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 (12:59 PM)
Hello everybody. Thanks for joining me today. Lots to discuss. Let's get started.
Chris Fiegler (Latham,NY)
Will we still use Replacement Officials at the Start of the 2012NFL Season?
Ashley Fox (1:02 PM)
I hope not, Chris. I wrote about this on Friday. It is crazy to even consider using replacement officials to officiate regular-season games. It has been bad enough in the preseason. Once the regular-season starts, the game is going to get faster. Every call will be important. Imagine if a replacement ref blows a call that costs a team a game. Players and coaches would go nuts. Fans, too. The league needs to get this done.
Deven (Buffalo, NY)
Where do you see the Bills this season in the standings?
Ashley Fox (1:05 PM)
I've been working on my division predictions, and I have Buffalo second behind the Patriots and ahead of the Jets and Dolphins. I like what they've done on defense. They shouldn't miss Shawne Merriman. I love the addition of Mario Williams. They still will be chasing the Patriots, as everyone in that division does.
Rich (New Jersey)
Will the Jets figure out the Tim Tebow - Mark Sanchez situation, after an 0-2 start, 9 total points in the pre-season it looks like it'll be a long season for the team and it's fans. I like Sanchez as the starter base on past performances, how do you see this playing out before the season starts?
Ashley Fox (1:08 PM)
Before the season starts? It'll be status quo. They'll try to make it work with Sanchez as the starter and Tebow in situationally. I feel for Sanchez. He's in a tough situation. No quarterback wants to come off the field. It messes with their rhythm and timing. But the other problem the Jets have is they are thin at receiver. Whenever you are talking about having your corner play receiver, that doesn't say much for the receivers you already have.
Tim (El Cajon, CA)
Ashley, just looking at when the starters played during the Bills/Vikes game, you think the Vikings may be a little better then people give them credit for, or maybe the Bills defense isn't as good as everyone is hyping it up to be?
Ashley Fox (1:10 PM)
I think the Vikings might be better than I was giving them credit for. Sure. We will see. They'll definitely be better with AP back, although I think it would be nuts to play him in a preseason game. I can't think of any reason why that would be a good thing to do. Not one.
i have the colts 8-8 what do you say
Ashley Fox (1:11 PM)
I'd say you are overly optimistic. But you have a nice quarterback. Love his poise and how he bounced back from those two picks last night (the second one obviously wasn't his fault). He looks like he's going to be a good one.
Do you think Hard Knocks should have shown Chad Johnson getting cut?
Ashley Fox (1:12 PM)
Yes. Why not? It was compelling TV. That's what that show is about: Giving us inside access.
NFC North standings?
Ashley Fox (1:14 PM)
I'm still working on the NFC. I believe it's me, Shefter and Chadiha who are picking all eight divisions. Should post in the next week or so. For the NFC North, I'll probably go 1. Green Bay, 2. Chicago, 3. Detroit, 4. Minnesota. But it's going to be tight and I think this division could produce three playoff teams.
Im trying my best not to be a homer Ashley, but your coworker Bill Williamson came out with some NFL player ranking. He put Robbie Gould as the 24th best kicker?? The guy is one of the most accurate kickers in the league and he can hit a 58 yarder. It's a travesty that he isnt a top ten ranking
Ashley Fox (1:15 PM)
You're allowed to be a homer. It's okay. I'll have to give Bill's rankings another look. I would think Gould would be higher, too.
Nathan (Dalton, GA)
my draft is this week. I'm picking no 9 in a 10 team league. It seems the first four or five picks in this league is going to be all QB's. If i'm number 9, shoud I take the best RB, WR, or best avail. QB?
Ashley Fox (1:16 PM)
I don't play fantasy, so I'm not the one to ask. Sorry.
Why can't there be a Hards Knocks program during the regular season? NFL fans would love it!
Ashley Fox (1:18 PM)
Yes, they would. I would love it, too. Coaches would hate it. Players, too. For the teams, it seems like a good idea at the time, but it is really tough to have that many cameras in spaces that usually are private. The exposure is great for brand awareness, but logistically it's hard. No team would allow that during the regular season.
It looks like the Raiders are hurt at WR. Do you see them taking a shot at Plax or C. Johnson?
Ashley Fox (1:22 PM)
That's a good question. There are several teams that need receivers (Miami is one of them). Both of those guys come with baggage. Both are getting up there in age. It'll be interesting to see whether anyone picks up Johnson after what happened in Miami. Could the Raiders? Sure. I wonder what the quarterback would think about 85.
Bryan (Montclair, NJ)
Thoughts on the Giants viral video mess?
Ashley Fox (1:25 PM)
Well, I haven't actually seen the video yet, but I've read about it. To me, the whole hazing thing is so sophomoric. These guys are supposed to be men. You really want to dunk your teammate in a cold tub? Seriously? Is that supposed to be funny? I'm surprised Coughlin allows it. Andy Reid does not allow any form of hazing, whether it's something like that or having a rookie carry a vet's shoulder pads.
Gabbert (Lions' cage)
Does the national media need the whole yr to finally realise I am not scared? or have you started to hear the winds of change blow through?
Ashley Fox (1:26 PM)
Not the whole year, no.
Zach (MI) [via mobile]
Any chance that Kirk Cousins just played his way into a QB controversy in Washington?
Ashley Fox (1:27 PM)
Nope. None. Washington has its starter.
Nick (Middletown, NJ) [via mobile]
The Jets will sign Merriman. That FO is ridiculous. So is their HC
Ashley Fox (1:27 PM)
This made me laugh.
