Chat with Chris Mortensen
Send your questions now and join Mort on Wednesday at 11 a.m. ET!
Chris Mortensen (11:00 AM)
Good morning and thank goodness the season is really here. We're back with NFL Sunday Countdown @ 11 am to 1 pm ET but we're going to hit Sportscenter with the news, notes, injury updates, etc., from the get-go early Sunday morning. So it should be a fun year and I'm looking forward to it. Let's see what's on your mind for our first chat of the season.
san diego, ca
Mort- I was wondering with Jammer and Cromartie and weddle and hart i dont see a better secondary in the league what do you think? and do you think the SuperBowl is in our future?
Chris Mortensen (11:02 AM)
Let's start the season off with this: I think the Chargers are going to the Super Bowl, with or without Shawn Merriman. Now I can't predict injuries but if they stay otherwise healthy, I like 'em a lot. Love their receiving corps - huge. LT has to be LT. I think Phillip Rivers gets better. The O-line has a few concerns but, yes, that secondary is about as good as it gets.
If healthy the Eagles have one of the top QBs RBs and OLs. Is that enough to make up for what they are lacking at reciever?
Chris Mortensen (11:04 AM)
Sure. The key is Donovan McNabb staying healthy all year. Tom Brady won all three of his Super Bowls without a so-called "No. 1" receiver. I love the rookie, DeSean Jackson, as an explosive weapon. O-line is excellent, though getting a little aged. Brian Westbrook? One of the game's true stars.
Do you think Desean Jackson could be the next Steve Smith maybe after seeing him this preseason hes looking like the best small reciever n returner in awhile
Chris Mortensen (11:05 AM)
Not to do an Eagles session but no comparison with Smith, who is short but one of the strongest, stout bodies at WR. Jackson is about 167 lbs and it's the reason he wasn't a top 10 pick.
Will Brett Favre be any good?
Chris Mortensen (11:07 AM)
I certainly expect him to be good and I like the weapons he has on offense, the O-line upgrades but I'm a little concerned about whether Thomas Jones at RB will take some of the heat off Favre.
Buffalo has the best Special Teams in the NFL, right or wrong?
Chris Mortensen (11:08 AM)
The Bills are pretty close to being the best. They have a great special teams coach in Bobby April and good players and that can keep them in some close games, or win some of them.
Mort, if I got 8 dollars in my pocket at the game, do I buy a beer or go with a hamburger?
Chris Mortensen (11:09 AM)
I'd say hamburger but save it. Eat big at the tailgate.
Lj (Bloomington, IN)
Why is Eli Manning so underated? He's looked great, and better than alot of QB's this pre-season. I think he'll have a monster yr.
Chris Mortensen (11:10 AM)
The reason people call him underrated is because he is better than some of the so-called experts have allowed. I'm expecting a Pro Bowl-type season from Eli.
chris am i crazy for thinking about benching adrian peterson on my fantasy team.in 2 games last year against green bay he only averaged 78 yards per game?
Chris Mortensen (11:11 AM)
Yes, you are crazy for that. Remember, he got hurt in one of those games and I believe Tavaris Jackson will be improved enough to take some heat off.
Kevin (Glen Rock, NJ)
What kind of year do you expect out of Darren McFadden? Will he eventually take over Fargas as the starter or will he be another 'Oakland' bust?
Chris Mortensen (11:12 AM)
McFadden will not be a bust. He will have a very big year and he'll get more touches than Fargas, I'm pretty sure, from the get-go.
what about the dolphins they are getting their running game back and chad isnt to terrible look at what rex grossman did if their deffense keeps up what they did in preseason who knows
Chris Mortensen (11:13 AM)
First of all, Chad Pennington is a proven winner. When he's healthy, he has nothing to apologize for and I think the South Fla. weather will do him well, plus he knows this system. I think the Dolphins will be the most improved team in the NFL (well, they only have to win two games to double last year's amount) and I kind of think they could upset the Jets this week.
