Chat with Pat Yasinskas
Welcome to SportsNation! On Friday, ESPN.com NFC South blogger Pat Yasinskas will stop by to talk about the NFL.
Yasinskas joined ESPN.com in January 2008 after covering the Carolina Panthers for The Charlotte Observer for nine seasons. He began his journalism career with The Tampa Tribune in 1990 and began covering the Buccaneers and the NFL in 1993. A winner of Florida Sports Writers Awards for Best Feature and Best News story in 1997, he is a graduate of Saint Leo University and attended law school before coming to his senses. A native of Dalton, Pa., Yasinskas lives in the Tampa area.
Send your questions now and join Yasinskas Friday at 1 p.m. ET!
Pat, lets kick this chat off early...Do you think if we do not see key drafted players have a strong season for the Buccaneers Mark Dominik will still be with us this time next year? Who are the players that need to have strong seasons besides Freeman and Clayborn?
Pat Yasinskas (12:58 PM)
If they have a bad record, yeah, he could be on the hot seat. But I think you'll see some progress from the Bucs this year. I'd throw Gerald McCoy (if he stays healthy) into that category on your second question. And I think this year's first three draft picks also will make pretty instant impacts.
Robert (Ocean Isle, NC)
You and Saints fans seem to think Payton being gone for the here won't be more than a speed bump on their way to another winning record. Isn't that odd considering the 4 weeks he was merely off the sidelines the Saints went 2-2 vs. Indy, StL and TB twice (a combined record of 12-52) and now he won't even be in the building all year?
Pat Yasinskas (1:00 PM)
It's obviously far from ideal. But I believe the Saints are a very talented and experienced team and they can handle it. Not saying they're going to cruise straight to the Super Bowl. It's not going to be easy, but I think they can still have a pretty successful season.
One of Few Jaguar Fans (Jacksonville)
When does my team move to LA? We don't outdraw college games and have to cover up seats with a tarp.Jacksonville was not a good pick for expansion.
Pat Yasinskas (1:01 PM)
I'm hoping they stay. I live in Florida and would like to see all three teams fare well. But Jacksonville's not a huge market to begin with and Florida's economy hasn't helped them, the Bucs or Dolphins recently.
What do you think of the changes the Schiano has made to the bucs, Can a bunch of millionaires truly buy into the things going on down there?
Pat Yasinskas (1:03 PM)
We'll see in time. That's always a valid question when a guy like that comes in. But, so far at least, it seems like the players are responding well to him.
Pat somthin that hasnt been talked about much with all the other issues goin on with the Falcons right now. is the FB postion..But who do u see as the Starting FB Snelling, Ewing or Cox? come week one nd how do u think they wll use him?
Pat Yasinskas (1:05 PM)
Think it could actually be a combination of all three. Cox would be the safe choice right now. But we'll see how Ewing does in training camp. I suspect Koetter may do things a little differently and not rely on a traditional blocking fullback as much as Mularkey did.
Pat I don't understand why you agree with Alex Smith. The panthers where rarely down at halftime. Also if it's true that if a team is behind means that the QB will throw for 300 yards a game then where is Alex Smith's 300 yards games in his first six seasons when the 49ers would consistently lose games?
Pat Yasinskas (1:06 PM)
I don't totally agree with him. He's wrong on his facts. But I do see his point, which is basically that wins are more important than stats. But I think that could be moot after this season because I think Cam will have a good amount of wins, combined with good stats.
Big D (CT)
Has there been any update on Aqib Talib, has he been at OTAs or is he preparing for his court date
Pat Yasinskas (1:08 PM)
He was out there the two days they've had media access so far. His trial isn't until after they finish minicamp and all their offseason workouts, so I suspect he'll stick around for all of that.
Gabe (Chapel Hill)
Hey Pat, what do you think about Cam Newton's comments about being a bad teammate. Personally I'm encouraged by it. Sure he's being hard on himself, but I think like a lot of other things he's said and done in the off season it should lead to growth as a leader and a player. Your thoughts?
Pat Yasinskas (1:10 PM)
Agree with you. I didn't think he was a bad teammate. But he obviously has thought about how he handled his rookie year and wants to change some things. I think that's productive.
Just curious why everyone is so adamant that you give Brees a blank check? I'm a diehard fan and love Brees. His contribution to Saint's nation is unquestioned, but there is the salary cap to consider. If we invest over 1/6th of our available funds on one player for the next 5-6 years...what kind of team are you going to be able to surround him with? I want him there as much as anyone, but not at the expense of losing seasons for the next decade!
Pat Yasinskas (1:11 PM)
Valid point. They have to be very careful how they structure that deal, especially for future years. If they don't do it right, they'll end up losing a lot more than they did this offseason when they let Nicks, Porter and Meachem walk.
