It's time for our weekly Saturday NFC South mailbag.
Devin in Newport, R.I., writes: Since it’s safe to say that Jerry Richardson and John Fox have pretty much thrown away this season, and it’s almost certain the Panthers are going to get the 1st overall draft pick next year, do you think the Panthers draft a new QB like Andrew Luck, or trade the pick away for more? I personally think Georgia's A.J. Green would be the WR threat the Panthers are searching for next to Steve Smith.
Pat Yasinskas: Early indications are that if Luck enters the draft he’ll be the first quarterback taken. That certainly would make him a possibility for the Panthers. But I think a lot will depend on who is coaching this team next year and what his offensive philosophy is. There are some important people likely to still be with the Panthers next season who believe Jimmy Clausen can be a solid starter with the right supporting cast. If the new coach agrees, then, the Panthers can focus on other areas.
Tyler in Lewistown, Pa., writes: I just saw that Mike Williams was arrested for a DUI. However the police report says he blew a 0.065 which is below the legal limit of 0.08. So should he have even been arrested at all? Will this affect his status for the game Sunday or the rest of the season?
Pat Yasinskas: Williams will play Sunday in San Francisco and the team has said he’ll be disciplined internally (perhaps a fine). That means he’s not facing a team suspension and a league suspension would only come if more details emerge about the incident. Although Williams’ blood-alcohol level was below the limit, officers said he was driving erratically and showed other signs of being intoxicated. That’s why he was charged. He submitted to a urine test and that will be checked to see if other substances were involved. But it will take several weeks for those results to come back.
Joe D. in Charlotte writes: The Panthers are protecting their investment in Tony Pike. It was the first thing I thought when facing the Baltimore Ravens defense. Given the Panther's supporting cast, the Week 11 QB for the Panthers is being tossed to the wolves......and, unfortunately, it is Brian St. Pierre.
Pat Yasinskas: That’s a nice thought about protecting their investment in Pike. But I don’t think that’s the case whatsoever. At this point, John Fox doesn’t care about the team’s future investments because he won’t be around beyond this season. Choosing St. Pierre to start over Pike is clearly an act of defiance by Fox. He’s sending a message to ownership and the front office that he’d rather play a guy off the street than a quarterback they drafted.
Karl in Valdosta, Ga., writes: The Falcons have never been able to beat the Eagles. They got steamrolled by Kevin Kolb. What a nightmare scenario, Michael Vick playing at the Dome for the NFC Championship. He'd almost have home field advantage. I really, really think Arthur Blank needs a hug. I generally don't feel sorry for billionaires, but AB has been a great owner and he keeps getting the raw end of that deal.
Pat Yasinskas: You’re getting a little ahead of things here. Yes, it’s possible the Eagles and Falcons could play in the NFC Championship Game, but there are a lot of things that would need to happen for that to fall into place. If it does, I wouldn’t be so quick to write off the Falcons. True, the Eagles beat them in Philadelphia earlier this year. But the Falcons are very tough at home. Besides, Mike Smith and his coaching staff are very good and I think they could learn from the previous loss to Philadelphia as well as develop a game plan that could control Vick.
Andy in Charleston, S.C., writes: I saw one Falcons fan mentioning the possibility of their bringing in DeAngelo Williams to complement Michael Turner in the backfield, but what about the Saints? If the rift between the coaches and Pierre Thomas is as wide as it seems right now, do you think they would consider dropping Thomas and picking up Williams instead? A backfield with Williams, Reggie Bush, Lynell Hamilton, and Chris Ivory would certainly be an incredible asset?
Pat Yasinskas: I like that idea. Williams is an excellent overall running back and can help any team in a lot of ways. The thought of him in a Sean Payton offense is very intriguing. We’ll see what happens with the labor situation and if the Panthers allow Williams to become a free agent. If he does, I think he’s a guy the Saints should consider strongly.