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December 28, 1:00 PM ET
Chat with Pat Yasinskas

Anthony (NJ)

Would the Falcons make Matt Ryan the highest paid nfl player if he wins a playoff game?

Pat Yasinskas
  (12:55 PM)

I think so. He's put himself in line for that and a postseason win (or two) would only seal the deal.

David (Albany, NY)

As a Falcons fans, I commented about being impressed with the Bucs about 7 weeks ago. After their winning streak they have hit the skids. Were they looking good because the NFC South has a reasonably easy schedule, or were they actually playing better than they are now? Can you pin point any differences?

Pat Yasinskas
  (12:57 PM)

They definitely were playing better earlier on. They were 6-4 at one point. Think there have been multiple factors -- QB hasn't played well, CB situation is a mess, ton of injuries on the o-line and there's room to question some of the coaching moves.

RJ (Ft. Drum, NY)

Pat, do you think this could be it for Freeman, or do they give him one more season. There is really nobody coming out in the draft. Or, could they maybe go after Flynn or Vick?

Pat Yasinskas
  (12:58 PM)

Think they give him one more season. But could bring in a better alternative than Orlovsky.

Joel Binghamton ny [via mobile]

Pat. Outside of having a winning record what was the reason you put john Abraham on the all NFC south team when Greg hardy had better numbers across the board and a Better year overall

Pat Yasinskas
  (12:59 PM)

Winning record had a lot to do with it. Pretty much the whole reason.

matt(tupelo) [via mobile]

Any news on the Payton front?

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:00 PM)

All quiet, which might not be good news for Saints fans.

matt(tupelo) [via mobile]

I think we all know big changes are coming to the saintswhich big name do you see gone first?

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:00 PM)

Vilma and Smith would free up a lot of cap room.

Abe ((DC))

What do you think of Smitty's decision to play the starters this week?

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:01 PM)

Let's see how much he really does play them. Got a hunch this one might resemble a preseason game with anyone even remotely injured sitting out and the starters playing maybe a half.

JM (Charlotte )

Pat, just read your article on Rivera. I don't think 6-10 or 7-9 should be enough for him to keep his job, especially considering how bad they looked for most of the season. Do you believe he'll get another year?

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:03 PM)

I'm not saying he is getting another year. But he has gotten them on a bit of an upswing. This is a tough one to get a read on. Only one man knows what Panthers are going to do and that man has been very, very quiet.

Kevin (Valdosta, GA.)

Pat- how in the world does a 13-2 team (Falcons) only have 3 Pro Bowlers, and a 2-13 team (Chiefs) have 5? I know the Pro Bowl is silly anyway, but what kind of sense does that make? I actually thought the Falcons would have 4 or 5 named from the defense alone.

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:05 PM)

You're right, Pro Bowl is silly. No doubt Falcons deserved to have some more in there.

Rod (Tarboro)

If Ron Rivera is let go, do you think the panthers will be the desirable team that coaches will be aiming for?

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:06 PM)

Absolutely. There's a potential franchise QB already on the roster and a fair amount of other talent. And Charlotte is a good place to live.

Felix the Cat (Acworth Ga)

Pat,NFC Championship Game who do the Falcons want to face? San Francisco or Greenbay?

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:07 PM)

Hmmm, probably San Fran. Think Packers still might be in their heads from two years ago.

Lee (ATL)

Pat do Pro Bowlers pay their own $$$ to travel to Hawaii?

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:07 PM)

No, the NFL pays for it.

redzone jones (NY)

The Bucs have let 3 quarterbacks leave and win superbowls elsewhere in their history. As it stands Freeman has kind of been the best QB they've ever had. Wouldn't it be a mistake to let go of him too soon?

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:08 PM)

Like I said a few minutes ago, I don't see him going anywhere else just yet. He gets another season.

Kevin (Valdosta, Ga)

Pat- Any chance Mike Smith loses his job if the Falcons are one and out in the playoffs?

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:09 PM)

I don't think so. The man has won a ton of regular-season games. However, if that does happen, he then is under enormous pressure to win big in 2013 season.

Joe Tess Fish House (Dishwaser)

Do U thing the Flacons should try n get Teabow? He wil B availabel and the Flacons cous use a god backup

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:10 PM)

And what makes you think Tebow would be a good backup??? My personal opinion is he needs to switch positions and be a fullback or a tight end. I've said this since he came out of college, I don't think he's an NFL QB.

casona (Houston)

Aside from getting Payton in the fold, what are the Saint's priorities in the offseason?

