Chat with Chris Mortensen
Send your questions now and join Mort on Wednesday at 11 a.m. ET!
Good morning Chris. What is your take on the Bronco D this year? It is hard to believe that this unit with no big names on the front seven are dominating, especially in the 2nd half of games.
Chris Mortensen (11:07 AM)
Unreal what the Broncos have become on defense. Listen, Mike Shanahan left behind arguably the best young O-line in football, 3 WRs in Marshall, Royal
Mornin' Mort! Fisher in a Manning jersey, big deal? Too early in the season to be playing around while his team is 0-6?
Chris Mortensen (11:09 AM)
Well, Jeff has apologized to those who were offended. You have to know Jeff. BY FAR, the most actvie community/charity fund-raising head coach in the NFL. That was the event. Tony Dungy was there. He has the demeanor that will not crack. Under the context of all that, I had no problem. If others did, as Jeff noted, he apologized but he would have done it again.
tony (atlanta, ga)
good morning, and how do you feel about giving a team a conditional pick if they finish below 500
Chris Mortensen (11:12 AM)
Tony, I give an A for creative thinking. But I'd say no and I would not see it happening. Each team is given the same allotment of draft picks, the salary cap, the freedom to choose who leads its organization and team, and that is the parity and beauty of the NFL. The beast is when owners choose the wrong people to lead it. By the way, teams that lose high-priced free agents to the market do have opportunities to get compensatory picks inthe draft.
tom* (parkville, md)
Realistically, how far are the Lions from being contenders?
Chris Mortensen (11:13 AM)
I believe the Lions relaistically will be contenders in 2011 and certainly by 2012. 2011 will be Matthew Stafford's first year and by then they should improve the 53-man roster dramatically. Even in 2010, I expect significant improvement.
Dan (Washington, DC)
Until Cerrato is replaced with someone who is competent -- wouldn't firing Zorn, replacing Campbell, etc., etc. be tantamount to rearranging deck chairs on the Titanic?
Chris Mortensen (11:15 AM)
I am sure Dan Snyder will repeat what he did when he brought Joe Gibbs out of retirement - give that head coach the power to run the football operations. remember, a lot of these players were picked by Gibbs. And the roster isn't terrible. But that's what I expect will happen.
J.B. (Dunmore, PA)
I'm not old enough to remember the USFL. Who was your favorite player or team?
Chris Mortensen (11:16 AM)
Reggie White was my favorite player from that era. And I'd probably say the Houston Gamblers with the run-and-shoot and Jim Kelly may have been my favorite team but I was a more intrigued observer than a fan.
Trent Dilfer says that he thinks Sam Bradford's transition to the NFL will be tough (doesnt play position like Pro QB and he's small). Thoughts?
Chris Mortensen (11:20 AM)
I have heard others share Dilfer's concerns on Bradford. And I have a lot of respect with how Dilfer evaluates quarterbacks. One, he's absolutely right when he talks of a concern on QBs who have not been under center for at least 50 percent of his snaps, especially in passing situations. Bradford has ideal height but he needed physical maturity, so I think he did the right thing stayung in school. I have spoken to 7 GMs since Saturday; most believe he will still be a top 10 QB picks; a couple do not, and one had concerns, regardless of injuries.
How many good quaterback are there in the NFL? I say no more than eight.
Chris Mortensen (11:22 AM)
Mark, gotta disagree. In fact, I am hearing a lot of optimisim around league that there are more good young QBs than we've had in a long time. Now maybe you mean "elite" and if that is 8, that would still be higher than past eras.
Liam (Pleasanton, California)
Mort - do you think the niners use one of their 2 1st rounders next year on a franchise QB? Or do you think they go Bill Walsh style, trade back, accumulate picks and build their o-line and maybe pick up a Taylor Mayes?
Chris Mortensen (11:23 AM)
I can tell you that as of now the 49ers believe they are going to use one or both of those first round picks to go get a quarterback if they fall in love with one. If they don't fall in love with one, then your suggestion makes sense.
Mike Mitchell (Jacksonville, Fl)
Mort, Vikes/Steelers this weekend.. I think the X-Factor is Polamalu especiallyafter knocking the rust off last week. I also think Farve will have more pressure than he's had all year.. your thoughts please?
