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 (3:00 PM)
Hi everybody. Thanks for joining me. Let's get rolling.
Chris Fiegler (Latham,NY)
Will the Jets Start Mark Sanchez as QB for 2013 or will they go for Geno Smith?
Ashley Fox (3:03 PM)
We will see. That's one of the larger story lines in the league during OTAs and probably will continue to be through training camp. Obviously Sanchez has had his struggles, and the Jets drafted Smith in the second round for a reason. It will be interesting to see what new offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg can do with both guys. He has a proven track record of developing quarterbacks. I think, however, it is way too early to make a prediction.
Ed (Queens Village)
Who benefits with NFL Draft moving to May?
Ashley Fox (3:05 PM)
The rookies who must wait until after graduation to join their new teams. That window just was cut by two weeks. Personally, I don't like it being in May. That just means two more weeks of endless mock drafts and speculation. The build up is too long as it is. But I bet we will see the league keep a May date beyond 2014. It will get huge ratings and they'll like having control of another week of the offseason. When something works, the NFL rarely goes back.
Mike newyork [via mobile]
I was reading one of your articles on vick you thought this was his last chance as a starting qb i have to disagree with you on that he can still start for a few teams if he doesnt pan out in philly this year.
Ashley Fox (3:08 PM)
Ok. I obviously disagree. If he gets benched for Foles (or Barkley, for that matter), it will be another sign that he can't get it done anymore. I think he's going to win the starting job, at least for the start of the season. But I also think it could be a weekly discussion. And as anyone knows who's watched Michael these last few seasons, his health is always going to be an issue. He needs to show consistency, cut down on his turnovers and be able to keep the Eagles offense moving. Kelly likes an up tempo and you can't be up tempo going three and out.
Tony (Richmond, CA)
Do you think Adrian Peterson's comments will have any negative impact on his popularity amongst fans, as well as potential endorsements, or other business oppportunities?
Ashley Fox (3:12 PM)
Hi Tony, a regular here. I don't know that there will be backlash. What Peterson said wasn't that controversial. He doesn't believe in gay marriage. That doesn't make him unique. But I was surprised he said it nonetheless, especially at a time when so many professional athletes -- not just NFL players -- have publicly supported Jason Collins. I do believe people are more progressive and accepting, which is a good thing.
Mike Ho (Hong Kong)
Hi Ashley, do you still feel that Mike Wallace will be a bust for the Dolphins like you had mentioned when he first signed?
Ashley Fox (3:14 PM)
I didn't say he was definitely going to be a bust. I said buyer beware, that landing the top free agent doesn't always translate into success. As an example, look at the Eagles and Nnamdi Asomugha. He was the best corner in the NFL in Oakland and really struggled, for a variety of reasons, in Philly. I really like all of the moves that Miami made this offseason and their offense should be significantly better as a result.
Joe (Nazareth, PA)
Can the Dolphins take a leap to the playoffs this year or do you think the loading of free agents will amount to the usual negative results?
Ashley Fox (3:17 PM)
Sticking with the Dolphins for a minute, I think they can challenge for a postseason spot this season, but it will probably have to be as a wildcard. If you look at the wildcards from a year ago, Cincinnati was 10-6 and Indy was 11-5. So to hit the 10-win mark, Miami would have to be three wins better than they were in 2012. That's entirely possible. As I said, the Dolphins really improved on paper during the offseason, particularly on offense.
Mike newyork [via mobile]
I understand your point of view but lets be realistic the offensive line was horrible in philly last year if you put brady behind that line he wouldnt even survive lol
Ashley Fox (3:18 PM)
That is a valid point. The Eagles were decimated on the offensive line.
Al (Wausau, WI)
Ashley, what do you think Christian Ponder has to work on the most to help lead the Vikings back to the playoffs in the 2013 season?
Ashley Fox (3:20 PM)
Al! Another regular. We've discussed Ponder here a bunch, as you know. I would say consistency. He can't have those double-digit passing yardage games. I think he had three last season. And just build off the way he ended last season. That said, I'm not sure he can be more than just a guy. He doesn't have one overwhelming quality, like a big arm or lightening quick feet.