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:11 PM)

Overhaul the D-line, improve the secondary and get some younger legs at WR. Also, have to make a big decision on if they're going to pay Bushrod or get a left tackle somewhere else.

Mario(ATL) [via mobile]

Will the falcons look for a feature back to replace mike turner this offseason?

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:13 PM)

I sure think so. Might be someone to go in tandem with Jacquizz Rodgers. But they certainly can't go with the status quo.

JM (Charlotte )

Have you heard who is being considered in the panthers gm search?

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:14 PM)

Dave Gettleman is the one name I keep hearing. But I've also been told not to be surprised if they make interim GM Brandon Beane the permanent GM.

scott c (Maine)

Is there any news on bret grimes? injury or contract situation

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:15 PM)

Think they're waiting until after the season to even start contract talks with him.

Joel. Binghamton ny [via mobile]

Pat. Giving someone a position on an all NFC south team based on a TEAMS record and not based on PLAYER stats is stupid. That's like saying no one on a losing team should make the pro bowl

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:16 PM)

Well, you're free to disagree. But if I've got to go out and play one game (and win), I'm taking John Abraham and Charles Johnson over Greg Hardy. Heck, I might even take Michael Bennett over Hardy.

David (Albany, NY)

Falcons have done well in prime time games. They have done well against the best QBs. They have looked silly against some bad teams. Is it possible they have been so "playoff" focused they have had trouble getting up to play lesser tilts? Maybe they are the team that has been able to hit the extra gear as required.

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:17 PM)

Maybe. We'll find out soon enough.

Tyler (ATL)

I keep trying to convince my in-laws (Saints fans) that they should be cheering hard for the Cowboys Sunday, but they are convinced there is a 0% chance Payton leaves. Do you think theyre pretty accurate or delusional?

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:18 PM)

They probably should cheer for the Cowboys.

redzone jones (NY)

Ronde seemed really upset about the Eagles loss and frustrated by the Rams loss. With the QB questions starting to pop up. What are the chances he sticks around for next season.

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:19 PM)

Think that's entirely up to Ronde. He took his time making a decision this past offseason and I imagine he'll think this one through for a while as well.

Matt Riddle (Atlanta, Ga)

Hey Pat, on your comment earlier regarding who the Falcons would want to face, I would think the Falcons would enjoy the chance to stick it to Green Bay kind of like they did to the Giants a couple weeks ago. I think San Fran's D would pose more of a threat.

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:20 PM)

Yep, that's the flip side of it -- if Falcons really are a different team.

Matt (Roswell, GA)

Pat, your article about last week's Falcons-Lions game was PERFECT. You, unlike our local media, didn't sugarcoat the win, and zeroed-in on exactly the issues many Falcons fans have with Mike Smith: he's such a Marty Schottenheimer when the team gets ANY lead.If Smith continues to force Turner on the offense, is he continues to take the ball out of Ryan's hands and effectively stops his own offense from scoring points, he SHOULD be fired if these ultra-conservative and stubborn tendencies cause the Falcons to go one-and-done.However, we keep hoping that the light will turn-on in Smith's brain, that like Tom Coughlin in 2007, he'll finally "get" it. I'm not holding my breath. And BTW, I think we know it's all Smith by now. I don't think Turner plays a single snap if its up to Koetter.

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:21 PM)

Thanks. Scrap the run game completely because it's not working. Put it all in Ryan's hands -- at least that's what I think they should do.

Phil (West Palm Beach)

Now that Jackson and Nicks have restructured their contracts and with the impending releases of Trueblood, Black, and Wright (since he voided his contract and doesn't count against the cap next year), will they sign any major free agents?

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:22 PM)

They're going to have some room to work with. Not sure it will be as dramatic a free agency period as last year, but think they'll be reasonably active.

Sheldon (Wake Forest, NC)

If Dave Gettleman from the Giants is in line to be the new GM for Carolina then I am pulling for the Giants to not slide into the playoffs. I would expect Jerry to pull the trigger fast if that is the guy so he can be on board when they make the call to keep Ron Rivera or to get a new coach.

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:24 PM)

Yep, think it's crucial to act fast. There are going to be a good number of coach and GM jobs open. The best candidates will get hired quickly. Same for the best available assistants. Bucs were slow in hiring last year and it made for a tough time in getting assistants.

