Besides Ronde Barber (if he decides to cone back for another year) is anyone in the Bucs secondary safe this off-season?
Mark Barron, but that might be all. All right, we're up and running early. Fire away.
Pat,If David Caldwell leaves Atlanta for a GM Position, do you think Dimitroff brings in Scott Pioli?
Certainly would seem logical. But there are already reports Pioli might want to take a year away from football.
Do you feel that Mike Smith's approach for the week 17 game against the Bucs was more about staying sharp than actually (to the dismay of Herm Edwards) "winning" the game? Does that bode well for falcons starters in the divisional round or does this loss cause regression?
Don't think it will cause regression. If anything, it might have been a bit of a wake-up call.
Like a lot of Panthers' fans, I like Ron Rivera but don't have full confidence in him as a head coach. While I'd hate to see him fired after only two years, I also kind of hope the Big Cat will be willing to be the bad guy. If Rivera's let go, who could you see coming in? Would JR shell out the money for Chip Kelly? Is there a better spot for him than Carolina?
If he's going after Chip Kelly, he better hurry up because others already are in that line. Honestly, my hunch -- and this is only a hunch -- is that he's going to stay with Rivera.
Do you think Bucs should draft a QB in one of the first two rounds to compete with Freeman for the starting job?
Ben, sorry, little technical difficulty. Think we're good now. Think Bucs have other needs (defensive backfield) that need to be addressed early in draft.
Is it only me or did you also see flash of greatness in the young Akeem Hicks, for a third round in a awful defence, he had some good plays right?
He certainly showed some promise. One of the few bright spots for that defense.
hey pat, honestly do you feel that ron rivera will return to the carolina panthers in 2013 and with the same coaching staff?
I'm not saying that's the right call, but it is what I think is going to happen. However, I think there probably will be some changes on the coaching staff. Not necessarily the coordinators.
Longtime Panthers fan - read an article speculating that in order to save money, Carolina will have to cut Chris Gamble this offseason. I would hate to lose our top CB! What do you think are the chances of us losing Gamble?
Yeah, I know, it would be unfortunate. But releasing him would free up almost $8 million and you need that and a lot more just to get under the cap.
Hi Pat, what do you know about Brandon Beane's background? Does he have scouting experience? Don't want a Hurney re-tread in Charlotte.
Brandon Beane is a great guy. But, no, no scouting experience. He's been their logistics guy -- setting up travel, setting up training camp, etc.
What are the chances the Panthers rework Williams and Stewerts contracts and let go Gamble and Beason?
Probably more likely that they would let Williams go as a June 1 designation. Chances Gamble goes are probably real high. Beason's contract wouldn't provide huge savings if they released him. If they do him as a June 1 guy, there would be some savings.
Do you think the falcons will actually win a playoff game this year?
Yeah, I do. But let's see who they're playing first.
Is there a veteran QB who could provide REAL competition at QB for Freeman?
Not a spectacular list right now. But some other guys could become available between now and March.
I really can't believe how many Buc fans are calling for Freeman's head because he had two bad games. The Bucs didn't make the playoffs this year because our secondary and pass rush were awful.
I'm with you on that. Freeman was far from perfect. But, at times, he did some good things. That team had much bigger problems in other places.
Are there any FA Corners that the Bucs might be interested in?
I like Brent Grimes, if Falcons don't re-sign him.
Hey Pat, do you think it matters who the Falcons play? I think the game should be about them and not the opponent. If they bring their A-game, they should be able to beat anyone.
Agree, if they play their best, they should be able to beat any of the three teams they could face in divisional round.
Pat there is a fair amount of speculation at the Charlotte Observer today about the future of Armanti Edwards - what do you think CAR should do, give him one more year or cut him?
At least bring him to training camp. It's not like he's costing them much.
Can you Turn on the Auto Update!!!!????
I just did it on my end. But I think you need to do it on your end as well.
