Chat with Ashley Fox
Welcome to SportsNation! On Tuesday, 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 Tuesday at 3 p.m. ET!
Ashley Fox (3:01 PM)
Good afternoon, everybody. Thanks for joining me. Let's get started.
Kyle (north Philly)
Why do you have so much hate for Baltimore. I read the ray Lewis article (kind of disrespectful) and saw something about you don't like flacco. I was just wondering since your from NC and worked in Philly 11 years.
Ashley Fox (3:03 PM)
I don't have hate for Baltimore. I've actually liked them a lot this season and I've been high on Joe Flacco. The Ray Lewis piece I thought would be incomplete without including the Atlanta incident. It is part of his legacy. And I think that going to Denver against a Broncos team with a top offense and defense playing in that altitude will be tough for the Ravens. I'm a columnist. I'm supposed to have an opinion. And that's my opinion.
Amazes me that everyone is picking Seattle. I think ATL wins by 10 points. Loss of Clemons hurts bad. Ryan will have all day to throw. Seattle CBs are very good but so are ATL WRs. With time to throw they are close to unstoppable.
Ashley Fox (3:07 PM)
This is the game I will be attending this weekend. I think there are fascinating match ups, none bigger than the one you mention between Seattle's corners and Atlanta's receivers. Size on size. It's going to be really important for the Falcons to get on the board early and force Seattle to throw more. It will be interesting to see how Seattle does in their nickel and how they do against Gonzalez. The Seahawks running game with their read option is a tough matchup. Atlanta winning by 10? I don't know about that.
Matt (Riverside, CA)
Ashley, I am a huge KC fan and am wondering what should we expect from Andy Reid given his track record with Philly. Do you see him going after Vick in free agency and hoping with a better O-Line he could be the Michael Vick of old or going after a younger QB and grooming him for the future?
Ashley Fox (3:09 PM)
It's an interesting question, Matt. I think what you'll see, if Reid goes back to his roots that made him successful in Philly in the first place, he will build the team from the inside out. He obviously needs a quarterback, but after the year Vick had I'm not sure he would be Reid's first choice. Vick is better than what the Chiefs have now, but Reid and Marty Mornhinweg tried to make Vick into a pocket passer and it didn't work, for a number of reasons. I'm sure he'd love to draft a guy and develop him, but not with the No. 1 pick this year.
David (San Diego)
Do you believe that Colts can perform at this level next year without vast improvements on roster?
Ashley Fox (3:11 PM)
Well, they certainly overachieved this season, which I think bodes well for the future. This still is a building process, even if they won't call it that. They have needs and will address them in the draft and free agency. But the Colts have the most important piece in place and that's the franchise quarterback. He's pretty good.
First of all, I am trying to get a street named in your honor here for stepping out with your Broncos SB victory prediction. Seeing what you have had an opportunity to see from the perspective you have, what honestly was the most compelling story in the NFL regualr season?
Ashley Fox (3:15 PM)
Yeah, well, we'll see. The most compelling story in the regular season to me was Chuck Pagano and the Colts. He fought leukemia and the team came together and won in his absence. It was remarkable. Seeing him come back in Week 17 and then coach on Sunday was really compelling.
Ashley, do you think Chip Kelly was ever seriously considering the NFL? It seems he headed back to Oregon pretty quickly. I was thinking either he just wanted to see what kind of numbers he could get or there was a team he was looking at that is sticking with their current HC.
Ashley Fox (3:17 PM)
I don't know whether he ever seriously considered the NFL, but he's now spurned the NFL two years in a row. Seems pretty clear he wants to remain in college, and I really believe that's where he belongs. He's never been a coach on any level in the NFL. That's a tough transition to make.
Didn't know anyone could be so tasteless, disrespectful, ignorant, and just about every other negative word I could come up with. That Ray Lewis "Thanks" post was disrespectful. You want to pick the Broncos to win, that's fine. But don't hate just because your career won't add up to one-one hundredth of what Ray's career added to. He positively affected so many lives and touched the entire city of Baltimore. How ESPN allowed that to be posted is beyond me. I?d like to know why this post was necessary.
