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 (11:00 AM)
Happy New 2010 NFL season! Yes, it never gets old. So, I'll go through as many questions as I can; can't get to 'em all but be patient. Let's get started.
Tom (New York)
Chris, do you see Revis holding out again in two years, or do you think he'll play out this contract?
Chris Mortensen (11:02 AM)
Oh, I believe Revis plays out his contract. The solution always was in a short-term deal - besides getting a whopping $32 million in first two years, he gets to become an unrestricted free agent when he's only 28, which is great leverage for a player who still will be in his prime.
Chris, when does the Haynesworth vs Shanahan finally end? Do you think the Redskins will find a suitable offer? I like what Shanahan has done since he has arrived. The lunatics no longer run the asylum, but I think the longer the two are still together, we'll continue to talk about them.
Chris Mortensen (11:05 AM)
I have a feeling this drama will be ongoing until the Redskins get rid of Haynesworth. That could push it up to the trade deadline (Tuesday after week 6). I guess the pleasant surprise would be if Haynesworth decided to turn on the switch. Joe Gibbs ran the place, too, so Shanahan has the same kind of lattitude. He doesn't want to embarrass Dan Snyder by dumping Haynesworth outright but he'll only put up with so much.
Mike (Boca Raton)
How is it that anybody thinks that an 18-game season is a good idea? Not only does it diminish the personal and team statistical records (a shame that nobody cares about), but it dilutes the schedule, and will result in a poorer product with the tremendous beating that players take. This is a worse idea than a super bowl played in NYC outside in February.
Chris Mortensen (11:08 AM)
I don't think the personal statistics/team records is a good argument against the 18-game season - this was the same argument people tried to make when it went from 14 to 16 games. To me, however, the 18-game schedule is a bad idea because this is a much more violent, collision-driven sport than ever before. Players are bigger, stronger
Jason (Hattiesburg, Ms)
Do you feel the Vikes have enough playmakers to score on the Saints? Will they move Harvin to the outside and play Cammarillo in the slot? I also think this might cause Favre to get hurt if Wr can't get open.
Chris Mortensen (11:10 AM)
Not having Rice is a blow to the Vikings and the most underrated loss was RB Chester Taylor, who was Favre's great checkdown and pretty adept in pass protection. Now, one thing few ever notice about Favre is he is a great short-game passer. Always has been to go with that big arm. I don't know quite how they'll use all their receivers. I liked the Camarillo pick-up.
Husker n Ga (Earth)
How is Suh looking in Detroit? Will he be an impact player his rookie year?
Chris Mortensen (11:11 AM)
The feedback from coaches and players is he is as advertised. Doesn't mean he'll get 10 sacks but he will draw double-teams, he will be disruptive and make others around him better.
Krebbs (Columbus, OH)
Hey Mort.. being a Cleveland fan we always 'reach' for any positives. But for the first time in a long time, I believe the Browns are going on the right path w/ Holmgren. Please reassure me!!
Chris Mortensen (11:13 AM)
I think the Browns are on the right path putting someone in charge and eliminating all the voices in owner Randy Lerner's ear. That has been the primary problem since Al Lerner died. I think Mangini is a good coach and he's engaged Holmgren in a lot of areas - and has embraced his influence on the offensive side of the ball. I hope for Browns' fans that this is the start of something good.
Opinion seems divided on the Eagles. Your thoughts?
Chris Mortensen (11:15 AM)
I'm divided on the Eagles. I think the defense will be good. I know they have offensive weapons. The offensive line is a obvious concern so will the Eagles be able to enjoy those weapons. But this is a heck of an organization and coaching staff so I'm open to the Eagles being a pleasant "surprise" team. Right now, I don't have them in the playoffs - that's what I mean by surprise.
Will Vincent Jackson play this year?
