Before we get to the team-by-team highlights of Friday’s NFC South chat, let me answer one question I didn’t have the answer for during the chat. A reader asked when the Seattle Seahawks were leaving for Atlanta.
I just checked with NFC West colleague Mike Sando and got the word. The Seahawks are practicing in suburban Seattle on Friday afternoon. After they finish, they’ll head to the airport and fly to Atlanta. They’re expected to hold a walk-through practice at an undisclosed location in the Atlanta area on Saturday.
Now, onto the highlights of the chat:
Davon Williams (NYC): Do the Falcons need their running game to be clicking in order to win this game?
Pat Yasinkas: I think they should come out throwing the ball all day. Forget about forcing a running game that's not there.
CC (Atlanta): Will Pioli end up in ATL with Thomas D?
PY: Certainly is logical because of his connection to Dimitroff and Caldwell's departure. But I've heard rumblings Pioli might want to take a year off.
Keaton (Myrtle Beach, SC): Any chance we see some more exotic looks from Nolan? I can't help but to think he's been holding some things back for playoff time.
PY: I strongly suspect you might see a wrinkle or two that you didn't see all year.
CJ (NC): With the hiring of Gettleman does he have a good history of picking players in the draft? We are going to need an extremely good draft class this year to make up for the many losses we are going to have?
PY: Gettleman has NO history of picking players in draft. He' been a pro personnel guy, not a college scout.
Bill (Davidson NC): Pat, a lot of speculation about where Tebow will end up next season. Would it make sense for a team like the Panthers, which ran a read-option offense for Cam, to sign Tebow as a read-option sub in (worst) case of injury to Cam? BTW, thanks for answering my question a few weeks ago.
PY: Just my personal opinion and I've said it before (many times) -- Tebow is not an NFL QB. If he's going to play in NFL, move him to fullback or tight end.
JM (Charlotte): Do you think the panthers got the best person for the job regarding the GM position?
PY: Time will tell. But I think Gettleman was a decent hire. Has a good rep. But part of me wonders if they would have been better off with someone that's been a GM before, like maybe a Jerry Angelo or someone like that.
NEW ORLEAN SAINTS
Hodges (LA): Who do you think the Saints should target with their first round pick in the draft?
PY: Too early to zero in on a specific player, but I think it has to be a defensive lineman.
charles (houston, tx): Hey Pat, any offensive or defensive player big names you can see the Saints going to aquire in the offseason?
PY: Don't think they need to do too much on offense, but defense needs plenty of work. They're not going to have a lot of cap room. But Loomis is pretty good at working the cap, so they might be able to squeeze in a couple of mid-level defensive free agents.
Charles (Houston, TX): Hey Pat, Vilma, smith, and Ellis gone from the big easy next year to free up Cap space? what do you think?
PY: Think Vilma and Smith probably go. Or at least they get major restructures. Ellis is going to be a free agent and doesn't count against cap, so I think they let him walk.
TAMPA BAY BUCCANEERS
Dylan (Rock Springs, Wy): What do the Bucs plan on doing with LeGarette Blount?
PY: Probably put the restricted tender on him. Maybe they can get a draft pick for him that way. If not, he can stay as an inexpensive backup.
Ben (Ft Bliss): Sheridan is not a good D coordinator with a large amount of quality coaches out there right now why dont we make a change, especially with two (Tucker , Jauron) with HC experience to help out?
PY: Talk to Schiano. He's the one making the call and it doesn't seem like he's planning to make a move, at least as far as I can tell.
Justin (Colorado): Pat, I'm a big Freeman fan and I hate the recent talk around the sports world about QB competition. If the Bucs bring in a guy to compete, will it mess with 5's psyche and then the Bucs have fulfilled their own prophecy of Freeman not being the guy?
PY: Look at the flip side -- maybe it prompts Josh to step up. I think that's possible. He's a very talented kid.
Here’s the complete transcript of Friday’s NFC South chat.