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 (11:00 AM)
Good morning. I'm sure this will be a very interesting hour.
Chris, if Caldwell and Polian were worried about Manning, Wayne, Clark, and other starters getting injured in the 2nd half against the Jets, why did they play in the 1st half? Didn't they stand just as good a chance of taking a big hit at any point in the game?
Chris Mortensen (11:03 AM)
Listen, I have mixed feelings on what happened Sunday - not as "angry" as the mob because for 2 weeks I've explained that this is a more complex formula in which each level of decision-making affects the next, such as when you will be sitting LT, C and your best blocking TE (Robinson),who was injured right before Manning came out, it impacts your decisions. More on this as we move along on this chat.
Can you explain the logic behind the rule that if a team's third QB goes into the game, the other two QBs cannot reenter the game. Thanks
Chris Mortensen (11:05 AM)
I think it's illogical. This is all about the old 45-man vs. 53-man roster debate. It goes back to economics, how injured reserve is handled. Since I agree with you, I don't want to get into it.
Do u think the 'fins will make a serious move on Vincent Jackson since he will be a free agent soon?
Chris Mortensen (11:06 AM)
I don't think Chargers let Vincent Jackson get away. Now, Malcolm Floyd's contract is up, too, and he has a chance to be available and benefit.
Any word on how Holmgren is doing in Cleveland? What do you expect his first actions to be?
Chris Mortensen (11:08 AM)
Holmgren decided to not enter the Browns building once he accepted the job because he didn't want to distract team from playing its final two games. I think it would have been more advantageous for him to get in there. But next week, I think his first action is to really sit down with Mangini and either fire him or have a lengthy, substantive discussion about either other's philosophy and vision to see if there's a worthwhile match going forward. Holmgren also could hire a GM first and get that GM involved with the coach decision, too.
morning mort. how are you? any word on wade philps?
Chris Mortensen (11:10 AM)
I really believe Wade Phillips now has a chance to return for at least another year or two. I guess if the Cowboys got embarrassed in the playoffs, that would push him out the door.
What's your thoughts on the Panther's future now that Fox and Hurley will be offered their jobs next year? Does Delhomme come back or has Matt Moore done enough to at least warrant a fair competition?
Chris Mortensen (11:11 AM)
I've never thought Fox should be fired. As for the QB thing, Moore absolutely should be considered.
SprungOnSports (Long Island)
It seems like the Bills are looking at everyone for their head coaching position, from Cowher to even Charlie Weiss? Who do you think ends up there and what kinds of player personnel changes could there be?
Chris Mortensen (11:13 AM)
With the Bills, you never know. Certainly, Cowher and Weis have been in the Bills' mix but I don't know how interested they are in the Bills. The team is supposed to hire a GM, too. Which comes first?
Does the possibility of the uncapped season make it easier for the Rams to trade down with the first pick try and fill multiple holes,or possibly trade for picks in future drafts when a rookie wage scale will more than likely be in effect freeing up money for vet.FA?
Chris Mortensen (11:15 AM)
Possible but, look, when you're building a team, would you pass on a guy like Suh whom some pretty good personnel men compare to Reggie White? As for rookie negotiations, owners can negotiate any way they want. Always could. A rookie scale of any sorts won't come into effect until 2012, at the earliest.
mort-who do you think wins the super bowl?
Chris Mortensen (11:21 AM)
I don't know!!! Help, please. That's one reason why I think the Colts' loss Sunday is overblown. They know they're not a dominant team and will need everybody possible fully re-charged. I think either the Chargers, Patriots or Colts emerge as the AFC team. I still favor the Saints in the NFC. I don't know who wins.
John (Arlington, Va)
Don't you think London Fletcher should be on the pro bowl team? It's a joke that he is overlooked every year.
Chris Mortensen (11:22 AM)
I have stated that I think London Fletcher should have been elected to at least 6-to-8 Pro Bowls by now. And he has zero. Ridiculous.
Drew Brees or Peyton Manning for MVP???
