Chat with Chris Mortensen
Send your questions now and join Mort on Wednesday at 11 a.m. ET!
Chris Mortensen (11:10 AM)
Good morning. Again, a lot going on. Just spoke with Matt Millen's wife a while ago...so, yes, he is out...lots to talk about.
joe (new orleans)
Mort, what is the deal with Payton letting Deuce dress out, but not playing him? Is there a problem there?
Chris Mortensen (11:12 AM)
Payton really has wanted to adhere to a policy of not forcing Deuce onto the field until he is "100 percent" with using him only in emergency. I'm pretty sure Payton feels that Deuce's next injury could be his last one but with all the other injuries...it's an emergency now.
Ok, so what names will get thrown around in Detroit? I doubt Cowher is dumb enough to come here. Ted Thompson? Fans reactions here would lead you to believe we just won the Super Bowl, it's crazy! But Lion fans are indeed passionate, as hard as that might be to believe...
Chris Mortensen (11:14 AM)
I have no doubt that Cowher's name will be at the top. Why wouldn't he consider it? Mr. Ford is an ideal owner if you're going to work for him - opens his resources, patient, fully supportive in all ways...even to a fault. My goodness, we have just witnessed that. But I really believe the football operation has to be the priority before you start going for the "marquee" hire in a coach.
If the Browns are thinking about pulling Derek Anderson already Mort why didn't they trade him in the off season when his value was high?
Chris Mortensen (11:17 AM)
Well, the Browns didn't see this coming and they know internally what has happened goes way deeper than Anderson. No team has had as many significant injury setbacks and it impacts the QB. But sometimes, when it appears those circumstances may have broken the QB's confidence, then you consider a change. I think Brady Quinn would have been just as ineffective but let's see what happens going forward.
After the Eagles bullied the Steelers and beat them at their own game, why didn't we see the same defensive pressure against the Cowboys??
Chris Mortensen (11:18 AM)
No comparison between offensive lines - that is a glaring Steelers' weakness...it was last year when they still had Alan Faneca, who left via free agency.
Patrick (Ocala, FL)
When the Cowboys took Felix Jones over Reshard Mendenhall a lot of you ESPN analysts said they were crazy... well now FJ is the only Cowboys rookie to score a TD in his first 3 games and seems to be one of the biggest factors to the Cowboys starting off 3-0 while RM has a major fumbling problem and never gets ont he field... rethinking that judgement?
Chris Mortensen (11:19 AM)
Patrick, here's one ESPN analyst who always said they should take Jones. We had others, too. He was a much better complement for Marion Barber. I always thought some in the national and local media didn't grasp that concept or just how explosive Felix is.
Mort, I heard a rumor that Bill Cowher bought a house in Strongsville, ohio. Any rumor to him coming back to Cleveland if Romeo cant turn this around.
Chris Mortensen (11:21 AM)
No rumor on that. Again, I don't think anyone could forsee losing 6-to-8 key components to this football team so early in the season. The key is to see if Crennel can find to way to steady the ship.
Nick T (NY)
Hey Mort do you think i should be happy bout the 49ers season thus far or do you think they will fall to the good teams like the saints this week.
Chris Mortensen (11:23 AM)
I think there are enough positive signs with the 49ers, regardless of what happens with a tough road game at New Orleans. Their defense is on the right path and I think the encouraging part of the offense (aside from JT O'Sullivan) is that Mike Martz has enhanced Frank Gore out of the backfield.
Tony Romo has made some really bad decisions in the red zone this season. As a Cowboys fan should I be worried about this?
Chris Mortensen (11:24 AM)
Really, I've seen a lot of QBs, great ones, have problems in the red zone. The field shrinks. Romo isn't a good quarterback - he's a great one.
Mort, skins have a chance this week in Big D?
Chris Mortensen (11:26 AM)
You have to pick th Cowboys (if you're neutral) but I think the Redskins' fans should be pretty excited about the progress we're seeing from Jason Campbell. He's shown some significant progress.
Matt (Grand Rapids)
What impact does Millen getting fired have on the coaching staff? New GM's often like to bring in their own guys.
