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December 7, 1:00 PM ET
Chat with Pat Yasinskas

Eric S (Saint Petersburg, FL)

Pat-A local columnist basically said that the Bucs should extend Josh Freeman now. I definitely agree. Do you see this happening in the near future or will they wait a yr to decide on him?

Pat Yasinskas
  (12:53 PM)

I've been saying the same thing for weeks -- or more. It's time to lock him up. Imagine they'll try to do it after the season. Also makes sense from a cap standpoint. He's got a big cap figure in 2013. They can probably knock it down with a new deal.

Chris (Charlotte, NC)

Pat, Im hugely in the "Fire Rivera camp." He looks like a statue on the sidelines and the Panthers have regressed across the board this year. However I cant shake this feeling that Rivera might be given another year to coach here. Can you please ease my fears and say he is as good as gone after this year? I dont care if we win out against these weak teams comimg up and go 7-9, he has to go!

Pat Yasinskas
  (12:54 PM)

Think he pretty much has to run the table to stay. Even then, I'm not sure that they would keep him.

Nicholas (Atlanta) [via mobile]

Who's your pick to win the NFC South next year?

Pat Yasinskas
  (12:54 PM)

All right if we wait until we see how the draft and free agency play out before we start making picks for next year?

Willy (Seattle)

When people discuss all of the Falcons close games, does anyone take into account the composition of their schedule? They don't have back to back home games all season so in essence, they are always on the road.

Pat Yasinskas
  (12:55 PM)

Gotcha. But the counterpoint to that would be they don't have back to back road games, so does that mean they're always at home?

Rob (Tampa, FL)

What are the chances of the Bucs backing into the playoffs?

Pat Yasinskas
  (12:56 PM)

We'll see. They're at least in the mix, which is something I don't think a lot of people expected at beginning of season.

matt (tupelo) [via mobile]

I know the defence needs work for sure but I think the wr core needs work to whst about you?

Pat Yasinskas
  (12:59 PM)

Assume you're talking Saints. Yep, I think they need to add a little their in offseason. Colston and Henderson aren't getting any younger. Not saying they're done by any means, but Saints need to start addressing that spot for future.

CB (Charleston)

Panther fans want Rivera gone....but who are they going to bring in to replace him? I feel like the Panthers are simply a few players away from being a very good team. Nearly all of their losses come last second. this from a Falcons fan....

Pat Yasinskas
  (12:59 PM)

Tell that to Jerry Richardson. I get the impression he doesn't have as much patience as you do.

Nick (Illinois)

Is there any reason to believe a top-tier free agent defensive end like Freeney or Avril might end up in Atlanta? I can't imagine the bad taste of Ray Edwards signing will outweigh the need for a pass rush.

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:00 PM)

They've got to get a pass rusher somewhere and doubt they'll be in position to get a really good one in the draft.

Nick (Illinois)

Do you have any news on whether Brent Grimes, Michael Turner or Matt Bryant will be back in Atlanta next year?

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:01 PM)

Falcons will deal with that after season. But I think Turner probably moves on. They'll attempt to keep Grimes, if the price is right. Bryant remains under contract and I doubt he's going anywhere.

Green (Georgia)

do you believe even if the falcons win in the playoffs this year, will they finally earned that national respect or will the media and fans alike say they were just lucky.

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:03 PM)

I think one, maybe two, postseason wins would settle that question.

Rick (Queen City)

Really Pat? Cam's attitude is why our defense is bad, and our offense is not playing to expectations? Really????

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:04 PM)

Where did I say that?

Brian (CT)

With the bucs biggest need secondary do you think they will try and make another splash in free agency and go after DRC or someone like that or will they focus mainly on the draft

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:06 PM)

They clearly have to address CB in the offseason and probably have to add several. Imagine at least one will come in free agency. But I wouldn't count on Bucs making the big splash like they did last year in free agency. They're not going to have nearly as much cap room.

Ron (High Point,NC)

My list of "goners" from panthers roster next year: Beason, Williams (or Stewart), Gamble, Sherrod Martin, then possibly Gross. Your assessment?

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:07 PM)

I'm with you on most of that. But maybe not Gross. He may be older, but it's difficult to get a left tackle, especially when you have other needs. He might stick around for another year.