Chris Mortensen (11:26 AM)
Anxious to see Vikes & Steelers play. Polamalu may be X factor but it bothered me to see him come up limping on Sunday with that knee. Favre could have more pressure but that's a heck of an O-line the Vikes' have and Adrian Peterson slows some of that down. Also, everyone in this league knows that losing DE Aaron Smith was much more of a blow than the average non-Steelers fans knows.
Chris (Broadview Heights, OH)
Is it fair to say that the Browns being in "rebuilding" mode would be an upgrade? I don't even think they're there right now. Because "rebuilding" teams have younger players to build around. I think the Browns are still in destruction mode and might upgrade to "rebuilding" if they use their 11 draft picks in 2010 wisely.
Chris Mortensen (11:29 AM)
I'm going to stay consistent on my assessment of Browns. Randy Lerner never should have fired Phil Savage. But once he did and he chose Mangini, he committed to a rebuilding process. Some of that is with talent, some of it is with culture. The change of offensive scheme & playing with rookie WRs, average run backs, etc., isn't going to give any QB a chance to show his wares. So let's see what Mangini does - he did have two winning seasons in three years with Jets, and we know that last year Favre was damaged goods the final five games.
Who's your MVP so far? I got P. Manning as what he has done with what we thought was so little he had to work with.
Chris Mortensen (11:30 AM)
I'd say Peyton Manning
Mike (Boca Raton)
This isn't meant to sound absurd, but with the way the rules are favoring quaterbacks and offenses, do you have a concern that the game will become too dominated by quarterbacks (and diminish the value of the other players on the field)?
Chris Mortensen (11:31 AM)
I don't know if that's absurd but what I hear generally is that colleges - especially the bigtime schools - put the majority of their best athletes on the defensive side and those guys graduate to the NFL. If you didn't have some rules to protect QBs, and limit how much contact DBs can have with receivers, I think you'd hear a lot more complaints.
Mort, I love the work you're doing and would kill to have your job... That being said, you think there is any chance the Vikings move up in the draft in April to pick a franchise QB?
Chris Mortensen (11:35 AM)
I don't think so because I don't know if the Vikes will have the ammo to go that highin the draft from where they should be picking (I'm guessing anywhere from 24-32). Listen - and I thought this Brett Favre thing was a bad idea - I could see Brett returning next year if he stays healthy. Playing in a dome is going to help him but I do want to see how he survives December and January. And I think Tavaris Jackson is learning a lot of football observing the master.
Liam (Pleasanton, California)
Mort - follow up to your answer - Bradford seems too risky (injury) and not Singletary's type of QB. Do you think they would be looking at McCoy or Lockear? Or another prospect?
Chris Mortensen (11:37 AM)
I think Jake Locker is a guy teams will love. But Singletary also really likes Nate Davis, this year's rookie, so if they don't love any of these QBs, they could simply build the rest of their team. Plenty of time to evaluate that.
Mort,With how Kyle Orton has played this year, do you think the Broncos are going to give him a long term deal?
Chris Mortensen (11:38 AM)
Interesting. Orton is making $995,000 in the final year of his deal. No way the Broncos are letting him go, so they can franchise him or they can work on a long-term deal. My guess is he'll get signed to one of those Matt Cassel-type contracts. And good for him.
Frat (Athens, GA)
Do the Falcons still have a chance to win their division, or should we be looking towards the wildcard standings?
Chris Mortensen (11:40 AM)
The Falcons have a chance to win the NFC West because their defense is getting better, although they have now lost two important starters in Brian Williams and Peria Jerry. But, with the Saints playing the way they're playing, I'd say Falcons are a wild-card team right now.
Is the large profile of Adam Schefter an indication that you are thinking about stepping down from what you love to do, or just providing some youthful assistance in covering the 1800 players in the NFL?
Chris Mortensen (11:44 AM)
I embraced our hiring of Adam Schefter. We have expanded to so much live programming, round the clock really. We have quite a team and, yes, 32 teams, 1800 players, that's a lot of ground. I am under contract for three more years. I'm having a blast. Adam is much younger; he could ultimately be my replacement; but we have developed a very good chemistry early on. It's funny I loved playing team sports as a youth and in high school and one thing I learned about ESPN is that we have a team. I'm glad I'm on a great team.
