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 (11:03 AM)
Good morning...a little more hectic day today for some reason... and normally I like to give 60 minutes... today's going to be closer to 30 or 40 but let's get started.
Kim (Columbus, OH)
Hi Mort -- Were the Bengals that bad? Or were the Patriots that good?
Chris Mortensen (11:05 AM)
Both. I think we were reminded just how great a coach Bill Belichick is. He has a young defense that he has worked hard during the off-season and training - well, he's worked the veterans hard, too. And you saw how much better prepared the Patriots were. The Bengals looked like a team that played without great urgency and before you know it, game over.
Mort, do you think Mcnabb will have a productive day vs. Houston or is it going to take more time for this offense to start clicking?
Chris Mortensen (11:06 AM)
Oh, I think the offense is going to take time. The O-line is improved but it's not great. Now, that Cowboys defense is pretty good. As for McNabb, I expect more explosive plays downfield.
Jay (Bloomington, IN)
Mort, I know it is Week 2. But are the Kansas City Chiefs for real? It seems like a very weak division.
Chris Mortensen (11:08 AM)
I don't know how you personally define "for real" but I do know they were on my "watch list" for potential surprise teams. I think we weren't certain how the AFC West filled out with the Chargers being the clear-cut favorite. Yes, it's only one game but the Chiefs for now look like a much-improved team...for me, in this case, a young team, talented, well-coached but probably still short of playoff contender status.
Good morning Mort! What is the deal, is Jason Witten going to be a blocker this year? I didn't know Mike Martz is also coaching Dallas
Chris Mortensen (11:10 AM)
Jason Witten has to block. You have to help that offensive line and most teams do it with their best blocking tight end (in this case, Witten) or occasionally with an extra O-lineman. He'll still be a target but this is the byproduct of not being more aggressive in addressing the line.
Mort, just looking at the carnage from week 1 injuries and all the information that is finally coming to light about concusssions how can the owners possibly push for an 18 game schedule?
Chris Mortensen (11:13 AM)
I'd have the same question. The competition committee is still doing research, as is the NFLPA. It's a brutal sport. With 18 games, teams need two byes (maybe just a 2-week buffer between last preseason game and opener can count as one)...also, injured reserve likely will be just a six-week stay (which is the way it used to be) instead of the whole season. Rosters will be expanded. But it's so taxing - do you barter players' health for more money?
Danny (New Jersey)
Does Chris Johnson continue his 100 yard streak against the Steelers Sunday. Would be a real statement against the Steelers to get 100+ and Johnson always seems to rise to the challenge
Chris Mortensen (11:15 AM)
It's a great matchup between Steelers and Titans. It's arguably the best offensive line (the Titans) in football against one of the top 3 defensive fronts and maybe the best (the Steelers). Chris Johnson is so explosive that it only takes three or four times when the defense gets out of alignment, or blocked, and he's gone. He may have 20 carries for 40 yards but four more for 80. Great game and if the Steelers win it, watch out.
Matthew (Columbia, NJ)
Hey Mort, which Eagles QB do you think gives the team the best shot at winning?
Chris Mortensen (11:18 AM)
I'd like to see Kolb play more before I offered that opinion. I know the Eagles realized that Michael Vick was like his former self (from his days in Atlanta) during the off season, in terms of his quickness and speed. And they feel like they've polished some fundamentals. The plan always has been to play Vick more this year - he took his fair share of snaps before Kolb was hurt. Vick is the highest paid backup QB ($5.2 million this year) but Kolb is the futue and I believe he will regain the starting job. He'll still have to share it, though, in 2010 with Vick.
Tony (Kailua, HI)
The Seahawks dismantled San Francisco Sunday. Can they keep it up and challenge the niners and Cards for top spot in the west?
Chris Mortensen (11:21 AM)
I think the answer is yes. Maybe I needed to see it because I had the Seahawks still a year away but this division is so fluid (and average)... the Seahawks clearly have the best and most established quarterback in the division with Matt Hasselbeck. I am anxious to see how the 49ers bounce back this week against the Saints at home.
Time to lose hope in Oakland or just a matter of going up against a very good and under-rated Titans team in Week 1?
Chris Mortensen (11:23 AM)
I wouldn't cash in the chips yet. It was a bad showing by the Raiders and, yes, the Titans are probably underrated. I guess what should bother Raiders fans the most is how sloppy they were. It looked like the Raiders we've seen over their past several years and that was discouraging.
Will Green Bay go after a guy like M. Lynch?
Chris Mortensen (11:25 AM)
It's not GM Ted Thompson's way. He values draft picks. But I admit that Lynch was on my mind when Ryan Grant unfortunately was hurt because the Packers had good grades on Lynch - coach Mike McCarthy liked him a lot, if I recollect. I guess if Brandon Jackson struggles, the subject could be revisited before the trade deadline (Tuesday after week 6).
Marc (Malden, MA)
Would the Bills entertain trading Lee Evans? He just seems to be wasting away up there and they have so many needs that could be filled.
Chris Mortensen (11:28 AM)
When a team has so few game-changers it's difficult to dump a guy who has a chance to help you win a game. Plus, even though Evans is still a good player, I'm not sure he would bring a lot in value because NFL teams are careful these days about giving up too much for a WR, especially if he isn't 6-3 or 6-4.
One really bad game or are the Colts in trouble?
Chris Mortensen (11:29 AM)
One bad game against a very good team. That's how I'm reading the Colts. Even if they lose Sunday night against the Giants - and I doubt they'll lose - I would not push the panic button on the Colts.
MEL31602 (New York)
Of all the contenders who struggled Week 1, which team's struggles concern you the most?
Chris Mortensen (11:34 AM)
The Vikings, for some reason. I guess seeing the impact of no Sidney Rice and Favre looking a little older (well, he is a little older). I'd also say the Cowboys O-line woes better get cleaned up when their injured guys get back or how can they take advantage of those skill players? The 49ers bothered me a lot. The Jets could be in trouble if they don't let the offense breathe.
Marc (Malden, MA)
Why is it that before the season, everyone was asking if the Saints would suffer a Super Bowl hangover, but not the Colts? The Super Bowl hangover applies to the team that lost.
Chris Mortensen (11:35 AM)
And that's a very good point. Even Dwight Freeney admitted (when I visited the Colts in preseason) that it's tough to lose a Super Bowl and shake it off.
Chris.. Ive noticed that over the past couple years there have been 'tweeks' to the helmets that players are wearing with the reason for doing this was to decrease the number of concussions in the league, yet week one showed that they are really not working.. would they consider going back to the old style.. concussions hapened before, just not so frequently
Chris Mortensen (11:37 AM)
No, concussions happened just as frequently before. The league and union are just more on top of the problem. That's how we got to this point - the research and data of all the players who suffered concussions but played because all they did was get their "bell rung."
Have you heard anything about Champ Bailey re-signing or is McDaniels going to let him go as well?
Chris Mortensen (11:38 AM)
McDaniels and the Broncos would like to re-sign Champ.
Chris Mortensen (11:40 AM)
OK, I do have to run. Catch up with me on Twitter @MortReport or on Facebook/Mort Report. We have Sunday NFL Countdown at 11 a.m. ET and we will be working hard to bring you the latest. Thanks for your time. We'll get the full hour or more next week. God Bless!
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