Chris Mortensen (11:28 AM)
Yeah, I would think Rod Marinelli would need a miracle to return next year. A new GM will likely want to start fresh with his own guy or it could be a coach with GM powers.
Will J (Portland, OR)
Mort, who do you think is the worst team in football right now? (Browns, Bengals, Raiders, Chiefs, Rams, Lions)?
Chris Mortensen (11:29 AM)
I would say the Chiefs.
Trevor (Gator Country)
Romo has been sacked only 1 time in 3 games... My question is, is the Cowboys line the best in the NFL? Remember: our starting LG has only played in 1 game and reinjured his foot and will miss 2-4 weeks again and we played 2 of the betetr Defenses in the league.(Philly and GB)
Chris Mortensen (11:30 AM)
True, plus Romo's quick release and mobility doesn't hurt...plus you have to respect the running game when you play the Cowboys.
Whats up with Plaxico Burress getting suspended for 2 weeks?
Chris Mortensen (11:32 AM)
He didn't report Monday...they couldn't reach him by phone & then he didn't have a plausible alibi. He will miss one game (vs. Seattle). They have a bye this week.
Mort, Jay Cutler is being hailed as the best QB in the AFC and yet in the NFL Rives has the the best passer rating, most TDs and highest yards per catch. When will Rivers get the recognition as an elite QB and one of the top in the NFL?
Chris Mortensen (11:34 AM)
Phillip Rivers is getting a lot of love from everyone and is recognized as an elite QB. But Cutler is 3-0 and Rivers is 1-2. I think both of them are probably playing the best quarterback in the NFL.
Do you think the Bills Marcus Stroud is looking like the Pro Bowl DT he was a few years back? Will the Jags regret trading him?
Chris Mortensen (11:35 AM)
Actually, according to those who have played him, he is not playing that well so it's very ironic that the Bills are 3-0 - and probably about to be 4-0.
Scott (Mile High)
Which team is better in the AFC West, San Diego or Denver? Who will get the playoff nod?
Chris Mortensen (11:38 AM)
I still think the Chargers will win the division. Regardless, I believe both make the playoffs.
Is this really as simple as comfort level for Favre and the Jets, or do you see something else (playcalling/personnel) as their issue thus far?
Chris Mortensen (11:39 AM)
It's a combination but he did complete 30 passes on Monday night. I think what would concern me more is that Favre didn't get his normal off-season strength and conditioning program in...and older players need it more than younger guys. I think losing Kris Jenkins early on Monday night was the most critical factor.
Joey (Rochester, New York)
Is Marty Shottenheimer a better fit for the Lions or going back to Cleveland?
Chris Mortensen (11:41 AM)
I will say that Marty Schottenheimer will be a great candidate for anybody that is looking for a coach/leadership. He's about the youngest 65-year-old man I know...and he related well to players. The Chargers' players were devastated when he was let go.
What is the status on Wesbrook's ankle? Could he miss signifigant time?
Chris Mortensen (11:42 AM)
I think he's very iffy this week with a better chance the next game.
Mort, are the Colts officially in trouble yet? They lost a heartbreaker to a team that has always played them tough, sit 1-2 with the bye coming up. The pieces are all there, so do you still see them winning the AFC South?
Chris Mortensen (11:43 AM)
I'm not sure. They look like they are in trouble because of the injuries & the schedule. But because they have Peyton Manning & Tony Dungy, it's just impossible to write them off early.
Mike (Boca Raton)
who gets the credit in dallas for assemling such a talent-laden team while managing the salary cap?
Chris Mortensen (11:44 AM)
Lot of people. Jerry Jones gets a lot of credit for hiring Bill Parcells when nobody ever thought that would happen. That set the foundation for their success. Then Stephen Jones does a great job with the salary cap and Jerry himself has done a lot of things right so far.
Why don't the Raiders just fire Kiffin, instead of trying to make him resign. Is Al that cheap?
Chris Mortensen (11:46 AM)
Maybe because they realize he's actually a good coach. Of course, Al was not cheap this off-season with player salries but if he ever does fire Kiffin, I'm sure he'll try to find a way not to honor the contract.