Greg Schiano seems to be a reincarnation of Ray Perkins...Perkins was also known to run his teams ragged and the teams fade throughout the season,
Yeah, but it's not quite the same. Perkins was doing three-a-day practices in training camp. The new rules don't allow Schiano to do anything close to that.
pat, why would panthers let williams go? look what he did when stuart got hurt (which is always!). i like stuart, but williams, even with a big contract is a better runner in my opionon
I've said all along I think Williams is better than Stewart. But the fact is they need salary cap room. They can get it by letting Williams go. They'd lose cap room if they let Stewart go.
What have you heard about Abe's ankle?
They keep saying it's minor. We'll see next week when they practice for real.
But in Tampa, isn't there a lack of leadership in Freeman? I know there are problems in other areas, but starts from QB, don't you think?
Lack of leadership??? Never seen or heard anything to suggest that about him. You certainly can question his play, but not his leadership.
I know its way early to be asking this, but if the Falcons can't reach an agreement with Baker, what's the chance of them going after Bushrod, assuming he hits free agency?
You know, I'd take Baker over Bushrod.
who do you think will be panthers gm , when will we hear something about it .
Either Beane or Gettelman. I think answer will come next week.
What was the thinking behind pushing Carolina's spending that high? Surely they knew that they were going to be way over the cap...
They came out of lockout spending like crazy. Not sure it was all Hurney's idea. Think Richardson played a role in all that. Wanted to win big right away. It didn't happen and now they're paying a steep price.
Pat you do not think Marc Ross will be a contender for the Panthers GM spot? If you dont think he will, why?
Think he's being interviewed, if he hasn't interviewed already. But his name is popping up in lots of other places. My best info (no guarantees) is that it will be either Beane or Gettelman.
Pat why would they hire Beane as the full time GM when he has no scouting experience and that is clearly something they need?
They have scouts. They have a fully-loaded personnel department still in place. Many of you have never heard of him because he keeps a low profile, but Mark Koncz is a very competent pro personnel director.
Is Talib Aqib a FA next year?I think Carolina needs to go after him if Gamble is released.
Can you really see Jerry Richardson bringing in Aqib Talib???????
In your opinion do you think the Panthers truly believe in Rivera and that he can take them to the next level? It appears to me that they do considering how well they performed for him knowing his job was on the line and they had nothing to play for.
The way they finished certainly helps Rivera's case.
Think Harry Douglas could have more catches if the o-line gave Ryan more time to go through his progressions. With Jones, White and Gonzo, hea??s usually a last ditch effort.
Yeah, but might also be because Jones, White and Gonzo always get open.
If Sullivan leaves for Chicago it could be devastating to Tampa. Freeman is going to end up like Alex Smith with 3 coordinators in 3 years. I'm worried
Well, don't get yourself into a panic. Bears are looking at a lot of other candidates besides Sullivan.
Hey Pat, what are your thoughts on Mike Smith showing a video of past SB champions and them telling about their experiences and preparation for it? For me, I'm thinking it's about time. I think Smitty is doing all he can to get the playoff monkey off our back!
No doubt Smitty is pulling out all the stops.
I know you say the Panthers shoudl cut Deangelo Williams as a June 1st cut, but with Stewart's injury issues, and Williams' performance, how do you? How much saved by cutting (or trading) Stewart?
Nothing can be saved by cutting Stewart. In fact, if they release him, they would take a huge hit. It was a flat-out horrible move to sign him to that big extension. They're stuck with him. Trade would get him off their books, but nobody else would want his contract.
What are the chances Mr Richardson gives Rivera another year and Rivera brings in Norv Turner as his OC. Seems to me that would awesome and an ironic and a twist of fates LOL
You're ready to run Chud out of town??? Last year people thought he was the next great thing.
What do the falcons do at RB in the off season this feels like turners last year?
No doubt it's Turner's last year with Falcons. They'll bring in an RB to go with Rodgers. Just don't know if it will be through draft or free agency.
Any more interviews set up for coach Nolan?..Think it's a distraction for the team?
Haven't heard of any more. Don't think it distracts players. Certainly takes Nolan away a little bit. But he's a pro. He can handle it.
Any chance the Bucs trade Blount - or is the trade market just too cold?
