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 11 a.m. ET!
Ashley Fox (11:00 AM)
Hi everybody. Thanks for joining me. Let's get started.
Wes (Williamsport, PA)
What everyone wants to know is What is going on with Ben Roethlisberger? How badly is he hurt?
Ashley Fox (11:02 AM)
That's the big question this morning. My colleague Ed Werder is reporting that Roethlisberger is extremely sore and having an MRI this morning. It doesn't sound positive. This obviously would be a huge blow to the Steelers, who have Baltimore twice in the next three weeks, starting Sunday at Heinz Field. I'm sure we'll have a definitive answer later today.
Philip Bernstein (Brooklyn, New York)
I believe that the Bears won't make it too far in the playoffs. Their defense is scoring about half of their total points. So, when they play better, smarter teams they won't be able to beat them; the Bears' offense isn't strong enough. Those stronger teams aren't going to turn the ball over AS OFTEN, which is basically how the Bears win games. So, they do great against more turnover-prone teams, but when they play playoff teams, they won't get their usual number of defensive points, and their offense can't make up for that. Does it sound reasonable? Because everyone thinks I'm crazy.
Ashley Fox (11:06 AM)
I'm not as down on the Bears as you are. They just played perhaps the best team in football -- the Texans are No. 1 in this week's power rankings -- in awful conditions, albeit at home. And I don't think you can discount the defense's ability to create turnovers. The bigger question right now is how significant is Jay Cutler's concussion and how much time might he miss. They're in better position this year to deal with Cutler missing time because they went out and got a backup who has been a starter in this league.
The Packers are beaten up. that being said, they should be getting most players back within the next month or so. What is your prediction for them the rest of the year?
Ashley Fox (11:10 AM)
I like their chances, for sure. They've won four straight starting with that big win at Houston. They're putting significant points on the board -- 42 at Houston, 30 at St. Louis, 24 against Jacksonville and 31 against Arizona. They've got five games left against division opponents and a big game in two weeks at the Giants. They're 6-3 and should be 7-2 because of the referee debacle at Seattle. So they look to me like a team that is coming together for a playoff run.
M. Kelly (NC)
What do think of all the pundits being so critical of the Falcons?They lose one close game on the road to a very good offensive team and everybody jumps ship....I don't get it!
Ashley Fox (11:12 AM)
I'm with you. They lost a division game on the road against their most hated rival, who, by the way, has their number. The Falcons were bound to lose one, and this probably in some way helps them. It ends any talk about going undefeated, which can become a distraction, and re-focuses everybody on what's important, and that's peaking for the playoffs. I like this team. They have matchup nightmares on offense and a defense that can get to the quarterback. Their line needs to play better than it did against New Orleans.
Brian (Fishers, IN)
Do the Chiefs need to win at least a couple more games for Crennel and Pioli to keep their jobs, or was last night's loss pretty much their last gasp? That penalty for excessive celebration (on a TD that didn't even count) was so embarrassing. They played hard, but this is such an undisciplined mess of a team.
Ashley Fox (11:14 AM)
The seats are definitely hot in Kansas City because this was a team that was supposed to contend for the division but has the worst record in football along with Jacksonville. Pioli has to take the blame for the quarterback position. Matt Cassel has not panned out and Brady Quinn isn't the answer. Whatever happens, I would like to see the Chiefs finally pick a quarterback high in the draft and develop him. They haven't done that in forever.
Is it officially time to say the Colts are legit? They look in pretty good shape to go to the playoffs, and Luck is playing out of his mind.
Ashley Fox (11:17 AM)
Well, if the playoffs started today, the Colts would be in. So yes. They're in the discussion. But we will learn a lot about them in the coming weeks, beginning this week at New England. They've still got Houston twice in a three-week stretch in December, and the Bills, Lions, Titans and Chiefs. I can legitimately see three, maybe four wins there, which you've got to believe would be enough to get them into the playoffs. And you're right: Luck is legit.
Can you safely declare that Flacco is amongst the toughest QBs in the game right now? Big Ben seems to be too fragile no?
Ashley Fox (11:19 AM)
Roethlisberger is fragile? I wouldn't say that at all. He got hurt. It happens. And he's played through injuries before. This one will be different because it will come down to a matter of can he throw or not? That's not an issue of toughness. That's an issue of health.