Ashley, this was brought up by Chris Canty, but who would you rather have at QB: Eli Manning or Joe Flacco?
Ashley Fox (3:23 PM)
Oh boy. That's a tough one. I like them both. Both are big-time quarterbacks when it counts. Both have won consistently in the postseason. Both are kind of quiet, understated leaders. I don't know that I could choose. I saw Flacco just last week at Ron Jaworski's charity golf event in Atlantic City, and he seems to be treating the offseason after winning a Super Bowl the same way that Manning did after winning his two: Like any other. That says a lot. Forced to pick, I'd go Flacco, but I really don't want to pick.
Tony (Richmond, CA)
Does the injury to Crabtree make the Seahawks the favorite in the NFC West? Or does the suspension of Irvin, and potential other problems that seem to follow Pete Carroll keep the more stable 49ers as the favorite in the division?
Ashley Fox (3:26 PM)
I think they're going to be neck and neck. The Crabtree injury does, however, make the Anquan Boldin signing that much more crucial and smart. He doesn't have the foot speed but Boldin has great hands and is physical. Flacco will miss him. I would make the Niners the favorite heading into the season given that they're the defending conference champs.
Keith (Seattle, WA)
More likely to suffer a sophomore slump in his second year as a starter, Russell Wilson or Colin Kapernick?
Ashley Fox (3:30 PM)
Sticking with the topic, I think it's going to be fascinating to see how defensive coordinators devise schemes to slow each of those guys down. RGIII as well. That has been a focal point for defensive coaches this season, and the opposing offensive coordinators are going to have to adjust to those adjustments. I like both Wilson and Kaepernick. Both are multidimensional. Neither is just a running quarterback.
Al (Wausau, WI)
Ashley, a co-worker friend just told me that Maurice Jones-Drew was apparently charged with assault for punching a security guard. Do you know if this is true? If so, what kind of penalties could the NFL impose if he's found guilty?
Ashley Fox (3:33 PM)
That apparently is the case. The charge is a misdemeanor, and according to reports Jones-Drew knocked the security guard out with one punch. The NFL will let the legal process play out before imposing any punishment of its own. If Jones-Drew did do it, it was incredibly dumb. He's entering the final year of his contract and has a bad foot. It's not a good combination, particularly for a running back who is getting up there in age (by running back standards).
Brad (Roanoke, VA)
What are your thoughts on the Panthers this year with the roster updates that were made? How will they fair in the south?
Ashley Fox (3:36 PM)
I think they should be better, particularly if they pick up in 2013 where they left off in 2012. They found a rhythm offensively after a brutal start. You've got to remember that they've got a talented player at quarterback, which is huge. They need to use their stable of highly paid running backs, but they also need to let Cam be Cam. That said, I still think they're going to looking up at Atlanta and New Orleans. That is going to be one highly motivated Saints team, and the Falcons should be just as good as they were last year.
Rah-steam (hackensack, n.j.)
do you think the 49ers are in trouble with crabtree's injury? Kaepernick relied on him heavily.
Ashley Fox (3:38 PM)
Well, Kaepernick is going to have to find another quote unquote security blanket. As you said, he used Crabtree a lot. Does that translate into the Niners being in trouble? I don't think so, but it was a blow.
Eric (Chicago) [via mobile]
If there is backlash for AP because he gave his opinion then we live in another world. Can't have an opinion because now we're anti-gay, can't have an opinion on heterosexual marriage because now we're against that. Good for him. If I were a journalist, I would NEVER ask if you're for gay marriage. Stupid people trying to stir the pot.
Ashley Fox (3:39 PM)
I think Peterson was asked about Chris Kluwe, and the conversation went from there.
Is Cleveland heading in the right direction? I liked who they drafted and their free agent signings.
