Chat with Ashley Fox
Welcome to SportsNation! On Thursday, 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 Thursday at 4 p.m. ET!
Ashley Fox (4:04 PM)
Hi everybody. Thanks for joining me. Let's get rolling.
Kekoa (Charlotte) [via mobile]
With 5 out of their 6 losses being down to the wire one possession games, are the Panthers (2-6) good enough to bounce back and squeeze into the playoffs?
Ashley Fox (4:05 PM)
At 2-6? No. There's only been a handful of teams to start 3-5 and make the playoffs. 2-6 is too big a deficit to overcome, particularly with how deep the NFC is. But I like your optimism.
Why is Eli struggling recently?
Ashley Fox (4:07 PM)
He's gone up against some decent defenses. Pittsburgh is no joke and Dallas is talented. Over the length of the season, Manning will be fine. I bet he'll have a big bounce back game at Cincinnati this weekend, especially with a little extra scouting report from his brother. That can't hurt.
LeSean (City of Brotherly Love)
Will the next head coach in Philly realize that I'm a beast that should be regularly?
Ashley Fox (4:08 PM)
Let's hope so. If I were the Eagles head coach, especially given the status of the offensive line, my play calling would go like this: 25 left, 25 right, 25 middle, screen to 25. McCoy had 101 yards, I think, in the first half against New Orleans, and then just 18 in the second half. I'd run him until he can't run anymore. He is so talented.
Who was the better chance to make the playoff the cowboys are eagles?
Ashley Fox (4:10 PM)
I've seen the Eagles a bunch this season and I've pretty much come to the conclusion that they aren't going anywhere this season. I'll get a first-hand look at the Cowboys this weekend. It's a big game for both. The Eagles haven't had a five-game losing streak during Andy Reid's tenure, and it has been a ridiculously long time since these teams met and both were 3-5. I'm not sure either can make the playoffs, but if I had to pick one I'd go with Dallas.
Are you ok? I think you live where the storm hit, and you canceled chats, and have little ones. So I hope everything is good or getting better.
Ashley Fox (4:11 PM)
Yes, we're good. Had storm-related issues last week and then I was traveling home from New Orleans this Tuesday. So just having to change it up a little. Thanks for your concern.
Are the Jets going with a new QB next season?
Ashley Fox (4:14 PM)
We'll see, right? I thought they would've had a new quarterback by now. Shows what I know. This is Year 4 for Sanchez, and as a coaching staff you would hope a quarterback would show substantial growth by now. Sanchez actually has the lowest completion percentage of a career marked by low completion percentages. We saw during the offseason that the Jets were willing to go after Peyton Manning -- and really, who wasn't -- but then they extended Sanchez. So there's mixed messages.
P. Manning or Big Ben Roethlisberger for a Fantasy Football starter Sunday???
Ashley Fox (4:15 PM)
I don't play fantasy, so I'm not the right person to ask.
I have been hearing people say that Doug Martin can not sustain what he has been doing this year, and it is a fluke. But most people don't realize that he was playing defense at Boise State for the first two years in college. I think he is still learning the game and just now finding his stride. What do you think?
Ashley Fox (4:18 PM)
I think I've been really impressed by his first half of the season. He's on pace to rush for nearly 1,600 yards, which would be remarkable for a rookie. Now, rookies often hit that rookie wall around Week 13, so we'll see. I admit I didn't see much of him at Boise; I assume by your Idaho handle you probably did. The Bucs are asking him to do a lot. It will be telling to see whether his production dips at all in December.
Hey Ashley - miss ya in the Inquirer - the Birds are a total mess. Blame can be placed any number of places (except, apparently, with Juan Castillo). At this point, it's a total tear down, right? Andy, Vick, all coaches, players you can afford to cut, etc. How long before the Birds can recover from this?