Mort, what are your thoughts on Thursday nights game? i see a blue collar, grind it out, run battle...thoughts?
Chris Mortensen (11:14 AM)
There will be some of that but I think it's supposed to be a good weather night so I think the Giants will throw more than you may believe.
CF (Jersey Shore)
How serious is McGahee's injury and what role do you see Ray Rice having this year?
Chris Mortensen (11:16 AM)
I'm hearing McGahee is iffy for the opener but they expect him back soon enough (and he still has a chance to play, I guess). They love Ray Rice. It's a two-back league. Maybe it'll be like the Jaguars have done with Fred Taylor and Maurice Jones-Drew.
Mort, it seems like everybody (matt berry) hates Frank Gore this year in fantasy football. Do you think he will have a good season or no?
Chris Mortensen (11:16 AM)
I love Frank Gore this year.
Mort: I went to Newman (HS) with the Manning boys and am wondering will the NFL's new emphasis on gang-related hand signals negatively impact Peyt and Eli's habitual presnap gesturing?
Chris Mortensen (11:17 AM)
You are very funny.
Would a Giants repeat surprise you more than you were last year when they won?
Chris Mortensen (11:18 AM)
Well, my feeling going into this season is that the three most underrated teams are probably the Giants, the Colts & Packers - all teams that made the playoffs a year ago but have their doubters right now.
What is the thoughts around the league about Devin Hester's potential at WR?
Chris Mortensen (11:20 AM)
I think league people want to see it before they'll believe it because Devin played wideout at the Univ. of Miami and never really clicked. But the Bears internally think he will surprise people.
Jay (Middletown, CT)
Mort, I have tickets to the Monday night game for New England vs. Denver. Im a Denver fan, is it worth me going, do you give Denver a chance?
Chris Mortensen (11:20 AM)
The Broncos are one of the teams, for whatever reasons,that have matched up well against the Patriots during this decade run for NE.
Hey Mort the Cowboys plan on taking Roy out on third downs. How do you think this move will pan out? Can Roy still be effective and happy?
Chris Mortensen (11:22 AM)
I'll be very surprised to see Roy Williams in most nickel & dime (pass defense) situations. Will he be happy? I don't know. By nature, Roy is a very happy person. I think you utilize him to his strengths and don't worry about the rest.
Is Tom Brady really hurt or is this just the usual silly secret squirrel nonsense from the Pats?
Chris Mortensen (11:24 AM)
Here is what I reported last week: Whenever and however in early August Tom got hurt, an MRI showed that he had a stress fracture in his foot but that a subsequent CT scan was negative and determined he had a deep bone bruise. But he clearly has been injured though missing a camp for Tom is not a big deal with all the games he has played. Obviously, the issue is how healed is the foot?
What is your take on Ronnie Brown?
Chris Mortensen (11:26 AM)
Ronnie Brown has to earn the faith of the Dolphins coaches that he can still run tough and stay durable. I can tell you for a fact, having worked with Parcells, that he has a lot of disdain for running backs who were taken in the top five of any draft who happen to get injured a lot. That's why Ricky Williams goes in as the starter but Brown has a chance to respond and prove he's the guy who was breaking out before he got hurt.
Mike : (Cleveland)
If Shaun Rogers plays out the season at a high level...Cleveland makes the playoffs. Agree?
Chris Mortensen (11:29 AM)
I think so. I believe Shaun Rogers was probably the best off-season pick-up in the NFL but unless Kamerion Wimbley takes advantage of it & becomes a dynamic pass rusher off the edge, then the Browns could fall short again, especially with that schedule. They also go into the season with a lot of injuries.
Ken (Tarzana, CA)
There are rumors that Dallas is interested in acquiring Anquan Boldin. Can you explain how they are able to pay Boldin big money to go along with T.O.'s big money, but Arizona evidently can't pay for two big time receivers?
