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 (11:04 AM)
Very busy week with great championship games to talk about, too.
Mort, would you agree the Pats biggest needs are OL especially in the middle of the line and defensive line?
Chris Mortensen (11:06 AM)
I think they need some O-line re-stocking (like everyone does). A deep threat and/or big receiver depending on how they feel about Tate. And just keep building. Having two first rounders, two second rounders and two third rounders is something the Patriots get to play with.
What's the word on the Eagles DC position?
Chris Mortensen (11:08 AM)
Jim Mora is a candidate but there's also a thought that there's an assistant from one of the playoff teams who could emerge as the Eagles defensive coordinator, too. By the way, if they have indeed hired Jim Washburn away from the Titans as defensive line coach, that may be as significant hire this off-season, among non head coaches.
Mort, is there any way the union would let Peyton Manning take less money so the Colts can spend money on other positions? I would like to believe Peyton would take the deal, but the union would not let him. Your thoughts.
Chris Mortensen (11:12 AM)
The union doesn't control those negotiations. Zero control. Peyton Manning, Tom Condon (his agent) and Jim Irsay/Bill Polian do. Now in past contracts, they have structured it so certain portions of bonuses could be converted each year to signing bonuses at the club's option to help lower the cap number on Peyton's contract.
Suheal (Tracy, CA)
Who are your picks to the Super Bowl?
Chris Mortensen (11:15 AM)
I picked the Packers before the season so I have to stick with that choice. Now on the AFC, I waffled too many times. My initial pick was "All Green" - Packer vs. Jets. I'm probably leaning toward a Steelers win vs. Jets but really haven't made up my mind. I have to talk to a few good football people to evaluate it better. So, as of this minute, I'm saying it's Packers vs. Steelers. Stay tuned for when we turn in our picks on Thursday.
Suheal (Tracy, CA)
Why does Rex Ryan always call out the other team before they play, and this week he hasn't said a word about the Steelers.
Chris Mortensen (11:19 AM)
Maybe Rex is smarter than we give him credit for.
Can you make sense of Bates getting fired in Seattle? Was Pete thinking he had McDaniels? Where do they go now? I hope it's not Zorn or Chow.
Chris Mortensen (11:24 AM)
I believe there was a disconnect for awhile with Bates. As far as his successor, I've heard Darrell Bevell is a possibility; I know Matt Hasselbeck would love to have Zorn back in some capacity. It won't be Chow, I'm almost certain. McDaniels was in the discussion but it wasn't the reason Bates was fired.
There is zero doubt now that the NFC North is the toughest division in the conference, correct Mr. Mortensen? I mean the Vikings went 3-1 against the East for goodness sake!
Chris Mortensen (11:26 AM)
There are no absolutes. Every week is different because of injuries, etc. The NFC South is tough, too, considering the Bucs were much better than expected. The AFC North is no fun. The AFC East, pretty good (the Dolphin beat the Packers in Green Bay, right?). I do think the NFC North is going to be strong again - watch out, here come the Lions in 2011. The Vikings may have to tough job climbing back into contention. The NFC East next year will be even better, as will the NFC West. It's a fun league.
Not many people giving the Bears a chance at home this week.. then again, not many people have give them a chance the entire season.
Chris Mortensen (11:28 AM)
How can you not give the Bears a chance? Beat the Packers at Soldier Field by a FG. Gave 'em a heck of a game in a must-win for the Packers at home vs. Lambeau. I expect it to be a darn good game. I'm tired of the Cutler bashing. I am picking the Packers but it's not because I think the Bears don't deserve to be here.
Where do you see Nnamdi Asomugha ending up playing next season (if we actually have one)? Seems like Minnesota might be a good fit.
Chris Mortensen (11:32 AM)
He will have some choices, that's for sure! The Vikings could be a candidate but unlikely based on scheme and the amount of money. I do think Nnamdi will select a place that if the money is somewhat equal where he feels like he can win a Super Bowl.
David (New York)
Mort, don't you think people underestimate Rex as a coach because of his personality? 2 years 2 AFC CG with a rookie QB.
Chris Mortensen (11:34 AM)
Probably. This guy was a heck of a coach with the Ravens as a DC. Sometimes the personality and even physical appears - weight, for instance - creates a bias that is silly. Rex Ryan is one good football coach and he always has been a gentleman and fun to be around. very smart, too. And he has his rules, too.
How would you use Revis on Sunday? Is Wallace would be too fast for him to line up against him every snap like Reggie Wayne?
