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)
Good morning....let's get to your questions - and don't forget to send your comments and questions to us for our NFL32 Show on ESPN2 at 6ET. If you can upload questions to YouTube for NFL32, it's a cool way to interact and get your face on TV, too!
John W (NY)
Mort, I'm a big fan of your reports. No one else takes a fan closer to the game! My question for you is which Washington RB will emerge as Shanahan's workhorse? Is Torrain the next Terrell Davis? Thanks!
Chris Mortensen (11:06 AM)
John, as you know, the hot back for Shanahan will stay the hot back. The key for Torain is to stay healthy. That's always the case for running backs - durability and availability. I still have a feeling that Tim Hightower and even the rookie Helu will have their moments ith the Redskins running game but Torain has a chance right now to be the "workhorse."
Coty (Black Hole)
Mort, Oakland has been bringing in LBers for tryouts, do you think it would be a good idea to work on a trade with Seattle for Aaron Curry? Oakland does not have any 2012 picks to trade really but have 2013 picks. Maybe send Seattle a 4th or 5th in 2013? Rumors were flying Seattle would take a low pick for him. Curry would come in at OLB and form a nice young tandem with McClain and they could restructre his deal to make him a Raider a while and cut the salary a bit maybe? I would love to see this happen, I for one think he can be a great player one day.
Chris Mortensen (11:09 AM)
Coty, my condolences to the Raiders family and Raider Nation on the passing of Al Davis. We owe him a lot and I especially include myself, regardless of the moments when I drew his wrath. As for the Aaron Curry trade, I'd made a run at home but I don't think Seattle would dump him without the 2012 pick or picks.
Mort, can you give your thoughts on the 49ers so far, whether you think they're a legitimate playoff team and if Alex Smith can finally reach his potential with Harbaugh and be more than a "game manager"?
Chris Mortensen (11:12 AM)
Yes, I think the 49ers can become a legit playoff team. They already has been building a team before Harbaugh arrive that added physical players - the type of players Harbaugh covets. They have some skill guys. Harbaugh takes great pride in developing QBs, for obvious reasons and Alex Smith seems to get better every week. Someobdy told me before the 48-3 win over the Bucs (a shocking score in today's NFL) that Smith was the #2 QB vs. the blitz. I see him getting the ball out more quickly. Oh, and there's nothing wrong with being a "game manager" - all QBs must do that but Smith will secure his future if he becomes a playmaker, too.
Mort, huge fan! With the Cowboys getting much of our secondary back from injury, along with a day-to-day Miles Austin, do you foresee these or any other positive developments making a difference this weekend at New England?
Chris Mortensen (11:15 AM)
Will, I'm just now starting to get dialed into that game. Interesting dynamic in play: Rob Ryan vs. Bill Belichick and the Patriots now. Rob has had a good day or two vs. the Pats on other occasions and no doubt he would love to help brother Rex but, more importantly, the Cowboys on a pretty big weekend for them. Miles Austin coming back is big. I think the Cowboys had a productive bye week, healing up and evaluating problems. I think this is going to be a very tight game - can Ryan put enough heat on Brady? If he can, could be an upset.
Donnie Post (Houston, Tx)
Mort happy about the Jets trade, I feel like its about time for the organization to make a move in the season to try to shake things up. Is Kubiak's job safe as long as he makes the playoffs? Or will McNair still look at who is available and see if he can upgrade?
Chris Mortensen (11:18 AM)
Donnie, I feel like it's too early to talk about coach's job status. I do think Bob McNair, the Texans' owner, would be sorely disappointed if his team didn't win the AFC South, even as they have lost arguably their two best players in Mario Williams for the season and Andre Johnson for a stretch. The division is there for the taking. If the Texans win the division, Kubiak isn't going anywhere.
As NFL offenses continue to move towards spread formations and pass-first attacks, Norv Turner's bunch formations and run-to-set-up-the-pass attack looks increasingly dated. This is especially apparent in the redzone. Do you believe that Norv is having trouble adapting, or is there something else wrong with the Chargers on offense?
Chris Mortensen (11:20 AM)
I know they're not finishing some drives but I don't know a single person in the NFL who would question Norv Turner's offensive prowess. Their red zone efficiency will improve when they get Antonio Gates back and if Vincent Jackson/Malcolm Floyd/Ryan Matthews can stay healthy.
Mike (Acworth, GA)
Is there a Running Back controversy brewing in Pittsburgh?
Chris Mortensen (11:23 AM)
Mike, very good question and I hope to deal with it on tonight's NFL32 show. Right now, Mendenhall's health has allowed Isaac Redman and even Jonathan Dwyer opportunities to show their stuff. They are physical runnes. Mendenhall is more gifted but once he's healthy, he will have to run with the same hunger that these other guys do, I think.
CD (Kzoo, MI)
What about that Lions D line? Is it the best in the NFL right now?
Chris Mortensen (11:24 AM)
It probably is. The Raiders' front four is pretty darn good and other teams present more of a front seven threat. But the Lions, as you know, are nine deep on the defensive line and anybody coach will tell you that teams with good/great four-man defensive lines with depth are very dangerous.
Anthony (Taipei, Taiwan)
Hey Mort,Been a big fan of yours. What are you hearing about Haley? Is he still in danger of losing his job after this season? Even though my Chiefs' have won 2 in row. What do you see Pioli doing after this season? P.S. I don't think the Chiefs are totally out of it yet, but they are playing hard and competitive for Haley.
Chris Mortensen (11:27 AM)
Anthony, I think there's a sense of confidence by the Chiefs that they are ready to roll again but let's be honest...they still have to do it without arguably their best player on offense, Jamaal Charles, and their best player on defense, Eric Berry. The Pioli/Haley dynamic is one discussed in league circles because both have strong personalities. There was tension last year after a 10-win, surprising AFC West title. But I think they need to work through this - together. Story will unfold.
Chris Mortensen (11:28 AM)
I have to jump on a conference call for NFL32 Show, again at 6 ET (ESPN2)....Steelers S Ryan Clark is among the guests who join us. Sunday NFL Countdown at 10 a.m. ET every week now...take care and God Bless!