Chat with Chris Mortensen
Mortensen, an award-winning journalist and one of the most respected and accomplished reporters covering the NFL, joined ESPN in 1991 and appears on Sunday NFL Countdown, Monday Night Countdown and SportsCenter.
Send your questions now and join Mort on Wednesday at 11 a.m. ET!
Chris Mortensen (11:23 AM)
Good morning...sorry I was a little late. Been on the phone, as usual, so maybe I'll have better answers.
Any update on the injuries to the Cardinals that went down with injuries this past Sunday?
Chris Mortensen (11:25 AM)
Probably what you have heard - that the biggest concern is with Boldin's knee and ankle injuries. I think Calais Campbell - a heck of a player - is a concern because you have to put pressure on Aaron Rodgers and when you're playing with a cast on your hand, you're usually not the same player.
any credence to the report of bruce arians being fired?
Chris Mortensen (11:26 AM)
There has been speculation for more than a month around league circles that Arian could be in trouble. I don't have it confirmed that he'll be fired. Of course, when you fire somebody as important as a coordinator, you have to know who you're getting to replace him. And like Arians or not, he was the OC last year when the Steelers won the Super Bowl.
Warin (Englewood, NJ)
Hey Mort, I heard a recent report that in last week's game against the Ravens, Raiders coach Tom Cable had to convince his offense not to give up on Jamarcus Russell once he came into the game. Have you ever heard of situation in all your years of covering the NFL where a coach had to beg his offense not to quit on it's QB?
Chris Mortensen (11:28 AM)
Whether it's true or not, Cable pretty much revealed his feelings about Russell by benching him and publicly exposing him. I would say the players held a lot of those same views. That being said, I doubt Al Davis will embrace Cable going forward; will he emrbace Russell?
stacy (georgetown )
mort...lovie smith not getting fired..what is up with this and mike shaannan going to washigtion?
Chris Mortensen (11:30 AM)
Honestly, the Shanahan to Redskins deal has been basically a done deal for some time. This has been an ongoing courtship dating back to this past off-season and the McCaskey family is just not as aggressive as a guy like Snyder.
Mort, should I be concerned about the Pioli - Haley team as talent evaluators given that Jamaal Charles wasn't deemed good enough to dress in week 2 and Derrick Johnson rode the pines all year while the two starting inside linebackers combined for 0 sacks, 0 interceptions, and 0 forced fumbles this year?
Chris Mortensen (11:32 AM)
Sometimes, it's about the players adjusting to the shock of a culture change than the other way around. Once the players understand what the expectations are, they either buy in or buy out. I'd say those guys resisted the demands and eventually got the message.
Hey Mort, odds on a strike in 2011? And with the recent poor decisions made by NBA players with guns in the lockers, has the NFL done anything to up security to prevent that from happening in any of their facilities?
Chris Mortensen (11:34 AM)
There will not be a strike by the players in 2011. There could be a lockout by the owners. However, I'd say more of a three or four month lockout during the off-season that the NFL actually losing games...though who knows? The NFL strengthened its gun policies and penalties a couple of years ago. There's no metal detectors at the facility but they know the penalties are severe.
Do you see Shanahan sticking with Jason Campbell as his QB or drafting a guy with their first pick in this year's draft?
Chris Mortensen (11:37 AM)
I really can see Campbell back next year. As of now he will be a restricted free agent and he has skills Shanahan likes in a QB - big arm and mobility. Can Sam Bradford show enough mobility when he ultimately works out? That will be interesting. I would say that if Jake Locker (Washington) had come out or changes his mind, I have no doubt Shanahan would jump all over him. Shanahan also would take Cutler off the Bears' hands but the Bears aren't about to do that. Shanahan also liked Matt Leinart coming out but don't know how he feels about Leinart now.
Tom Tuttle (Tacoma)
Will people please stop saying that the Jets were gifted a playoff spot? The Colts played their top guys into the third quarter and the Jets demolished the Bengals starters (sans Benson and Maaulaga) before J.T. O'Sullivan played his first down. No competition committee rule will or should mandate a team with nothing to play for to do more.
Chris Mortensen (11:41 AM)
First of all, I tend to agree that the Jets put themselves in position to grab a playoff spot. Go back to the Indy game. The Colts truly were hoping to build a 24-0 lead through almost 3 quarters because they certainly didn't think a rookie QB (Sanchez) could overcome that. The Jets didn't let Manning do that to them. As far as the comp. committee, the commissioner knows he can't mandate a team to player their starters. He simply wants to provide incentives or rewards that he hopes will motivate teams to make those decisions.
With Doug Free really stepping it up what do you see the Cowboys doing next year with 3 solid tackles? Also in the draft would they address OL depth in the first round or perhaps an eventual replacement to Ken Hamlin?
Chris Mortensen (11:42 AM)
I think Free playing well when Colombo was out was huge for the Cowboys and once again a testament to O-line coach Hudson Houck. But I really think with the Cowboys in the playoffs, what they do with their draft is not really on my radar right now.