Dominic (Oakdale MN)
Which Vikes WR do you see having the most success this week Berrien, Rice, or Harvin (who is banged up a bit)?
Chris Mortensen (11:45 AM)
You have to see what I see - that Brett Favre has found favor in Sidney Rice. I'd ride that horse.
Mort - What I find most pleasing about the Broncos season thus far is that it proves that coaching and chemistry have a significant impact on a team's success (which is not to take a shot at Shanahan). There is no doubt you cannot win without talent, but I feel we too often believe that collecting talent alone (and spending for it) will cure a team's ills. Football is the ultimate team sport - coaching and chemistry make all the difference in the world. Your thoughts?
Chris Mortensen (11:47 AM)
Ditto, ditto, ditto. Anybody who doesn't believe it's talent, it's developing talent with position coaches, it's scheming, it's attention to detail, fundamentals, chemistry, selflessness, just doesn't grasp the deal. I am a huge Mike Shanahan fan but Josh McDaniels is the most intriguing young coach I have seen come into the NFL in a long time with all he has done. And I know it's just six games.
What do you think of the resurgent year that Hines Ward is having? I mean, at 33, he's still catching everything in sight, racking up yards after the catch, and knocking people out!?
Chris Mortensen (11:49 AM)
Hines Ward, third round pick by Tom Donahoe, and a hall of Famer in my book. Looking as good as ever. A real treasure for me and Steelers fans.
As a Bronco fan I love what Orton has done, but wow I hope they don't make a huge mistake and give him Cassell money. You can't give that much money to a non elite qb.
Chris Mortensen (11:50 AM)
Elite money is what Peyton, Ben, Eli and P. Rivers are making.... Cassel, Romo, Cutler deals, etc., are a good cut below that.
calloway (belleville, il)
mort, i think the saints lose to the phins (wildcat) and then the falcons (version of wildcat..dirty bird) knock them off for nfc south title...what do you think?
Chris Mortensen (11:52 AM)
I could see Saints losing to Dolphins in Miami but I'm not about to pick against a team playing at this level, on a mission, against a secondary that has holes. The Falcons (WildCat? Dirty Bird?) will have a tough team winning in New Orleans that Nov. 2nd MNF game that I just may have to go see in person.
Where do you think the vikings would be without Brett Farve? Do you think there one of the best teams in the NFL
Chris Mortensen (11:54 AM)
The Vikings won the NFC North with T. Jackson and Gus Frerotte last year but I believe it's fair to saw now that Brett has them 6-0 whereas they would've been 4-2 is my guess.
BJ (Salt Lake)
Mort, I saw a stat that Chad Henne has posted the best QB rating of all time for a QB making his first 2 starts. Why is no one talking about this, but everyone was so anxious to talk about Sanchez being the next best thing?
Chris Mortensen (11:55 AM)
You know the answer to that: New York! Sanchez has experienced it all in six weeks. He went from "Sanchise" to "Broadway Schmo." Sanchez is very good, though, and I believe Henne will be very good, too. Same with Matthew Stafford.
Quentin (Avondale, Az)
Hey mort - Do you believe Kyle Orton can turn into an elite Qb If Mc Daniels keeps coaching him? or will he just go out onto the free agent market looking for a check?
Chris Mortensen (11:56 AM)
Orton is smart, McDaniels is smarter. There will not be a split in that marriage for a while. And, remember, the Broncos have a franchise and a transition tag in 2010 with no salary cap in effect. I say they get a deal done.
Based on the way the contract is set up with incentives and things, Eli isn't making elite money... He COULD make elite money, but he has less guaranteed than Stafford!
Chris Mortensen (11:57 AM)
Nah, there is guaranteed money and virutal guaranteed money based on first 3-to-4 years. It's not even close. Eli makes elite money.
Hey Mort; When do you think Matt Forte is gonna start producing? He doesn't seem to be finding any holes as he did last year and everyone would have figured that the addition of Jay Cutler would allow for him to have less 9 man fronts to face. Is it a sophmore slump, vision problem, line problem or our we just expecting too much out of him?