Chris Mortensen (11:18 AM)
I always assume players will not sit out a year, though there are a couple of cases I wonder about and Jackson is one of them. If he's only going to make $400,000 (or whatever it is after the suspensions), does he risk injury with a free agent year coming up? Because if a new CBA is struck, he will be a free agent. Still, I believe Jackson will be on the field somewhere - I took a stab at him with a pick in my ESPN Fantasy Football league ....did the same with Santonio Holmes, too.
Mort, what are your thoughts on Scott Pioli's work to date in Kansas City?
Chris Mortensen (11:20 AM)
Pioli is very convicted about the blueprint he brought with him from New England and even beyond. Big believer in putting together a roster with the right players and the right way. Selfless, passionate, intelligent, physically tough players...they're making progress. The one spot that could define Pioli is the success or failure of Matt Cassel at quarterback.
Mike Van ((North Carolina))
Anything new on the Mankins front?
Chris Mortensen (11:21 AM)
Nothing I've heard. This is one guy who will sit out on principle. Mankins is a man's man where your word is your word and he believes the Patriots have reneged on their word, even though the team has steadfastly denied ever misleading him. It's a shame. Outstanding player.
What are your thoughts on Lovie Smith? To the eye it appears he is too soft and doesn't light a fire under his players.
Chris Mortensen (11:24 AM)
That's what everyone used to say about Tony Dungy. My biggest question on Lovie Smith is has he always surrounded himself with the best possible staff. Maybe he has, but I don't know. It was good enough to get to a Super Bowl. The other big question I have on the Bears is more personnel-related. I like GM Jerry Angelo a lot but that's more personal on a relationship level.
Wasnt Seattle the only team that was granted permission to negotiate a contract with Vincent Jackson? The "unnamed" team that met his demands has to be Seattle then right?
Chris Mortensen (11:25 AM)
Seattle was the only reported team. I suspect the Redskins may be that team but I have no confirmation of it.
Every is giving Miami enough potential to win the AFC East, but do you see them a legitimate Super Bowl contender?
Chris Mortensen (11:27 AM)
I am asleep on the Dolphins right now - maybe I'll be sleeping with the fishes (I know they're mammals). They really should be battling for the division title because Brandon Marshall has brought them a playmaker in the passing game. But I still wonder if they have enough to rush the passer on defense - and Marshall can be a playmaker but he also can make 15 mistakes that cost you, too.
Shouldn't Aaron Rodgers have to win a playoff game before they are considered Super Bowl favorites from the NFC? Or is this more a case of process of elimination for not liking the other teams?
Chris Mortensen (11:31 AM)
Probably some truth in both those observations. They're a trendy pick. Now I picked the Packers a year ago and I feel like I was at least one year too early. There are no flawless teams in this league but I think they're on the brink of something special and, yes, I'm not sold on anyone else and reluctant to pick any team to repeat (like the Saints).
Matt (Nashville, TN)
Do you think the Titans have a shot at the playoffs with the current defensive lineup, or do you think trading for Albert H is our only shot to have a better D?
Chris Mortensen (11:33 AM)
It is always foolish to dismiss the Titans. That's usually when they're at their best. The defense will be better; how much, I don't know. Albert could make them special but they do like their D-line rotation. On offense, maybe the best O-line in football with an explosive back and a steadily improving Vince Young. Tough division but don't count 'em out.
Do you have a surprise division winner?
Chris Mortensen (11:35 AM)
I guess the one that has surprised people the most is that I pick the Giants to win the NFC East. Everyone has locked in the Cowboys and maybe that's just the way it is but I think the Giants will solve their O-line problems and I expect the defense to be signficantly improved.
What's your take on the Falcons? Specifically, what do you expect from Ryan and Turner?
Chris Mortensen (11:36 AM)
I've been on the bubble about the Falcons. Guess I'm leaning toward them winning the NFC South because nobody ever repeats as champion in that division. Ryan and Turner both should have outstanding years. The key is whether the defense can be a top-15 unit. It's young but faster and it will be interesting to see if Dunta Robinson can have an impact.
