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 Wednesday at 1 p.m. ET!
Ashley Fox (4:00 PM)
Hi everybody. Thanks for joining me today. Let's get rolling.
Rich (New Jersey)
Hi Ashley, Always enjoy reading your Columns & Chats, interesting game of the weekend is seeing whether the 4-1 Colts can handle the 6-0 Broncos
Ashley Fox (4:03 PM)
Thanks, Rich. That is certainly the game of the weekend. I am excited to be there. So many story lines. Two big ones I'm looking forward to seeing: How will Peyton Manning handle his emotions being back at Lucas Oil, and what kind of impact will Von Miller have after missing the first six weeks of the regular season. Once the game starts, I think it will be business as usual for Manning. As for Miller, he should be the healthiest, most rested guy on the field, playing on a fast track against an offensive line that has had issues protecting Andrew Luck. I think he'll have a big impact.
Does Jim Irsay really want to light an extra fire under Peyton? Is he really that nuts?
Ashley Fox (4:05 PM)
Sticking with this matchup for a minute, I'm not sure Irsay's motivation for saying what he said, but it is silly, disrespectful and foolish. I have a column that should post soon, if it hasn't already, on the topic. Irsay laments that the Colts didn't win more than one ring with Peyton, but he needs to remember he wouldn't have the one to begin with were it not for Manning. Not the time to be subtly ripping the greatest player in franchise history.
I have never thought that Eli was a sure fire hall of famer. Do you think people are regretting saying that with Eli's struggles?
Ashley Fox (4:07 PM)
No, I don't. He's having a bad season. He owns that. But look around him. That team has been decimated by injuries. They've got no running game. They got old really quickly. I think Eli is trying to do too much because he has to, and he's pressing. That doesn't make him a bad quarterback. That makes him a quarterback who is playing badly.
Good afternoon Ashley, what is your take on what will be the debate next week in Philly on starting Foles or Vick (assumes Foles plays adequately vs C-Boys and Vick's hammy is near 100%) Seems to me Vick's skill set gives them best chance to win any game while Foles is more likely to win games they should win but cannot beat the top 10-15 teams) thoughts?
Ashley Fox (4:09 PM)
It's going to be really interesting to see, particularly if Foles plays well this week against a Dallas defense that has also been decimated by injuries. I heard Chip Kelly earlier this week throwing rainbows at Foles -- Foles makes Kelly a better coach in the red zone, he gets the ball to Riley Cooper, he gets the Eagles out of bad plays -- which led me to believe, if you can believe this, that he undoubtedly will pivot to Vick once Vick is healthy. We'll see. Everybody knew going into this season that Philly would need both of those guys to perform well if they had a chance this season.
As a Cowboys fan, should i be worried that Chip Kelly has had Monte Kiffin's number going back to the USC vs. Oregon games?
Ashley Fox (4:11 PM)
Sticking with this game for a minute, the answer, David, is a resounding yes. As the defensive coordinator of the Trojans, Kiffin faced Kelly's Ducks three times and gave up an average of 601 yards and something like 52 points per game. The last game, last November, was off the charts. I think Oregon racked up 720 yards and something like 62 points (don't hold me to the numbers, but you get the point). So yes, Kiffin's defense had trouble. It likely will have trouble this week, too.
Mike (lenexa, ks) [via mobile]
One of your espn co workers said that the chiefs won't go far in the playoffs because Alex Smith doesn't throw the ball far down field... do you think that this is a far assessment of him and the chiefs offense... I'm more concerned with the lack of production out of dewayne bowe and the overuse of Jamaal Charles
Ashley Fox (4:13 PM)
I'm not sure who said that, but I've heard that sentiment. I think the Chiefs offense is a work in progress and that as the season goes on and Smith gets more comfortable in Andy Reid's system, you'll see the offense open up a bit. Andy told me the other day that he loves Jamaal Charles and sees him as a Brian Westbrook/LeSean McCoy type. I don't think he'll wear Charles out. He's using him like he used Westbrook and McCoy. But you're right, Bowe needs sot be a bigger factor. I think he will be. And I also think the Chiefs defense is the real deal.
Who should i Start? Harry Douglas, Marlon Brown, Brandon LaFell, or Vincent Brown? Standardwhats up with Jacoby Jones and Rob Housler, (Ari) long term FFL Vaule?
Ashley Fox (4:13 PM)
I'm not the fantasy expert. Sorry.
Do you think new England will be in trouble at new York sunday?
Ashley Fox (4:17 PM)
In trouble? No. Do the Patriots have issues? Yes. I almost felt bad for Brady against New Orleans because he's got so little to work with offensively. I'm still amazed that they won that game, and how they did it. But there's a reason that Brady has the lowest completion percentage of his career and why New England has been struggling in the red zone. And it's not all on the quarterback.
Don't snooze on the Lions/Bengals game Sunday. Should be a good one.
Ashley Fox (4:18 PM)
I agree. Cincinnati might have the best defense in the league front to back. I'm also looking forward to seeing how Atlanta comes out against Tampa Bay after an excruciatingly long bye week. They've got to dig out of 1-4. And Baltimore at Pittsburgh should be good. Those games always are.
Al (Wausau, WI)
Hi, Ashley. The Vikings look like a mess so far this season, especially on defense. Given their tough schedule, I don't see them winning many games at all during the rest of the season. Do you agree with this assessment, and would you offer any signs of encouragement for this struggling team?