How will the upcoming Supreme Court antitrust hearings impact the labor negotiations and the economic future of the NFL?
Chris Mortensen (11:47 AM)
In a case known as American Needle, if the NFL can get a blanket antitrust exemption,so to speak, it would prevent the NFLPA from de-certifying as a union and then players filing a class-action anti-trust lawsuit in federal court, which is what Gene Upshaw manufactured 20 years ago with players like Reggie White willing to put their name on the lawsuit...that eventually led to the labor peace the NFL and NFLPA has enjoyed but it did give leverage to players.
Wouldn't an 18-game schedule open the NFL up to 2-3 weeks of teams resting players, thus completly nulifying the benefit of 2 more games?
Chris Mortensen (11:49 AM)
Absolutely an issue. The commissioner, we know, is frustrated that fans are dissatisfied with paying reg. ticket prices for 4 preseason games and he knows fans who buy tickets for regular season games expect those games to count. Adding an 18-game schedule - does it fix the problem? I doubt it.
Chris,I agree with you, that Shanny can work with Campbell. The most immediately pressing needs for the skins are OL and RB depth. Who do you see them going with as OL coach? Any chance Gibbs would come back again?
Chris Mortensen (11:50 AM)
I could see Shanahan looking at Alex Gibbs, who has been working with Kyle Shanahan in Houston. Kyle will be Mike's OC. Also, it's possible the Broncos could release O-line coach Rick Dennison (I'm speculating on this), who was Shanahan's line coach for a good stretch before Mike was fired.
J Treehorn (Malibu)
Dr. Mortimer - let's talk about the playoffs! c'mon man!who's the favorite in the NFC? colts or chargers in the afc?
Chris Mortensen (11:56 AM)
I would say the Saints are the favorite in the NFC, followed by the Cowboys and Packers. Just my opinion but I give all 6 teams a shot.In the AFC, I'd handicap it: 1. Chargers; 2. Colts; 3. Patriots. I would be surprised Bengals, Jets & Ravens made it to the Super Bowl.
Mort, even if the commish comes out and starts penalizing teams for resting players, won't it just lead to every head coach out there to basically put every player on the injured list with a scrape on their knee? That way they can justify sitting the player.
Chris Mortensen (11:59 AM)
That's the mockery that the competition committee in past studies believe will happen, under any scenario. But, again, the commissioner does not want to penalize teams, at all. He wants to reward teams. It's a tough fix.
Mort, I think you and Shefter should not like each other and do a weekly standoff ala John Clayton & that retired QB guy.
Chris Mortensen (12:00 PM)
Tim, since my mother and brother Joe live in Boise, I will answer this silly question! Not possible because Adam Schefter and I like each other very much. Of course, Clayton and Sean Salisbury, in reality, were very friendly, too, but they made for some hilarious TV.
Dan (Atlantic City)
Do you expect to see a flood of free agents this offseason if 2010 is uncapped? Seems like a golden opportunity for owners to rid themselves of bad contracts.
Chris Mortensen (12:01 PM)
I do think owners will get rid of bad contracts in an uncapped year.
Mort, you probably can't comment on this, but I am asking just in case you can. We all have co-workers that are difficult to work with. People who you can never tell what kind of reonse you will receive, an angry response or a kind response. So my question is, who in the league is difficult to work with and who do you enjoy working with?
Chris Mortensen (12:04 PM)
I can't answer that! But, I'll say this, for the most part I get along fairly well with everyone I know in the league. But we do have some natural adversarial positions and you just work through those. The toughest part is that I enjoy my job description: I gather information, I report information and I analyze information. The analysis part is the tricky road but I do enjoy it.
Mike (Boca Raton)
Mort, with regards to an 18-game schedule, has the subject of the historical ramifications of a 16-game season been brought up? I know that the season used to be 14 games, but keeping the season at 16 games will maintain the integrity of numerous records--both for teams and individuals. Is all of this lost on owners/the Commissioner?
Chris Mortensen (12:05 PM)
I think you answered your own question with the knowledge that the seasons used to be shorter than 16. It is not a real consideration in the equation, from my understanding.
Mike (Merry ol england)
Hey Mort, heard you on Mike and Mike and what you said about the Holmgren/Mangini quagmire is spot on. I think they are from two completely different schools of football. And I am very relieved to know that Holmgrens first order of business is to make sure Cribbs gets paid. What do you think Holmgren does with the QB situation? Can't you see him going after someone like Jason Campbell? Thanks Mort.
Chris Mortensen (12:06 PM)
Well, if Holmgren wants good info on Jason Campbell, all he has to do is call his good friend and former quarterback coach, Jim Zorn.
Is Kansas City going to hire Romeo and Weis?
Chris Mortensen (12:06 PM)
I think that is very much on the front burner for the Chiefs.
Whats your take on the Denver Broncos? Were do they go from here? Also don't you think that BMarsh got his catches, his Pro Bowl, and his soon to be pay day and then decided to go back to his old self? I realize McDaniels could of handled it better but Marshall is more of villian than a victim right?
