Chat with Chris Mortensen
Mortensen, an award-winning journalist and one of the most respected and accomplished reporters covering the NFL, joined ESPN in 1991 and appears on Sunday NFL Countdown, Monday Night Countdown and SportsCenter.
Send your questions now and join Mort on Wednesday at 11 a.m. ET!
Chris Mortensen (11:03 AM)
Good morning! I'm going for no interruptions; now if my computer cooperates...
Even if the Ravens were to make the AFC Playoffs would you really see them being a true threat considering that fact that against the elite teams in the AFC (espically the Colts) they don't have a steller record against them.
Chris Mortensen (11:06 AM)
Alas, the Ravens were my pre-season pick to win the Super Bowl. I will be wrong. This defense is good, not great. Their offense is good, not great. Their kicking game has cost them. I believe they will have a good off-season to address their holes but, I agree, even if they make the playoffs, it is not a Super Bowl team (hey, maybe that will bring them good fortune!).
Why are so many people still not convinced about the Bengals D.Rated Sixth. No one feels they can stop , Patriots , or Chargers, really who have they beat? C,mon Man
Chris Mortensen (11:10 AM)
Love the "C'mon Man." I believe people are convinced about the Bengals defense. I still give them a shot to advance to the Super Bowl. I would be a little concerned about the passing game lacking explosive plays in the past few games. Even though Chris Henry didn't have an impact season a lot of us forecast, his presence before he was lost with injury appeared to open things up for OchoCinco.
hey Chris, what do you think the chances are that the Browns get Mike Holmgren? If not Holmgren, who else do you think they could get?
Chris Mortensen (11:15 AM)
I think it's a longshot for Holmgren; not to be totally ruled out but a longshot. Other than that, there are plenty of good GM candidates though I'll avoid speculation for a little longer. Then again, Randy Lerner may just decide to recommitt to Mangini and go all in.
hey Chris, would you say that Ndamukong Suh is head and shoulders the top player in the upcoming draft?
Chris Mortensen (11:17 AM)
Suh is probably is the top player but maybe a head over the pack, not head and shoulders. I'd take him first.
Mort, do you think the saints will go undefeated? and will Jabari play this week?
Chris Mortensen (11:24 AM)
I certainly think the Saints have a really good shot to go unbeaten. But while everyone talks about tough games against the Falcons and Cowboys this month, I think this Sundays game against the Redskins, on the road, is really dangerous. The Redskins are not rolling over for anyone, Albert Haynesworth will be back, it will be cold and the wind expected to be lowing and the Saints are coming off a classic win with a short week. So watch out for this one. I think Jabari Greer should be back but if he's not about 100 percent, they could go conservative.
hey Chris. What's your opinion of fans that root for their team to lose to get a higher draft pick? I'm a Browns fan hoping they lose the rest of their games in order to get the #1 pick. What's the difference between 1 and 2 wins? basically nothing.
Chris Mortensen (11:27 AM)
I've always been opposed to that idea of hoping your team loses to get a better pick. How many times have we seen the best players of a draft fall to late in the first round or in the second round? This is going to be a very good draft. Winning in December can be important for an off-season. As you know, the Browns have four of their last five games at home.
What do you think the panthers do in the offseason? Fire John Fox draft new quarterback and start over? Maybe hire Bill Cowher
Chris Mortensen (11:31 AM)
Barring a miracle finish, I now expect Fox to be fired. That will heighten the Cowher speculation. I would expect a new quarterback but they don't have a first round pick as of now to do it. Then again, Drew Brees was a second round pick; Tom Brady, sixth round.
Mort who do you have winning the COY.
Chris Mortensen (11:32 AM)
Coach of the Year...hmmm, it's always a close call but I would probably say Sean Payton if the Saints go 15-1 or 16-0 and win NFC home field. Otherwise, Marvin Lewis.
Hey Mort! Do you see any major upsets this week?
Chris Mortensen (11:34 AM)
I just warned about one: Redskins over the Saints. But I will have a tough time pulling the trigger on it. I can see the Titans beating the Colts. That would be something, the two unbeatens going down, right?
Richard (Greensboro, NC)
Who really wants the #1 draft pick? In these days it's as much of a burden as it is a blessing.
Chris Mortensen (11:37 AM)
That has been the case in a lot of years because of the financial commitment. But teams that operate in fear of a pick are teams that I don't have a lot of respect for. I thought the Lions with GM Martin Mayhew and coach Jim Schwartz never operated in fear and I liked the Stafford pick when the fan base was praying for an offensive tackle. This year, I think there are some very good players worthy of the top pick, though maybe not a QB.
Hey Mort, are we witnessing a budding star in Percy Harvin? Do you think he can only get better or is he just overachieving because of Favre's right arm?
Chris Mortensen (11:38 AM)
If Percey Harvin stays grounded in maturity, he's a star in the making, even when Favre is gone.
Ryan (San Diego)
Why are the Chargers not considered a threat in the AFC? Everyone is talking about the Colts, but the Chargers own those guys
Chris Mortensen (11:41 AM)
Lot of attention goes to an undefeated team but there's no question that the Chargers are very much a threat to beat the Colts or anybody else, for that matter. Not ruling them out at all.