Chris Mortensen (11:30 AM)
I wouldn't be waiting on that one. The Cardinals believe they can win the NFC West and/or gain a playoff berth. They're not trading Boldin...at least that's what I have been consistently told.
mike : deland , fl
do you think Calvin Johnson is due for a monster year?
Chris Mortensen (11:30 AM)
Simple answer: Yes.
I'm a Steeler fan and have concerns about Mendenhall holding onto the ball. Are they still considering him their goal line and short yardage back? Why not leave Parker in?
Chris Mortensen (11:32 AM)
Obviously, Mendenhall's fumbling problems in preseason are a concern to the Steelers. I know they're working on it with him but I think one fumble in an early regular season game certainly could make Parker the go-to guy in any circumstance.
Why do the Patriots have the easiest schedule? The NFL must want to see them take another shot at being undefeated.
Chris Mortensen (11:34 AM)
No, that's not it. The formula is mostly pre-set in terms of what divisions are matched up each year on a rotating basis. The AFC East happens to be matched up with the NFC & AFC West - arguably the two weakest divisions. Also, unless the Jets, Bills & Dolphins step up (which they will, I think), the AFC East isn't all that strong, either.
Fantasy Football Question: Which side of this trade do you like: Cutler, Owens and Calvin Johnson for Brees, B. Marshall and Roy Williams
Chris Mortensen (11:35 AM)
I would say: Why make the trade? It's basically a wash, in my opinion.
do yoy think drew brees will have a pro bowl year,and how do you see the saints finishing this year.
Chris Mortensen (11:36 AM)
Yes, I think Brees will have a huge season and the Saints are my pick (barely) to win the NFC South. That puts 'em in post-season, where anything goes.
Thomas Baltimore Md
Mort, Please tell me why the ravens cannot call Daunte Culpepper. Is his line busy? Is he not returning calls?
Chris Mortensen (11:38 AM)
It's not the blackball theory. For one, remember that Cam Cameron is the Ravens new offensive coordinator and I don't think he had a good experience with Daunte before the Dolphins cut him loose last year. For another, Daunte hasn't helped himelf by not hiring an agent. But I'll say this - I think he got healthy about midway through last season with Oakland (before getting hurt again) and I find it baffling that he's not playing somewhere. That's part his fault and part short-sightedness on some teams' behalf.
David (San Diego)
Hey Mort, just out of curiosity, Merriman's injury is the same one he played with in the AFC Championship Game and even the Pro Bowl, right?
Chris Mortensen (11:40 AM)
Yes, from what I understand, he had the PCL and LCL injuries in the playoffs and Pro Bowl. He did have a scope to clean out the knee but I'm hearing he may have made a mistake or two in rehab. That being said, I sure have spoken to a lot of medical people who believe he is foolish to play right now.
Mort, just curious - how were the Jets able to sign so many big ticket FAs and a top 6 draft pick? Favre, Gholston, Faneca, Pace, Woody, Richardson, Jenkins, and maybe I am missing one or two more. Are they manipulating the cap or what? It seems most other teams were able to sign one or two big-time money guys, not 6 or 7 of them.
Chris Mortensen (11:41 AM)
There was plenty of salary cap space for almost all teams this year but you still have to be smart in the value. Teams have different philopsophies. Big free agency signings aren't necessarily the cure-all but I thought what the Jets did made sense for them.
Chris, just wondering, can Tavaris Jackson and Berrian be a great combo this season for the vikings?
Chris Mortensen (11:42 AM)
Great combo? I don't know about that but better than what they've had, yes. I think Jackson will be very effective at QB this year if he stays healthy.
sam marlton, nj
this week which two RB's Earnest Graham, Ronnie Brown, Thomas Jones Thanks
Chris Mortensen (11:44 AM)
Graham definitely. And probably Thomas Jones, although not thrilled with either choice other than Graham.
John(College Park, Md)
Hey Mort, Ben Roethlisberger had a stellar pro bowl year last season with a less then adequate O-line. With the o-line improving at center but still having question marks do you see Ben taking another step in the "elite" QB range?
