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 Thursday at 3 p.m. ET!
Buzzmaster (3:09 PM)
Sorry folks, but Ashley won't be able to chat today. We'll get her back on the schedule next week!
Ashley Fox (3:02 PM)
Greetings everybody. Thanks for joining me. Let's get started.
Ed (Queens Village)
Will teams change how they do background checks on players after DeSean Jackson and Aaron Hernandez got release?
Ashley Fox (3:03 PM)
I think teams are mindful of the importance of not only doing background checks but paying attention to what the background checks say. I certainly don't put Jackson and Hernandez in the same category. But teams need to do their due diligence. Some teams do it and take risks on players anyway. It happens and will continue.
noel (san jose )
Ashley two quick questions do you think the seahawks are widening the gap between the niners and sea ~~~ are you ready to say the cards are a better team then sf at m
Ashley Fox (3:05 PM)
The gap is not very wide, Noel. Both teams were in the NFC championship game and Seattle won it at the end at home. That's not a large gap. And no, I'm not ready to say Arizona is a better team than San Francisco. Improving, yes, but not better.
Why is everyone in Philadephia all worked up about trading DJax (even for a 3rd pick). Over the past 3 season DJax has 2,991 Rec. Yards and 15 TD's. How will the Eagles replace that is the question I keep hearing. Over that same time frame Player A has 1,981 receiving yards and 16 receiving TD's... who is Player A?? Darren Sproles. The Eagles have already replaced DJAX and will certainly grab a WR in a VERY deep WR draft. Why the worry?
Ashley Fox (3:08 PM)
Jackson is a special talent, which is why there is concern. He has transcendent speed, is tough to defend in the open field and is a playmaker. That said, I think the Eagles are going to be okay. Getting Sproles helps, but more than that is they're getting back Jeremy Maclin, who I think is more valuable overall than Jackson. Chip Kelly was moving him all over the field last year in practice before Maclin tore his knee up. Kelly likes him. He clearly didn't like Jackson. I think they'll be okay (even though they'll have to see Jackson 2x a season and don't have anyone who can cover him).
Ed (Queens Village)
There seems to be a backlash with Jets signing Mike Vick. What Mike Vick did no one can defend. He served his time and this happened in 07 I wish people let it go. As far as the football stand point I have no opinion of my Jets signing Vick. Who should start Week 1 Geno or Vick?
Ashley Fox (3:10 PM)
Everyone is entitled to their opinion on Vick. He gets that. As far as who should start Week 1, it is way to early to say that. Depends on who plays better. It will be an open competition. The good thing for Vick is he is very familiar with Marty Mornhinweg and what he likes to do, and Mornhinweg is very familiar with what Vick does and doesn't do well. That competition will be a consistent storyline throughout the offseason and training camp.
If the Falcons are lucky enough to get Mack at 6 I'd really be liking the new 3-4 look on D. Signing Soliai to play NT plus Weatherspoon and the 2 young CBs... could be a a sleeper.
Ashley Fox (3:16 PM)
I'm not sure Mack will still be on the board at No. 6, but yes, he certainly would be a good fit for the Falcons. I don't love Soliai, but he fills a need given the defensive change Atlanta is making. They need a pass rusher (still) but they also need a tackle. The good thing with this draft is at 6 they'll be able to take the best available player who likely will also fill a need.
OK, Ashley, how does the top 3 in the draft go?
Ashley Fox (3:18 PM)
I don't think anybody knows the answer to that question. It is anybody's guess. I think that the Texans would be crazy not to go with Clowney, but I don't think it's a certainty that they do. With so much uncertainty about what they intend to do, it is impossible to pick who is going to go two, three, four, etc.
ShaneNFL (Robins AFB, GA)
Ashley, people do not realize what a low-risk, high-reward trade this is for the Raiders. Schaub's contract no longer has any guaranteed money on it; that bill was entirely picked up by the Texans. Any late-round pick is likely going to be a role/special teams player at best, and the Raiders get a quarterback whose shown in the past can be a starting NFL quarterback. The Raiders could cut Schaub in training camp and only be out the pick, owing Schaub nothing. Thoughts? (Incidentally, I think the trade was a great move for everyone...Texans, Raiders, and Schaub.)
Ashley Fox (3:20 PM)
I would be very surprised if the Raiders cut Schaub in training camp. And I agree with you that the trade was good for everyone involved, particularly Schaub. I'm sure he didn't want the change of scenery, but I think it will be very good for him given what happened last year. A key will be the Raiders protecting him, and they've certainly worked on their offensive line this offseason. He needs to get his confidence back. That really seemed to take a hit last year.
DBOY (Bay area)
Thoughts on Mckenzie fighting for an 8-8 record to save his job?
Ashley Fox (3:20 PM)
I think everybody there is on the clock, but it is a big rebuilding job. An 8-8 finish would be an improvement.
Rich (New Jersey)
Hi Ashley - Who won the free agency race and who is on the losing end of the free agency race?
Ashley Fox (3:23 PM)
I think the teams that generally win in free agency are the ones that don't necessarily swing for the fence and make a lot of signings. Denver was the exception when they got Peyton Manning, but that was an atypical situation. The prevailing feeling last year was that Miami was the big winner in free agency, and how did that work out for them?
Mike P (Greater KC Metro)
Ashley, i can only guess that after the "dream team" fiasco, Andy Reid is hesitant to pull the trigger on a free agent. Throw in Jon Dorsey and the "Packer Way" of thinking and the chiefs have not made any significant splashes in FA. Is this what we will come to expect in KC as more higher profile, attractive FA's go to other cities?
Ashley Fox (3:26 PM)
I think you're right, Mike. Dorsey is from the Green Bay school of approaching free agency, which is to not be very active at all. And I do think that Andy Reid learned a lot about chasing things in free agency with that disaster in Philly after the lockout. Build through the draft, supplement in free agency, not overspend for any one player on the free agent market. That's the philosophy I think you'll continue to see there.
With all the big moves made by the Broncos and Patriots, do you think any other teams can challenge Denver and New England in the AFC?
Ashley Fox (3:28 PM)
Well, they're the standard bears in the conference after what happened last season. But I wouldn't overlook Baltimore, Indy, Kansas City or even San Diego. I'm certainly not ready to crown a champ in April.
Ashley Fox (3:31 PM)
Ashley Fox (3:45 PM)
Ok thanks. We'll do this again next week. Have a great week.