Eli Manning Phillip Rivers Jay Cutler and Tony Romo all have more interceptions then Vick this yr, and all of them have much better o-lines then Vick,can all the Vick hate please be stopped?dude is definately not the reason they suck
Ashley Fox (11:23 AM)
Vick has thrown nine picks whereas Romo has thrown 13, Rivers has thrown 12, Eli has thrown 11 and Cutler 10. And you're right, the Eagles offensive line is a mess, down four starters. But Vick has made some horrible decisions in the red zone that have led to turnovers. He is getting killed in Philadelphia -- I know, I live there -- but it isn't all his fault. I see a team, particularly on defense, that isn't playing all out every snap. And it very well could cost Andy Reid and Vick their jobs.
Can you list some of the teams in the AFC that have a legit shot at the SB title this year? Thanks
Ashley Fox (11:26 AM)
Sure. I think you start with Houston, which is so dominant on defense and balanced on offense. They can dictate games with their running game and their defense. They've allowed one touchdown in their last three games and are 12-1 in the last 13 games Matt Schaub has started. I'm eager to see Baltimore this weekend at Pittsburgh. They've suffered a couple of bad injuries on defense but I still think they can make a run. You can't discount New England ever. And with Peyton Manning, I think Denver can be an outside threat.
does dallas have a chance to make a playoff run now that they are hittin a softer part of their schedule, and the giants continue to loose, and eagles......
Ashley Fox (11:28 AM)
They certainly think they can. It was a huge win for them in Philly on Sunday, particularly coupled with another Giants loss. The Giants are horrendous in November, for whatever reason, but they usually get it together. The bye week finally comes at a perfect time for them. The Cowboys are going to have to get more consistent play from Romo and cut down on the penalties. I don't see them as a team that's going to make much noise in the playoffs, but the window is certainly open for them to get there.
Von Miller D.P.O.Y.!!!! That is all
Ashley Fox (11:30 AM)
He's having a good year, there's no doubt. But he's going to have a hard time taking the award away from J.J. Watt. He's having a tremendous season on the best team in football right now. It's his award to lose.
Wes (Williamsport, PA)
Do you think, if Ben Roethlisberger is out for any extended period of time, there is a legit chance that the Steelers will sign a Free Agent QB? A couple of the names I have heard mentioned are Dennis Dixon and David Garrard.
Ashley Fox (11:31 AM)
I don't know. It sounds like Byron Leftwich would be the guy. I know Garrard says he's healthy now, but he's been sitting on the street all season. It would be better to go with the guy in house. But we'll see.
Curt (Trappe Md)
Is Shanahan done in Washington? I think the team team has gotten worse since he has been here and since they will not see a draft pick for the next 5 years improvement in the draft is not going to happen.
Ashley Fox (11:34 AM)
I don't think so. And I don't think he's packed it in for this season either. He's got a franchise quarterback and they've put some pieces in place around him. They're better than they were, they're just not good enough yet. Redskins fans want more, and understandably so. I would still take RGIII for those draft picks any day.
Kyle (New Jersey)
Why does it seem like after this loss everyone is jumping off the Bears bandwagon? Sure, the Texans played the Bears game better then the Bears did, but does that really mean that the Bears are no longer a contender in the NFC?
Ashley Fox (11:37 AM)
I agree. They're still contenders. It was a tough loss against a really tough football team in even tougher conditions (that's a lot of tough). They're at San Francisco on Monday night, perhaps without their starting quarterback. But this is still the team that hung 51 on Tennessee two weeks ago. No one was jumping off the bandwagon then.
Devin Brooks (Garden City)
Do you think Philly O-line gets healthy in the up coming weeks like week 13, because I can see Andy letting mcCoy run crazy more so now without Vick...
Ashley Fox (11:39 AM)
Two starters are out with season-ending injuries and there's absolutely zero reason to bring Jason Peters back even if he gets healthy for this season. So no, I don't think the Philly offensive line gets healthy in the upcoming weeks. And Reid should run McCoy more, but he never does. McCoy was killing New Orleans in the first half and then barely touched the ball in the second two weeks ago.
Why? Because the Bears have played 3 teams over .500, lost to two of them and beat the Colts in Luck's first game. The offense is mediocre, and you can't count on the defense to keep scoring TDs when the offense can't.
Ashley Fox (11:41 AM)
We will learn a lot in the next several weeks. Their next five games are all against teams with a winning record: San Francisco, Minnesota twice, Seattle and Green Bay.