Alex (Home of the Dirty Birds)
SO any word on the falcons pursuing Marcus Mcneil? And also do you think rodgers can become a sproles type player?
Pat Yasinskas (1:13 PM)
All quiet on the Marcus McNeill front. I think you'll see a lot more of Jacquizz Rodgers this year. Not ready to declare him the next Sproles, but I think he can do some of the things Sproles does. I know Mike Smith is very high on Rodgers.
Ben (Atlanta GA)
Pat is this a make it or break it year for LaFell, and do you think he is a legit #2 WR for the Panthers?
Pat Yasinskas (1:13 PM)
Panthers seem to believe he's ready to be a legit No. 2. All indications are he's going to get that chance.
Kevin (Elk Grove, CA)
What piece or pieces do you think the Falcons are missing to take them to the next level? And do you think they can get that piece or pieces before the season starts?
Pat Yasinskas (1:15 PM)
They may already have the pieces to take that step. But I still wouldn't mind seeing them picking up a pass rusher somewhere and adding some insurance at left tackle.
Davey Jones (Charlotte,NC)
Pat, first off I love the blog and check it often. My question is this: what do you think the perception of the Saints will be on the road this year? As a Panthers fan I can't wait to go and lustily boo them (especially Brees), we haven't forgotten about the cheap shot on Steve, but do you think the rest of the league will share in the animosity? Are they the new bad guys?
Pat Yasinskas (1:17 PM)
I don't really know how fans will view them. But I know players, coaches and some owners of other teams are very angry about it because they feel Saints were out to deliberatly hurt their players. I don't think you'll see fights, but I think most games involving the Saints this year will be very physical.
Donald Swanson (Columbia, Sc)
Dear Pat,Who do you think ends up with the better season: the Panthers or the Falcons?
Pat Yasinskas (1:18 PM)
I'd have to say the Falcons. But I do think Panthers will be much improved this year.
Don't you think Drew sent the "I can sing and dance" message as more of a warning rather than an attempt at humor?
Pat Yasinskas (1:18 PM)
No, I'm pretty sure he was just joking.
Hi Pat. There's a feeling from some, that Cam newton will throw for less yards next year, even if his QBR will go up. I think it's the opposite. I feel that Cam will actually throw for more yards, with experience, new plays, and playing off the run game. What do you think?
Pat Yasinskas (1:19 PM)
I think the numbers go up. Chudzinski's had a full offseason to figure out even more ways to take advantage of Cam's abilities.
Richard (Ann Arbor, MI)
The flip side to the Brees argument is that players reach free agency and leave, it happens. But what sort of talent could the Saints bring in without him? Definitely would not have signed Sproles. Would the Saints have been able to sign Grubbs and Lofton?
Pat Yasinskas (1:22 PM)
I think the Saints handled that part of it as well as possible this offseason. I think they would have liked to have kept Nicks, but would only go to a certain price. I don't think they were heart broken that Porter and Meachem left. They made some nice additions with Lofton and Hawthorne. Grubbs isn't quite Nicks, but he's good and much cheaper. But, in the future, they could end up losing a lot more guys that they want to keep, if they don't structure the Brees deal properly.
How do you justify Steve Smith as the best receiver in the NFC? In the last two years he has 90 less catches than White, 737 less yards and 9 less touchdowns. Colston paved the way to the Super Bowl, had more touchdowns and receptions than Smith last year. He?s older, has less wins and more fumbles than both White and Colston combined. Come on Pat, you can?t rank WR?s based on what you think they?ll do next year. Remember Alex Smith: stats don?t give you wins.
Pat Yasinskas (1:24 PM)
I based that on last year and what I expect this year. Wasn't factoring in Colston's Super Bowl or White beyond last year. I thought Smith had a great year last year and should be even better this season as Cam continues to grow. But you are certainly free to disagree with me.
Rahim aka Rah-Steam (Hackensack, N.J.)
Do you really feel Mark Barron can live up to the expectations that are being placed on him by the fans? We really don't know what the coaching staff expects.
Pat Yasinskas (1:26 PM)
Well, I think the coaching staff's expectations are pretty high for Barron as well. I was there on draft night when Schiano talked about how safety has become such an important position and he raved about everything Barron brings. Obviously, they've got big plans for him.
Jeff B (That other location from "The Office")
Pat, I respectfully disagree with you about the Falcons picking up a pass rusher this offseason. Picking up a free agent DE now would mean cutting one of our promising young DEs like Massaquoi or Cliff Matthews. There aren't any game-changer DEs on the market right now, and even at the veteran minimum they'd cost more than a guy on a rookie contract. Let's wait until next year to add an impact DE (if nobody blossoms by then)!