Chris Mortensen (11:23 AM)
My vote will be cast for Manning. I must say that if it was an absolute dead heat, it would have went Brees' way.
Derrike (New Hampshire)
How do you feel about the Patriots and the way they are playing?
Chris Mortensen (11:24 AM)
As I just noted, Patriots can be the AFC rep in Super Bowl. They handled the Randy Moss situation perfectly. Their defense probably will be a little better in playoffs but will they have a pass rush? And will they truly protect Tom Brady? Those are the questions for me but I don't dismiss 'em, at all.
SprungOnSports (Long Island)
Following up on the Bills question, has there been any talk of Buffalo even interested in hiring a GM? In that case it should definitely come before hiring a coach.
Chris Mortensen (11:25 AM)
The answer is, yes, the Bills are likely to hire a GM, from what I understand with Russ Brandon serving as the President and COO.
If Wade P. is kept for 2010, then there's a chance of no football in 2011, when does Jerry hire a new coach and at what price? Great job Mort.
Chris Mortensen (11:28 AM)
I think everyone has gotten a little ahead on the doomsday forecast for 2011. Tense? yes. Maybe a lockout? Yes, but more for a couple of months. No football? I say there will be football after a lot of drama. Jerry will hire a new coach when he thinks it's the right time. And what he hopes is that Wade pulls this off but he won't be afraid to make a change when it makes the most sense.
Is the Pro Bowl moving to before the Super Bowl the first step in eliminating it.(Please)The selection process is bad,the game has no meaning to anyone the,the honor is tainted by players going by rep. instead of production.The only guys that care are guys that have never been there or guys that have a bonus involved with being picked.
Chris Mortensen (11:31 AM)
I am among the few media members and fans, I guess, who disagree on the Pro Bowl. Go tell Peyton Manning it means nothing and I'm talking about playing the game. Go stand on the sidelines of the 4th quarter when players realize they're playing for an extra $50 grand (hey, those family expenses and incidentals mount up!). Go see players who oppose each other every year enjoy the camaraderie. The Pro Bowl moves back to Hawaii the next year. We'll see how it goes.
scott (Omaha, NE)
Mort, do you think they will change what plays can be reviewed any time in the near future? seems really limiting that certain plays cannot but appear to be obviously blown calls that can change the game. Just wanted to get your thoughts. Thanks!
Chris Mortensen (11:32 AM)
I think you have to avoid too many replays. For instance, you can't review pass interference. Too time consuming. I believe the replay system has it right. There's always going to be human error. Just the way it is.
Is the trend of teams that seemed unstoppable early in the season like MIN and NO looking less than great something that will carryover to the playoffs with Dallas and Philly both looking better now than they did 6 weeks ago?
Chris Mortensen (11:35 AM)
The Saints are one team that I think will show up very strong. They've had a lot of injuries on defense (DL, LB and CBs) and I think most or all of those come back. Their offense will pick it up again. The one area that has to make 'em nervous is that kicking game. There's going to be a 3-point game in there, I assume. As for Vikings, Pat Williams didn't play the other night. Is Winfield's foot going to hinder him that much or does he just need to work back into real playing shape? The loss of E.J. Henderson was huge. I give the Cowboys, Eagles, Packers and Cardinals a shot for the Super Bowl, too.
Do you think some of the O-line from Titans should have been on Pro-Bowl since CJ has done so well?
Chris Mortensen (11:36 AM)
I could have chosen three or four Titans O-linemen but LT Mike Roos is the best in football. Period. And there are some good ones but Roos is the best.
Do you think Randy moss got snub from the pro-bowl?
Chris Mortensen (11:37 AM)
I thought Moss and Vincent Jackson deserved to be on Pro Bowl and I know this may sound strange but I would have taken either over Brandon Marshall, despite his 100-plus catches.
You've picked against Indy 9 out of 15 times this year. Are you usually intoxicated when making your picks?
