Chat with Ashley Fox
Welcome to SportsNation! On Monday, ESPN.com NFL columnist Ashley Fox stops by to chat.
Fox joined ESPN.com in 2011 after 11 years as a writer and columnist at the Philadelphia Inquirer, where she covered the National Football League, the Philadelphia Eagles and the Philadelphia 76ers. She also has worked at the Louisville Courier-Journal and Sports Illustrated. A North Carolina native, Fox lives in suburban Philadelphia with her husband, daughter and son.
Send your questions now and join Fox on Monday at 1 p.m. ET!
Ashley Fox (1:01 PM)
Good afternoon, everybody. Thanks for joining me for this week's chat. I will try to get to as many questions as I can. Let's go.
A Fly Sex Ho (Philadelphia)
Ashley! What do you think of the Shady McCoy extension? It seems well deserved, but they say you never overpay a RB.
Ashley Fox (1:03 PM)
The thing is, I don't think they overpaid him at all. McCoy is an important piece of what the Eagles are doing. He is versatile. And he is only 24 years old, which is important. The five-year extension takes him up to the doorstep of the 30-year-old mark. So I think it was a good move. The Eagles have taken care of their own players this off season. Should be a happy locker room.
Kirk from Kanssas City,Mo. [via mobile]
Would you consider this upcoming season as an no-excuse year for Matt Cassell,with the pieces the Chiefs added this offseason? They finanally have a solid starting line to go with depth up front and the reciever group looks solid and should flourish with a full mini camp and so fourth,the pick up of Kevin Boss should help Cassell and the offense as a whole.
Ashley Fox (1:06 PM)
Yes, Kirk, I would agree. This is a huge year for Cassel and as we've discussed here in recent weeks, the Chiefs are stocked with talent on both sides of the ball. This is Cassel's fourth season. He's got 39 starts. He's having to learn new offensive coordinator Brian Daboll's system, which will be a change. But he is smart and a hard worker. To your second question, which I won't post, in order for the Chiefs to be in the running for one of the top quarterbacks in next year's draft, they would have to bottom out this season, which I don't see happening.
Frank (La Marque)
Will the Saints current defensive personnel be more productive under Spagnuolo in terms of pass rush?
Ashley Fox (1:09 PM)
I really like Steve Spagnuolo, Frank. He was a great pickup for the Saints in the offseason. He doesn't blitz as much as Gregg Williams but prefers to get pressure from the front four. The Saints picked up some really talented defensive players, including defensive tackle Broderick Bunkley, who should thrive under Spagnuolo. In addition to getting pressure, one of the priorities will be getting more takeaways this season. The Saints finished 2011 ranked 31st in that category.
Chris Fiegler (Latham,NY)
Who do you think will be the Best Offensive & Defensive Rookie in the NFL in 2012?
Ashley Fox (1:12 PM)
It's impossible to project now, Chris, but obviously I'm looking forward to seeing RG3 and Luck, and I would have to think if both of those guys stay healthy throughout the season one of them will bring it in. Lots of positive early reports on both guys, although Luck can't rejoin the Colts until next months. As for defensive rookie of the year, I think Morris Claiborne is a terrific fit in Dallas and will be in a position to make a big impact.
Al (Wausau, WI)
Ashley, I can't help but believe that Vikings' QB Christian Ponder, given upcoming OTA's, minicamps, and training camp, plus help from drafted LT Matt Kalil, should have a better year in 2012 than 2011. Do you agree?
Ashley Fox (1:16 PM)
I would think so. Ponder was in a tough position last season with the lockout plus being the backup to Donovan McNabb heading into the season. He didn't become the starter until Week 7. He will benefit from an offseason as the guy, plus getting all the first-team reps. The Vikings, as we've discussed here, are a work in progress. Ponder should play better, but I still think they'll have a very high draft pick in 2013. And you know what that will have meant.
Matthew (Columbia, NJ)
Ashley, do you see the Eagles signing a veteran safety, especially after last week when they were 1 of the 2 finalists for Yermiah Bell?
Ashley Fox (1:17 PM)
I don't know. Maybe. They don't seem settled at safety, but who else is out there? They've solidified the other defensive spots, so I would think they might just roll with what they've got. We'll see.
Dr. H. Doofenshmirtz (Tri-State Area)
Knee, attitude, whatever--is Kellen Winslow going to be highly sought after by other teams? Will Tampa be able to trade him this late in the off-season?
