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. Still crazy here around Bristol, CT, where we are in 5th day of power outage but found a hotel with power! Let's chat.
With Pete Carroll's poor coaching decisions becoming more apparent week to week, how soon before he is on the hot seat in Seattle? Not soon enough, if you ask me.
Chris Mortensen (11:07 AM)
Greg, I'm not big on owners firing coaches after 2 or 3 years. Carroll admitted his manhood got the best of him trying to run the ball with Marshawn Lynch and it fell short as the clock ran out. That is absolutely a mistake. All coaches make them. Officials make them. The best GMs make them. Owners make them. I make them. Let's give it a run...and I didn't agree with the firing of Jim Mora there, either, after that brief period.
After an 0-3 start, Chiefs are leading the AFC West! Insane! With the inept QB play in SD, trying to get Palmer on the same page in Oak, and the Tebow disaster in Denver, do the Chiefs have a legitimate shot to make the playoffs?
Chris Mortensen (11:09 AM)
No question, Jarric, but other than the Broncos being "out of it," I don't know if we can identify a favorite. I do think if the Raiders can get Darren McFadden healthy and playing for the second half of the season, that Oakland may be the favorite. But the Chiefs are so tough-minded, well-coached and I really liked what I saw from Cassel in that winning FG drive.
Rob (San Antonio)
Hey Mort, as a life long Steeler fan this is the first time in recent memory I can remember Pgh. drastically altering what they do on defense for a specific team. Is this a sign of things to come with the pass happy league and do you think is the formula they need to beat the Pack should they meet again?
Chris Mortensen (11:12 AM)
Rob, I don't get too excited about things I see in week 8 of the regular season but what the Steelers did - and I'm not talking about just beating the Patriots - but it was just a neat thing to see that the coaching staff and players adjusted their normal identity and executed a great game plan. I do think Ben Roethlisberger is taking his game to another level. This game against the Ravens is big because the Ravens won the first one but I still think the Steelers will be there in the end. And, by that, they were my Super Bowl pick.
If the Bears slap Forte with the Franchise tag, can you see a situation where he will sit out to start next year?
Any more rumors on T.O. signing anywhere?
Chris Mortensen (11:15 AM)
Don, had a brief technical glitch, but nothing new on Terrell Owens. I know Bears have asked about it but I do think he's a bad fit with Chicago. They are very route specific and Owens' strength has never been route running. He's a powerful guy but there may be too many mitigating factors that make his options obviously slim.
Chris Mortensen (11:16 AM)
And on Matt Forte, running backs generally do not "hold out" into the regular season because of their short shelf life. By the way, Forte will join us tonight on NFL32 on ESPN2 between 6 and 7 ET.
Patrick (NH (Day 5 no power))
If Colts do get 1st pick they would be better off trading that pick for a boatload of other picks. They need a lot more than Luck. Agree?
Chris Mortensen (11:20 AM)
Patrick, there is so much hinging with the Colts that I believe the philosophy going forward would be to grab a true franchise quarterback and they would take Luck. Clearly, Peyton Manning made all players around him better. I've said this on NFL32: In my opinion, Manning will not be angry if the Colts decide to take Luck and he's healthy; however, he won't want to stay around because he truly believes the first player in the draft (quarterback) should play from day one. And Colts Vice Chairman Bill Polian has always valued the franchise QB, such as he found in Buffalo with Jim Kelly and Indianapolis with Peyton Manning. We plan to talk about Peyton again tonight on NFL32, by the way.
Mickey (Attalla, AL)
The Bronco's look absolutely dysfunctional at QB right now, other than being bad enough to land the number one pick and get Andrew Luck is there anyway they get this resolved before next season?
Chris Mortensen (11:22 AM)
Mickey, there is almost no question that the Broncos will be searching for a QB they believe can one day win a Super Bowl. There will be other quality QBs in the draft besides Luck and we will see who pops loose via trade of free agency, although I do believe Brady Quinn will prove he can be a big-time starter in the NFL. (That's a case I'll save for another day). But the Tebow factor makes it tough for anyone currently on the roster to survive there.
I watched Chris Johnson this past Sunday. To his credit the blocking is horrible for him and he is manhandled before hitting the line of scrimmage. Is it possible the o-line has a problem with his holdout or is the new blocking scheme a disaster? How do they fix this mess?
Chris Mortensen (11:24 AM)
Mick, you're very keen in your observation. Some of this is on Chris Johnson but as our "Caveman" (Gary Horton, former NFL scout) noted last night in film study on NFL32, Johnson is not getting help from the play-calling, execution/blocking. They do have a new offensive coordinator and Bruce Matthews is in his first year as a full-time line coach. I think they'll get it right because HC Mike Munchak gets it.
Thoughts on the Bills vs. Jets game?
Chris Mortensen (11:27 AM)
Love this game. There's a part of me that believes the Bills will school the Jets but I don't want to be unrealistic. Huge matchup with Nick Mangold vs. Bills rookie NT Marcel Dareus. And a very underrated matchup between Darrelle Revis and Stevie Johnson, who is so quick he may give Revis some problems. I don't know how I'm picking this because I think the Jets' offense will produce more points than their average.
Scott (Northglenn, CO )
Please expound on Brady Quinn's potential...Broncos fans need something to be optimistic about!
Chris Mortensen (11:32 AM)
He has Tim Tebow work ethic and character and extremely intelligent. He is a prototype QB with size. His arm and accuracy have improved. I'd be concerned about him in Denver because they spent so much time with Orton as starter and developing Tebow that there probably will be a rust factor. But in Cleveland, Quinn looked like the real deal in some starts (remember the Cutler vs. Quinn high-scoring duel?) before he broke his hand. Then came in a new regime and new regimes have a tendency to blow things out, as you well know, Scott. David Lee, a former NFL QB coach now at Ole Miss, worked with Tebow at the Senior Bowl and this past off-season worked with Peyton Manning (before his neck problem), Eli Manning and Quinn at various points. He says Quinn had a stronger arm than any, was even more accurate and only Peyton's footwork was superior. He really walked away from all those sessions that when someone gives BQ a real opportunity, something good will happen. But perception is perception and there's a hurdle to overcome for Quinn.
Holmgren and Schurmer are two great offensive minds, so why can't the Browns get anything gonig on offense. And why can't they get any playmakers in Cleveland? Peyton Hillis is nice -- when healthy -- but not exactly a burner.
Chris Mortensen (11:34 AM)
It's only year 2 in the Holmgren regime and year 1 with Shurmur as head coach. I believe Colt McCoy really has to prove to them that he's really the guy or the Browns will be looking for a QB, too. Hillis has dug himself a hole but he is powerful and he has good hands so he can be part of a complementary backfield. They just need to keep building their roster with good players, Matea.
Lee (Frederick, MD)
WHY does it seem the COWBOYS have an attitude problem. They just cant play a solid game without one phase of the game stumbling. Sometimes it's the offense, last week the defense. Whats the problem cuz its been this way for years now.
Chris Mortensen (11:36 AM)
Lee, I think the Cowboys have made a mistake by turning Tony Romo into a "safe" quarterback. You eliminate greatness when you do that. I do think they have good players but it's not a roster that wows anyone. Let's see how the season moves on. This league generally doesn't show itself until December.
Chris Mortensen (11:38 AM)
NFL32 conference call is happening...remember, Bears RB Matt Forte will call into show tonight...6 p.m. ET on ESPN2. Sunday NFL Countdown at 10 a.m. And you can follow me on Twitter @mortreport. Oh, send us some questions, comments for NFL32 via Twitter, Facebook and YouTube. Get your face on TV with a good question and we'll answer it. God Bless!