Why don't you just admit you were wrong about the Browns. You sound like a fool trying to blame their terrible play on "significant injuries". Yeah, Stallworth and Sean Jones are irreplaceable. Figure it out.
Chris Mortensen (11:51 AM)
They started the season with Braylon Edwards having missed three preseason games and clearly not ready. DA was coming off a concussion. They missed a lot of practice. Joshua Cribbs, one of their five best players, missed the opener and is now playing with a bad ankle.They were without both RGs. Jamal Lewis has been about 80%. There is no Jurevicius and the guy supposed to replace him, Stallworth, gets hurt in the first pre-game warmups. They lose Brodney Pool, then Sean Jones. They lose Antwan Peek, who they counted heavily on as an edge rusher...then they lose Robaire Smith, a really good DL. Oh, then against a really good Ravens' defense, LG Eric Steinbach couldn't play because he was hurt the week before. You don't understand football if you want to ignore how a team wins...and it's especially hurtful at the start of a season.
Chris Mortensen (11:52 AM)
I have to get ready for a TV hit at noon ET because of the Millen story. I will be back at 12:05 or around then to continue.
QB problems - red zone - see Carson Palmer. Do you see Marvin Lewis being retained after the season? Is working for Bengals ownership second to the Raiders for the worst job in the NFL?
Chris Mortensen (12:09 PM)
I thought the Bengals finally showed some character on Sunday - they took it to the Giants. Let's see if that sparks them. If it fails again, I would think Marvin would welcome being fired. I can't quite put the Bengals in the Raiders' class but I do believe it's time for President/owner Mike Brown to hire a real GM.
Hey Mort, Any update on the LT situation? Is he close to being at 100% or did the game on Monday set him back?
Chris Mortensen (12:12 PM)
Tomlinson is deiniftely not a 100 percent but he proved - contrary to the controversy that arose last year - that he'll play when he can play and help the team in any way. I wouldn't think he'll be 100 percent (in the NFL, that's almost a never) most of the year. Toe injuries can be very debilitating.
Do you see Tampa Bay abandoning the run more so in the near future considering their success against the Bears? I think Earnest Graham is too good to not be utilized.
Chris Mortensen (12:14 PM)
I don't think the Bucs will abandon the run. I think Gruden just felt the circumstances, playing catch-up early on and the Bears' defense dictated throwing as much as they did. I would expect a more balanced approach vs. the Packers. Interesting game in Tampa. Could go either way.
Paul (Albany, OR)
Mort, I have been a lifelong Rams fan and I am embarrassed by the Coach throwing the QB under the bus. This team has gone downhill in his tenure and rather than admit he is struggling doing his job properly he is pointing fingers. The manly thing for him to do is resign. Thank you for letting me vent.
Chris Mortensen (12:15 PM)
I grew up with the Rams in L.A. so I understand your feelings. I don't think this was Marc Bulger's fault but sometimes desperate teams do desperate things just to get one win.
Do you forsee the Raiders ever letting McFadden carry a full load? I do not understand why they put him in a sharing situation when he is their future. Just look at what he did against the Chiefs.
Chris Mortensen (12:18 PM)
You do realize McFadden went into the Buffalo game with a toe injury, right? He also had trouble getting his footing with that steel plate in his shoe ... he actually tried three different pairs of cleats during the game. Justin Fargas does give the team energy & he's very sound in the passing game and I'm sure Dmac will get plenty of chances when he's fully healthy.
Can you shed any more light on Angelo Crowell being put on IR by he Bills? Seems like the decision was made way too quickly. Was that a Ralph Wilson call?
Chris Mortensen (12:19 PM)
I don't know whose call it was but I know Bills players were pretty upset by it because Crowell, a very good LB, would be ready by mid October. Of course, he's going to be a free agent at the end of the year.
If the Eagles miss the playoffs in what should be considered the hardest division in sports these days, Is McNabb traded even if he stays healthy?
Chris Mortensen (12:21 PM)
I have no idea why the Eagles would consider trading McNabb if he stays healthy this year.