Well, the deal with him is he's a restricted free agent. Best thing they can do is tender him and hope that somebody signs him and they get a draft pick that way.
I know it's Spagnuolo's first year, but in my mind 7,042 yards given up in his first season means he has to get fired. I don't want this team, while trying to figure out Spags defense, ruin the 4 years Brees has left on his contract, Any chance they take that into consideration and fire him ?
I think anything is possible on that one. That story that came out the other day certainly didn't reflect well on Spags.
A couple years ago, Beason was viewed at as one of the top if not elite middle linebackers. With Kuechly obviously taking over that spot, where does that leave Beason (who still is fairly young.)
Either playing OLB next to Kuechly or playing MLB for someone else.
Can Deagelo's contract be restructured to help the cap space?
Yes, could do that, but would be tying up even more money in later years and they've already got a lot tied up at RB through 2017 due to Stewart's deal.
What do you think are the chances of Mike Nolan accepting the head coach offer at available vacancies?
Not sure he's going to get offer.
Do you think the falcons resting Turner is going to help in the playoffs
No, they limited his carries and kept him fresh all during the regular season. I didn't see that making one bit of difference.
If Rivera gets another year which coaching changes do you foresee him making if any.
O-line would be one to keep an eye on.
It seems like the Saints have lots of needs on defense and another WR and have no cap room, what is the best we can hope for next year?
Difference between the Saints and Panthers is there are reasonable ways for the Saints to free up some cap room. They're not completely buried under long-term contracts. Loomis will get them to a spot where they can at least bring in some free-agent help.
Captain Munnerlyn is a FA, not sure if he'll be back. If Gamble is released... CB will be Carolina's biggest need going into the draft but I think they should get an OLB because they should also cut Beason and Anderson
Anderson would only save them $200,000, so I doubt he goes anywhere.
Ray Farmer, Director of Pro Personnel, from the KC Chiefs is rumored to be in the hunt for the GM jobs in Chicago and Cleveland...any word ifhis name has been floated in Carolina? He is a Duke grad and all-state North Carolina football player with family ties.
Have not heard his name tied to Carolina at all. But Richardson does like people from the Carolinas. Also, I'm not sure that all the names Panthers are interested in have really come out in the media.
Pat, if you could make the play calls for the Falcons next week, how often do you try to run the ball, if any; and how much do you use the no-huddle?
Glad you asked that one. I go no-huddle all game and throw the heck out of the ball. Give Rodgers a few carries here and there and some screens and use Turner as short-yardage back. But, mostly, throw the heck out of the ball.
I have to say, almost 30 minutes in to the chat and not one reference to Bill Cowher and the Panthers.....
Yep, pretty amazing. And it's more like 45 minutes. We started early.
Personally I feel like the Panthers defense has finally started to gel and they should not take a DT in the first round. My thinking is either draft a good Safety or CB if not what position do you think they should try to fill with that pick?
I'd like to see them get a DT somewhere. But I could see them going CB in the first round. That could be just as big a need and the right value could be there for a CB.
Can Saints fans expect a large scale defensive overhaul this season (finally)? I'm tired of seeing the usual suspects hanging around.
Yes, I think some will go to free up salary-cap space and others simply will be allowed to walk. Or, in some cases, be shown the door. Got to make some big changes after what happened.
Tony Gonzalez has said on numerous occasions that he's 95% sure he's retiring this after this season. What's your gut feeling?
He's been saying similar things for several years. Would not be at all surprised to see him come back for one more year.
What about bringing bennet from NY to play TE for us instead of losing his brother to go there
I think that's a pretty decent possibility. I'd like to see it.
Pat- I know I asked about this last week pertaining Smith possibly being fired if they are one and done in the playoffs, but I have heard that Arthur Blank thinks the world of Jon Gruden. Any thoughts?
Mike Smith is safe even if they're one and done. Safe for one more season, but he would enter that season with enormous pressure to not only win a playoff game, but to win the Super Bowl.
No to Gruden!
Oh, also on that same topic, Rich McKay is Falcons' president. Don't think there's a lot of love between him and Gruden.
id rather see michael bennett than martellus.