Chris Mortensen (11:46 AM)
I think the O-line is a major concern. If Willie Parker can take the heat off Ben, he should have a very big year with their receivers and hopefully he's big enough to stay healthy.
If Julius Peppers is back to being Julius Peppers is that along with an awesome LB crew enough to make the Carolina defense scary again?
Chris Mortensen (11:47 AM)
Maybe. The Panthers are another "sleeper." Julius Peppers looked unblockable this summer and Dameyone Lewis at DT looked very good, plus the coming of age with Thomas Davis at OLB with John Beeson, etc., makes them pretty good - scary if Peppers is a 16-game player like he was this summer.
Thomas (Cuyahoga Falls, OH)
Mort what's the story on Chris Simms? How about going to the Pats?
Chris Mortensen (11:50 AM)
Simms may have to wait a week or so before he catches on. I understand he threw the ball pretty darn good with the Ravens on Monday but because he hasn't played a real game since early '06 and didn't get a lot of work in training camp, the Ravens wanted somebody who has more recent game experience. A deal fell apart with Joey Harrington so they signed Todd Boumann.
Rob (Lewistown, PA)
Mort, would you find it hilarious if the Bengals traded Chad Johnson to a team where #85 was already taken by a veteran, now that he changed his name?
Chris Mortensen (11:50 AM)
Hadn't thought of that one!
Mort - Whats your concern with T. Jones? Thought the O-line improved. We wasn't terrible last year, he just didnt score.
Chris Mortensen (11:52 AM)
I guess I just didn't see the same guy I saw in the previous couple of years and I didn't see it this summer. But I'm always curious to see how things look when the regular season opens and there's a game plan. Plus, Favre should let the running game breathe more, in theory.
Are the Pats going to pull a Colts and load the load onto Maroney's shoulders? Lost their number two, line is getting old and banged up, and so is Brady...?
Chris Mortensen (11:52 AM)
Lamont Jordan is pretty good for a No. 2. O-line is not old. Banged up at times but not old.
What do you expect to see from Jim Zorn and the Redskins tomorrow night?
Chris Mortensen (11:54 AM)
I really don't know. Obviously, I was concerned that the O didn't crank it up in either of the last two preseason games when they were trying to get some momentum. I know people talk about Jason Campbell adjusting to his fourth coordinator in four years but that happened at Auburn and it was the fourth coordinator in college, Al Borges, who brought in the West Coast system and Campbell blossomed. For now, I'm expecting a slow start by the Redskins.
Do you have any good things to say about SF
Chris Mortensen (11:56 AM)
Great city. Seriously, like a lot of people, I think Patrick Willis is a stud at LB. I believe Mike Martz will prove he's a miracle worker with quarterbacks but this time he wont let his RB - Frank Gore - get lost in the shuffle.They're interesting...I think.
does michael turner become an elite back for the falcons? he has shown flashes of brilliance backing up LT, but then again, that was after LT ran circles around tired defenses,..what are your thoughts? thanks!
Chris Mortensen (11:57 AM)
There are few, if any backs,who are 235 pounds and run 4.4 in the 40 so Turner should be the real deal. His problem is that he's got a rookie QB in Matt Ryan so Ryan has to get the respect quickly to avoid those 8-man defensive fronts to gang up on Turner.
The AFC South is the hardest division in football. What can the Texans do if there offense stays healthy in that division?
Chris Mortensen (11:59 AM)
I'm very anxious to see what it turns out like. I think they key is whether they can find a big-time running game out of their combination of backs (Green, Taylor & Slaton, who looked very good this preseason) and whether the defensive front seven becomes dominant. If that happens and Andre Johnson stays healthy, they can surprise in that division.
Chris Mortensen (12:00 PM)
Got to run. Going to tape an interview with the Steelers' Willie Parker that will run Friday night when we kick off ESPN Radio Primetime from 7 to 9 ET with myself, Keyshawn and Erik Kuselias. Catch you then & see you all day Sunday,morning until night...God Bless.