Curtiss (Charleston, SC
I see some real progress with the Phins, a better d-line against the run and a better o-line - receivers and the secondary seem to be the biggest hurdles now. What are your thoughts?
Chris Mortensen (12:22 PM)
I think you are right on the mark with the Dolphins. You can't fix it all overnight but both sides of the line have made great progress.
Tim (El Cajon, CA)
Do you think the Bolts will let Merriman go or trade him next year? They signed Jyles Tucker to a 5 year extension and haven't even talked to Merriman's agent as I hear it, and Tucker is looking mighty good.
Chris Mortensen (12:24 PM)
You raise an interesting question, especially with Merriman headed into this final year of contract in 2009. I don't know the answer but Merriman has frustrated the Chargers with the way he's handled his injury. But he is still a heck of a player and it's tough to say goodbye to those guys, especially when they are your own from the beginning.
Mort, I am sick of watching Check-down Charlie aka Kyle Orton conservative style of play. Do you think Rex Grossman will get a chance to be a starter with another NFL team when it is all said and done? He gets a bad rap.
Chris Mortensen (12:26 PM)
I don't know about Rex being a starter again but this is the type of football hat Lovie Smith wants played right now. The Bears still have average to below-average receivers and they need Orton to manage the game and let the defense & special teams win. They should be 2-1 if TE Greg Olson hadn't fumbled it away in Carolina. Heck, maybe they should be 3-0 but they're not.
Do you think that Ryan Clady will be a better LT than Jake Long when it is all said and done?
Chris Mortensen (12:27 PM)
Maybe but Jake Long is off the a strong start in Miami and brings a physicality that they really want. Clady looks like a future All-Pro, a natural left tackle, so far.
Mort, if Deion Branch and Bobby Engram are both back after the bye...do they both start or will the Seahawks try to break them in slowly?
Chris Mortensen (12:29 PM)
Well, I think Holmgren would love to get them both up & running at full speed but you would think that's a little impractical.
Chris Mortensen (12:29 PM)
Lance Manion, Baton Rouge
Mort, why on Earth would Payton put the ball in undrafted free agent Pierre Thomas' hands AGAIN on 3rd and 1 when he's got an all pro QB in Brees who had over 400 yards passing on the day? Seems to me like you should put the ball in your BEST player's hands in a crucial spot.
Chris Mortensen (12:31 PM)
The "undrafted" status means nothing (see Tony Romo and a slew of others). The blocking broke down and Payton only needed a yard. The Broncos didn't have any time outs left and, on the road, he was looking to ice the game effetcively by making the first down, run the clock and drive closer for a winning FG. It didn't work. You do have a point about always letting your best player get the job done in crunch time but I'm sure that was his thinking.
Are the Ravens for real? If they beat the Steelers on monday are they contenders with that D?
Chris Mortensen (12:35 PM)
The Ravens' defense looks like it go its mjojo back and John Harbaugh has everyone playing hard. They have generally played the Steelers well but the game is in Pittsburgh, on Monday night. Can the Steelers run the ball with Rashard Mendenhall and can they protect Big Ben? Can the Ravens, with a rookie QB, do anything against that Steelers' defense?
Do you think that Aaron Rodgers is a great replacement for Brett Farve
Chris Mortensen (12:38 PM)
So far, so good. Rodgers looks like he has a bright future and I'd say the one thing I'm looking to see is whether he remains durable and whether he has some magic in crunch time. But I like him.
SprungOnSports (Long Island)
What surprise AFC team do you think is the most legit and why, Tennessee, Buffalo, Denver, or Baltimore?
Chris Mortensen (12:40 PM)
I think the Titans, Bills & Broncos are "legit" and the Ravens' defense is playing pretty dominant football but I'm not ready to claim that they're playoff bound. I really believe the other three teams will be in the playoffs.
Chris Mortensen (12:41 PM)
Gotta run. Thanks for staying patient. Hope you can catch us on NFL Sunday Contdown at 11 ET, Sportscenter at 10...and, of course, on ESPN Radio every Friday night from 7-to 9 ET. Thanks and God Bless.