I think the chatter was hoping for both to be with the Bucs. Could happen. They've talked about their desire to play together.
I've always wondered this....Does the head coach and the staff count towards the cap?
You have an interesting take on the panthers personnel department, i've heard that it is substandard and understaffed. They need better and more scouts.
I wouldn't say that. I think they have about as many scouts as most teams.
Everyone agrees that Nolan has improved our defense, but when you look at the stats they're not that much different than in years past. Why is that?
Hate to borrow a cliche from Smitty, but the "empty calories" thing he keeps saying does make some sense. They've led a lot, so teams have put up a lot of yards while playing catch up.
I think Harry douglass will b x factor especially since he is doing punt returns. What's your take?
Man, I hope they use him on returns in the playoffs. Can't figure out why they stuck with Franks for so long.
Pat who do the Panthers target as a head coach if RR is fired?
Not sure he will be fired. If he is, a lot of good candidates will be gone by the time they get around to firing him.
Conventional wisdom says that you normally have to use a high 1st round pick to get a really top notch OT, at what point do the Panthers start looking for Gross' replacement considering hes at the end of his career and we have other crucial needs. Would it be a mistake to take an OT with this years 1st pick if there was one worth taking or should we fill another position and wait till next year to get an OT?
Think you have to stick with Gross for now. Needs are too great elsewhere. He's got another year or two left in him.
Carolina could be an up and coming threat in the South but I doubt it now, not with their cap issues.
Their existing players have to improve because the only way they'll be able to add help is through the draft.
Hey Pat, I'm thinking with two all pros coming off injury and experience others got this year Tampa will have the best and deepest O-line in the NFL. Thoughts?
Well, plug Nicks and Joseph back in there and you have a pair of Pro Bowl guards. That's a pretty good start.
Before the season started I gave you my predictions for passing yardage of all 4 QBs. I said Brees would have 4900+, Ryan would have 4500-4900, Newton would have 4000 , and Freeman would have 3900. Cam didn't quite get to 4000 and Freeman went for 4000. You said I must play a lot of Madden, but I was pretty dead on. :)
Yes, you were. Good job!
As a Falcons fan should I be concerned about the way the Falcons played on Sunday?
No, it didn't mean anything. Be more concerned with how they practice and prepare for the playoff game.
With William Moores getting injured at the end of the year, Falcons able to resign him at a discount?
Doubt it. It was only a hamstring. Not like an ACL where he'd be rehabbing all offseason.
Do you really believe the falcons won't resign grimes?
I think they'll make a solid offer. But I think they'll also draw a line on how high they'll go. If he can get more elsewhere, he could be gone.
how much better can TB secondary be with Rookie CB's or Second year scrubs especially if we lose Barber's veteran experience
Doubt it will be all young guys. Think they'll go out and get at least one experienced CB in free agency.
Hey Pat given the amount of players the Panthers have had on IR in back to back seasons do you see them making any changes to their training staff?
No, don't think you can put that on training staff. Ryan Vermillion is one of the best in the league. Think it has just been bad luck.
Is Brian Price still in the league? I know Chicago cut him back in Sept. Have you heard how he is doing?
Think I saw he just signed a futures contract with Dallas.
Don't really see where the Saints are in much better position than the Panthers cap wise. Yes, they have more money to gain back by outright cutting players, but they also have to sign a left tackle, which is going to cost $7M plus. Panthers have no one of any consequence to resign. Neither team will be active in free agency
Lot more wiggle room to free up room for the Saints.
Hey Pat with Cam playing great down the stretch of the regular season what do you think are the chances of him taking that next level as a elite QB and taking the Panthers to the playoffs. I still believe we still haven't seen the best of Cam yet.
I'm not writing him off by any means. Tremendous talent.
You said there could potentially be changes with the o-line coaching. Seems to me the o-line coaching did pretty darn good considering all the injuries they had this year and yet they still did a decent job protecting Newton. What is your reasoning in your thoughts on that.
Can't say. You're just going to have to trust me on that one.
