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!
Drew (Home of the NOLES!)
Great job on the blog Pat! I feel like every write up about Tampas WR's seems to leave Preston Parker out of the convo. Both Freeman and Schiano have raved about him in the offseason. Think he can lock down the starting slot?
Pat Yasinskas (12:46 PM)
I wouldn't leave Preston Parker out of any conversation. Saw him make a couple nice plays this morning. But I also saw him drop a pass.
Jon Burt Orlando fl [via mobile]
Is the absence of mark Barton in interviews a concern for character or perperformance or neither?
Pat Yasinskas (12:47 PM)
Mark Barron? He met with media today. Said he was a little banged up, but is coming along and feels comfortable with the defense.
dakota (Charleston, SC)
With all this talk of competition for 2nd string at WR, Safety, CB, and even kicker and punter, where do you see Clausen in the coming years? Will he forever be backup to Cam Newton or could we end up trading him for a WR or CB? Will he ever be starting material for another team?
Pat Yasinskas (12:49 PM)
Don't see Clausen sticking around forever. He'll probably leave as soon as he becomes free agent. Doesn't really have trade value now, but could help that if he goes out and plays well in preseason games.
DiMaggio (Magic) (Atlanta, GA)
Pat...I was out at Flowery Branch last Saturday watching the Falcons practice. I noticed how lean John Abraham has become; will that cause him to loose any leverage going against monstrous OT?
Pat Yasinskas (12:50 PM)
I don't know that Abraham's any leaner than usual. He's always been a "smaller" DE. I talked to him and he didn't look any different to me than he has in the past.
allenh (Forest City,NC)
With Kuechly lining up on the outside during camp,do you see him staying there all season?
Pat Yasinskas (12:51 PM)
I wouldn't put it ink yet. Let's see where he lines up in the third preseason game. That's usually the one where you can determine things like that.
James (Fort Mill, SC)
We've been hearing a lot of good things about Armanti (again). Any chance he stick's around?
Pat Yasinskas (12:53 PM)
I'm hearing it too. But they've got a lot of WRs. Just don't see how they have the roster room to keep him.
When are you going to Panthers camp? Is there anything in particular that you're looking forward to checking out?
Pat Yasinskas (12:53 PM)
Will be there Monday and Tuesday. Looking forward to seeing the WRs, how they're using Tolbert and how the younger CBs are looking.
Why are Saints fans excited about Lofton? Falcons had the cap room to re-sign and said "no thanks". Bucs took a long look and said the same. He's an ok player but doesn't really improve a team much at all. Best thing about him is his durability, not his performance.
Pat Yasinskas (12:54 PM)
He is a very solid LB. Might not be a great one, but very solid. Did you see Saints LBs last year? He will help them some.
Josh (Hickory, NC)
Assuming Davis and Beason both are healthy in the 4-3 who do you think the Panthers will have as the third starting linebacker? Davis or Anderson ? (I would guess its a lock for Beason and Kuechly to start)
Pat Yasinskas (12:56 PM)
Think it's a lock that Beason and Kuechly starts. If Davis really is fully healthy and close to what he was before the injuries, my guess is he starts. But Anderson's a nice fall-back option.
Thoughts on Peter Konz? Surely he beats out Garrett Reynolds at RG, no? And while it pains me to ask... how does Sam Baker look?
Pat Yasinskas (12:57 PM)
Yep, I think Konz will end up starting. They used a second-round pick on him and I think they expect to play right away. Baker? Hard to say. It was early in camp when I was there, so there wasn't a lot of hitting. But they say he's completely healthy for the first time in a long time.
If what you say about Lofton is true, why didn't ATL re-sign him? He ended up being much cheaper than we all thought going into FA.... for a reason.
Pat Yasinskas (1:00 PM)
There's some behind-the-scenes stuff involved there. Think Falcons had an offer on table that was the same or slightly better than what Saints gave him. But I think his pride prevented him from going back to Falcons. His original asking price was a lot more than what he got.
Hey Pat, with Thomas Davis not participating in practice the last couple of days, should fans be preparing for what could be a familiar dissapointment, or do you think it is just precautionary?
Pat Yasinskas (1:01 PM)
They're saying they're just being cautious and I hope that's the case. But, given his history, you have to be a little concerned.