Chris Mortensen (12:00 PM)
A real puzzle. Forte never had elite speed but the O-line has been a disappointment and sometimes when you go to a strength like two TEs, you do invite more people into the box, so to speak, but it can't be any more than last year. Maybe he's trying too hard, maybe the O-line's not the same and maybe the play-calling is getting accustomed to Cutler.
Mike (Berkely, California)
Mort - do you see / think the NFL can do anything to increase deadline trades to be closer to the NBA and MLB? It would increase excitement for contenders, and enable strugling teams to pick up draft picks.
Chris Mortensen (12:01 PM)
Longtime debate but the found competition committee members really believe the enduring part of parity and competitive balance could go askew if teams had "sell-offs" like the MLB and NBA late in a season. I'd like to see it extended myself.
What do you know about this "new philosophy" the Raiders have supposedly taken on, mainly on the defensive side of the ball, but also on offense? As a Jets fan should I be worried this week??
Chris Mortensen (12:03 PM)
The offense looked a little better, getting away from that Al Davis "all vertical" - looked more like when Lane Kiffin and Gregg Knapp was coaching offense. Defense? We'll see. It would be nice to see Raiders maintain some consistency.
Chris Mortensen (12:05 PM)
Colts stay healthy, get back Sanders, get back Gonzalez, I'd be surprised if they were not playing in the Super Bowl based on what I've seen. Steelers, Patriots, Broncos will have something to say about that, I guess.
If miami beats the saints,can we ride the momentum into NE and NYJ and continue on through TB,Car,etc??
Chris Mortensen (12:06 PM)
If Dolphins beat Saints, that would be huge momentum builder. The Fins will never lie down, that's for sure.
Hayden (Logan, Utah)
Who would you like to see get injured? I got Tom Brady
Chris Mortensen (12:07 PM)
Come on. I don't like to see anybody get injured, even though it's a 100 percent injury-rate sport. And the league is especially better when it's "stars" are healthy.
Shane (Los Angeles, CA)
Mort: The Wesley hit was FAR worse than the Eric Smith hit on Boldin last year. Smith was fined $50K and suspended. Why was Wesley only suspended to the tune of $36K?
Chris Mortensen (12:09 PM)
Wesley loses a game check and that's why the $36 K. I will re-check the thinking on Smith's play.
mort, without antoine winfield in the game the vikes whole d unit just fell apart do you think this was a direct result of his absense or does it stem from a weak secondary as a whole?
Chris Mortensen (12:10 PM)
Winfield is a big-time player and without him, the Vikes seocndary is just OK. It's that front four (& 7) that is the strength of that defense. lso, give Joe Flacco and his O-line credit for their skill
Ifeanyi (Loma Linda, Ca)
Do you see Reggie Bush ever becoming a Pro Bowl player?
Chris Mortensen (12:11 PM)
Probably not but if he is part of an arsenal of weapons in his utility role - which he is - that make the Saints a Super Bowl contender, then it really doesn't matter at this point.
What do you think of the Lions moving to a 3-4 D with the talented linebackers they have?
Chris Mortensen (12:13 PM)
I think Jim Schwartz will playto the strength of his personnel as time moves on.
Isn't Cassell one of the highest paid players in the NFL? not less than brady, peyton...?
Chris Mortensen (12:13 PM)
Matt (St. Paul, MN)
Mort, there's been a lot of talk about Deion Sanders having close ties with young players and a possible conflict of interest being a commentator on the NFL Network. As a reporter who has shared a lot of time with players and GM's and has to report on them daily, how do you separate personal feelings for journalistic integrity?
Chris Mortensen (12:15 PM)
Deion is much different than me. You are talking about one of the greatest players in NFL history who has much invested in the game and, knowing his heart, much invested in personal lives of young men. Like commissioner Goodell said, Deion has to be careful about how he crosses those lines. For me, what I try to telll young aspiring journalists, is to build relationships, not friendships. Over time, that is not easy but that's the goal for the sake of integrity.
Chris Mortensen (12:18 PM)
I went OT today but thoroughly enjoyed it. When i have time, I do answer questions on Twitter.com/@mortreport. So come follow me