Pat Yasinskas (1:28 PM)
Like I said, they may already have what they need. But I was asked what they still might need and that's one spot I'm still not sure about. Maybe Matthews or Massaquoi emerge as real forces. But you can't count on that. I mean, lots of folks got all excited a few years back when they used mid-round pick on Lawrence Sidbury. He hasn't exactly lit it up.
Nick (Tampa, FL.)
Pat, have you heard about Lavonte David playing 2nd team reps? Is it even possible that he won't start come Week 1? We traded for him so he could start, not sit on the bench.
Pat Yasinskas (1:30 PM)
It's pretty common for rookies to start off with second or third teams in minicamps and OTAs and sometimes even training camp. Generally, they get eased into starting lineup in training camp and preseason. Pretty sure Bucs want and expect David to start. They're just going through the process.
You stirred up some anger within in the Falcon?s community with the 2008 Draft Class article. Seems like you focus a lot on what the Falcons do wrong and not what they do right. 2008 was a great year for us, because we took such a giant step in the right direction following Vick/Petrino (yes I remember fondly as I had season tickets that year). I don?t think there were intentions to be viewed as a one-hit draft year, rather a collection of drafts and FA to become a winning team year after year. But I will agree that this is the year to make a deep post season run and put the doubters in check.
Pat Yasinskas (1:32 PM)
Yeah, well, the part you agree with was basically the whole point of the column. I wasn't saying it was a bad draft class by any means. Was just saying all of those guys are at a point in their career where they need to take the next step -- kind of the same story for that entire team.
Do you have any confidence in the Saints defensive ends behind Smith and Jordan? (Galette, McBride, Romeus, and Wilson)
Pat Yasinskas (1:34 PM)
I think Galette and Romeus have some potential and Spagnuolo could really help them. McBride's decent. Not sure on Wilson as a DE yet. Have to see him play there a little bit first.
Any updates on Jonathan Massaquoi signing? Unless I missed it, he was the unsigned pick the Falcons had left.
Pat Yasinskas (1:34 PM)
Still unsigned. But I don't see that becoming an issue.
Follow up: But isn?t making a playoff run the same goal for every team? Why only bash the Falcons on that point?
Pat Yasinskas (1:37 PM)
How did I "bash" them??? I simply pointed out they had a 2008 draft that looked absolutely great that first year. It continued to look good. But most or all of those players haven't quite hit what their potential suggested. I was pointing out this year is their opportunity to really establish the legacy of that draft class.
John (Tampa FL)
Do you think Dallas Clark can return to 2009 form this season with the Bucs? Do you think he is an upgrade in any capacity over K2? He certainly fits the new mold of the "Buccaneer Man", but beyond that?
Pat Yasinskas (1:39 PM)
Not sure he'll catch 100 passes, but I don't think Bucs are expecting that. I think he'll fit in well in the locker room and may have some leadership skills that Winslow didn't. He might not even put up the kind of numbers Winslow did. But I think Clark is a better fit with the new regime.
David (Mobile, AL)
Pat on Mark Ingram. If he stays healthy do you think he has at least a solid year? Little early to call him a bust in my opinion.
Pat Yasinskas (1:40 PM)
Yeah, way too early to call him a bust. Saw some decent things out of him before he got hurt. Also think Saints are still working out how to best use all of their backs.
Ben (Atlanta GA)
Pat I part company with a lot of so called NFL gurus on the need for a Panthers DT - we have 2 rookies who have a year of starting under their belts and Ron Edwards returning. We also had some guys really step up from out of nowhere last year to help out. I think Kuechly was the right move and was a slam dunk pick for the Panthers. Do you disagree?
Pat Yasinskas (1:41 PM)
No, I agree. I think Kuechly absolutely was the right pick for them.
chazz (coastal nc)
Pat, do you see any hope in Armanti Edwards future with the Panthers/ NFL? It seems like such a shame how twisted his career has been, always trying to be something different every year.
Pat Yasinskas (1:42 PM)
Suspect that Edwards will be cut in preseason, unless he really explodes in training camp. But I wouldn't count on that. But that doesn't mean the end of his career. He has some skills, so I can see someone else picking him up and giving him a shot.
Hey Pat, now that it's June 1st, what is the Panthers' cap situation?
Pat Yasinskas (1:44 PM)
Ah, excellent question. They designated Travelle Wharton as a June 1 cut. Up until June 1, his full cap hit (think it was around $7.5 million) was counting on this year's cap. Now, they can spread that out between this year and 2013. They had been I think around $3.2 million uder cap. So if Wharton's hit is spread out equally, they just freed up half of the $7.5 million.
