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 (11:01 AM)
Happy Thanksgiving! Let's roll...
Rob (San Antonio, Texas)
Hey Mort hope you have a great Thanksgiving and thanks for the chat time. There is a lot of talk in Texas that Kubiak won't be around next year. Do you agree with that and if so I think it would be the ideal situation for a guy like Cowher? They have a good young quarterback, a lot of quality young players and an onwership that might be willing to let him run the show.
Chris Mortensen (11:04 AM)
I don't know that Kubiak won't be around. Obviously, their defense has issues. Cowher is a defensive coach but I don't know that he's the answer. How do you know that Cowher is equipped to "run the show?" He had two outstanding personnel men in Tom Donahoe and Kevin Colbert in Pittsburgh. Me, I would work through this, just as every stable and great franchise works through it unless you're looking at 1-15, 2-14, 3-13 consistent seasons.
Dan (Buffalo, NY)
Mort, fans around here want Luck so much they are rooting for losses. If they don't get the first pick, any chance a team that finishes worse than them (Carolina, Cinci, Arizona or San Fran) take a QB?
Chris Mortensen (11:06 AM)
Lot of teams would love to have Stanford's Andrew Luck. First, Luck is a redshirt sophomore and I know from talking to him this summer he was not inclined to come out. I do believe if Jim Harbaugh left Stanford after this season that Luck would clearly consider it. There also is an uncertain season in 2011 and Luck would have to declare by Jan. 14. Yet, I never would be one to "root" for losses even though I understand the attraction of Andrew Luck. Hey, Ryan Fitzpatrick looks pretty good to me if you don't get what you're wishing for.
Hi Mort, Do you have a short list of where Parcells' may end up next year? And in what role?
Chris Mortensen (11:07 AM)
ESPN, NBC, CBS. That's the short list as I see it.
Lisa (White Hall, MD)
What are you hearing regarding the dustup between Flacco and Mason during the Ravens game last Sunday? Anything that the team/fans should be concerned about as the season progresses into the most important months?
Chris Mortensen (11:08 AM)
Nah. Both those players (Flacco and Mason) are quality people. I'd say it's a one-time or rare event and, honestly, not that uncommon around the league. If it happens another time soon, then maybe we can look at it more closely.
Happy Thanksgiving, Mort! What do you expect from Vincent Jackson this weekend?
Chris Mortensen (11:10 AM)
I expect some decent production, especially with Patrick Crayton out and Malcolm Floyd in question. Oh, did I mention he has Phillip Rivers as his quarterback? The one thing you worry about is what kind of football shape Jackson is in but he's had four weeks to get ready.
Jamil (Woodland Park, New Jersey)
Why do you think that the Cincinatti Bengals are doing as bad as they are doing this season?
Chris Mortensen (11:11 AM)
Because I picked them to go to the Super Bowl! I don't get it. We can talk about the ineffectiveness of Carson Palmer all we want but the most surprising element of this disappointing season is the defense.
Al (Wausau, WI)
Happy Thanksgiving to you and your family, Chris! Do you think that Leslie Frazier will win enough games with the Vikings the rest of this season to be seriously considered as a go-forward head coach in 2011 and beyond?
Chris Mortensen (11:16 AM)
Al, I have no idea if the Vikings will win enough games but I'm a Leslie Frazier fan. I do believe he will get serious consideration but it's not a lock.
Erica (Boise, Idaho)
Mort, will Aaron Smith be back with the Steelers before the end of the year? Also, how can James Harrison get fined $75,000 for a helmet to helmet hit that wasn't flagged during the game and then Richard Seymour sucker-punch a star QB AFTER a play and he only get a $25,000 fine? Plain and simple, that is just not right.
Chris Mortensen (11:20 AM)
On Seymour's punch, it doesn't matter that it was a star QB. It comes under the "fight" category. It was one open-hand punch. He didn't continue on fighting. If Ben had been injured or Seymour had kicked him or stomped on him (like Albert Haynesworth) then the discipline would have been more like a suspension. The $25,000 was a second fight fine. There also was a thought that Roethlisberger gave it a little NBA-type flop.
Johnny (Philadelphia, PA)
Any buzz for Asante Samuel for DPOY? He has 4 Manning thrown INTs and QBs in general are staying away from him.
Chris Mortensen (11:22 AM)
No buzz on that one. Samuel is a savvy ball guy but he also can be a liability - the Eagles know that and other teams know that. He currently is not in that discussion.