Chris Mortensen (11:39 AM)
Well, I thought it was 7 times I picked against Indy and I do not get intoxicated. Now they could have lost 4 or 5 times this year. But their defense is basically better than I thought and with little running game, I just didn't expect them to go 14-1. Great credit to Manning, Caldwell, Polian, scouts and players.
Mort, do u think the eagles should use michael vick in the playoffs?
Chris Mortensen (11:40 AM)
I think if he's healthy, using Vick down near goal line makes a lot of sense. However, with a healthy Westbrook, it may not be necessary.
Does Julius Peppers finally end up in Pats gear next year?
Chris Mortensen (11:41 AM)
I wouldn't expect that. If I'm the Panthers I find a way to sign him.
What will win out Mort during CBA negotiations the owners claiming falling revenus and the need for player concessions or the capless season giving a coule of spend happy owners the chance attempt to buy a SB thus undercuting the negotiating stance of other owners?
Chris Mortensen (11:45 AM)
I am going to be active in writing and reporting on this soon. Let me say this, the NFL wasn't a bad league when it did not have a salary cap though parity has been fun for lot of fan bases. And I don't think 98% of the owners will go crazy with free agent spending. I do think owners understand that a salary cap and cost controls are major reasons their franchise values have increased dramatically. I also believe that the issues are almost as much about owners vs. owners as it is owner vs. players. And, remember, a small market team like Green Bay is one of the most financially lucrative in the NFL and their success is largely driven by the draft, scouting and development.
Mort if you were JaMarcus Russells agent and you could hire one QB coach or O Cord to work all offseason with him one on one to try and save his football life who would you pick.
Chris Mortensen (11:47 AM)
That's the responsibility of the organization and Russell. I was very skeptical about Russell when somebody who knew him very well at LSU told me, "Well, he'll do some work but he'll never be the hardest worker on the team." Huge red flag. The QB always has to be the hardest worker on the team. But if he will make the commitment and the organization provides him with the right support (and demands), maybe he has a chance. Funny, but I thought Lane Kiffin was handling him well for a short stretch there.
mort where is the super bowl at in 2010?
Chris Mortensen (11:47 AM)
So this season's Super Bowl is in Miami, Dallas is next, then Indianapolis.
What do you consider the biggest need for the Lions in the draft?
Chris Mortensen (11:48 AM)
Defensive line, secondary, linebackers and some O-line upgrades. Lot of work to do but I like the group there to get it done.
Paul (Albany, OR)
Mort, please tell me the Rams are smart enough to draft Suh and not take a #1 pick flyer on a qb with the dreaded "potential"? Thanks.
Chris Mortensen (11:50 AM)
If the Rams have the first pick, I think they're smart enough to do that. But all players coming in have the "potential" label. I just don't think there's a true franchise QB in the draft unless Bradford proves to be that type of guy.
Do you see Mark Sanchez will be a big time QB in the NFL in the later years?
Chris Mortensen (11:52 AM)
I think he will be a playoff-caliber QB. Great feet, very good arm. He's a gym rat. Loves the game. Works his butt off. I just get amazed how people don't understand that he's a ROOKIE. And, trust me, right now, his rear end his worn out. You're playing catch-up as soon as you're drafted. You bust your butt through off-season, pre-season, you get hit with reality of a long regular season, you're playing with two knee braces. I really think he's going to be outstanding.
Not many have talked about Jax this year as far as being a really improved team.They did a good thing in taking O-lineman in the draft last year.On the D side thet need a better the pass rush and secondary do you see them looking toward those areas maybe a wideout? Please tell me they are NOT looking at Tebow unless he falls to 3rd round!
Chris Mortensen (11:54 AM)
The Jags' first year GM, Gene Smith, has done an outstanding job. They have had 16 rookies on the roster. As for Tebow, I can't tell you. Let 'em do the evaluation. As Peter King has said in his MMQB, there are a couple of very good head coaches out there who like him as a first round talent.
why don't you think people get on Brett Favre case more on distracting a team? because if this same thing was happening with T.O. the media would said he a distraction.