Richard (Arden, NC)

Hey Pat, you didnt' answer CB. Who are the likely choices to replace Rivera?

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:08 PM)

Let's wait a bit and see if Rivera is gone.

Sparky (Atlanta, Ga)

I just read your Final word article. Seeing how poorly Matt has played in the Dome this year, would it really behoove the Falcons to get Homefield advantage in the playoffs?

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:09 PM)

Yes, you always want home-field advantage.

Will: (Atlanta) [via mobile]

I'm a Falcon fan and I'm tired of hearing about respect! You win championships and they have no choice but to respect us right? If not who cares, I'll take a super bowl ring over the respect of fans and analyst that are usually wrong with their predictions anyways!

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:10 PM)

I am totally with you on the whole respect issue. Thanks for voicing your thoughts!

JM (Charlotte)

Any news on who is being considered for the panthers GM job?

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:11 PM)

Don't think anyone has been interviewed yet. Last I've heard is that they're leaning toward the up-and-comer route. So that probably means someone that currently is employed by another team, so they can't even interview until after the season.

ByHenSr (Kenner, LA)

Hi Pat, if the magic number for the Falcons is two - meaning two more wins guarantee homefield - which two games do they have the best chance of winning Panthers, Giants, Lions, Bucs?

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:12 PM)

They've got a chance to win any or all. And the magic number could be reached with help from other teams losing.

Yone (New Orleans)

As a Saints fan I've come to accept that the 2012 season only has 4 games left and there won't be a postseason for us. Any advice on what to watch for these last 4 games to keep it interesting?

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:14 PM)

Keep an eye on the younger defensive players. Some of those guys can decide their futures with how they play in the final four games.

CB (Charleston, SC)

I am starting to think it might be a good idea to rest Asante and Moore, we're going to need them in the long haul. agreed?

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:15 PM)

Think it's possible you may see that and you may see some others resting in the coming weeks.

Taylor (Miami)

Whats the angle behind Hardy's comments? He cant actually believe that can he?

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:15 PM)

He's not the first to say something like that. A few of the Bucs and Saints said similar things.

Shannon atl [via mobile]

Is Chirs Owens playing like a starting NFL CB or am I crazy

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:16 PM)

He did make a few nice plays in the last game. But let's see if he can sustain it before we go calling him a starter.

Matt Riddle (Atlanta, Ga)

Pat, I'm glad to hear that Smith might be limiting Turner's carries even further, and I like Quizz as a change of pace back, but do you think he can really be a feature back based on what we've seen so far?

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:17 PM)

Like what I've seen from him and like the way they keep easing him in more and more. But not sure if he can be THE GUY all by himself. Might be a situation where they need to team him with someone.

mike (gso)

turn on auto update plsthanks

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:18 PM)

It's on - at least on my end. You might have to do something on your end to get it to work. Suggestions from the rest of you for Mike?

Nathan (Orange County)

Thoughts on the possibility of Monte Kiffin returning to the NFL and if he does, do you see Tampa bringing him back for a Butch Davis type position? That secondary needs help. FAST.

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:19 PM)

No idea. Don't know if Monte even wants to continue coaching.

Mike (Washington, DC)

Do you believe Mike Smith when he says that he wont' rest starters going down the stretch? And that his goal is to go 4-0 in December?

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:20 PM)

I think that if they've clinched No. 1 seed, you'll see guys like Abraham, McClure, Turner and Samuel get some rest.

Mike (Washington DC)

does Matt ryan still deserve to be in the MVP candidate talk?

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:21 PM)

Think he's dropped to the fringes of that conversation in recent weeks, but could get back in it with a strong finish.

Matt Riddle (Atlanta, Ga)

Typicall you just need to hit refresh to get auto updates on, but for some reason this isn't working today..

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:22 PM)

Thanks Matt. Sorry if there's a tech problem, but I've got no control for that on my end.

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:23 PM)

Just got Falcons injury report. Jerry, Samuel, Moore and Turner all questionable.

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:24 PM)

Just got Panthers injury report -- Stewart doubtful. Everyone else questionable, except for Greg Olsen who is probable.

Collin (Central fl) [via mobile]

Hey pat, do you think the bucs D is having problems do to personell or scheme, the prssure is nowhere near consistent?

