As we review the highlights of this week’s NFC South chat, I’m going to lay things out a little differently. I’m going to pick a few questions and answers involving each team and we’ll run all the stuff pertaining to that team in one grouping.
TAMPA BAY BUCCANEERS
Maen (Orlando): Hey Pat, two questions: I am hearing a lot of talk about how Jeremy Zutah may be a flexible OL but not a even a decent Center. Any truth to that?Are the Bucs looking to make any free agency pick ups, especially at DE?
Pat Yasinskas: I've seen some websites (including ours) where the scout types are skeptical of Zuttah. I don't claim to be a scout. But Bucs obviously are high on him and think he can be starting center. They paid him like one and cleared the opening for him. Schiano had him in college and knows him pretty well.
Chris (England): Hi Pat huge Bucs fan from the UK here, cant help but think that Freeman is going to have an awesome year. without the lockout he has prep time and is grounded from last years displays. better running game and more targets means less rash decisions. will be better than Matt Ryan
Pat Yasinskas: Think he's got better talent all around him and better coaching. He has the phsycial skills. Just needs to settle down a bit and not force some of the things he forced last year.
Tim (Athens): Paul Gruber is one of my all-time favorite Bucs. Was good to see him again and doing well. What is your best memory of him in Tampa?
Pat Yasinskas: I covered him through some very lean years for the Bucs. The whole Sam Wyche era was kind of crazy and there were a lot of weird things going on all over the place. But Paul was the rock in those days. Same guy every day. The kind of guy the media could go to after a win or a loss and get good quotes and insight. In my business that's much appreciated. Paul always was -- and still is -- a very class guy. One of the best people I've ever covered.
NEW ORLEANS SAINTS
Amar (laplace, la): What was your impressions of the Saints' receivers and linebackers from this week's mini camp ?
Pat Yasinskas: Again, they're not in pads and there's no contact, so you don't know how guys will respond when it's real. However, I will tell you the LBs overall looked much quicker and more athletic than in the past. We already know Colston is good, but he had exceptional practice Wednesday morning. Henderson and Moore looked same as ever. Toon was the one that impressed me of the young guys. Vitt also was talking a fair amount about Joe Morgan.
Isaac [via mobile]: Best new player at saints camp?
Pat Yasinskas: If you're including free agents, Curtis Lofton, hands down. He's going to have a big impact on that team. Plus, he's carrying a chip on his shoulder after what happened with Falcons.
Brian (Baton Rouge): What's the word on Malcolm Jenkins? My thinking is that he will be better in the new system.
Pat Yasinskas: Agree completely. Think he'll finally be able to be a true center fielder. Was talking about that with Bobby Hebert while watching practice the other day and he feels the same way. Would be nice if they at least get an interception out of their starting safeties this year. Pretty amazing that they didn't last year.
Daniel (NOLA): Rumor is that Brees will sign as early as today, but probably next week. With player suspensions not as bad as everyone was expecting, can we go ahead and crown the Saints NFC South champs again? I know Payton is gone, but even a crappy coach could let this offense do it's thing and win at least 10 games.
Pat Yasinskas: Think you might want to slow down your time frame on Brees. Not sure it will happen as quickly as some rumors suggest. But it will happen at some point. Put him back in the mix and there's no way you can write off the Saints. They should at least be in the mix.
Carter (Atlanta): Now that Atlanta wants to go into more four receiver sets, do you see them having at interest in ochocinco?
Pat Yasinskas: Don't think he really fits the Dimitroff/Smith profile. They kind of pride themselves on locker-room chemistry.
Sharell (NCFalconFan): What's your take on Brent Grimes? He's playing on the tag do you think it's in his best intrest to work out something with the Falcons or test FA after the season. If it weren't for us picking up Samuels will he still be holding out?
Pat Yasinskas: Suspect you could still see a long-term deal before camp. But also my take is that Grimes wouldn't be terribly upset if he does end up playing for the tender.
Robertussen (chucktown): why is it, do you think, that there are a lot of negative reports on how the falcons will fair this year. i see them winning the division and going far in the playoffs.
Pat Yasinskas: I'm guessing because people still have questions about them getting it done in the postseason. They've been picked to win Super Bowl or get close to it by some media outlets in recent years and it hasn't worked out. But, also, I think Smith prefers it this way. He likes to fly under the radar.
Tony (Richmond, CA): Do you think Harry Douglas can really step up this year alongside White and Jones if he stays healthy? He has the talent to do so.
Pat Yasinskas: I think so. But that's only if he truly is allowed to focus on playing the slot. If Roddy and Julio stay healthy, he can just play slot and they can open things up for him. I agree, the talent is there.
Geoff (DC): I don't see how the Falcons will be any better. Where or how did they improve? Looks like another year older to me. Please explain
Pat Yasinskas: Maybe not a lot of personnel changes. But new coordinators and new schemes on offense and defense. I think that's where you'll see a difference and improvement.
Ben (Atlanta GA): Do you see David Gettis challenging for the #2 spot, or will LaFell hang onto it?
Pat Yasinskas: Oh, I think Gettis is definitely in the mix. I think he and LaFell will compete for starting job in camp. At worst, Gettis will be No. 3 receiver.
Joel (Philadelphia Panthers Fan): Hey Pat, if you had to pick the #2 receiver for the Panthers right now, who would you pick?
Pat Yasinskas: Following up the last question, I'd give LaFell slight edge right now because that's who I think coaches and front office would like to see starting. But it's entirely possible Gettis could beat him out.
Evan (Durham, NC): Do you think Cam's sideline demeanor needs to change? If so, do you think it will or was the recent talk just lip service?
Pat Yasinskas: Personally, I didn't have a problem with it last year. He's a competitor and is disappointed when things go right. But it sounds like he believes it needs to change and is going to change it.
Here’s the complete transcript of Friday’s NFC South chat.