Ashley Fox (1:20 PM)
They're going to have a hard time trading him. What team is going to give up something for him when they know the Bucs will just cut him? I would expect someone will sign him, but he's an old 28 with a history of knee problems. He averaged 10.2 yards per catch last season and can't get separation. But tight end is a hot position in the NFL right now, and it's better to have more than less, so I would expect someone will sign him.
Jay (Long Island, NY)
Hey Ashley! Whats your take on the Jets. Have they upgraded their team enough to be relevant (playoffs)? Thanks!
Ashley Fox (1:24 PM)
Hi Jay. Great question. It all starts with the quarterback, as we know, and I fully expect Tebow will be starting at some point, probably sooner rather than later. Sanchez is going to have to play well to hang on to his job, and I don't see it happening. That's just me.
rahim aka rah-steam (hackensack, N.J.)
Live on the wild side and give me an early mvp prediction!!!!!
Ashley Fox (1:26 PM)
Okay, okay. Early MVP: Peyton Manning. How's that? I'm not into early predictions, especially when reporters just got to see Manning throw for the first time today. But the man has a lot to prove. He's incredibly driven, works extremely hard, studies like crazy. I think he's going to have a big year.
rahim aka rah-steam (hackensack, N.J.)
Which 2nd year qb do you see exceeding expectations this season? Which do you expect to disappoint?
Ashley Fox (1:27 PM)
And one more, because I'm in a good mood: I don't know if it's possible for him to exceed expectations, because they certainly are awfully high, but I think Cam Newton also is going to have a big year. Not sure it will be big enough to win the division, but I think we're going to see a big jump from Year 1 to Year 2, for him and the Panthers.
Michael (Texas) [via mobile]
What do you think of the Pats moves this offseason ?
Ashley Fox (1:29 PM)
I like them. They obviously needed upgrades on defense and they got them through the draft. First six players taken, I believe, were defensive players. And the Patriots are stockpiling receivers. There are going to be some names that won't make that team at that position. It's going to be interesting to see who makes it and who doesn't.
Ali Farwaan (Chicago, IL)
What do you think about the fight between Titus Young and Louis Delmas, and Young being banned from team facilities? Could this cause a huge rift in the Lions locker room?
Ashley Fox (1:30 PM)
I think I need to know more about it before I comment on it. But it doesn't sound good.
what team do you feel will do something no one else thought would happen (like the 49ners going to the championsip game)
Ashley Fox (1:32 PM)
That's a good question, Rob. And you're right, the Niners really came from nowhere, especially considering the had a rookie head coach (in the NFL at least) taking over with no off season. Don't know if anyone can repeat that. Would the Eagles making a run this season be a huge surprise? No. The Chiefs? Not really. But those are two teams that missed the playoffs last season that I would expect to be in it and capable of making a big run.
Kevin Cunningahm (Portland, OR)
In your current column you say that LeSean McCoy's contract sets the bar for contracts for Rice and Forte with no mention of How Arian Foster set the market for all of them. Why do you feel that McCoy's contract (which is almost EXACTLY the same as Foster's) sets the bar instead of Fosters?
Ashley Fox (1:36 PM)
My colleague Andrew Brandt has made a good point on Twitter comparing the cash flow of each: Foster gets $18 million in the first year, McCoy gets $8.9. Two-year cash flow, Foster $23.75, McCoy $12.36. Three-year cash flow, Foster $30, McCoy $20.365. So they aren't the same at all.
DIE HARD BRONCOS FAN (Trapped in Ohio)
Hey Ashley, do you like Denver's chances of winning the AFC West again? Everyone is concerned about Peyton, but he PASSED every teams physical back in March! I'm more concerned about the 2nd toughest schedule.....
Ashley Fox (1:37 PM)
Yes, I like their chances, but that division is going to be a dogfight and you're right. The Broncos have a challenging schedule to say the least.
Dog Tired (Cleveland)
Ashley, who's my starting qb this year? Will Richardson be the next Peterson?
Ashley Fox (1:39 PM)
I hear ya, Dog Tired. I think you know who your starting QB is going to be. He's your first-round draft pick. As for Richardson, hoping he's the next Peterson is a little unfair, don't you think?
The Pats offense will able to score on anybody but can the D be improved enough keep them as a SB favorite? Do we expect them to be a first team to 45 wins type team?