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:26 PM)

Well, keep in mind, they're playing without Clayborn and Bowers came back quickly off a very serious injury.

Conrad (Oakland, CA)

Pat, the ability to pick up "and short" for the Falcons is concerning. All these weapons and yet the offense can go absolutely silent. I end up biting my fingernails off every game. We are the SF Giants version of "Torture Ball"... Could this be one of the worst 11-1 teams you've seen?

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:26 PM)

They're 11-1. Try to enjoy it!

Matt Riddle (Atlanta, Ga)

Are there any significant road blocks or "statement wins" left for the Falcons before we hit the postseason that you see?

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:27 PM)

Giants, maybe. But I think the next true statement game will be in the postseason.

JT (Stafford, VA)

Does Mike Smith still do the "over 30 club" or has that gone by the wayside?

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:29 PM)

Still does some of that. Turner's been held out of practice a fair amount. Saw some of that with Abraham early on, but not so much recently. Suspect you'll see him rest the older guys more once they clinch all there is to clinch.

Taylor (Atlanta, GA)

Hey Pat, there are some critics who say Cam Newton is having a sophomore slump. Do you think they are basing their opinions by comparing his stats from this year and last year or is it because the Panthers just aren't winning games?

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:29 PM)

Think it's all about them not winning games.

EastEndBoy (DC)

Hey Pat - Dallas Clark has been much more involved lately - do you think that's because of anything happening with the WRs and match-ups or is Freeman just looking to him more?

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:30 PM)

Probably a combination of things. Defenses looking at Williams and Jackson, Freeman getting more comfortable with his TE and perhaps even Clark getting healthier as the season has gone on.

mike (gso)

Pat, why does Carolina put so much on CAM running the ball? yea he is a great runner, but it should be when he has to. D Williams and Jstew should get more carries. look at adrian peterson, he actually runs...... as a running back. not saying they are as good as him, but they def got to far away from that. I say fire the coaches

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:32 PM)

I hear you. They have three good RBs. Let them be RBs. I think Cam can be a good QB. Let him be a good QB, not a RB.

Long time Falcon fan (Fulton County Stadium)

Excuse some of us for being cautious. We still have memories of the 1980 season and the loss in the divisional game against the Cowboys.....Then there is 1999 season. After getting to the Superbowl, only to go 4 more seasons before making post season play.....These memories more than haunt us....They affect our perspective.

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:33 PM)

Understood and that's exactly why there is doubt by the media and skepticism by fans. Also, I salute you for being such a long-time fan. Fulton County Stadium? Wow, that's going back a way.

Blurtaugh (DeKalb County)

Why did the Falcons pass on Babin after he was released by the Eagles? They could have used some help at DE after sending Ray Edwards packing. I'm not saying they made a mistake, but there must be a reason they chose not to acquire him. Or was it the Jags picked him before the Falcons could? If so, was there any interest from the Falcons?

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:36 PM)

I don't think they were going to make a play for Babin. First off, they've only got $500,000 left in cap room. He would have cost over $1.5 million. They would have had to try to restructure some other contracts. Second, not sure they wanted to replace a guy they had to cut with a guy that just got released by another team, presumably for similar reasons. They're sticking to what they've got for now.

Hank (Boone, NC)

Hey Pat, do you think rivera, chud and mcdermott will all be gone after the season or just rivera?

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:37 PM)

If Rivera goes, I think they all probably go.

J-Man (Waycross)

So if the Falcons do indeed cut Turner next season could we see them trade for MJD?

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:38 PM)

Doubt it. Think you can get an RB in the draft and have a longer shelf life and less expensive. Plus, it's been proven you can get a good RB beyond the first round.

Ron (High Point)

I want to comment on Taylor's question about Cam's soph slump. During the first half of the season, in most games, I thought the offensive play calling seem disjointed, and in Cam's famous body language, could see some confusion and frustration. Do you agree he had to adjust to some ill-advised Chud schemes and wasn't comfortable?

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:39 PM)

Yeah, but there might have been a reason why Chud was calling the plays the way he was.

Matt Riddle (Atlanta, Ga)

Have you seen or heard of any change, good or bad, for the Defense now that Edwards is gone?

