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 (11:03 AM)
Happy NFL season 2012. Great to be back. Have an NFL32 special edition show at 3:30 ET on ESPN today but let's get your questions first...
Travis (Plano, TX)
Is it probable that both Antonio Brown and Mike Wallace have over 1,200 yards receiving and 8 TD receptions this season? If so, is Big Ben about to have his most impressive season?
Chris Mortensen (11:05 AM)
That seems a bit of reach but can't rule it out. I definitely believe both players will hover in that 1,000-yard range. Ben is clearly one of game's elite QBs and I think he'll do well with Todd Haley calling plays. But the O-line is still a worry and, therefore, so is Ben's health. What else is new?
keith kulpinski (crystal lake, il)
Hey Mort,What kind of success do you see for the Bills this year? Will they beat the Jets on Sunday?
Chris Mortensen (11:08 AM)
Funny but I have picked the Jets to beat the Bills this Sunday while picking the Bills to grab a wild card spot. I'm very anxious to see this game. I believe the Jets are better than their preseason showing. Preseason tells me about individuals, not about teams. For one, I think Tebow will make the Jets better in the red zone. On the Bills, I can't wait to see how they look with a game-plan in place and, for me, their playoff hopes hinge on the performance and durability of both the defensive and offensive lines.
bob nj [via mobile]
who do u like in the pitt den game n why
Chris Mortensen (11:12 AM)
I picked the Broncos because of home field and the Steelers are a better defense when Ryan Clark is on the field. It's not a gimme for Peyton Manning in his debut. I think the Steelers carry the sting of the playoff defeat to Broncos & Tebow; they know they showed a blatant disrespect for Tebow and it burned them. You rarely see that from a Dick LeBeau defense. I could see both quarterbacks - Manning and Roethlisberger - having to deal with the pass rush.
Bryan (Springdale, AR)
What's the latest on Adrian Peterson and Rashad Mendenhall playing this weekend? What about Jason Witten while we're at it?
Chris Mortensen (11:15 AM)
Hello Bryan from Springdale, AR!!! Peterson plays unless there's a setback but as I said on NFL32 and Monday Night Football halftime a couple of weeks ago, Toby Gerhart will get a pretty fair share of the carries early in the season. Mendenhall is a mystery and it caught me off-guard that he was up and practicing this week. Earlier, the word was he probably would sit the first 3 or 4 weeks so it's something we'll follow all week. Witten traveled to New York, wants to play, willing to sign a waiver (Cowboys won't accept it) and is still hoping a doctor clears him tonight. They say game-time decision but still unlikely/doubtful.
Chris, are people underestimating the Browns? I know we have a young team and will have growing pains but the media is expecting them to win only 1-2 games...i think 5-6 is more logical. Do you agree?
Chris Mortensen (11:17 AM)
The Browns are very young and playing in AFC North is no gift. I'm between 4 and 6 wins on the Browns, though. They do have good, young talent and for them it's a shame DL Phil Taylor won't be ready early this season because of injury; also, if Joe Haden loses his appeal on the 4-game suspension, that's a toughie.
Aaron (Kansas City )
How far do you see Chiefs going this year? What's their final regular season record? After the pre-season I am a bit concerned about what they have to offer this year.
Chris Mortensen (11:19 AM)
Aaron, I'm back to my theme of not judging team performance in preseason. Biggest concern for the Falcons game is injuries but to me perhaps the most critical absence is Tamba Hali with the 1-game suspension. Season-wise, I have the Chiefs winning the AFC West with the Broncos as the wild card. It could flip flop between those two teams.
i see a big problem with people already making the patriots the afc east champions with that horrible OL. what do you think?
Chris Mortensen (11:22 AM)
Ken, I have had my doubts on Patriots with the O-line but Bill Belichick and O-line coach Daunte Scarnecchia are usually pretty adept at figuring out a way. If they don't, Tom Brady will be negatively impacted. But the Patriots defense will be better, they have too many weapons on offense and a friendly schedule not to win the AFC East.
How much are we buying into MJD seeing a limited amount of rushes in this week 1 match-up? Also, any updates on Trent Richardson and Joe Haden?
Chris Mortensen (11:24 AM)
MJD will be the 3rd down back and he'll get some carries; I've been told for more than week that Trent Richardson would start and play, barring some setback. Haden went into Wednesday (today) still available and it's unusual for the league to formally suspend a player at this stage so I'm under the assumption he will be available for week 1. Monitoring.
Mike P (SD, CA)
Good morning, Chris! The Chargers didn't exactly inspire hope for me in their preseason showings, especially the offense which has been their bread and butter (Rivers still throwing picks, not connecting with Meachem, injuries galore, etc). Am I right to be worried, or is preseason just preseason?
Chris Mortensen (11:26 AM)
The Chargers' offensive line is still a concern. Rivers getting on the same page with Meachem is a work in progress but Meachem is ot considered a No. 1 WR anyway. I do like the Chargers defense as improved. But I go back to the O-line concerns and the running game. They need those areas to deliver and a 16-game season from Antonio Gates to be contenders.
Bert (St. Paul, MN)
Beast Mode caged by back spasms! He has been resting for a few weeks and might still miss the game! He already missed a game last year due to this. Are they going to get this figured out or do we have to worry week to week all year long. Maybe a change of diet like cutting out Skittles?
Chris Mortensen (11:27 AM)
I am not ruling out Marshawn Lynch. Skittles still on the menu, I think. I hope to have an update on NFL32 at 3:30 ET.
Harrison (De Pere, WI)
Who's going to have a bigger year for the Packers: Jordy Nelson or Greg Jennings?
Chris Mortensen (11:28 AM)
It's like Aaron Rodgers says, their receivers know the deal. The open guy gets the ball. I'd say they will have close to equal numbers.
IF Lynch is out, is it Turbin or Washington that gets the carries?
Chris Mortensen (11:30 AM)
Turbin would get Lynch's load, I think, because he's physical like Lynch and the Seahawks are a physical team. Leon's role would increase somewhat if Lynch is out but go with Turbin in that case, Chip. Remember your IF.
Your opinion of the temp refs performance in the preseason,because other than missing blatant calls and makeing phantom calls,not knowing the rule book and sounding like a scared 7 year old at their first spelling bee I though they were ok.
Chris Mortensen (11:31 AM)
I'm on the record as saying this is an embarrassment and a blow to the NFL's theme on "integrity of the game."
How much more improved will the Packers Defense be this year? I think Nick Perry will provide an upgrade over last years OLB's and I think Tramon Williams will be back the 2010 version vs. 2011. Thoughts?
Chris Mortensen (11:32 AM)
I have doubts about Nick Perry's first year transition and Tramon Williams needs to be the 2010 version. Tough to pick against Packers but I don't give them a pass.
Stuart (Brooklyn, NY)
Hi Mort. Will Chris Johnson be the CJ from 2 years ago or last year and why? Thanks so much!
Chris Mortensen (11:33 AM)
The Titans believe this has been Johnson's best off-season and best camp. I don't know if the O-line is as physical as it once was but they're expecting a strong year. Not 2,000 yards but strong.
Chris Mortensen (11:34 AM)
Ah, we have just 30 minutes so I have to run. Catch us on NFL32 at 3:30 ET (@NFL32 on Twitter). You can follow me on Twitter @MortReport. And we are fired up for NFL Countdown this Sunday at 10 a.m. ET. God Bless to all and I'll be answering questions on Twitter the rest of the week, too.