NFC South mailbag

Austin in Middletown, Wis., writes: Can you write articles besides on the radar and links to articles other people wrote?

Pat Yasinskas: Absolutely. Thanks to other members of our staff for helping to populate the blog over the last few weeks. I chose my time off to coincide with the slowest time of the NFL year, when most coaches, players and front-office types are taking their vacations. I’m back today and most front-office types are back. We’ll be going at full speed from now until the last NFC South team is done playing.

Kevin in Omaha writes: How come there has not been a chat in a while?

Pat Yasinskas: See above. I was taking my down time. We’ll resume with a chat Friday at 1 p.m. ET.

Chris in Tampa writes: Since it looks like Donald Penn won't be playing for us this season what are your thoughts on Demar Dotson possibly being our starting left tackle?

Pat Yasinskas: Hang loose on this one a bit because strange things can happen when it comes to contract negotiations. Penn wants to be paid like a top-flight tackle. He doesn’t quite fit the profile, but is very solid. Both sides might have to give a little, but the bottom line is the Bucs really need Penn on the field. He’s a capable protector of the blind side for Josh Freeman, who is the franchise quarterback. Dotson is unproven and starting him could expose the franchise quarterback to injury. I think something will get done with Penn before the season starts.

Ricky in Los Angeles writes: Hey Pat, are you going to have training camp reports? Especially for the rookies?

Pat Yasinskas: Yes, sir. I’m working on my travel plans for training camp today. But I’ll be spending about three days in camp with the Saints, Falcons and Panthers and even more time with the Bucs because they’re in my backyard. Plus, I’ll be monitoring what’s going at each camp from wherever I’m at.

Greg in Aiken, S.C., writes: With D.J. Shockley being released, do you see the Falcons sitting tight with Chris Redman and John Parker Wilson, or do you see them looking to pick up someone who's been released by another team. I know Redman has had some success when he's been called to step in, but I think he just turned 34, and he has never been very mobile or quick or rush-evasive. Wilson is totally untested.

Pat Yasinskas: I wouldn’t look for any big names, but I do expect the Falcons to add one more quarterback before camp starts. They need another arm to take reps. They’re happy with Redman as an insurance policy behind Matt Ryan and they believe Wilson has the potential to develop into a strong No. 2. But they’re always looking to improve. At the very least, they’ll bring in another quarterback to compete.

Richard in Ann Arbor, Mich., writes: Drove out to Purdue yesterday for Drew's book signing. I think I got a small taste of what life is like for you, and I must say that I don't envy your travel schedule. Having to be awake at 4:30 AM certainly didn't help, even with the powerful motivator of 'Meet Drew Brees face-to-face for the first time.' I do envy you your (relatively) frequent interactions with Drew and those like him; as Hokie once noted, Drew Brees is "all that and a bag of chips." The man could not have been nicer, even when he noticeably started to wear down towards the end of the day. Cracked a huge grin at the sight of our 'Finish Strong' shirts, the only ones to be found there yesterday. Simply an amazing day.

Pat Yasinskas: I spent a lot of time with my high school friends while I was off and a frequent question was “are those guys you cover really good guys?’’ In all honesty, I said some will disappoint you, but there also are plenty of great guys. What you see on television is what you get in person with Brees, and that’s a wonderful thing.