Mario(ATL) [via mobile]

Will the falcons have cap space this offseason?

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:26 PM)

Had a post on that last week, I think. If my memory is correct, they have about $110 million or $112 million committed to a cap that will be around $122 million. But Baker or Grimes could take up some of that room. However, they probably will release some guys that will create more cap room. Bottom line: They'll have some cap room to work with, but not a ton.

John (Charlotte, NC)

With Newton's game seemingly coming together at this point in the season, wouldn't the Panthers be risking another setback if they change coaches now, forcing Newton to start learning another new offensive scheme?

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:27 PM)

Yes, that's one of the things Rivera has working in his favor.

Felix the Cat (Acworth Georgia)

Pat,You have to establish a run or keep d Backs honest. Screens out of back field and a few turner carries will at least do that. Go Falcons. Are you there this week.?

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:28 PM)

How about a few Rodgers carries? And some screens to Rodgers and Snelling?

Mat (D/FW area, TX)

How long do you see Nolan sticking around as DC? Considering what he's done with our defense I would imagine he'll be getting offers for head coach.

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:28 PM)

Haven't heard his name tied to any HC jobs, at least not yet.

Tony (Spencer,NC)

Hey Pat,long time reader(first time asker). Everyone talks about Cam being the face of the Panthers but in my opinion that includes being a leader which to this point hasnt been one of his strong points. Will that change with time and experience? Can leadership be learned?

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:29 PM)

I think players can grow into a leadership role.

Jeff (Greensboro, NC)

If the Panthers move on without Beason could you see them getting a 3rd rounder for him?

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:29 PM)

Sounds about right.

Brad (Berlin)

TRUE or FALSE: Drew Brees in on the decline.

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:30 PM)

False. Yeah, he hasn't been as efficient this season. But I think it has more to do with everything going on around him than anything to do with him.

Jon (Falcons Fan) #2 (GA)

Any chance we see more of Turner this week to get him going for the playoffs?

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:31 PM)

You really want to see them try that? Against the league's No. 1 rush defense? Are you Mike Smith using an fake name?????

JM (Charlotte )

Is it fair to say the Panthers backfield is too crowded/expensive? Do you think someone will be gone via trade?

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:32 PM)

I think so. Depends on the GM. But they've got cap issues and I think any reasonable GM is going to look at it and think there's too much money tied up in backfield.

David (New York)

If the Falcons are able to handily defeat their first playoff opponent, don't you think that ripping the monkey off their backs will pave the way to the Super Bowl?

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:33 PM)

It certainly wouldn't hurt.

J the Bird Dog (Atlanta GA)

As a falcons Fan, I would love to see a 3rd or 4th round pick given for Chris Ivory. Thoughts?

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:33 PM)

I think he and Rodgers could be a nice tandem. But do you really think the Saints would do anything that might help the Falcons?

Wrestling is REAL (Missing several teeth)

Who's your MVP for the NFC South? MVP for the league?

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:34 PM)

Go back and check the NFC South blog from yesterday.

EastEndBoy (Dc)

The Bucs are opening a large amount of cap space - this seems contrary to the Dominik view of taking hits early in contracts - he must be looking at free agency - no? What big names could he be thinking about?

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:36 PM)

It's not contrary. It goes with taking cap hits early. He pushed even more money for Jackson and Nicks into the 2012 season. He did it just before the deadline (tomorrow), which I think was a pretty smart move. Gives them more flexibility for 2013.

David (Albany, NY)

I don't find Rodgers 3.8 much more comforting than Turner's 3.6. I do like all the other things Rodgers can do. I don't think we can ride him. I think the Falcons have to bring in or draft another back to take over Turner's current role. What do you think? Bring in a new back, or ride Snelling and Rodgers.

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:38 PM)

Definitely have to bring in another back next year. Not sure Rodgers can be a 20-carry guy. But think he can be nice in tandem with somebody else.

redzone jones (NY)

Should Sheridan lose his job? This isn't the first time he's presided over a terrible defense. I know you like to state Schiano probably has defensive input but I can't help but think a better DC would've handled the situation better.

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:39 PM)

Definitely something they have to look at. Obviously, they've had major issues on defense.

Jon (Falcons Fan) #2 (GA)

How does the entire Falcon defense get left out of the Pro-Bowl?

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:41 PM)

Well, Spoon and Abraham were two best candidates. Spoon missed a few games with injuries, so his numbers weren't up there with the others. Abe's numbers are good, but there were guys with better numbers. DeCoud probably deserved some consideration, but he's not really a name yet.