Ashley Fox (3:18 PM)
Did you read my column on Ray Lewis? Did you see all the praise I heaped on him, how I said he'd changed lives of his peers and kids in Baltimore? I'm sorry, I didn't think that was disrespectful at all. I thought it was fair.
Tony (Richmond, CA)
Do you think the Cowboys are in danger of becoming the Raiders within the next five years if Jerry Jones doesn't wake up? He seems to be headed down the same path of delusional, franchise destruction, that plagued the once innovative Al Davis. Although Al at least knew something about football at one time.
Ashley Fox (3:23 PM)
Oh boy, Tony, I don't know if I would say that. But the Cowboys haven't had the success that the fans expect and demand, and Jerry Jones will always take criticism because of his management style. He's in charge. I keep waiting for Tony Romo to have playoff success in addition to beating the Eagles a couple of years ago. I thought this might be the year.
What do you think of coordinators becoming head coaches in general?
Ashley Fox (3:25 PM)
Well, that's usually where they come from. There's typically a protocol to becoming a head coach, and that goes from being a position coach to a coordinator to the head man, if they're lucky. Sure there are exceptions. Andy Reid to Philly was an exception because he was the QBs coach. John Harbaugh was a little unconventional because he was a ST coordinator and then spent one year as a DBs coach. There are very good coordinators out there who have the organizational and leadership skills to be head coaches.
Michael [via mobile]
In a year with no consensus number one guy, let alone a first round quarterback, can you think of a worse year to have a top 5 pick?
Ashley Fox (3:27 PM)
Well, it's not 2011, that's for sure. The joke that was going around Philly for a while, which made me laugh, was that "we can't even stink in the right year." And it's true.
Cortez (Charlotte, NC)
Which team in the AFC do you think the Broncos would have to beat to make it to the SB? And do you think their defense is strong enough?
Ashley Fox (3:29 PM)
If the seeds hold it will be New England. And that would be an epic matchup. San Francisco really battered Brady early in their December game against the Patriots. I'm sure the Broncos would try to do the same.
Ashley Fox (3:31 PM)
I'm having a few technical difficulties. Hang tight.
Deven (Buffalo, NY)
Any thoughts on the Bills new head coach? Good move or bad move?
Ashley Fox (3:33 PM)
I know he did a good job rebuilding Syracuse from next to nothing and that people there were sorry to see him go. But it didn't really do a whole lot for me.
Al (Wausau, WI)
Hi, Ashley. Do you think it may be reasonable for the Vikings to draft a WR in the first round of the 2013 NFL Draft? Or, might this depend on their choices in free agency?
Ashley Fox (3:35 PM)
Sure, it's reasonable. They certainly need another weapon on offense. Clearly, they're pleased with how this season went. As you might remember back in August, I certainly didn't expect the Vikings to make the playoffs. I'm not convinced you did either. It was a shame the way it ended. Tough, tough break.
Do you take out RG III if you see him hobbling?
Ashley Fox (3:38 PM)
This has been debated to death, but yes. I would've taken him out. Sure, he said he wasn't injured, only hurt, and I get the distinction. But Griffin was hurting the team. Shanahan should've seen that. I think Shanahan had a responsibility to RG III and to the Redskins organization to take him out for his own health. And given how Cousins had played in RG III's place after the initial injury, who's to say he couldn't have led Washington to a win?
Do you have any knowledge of when we will get the official word on RG III knee? Test are today, tired of the speculation already.
Ashley Fox (3:39 PM)
I agree. In my experience, the longer this drags on the worse the news is likely to be. And I don't know when we will get the official word. Hopefully soon.
Why is everybody picking Green Bay to beat the 49ers this weekend? The 49ers to me have the NFC's best team and right with the Seahawks for best defense and everybody forgets that they did beat the Packers in Green Bay earlier in the season.