Ashley Fox (4:23 PM)
Welcome back, Al. I just peeked at the Vikings remaining schedule, and you're right, it is hard to find many Ws on there. After Monday night, they've got the Packers, Cowboys, Redskins, Seahawks, Packers, Bears and Ravens before their final three. That's tough. And they're starting their third quarterback against the Giants in Josh Freeman. I guess the encouragement is that you'll get to see what Freeman can bring to the table and how the Vikings plan to use him. That's something to watch.
Craig (Braintree, MA)
Will Jacksonville get number 1 pick?
Ashley Fox (4:23 PM)
They're getting some stiff competition thus far from the Giants and Bucs.
The Packers have been tore up with injuries. But that being said, I think they will win 3 of there next 4 games for sure. By then they should be getting back some of the players they lost. Thoughts?
Ashley Fox (4:27 PM)
I think it's always dangerous to pencil in a W against a division opponent. That said, look at the Packers next six games: Browns, Vikings, Bears, Eagles, Giants, Vikings. There would appear to be winnable games there. It will be interesting to see how Green Bay's running game evolves (or doesn't). I still think the Packers will win the division.
Vick or Foles? also what do you think about drafting a QB in the next few years? Mariota maybe? Kelly is already familiar with him. Barkley and Foles dont seem to be the permanent answer.
Ashley Fox (4:29 PM)
Ultimately I think Vick gives the Eagles a better chance to win, but Foles isn't a bad option for this offense right now. But you're right, long term, the quarterback of the future is not on the Eagles roster. I think if Kelly could get Mariota he'd jump at it and then just roll. That'd be fascinating to see. I don't see Barkley as a starter in this system. He's a great guy, but I don't see as the permanent answer, either.
Craig (Braintree, MA)
Maybe the Pats could have gotten more production out of Tebow than Gronk.
Ashley Fox (4:30 PM)
Well, they've gotten zero out of Gronk, so that isn't exactly setting the bar super high.
Ed (Queens Village)
Your fellow ESPN colleagues are doing #NBARank thing. Who has been best NFL player this year not named Peyton Manning?
Ashley Fox (4:34 PM)
If you'd have asked me that last week, I would've said Jimmy Graham. He had been unstoppable but then went without a catch against New England and got hurt. Drew Brees has been really sharp. He's second to Manning in passing yards and touchdowns and the Saints are 5-1. I'll open it up to you guys. Who has been the best player not named Manning.
Good Afternoon Ashley. Who do you pick in the dallas Philadelphia game in Philadelphia?
Ashley Fox (4:35 PM)
I pick Philly. I think the Dallas defense is too banged up. But the Eagles are going to have to put a lot of points on the board. We saw a few weeks ago that the Cowboys are capable of hanging with an offense as prolific as Denver's.
how will josh freeman help the vikes
Ashley Fox (4:36 PM)
That remains to be seen. He's in a tough spot, having to learn a new offense, new teammates, new terminology and new coaches totally on the fly without the benefit of training camp or a lot of practice. So I would temper expectations. But the Vikings traded for Freeman for a reason. They certainly think he can help them. We'll see.
Chris Fiegler (Latham,NY)
What NFL Team do you think that the Giants will beat for their first Victory of 2013 or do you think that they will be 0-16?
Ashley Fox (4:39 PM)
Here's some good news for the Giants: Four of their next five games are at home, including three straight following a Week 9 bye. So that's good. To answer your question, no, I don't think the Giants will go Detroit Lions on us and not win a game. First victory? I'll say Raiders at home in Week 10 following the aforementioned bye. It's always tough for West Coast teams to come East and play at 1 p.m., which is what the Raiders will have to do.
Joel (Niagara Falls) [via mobile]
Hello Miss Fox, There's tremendous consternation up here in WNY over the Bills' persistent futility. The Cincinnati loss, for me, is a microcosm of why they remain futile. It's how they lost that's the problem. In OT, Leodis McKelvin fair caught a Cinci punt at his own six yard-line. Cinci held, forced a 3-and-out, took possession at Buffalo's 48 or so, drove a short distance, and poof ! No Bill should never have touched that punt. Since their last playoff, 14 years ago, maybe they've run well at times, or this or that, but I say as a function of coaching and other variables, they've never achieved a NFL level of sophistication to compete. Do you agree, and would you give us your own assessment of the Bills futility ? Thank you for your time.
Ashley Fox (4:43 PM)
I hear you, Joe. There has been a lot of futility, as you mention. And there's predominantly two main reasons: Instability at the head coaching position and instability at quarterback. They haven't found the right guy. Maybe Marrone will turn out to be the next Marv Levy and maybe Manuel is the guy. We don't know that yet. I'd say be patient but the Bills have had one winning season since they last made the playoffs in 1999. So you've been patient.
bob nj [via mobile]
hi ashley if u had 2 pick one team in a upset this week who would that team be how about jags over sd?
Ashley Fox (4:46 PM)
That could be, given that it is one of those tough games for West Coast teams that I mentioned a minute ago (1 p.m. Eastern start). I think Arizona will hang with Seattle tomorrow night. And I think Cleveland could give Green Bay problems.
Kevin (Miami )
How can the Dolphins fix their offensive line?
Ashley Fox (4:49 PM)
Through the draft. Probably not the answer you're looking for though, is it. They need to work on their pass protection. Miami has given up 24 sacks, tied for second to only Oakland, which has given up 28. Tannehill also has be cognizant of pressure around him and get the ball out and the receivers have to do a better job of getting open.
Ashley Fox (4:51 PM)
Alright folks, thanks for all the questions. We'll do it again next week. Enjoy Week 7.