The New Orleans Saints and the continuing fallout from their bounty program was the dominant topic in Friday’s NFC South chat. But there were plenty of other topics that came up -- Drew Brees’ contract situation, Tampa Bay’s fresh start under Greg Schiano, hope for a better season from Atlanta’s Ray Edwards and Carolina rookie linebacker Luke Kuechly also were discussed.
Let’s take a look at the highlights:
Agentsaturn (Pantherland): Hey Pat, So whats the word on Jacoby Jones visiting the Panthers? Are they really looking for a FA receiver at this point?
Pat Yasinskas: Hurney doesn't bring guys in if he doesn't have some interest in them. Still, haven't heard any word on if they made him an offer or not.
Matt [via mobile]: Man what is the deal with Drew Brees. He made me a saints fan when I wasn't one I thought he's was one on the few good ones left and a true team mate. I know everybody wants to get paid but to me now it's become pride and pure greed with him. When is 20 million not enough? Thoughts?
Pat Yasinskas: I still think it will get done before too long. If he's not there for start of training camp, then I think it's fair to start pointing fingers. But, right now, it's just typical negotiating.
Matthew (Sarasota, Florida): How do you feel about the new Tampa regime now that free agency and the draft are over?
Pat Yasinskas: Like just about everything they've done. I also like the atmosphere Schiano is creating. Have you seen the tv commercial with him? I think it pretty much sums up the attitude he's trying to bring.
Matt (North Carolina): A lot of people criticized the Panthers for not drafting a DT (and gave them lower grades because of it). Does everyone forget about Ron Edwards coming back this year?
Pat Yasinskas: Excellent point. I think a lot of people have forgotten about Edwards. He was a big free-agent signing last year and Panthers obviously believe he will come back and be a force.
Corey babineaux (Louisiana): Everybody thinking the saints wool suffer this year because of suspensions. The offense will still put up 30+ a game and withe the additions the defense will be better. Your thoughts?
Pat Yasinskas: I think they still are very much a contender. We all know the offense is good. If Spagnuolo can get them to play a little defense, they could go a long way.
Stacey (AZ): I'm a bit confused over coach Vitt's suspension. Many have stated that Vitt will return after the Saints' bye week. This falls one game short of the suspension. Is Vitt's suspension in terms of weeks or games? If it is games then that would mean he doesn't return until two weeks after the bye. Can you clarify?
Pat Yasinskas: He is suspended for the first six games. Loomis is suspended for the first eight. It's about games, not weeks.
bird brain atl [via mobile]: who will the falcons use for a punt returner now that Weems is gone?
Kirk (Myrtle Beach): Was Kuechly drafted as insurance more for Beason or Davis. It was originally thought to be Davis, but Schefter's report about Achilles tendons taking 2 years to get back to normal makes me think Beason.
Pat Yasinskas: I think Kuechly was drafted there mostly because he was best player available. But, yeah the uncertainty about Davis and Beason certainly factors in. They got wiped out at LB last year and can't afford to have that happen again.
Matt Riddle (Atlanta, Ga): After a mediocre season Ray Edwards has all but disappeared from the discussion as a pass rush threat. Have the Falcons completely lost hope that Edwards can reach his potential?
Pat Yasinskas: I think they hope he'll step up this year. They've talked a little about how his knee wasn't healthy last year. Plus, I think Ray was a little embarrassed by last year and should be motivated.
Greg (Watertown, CT): Shouldn't we be including Asante Samuel in the Falcons' draft evaluations? And doesn't that make their draft look better?
Pat Yasinskas: Yeah, I think you could make that argument. He certainly makes their secondary better. He also should help their pass rush because QBs may be holding onto the ball for an extra split second or two.
Here’s the complete transcript of Friday’s NFC South chat.