Chris Mortensen (11:35 AM)
Great question. Wallace may be the fastest guy in the league and Cromartie is the faster of the two Jets corners. But some people think you still have to be physical with Wallace - Revis is physical. That's an interesting chess match.
Matt (Los Angeles)
Mort, do you ever get frustrated that the league you cover is so incredibly random? May as well come out with crazy angles for analysis since nobody has a clue what's going to happen. Look for huge games from Mewelde Moore and Kellen Davis this weekend.
Chris Mortensen (11:39 AM)
Matt, I never get frustrated except not having time enough to speak with a lot of good football people (like coaches and front office folks not in the playoffs) who can give great insight into these games. It's a game of matchups every week.
Chris, can you clarify rules around FA signings and trades with no CBA in place?
Chris Mortensen (11:40 AM)
No signings, no trades until there is a CBA.
Ndomakong Suh apparently said he would welcome Haynesworth into the line in Detroit. Is this just Suh being diplomatic, or do you think this situation could come to fruition?
Chris Mortensen (11:46 AM)
Defensive line depth is so important to these guys so it makes sense. Suh loved playing next to Corey Williams and Cliff Avril. Add to the rotation. That's a great thing and Jim Schwartz worked with Haynesworth.
I never heard who won your FF league this year, you or Schefter?
Chris Mortensen (11:46 AM)
Trent Dilfer defeated my team in the championship.
Chris, Who's your picks for Offensive and Defensive Players of the Year
Chris Mortensen (11:49 AM)
remember, these are regular season awards. My MVP vote went to Tom Brady, my offensive player vote went to Michael Vick, my defensive vote went to Julius Peppers (by a hair over Matthews).
Will the field conditions neutralize Rodgers somewhat on Sunday?
Chris Mortensen (11:50 AM)
I doubt it. He throws equally well from the pocket and on the move. If it's a slow, sloppy field, it could help him, just as it did Tom Brady vs. Bears because those great Bears' defensive linemen will have difficulty getting traction.
Reports are that Musgrave will be OC in Cleveland. Where does Minnesota turn now for OC?
Chris Mortensen (11:53 AM)
I believe the Browns have the advantage over the Vikings if Musgrave chooses to leave Atlanta. That's because of his relationship to Mike Holmgren and Pat Shurmur. Even though Shurmur will call plays in the beginning he will surrender those duties to Musgrave fairly quickly if they get this deal done. For the Vikings, sticking with Bevell wouldn't be a bad thing but the Seahawks could nab him. Musgrave also may find the Vikings very appealing. Otherwise, I haven't heard on other candidates - well, I've heard but I haven't nailed it down.
Why are people so down on Cam Newton as an NFL prospect? It seems a little unfair (I'll refrain from using another word) to label him the next Vince Young. How about the next Aaron Rodgers or Brett Favre or Joe Flacco or Josh Freeman?
Chris Mortensen (11:55 AM)
That's the nature of how this works. Build 'em up, tear 'em down. Newton's issue is that he basically played just one season. But there is a process at work so Cam will get an opportunity to show the NFL how he projects into the league. He has four months to do that, plus a wonderful year on tape. But he shouldn't be given an automatic pass, either.
Marc (Malden, MA)
There was a report last week that Nnamdi Asomwagh spoke to Revis and Rex Ryan about becoming a Jet, while they were at last year's Pro Bowl. Is the NFL looking into this?
Chris Mortensen (11:59 AM)
There is nothing that would prevent Nnamdi from doing that. Lot of players tell other players and coaches that stuff during a season (pre-game, post-game, Pro Bowls). And Revis could always say he'd love to have him or I'll make sure everyone knows. Now Rex and the Jets would not be allowed to say much, if anything. The NFL is not looking into anything on this.
Mort, love your work and your tweets. Surely you heard the silly chatter this week about whether the Cowboys should trade Dez Bryant. Should I assume you think that's ridiculous, or do you see something there?
Chris Mortensen (11:59 AM)
You should assume it's not going to happen, as Stephen Jones just clarified publicly in strong words.
Chris Mortensen (12:02 PM)
I have to go and really didn't to as many questions during the session for which I apologize (Kenny from Chicago). Three or four important phone calls came in that i had to answer. Catch up with me on Twitter/MortReport. We have Sunday NFL Countdown at 1 p.m. ET - that's right, 1 p.m. this week for the two hours leading up to the Packers-Bears, the first game of the great double-header. Thanks and God Bless!