Kyle (New Jersey)
Is Bruce Arians a candidate for coach of the year, even as an interim head coach? He's had to a lot with an injury riddled roster, a rookie starting quarterback, and his head coach stricken with cancer. If the Colts post a winning record, doesn't that qualify him for consideration?
Ashley Fox (11:43 AM)
Absolutely. But my ballot would look like this: Pagano/Arians. Can't have one without the other. Arians has done a fantastic job under horrible circumstances.
Philip Buchanan (No one knows)
People are jumping off the Bears bandwagon because they put 51 on TENNESSEE! The worst defense in the last decade! When they play good teams, they do not look good. You could very easily argue that the Bears would have been blown out by the Texans if it weren't for the conditions. Cutler being hurt may be the best thing for this team so they can refocus on the run game and play strong defense.
Ashley Fox (11:44 AM)
Man, people are down on the Bears. Okay. I get it.
Wes (Williamsport, PA)
Do you think, assuming the speculation is correct and Reid is fired and Vick is cut, the Philadelphia Eagles will make any other major changes to their coaching staff, front office, or roster? (such as some of the FA signings they spent so much money on)
Ashley Fox (11:45 AM)
If Reid is fired his staff likely will be gone, too. That's how it works. Whoever the new coach would be could keep a couple of holdovers. Reid did that with Juan Castillo all those years ago. It sounds like Howie Roseman is safe. I could see other shakeups in scouting and personnel. It's going to be fascinating to see if there is a fire sale or not.
Adam (San Diego)
So what is it going to take for Norv to get his walking papers? Who could you see as possible replacements?
Ashley Fox (11:47 AM)
Well, they've lost four of their last five games and have the Broncos in Denver next, so they seem well on their way to getting their coach fired. As for possible replacements, I don't know yet. It's too early to speculate.
Kyle (New Jersey)
What's wrong with Eli Manning? He has not played at an ELIte level in some time this season. What do you see that's wrong with his game?
Ashley Fox (11:50 AM)
It's a good question. I've heard all the speculation that his arm is tired. I don't know if that's true or not. But you're right, he's had a dreadful couple of weeks. In the last three games, zero touchdowns, four interceptions and he's been sacked seven times. That's very un-Eli-like. Like I said earlier, I think everybody with the Giants could use a week off to regroup.
As soft as the Cowboy fans view the Browns game this weekend, isn't this the type of game the Cowboy's could be upset in? Expect Tony Romo to get a good view of what the Browns defensive line was supposed to look like this season, which could produce many playmaking opportunities for both teams.
Ashley Fox (11:51 AM)
I have a hard time trusting the Cowboys this season. One win against a poor Philadelphia team doesn't change that.
Jay (Miami )
Remember when people thought Eli was better than Peyton purely because his TEAM had won one more Super Bowl than Peyton's team had?! After watching both this season, are you ready to concede that Peyton is the superior Manning?
Ashley Fox (11:54 AM)
I don't know if "people" thought Eli was better. Peyton will go down as the best pre-snap quarterback ever. His ability to dissect what defenses are trying to do and then adjust is unmatched. And obviously, that hasn't changed given his change in teams. In the ultimately scoreboard, Eli has two rings and Peyton has one. That doesn't mean Eli is better, but quarterbacks are judged by the Super Bowls they win. Eli has won two. I'd take either to be the quarterback of my team.
Wes (Williamsport, PA)
I know you said Howie Roseman's job is safe but do you actually believe it should be? I know they've gotten Maclin, Fox, McCoy and Jackson just to name a couple, out of the draft, but if you look at the depth there are major issues. I can't help but question the real quality of the job Roseman is doing when it comes to the drafting of players.
Ashley Fox (11:56 AM)
Fox? Or did you mean Fletcher Cox? I think you can make an argument that if you fire Reid, Roseman should go as well. He hasn't drafted well. There have been questionable first-round picks. And the team he helped assemble has been an abject failure. But he signed a contract extension, so I would think Lurie is intent on keeping him.
Since everyone is talking about them. How many teams will have new coaches next year?
Ashley Fox (11:58 AM)
Could be more than a few. Maybe five. Maybe seven. Depends on what happens with Sean Payton and New Orleans and the domino effect from there.
Ashley Fox (11:58 AM)
Alright everybody. Thanks for joining me. Sorry I couldn't get to everybody. Hit me up on Twitter if you are so inclined and I will answer more there. @AshleyMFox. We'll do it again next week. Have a good one.