Do you see Pittsburgh patching an offensive line together by the opening game?
Ashley Fox (1:28 PM)
They're going to have to.
Al (Wausau, WI)
Ashley, with the Packers down a linebacker due to the Desmond Bishop injury, might Shawne Merriman be a fit there (at least as a replacement for this year)?
Ashley Fox (1:32 PM)
I'm not sure Shawne Merriman can still play. He's had five sacks in the last five seasons and has had two significant injuries. He's only 28 but boy has his production fallen off since his early days in San Diego. Someone will probably give him a look, maybe even GB. We'll see.
The AFC North is not a division to have a questionable offensive line. Ask Ben who hurt his ankle at thh tail end of the season. Every team in the division will be beating Ben up, again. How long will he survive?
Ashley Fox (1:36 PM)
That is a very good point. The Steelers don't play a division game until Week 7 (Cincinnati) and don't see the Ravens until Week 11 at home. But it also doesn't help that they're playing the NFC East. They've got some good pass rushers too.
sooooo, when should MJD end his hold out? Surely does not seem as if the Jags offense misses him as much as he or the whole country thought they would.
Ashley Fox (1:37 PM)
Today would probably be a good day.
True or False- Cutler has a career year?
Ashley Fox (1:39 PM)
Sorry about that. I got locked out of the chat for a minute.
Ashley Fox (1:41 PM)
As to Cutler, a career year for him would be to complete better than 63.5 percent (Denver, '07) of his passes and throw for more than 4,526 yards (Denver, '08). I think that is realistic. The Bears loaded up for him. He's finally got a true No. 1. He's got a versatile running back who can catch the ball out of the backfield. He's got to stay healthy, of course, but I would expect a big year for him.
brad (GR) [via mobile]
Matt Stafford is a beast
Ashley Fox (1:44 PM)
Agreed. He threw for 5,038 yards last season, rather quietly. That's an insane number. No reason to think he can't do it again.
Ted Thompson (Green Bay)
Hi Ashley, I just saw the post on Shawne Merriman, and wanted to reply. We have NO immediate plans on signing Mr. Merriman. We have no need for a player who's lights have been turned out.
Ashley Fox (1:44 PM)
Justin (Stillwater, OK)
Solid performance for Jaguar WR Blackmon in his first preseason game. Do you think that will translate throughout the regular season?
Ashley Fox (1:44 PM)
The kid has skills, yes. First-round guy should contribute. He'll garner plenty of attention.
KING Kevin (Fandom)
How do you see Pierre Garcon this year? Top 12 NFL WR?
Ashley Fox (1:47 PM)
Do you know who the No. 12 receivers (they tied) in catches last year? I do, because I just looked. Marques Colston, Larry Fitzgerald and Tony Gonzalez, who each had 80 catches. Can Garcon have that many? Maybe. He had 70 last year.
Alex Kelemecz (Charlotte, NC)
NFC South Champion? Carolina Panthers? I think they have a great shot if the defense stays healthy and Lafell produces. What do you think?
Ashley Fox (1:49 PM)
I know there is a lot of buzz and excitement around the Panthers, and for good reason. I spent two days at their camp. There's a lot going right with that team. But I don't see them winning the division. Not yet. We've got to see how New Orleans deals with not having Sean Payton and Joe Vitt (for the first six games), and I'm expecting big things from the Falcons.
Zygi Wilf (Winter Park, MN)
Ashley, I just saw the Ted Thompson post, and felt a need to comment, Mr. Merriman is not being considered for our 53-man roster. Just thought you might want to know...
Ashley Fox (1:49 PM)
You guys make me laugh.
Let me rephrase that Kirk Cousins question: has be played his way into being the #2 qb ahead of one Rex Grossman?
Ashley Fox (1:51 PM)
Ah ha. That makes more sense. And good question. I don't know. But that's worth keeping an eye on. I'm not a huge Rex Grossman fan.
wayne (va bch)
goodness, hopefully Collie didn't have another concussion, but if so, he has to call it a career, or someone like his mother has to step in and say enough is enough. What is the NFL's responsibility for someone like Collie with his frequency of head trauma, especially with respect to the heightened awareness of concussions. It has to be more than "whatever the doctor says"
Ashley Fox (1:54 PM)
This is such a complicated issue. For Collie, I believe I saw where if he is concussed, this would be his fourth in 21 months. Is that right? That's so dangerous, especially given what we now know and continue to learn about CTE and the effects of head trauma. Scary stuff. It would be unprecedented for the league to say someone can't play because of repeated injuries. The player would have to make that decision for himself, and let's face it, very few would choose to end their careers.
Does Russel Wilson have a shot to be a starter in Seattle? Looking at his 2 Pre-Season games, he looks really good!
Ashley Fox (1:55 PM)
Yes, but I think it's going to be Flynn.
How long do you think the Eagles will play their starters tonight...
Ashley Fox (1:57 PM)
I bet you'll see them for a half. If the first-team offense has a good first couple of series, maybe less. Or at least maybe pull the QB. You don't' want him to hit his thumb on a teammate's helmet again.
What is your thoughts on Packers signing Cedric Benson?
Ashley Fox (1:57 PM)
I like it. Low risk.
Should Dallas be concern that they can keep Romo from getting a beat down every week?
Ashley Fox (1:58 PM)
It's always a concern.
Ashley Fox (1:59 PM)
Alright everybody. Thanks for joining me. We'll do it again next week. Hit me up on Twitter (@AshleyMFox) if I didn't get to your question. I'll answer more there. Have a great week.