Chat with Ashley Fox
Welcome to SportsNation! On Wednesday, 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 Wednesday at 4 p.m. ET!
Buzzmaster (3:59 PM)
Hang on folks, Ashley is having some connection issues. She'll be 5-ish minutes late.
Ashley Fox (4:01 PM)
Hi everybody. I think I've got my technical issues resolved. We'll see how it goes for the next hour. Let's get started.
What did you make of te Dolphins at saints game last night in the superdome?
Ashley Fox (4:03 PM)
I was there for the second time this season and I think the Saints are for real. Team's can't cover Jimmy Graham. I went back and watched his two touchdown catches this morning, and he's just unstoppable. As for the Dolphins, they are definitely an ascending team, but they made too many critical errors to beat a team like New Orleans. Can't have the turnovers against an opportunistic offense like the Saints.
Hi Ashley, I am a Raven fan and would appreciate your insight on their upcoming game with Dolphins - can Torrey Smith and Flacco continue to rack up 100 yd games or do you see Dolphins concentrating on taking away pass or the running game that Ravens continue to say they will favor with Rice/Pierce etc - thanks
Ashley Fox (4:06 PM)
The Dolphins went into the Saints game and clearly wanted to take Graham out of the equation. And they did for a while, using a corner and safety over the top. What happened? Sproles went nuts. Then Graham made his four catches count. Who knows which element Miami will try to take away this time. If they concentrate on Smith, then Rice should have a big day. If they concentrate on Rice, then Smith should have a big day. I'm sure neither player cares as long as they get a W.
Do you think the Jets can score enough to beat the Falcons?
Ashley Fox (4:09 PM)
That's a good question. Atlanta is averaging 23.5 points per game and the Jets are averaging 17, so the math says no. The Falcons average would be much higher if they could score in the red zone. They've had to settle for too many field goals, which is a big reason why they're 1-3. I still think there is too much talent on that Atlanta team not to get it together. But they haven't generated enough with their pass rush -- again. Getting to Geno Smith would be a nice start.
Why is Jacksonville not signing Tebow? Blaine Gabbert is garbage and has a career record of 5-21. I doubt Gabbert ever reaches Tebow's career totals of 8 regular season wins and 1 playoff win. Shouldn't Jacksonville's coach and GM be fired for thinking Gabbert is a NFL QB.
Ashley Fox (4:10 PM)
The coach and GM in question inherited Gabbert. They're both in their first year. They don't want Tebow. I agree that Gabbert is not the answer, but give those guys some time to figure it out. And fortunately for the Jaguars (and their fans), the quarterback class in the 2014 draft should provide some good alternatives the team can build around.
Who's your pick for the Super Bowl so far? Can the Saints make another run and face Peyton again?
Ashley Fox (4:13 PM)
My preseason pick was Atlanta v. Denver. As I said, I'm not giving up on the Falcons, but clearly the class of the NFC through the first four weeks of the season are the Saints and the Seahawks. Home field advantage is going to be huge if either of those two get it. To answer your question, based off what we've seen these first four games, yes, the Saints can make another run. Would be a fun one, too, if they face Denver, given that they beat Manning once before. I've seen nothing to make me think the Broncos won't get there, although we're all aware of Manning's postseason record. So there's that.
Chris Fiegler (Latham,NY)
What NFL Team has the Best & the Worst Defense in 2013?
Ashley Fox (4:17 PM)
If you go strictly by yards allowed, best is Houston and worst is Philadelphia. I've seen the Eagles twice in person and they are pretty dreadful on D, with the secondary being the weakest link. They've switched to a 3-4 front and have a new coordinator, so there are reasons for some of the struggles. The other reason is they just don't have the talent. Houston's got that great pass rush. But overall, top to bottom, I think Seattle is the best. They have the second best turnover ratio (+7) in the league, behind Kansas City and Tennessee, which are both 9.
Who wins the NFC East? looks like a race to 6 wins would run away with it.