Ashley Fox (1:41 PM)
Well, they averaged 32.1 points per game in 2011, which trailed only Green Bay and New Orleans. First one to 45? No. I would expect their defense to be better this season. They know they need to get better. That's why they addressed it in the draft. Same with the Packers.
Hi Ashley, I read your column about not letting your son play football due to concussion and health concerns. I respect your reasoning and certainly am concerned about the concussion issue myself. However, I can't help but say it is very hypocritical of you to draw a paycheck while writing about and covering pro football. I would respect your decision more if you ended that column by saying it would be the last time you write about football. How can you acknowledge a serious problem yet continue to make a living off of it?
Ashley Fox (1:43 PM)
I hear you, Sean, and I admitted it was hypocritical. It is a valid criticism. But I've got to tell you, there are plenty of other people who make a living off the game who feel the same way. We all still have to make a living and try to make a difference.
best all around offense in the NFC North?
Ashley Fox (1:47 PM)
Love the black-and-blue division. Gotta beat the Packers and slow that offense down. The Bears have had a good off season and I expect Jay Cutler will be happy. (Can't say the same thing for Matt Forte.) And Detroit is looking to build off a break-out 2011. That division, and the NFC overall, is loaded.
Nick (Middletown, NJ) [via mobile]
Over/under 10 total sacks for mario williams?
Ashley Fox (1:48 PM)
I'll take the over.
Jason (Athens, Ga)
Hey Ashley, with the pieces through free agency that the Buffalo Bills added as well as having a good draft two years in a row...Do you think the Bills have a realistic chance of getting to the playoffs?
Ashley Fox (1:51 PM)
I don't know, Jason. Can it happen? Sure. Is it realistic in a division that contains the Patriots and the Jets? Sure. But they won just six games last season. I like the moves they've made, particularly acquiring Williams, but I'm not sure it will end up being enough. Not saying it won't, I'm just not sure.
Ashley, the suicide of Junior Seau certainly brings attention to the concussion issue, but to me it won't really hit home until a current star player, in his prime, quits out of fear. If say Eli Manning or Calvin Johnson abruptly retired over the issue while still healthy and in their primes that to me would show this is a bigger problem then what is currently being portrayed.
Ashley Fox (1:53 PM)
Well, I don't think we know why Seau committed suicide yet, or whether concussions played a part. But I hear you on having it hit home with a star player retiring early. I'm not sure we will ever see that.
Broncosfan [via mobile]
Ok Ashley... My 2 questions are regarding one of your latest articles... How can you think McNabb is a perfect fit with the Birds? Just because he knows the system, doesn't mean he'll be a success. 2nd question... Why do you think McNabb is a HOFer? Stats are borderline, no hardware, favorite in 4 NFC championships, lost 3. Just because he is the best ever Eagles QB, doesn't mean he should be in the HOF!
Ashley Fox (1:54 PM)
I didn't say I thought McNabb was a Hall of Famer. I said he will be up for discussion. I also didn't say McNabb is a perfect fit for the Birds. They are a perfect fit for him. There's a difference.
Jay Cutler (Chicago, IL)
Am I out of excuses with the additions of Marshall, Jeffrey, and Bush to the offense to go along with Matt and Devin? It's a playoffs or bust season for me and Coach Smith wouldn't you say?
Ashley Fox (1:55 PM)
Yes, Jay. Thanks for checking in.
Is this a make or break year for Matt Ryan and Mike Smith in Atlanta?
Ashley Fox (1:56 PM)
This is a huge year for both, Vinnie. They know it, too. Gotta get a playoff W.
Tonu (Richmond, CA)
Can the Raiders win the AFC West if McFadden stays healthy?
Ashley Fox (1:56 PM)
Sure. But they wouldn't be my pick out of the gate.
Jordan (Casper, Wy)
Ashley, do you think AJ Green will be a top three (Megatron and Fitz 1-2) this year?
Ashley Fox (1:58 PM)
That's lofty company, don't you think, Jordan? The kid has talent, though. But let's give him a couple more seasons to prove himself before putting him in the same sentence with Calvin Johnson and Larry Fitzgerald.
Ashley Fox (1:59 PM)
Alright, guys. Thanks for joining me. Sorry I couldn't get to everybody. Hit me up on Twitter @AshleyMFox and I'll answer more there. Have a great week.