Chat with Len Pasquarelli
Welcome to SportsNation! On Tuesday, ESPN.com senior NFL writer Len Pasquarelli will be here to give you his thoughts on the NFL season.
Pasquarelli, a recipient of the Pro Football Hall of Fame's McCann Award for distinguished reporting, will stop by SportsNation every two weeks to chat.
Send your questions now and join Pasquarelli Tuesday at 11 a.m. ET!
Mike (Boca Raton)
Mike Tomlin really blasted RB Rashard Mendenhall in his post-game press conference. Are things looking bleak for Mendenhall or do you think this was a one-time thing (seems out of character for him)?
len (11:03 AM)
it's out of character for tomlin, definitely. but, having seen mendenhall in preseason, he looks awful soft and doesn't move the pile at all. he's definitely no jerome bettis. looks like a halback in a fullback's body.
Give me your thoughts on the Colts defense. They looked terrible in the first 2 weeks, but looked amazing against the Cardinals. Are the Cardinals that bad or is there any reason to be optimistic about the Colts D (the return of Bob Sanders)?
len (11:06 AM)
just saw where freeney is out for 2-3 weeks, and that wull definitely hurt. tandem of freeney and mathis was outstanding. teams will now double mathis a lot more. new coordinator larry coyer may need to calol more of thos blitzes we've been hearing about. defense definitely is moe aggressive than dungy's cover 2, but absence of sanders is huge.
Len, it has been so long since you've been in the chat room. Hopefully you haven't been on recently (and that I missed them). Just wanted to say that I will always remember you taking my phone call a few years ago about trying to get into the NFL in some way (no luck, I'd have better luck find Bin Laden). And I hope that you are doing well health-wise. You are a great journalist and I miss your writing, especially the chats and the "from the press box" column. Hope you are well.
len (11:09 AM)
thanks for the kind words. it's been a long haul physically, but i'm feeling much better, thanks so much. am about 90 percent, but am making good progress. again, thanks for your graciousness.
Michael (San Francisco, CA)
Len, there's a great story with the Giants that the national media hasn't touched on. It's Corey Webster. The year the Giants won the Super Bowl, he was benched in favor of Aaron Ross. He started in the playoffs because of injuries and played brilliantly against TO, Donald Driver, and Randy Moss. Over the last year and a half, he's become one of the few shutdown corners in the NFL. This year, he's been targeted 9 times. Only three of those have been completions for a total of 22 yards. That's a ridiculously low YPA. And that's playing man coverage against Santana Moss, Roy Williams, and Antonio Bryant/Michael Clayton. Can we please give Webster some credit?
len (11:12 AM)
granted, i'm not oftem right on this stuff, but have been a fan of webster his entire career. it took him a while to get over some injuries and to learn to play without real top-end speed, but he's really coming on. thanks for calling attention to his play
in 20 words, how do you fix the browns?
len (11:15 AM)
there probably aren't 20 players, let alone 20 words, that can quickly fix this team. browns fans deserve a lot better, and i like randy lerner a lot, and he wants to win badly. but i can see 2-3 years ahead where lerner cleans house and, alas, starts all over again. wisi i could be more optimistic, because it's a great franchise, with a great history and avid fans
SteveFitz (Cicero, IL)
Len, what do you expect out of Henne in Miami?
len (11:18 AM)
well, i know from visiting with some dolphins people that they really like him, and view him as the qb of the future. unfortunately, with the pennington injury, he's the quarterback of the now. a very smart guy, good (not great) arm. but like most young qbs, he's bound to struggle until he gets some games under his belt.
Craig (Braintree, MA)
I didn't get to watch the Minn/SF game. The stats say Minn dominated but all the experts say SF dominated. What gives?
len (11:21 AM)
minny did dominate the stats, butthe 49ers were by far the more physical team. they hit favre a ton, from watching some tape of the game. still feel SF is a little too one dimensional on offense, but singletary has done a terrific job with the defense and with changing the culture
How do you think the Bengals will do the rest of the season, is there playoff potential?
len (11:24 AM)
admittedly, i didn't jump on the cincy bandwagon until sunday. still worried about the defense, but for now it's playing well. had the chance to talk with antwan odom by phone last night, and he seems to reflect the defensive enthusiasm. mike zimmer has done a very nice job, indeed
Mark (Charlotte, NC)
So can we call this the end of the Marty Hurney/John Fox/Jake Delhomme era? If it is where do the Panthers go? Even if they go 0-16 San Francisco gets the pick. This team is on it's way to the crapper for a few years.
len (11:26 AM)
since i like foxy and marty a lot, it's tough to watch. that said, when i saw the panthers in camp, i thought they were among nfl's most overrated teams. they're in salary cap jail, so it's tough to fix the qb situation or to see where they'll get help at qb down the road
Derek D. (Franklin, WI)
It appears as though the Saints have learned to win by playing good defense and running the football, and some weight has been lifted off of Drew Brees' shoulders. Do you see the Saints being a dominant football team throughout the season or are they just off to a hot start?
len (11:29 AM)
getting gregg williams as DC was probably the saints' best offseason acquisition. if they play any defense at all, they should be a legit playoff contender, because offense has the potential to score 40 most weeks
Daniel (Las Vegas, NV)
What is this I hear about the dolphins trading a 2nd rd pick to the eagles for Michael Vick? Insanely stupid, right?