LOL @ Joel thinking the Saints will pay 7 million plus for a left tackle
Excellent point, Lloyd. Saints don't pay tackles. They pay guards.
Panthers can just restructure and push money back until 2014 when the cap is going substantially up. Not ideal, but not completely paralyzing either
Yes, they can do some restructuring, but not a lot. Their cap situation is basically grid-locked.
If they cancel pro Bowl bring a regular season game to Hawaii?!?!? Good idea or bad?
I'd be all for it. But let's make it two NFC South teams, so I get to go!
Pat, what do you think the chances are of the Bears offering Pete Carmichael the HC job?
Doubt he or Sullivan are the leading candidates for that one, but you never know.
More touches in 1st playoff game? Turner or Rodgers?
I hope it's Rodgers.
Do you expect Falcons to sign Matt Ryan to a max contract this summer to avoid speculation?
Yep, maybe even this spring.
Will Curtis Lofton eventually force Vilma out of New Orleans? He is a MLB who isbeing forced to shift outside and he can't maintain that speed forever.
The salary cap is also likely to be a big factor in Vilma's future in New Orleans.
Do you see any possible way for the Panthers to finagle enough cap space this year without letting go of too many key players and still be able to sign a decent free agent?
Read a lot about other teams showing interest in Koetter, Nolan and even Armstrong. How great was that interest really?
I don't think any of them were No. 1 or even No. 2 on anybody's list.
With all the Panthers different O-line switching this year, they kept Bruce Campbell at back-up to Gross because Rivera said that is where his future is. You don't think it's possible they drop Gross and promote Campbell?
Not sure Campbell is the guy you want protecting the blind side of your franchise QB. I'd stick with Gross for one more year.
Will Asante, Dante, and Abe be ready for practice next week?
Everything I'm hearing, yes.
What ever happened to Gettis in Carolina? I thought he was supposed to be Mr. #3 receiver
Don't think he ever really got healthy.
You hope its Rodgers?? You sound like a fan, now we know where your allegiance lies!
No, even as a reporter, it's just painful to watch Turner run.
Carolina just announced they have signed 3 players Lamont Bryant, Nick Hixson, and Nelson Rosario. HMMMM Interesting move considering they need to be making cap room before signing players. LOL Thanks for answering my questions today.
They can sign all the minimum-salary guys they want right now. Those don't matter. The cap doesn't go into effect until free agency starts in March. Even then, the minimum guys don't matter because only top 51 cap figures will count.
what are your plans for the weekend with all the NFCS off or eliminated? (HA saints fans!)
Watching the other games to see who the Falcons will play. And also seeing if any news comes out of Rivera/Richardson meeting.
I expect the Saints to let Sedrick Ellis walk in FA. Do you agree, and if so, how much interest will Ellis receive from other teams?
Yep, think he walks. Somebody will sign him, but not for big money.
When do they announce the end of season awards? Do you think Kuechly gets DROY?
They've moved them to the week leading into the Super Bowl. Kuechly is the guy I'd go with.
How much confidence should Panthers fans have in Norman, Munnerlyn, Thomas as CBs? Worth waiting until mid to later rounds of the draft to address CB if Gamble is cut?
No, if Gamble is gone, I think you have to go out and get a No. 1 CB.
Richardson won't move the team to LA will he?
As long as he owns team, I don't see them leaving Carolina.
Pat, just a request to maybe explain in a blog post why the Panthers are so gridlocked. I've always read the salary cap is, like almost all accounting methodologies, something that can be manipulated many different ways to be compliant. I certainly understand such manipulating creating a bigger problem down the road, but I've never seen a scenario where a team truly was handicapped by it provided they were willing to postpone the pain.
Go back and read my blog post from yesterday. That should shed a little light. Also, I spoke with one former GM yesterday who said it's worst cap situation he's seen. They're going to have to cut some good players just to get under the cap and there's no one else left to cut to be active in free agency. Only way they can improve is through draft.
Happy New Year Pat!...may 2013 be better for most of the NFC South....
Happy New Year to all of you as well. Great job on the chat today. You all were in postseason form!