Ashley Fox (4:22 PM)
Hi Rob. And thanks. It's moving in the direction of at least a partial teardown. You've still got some pieces -- Jackson, Maclin, Celek, McCoy, some of the younger linemen, Kendricks, Ryans. You can't get rid of everybody. But I would think we'll be looking at a regime change on the coaching staff and a quarterback change if that happens. I don't see the Eagles fighting their way out of this, even though they have a favorable schedule.
Chris Fiegler (Latham,NY)
What is the Coldest NFL Game that You have been to?
Ashley Fox (4:24 PM)
Well, I wasn't at the Giants-Green Bay playoff game a couple of years ago when it was like minus-220. That would've been it. But I've been to some cold games in Green Bay.
The eagles gave up 7 sacks to the saint whom are at the bottom of the league in total sacks. so how do you expect the eagles to do agains Demarcus Ware and the cowboys pass rush, with herreman out for the season?
Ashley Fox (4:26 PM)
Not well. Their line is a wreck with four starters out. That's one of several reasons I don't think we'll see Foles at all. At least Vick can scramble to get away from some of the pressure. The Cowboys are in the middle of the pack with sacks, although I think Ware is second or tied for third. It could be ugly.
Ashley Fox (4:26 PM)
Any non-Eagles questions?
were do you see the titans standing after the season and what is their most needed positions to acquire in the offseason
Ashley Fox (4:29 PM)
Well, they're 3-6 and hoped for better at this point. They've had injuries and whatnot, and it's been unfortunate that Locker has missed time. They need to see some development from him. It looks like he's on track to start this week, so that's good. But obviously they aren't looking at the playoffs this season.
Andy Reid (On my way out of philly) [via mobile]
When the eagles fire me....where can i find work?
Ashley Fox (4:30 PM)
You will have options, trust me.
mark (atl) [via mobile]
Could vick be a jet next year
Ashley Fox (4:31 PM)
I don't know. Maybe as a backup. I'm not sure he'll get a crack at a full-time starting gig. Even with the line in the condition it is, Vick has shown deficiencies, his ability to lead the Eagles into the end zone from the red zone being a glaring one.
Scooter, minny [via mobile]
Vikings have new starting Qb in 2013?
Ashley Fox (4:34 PM)
I wouldn't say that necessarily. But there's no doubt Christian Ponder has struggled the last few weeks. His completion percentage has dipped. In the last four games, he has four touchdowns and six interceptions. He hasn't played great. But I'm not sure they're ready to move on. This is only Year 2.
Who gets 6th playoff spot in NFC?
Ashley Fox (4:37 PM)
It's an interesting question. There is real separation between the top five teams and the rest of the NFC. It is really up for grabs, with none of the teams vying for it really consistent or dominant. As horrid as their defense is, I wouldn't rule out New Orleans at 3-5, given their quarterback. Seattle has a good chance because they are an all-around solid team and at 5-4 they haven't dug themselves too deep of a hole.
ashley, is it possible for the eagles and cowboys game sunday to end in a tie?
Ashley Fox (4:39 PM)
Anything's possible. I've only personally seen one tie, and that was Philly-Cincinnati several years ago when Donovan McNabb admitted he thought there would be a second overtime if the first ended in a tie. That was fun.
Rich (New Jersey)
Hi Ashley, 8-9 games into the season I like the Bears, Giants & 49ers in the NFC and Patriots, Ravens and Texans in the AFC to get to the Super Bowl. Do have any favorites?
Ashley Fox (4:41 PM)
Don't sleep on Green Bay. And I've been impressed with Atlanta. They seem to be the forgotten team, even though they're 8-0. Probably that's because of their playoff record under Mike Smith and Matt Ryan. Regular season success for them won't mean anything until they win in the postseason. I've fallen a little out of love with the Ravens, at least right now. And I think you've got to keep an eye on Denver as a sleeper. They're getting stronger as the season progresses.
Vic (Kailua, HI)
With KC and JAX likely to get high 1st round picks, do you see either or both of them going for QBs with their first picks? Or is it more likely that they trade down and acquire more picks?