Aaron (DeLand, FL)
Have you had a chance to see Gerold McCoy in action at Bucs camp? How does he look and what are the coaches saying about his performance so far?
Pat Yasinskas (1:03 PM)
Schiano raved about him Wednesday. With McCoy, I think the talent is obviously there. It's just a matter of him being able to stay on the field all season.
With the stacked WR corps in Carolina, what do you feel are the chances Jared Green makes teh team?
Pat Yasinskas (1:04 PM)
Think he's a guy that they would like to be able to keep on the practice squad and develop him.
What is this Doug Martin guy gona do here this year???
Pat Yasinskas (1:06 PM)
Think he'll be the main back and think he'll be pretty good.
George (New Orleans)
Is this the year the Saints finally have a decent front seven? The local guys seem to be getting excited about the D-line in particular.
Pat Yasinskas (1:07 PM)
Spags has history of being able to get the front seven playing well. Still not sure he has all of the type of D-linemen he needs yet.
Joel (Philadelphia - Panthers Fan)
Saying Armanti is having a great camp is good for the Panthers if it is true this time and good for his trade value for the D position we want to fill
Pat Yasinskas (1:08 PM)
If Marty Hurney can get any draft pick for Armanti Edwards, he gets GM of the Year. Then again, he's the same GM that drafted Edwards.
Hey Pat do you think the Bucs will bring in another DT specifically nose tackle, once cuts and camp casualties start to happen.
Pat Yasinskas (1:10 PM)
Not ruling that out at all. DL is looking pretty thin on depth right now.
What role do you think Legarrete Blount will have in the running game this year? Do you think he could be used as a fullback or third down back
Pat Yasinskas (1:11 PM)
Think you'll see him in the power running game. Have no indication that they have any plans to move him to FB or use him as a third-down back.
Luke (Middle of nowhere, Iowa)
I'm tired of hearing everyone giving the Falcons grief. I feel like people are quick to look at the negatives rather than the positives. I want them to win a playoff game as much as the next fan, but we have four straight winning seasons, we've made the playoffs in 3 of the last four seasons. I feel like this is arguably the best team that we have put together in a long time, maybe even better than our lone super bowl team. I don't see why we can't win the division and even a couple playoff games.
Pat Yasinskas (1:12 PM)
Yep, I hear you and you're right. But that other stuff will continue UNTIL they do win a playoff game.
Ben (Florida) [via mobile]
Do you think the panthers will look for a new RT or will they stick with Byron Bell?
Pat Yasinskas (1:12 PM)
Think they're pretty much set on Bell.
Any word on if/how the DNC is going to affect the Panther's home games?
Pat Yasinskas (1:13 PM)
I think the convention is over by the time they play a home game. They're opening at Tampa and coming in early to practice in Bradenton so they don't have to share the facility/stadium with the convention.
Can Mike Nolan imitate what Wade Phillips did last year in taking a struggling DEF with good talent and turn from one of the worst to best in one season, or will this be a stepped approach?
Pat Yasinskas (1:15 PM)
I think you could see significant improvement. There's talent there. I think they just need to be more aggressive and develop more of an identity. Everything I saw in my visit indicated Nolan is really pushing the aggressive attitude.
Sheldon (Wake Forest NC)
Jerry Richardson is not a young man and he fired his two sons a couple of years back. If Jerry has serious health issues and has to give up control of the Panthers do you know who will take over?
Pat Yasinskas (1:18 PM)
I don't know the exact succession plan on ownership. But the wife and daughter are part of the ownership partnership group. For that matter, so are the sons. But Danny Morrison was brought in to be the president several years ago and he has large control over the business side of things and Hurney runs the football side.
Pat, what do the Bucs do if McCoy lands on IR again before Nov.?
Pat Yasinskas (1:19 PM)
Draft a DT in the first round next year.
John (New Orleans)
What are the chances Carolina sticks with Mare for another year? If the Saints drop John Casey from roster can I... err... he return?
Pat Yasinskas (1:19 PM)
I think Mare stays.
How much of an impact do you believe Beason, Kuluchy, Edwards and Davis will have on Dfence? Enough to make the panthers D top 15 this year?
Pat Yasinskas (1:21 PM)
Not sure about top 15, but I think the Carolina defense will be significantly better than it was last year.
