Chat with Chris Mortensen
Mortensen, an award-winning journalist and one of the most respected and accomplished reporters covering the NFL, joined ESPN in 1991 and appears on Sunday NFL Countdown, Monday Night Countdown and SportsCenter.
Send your questions now and join Mort on Wednesday at 11 a.m. ET!
Chris Mortensen (11:07 AM)
Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!! This is an even more hectic Wednesday than usual, so I have to keep this to about 30-to-40 minutes but let's rolll...
J Treehorn (Malibu)
How could Peter King possibly pick the Saints to go 7-9 and the Chiefs to go 8-8 in his preseason picks? Did he drink too many caramel machiattos before making his picks?
Chris Mortensen (11:09 AM)
I will defend Peter because we all make pre-season picks in which some look silly. I think I picked the Sainst to go 2-14 the year they went to the NFC title game. Now I did pick them to win the NFC South this year. As for the Chiefs, I do believe Peter drank some Kool-Aid because he's such a Pioli guy. :)
Mort,Why do most commentators seem to overlook the Colts from declaring them #1 and the team to beat? Where are the Colts weaker than others? I keep hearing about the Saints, Vikings and Eagles--how can they be declared better than the Colts?
Chris Mortensen (11:11 AM)
Personally, the Colts have surprised me with hwo good their defense has been, despite some key injuries, like Bob Sanders. But the thing about this year, I have a difficult time just pointing to one team and saying "They are the best, period." I believe there's a razor's edge difference among the top teams with the Colts at the top.
mort-does dallas win on sunday and go to the playoffs?
Chris Mortensen (11:13 AM)
Yes, I believe the Cowboys win and go to the playoffs. I have talked to real NFL folks who say they are very talented, especially when the O-line is playing at a high level. Tony Romo is a really good quarterback, no matter what anybody says. He has played winning football in December even though they're 1-2 this month.
Mike (Boca Raton)
How much of a hole does losing CB L. Webb leave in the Ravens secondary?
Chris Mortensen (11:14 AM)
It's a setback because he was making real strides at a position of weakness. But they should get back Ed Reed and Terrell Suggs for the Steeers game, perhaps even Tavares Gooden at LB.
Frank (Pell Lake, WI)
Mort, do you think that Chris Johnson will reach the elusive 2,000 yard mark for rushing in the next 2 games?
Chris Mortensen (11:16 AM)
I sure do believe Chris Johnson will get to 2,000 yards. He's so much more durable than NFL scouts projected; he knows how to protect himself when he is hit; he's tremendously competitive; and he has arguably the best O-line in football. Oh, he's fast. Really, really fast.
HAPPY HOLIDAYS MORT!! The Cards struggled against Detroit,was it just a case of letting down after getting up by 17 or something to worry about heading into the playoffs? thanks
Chris Mortensen (11:18 AM)
Based on what happened with the Cardinals last year, I'm going to dismiss a game in which they struggled, but actually won, against the Lions. I do think it's important to get Kurt Warner rested these next two weeks. At his age, he can use it. The other thing, as we are always reminded in the NFL, is Any Given Sunday. Go back week by week and look at results that surprised you or even a close game like the Rams gave the Saints.
In the off season the Colts are going to give Peyton a new contract. What kind of $$$'s and years do you think he will get.
Chris Mortensen (11:21 AM)
Yes, the Colts will get a new contract done with Peyton Manning. I'm assuming that. It's an uncapped year with some tricky rules in place. This is a deal that will blow away everyone else, in my opinion. I'm not going to be surprised at at $125-to-$150 million package with the guarantees off the charts. I swear I'm just guessing but that's what I'm expecting.
anthony brander (seaside heights nj)
mort how come marvin harrison hasnt got a job in the nfl some where.there are plenty of playoff teams that could use his help espically like the cowboys and titans.
Chris Mortensen (11:21 AM)
Marvin has a lot of pride and he wasn't going to play for low wages.
Hey Mort,Can the colts get healthy enough to make a SB run in the post season? The Chargers are the AFC team that scares me the most. What's your take on a Colts, Chargers AFC title game?