Chris Mortensen (11:56 AM)
I've heard this question before. I think Favre had one moment on the sideline with Childress and, really, who did you side with? Favre has had his critics in recent years but, honestly, he has played well beyond my expectations and I know the players in the locker room are very glad he's on the team.
Mort, with your Arkansas ties, do you think Ryan Mallett is coming out?
Chris Mortensen (12:00 PM)
I think Mallett is considering it seriously and I can tell you he will likely be disappointed with the draft results. He's only had one year of starting plus 3 games at Michigan, where the players weren't too fond of him. I think Ryan has a chance to be special but he's further away than maybe he thinks. One more year with Bobby Petrino will take him to that level. But it's his life. As one GM told me last night, scouts who don't do their homework on Mallett could get fired if they push for him favorably right now.
you got one game for your life Chris.. which quarterback are you taking..Manning or Brady? and why?
Chris Mortensen (12:01 PM)
Joe Montana. . .I'd probably take Brady for that one game but I can't go wrong with either guy. Manning, my goodness, how do you argue against him?
In the Atlanta papers, there have been questions about whether Matty Ice is really the franchise quarterback for the future, because of this years difficulties...he IS the hardest worker on the team...I don't see why all the questions..he's the real deal or are there whispers among the NFL ranks?
Chris Mortensen (12:02 PM)
Nah, Matt Ryan is a franchise quarterback. Go look at Manning's first 5 years. And let's remember this is a team game. You have to have a quarterback but you better have the team, too.
everyone talking about tony gonzalez getting snub hwo bout celek getting snub only te whos having a better yr is vernon davis
Chris Mortensen (12:04 PM)
I thought Gonzalez did get snubbed. Heck of a blocker. 80 catches, 53 for first downs. Celek deserving, too. As much as I love Jason Witten, I would have selected Gonzalez and/or Celek over Witten.
Does Derek Anderson have ANY trade value at all (and I don't expect him to)...?
Chris Mortensen (12:05 PM)
I think he does have some trade value but I believe Mike Holmgren mentioned this - Anderson tore up the Seahawks pretty good when Holmgren was coaching them. I think Brady Quinn may be in trouble there. Or they could certainly draft someone.
Mort, do you think if the Steelers make the playoffs will Troy Polamalu be healthy and playable?
Chris Mortensen (12:07 PM)
I think the Steelers fall short of the playoffs. If they do make it, I would expect Polamalu to give it a try. How effective? I don't know. If he is, then they're very dangerous but they have to get in.
IF Mike Holmgren fires Mangini who are soe of the guys you would expect him to try and hire? Would they more than likely be a coach that is West Coast Offense and 4-3 defense guys or would this to much of a roster change to try and do at one time.
Chris Mortensen (12:11 PM)
That's the silly part of this - is the "West Coast" scheme and a 4-3 system really driving criteria? It shouldn't be. In fact, what Bill Walsh and others always explained in depth about their success was that it was more about the commitment, the work ethic, teaching the QB, good football character, the way they practiced, studied, loved the game... in fact, it's basically the same philosophy that the guys like Bill Parcells, Bill Belichick, Joe Gibbs, etc., have used as their blueprint. If there is a change, and you're right about those things, then someone like Marty Mornhinweg will get consideration. Oh, and the 3-4 was the successful answer to the "West Coast" offensive scheme.
Ryan (Kansas City)
What do the Chiefs need to do to improve?
Chris Mortensen (12:12 PM)
The Chiefs need players, players and more players. Offensive line, obviously, is a priority.
Who do think will be the next coach of the Washington Redskins?
Chris Mortensen (12:13 PM)
I believe I have made this quite clear: Mike Shanahan.
Chris Mortensen (12:15 PM)
Thanks for the time. Enjoyed it. Catch up with me on Twitter.com @mortreport. Sunday NFL Countdown at 11 a.m. ET. Friday night ESPN Radio and ESPNRadio.com "The Mort Report" and next Monday, Adam Schefter and I will be very busy, I think. Well, even beyond that. Happy New Year and God Bless!