So you don't think Brees was out of line with his comments toward Goodell - "Nobody trusts him. Nobody trusts him" You think that was honest and direct? You think the targets of the Saints bounty scandal don't trust the commish? All those players Gregg Williams listed in his pre game tirade??
Pat Yasinskas (1:22 PM)
I think he was giving his opinion and that of his teammates. I don't think he was speaking for other teams.
What position do you think the Falcons will address first next year? LT, RB, TE, DT, OL?
Pat Yasinskas (1:23 PM)
Sounds logical, but let's see how this year goes first.
Am I crazy for thinking William Moore could make the Pro Bowl this year? He seems like a natural fit for Nolan's aggressive defense
Pat Yasinskas (1:24 PM)
Possible. He's a talented guy. Just needs to get the INTs up a bit and it's possible.
kyle (northampton, pa)
is Sean Payton under a gag order? It's funny how all the players are fighing the bounty penalties, but we never hear of him having anything to say about it. Nor Gregg Williams.
Pat Yasinskas (1:25 PM)
I do not know for sure on that, but I think that might be part of the terms of their suspensions.
What are your thoughts on Mike Williams playing #2 to Vincent Jackson? Is Williams a bust?
Pat Yasinskas (1:27 PM)
Don't think you can call Williams a bust. He was a fourth-round pick that had a very good rookie year and then dropped off last year. They think there's still talent there and that he can form a nice tandem with Vincent Jackson.
Couldn't Benson, being 1/32nd of Goodell's boss, see the evidence and make a public statement without violating confidentiality and settle all this now?
Pat Yasinskas (1:29 PM)
Theoretically, yes, I guess. But he hasn't talked publicly in any detail about it and I doubt that's going to change.
Underwood has been making a lot of splash plays in Bucs camp. Do you see him making the team?
Pat Yasinskas (1:29 PM)
You're right on him having a nice camp. He's got a shot to stick.
The Carolinas miss you Pat, when will you be in Spartanburg to covers the panthers camp?
Pat Yasinskas (1:30 PM)
Flying in Sunday and will be at practice Monday and Tuesday.
Follow up, doesn't that speak volumes in and of itself?
Pat Yasinskas (1:31 PM)
Can see how you could draw that conclusion.
DiMaggio aka Magic71 (Atlanta)
Regarding the aggressiveness at defense for the Falcons...if coach Smith was considered a good DC in Jacksonville? Why didn't he, himself stress this issue to VanGoader last season?
Pat Yasinskas (1:32 PM)
Maybe he did and maybe he wasn't pleased with results and maybe that's why VanGorder is gone.
Pat am I to believe the falcons will have a better pass rush with the same players just a different scheme? I dont see it
Pat Yasinskas (1:34 PM)
At least from what they say, they'll blitz a lot more and they think that will make a big difference.
Going to The Open Kitchen for a late lunch, want me to pick you up anything?
Pat Yasinskas (1:34 PM)
Robert (Arlington, TX)
Hey Pat how did V Jacks look in practice today? Did they go deep to him a few times?
Pat Yasinskas (1:36 PM)
Saw one where he was open deep, but the pass was overthrown.
Hey Pat. I was wondering if, when you were at the Falcons' camp, you saw Matt Ryan make a lot of deep throws, and if he was notably better than he has been in the past?
Pat Yasinskas (1:37 PM)
As I've said before, Ryan has the arm and he always looks like he can throw the deep ball in training camp. I think it's a question of if his defensive line can give him enough time to throw it in the regular season.
Brian Dorry (Tampa)
Now that you've had a few months to see what Schiano is bringing to Tampa...do you agree that his presence alone should make the Bucs considerably better? It seems like he is demanding everyone's best effort and that they're in top shape which is much more than we can say for Raheem Morris.
Pat Yasinskas (1:38 PM)
Agree totally. Obviously, Raheem's approach wasn't working here. They went in the exact opposite direction and I think that's what they needed to do.
Robert (Arlington TX)
Do u see the Bucs possiably moving Blount to FB to help open up holes for Martin?
Pat Yasinskas (1:39 PM)
Have not heard anything that would indicate that's in the plans. If it was, I don't think Blount would have made it a point to drop weight in the offseason.
You think Schianos hard nose style could wear thin should the team struggle?