Chris Mortensen (12:08 PM)
I think you're basically right. And do think Marshall is more villain than victim because I know veteran players (leaders) who feel that way.
Chris Mortensen (12:11 PM)
In Buffalo, you never know which way thr wind is blowing. I'd say ignore any Billick references. They are not giving up on Cowher, at all, but probably don't get him. I will say that even though I think Marty Schottenheimer makes sense, he won't be the guy. How about Marty's son, Brian? Offensive guy, good blood lines, same division, understands late season climate impact (running the ball). Jim Haslett certainly has been mentioned. Charlie Weis? Probably not. It's a process. Oh, I do think Perry Fewell is a very qualified guy, by the way.
I have heard that if Tom Heckert is brought in that we might see a Kevin Kolb trade a la Scott Pioli-Matt Cassel. Kolb is a prototypical West Coast Offense QB. Any word on this?
Chris Mortensen (12:12 PM)
Now that wouldn't surprise me, I guess, especially if Marty Mornhinweg is the coach. I just don't know if the Eagles would part with Kolb.
Coach Tuesday (NYC)
Mort, why can't the Bills lure anyone to take that job? Cowher, Shanahan, Gruden, Holmgren, and even Weiss have turned them down. Is it the owner, the climate, the players, the fans, what is it??
Chris Mortensen (12:15 PM)
I have stated this before and Bills' fans misinterpret but as much good as Wilson has done in Buffalo, he did fire Bill Polian and he wore out John Butler, who bolted for San Diego. There are influences with Wilson that interfere with paying players like Pat Williams. And on Mondays and Tuesdays, which are critical days when coaches review and prepare for games, there's way too many inquiries coming from outside the building. Nevertheless, I like the selection of Buddy Nix as GM and hopefully Ralph will let him pick the coach.
Mort, what happened to Sean Payton saying that the Saints were goign to treat carolina as a must win game??? Then resting Brees and half of his starters and treating it like a pre-season game??? Where is the outcry there, he has ruined any chance at momentum for the Saints. One and done...
Chris Mortensen (12:17 PM)
I would say common sense happened. The Saints have been pretty beat up, especially on defense, for the past six weeks. Momentum? I've seen it work both ways and now we'll find out with the Saints. I have a pretty good feeling about their chances.
Brian Billick (Assembling my coaching staff)
Am I a shoe in for the Bills job or is The Chin going to surprise everyone and take it?
Chris Mortensen (12:19 PM)
On this question, I want to make sure everyone understands that EVERY coach who is looking for a job assembles a potential staff because if they ever do interview that is a big component. Every coaching candidate has to present his assistant coaching plans in the form of a depth chart (in case you don't get who you want). I don't know if Cowher takes it. I doubt it.
What route do you see the Giants going at Defensive Coordinator? Both Crennel and Pepper Johnson have expressed interest in the job, and Fewell is coming in for an interview tomorrow.
Chris Mortensen (12:21 PM)
Crennel could make some sense but he's a 3-4 guy. Same with someone like Mangini. Looks like Mike Zimmer could be a hot DC candidate because he doesn't have a contract yet, but he may be bound for the Redskins.
Who says no first, Hester for Marshall?
Chris Mortensen (12:22 PM)
Bears. Shanahan and Cutler were pretty fed up with Marshall last season. Trust me on that.
John (Santa Barbara)
When asked about the browns coaching situation future - you told us about the bills - if i ask you about the chiefs will you tell us what your take on holmgrin/mangini is?
Chris Mortensen (12:23 PM)
That had to be a posting problem with a question.
How will Jimmy Clausen's surgery on his toe and not being able to perform in the combine affect his draft status?
Chris Mortensen (12:25 PM)
I think it's an issue. I don't think he was going to be ranked as a top 10 pick, anyway, but if he can work out well before the draft and show he's healthy, he certainly can salvage a first round grade.
Jeremy Bates (Chicago)
The Bears contacted me, should i take the OC position in Chicago? Will I?
Chris Mortensen (12:27 PM)
If the Bears offer Jeremy Bates the OC job, he will say yes. I'm pretty sure there's been contact but Charlie Weis could be the No. 1 preference. I think Weis ends up in KC. I know Mike Martz wants the job but I doubt it happens.
Who do you expect the Bears to hire as DC and OC?
Chris Mortensen (12:28 PM)
As the OC, I guess I'm expecting Jeremy Bates, unless Weis decides to jump on it. As the DC, I believe Perry Fewell would be a favorite.
JC (Utica, NY)
How about Marshall for Ted Ginn and his family?
Chris Mortensen (12:30 PM)
Thank you for the laugh. I gotta run now. Thanks for the time - it's going to be a fun post-season and off-season for all those fans who want some answers! Catch me on Twitter.com @mortreport. We have two NFL Countdown shows o Saturday at 11:30 a.m. and Sunday at usual time of 11 a.m. Lots of good stuff in both shows. Schefty (Adam Schefter) and I are working hard. God Bless!