What do the Bears to actually get some respect? At some point, people just have to realize that they are a good team. You can make every excuse in the book on why the arent good, but the fact of the matter is they are 7-3, and have beat Green Bay. Their Defense is one of, if not the best in the NFL, and their special teams might be the best. Thats enough to win this year. Please explain.
Chris Mortensen (11:25 AM)
Respect pleas don't impress me and they don't impress Lovie Smith or the Bears. They like it being "ignored" and maybe fueled by it to a certain level. This is not a BCS deal where you need to win over voters. I do like their defense, especially the front four and the linebackers. I think you're right abut special teams and I still believe Jay Cutler strikes some fear into opponents. They've had better balance on offense and the return of Roberto Garza at G seems to have solidified that line.
D (Dallas) [via mobile]
Can the cowboys win out? If so, can they sneak into the playoffs?
Chris Mortensen (11:27 AM)
I don't expect the Cowboys to win out - the Lions game was much tighter than the score, as you know. And I really don't believe they can sneak into the playoffs because the NFC is starting to show some teams that are going to win 10-12 games. Obviously, the NFC West locks up one spot with a sub-par team. Nevertheless, the Cowboys are capable of winning any Sunday.
Mort! Love getting the chance to tune into your chats! Happy Early Thanksgiving btw. What are your thoughts on Steve Johnson? Also, I am a big fan of Fitzpatrick, a Rookie QB would just mean another coupld years of losing .... I have no doubt that right now, even if they drafted Luck, Fitzpatrick would give us the best shot at winning.
Chris Mortensen (11:29 AM)
Luck would be a special get but I do like Fitzpatrick, as I previously noted. I love the way the Bills are playing, even with some of their other deficiencies. Steve Johnson is really good (wish I had him on my fantasy team!) and finally the Bills have taken advantage of the attention Lee Evans draws at the other WR spot.
Mike (Boca Raton)
How much influence does the league have on teams regarding their playing surfaces? As I'm sure you know Heinz field has a notorious reputation. Will the Steelers be forced by the league to change it?
Chris Mortensen (11:31 AM)
Constant story this time of the hear - Heinz Field. As yo know, it's a multi-use stadium (pro, college, high school). But the players and the Rooneys have been adamant that they want grass. I imagine we'll talk about this every year. If it becomes a disaster or unsafe, the league will have a discussion - they actually have dispatched their game ops people to the site in the past to see if there's anything they can do to assist. But force them? Don't count on that.
Shane (Los Angeles, CA)
Mort, what is wrong with the Cardinals D? Even with the loss of Dansby/Rolle, I thought the Defense would be much better. Is it because of their gaping deficiencies at in the Linebacking Corps? Or is it time for Arizona to find a new defensive coordinator?
Chris Mortensen (11:33 AM)
I think Dansby was a huge loss, not only as a productive defender but as a leader. But the offense with Kurt Warner helped the defense, too. I also believe the offensive line is average to poor. The Cardinals need to be honest when they assess that part of their team, too.
Mort, what's to stop a coach from inserting the 53rd guy on the roster to get in "fight" with the opposing QB, injure him, knock him out of the game, essentially guaranteeing a win, and only have to pay a $10K fine instead of risking some of the fines that occur during the course of play that are greater than 5x the amount for a "fight"? That seems like a great return on investment for 10K.
Chris Mortensen (11:35 AM)
Well, if there's an injury, we're talking about a far more severe consequence not just for the player, but the coach and the franchise under your scenario. Also, there are only 45 men active on game days and no team wants to lose a player for obvious reasons. Richard Seymour got himself ejected from a game - in essence, he suspended himself, in addition to forking over $25,000.
Mort, thanks for your time. It does appear that the Colts might be able to win the division and get to the playoffs, but do you realistically think they get healthy enough to make any noise? It's just been a very weird season, and makes you scratch your head some on the Super Bowl Losing Team Curse.
Chris Mortensen (11:39 AM)
I know that Colts President Bill Polian really doubted that the team would be able to duplicate its 12-win run this year, even before the injuries. But they still have some game-changing players, starting with Peyton Manning. I thought the Titans were headed to a division title but we see how things have gone south. The Jaguars seem to have a little charm now but I'd say the Colts are the team to beat and dangerous in the playoffs.
Hi Mort, Happy early Turkey Day! Long time Dolphin fan and I'm worried about our QB position. After so many years and multiple QB's I really thought Henne was going to be the man for a long time in Miami. Now I'm not so sure. What's your take on the fins future at QB?