Chris (Ann Arbor, MI)
Mort, do you think we'll see Dixon in some packages for the Steelers going forward? As productive as their offense has been, it's predictable and makes no adjustments when things aren't working. Harken back to the days when Kordell Stewart would play a few snaps each week. It's tough to prepare for...
Chris Mortensen (11:43 AM)
I wouldn't be surprised. I thought he had some real good moments the other night and we have a tendency to forget this Dixon was a legit Heisman candidate at Oregon before he got hurt. Plus, getting him some snaps in games would help prepare him for those days when Big Ben falls.
What kind of reception do you expect Mike Vick will get in the Georgia Dome this week?
Chris Mortensen (11:44 AM)
It will be interesting. My guess it will be mixed. And I do expect a few more plays with Vick on the field for the Eagles.
mical (Austin, TX)
Does Chicago make an OC change this offseason?
Chris Mortensen (11:46 AM)
I fully expect the Bears to have a new offensive coordinator in place next year. There's always a fall guy or more when a season of expectations turns into disappointment.
Mort, is it possible Buffalo keeps Fewell as HC and brings in a Charlie Weis to run and rebuild that offense?
Chris Mortensen (11:47 AM)
That's a pretty good idea although I believe Weis would like to be the HC.
Katelyn (Syracuse, NY)
More than a decade after Jim Kelly's retirement, the Bills are still looking for his heir. Edwards is done. Fitzpatrick is a stop gap. They need a franchise guy. Is there someone already in the league they can take (like Houston did with Schaub)? If they turn to the draft who is the best fit?
Chris Mortensen (11:49 AM)
I don't think you can count Schaub as a franchise guy. As far as the draft, if the underclassmen come out, Jake Locker of Washington and Sam Bradford of Oklahoma, probably will have the most buzz. Locker would be a good fit because he's accustomed to playing in some inclement weather.
Steven(ca) [via mobile]
I know the raiders are not gonna get a one of the big coaches out there but what about Frazier or charlie wies?
Chris Mortensen (11:50 AM)
Given Al Davis' history of always hiring offensive coaches, you would say Weis cannot be dismissed but I don't know that Tom Cable is getting fired.
Jason (CA) [via mobile]
Mort, I'm going out on a limb and saying that the Vikings are a much more balanced team then the Saints. Do you agree?
Chris Mortensen (11:53 AM)
I don't agree that they are "much more" balanced team than the Saints. I have seen the Sants win games running, with defense and, obviously, when Brees is hot. Do I like Adrian Peterson more than Pierre Thomas, Mike Bell or Reggie Bush. Sure. I feel like the Saints O-line matches up well with the Vikings D-line. Let me put it this way - I would pay to see the Saints and Vikings play right now.
Jake (VA Beach)
Are coaches' effectiveness a bit overstated? Marvin Lewis for COY? We were all talking possible firing last year. The same happened to Tom Coughlin before the Super Bowl year. I know they have an affect, but is it possible the right mix of players is more valuable than a great coach?
Chris Mortensen (11:55 AM)
I think coaching matters. It's also how a coach assembles and manages his staff, which is how players grow and develop. Of course, you have to have players. It's a collaborative effort. The ultimate team game.
Robert (Corpus Christi, TX)
Do you think the NFC West got a little more interesting between the 49ers and the Cardinals. What do you think of Alex Smith as of late?
Chris Mortensen (11:56 AM)
Yeah, I do think the NFC West is a little more interesting, especially with Kurt Warner probably out this week vs. the Vikings. Alex Smith is playing well. Let's see how he grows this month.
Richard (Greensboro, NC)
Can the Broncos be contenders in the playoffs, or are they missing the pieces to get the job done?
Chris Mortensen (11:58 AM)
Oh, I think the Broncos are playoff contenders. Keeping Orton healthy is key; remember, they have one more win if he doesn't get hurt in that Redskins game, IMO. They're not a Super Bowl team, I don't think, but I do believe they are very well-coached and have enough players to reach the playoffs.
is chris johnson the real deal and should he be mentioned for mvp votes?
Chris Mortensen (12:00 PM)
Absolutely, he's the real deal. MVP? You can think he's in the top 5 but really this is a three-player race among the top QBs - Brees, Favre & P. Manning. But at this rate, I think Chris Johnson wins the offensive player of the year award.
Chris (Broadview Heights, OH)
You mentioned the possibility of Randy Lerner going "all-in" with Eric Mangini. Though I'm assuming you have to think that's unlikely, if it did could we see a situation where the NFL takes over. It's happened once in Cleveland with the Cavs and Ted Stephien.
Chris Mortensen (12:02 PM)
No, the NFL never "takes over" - it would have to be a team in financially bankrupt situation. The league always offers help (Ernie Accorsi is a league consultant) if a franchise wants it.
can the giants make some noise and get hot?ur thoughts?