len (11:30 AM)
admittedly, haven't heard that one. the dolfs like henne a lot, and i think they feel he's the future
Mike (Boca Raton)
Do you think that Cowboys owner Jerry Jones is good for the game or that he presents himself in a manner that is not good for the NFL?
len (11:33 AM)
he's certainly not the most beloved owner, that's for sure. but in general, i think h;s been good for the league. a forward thinker who's put his own money on the line, and should be commended for that. he's definitely gained clout at the upper levels of the league
Is their anyone the FALCONS can pick up today to stop the run? When Smith was hired was excited that we will finally get a tought and physical defense. Do you think Smith should be more involved with the Defense playcalling?
len (11:37 AM)
since i live in atlanta, i know a little about the falcons. organizationally, they're not big on quick fixes. plus, the pats just signed the best DT available, in terdell sands. mike smith's teams have always stopped the run and he needs to get d-linemen back playing gap assignments. as far as calling the plays, i know mike a lot better than van gorder. but players belive in van gorder and think he's a rising star
So Len, who do you have for the battle of the undefeateds?Saints or Jets?
len (11:39 AM)
someone asked me tht on local radio this morning, and i said the jets, but only slighly . . . i'll stick to that. ryan has jets playing with some swagger, plus his defense is really getting after people.
Mike (Boca Raton)
Do you think Raheem Morris is in over his head in Tampa Bay or do they have significant issues at Quarterback?
len (11:41 AM)
the latter of the two. there is probabkly more talent on offense than defense, but you've got to have a qb to win. personal feeling, and only that: if the bucs are going to lose anyway, why not just go with josh freeman, let him take his lumps now, and benefit in the future?
Bryan (Wausau, WI)
Len, how many other players would you say could have made the pass Brett Favre did last Sunday?
len (11:43 AM)
granted, not many, but i wonder how many more plays like that he's got in him if they don't protect him better.
How much of te negative press received by Jay Cutler has to do with the fact that the writers just don't like the guy? It has been pretty quiet since his Week 1, 4 INT performance. The guy is elite...whether the experts like it or not.
len (11:45 AM)
cutler isn't the most lovable guy arond. want to know how good he is? just ask him. but it was a great deal, especially given the musical chairs the bears have played at qb for what seems like 20 years.
Jordan (Washington, DC)
Len, love reading your stuff... Question. Do you think the NFL will ever consider adding a statistics for passes that go off a receivers hands (meaning it should've definitely been caught) and then results in an interception? It's just ridiculous already that it goes as an int in the qb's column. Shouldn't they just make a new category already?
len (11:47 AM)
don't know if they'll ever have that stat. but it's notable that the official play-by-play stats now list the times a receiver is a "terget" and that's a nice advance.
why is everyone so fired up about greg lewis? he made 1 great catch after many years of showing bad routes and no hands. im happy for him that he had his moment, but all i see today on espn is how great he is. ant explaination of how a below average recieve can get hyped from one play?
len (11:50 AM)
your feeling about lewis are justified. but we live in a society, good or bad, that honors instant gratification and rewards success, even if it's modest success
Brian (Richmond, VA)
How does Bill Polian find gems like Pierre Garcon? How do scouting people even hear about a div. III player?
len (11:51 AM)
bill is one of the top talent evaluators, and has one of the best scouting staffs. that said, bill historically favors big-school players, so there's some irony to the garcon pick
49ers have next years 1st rounder of the Panthers. how would that Locker kid from Wash. fit into what Singleterry is doing?
len (11:53 AM)
from the few times i've seen him, he looks like a gritty guy who does what's necessary to win. but, truthfully, haven't heard much buzz about him from nfl scouts. still, i imagine singletary like this kind of guy
Pat Bowlen (Denver)
Am I crazy like a fox or what?
len (11:54 AM)
it's a long season, pat . . . check back in about three months
Do you think vick will be traded this year?If so where?
len (11:57 AM)
no, i don't. i really believe that andy reid and marty mornhinweg feel he adds a unique dimension to their offense. now, whether they keep him beyond this year, that's another question
Richie (Covington, LA.)
Why is the Media not showing any respect to the NFL Saints? To me I think they are being treated like the Roding Dangerfield's of the NFL! Just for instants they (media) where showing T. Owens answering ?s after the game instead of showing Pierre Thomas him talking about rushing for 126 yards in only one half! If that had been A. Peterson they would of had a 20 min special about it!
len (12:01 PM)
the respect card is overplayed. could never understand why players feel the media knows nothing, then gripe when the perceptiion is that the media doesn't talk enough about their team. you can't have it both ways. if the media really knows nothing, then who should care if they hype or don't hype a team? by the way, i think the media (ir at least this member of it) really likes the saints
Dave (Portsmouth NH)
How do you think Carson Palmer does this week/ rest of the season?
len (12:03 PM)
if they continue to run the ball successfully, he'll do well. with that o-line, you don't want him throwing 40 times a game
Mike (Boca Raton)
Do you think that criticism of Tom Brady has been a little premature and impatient given he is coming off a major knee injury?
len (12:06 PM)
he defintely isn't all the way back yet and, as he demonstrated on sunday, it frustrates him . . . no reason, though, to believe he won't eventually be the brady of old . . . unfortunately, have to run now. thanks so much for your time and the great questions, look forward to next time we can talk