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)
Good morning...let's see what you want to talk about.
MAURICE. SUNNVYVALE CA [via mobile]
HOW FAR DO YOU SEE THE 49ERS GOING THIS YEAR ?
Chris Mortensen (11:04 AM)
Maurice, the 49ers shouldn't be ignored, I know that. In fact, they clearly are going to win the NFC West and, not only that, they may be well-position for a playoff bye. Also, they play a brand of football that should play well in cold weather if they have to hit the road under those conditions. Super Bowl? I don't think so but I've learned to never count anybody out if they are in the "tournament" come January and February.
Please tell me, next April, we won't have to listen to experts praising Belichick's "brilliant manipulation" of the draft. That man can't pick anything but TE's.
Chris Mortensen (11:08 AM)
Jason, I can't control what comes out of the mouths of "experts" - lol! I will say that there are times when I've wondered and others in the league have wondered why the Patriots get so fascinated with multiplying their draft picks into the future when there is an impact player staring at the them. That's what the Patriots lack - game-changers and speed on both offense and defense, Tom Brady notwithstanding.
Al Capone (35th and Shields)
Mort, Will the NFC North have Three playoff teams? (Packers win division, Bears and Lions as Wildcard)
Chris Mortensen (11:12 AM)
You can't rule it out. The Bears once again have proven it is a mistake to over-react to a few ugly moments. The offensive performance we saw from them in Philadelphia had to be encouraging. Jay Cutler truly is a special QB and is as lethal as any passer when he's given time. The Bears' opening win over the Falcons could be a tie-breaker if Atlanta doesn't win the NFC South. But there's half a season left and for the Lions and Bears, they provide a pretty good "opener" this Sunday at Soldier Field.
Thoughts on the Bengals? If Benson was more consistent they could make a decent run the 2nd half and into the playoffs. Thanks for the chat!
Chris Mortensen (11:15 AM)
I'm a believer in the Bengals, though I admit I had some hesitation because one could question whether their defense had been seriously tested. But you have to like Andy Dalton, AJ Green, the O-line and what OC Jay Gruden has done in his first year on the job. The defensive line is one of the deepest in the NFL and the secondary has five former first-round draft picks. DC Mike Zimmer is doing his usual outstanding job and hopefully will get a strong look as a head coach after the season.
Mario NORWALK, CA [via mobile]
Goodmorning to you all as i was watching TIM TEBOW play the kid has heart but i feel he is not a true QB. we got lucky ya thanks to Mcgahee but when matt barkley falls to us do we pass him up?
Chris Mortensen (11:17 AM)
Mario, the Broncos will not pass up Matt Barkley if he becomes available through the draft and they have an opportunity to select him. I'm not sure the Broncos will be drafting that high to get Barkley if he's in the draft.
Why aren't people talking Texans? They're 6-3, their defense looks like the real deal (finally) and have battled numerous injuries up to this point. How many teams would be successful losing their best offensive and defensive players?
Chris Mortensen (11:20 AM)
John, I believe the Texans are saying, "sshhhhhhh,"...don't tell the secret. If I had to pick a team that could win the AFC that nobody is talking about, it is the Texans. They are going to be stronger for having to adjust without two impact players, Andre Johnson and Mario Williams. Andre is coming back. The Texans are a physical team on offense and their average time of possession is more than 33 minutes per game, which is one reason why the defense is even more effective under Wade Phillips.
Mort- Is Eli elite?
Chris Mortensen (11:22 AM)
The answer has to be yes. He's unflappable and he has the perfect persona for that New York pressure cooker. You also have to applaud what Tom Coughlin and OC Kevin Gilbride have done - along with the rest of the staff.
Kevin (New York)
Hey Mort.I know it's still early, but the Jets seem to be getting better each week. They are playing physical and running the football more effectively. This has in turn helped the play-action passing. Do you finally see the Jets overtaking the Patriots and winning the East?
Chris Mortensen (11:25 AM)
The Jets team I've seen play lately looks like they can win the AFC East this year. You have to like the way Shonn Greene is finally running the ball. I'm anxious to see how the Patriots deal with their current adversity as they go into this week's game against the Jets.
Al (Wausau, WI)
Chris, please fill in the blank if you can: The best way for the Vikings to have a bright future is for them to _________________.
Chris Mortensen (11:28 AM)
Not panic. I think they have found a quality QB in Christian Ponder. This is a team that has to re-tool some but it's nice to have that position secure going forward. Obviously, the O-line needs to be addressed and some quality WRs need to be drafted and developed. The defense also needs attention. In other words, I think the Vikings are stuck in transition but keeping a clear vision even while some may be frustrated with the success of the Packers, Lions and Bears in the same division will serve them well.
Chris Mortensen (11:30 AM)
Gotta get on the phone. I'll be back on Twitter @mortreport in awhile to answer a few more questions. NFL32 at 6 ET weekdays on ESPN. Sunday NFL Countdown at 10 a.m. every week. God Bless!