Ashley Fox (3:42 PM)
I get this a lot. Browns fans are starved for a competitive team. I get that. I really thought the Browns were heading in the right direction under the old regime, as did Mike Holmgren. They had a couple of real good drafts. Now a new regime is obviously in place. Joe Banner has a history of building a winning franchise. There's no reason to think he can't do it again. And I don't think they're as far off as people might think. There is talent there. But there was another coaching change, and it takes time when that happens.
Aaron (Leesburg, VA)
Is there now more pressure, and a bigger spotlight, on Joe Flacco after the comments made by his agent?
Ashley Fox (3:44 PM)
I don't think so. What Linta said was silly and unnecessary, but knowing Flacco, he probably either doesn't know or doesn't care. And no one is going to put more pressure on Flacco than he puts on himself. Look at last year. He was willing to bet on himself and play out the final year of his contract because he felt he deserved more than the generous offer Baltimore put on the table. And he delivered. Can't get more clutch than that.
KING Kevin (Fandom)
What is your longterm outlook potential for Marcus Lattimore? Also how high would he have gone in the draft had he not had his last injury?
Ashley Fox (3:48 PM)
Well, the reports sound positive, but we won't really know until he gets back on the field in game action, whenever that is. He apparently is a great kid, which is one reason so many people were so upset for him when he suffered the injury last season. But he's in a good spot and can take his time rehabbing. As for where he would've been drafted, I can't say for sure. Look how many running backs were taken in the first round. Zero.
If you were Jerry Reese and you could only afford one wide receiver, who would it be: Cruz or Nicks?
Ashley Fox (3:49 PM)
Is Mark Sanchez really all that bad? Sure the last two years were lean but what weapons did he have? And how porous was that line? He takes that team to two straight AFC Championship games and now he sucks? Nah..get him some weapons and let's see...
Ashley Fox (3:50 PM)
He's limited, I think we can agree on that. But you're right about him needing a better supporting cast, and that goes for both sides of the ball.
With the impressive draft the Cowboys had do you see them making noise in the NFC?
Ashley Fox (3:52 PM)
I don't know. I've been underwhelmed so far. I can name a half dozen teams in the NFC I like infinitely better. But that division is pretty wide open.
There is a lot of talk about the Packers lack of 'toughness'. Do you feel that drafting Datone Jones, Eddie Lacy, and even Johnathan Franklin, also getting back a healthy Nick Perry will improve the 'toughness' of the team?
Ashley Fox (3:55 PM)
I think "toughness" or lack thereof, gets thrown around a lot when teams disappoint. The majority of NFL players I know are tough, otherwise they wouldn't be NFL players. But I know what you're saying. It's a mindset. And it starts with the leaders on the team. Young guys can help set a tone, but that's really up to the veteran players. And last I checked, the Packers quarterback is pretty tough. They are going to miss Woodson's leadership, though.
Derrin (Plano, TX)
Ashley, please make Jerry stop running his mouth? And shouldn't he have made these demands on Tony Romo, and saw some more productive results, prior to giving him 55M in guaranteed dollars? Just a thought.
Ashley Fox (3:56 PM)
I don't think it was as much of Jerry Jones putting demands on Romo as it was Romo wanting more input and say, which isn't a bad thing.
With all due respect, if the Cowboys can stay healthy on D, a big if, and they can have an O-line that improves by 10% over last year this team will be much better than the 8-8 they were last year. You've got to give them a chance to win the division and even to win 10 or 11 games, no?
Ashley Fox (3:58 PM)
Cowboys fans are out in force now. Yes, I said the division should be up for grabs. But there are other teams in the conference I like better.
Jim (Portland. OR)
What do you think of the Rams offseason so far? Any chance they make the playoffs in that tuff division?
Ashley Fox (3:59 PM)
I'm high on the Rams, and I'm looking forward to seeing how the quarterback responds to actually having the same voice in his ear for a second consecutive season. That should help.
Ashley Fox (3:59 PM)
Alright everybody. Thanks for joining me. We'll do it again next week. Have a great week.