Bill (Fort Atkinson, WI)
Mort, any worries about the contract squabbles effecting Randy Moss? Is it a return to "taking plays off" Randy, or will he be extra motivated to earn that last big paycheck?
Chris Mortensen (11:38 AM)
As long as the Patriots are in the AFC East race - which I think they will be - then Moss will be motivated. Which tells you what? I think he's a team player. I think Randy was just honestly answering a question. I think being described as "disappointed" but not "disgruntled" is appropriate. He's 33, he's still an elite receiver but he knows the Patriots' ways. He could shut it down, though, if they struggle more as a team than expected.
Josh (Camp Lejeune, NC)
Mort, if my Steelers are 3-1 going into the bye week & surviving Big Ben's suspension, are most of the predictions of my Steelers finishing 3rd in the AFC North wrong?
Chris Mortensen (11:41 AM)
If the Steelers are 3-1 as you describe, then we'll very likely be wrong (I'm among those picking them 3rd). But I have questions - is the offensive line that much better? Won't they miss Santonio Holmes? Is Rashard Mendenhall really a 16-game, every-down back? Is Troy Polmalu absolutely confident in his knee? Of course, if they're 3-1 without Roethlisberger, then you'd have to like their chances. Tough, tough division.
Jim (Palo Alto)
How are Buddy Nix and Chan Gailey doing with the Bills?Is Ralph Wilson letting them do their jobs?
Chris Mortensen (11:43 AM)
I think Nix and Gailey are two very good, understated football men. Gailey demands a physical style of football. Nix is a good personnel man. I don't think they can do this overnight and the problem is whether Wilson will allow them to do their jobs. I don't have the answer to that.
Kevin (Philly, PA)
Anyway, When I look at the Eagles, I see a young team that is probably a few years away from being great. They are loaded with young talent on O and D this year, but isn't it possible that they could grab a wildcard spot if they get the Offensive line problems worked out?
Chris Mortensen (11:45 AM)
Gotcha! yes, the Eagles could grab a Wild Card spot if their O-line problems get work out. It's interesting because every team in the NFC East has questions about their offensive line - includes the Cowboys, Giants & Redskins. I think the one that gets it together the quickest wins the division.
Does John Fox need to make the playoffs this year to stick around in Carolina or is Bill Cowher a certainty next season?
Chris Mortensen (11:46 AM)
I don't know about Fox's future but there have been more and more whispers that Cowher and Carolina are not a match - despite him having a home there. Fox is a free agent at the end of this year. He will not go unemployed in 2011.
Darrel (New York, NY)
Hey Mort, do you think its the break or make year for Mark Sanchez? Do you think he is the future of the Jets?
Chris Mortensen (11:48 AM)
The second year is never make or break for a quarterback. Matt Ryan took a step back last year. I thought Sanchez played very good down the stretch last year and played outstanding vs. Colts in AFC title game on road. The one thing I would worry about on Sanchez is the pressure he's under with the expectations. That's a lot on a 2nd-year QB but it's a big-boy league. I like him as their future guy.
My 49ers are primed to shock the league.
Chris Mortensen (11:49 AM)
How can the 49ers "shock" the league if everyone is picking them to win the division for the first time in about 10 years?
Jack (Richmond, VA)
Hi Mort. How about a trade of Vincent Jackson for Albert Haynesworth, and the 'Skins can throw in Devin Thomas???
Chris Mortensen (11:50 AM)
I don't think that specific trade gets done but I can see the Redskins making a move for Jackson if they can get some compensation for Haynesworth.
Hey Mort, how do you think Trent Williams will handle DeMarcus Ware in his first game? Not an easy task...
Chris Mortensen (11:53 AM)
When they're lined up, no, Trent Williams cannot handle Ware by himself. He will need help.
Marc (Malden, MA)
Does Roger Goodell understand that fans aren't necessarily against 4 preseason games, we're against being forced to pay regular season prices for them?
Chris Mortensen (11:53 AM)
Yeah, but you'll never hear that, will you? Problem is, that's not going to change.