Ashley Fox (3:42 PM)
I didn't know "everybody" is picking the Packers? Is that true. I haven't done my picks yet. I think the big question mark with the 49ers is how will Kaepernick react to a playoff atmosphere and intensity. There are three seasons in the NFL: preseason, regular-season and post-season, and the speed of the game increased with each step. Plus the fact that Aaron Rodgers is playing very, very well. That's probably where the Packers love comes from.
Andrew (Ashland, KY)
How many more years done Marvin Lewis get in Cincy considering he can't win in the playoffs? When this team was a constant loser, just getting there was enough to to justify keeping him. Now that they have a bright future and two solid coordinators who keep getting looks for head coaching jobs, what are the chances that Marvin (and his poor in-game coaching) is a surprise casualty this off season?
Ashley Fox (3:46 PM)
This offseason? Not this offseason. But you're right. Lewis has raised expectations, and if they can get another receiver, they're going to be dangerous. I talk with Greg Cosell, the executive producer of ESPN's NFL Matchup show, every week, and he has gushed about Cincinnati's defense, both from a talent perspective and schemes. He loves Geno Atkins. So we'll see. But getting a playoff win is next on the agenda. If Lewis were to fall short for a third straight year, I'd think a change might be needed. But not yet.
Derrin (Plano, TX)
What do you think is the cause of the Texans collapse at the end of the regular season?
Ashley Fox (3:48 PM)
I think they miss Brian Cushing. That was a huge loss. And I'm not sure Matt Schaub is a guy that can make that next step. I'm not sure he's not, but I want to see it happen. It's going to be an interesting matchup to see Houston's D v. New England's O. But I'm also fascinated to see what Belichick has in store for Houston's O. Give that man two weeks to prepare and look out.
Al (Wausau, WI)
Ashley, I did not expect the Vikings to make the playoffs this year. I expected a 5-11 season from them. They have nothing to be ashamed! They are a good football team!
Ashley Fox (3:49 PM)
There you go.
I'm still so mad at the Chiefs for not selecting Russel Wilson's in last year's draft. Why did so many teams pass up on him and didn't see what the Seahawks apparently saw in him?
Ashley Fox (3:52 PM)
He slipped through the cracks for a lot of teams. He wasn't highly rated. Small quarterback. Not pro typical. The Chiefs weren't the only one who missed.
Michael [via mobile]
Does Greg Cosell ever divulge information on players that are "fringe" type guys? Take Brandon Weeden for example?
Ashley Fox (3:52 PM)
He's well versed in a ton of guys, particularly quarterbacks. He watches an unbelievable amount of tape.
Chris (Broadview Heights, OH)
The Browns head coaching search is still going on but unless they get an "A list" name, do you think it'll be impossible to sell to the fan base that they hired who they felt was the best person for the job? They were in Arizona two days before Oregon's BCS game with that being the marquee interview.
Ashley Fox (3:55 PM)
To me, Chip Kelly is a special case. He didn't turn down the Browns or Eagles as much as he said yes to going back to college. Same with Bill O'Brien. I do think the Browns will be able to attract a good coach -- not sure if that will qualify as "A" list -- because they have talent on that roster, depending on how you feel about the quarterback.
Sigh. I'll just wait until Pat's chat on Friday to get some Carolina love. /moping
Ashley Fox (3:56 PM)
Wait, what was it? Tough to screen and get to all questions. Ask it again.
Is it playoffs or bust for Rivera next year? Or does he just need to improve Carolina's record again?
Ashley Fox (3:58 PM)
I think a lot is going to depend on who the Panthers hire for general manager. I don't think it's a lock he's back next year. GMs like to hire their own guys, typically. So hang on.
Denny (Cary, NC)
What does Jon Gruden do for you as the new Phil. Eagles Football coach?
Ashley Fox (3:58 PM)
I think that would be fun, but I don't think that's happening.
Michael [via mobile]
Well? What does he say on Weeden? That's a guy nobody gives a word on.
Ashley Fox (3:59 PM)
Sorry, I wasn't trying to be coy. t haven't asked him about Weeden specifically. But I will.
Ashley Fox (4:00 PM)
Ok, everybody. Thanks for joining me. Appreciate all the questions. Sorry I couldn't get to them all. Enjoy the games this weekend.