Ashley Fox (4:19 PM)
I know, right? It's really sad. And the thing is, I don't know if I could pick one. All four teams are flawed. RGIII clearly isn't himself. The Giants have slipped in talent. The Eagles we've discussed (a little). So that leaves Dallas. I guess. I'm underwhelmed by the Cowboys, too, but I think they probably win almost by default.
Jerome (34 HP)
Which team has overachieved the most thus far, has to be the Chiefs right?
Ashley Fox (4:22 PM)
It has to be the Chiefs. Two wins last year. Four already this year. Andy Reid has done a remarkable job. But that team wasn't lacking talent, particularly on the defensive side of the ball. The players have responded to Reid's consistency and even-keeled demeanor, and Alex Smith has flourished in Reid's West Coast system. I thought that was a great match when they got him. Plus they have that +9 turnover margin. That wins. I'm not really surprised. What Tennessee has done also has gotten my attention.
Long-time, no speak - hope all is well. onto the question; who are you more impressed with, to-date: Manning and his ridiculous TD:INT ratio, or Brady, 4-0 with an all-rookie (minus a 2nd string player in Edelman last season, who now leads the league in catches - wow) receiver crew, and no Tight Ends? Thanks!
Ashley Fox (4:26 PM)
Sorry about that. Got bumped out of the chat for some reason.
Ashley Fox (4:27 PM)
As to Mark's question, Manning has been ridiculous. This isn't to discount that, but he's got the best receiving corps in football plus a young tight end with obvious talent. Brady has a bunch of babies, no Welker and no Gronkowski. And he's making it work. He made Kenbrell Thompkins look like a Pro Bowler the other night. That was very impressive.
When is a team moving to Los Angeles. I am getting old waiting...
Ashley Fox (4:28 PM)
As am I. It is a league priority. So I feel certain it will get done. But as you mentioned, the question is when.
Jason (Manyunk, Pa)
Eagles need to fill many needs as they are a team with many holes and little depth. All draftniks have Eagles drafting Qb Mariotta of Oregon. Do you think WR or CB's should be the priority before a Qb?
Ashley Fox (4:30 PM)
Are you crazy? If the Eagles have a chance to draft Marcus Mariota, you've got to believe they will. Chip Kelly would love to have his college quarterback in the pros. Hitting on that position is crucial. Their wide receivers are fine once Maclin gets back. Yes, DB needs to be a priority. You could really say that across the board on the defensive side of the ball.
Tony (Richmond, CA)
Who needs to go, Schaub or Kubiak? That interception was horrible.
Ashley Fox (4:31 PM)
I'm sure it's been a really, really long week for Schaub, and it's only Wednesday (cue the camel). If I had to pick between the two, I'd jettison Schaub. Good, not great, quarterback. Needs to show something in the playoffs this year.
Derrin (Plano, TX)
Is Peyton Manning setting Broncos fans up for more heartbreak in the playoffs which has been M.O. in Indy and last year in Denver? Or does he get over the hump and get his second ring?
Ashley Fox (4:33 PM)
We'll see, won't we Derrin? Depends on who they end up playing and who's hot at the end. Ran into a team on a mission last season in the playoffs.
Scuba Steve (M-Town)
are my rams doomed?
Ashley Fox (4:35 PM)
I don't think so. They're young at several key positions. They're set up nicely moving forward -- 2014, 2015, etc. -- with few expiring contracts. This season is probably a wash, but I think the future is bright. Not much consolation for this season, but they're on the uptick.
Piggybacking Scuba Steve's question: High hopes for Bradford and the corp of offensive talent. Oncemore, traded up to get Tavon Austin and not a whiff of production. What happened???
Ashley Fox (4:36 PM)
He's a rookie. For some rookies it takes more time than others.
Michael (Cincinnati) [via mobile]
Eagles fan talking draft wk 5 is not a good sign.
Ashley Fox (4:37 PM)
No it is not. Not altogether surprising, though. I'm fascinated by the whole Mariota thing. Would love to see how he would work in Philly.
Mike P (Greater Kc)
If moving to LA is league priority like you say it is, why hasnt a team or teams been put in there sooner... seems like a little bit of coach speak.
