley eventually takes over at center.

Sheldon (Wake Forest, NC)

Good article about Thomas Davis linked to your blog this morning. His comeback is truly remarkable. He is one of the few bright spots in a dark season for the Panthers this year.

Pat Yasinskas
  (11:51 AM)

Yes, he certainly is. Good for Thomas, who truly is a good guy.

Francis T. (Brooklyn NY)

Were you as impressed as I was when Julio forced himself back into the game not 100% and still made a play on the deep ball? Made me realized that the offense is completely different without him.

Pat Yasinskas
  (11:52 AM)

Yep, go back and look at the stats we had for Ryan on Monday, which were broken down into what he did when Julio was in the game and when he wasn't. It's pretty amazing.

bo (atlanta)

pat i dont know how anyone can argue roddy's point that the falcons gave that game away to the saints... If Julio played the whole game and Weatherspoon matched up against graham i think it would have been a blow out. These teams really hate each other. what can we expect for this Thursday night game in Atlanta?

Pat Yasinskas
  (11:53 AM)

I would expect more of the same. It's always very entertaining when Saints and Falcons get together.

King (Atlanta)

Do you think Dent is the long term solution at MLB in Atlanta? I think the running game woes start with him since he's the only new face on defense.

Pat Yasinskas
  (11:55 AM)

Yeah, but they're not running the same defense they did last year. A lot of times, Dent's not even on the field because they're running the nickel package more than ever.

Adam (Asheville)

Not an expert but I think what Hurney said about the panthers not having a leader is what I'd blame on the offense. Nobody like Ray Lewis to fire them all up and it seems like Cam and the offense in general is tired out there. And they may be forcing it to steve too much, I recall a game where Olsen had been wide open like 5x and the commentators asked if Cam was mad at him.

Pat Yasinskas
  (11:56 AM)

Yes, I agree Hurney had a good point about the leadership. I think some of that needs to come from Cam, but I think some others on offense could also help with the leadership aspect.

Tom [via mobile]

Who is to blame for the bucs having the worst pass defense? Run D #1 Pass D # 32 C'mon Man!!

Pat Yasinskas
  (11:57 AM)

Mostly the secondary. Well, not even the whole secondary. Safeties have been all right. The CBs have been the issue and I'm sure that will be the first thing addressed in the offseason.

Richard (Ann Arbor, MI)

If, if, if. Does that mean we get to imagine what the game would have been like if Sproles had been able to play as well?

Pat Yasinskas
  (11:58 AM)

Absolutely.

Carter (atlanta)

Do you see Atlanta more likely to replace ray Edwards through the draft or free agency?

Pat Yasinskas
  (11:59 AM)

Can you really replace a Ray Edwards??? Sorry, couldn't help myself.

Donneith (Columbia, SC)

Do you think that the Panthers new GM could possibly look to replace Cam as out QB?

Pat Yasinskas
  (12:00 PM)

No, too much invested in Cam and he still has lots of upside. Whoever is hired as GM will be someone who has a plan for building team around Cam.

Corey (Charlotte)

Not so sure what happened to my question I asked earlier but I don't see it. I asked why so much hate on the Falcons from your articles and ESPN. We are a team that beat 8 teams in a row this year and I'm guessing because we didn't blow out all the other teams by 20 or more, we are not legit contenders! This is absurd, I'm sure the Falcon players are using this as a motivation to prove a point but as a fan it disgust me that even after all the wins the articles are always condescending. How many time did it take Peyton, Eli, Elway and more others to finally get there. My point is I know we run into playoff issues or have in the past but all the teams we played went on to the superbowl and with that being said there is only one team that can really be excited about the playoff's and that's the superbowl winner. Come on Pat, can we stop with the sneak dissing!

Pat Yasinskas
  (12:02 PM)

In case you missed it yesterday, I wrote that I think they're going to the Super Bowl and the vast majority of what I've written about them all season has been positive -- because they're winning. All right, we're past our deadline. Thanks to all for stopping by. Have a great weekend.