Chris Mortensen (11:41 AM)
I wouldn't give up on Henne yet. Drew Brees wasn't "the guy" in his first two or three years, to the point the Chargers felt compelled to take Phillip Rivers (via Eli Manning) in the draft....Aaron Rodgers needed time, too. Too early to push the panic button on the Dolphins QB situation, in my opinion, Williams.
Hey Mort - who do you like in the GB-ATL matchup? NFC title game preview?
Chris Mortensen (11:43 AM)
I can't make up my mind! I agree it's a possible NFC title preview but there are other teams that will have a say about that. I believe I'm going to pick the Packers in this game, which may seem silly considering how good the Falcons are, especially at home.
Hi Mort - Of the three games tomorrow which one is the most likely upset?
Chris Mortensen (11:44 AM)
I haven't looked at point spreads. I guess you could say the Cowboys over the Saints are the most likely but the Lions will be a threat to the Patriots, I think.
Happy Thanksgiving, Mort! Will the Buccaneers emerge as legitimate playoff contenders if they beat the Ravens this Sunday, and do you see them as a threat to beat Atlanta and/or New Orleans later in the year?
Chris Mortensen (11:46 AM)
The Buccaneers have to be taken seriously, at this point. They've been too competitive and maybe beating the 49ers doesn't impress some folks but it impresses me, especially on the road with a 21-0 shutout in a game the 49ers needed to get back in the NFC West race. The Bucs have a good young team and a very good young QB ion Josh Freeman. They gave the Falcons a battle and get 'em at home. Playing the Saints in New Orleans, that's always a tough task.
James (Los Angeles)
How great a story line would it be if the NFC title game came down to the Eagles and Falcons?
Chris Mortensen (11:47 AM)
And if it was Vick & the Eagles playing at the Georgia Dome - got a feeling Vick would still have a lot of fans there cheering him on.
Brandt (Washington DC)
Mort: Do you feel the Eagles are a dirty team? I have heard that charge against them, but on the other hand, it seems to me some of the "antics" were in response to direct threats implied to JAckson and Vick
Chris Mortensen (11:50 AM)
I don't think the Eagles are a dirty team. They are physical and aggressive. Teams that play that way have a tendency to land that "dirty" label but I'm not buying it. Remember, football players are wired differently than most people and most athletes. Those aren't type A personalities playing every week. It's way beyond that.
Mort, do you see a scenario where the Cardinals would trade Larry Fitzgerald in the offseason? He seems to be wasting away with the dropoff in QB play this year.
Chris Mortensen (11:55 AM)
The idea in this league is to acquire and keep good football players. When you have a great football player like Fitzgerald who happens to have great character, too, you NEVER let him go. You fix the team around him and they will do that, I believe, as long as the owner is on board.
Hey Mort. Sam Bradford has helped the Rams be competetive this year. What are the missing pieces the Rams need to address in the off-season to make a title run next year?
Chris Mortensen (11:58 AM)
Dylan, they need at least one dynamic receiver and a real quality running back to complement Steven Jackson, as well as upgrading the overall roster. I like the people they have on board in the front office, I'm a believer in the coach and I'm a believer in the quarterback.
Todd (West Des Moines, IA)
Hey Mort - Happy Thanksgiving to you and your family. With the college season almost over, do you think any college coaches will be targeted as NFL coaches this year?
Chris Mortensen (11:59 AM)
The only one that jumps out immediately and I believe to NFL teams is Stanford's Jim Harbaugh because of his extensive background as an NFL quarterback; his brother John being a long-time NFL guy, too.
Do you think Mike Vick will get some endorsement contracts soon? Have you heard any rumors? He's going to be a rich man again, do you think he will keep level headed or will be get another possy and blow it all?
Chris Mortensen (12:01 PM)
I think Michael Vick is a different man. I really do. How he handles this new level of success will determine his overall maturity but I believe he gets it now.
Joe (Montreal, CA)
Hey Mort -- will all the recent close wins by the Jets ultimately help them or hurt them down the stretch and in the playoffs?
Chris Mortensen (12:02 PM)
Helps them. When a team has proven it can come from behind and win close games, like the Jets have done, it's like making a deposit in the bank. They can draw upon these experiences and the confidence the players and coaches have in Mark Sanchez is a big part of that, not to mention the self-confidence we have seen in Sanchez himself.
Chris Mortensen (12:05 PM)
Time to go hunt for a turkey. Happy Thanksgiving to all, keep our military men and women and their families in thoughts and prayers and please have compassion for those who are needy and struggling during this holiday season. Reach out, if you are blessed enough to do so. I hope all your football teams bring you joy. We'll be talking some football, as usual, on Sunday NFL Countdown at 11 a.m. ET. ...God Bless!