Ashley Fox (4:44 PM)
Kansas City needs to draft a quarterback. They haven't done it in forever. Under Scott Pioli, they thought they had one in Matt Cassel, but that hasn't worked. They should have a high draft pick. Brady Quinn isn't the answer. I'd like to see them draft and develop a quarterback instead of relying on free agents or trades.
Ashley, how can you forget the Falcons-Steelers tie in about 2004? One of the wilder games to end that way.
Ashley Fox (4:46 PM)
2004? You sure about that?
Funny how fast fans turn on players. Someone asking if the Vikings will have a new starter at QB next year. Because a guy has a few bad games he is done... Such a joke and over reaction....
Ashley Fox (4:47 PM)
Yep. That's the beauty and the curse of the NFL. One game a week tends to lead to overreactions.
It was 2002. Vick scored to tie it with 42 seconds left, both teams had FG attempts blocked in OT, and Plax was tackled on the 1 yd line after a Hail Mary on the last play of OT.
Ashley Fox (4:49 PM)
I had forgotten about that. Finished up 34-34. Vick and Plax were babies then. And Tommy Maddox was the QB for PIttsburgh. I mentioned Philly-Cinci because I was actually there.
It was the last tie game in the NFL before the Eagles-Bengals in 2008.
Ashley Fox (4:50 PM)
There you go. They are rare, that's for sure.
What is really sad is after Matt Flynn's game last year where he thre for 600 yards and 6 TD's... There were fans that wanted to trade Rodgers and make Flynn the Packers starting QB... That is exactly why fans don't have NFL jobs..
Ashley Fox (4:53 PM)
Fans are emotional. Good front office people and coaches are not. In this game, the highs are so high and the lows are so low. You have to stay even-keeled throughout the long season. It's hard for fans who invest dollars and emotions into supporting their team. I get it. But yes, it's silly to want to ditch Rodgers for anybody.
In your opinion is there a clear cut favorite in the AFC or is it totally up for grabs?
Ashley Fox (4:56 PM)
Clear cut? Not really. Houston looks so far like the most complete of all the AFC teams. They won a playoff game last year with their third-string quarterback. They have legit stars at running back and wide receiver. Their defense is hard to handle, with the pressure they get up front and the support they get from the back four. If they can stay healthy (with the exception of Cushing, who was a huge loss), I'd say they're the favorite. Baltimore has slipped a little with all the injuries. You can't discount New England, even with its defense. And like I said I think Denver will be a factor when all is said and done.
Is Romeo on his way out after this year? Pioli too?
Ashley Fox (4:57 PM)
I don't know, Jeff. It'd be pretty brutal to fire Crennel after one season. But that team has been a colossal flop given all the talent. The biggest problem is the quarterback. That falls on Pioli.
I get it. I'm as big of a fan as any. The only thing that I want is for Fans to be realistic, and use common sense.
Ashley Fox (4:57 PM)
That's asking a lot.
Are the Pats ready to run the table for the next 8 games? 5 and home and 3 on the road...after a bye week they are rested and ready!
Ashley Fox (4:59 PM)
Run the table? I don't know about that, but it does help that their two toughest games against San Francisco and Houston in back-to-back weeks are at home and their road games are at the Jets, Dolphins and Jaguars. I'd say 11 wins are definitely attainable, 12 even.
Ed Hochuli (Chat Ref)
Personal foul on Doug (GA). Unrealistic expectations in asking any writer to remember details about a regular-season game from ten years ago involving a chatter's favorite team, no matter how entertaining the game may have been. Fifteen yard penalty, repeat first down.
Ashley Fox (5:00 PM)
I was covering the NBA back then, so there's that.
Ashley Fox (5:01 PM)
Alright folks, thanks for joining me. I appreciated the questions. We'll do it again next week. It is scheduled for now for Tuesday at 3 p.m. Have a great rest of the week and enjoy the games.