Saw you picked the giants to win division last night...whats is with all the hate on the giants and love for the cowboys....didnt the "bad" giants last year beat them twice...is it just because of bryant who has yet to take a pro snap....
Chris Mortensen (11:55 AM)
Love and hate always is based on personal agendas. If the media doesn't pick your team, it's not based on hate. The Cowboys won the division last year, right? Won a playoff game. Most of the same players back and Dez Bryant is a very talented rookie...but he's still a rookie.
Do you think the Lions stand a chance this year to make the playoffs? Stafford is looking good in pre season
Chris Mortensen (11:57 AM)
I said last year that I think Year 3 is the payoff year for Jim Schwartz, Stafford
What about the Jets are they for real
Chris Mortensen (11:58 AM)
I have to put up with a lot of Jets' fans at work...they're fun to pick on...but I believe the Jets are for real. They have put a big bullseye on themselves but they're very talented and well-coached. Again, can Sanchez handle the expectations and not cave?
Reid (High Point,NC)
Do the Packers need to worry about their aging secondary?
Chris Mortensen (12:00 PM)
The Packers think they've improved it. Obviously, Al Harris is 35 and coming off injury but Charles Woodson - not Darrelle Revis - was the Def. POY in 2009. Again, no team is flawless.
People worry about my guys Ocho and T.O. getting along but Boldin and Housh aren't exactly ego-free! Don't you think Flacco might have too many mouthes to feed? Especially with Ray Rice such a factor in the passing game.
Chris Mortensen (12:01 PM)
Boldin is not a problem; Houshmanzadeh can be but this is where Ray Lewis' leadership can be a positive impact. I think Flacco is not complaining. The one thing he doesn't have is a speed receiver to truly stretch the field but having this many weapons is a nice problem.
Why don't the Falcons look at V Jackson? The one thing we're missing is a big time complement to Roddy. And don't give me the character line... there are several guys currently on the roster that aren't squeaky clean.
Chris Mortensen (12:03 PM)
You don't carry two receivers at $9 million per year - ever. Roddy White is making $9 million and Vincent Jackson wants at least $9 million.
Are people blind when they pick the Ravens to go deep into the post season? They have a medicore Qb, a weak secondary, aging lb's, no ed reed....you need a good balance of offense n D to win in the NFL!!
Chris Mortensen (12:04 PM)
Joe Flacco is not a mediocre QB. But you raise other legitimate concerns about the Ravens.
whats up with the Cowboys offense? Do you think this is something to be concern with bein a diehard cowboy fan.
Chris Mortensen (12:07 PM)
All diehard fans lose sleep. I know the Cowboys play more "vanilla" in preseason than any team in the NFL, but I need to see the offensive line block it up. It isn't just the injury to Kosier at LG or Doug Free playing LT - I didn't like what I saw from the two mainstays - C Andre Gurode and RG Leonard Davis in preseason. I need to remind myself it was only preseason, I guess.
Why does the "370" touches a year stigma not seem to apply to Chris Johnson? He had over 400 touches last year and every year we seem to hear that any back with over 370 touches is in line for a tough year? Why is CJ immune to the 370 carry Kryptonite?!?
Chris Mortensen (12:09 PM)
Because he hardly ever gets touched! Honestly, you bring up a good point but I'm only half-kidding with my answer. Johnson did not and does not take a lot of big hits. The Titans' O-line is as good as it gets and Johnson is so quick and fast to the perimeter he hasn't taken a beating. But I have heard your point from other football people. I don't expect 2,000 yards. But I do expect 1,600-plus.
Chris Mortensen (12:11 PM)
Time to run. You can pick me up on Twitter @mortreport. I also have a Facebook page. Facebook.com/MortReport where I'll engage during the year. Also, our first Sunday NFL Countdown at 11 a.m. ET and our first Friday Night radio shows on ESPN Radio and ESPN Radio.com. Great to be back in the saddle. Thanks. My best to you and your teams. God Bless!