Chris Mortensen (12:03 PM)
I just don't see it with the Giants. I was alarmed by their lack of passion/energy and Brandon Jacobs is just not, well, Brandon Jacobs.
Hey Mort!, Did you get commissioner Goddell's memo about players with concussions sitting out a mandatory week on Saturday like the Steelers & Cardinals? How else do you explain 2 QBs going through a week's worth of practice and not playing on game day?
Chris Mortensen (12:07 PM)
No, there was no memo about that. None whatsoever. And even though that discussion has occurred the only clear-cut policy change coming soon is a player being unable to re-enter the same game that he leaves with a concussion-related injury. Then it's in the hands of neurologists and the rule of thumb for neurologists is that a player must be symptom-free for 7 days. Ben and Kurt were not symptom free and what happened is they were honest and communicated those symptoms, as the doctors have urged. I also think both players' families urged them to be open with the doctors.
Katelyn (Syracuse, NY)
A lot of A-list names are being thrown around for head coaching vacancies, but who are some coordinators that should get a look?
Chris Mortensen (12:12 PM)
I know I'll leave someone out but various GMs have thrown out a different lists of coordinators: Leslie Frazier (Vikings), Mike Zimmer (Bengals), Mike Mularkey (Falcons), Greg Williams (Saints), Mike Heimerdinger (Titans), Brian Schottenheimer (Jets), Darrell Bevell (Vikings) and I'd now add Perry Fewell (Bills). I'm also told to keep watch on young Eagles defensive coordinator Sean McDermott and that Jason Garrett (Cowboys) isn't to be dismissed. Most of these guys will not get jobs this year, is my guess.
If you would cast a vote for MVP who would you choose? Favre is my pick.
Chris Mortensen (12:13 PM)
My MVP ballot, as of now: 1. Brees; 2. Favre; 3. P. Manning... but I don't have to cast until all 16 games are played.
Hey mort...if you feel that way about Denver why would Josh McDaniels not be your front runner for COY? Here is a team that at the start of the year was predicted to win about 4 games.
Chris Mortensen (12:15 PM)
Not by me. I said before the year I thought Broncos were one of the underrated teams. But if they make the playoffs, he would be in the conversation. I had less expectation for the Bengals and anytime you have teams like the Saints making a run at a perfect season after an 8-8 year, you look at those coaches.
Chris, In your mind right now taking a look between New Orleans and the Minnesota Vikings who do you think would best represent the NFC in the Super Bowl?
Chris Mortensen (12:17 PM)
Oh, flip a coin. Either one would be a great representative and I think would be favored to win the Super Bowl.
You make a coaching change when the owner decides the current coach can't take the team any further, correct??
Chris Mortensen (12:18 PM)
I think that's fair. You just hope the owner has weighed all the components that go into a disappointing season or a stalled stretch.
why is mike martz not in the NFL? He is one of the best offensive masterminds in the game
Chris Mortensen (12:19 PM)
I would agree with you. Mike is unconventional and strong-willed so some head coaches might be uncomfortable with him. But if Lovie Smith keeps his job in Chicago, I would think Martz is a natural as an OC there.
Chad (Las Vegas)
Would it suprise you that the Saints average over 20 more rushing yards per game than Minny? Also AP fumbles the ball, a lot. Would you still take AP over the 3 tier monster of NO's run game?
Chris Mortensen (12:21 PM)
I'm quite aware of those stats. Yes, I would still take AP. I could poll 32 coaches in the NFL - including Sean Payton - and I bet AP would win by a 32-0 landslide. But the Saints have a good thing going.
The crowd in Toronto last year was awful and half full of dolphins fans. Does it look to be the same this year? The Bills had an obvious home field advantage at the Ralph last weekend.
Chris Mortensen (12:22 PM)
I guess the Bills need the revenue but it makes no sense, from a competitive standpoint, to have a warm-city team play in Toronto under a roof in December. Still, the Dolphins have a lot of players hurting and have lost significant contributors.
adam (tampa, fl)
how do you justify having a 40 yr old QB who has 24 TDs and only 3 ints, 2nd on your ballot? What he is doing is amazing
Chris Mortensen (12:25 PM)
I said I have the rest of the season to make the final decision. And I agree - Favre has amazed me and surprised me. The age is not a real factor in weighing the MVP. Maybe as a comeback player but not MVP (in terms of the age).
John Fox is not the problem, jake Delhomme is. Richardson wanted Jake in there, that was not Foxy's call. Know that.
Chris Mortensen (12:26 PM)
I'm not arguing with you. But it's not like the Panthers have been this dismal franchise. It's no secret the owner is very fond of Jake. heck, I'm very fond of Jake. But I would have pulled the plug a while back.
Chris Mortensen (12:30 PM)
Thanks for the time! I just noticed someone named Myra complaining about me ignoring questions from females. Not true! These questions come in fast and randomly and about 12 to a page and to keep things moving, I randomly try to cover an array for topics as quickly as possible. I know women love the NFL and ask intelligent questions. So, Myra, forgive me if you asked a question previously - I just didn't see it. Have a great weekend, everyone, and God Bless!