Pat Yasinskas (1:42 PM)
In the long run, sure. But I think he's what Bucs need right now. In my experience, whatever gets a guy hired, also gets him fired -- Raheem was hired because they thought it would be good to have a coach that could relate to the players. Then, he got fired because he was to close to or too lax with the players. John Fox got hired in Carolina because he was a defensive guru. Eventually, he got fired because he couldn't put an offense on the field.
Brian Dorry (Tampa)
Do you think Luke Stocker will be given a fair competition to start at tight end for the Bucs? Or will that job probably be handed to Dallas Clark?
Pat Yasinskas (1:44 PM)
Well, I think Clark will be technically the veteran starter. But he'll play the role of pass catcher. I think Stocker will get a lot of playing time and will be asked to do a fair amount of blocking.
Come on Pat. What in Schiano's coaching career/resume makes you think the Bucs are automatically better with him? He was mediocre at Rutgers. This kind of rhetoric drives me nuts. He was what... their 5th choice? Maybe he ends up being good but come on already!
Pat Yasinskas (1:45 PM)
It can't be any worse than it was down the stretch last year.
Posted on news side, Thomas Davis got MRI on knee and is ok. But he is hurt. Very sad all the same. I sure hope he stays healthy, but I think it's very unlikely at this point.
Pat Yasinskas (1:45 PM)
True, but I think the Panthers have prepared for this.
Jeremy Taylor (Norfolk, VA)
What happens to the excess cap space that a team has if they don't use it during the year? Can they use that space to account for signing bonuses that have been prorated into the next years?
Pat Yasinskas (1:47 PM)
They can carry over unused cap space from one season to another.
Why didn't you report that Murphy was injured the week before Carolina acquired him and what is his prognosis?
Pat Yasinskas (1:47 PM)
I'll get you an update when I get to Carolina.
Pat, I noticed that Cody Grimm appears to be 3rd string S now. Has he been slow to come back from injury and may not make the team?
Pat Yasinskas (1:48 PM)
Schiano was asked about that today. Said Cody was still recovering early in the offseason. Said he's made progress in camp. But it's true about him being third-team right now, so he'll need to finish camp strong and have a good preseason.
Rules Question: Now that Otah has been releaesd, if the Jets wanted, could they just pick him up now w/o giving up the draft pick?
Pat Yasinskas (1:50 PM)
Yep, he can be picked up by anybody that wants him. But I wouldn't expect Jets to go after him. I don't think they were all that impressed with how he was handling rehab.
JP (Inverness, FL)
Hey PY long time no chat! Having watched training camp the last couple of days is there a group that looks to have made the most improvement? Any of the assistant coaches standing out to you?
Pat Yasinskas (1:52 PM)
I'd say the RBs have stood out to me. They just seem to have a lot more versatility than last year. As far as coaches, hard to say at this point, but WRs coach P.J. Fleck at least stands out because he's very vocal and animated.
Zack (anchorage Alaska) [via mobile]
What's the word on Adrian clayborne? I have heard very little about him this offseason. Is that a good thing or a bad thing. The same thing happened with mike Williams last year and we know how that worked out.
Pat Yasinskas (1:53 PM)
In his case, I think that's a good thing. He quietly goes about his business like a pro.
The same Raheem Morris you believe in this time last year?
Pat Yasinskas (1:54 PM)
You got me. But, hey, I wasn't the only one that fell into that.
when does the new madden come out? I want to see which team has a better overall. Who do you think is better?
Pat Yasinskas (1:55 PM)
Will check with the SportsNation folks on that and will post something as soon as I get the rankings.
pat, do you see the saints missing the playoffs this year without peyton on the sidelines?
Pat Yasinskas (1:57 PM)
Lots of people are saying that, but I'm not. I think they'll still be all right.
Gabe (Chapel Hill)
Hey Pat. I was wondering how good Ron Edwards has been in his career and how good you expect him to be this year. DT is a hard position to judge by stats.
Pat Yasinskas (1:58 PM)
He's been a solid run stuffer in the past and that's what Panthers are asking him to be. Doesn't have to be a superstar, just has to jam things up in the middle.
I'm surprised you're still covering the NFC South. I thought ESPN was making Jets camp mandatory for everyone.
Pat Yasinskas (1:59 PM)
I'm still here! We'll chat again next week. Thanks to all for stopping by.