Ashley Fox (4:39 PM)
It is a complicated issue on both sides. L.A. needs a stadium. And a franchise has to want/need to move. The league is unlikely to expand. There are franchises with stadium issues -- St. Louis and Oakland -- and another that is struggling to sell tickets in Jacksonville. So there are potential options there.
Ashley, how seriously should I ponder naming Matt Cassell my starting QB for the remainder of the season?
Ashley Fox (4:42 PM)
Seeing several Vikings questions in the queue. If Cassel continues to play well, he very well might force Frazier's hand. Frazier has said that Ponder is still his starter, but you really have to wonder given how he's played. I'm not sold on him, but this was supposed to be the season when the Vikings found out for sure. They gave him more weapons at receiver. He hasn't looked good.
Michael (Cincinnati) [via mobile]
WR's typically reach maturity in year 3, not wk 5.
Ashley Fox (4:43 PM)
Any chance Matt Barkley gets traded to a team that will use him?
Ashley Fox (4:44 PM)
Doubtful. Besides that, I don't think he's an NFL starting quarterback. Great, great guy. Could work in the right system. But I don't think you want to build a team around him.
Lane Kiffin (LA)
Ashley, they're talking about pulling a repo on my crib. What's up with that?
Ashley Fox (4:44 PM)
Tough week for Kiffin.
Eric (Cherry Hill, NJ)
Cincinnati fans shouldn't worry about the Eagles, they need to justify how they got beat by lowly Cleveland Browns. I'd be worried if I was them. What's going on with the Eagles offensive line? should've been teams greatest strength and it's not.
Ashley Fox (4:47 PM)
No fan-on-fan crime in here, please. As for the Eagles o-line, you're right. It should be the team's greatest strength, at least on paper. I think one of the issues is that the quarterback holds onto the football too long. Another, like the defense, is getting acclimated to a new coaching staff. This team is going to have growing pains.
Tony (Richmond, CA)
Ashley, I told you Kenny Stills would be the steal of the draft. Are you a believer now.
Ashley Fox (4:49 PM)
You did. I remember. And yes. He makes that team better.
The Lions just signed K. Ogletree. Any chance he can return punts and kickoffs?
Ashley Fox (4:51 PM)
He probably can. He's got experience doing both, although it is limited. I like the signing. The Lions need depth at that position, and he should be able to provide that.
Vitaly (Heritage Path)
give me an under the radar team that can make a run at the postseason?
Ashley Fox (4:53 PM)
I would've said Tennessee before their quarterback got hurt. That was a real bummer for them. I'm not sure that Kansas City is under the radar anymore, but I pegged them in the preseason as a team that will reach the playoffs. I still like that pick.
Chip Coughlin (East rutherford, Pa)
The winner of this weeks Eagles/Giants game is??? The Star will be....? BTW..No worries about fan on fan crime here..rather just friendly bantering between teams. After all, it's just a game.
Ashley Fox (4:56 PM)
Chip Coughlin? Very nice. And yes, it's just a game. Thanks for keeping it in perspective. I think the Giants rebound and get their first win behind a strong performance from Eli, who will pick apart the Eagles secondary. That's what I would expect at least.
I think it's gone kind of under the radar that Russell Wilson isn't having his best statistical year. While he has made plays to help his team, it's overlooked that he threw what would have been a game sealing INT against Houston but was bailed out by an even worse pic 6 by Matt Schuab. Can the Seahawks survive another tough road game with Wilson underperforming?
Ashley Fox (4:59 PM)
I'm still having a hard time believing Schaub threw that wobbler to Richard Sherman. He regretted it the second it left his hand. As for Wilson, he didn't exactly light up San Francisco, either, but consider the defenses he was facing? The Texans and 49ers have two of the best Ds in the league. He completed 75 percent of his passes against Carolina and almost 67 percent against Jacksonville. He'll be fine.
Ashley Fox (5:00 PM)
Alright everybody, thanks as always for all the questions. We'll do it again next week. I think I'm going to lock into the Wednesday at 1 p.m. time slot, since Tuesdays have not been working out for me. See you then. Have a great rest of the week.
Ashley Fox (5:01 PM)
That's 1 p.m. Eastern.