Chris Mortensen (11:24 AM)
The Chargers are scary because they have monsters playing at all offensive skill positions. Phillip Rivers is 6-5; Vince Jackson; Malcolm Floyd; Anontio Gates..just to name a few, all about 6-5. Phillip is a great QB and when he's in trouble he can throw up jump balls and his guys are going to win it. LT is healthier and a factor. Norv Turner, outstanding play caller. And Ron Rivera has re-proven himself as a defensive coordinator and, in my opinion, deserves to get more head coaching interviews.
Ryan (Medford OR)
Chris, Can you see a promising year next year for Detroit? They should be getting some good help in this years draft and Stafford should be healthy and be in his 2nd year of this offensive system.
Chris Mortensen (11:26 AM)
The Lions began the season with a fairly depleted roster; they have constantly tweaked it; they have had injuries. I sincerely believe Jim Schwartz as head coach, Martin Mayhew as GM and Matthew Stafford as QB means bright days ahead for the Lions. Year 2 better, year 3, in the hunt.
Frank (Pell Lake, WI)
The Chargers have talked a bit recently about the last time they played the Titans and how dirty the Titans played. Can fans expect to see the NFL hand out some not-so holiday cheer in the form of fines after the game on Christmas?
Chris Mortensen (11:27 AM)
The Titans are a very physical team. Dirty? I think edgy is a better term and the Chargers bring some of that, too. Quite a game.
mort we need the grammer police......
Chris Mortensen (11:28 AM)
Ha! We'll clean up what we can when finished. Trying to speed dial this chat because of time constraints. Oh, and you did mean grammar, not grammer, right?
Dan (Buffalo, NY)
Mort, now that Holmgren is at the healm in Cleveland, do you think his "instant credibility" will help bring in better FA's or do you think the Browns will still need to overpay players to join the team?
Chris Mortensen (11:30 AM)
Free agents go where the money is in 98% of cases. That's a simple fact. You bulid through the draft and use free agency with wisdom to supplement. The Browns have 11 draft picks. That's a good thing.
Leslie Frazier (Minnesota)
Noone talks about this Mort, but my D gave up 26 points to a toothless Carolina team. What the heck happened??
Chris Mortensen (11:32 AM)
The Panthers are a well-coached team. Jonathan Stewart was the 14th player taken in the draft. Heck of a running back when a DeAngelo Williams goes down. O-line tough, even with injuries. Julius Peppers really won the game. I did think Antoine Winfield had an unusually tough game and I want to emphasize what two NFL personnel men told me this week - linebacker E.J. Henderson was a huge loss on defense.
Did John Fox save his job Sunday night? I hope not, because Cowher would've won more than 6 games with this squad. Fox needs to go.
Chris Mortensen (11:35 AM)
I'm not sure I agree. I've said this before: Fox believes in defense, hard nose football and running the ball. Cowher believes in defense, hard nosed football and running the ball. Cowher missed the playoffs three straight years. He didn't win a Super Bowl until his 14th year. Obviously, the Panthers need to solve the QB problem but Jake Delhomme was a favorite of owner Jerry Richardson. Now if a change needs to be made to energize the organizational and fan base, then so be it. But John Fox is an outstanding coach.
Jeff (NY, NY)
What can we expect with the Jets Colts game on Sunday? Does the Jets style of play have any affect on what Colts players play?
Chris Mortensen (11:36 AM)
Good question. The Jets have a tendency to hit the quarterback and if that happens early, I could see Jim Caldwell pulling the plug on Peyton Manning. Now, even against the Jaguars, Caldwell rested injured players or limited their play - Dwight Freeney and Robert Mathis (best DE tandem in football) and Pierre Garcon sat out 2nd half. It will be something to monitor but Colts did get a few extra days to rest because they played last Thursday.
Is Mark Sanchez just not ready for the NFL speed? He has the #1 defense and rush offense and has a top 5 O-Line. Whats his deal?
Chris Mortensen (11:37 AM)
His deal is that he's a ROOKIE! Forget what Matt Ryan and Joe Flacco did last year.
staniel (davenport iowa)
Why are the bears so bad, is it because jay cutler?