CB (Charleston, SC)
Saw an interesting article earlier about the Gregg Williams tape recording, according to the guy that released it - he did so in cooperation with Drew Brees and Scott Fujita - the hope from the players being that it would all fall on Williams. Thoughts?
Pat Yasinskas (1:46 PM)
Haven't seen the article. Can you share the link with us? I'd like to read it.
Nick (Tampa, FL.)
First round picks are signing left and right, Why is it taking Barron and Martin so long?
Pat Yasinskas (1:47 PM)
If they're not signed in next couple of weeks, then this might become an issue. But it shouldn't be all that complicated. They have X amount left in their rookie pool. Barron gets the larger piece of what remains. Think you'll hear news on them getting done before too long.
Matt Riddle (Atlanta, Ga)
Your article on the Saint's being high on Curtis Lofton made it appear like the Saints were either were trying to talk him up or the Falcons were trying to talk him down. I think you purposefully left it up in the air, but which of the two scenarios do you believe more true?
Pat Yasinskas (1:49 PM)
Sure sounded like Vitt was trying to talk him up.
Mort (Rural Hall, NC)
Do the Panthers get to decide how Wharton's cap credit is spread between this year and 2013, or does the NFL decide for them?
Pat Yasinskas (1:50 PM)
I think Panthers do, but I'll have to double check on that one.
Do you foresee the Panthers as progressing or regressing this season?
Pat Yasinskas (1:51 PM)
Progressing. Cam's a year older and wiser, injured guys on defense are coming back healthy and they added a quality player in Kuechly.
CB (Charleston, SC)
Here you go Pat, it's a LONG read, but pretty interesting! Granted, it is Sean's side of the story - but important!http://seanpamphilon.com/2012/05/31/when-you-kill-the-head-the-body-doesnt-die/
Pat Yasinskas (1:52 PM)
Sharing this with all of you. I'll take a look at it after we wrap up the chat. CB, thanks for sharing with us.
Pat, do you think Mark Dominik has less power as GM now with Schiano than when Morris was here? After Winslow was traded, I started to wonder about that. Thanks.
Pat Yasinskas (1:54 PM)
Maybe Dominik also wanted to unload Winslow. There could have been some cap implications there as well. Go back and look at post I did on that -- I think it was a day or two after Winslow was traded. They have to start thinking about next year's cap because they're already pretty close to it.
Brian (Baton Rouge)
Still planning a trip to see the Saints' minicamp? I'm looking forward to an analysis of the d-line and linebackers.
Pat Yasinskas (1:54 PM)
Scheduled to be there next week.
Matt Riddle (Atlanta, Ga)
Most important player on the Falcons Offense in 2012 besides Matty Ice is ________?
Pat Yasinskas (1:56 PM)
Hmm, I'll go with Julio. But I also see Jacquizz Rodgers becoming more important this year.
Hey Pat - Why is it that you keep writing Schiano is a Belichick disciple, I know he vouched for him, but does that make him a disciple or clone since they've never worked together
Pat Yasinskas (1:57 PM)
Because Schiano admits he's patterned himself after Belichick in a lot of ways.
Hey Pat, out of all the new guys the Bucs brought in this offseason, free agents and draft picks, who do you think will make the biggest impact? Obviously together they will all make a huge difference, but who do you think was the most important acquisition and why?
Pat Yasinskas (1:58 PM)
Can I go with two? I'll say Vincent Jackson and Doug Martin. Jackson gives Freeman a true No. 1 WR and Martin gives them an all-around back.
Hurricane season starts today. Who get's hit the hardest this season? TB, Caroline, Atl or will Goodell slap a hurricane on NOLA, too?
Pat Yasinskas (1:59 PM)
Don't know, but it rained really hard in Tampa earlier today. Was driving down Bruce B. Downs Blvd and thought I was going to have to turn around and grab my kayak. All right, couple more questions before we wrap it up.
Have you actually gotten to see Beason or Thomas Davis in action yet? I haven't heard anyone raving about their condition on the practice field, but I haven't heard anything bad either. Just a lot of "We'll See"
Pat Yasinskas (2:01 PM)
Not yet, but I'll be in Charlotte for minicamp June 12.
KING Kevin (Fandom)
Maybe stupid questions get answered in this chat so here is my attempt at one. Will Blunt become a good 3rd down back for the Bucs or a good pass catching TE? Now that Martin is in the fold.
Ben (Atlanta GA)
Pat can Barnidge step up and take Shockey's place for CAR?
Pat Yasinskas (2:03 PM)
Seems like we're hitting technical problems here. I'm not able to post any of your questions. Guess that's a sign that we're past our deadline. So we'll wrap it up. Thanks to all for stopping by. See you next week.