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:40 PM)

Well, let's just say the defense has played really well the last two games. I think that provides a pretty strong hint.

Eric (Raleigh, NC)

I think Rick is referring to your Pete Prisco article link & commentary about it. I am not sure why you seem to be unwilling to own up to what you said any more than the anonymous sources owned up to what they said?

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:41 PM)

Well, if that's what he's referring to, yeah, there certainly are some issues with Cam. But he's not the entire reason for everything that's gone wrong with the Panthers this season. Defense, special teams, coaching all deserve blame.

J-Man (Waycross)

So with Nolan's defense being in its firts year with the Falcons could we see the Falcons defense get even better later in the season and beyond?

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:42 PM)

I think it has gotten dramatically better in the last couple weeks. They held Doug Martin to 50 yards and intercepted Brees five times.

decatur g (Wilmington, DE)

Are all the close games by the Falcons good for playoff prep or a general indication that the team isn't as good as its record would imply?

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:45 PM)

I'd feel stronger about their playoff chances if they'd just blow somebody out. But, as I wrote yesterday, when you repeatedly win close games, it's a sign you're doing something right and that you're more than lucky.

DiMaggio (Atlanta, GA)

What's the injury update on William Moore aka Willy Moe?

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:46 PM)

They're listing him as questionable.

Ron (High Point)

If the NFL eliminates kickoffs, maybe Kasay gets re-signed by the Panthers! Seriously, isn't that going too far...k-o'ing ko's?

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:47 PM)

I think it's a real long shot that they'll eliminate kickoffs. Can't see that happening anytime soon.

Nelson Muntz (Sprignfield)

Wow.....Dunta Robinson has improved quite a bit the last few weeks......How?

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:48 PM)

Might be due to the coaching and him fitting well in Nolan's scheme.

Todd (Charlotte, NC)

Pat, Don't engage on all of these "own up to what you said about Cam" comments....you are in the locker rooms, while the people in these chat rooms are not. You write based on what you see, know, who you talk to, etc. I'm baffled at why so many Panther fans attack you for doing your job and reporting on Cam. It is like when your girlfriend cheats on you, and you get mad at the other guy as opposed to getting mad at your girlfriend.

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:49 PM)

Thank you, Todd.

JM (Charlotte)

What are your thoughts on Matt Ryan's "Get off our field" comments?

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:50 PM)

Not very much. Stuff like that is said all the time.

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:51 PM)

And that's assuming he did make the comment people are saying he made.

Matt Riddle (Atlanta, Ga)

A lot of people say the Falcons haven't blown anyone out... what do you call the games between SD, KC, Philly?

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:51 PM)

True, but I think some people expect that every week.

DiMaggio (Atlanta, GA)

Do you think resting Asante Samuel until postseason is a smart move? Just make sure he's 100% for the play-off run?

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:53 PM)

Agree. Get him healthy. And give McClain and Owens some more experience.

JM (Charlotte)

Is it too early to talk draft?? With the Panthers almost undoubtedly getting at least a top 10, probably a top 5 pick, and so many needs, what position will they address first?

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:54 PM)

I'd like to see them get a DT. That's been a huge problem for them for a long time.

Nick (Illinois)

Did Jon Bon Jovi ever get an ownership piece of the Falcons? Is Warrick Dunn still involved?

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:55 PM)

No idea on Bon Jovi. But, yes, Dunn is very much involved. Sometimes run into him outside the locker room after games.

Andrew (hickory' nc)

Will Carl Knicks and the other bucs be ready for next season

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:56 PM)

Everything I've heard is that, yes, they expect Carl Nicks to be ready for next season.

Nick (Smith)

What is the upside of Robert McClain? He has been the biggest surprise to me (by far) of any player on the Falcons this year.

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:57 PM)

He's playing really well. But not sure if there's much more upside there. You might already be seeing all of the upside.

Brad Story (Warner Robins, GA)

The Falcons blew teams out in 2010 and you see how far that got them in the playoffs! Everyone just needs to relax, the key is that they're finding multiple ways to win, just not one phase of the game.

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:59 PM)

Agree and I think the new coordinators have brought a new attitude as well and that could be the difference in the postseason. All right, we're going to end the chat now. Thanks to all for stopping by and have a great weekend.