Chris Mortensen (11:39 AM)
Bears are bad because offensive line is bad, receivers are mediocre and it impacts Cutler, who clearly has lost his confidence and I would say even confidence in the scheme. The defense also has underperformed. There has to be dramatic changes, if not at the top, then certainly with the offensive staff and the Bears did a big-time off-season with a couple of free agents because they don't have their top two draft picks.
Brian (San Diego)
Do you believe that the national perspective of Philip Rivers is starting to change? Also, do you think he has an honest chance to win either MVP or Offensive Player of the Year?
Chris Mortensen (11:41 AM)
I think Rivers always had had a strong national respect. He is in the MVP discussion but this is Peyton Manning's award right now with Brees and Rivers in that debate. I think Chris Johnson will be the Offensive Player of the Year. I do think Rivers is either going to the Pro Bowl or Super Bowl.
Jason (Ottawa, KS)
Is there any chance we get Polamalu back this weekend? Or is the plan to still hold off until Jan. 3 against the Dolphins? This being such an important game to our playoff chances, I would think he would play if he could.
Chris Mortensen (11:41 AM)
The Steelers would love for Polamalu to play this week against the Ravens but it seems iffy. We're waiting to hear.
Mort, Quinn is out again for the rest of the season. Are there some durability concerns that no one saw with him? He was gritty a ND, getting the stuffing knocked out of him the first two years, now he can't even finish a season where he doesn't play all the games. Is this the end of the Brady Quinn era in Cleveland?
Chris Mortensen (11:43 AM)
I must tell you I really think Brady Quinn has a lot of qualities teams desire in a starting quarterback. But I have a feeling he may not be in Cleveland in 2010. Maybe that's a good thing for both sides. The durability part? Freak stuff.
johnny (new britain,ct)
do u think brett is worn out by this time of the year?
Chris Mortensen (11:44 AM)
I don't know. I do know the Vikings have lost two of their last three games. It's not all on Brett. Offensive line. Defense has slipped. But, as you know, we always said that the success of Favre will be based on how he plays in December and January. Let's see.
Teddy (New Orleans)
Chris, do my Rams go after a franchise QB in the draft this year or go BPA? I remember last year everyone said Matthew Stafford was first player picked because hes a franchise QB and you get one if you need one. The Rams need one.
Chris Mortensen (11:46 AM)
Unless Sam Bradford just blows the Rams away, there's no real "franchise" quarterback to take that high. If Ndamanakon Suh is the closest thing we've seen to Reggie White, why would you pass on that? Maybe get a QB in the 2nd round. Maybe trade or sign one. But this is a 3-year process with the new regime, though quarterback must be addressed.
Josh (Philly, PA)
Mort is there anything the Eagles organization can do about the horrific treatment that opposing team fans receive in their stadium ? I was at the 49ers game and over 200 people were hitting 2 49ers fans with snowballs in the face in the back it was borderline assault. I only say this because as the fans were escorted away one had blood coming from his face screaming he was hit with a rock in one.
Chris Mortensen (11:48 AM)
I believe Jeffrey Lurie, the Eagles' owner, was embarrassed by what happened. I think commissioner Goodell certainly has communicated something. I expect security to be enhanced. It was disgraceful.
JARED (West Union IA)
Any hope for the Broncos this weekend. Can you imagine how fired up Dawkins is gonna be on his homecoming?
Chris Mortensen (11:49 AM)
Dawkins is fired up every week but he also has been playing hurt. Dawkins knows he has to play disciplined football. Get caught up in the emtions? Maybe in pre-game. Maybe in post-game. In between, he has to just play the game.
Chris Mortensen (11:51 AM)
I have to wrap up now. Thanks for your time. Again, Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to all. Remember what the true meaning is and embrace your loved ones, pray for those who are hurting, reach out to them if you can, and pray for our troops everywhere, as well as their families who miss them so much. Catch us on Sunday NFL Countdown at 11 a.m. ET and catch me on Twitter.com @mortreport. God Bless!