Khalif 2 (Atlanta)

Do you see the falcons bringing back Grimes with a long term deal?

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:42 PM)

I've said this in the past and will say it again, I think they'll approach it somewhat like they did with Lofton. They'll come up with a number that they won't go over and offer him that. If he can get more than that elsewhere, then he probably walks.

Jon (Falcons Fan) #2 (GA)

Pat you asked me if I was Mike Smith using a fake name. You're not Sean Payton using a fake name are ya? Or Greg Shiano?

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:43 PM)

Haha! No, it's really me. But you sounded a lot like Smitty!

Alex (Johnson City, TN)

If Rivera is fired, do you see a scenario where they keep Chud? Keeping the offensive coordinator could be beneficial to Cam, even with the HCs departure.

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:44 PM)

I think, in that scenario, there would be a good chance they would try to keep Chud. And Mike Shula.

Sean (Vegas)

People complaining about the Pro Bowl are the same people who complain about the Power Rankings. Unless you're a player that has a bonus tied to being named, who cares?

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:44 PM)

Exactly. Thank you.

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:46 PM)

Just got Falcons injury report -- William Moore and Christopher Owens are listed as out for Sunday.

Matt Riddle (Atlanta, Ga)

Do you think the Falcons coaching staff have already started studying potential playoff teams, rather than focus solely on Tampa?

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:46 PM)

I'd imagine there might be some of that going on. But more so by their scouts than their coaching staff at this point.

Moses G Atlanta [via mobile]

Pat ,again I ask when the draft this year comes around,do you think the falcons will choose a TE or RB ?Because there are so many good defensive guys coming out this year

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:47 PM)

We'll talk draft as it gets closer. Way too early right now. If Grimes and Baker are gone, that could change whole dynamic of what the biggest needs are.

Jon (Falcons Fan) #2 (GA)

Have you ever seen Mike Smith come down hard on a player?

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:49 PM)

Yep, there's a legendary story about him chewing out William Moore. And ask Ray Edwards if Smitty really is a teddy bear? Look, the guy gets portrayed as being soft because he's such a nice guy, but he can be tough when he needs to be.

King Falcon (ATL)

Matt Ryan= Younger Peyton ManningTrue or False.

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:50 PM)

Think that's very possible. Just needs some postseason wins to leap to the next level.

falconfan30 (atl)

pat,do u know if will moore practice 2day or not. and is there any chance he will back this year?

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:51 PM)

Moore is out for Sunday. But I think he's progressing and will be ready for the playoffs.

Al (Wausau, WI)

Pat, are there any notable NFC South players that you thought should have been selected for the Pro Bowl, but were not selected?

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:52 PM)

Ronde Barber, Roddy White, Drew Brees would be the first three I'd say.

Jon (Falcons Fan) #2 (GA)

Hey Pat could you get me press box passes to a Falcons game this year?

Ear wax expert (third office on the left. )

What is the legendary story if Mike SMith and William Moore? I know I saw Smitty unleashon Asante Samuel this season after a celebration penalty....Three times he unloaded on him.......

Donneith Beaufort (Columbia, SC)

If Rivera stays does in entire coaching staff stay also?

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:55 PM)

Not necessarily. If he stays, part of the deal could be there have to be changes elsewhere. But I don't necessarily think that means the coordinators would go.

Matt Riddle (Atlanta, Ga)

Pat you're answers aren't being displayed. Only the questions....

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:56 PM)

Sorry about that. Little technical glitch. I signed out and signed back in. Should be working properly now.

Jeff (VA)

In your blog earlier, you mentioned that the Panthers will likely need to get rid of one of their RBs. Which one do you feel should go? Personally, I feel it should be Stewart that goes, since he is injury prone. Thoughts?Thanks

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:57 PM)

I'd agree with you, simply on the injury factor.

Jon (Falcon Fan) #2 (GA)

How about that press box pass?

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:58 PM)

You can have mine for Sunday, since I'll be working both games from NFC South Blog headquarters in Tampa.

Jon (Falcon Fan) #2 (GA)

Pat this has been a good season of football, hate to see it coming to a close. These chat sessions have been great too.

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:59 PM)

Well, the good news is the chats won't stop. We keep them going pretty much all year round. This was a very good session today. Thanks to all for stopping by and we'll see you again next week.