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 (11:02 AM)
Good morning. Have you figured anything out yet? Let's figure it out together.
Mort I know that the season is a long way from over but even if the 49ers can slightly turn it around they likely will only be around 6-10. Can Singletary survive a record like that? If not would Gruden be tempted to leave the press box?
Chris Mortensen (11:04 AM)
I think the turnaround can be more dramatic than that but a lot of things would have to fall into place for the 49ers. Under your scenario of a 6-10 season, it appears unlikely Singletary would survive but, then again, maybe he'd have a plan to correct things that is acceptable. As for Gruden being tempted, I don't know with certainty, but I imagine the 49ers would be tempting to him.
Reg (Austin, TX)
Latest on Aaron Rodgers?
Chris Mortensen (11:08 AM)
Waiting to hear. I went into the day believing Aaron wouldn't practice today, or on a very limited basis. But the process of getting clear usually takes most of the week. I know he wants to play. If he is cleared by an independent neurologist by Friday, I think he'll play Sunday vs. the Dolphins.
Molar (Miami, Fl)
Morning Chris, Thanks again for taking the time to chat with us! 2 part question: with Favre obviously favoring his throwing elbow, has minnesota said anything since monday about his elbow? and Will Favre's ego allow him to actually sit a game if he's injured?
Chris Mortensen (11:11 AM)
I think treatment and putting Favre on a "pitch count" can manage the situation. I don't think Favre's ego or his competitive drive would allow him to end a treasured starting streak. Then again, he's got a lot of things on his mind. The other problem is limited practice time will slow the work he needs with Randy Moss.
Chris Mortensen (11:11 AM)
Excuse me briefly.. I have to return a phone call.
John D (Pittsburgh)
The Saints, Colts, Pats, and Vikings are all showing serious vulnerabilities thus far. What's your prediction? Of these 4 how many make the playoffs?
Chris Mortensen (11:17 AM)
Well, the Patriots have a very clear blueprint and I think being 3-1 is no problem at all, even with trading Randy Moss. I never saw them as a Super Bowl contender with the young defense, though it's dangerous to dismiss a team with Bill Belichick as coach and Tom Brady as quarterback. The Saints? Injuries and kicking. The Colts? Injuries and staff transition. The Vikings? Brett Favre is a liability, not an asset right now. I would say one or two of the four make the playoffs. I just don't know which ones! Can you tell me who's getting injured the rest of the way?
Leo (South Bend)
Mort, if the latest allegations against Favre are proven to be true, is he looking at a suspension or just a fine?
Chris Mortensen (11:19 AM)
If NFL Security is able to validate all of the allegations - and that's a big if right now without the complete cooperation of Jenn Sterger - then I would say Favre is facing a suspension of some sort. All speculative while the league gathers the facts. A fine is also possible.
Mort, as a Chiefs fan, I am excited about the progress of the team but I am wondering if Matt Cassel is capable of delivering playoff success. I like the fact that he doesn't kill you with mistakes but he also doesn't seem to be the reason the team is winning either. He has started 19 games with the Chiefs and 34 in the NFL so we have a bit of a track record. What do you think about him?
Chris Mortensen (11:21 AM)
I'm like you - undecided. Great guy. Great leader. He's a work in progress, perhaps in part because it's a team in progress. If Dwayne Bowe catches well-placed pass vs. the Colts in the end zone, we might be talking about a 4-0 team.
KT (Chicago) (Northwest Indiana)
Do you think the Bears will resort back to their "Air Show" tactics with the return of Jay Cutler? Or will they stay balanced due to the success of the rushing game in week 5??? Can they be real super bowl contenders?
Chris Mortensen (11:23 AM)
I think the Bears have a opportunity to be a playoff team with their schedule..and the NFC as of now is very fluid. They obviously can be more effective throwing the ball with Cutler, but those 7-step drops with limited protection, and many throws of anticipation in the first year of a complex offense, I think it's incumbent upon Lovie Smith to make sure the Bears have a balanced attack.
John (Mascoutah IL)
Colt McCoy is going to start for the Browns. What do you see the Browns doing in the future with him?
Chris Mortensen (11:26 AM)
There weren't a lot of positive vibes on McCoy during training camp but he's a rookie. It's tough, being thrown into your first start on the road against the Steelers in Ben Roethlisberger's return game. He was a third-round pick so it tells you the Browns aren't totally sold on him. My guess is the Browns will continue to look for QB upgrade after the season but let's see what Colt does with the opportunities that are presented to him. That's what they'll do, too.
Brian (Hendersonville, NC)
What is your opinion of Chad Henne? I personally believe its just a matter of time before he becomes an elite QB. From the mountains of NC thanks for your time!
Chris Mortensen (11:30 AM)
I like Henne. Solid young professional. The Dolphins have been concerned behind the scenes during off-season and training camp with accuracy but he's really been much better the last two games when they graded the film...even with the 3 interceptions vs. the Patriots. It's a winning business and a show-me business. It's a little early to project whether he;ll be elite when they've questioned him internally.
John D (Pittsburgh)
How long til Vick is ready to play? Will he return as starter when he is?
Chris Mortensen (11:32 AM)
He was still tender today but getting better. There's no way I see him playing this week, even if it's the Falcons. Kevin Kolb played a solid game. If Vick misses, say, three or four games and Kolb gets better each week and they're winning, then I'd day we might be back to square one.
Chris B (T town, Ga)
As of right now who would you say would be the most balanced team in the NFL?
Chris Mortensen (11:34 AM)
I've pretty much stated that the Steelers, Ravens and Jets are the elite teams, in my opinion. Technically the Steelers aren't as balanced as the Ravens and Jets but that changes with Roethlisberger's return. The Ravens need to clean up their turnovers. The Jets are very dangerous as Sanchez gets better with the return of Santonio Holmes
Chris Mortensen (11:35 AM)
FYI, everyone, Aaron Rodgers is scheduled to speak with Dolphins media shortly, which is a sign he will be playing for the Packers this Sunday.
Brandon (Mobile, Al)
Any word on Darren McFadden's hamstring? Will Michael Bush be a solid play again this week in fantasy?
Chris Mortensen (11:37 AM)
Hamstring injuries are fairly significant for an athlete like McFadden so I would expect Bush to be a good fantasy play again.
Mort, could jerry jones bring in another lineman like tony ugoh or whoever is available out there.
Chris Mortensen (11:37 AM)
I think a lot of teams are looking at Ugoh if they hear he's healthy.
Nathan (Coralville, IA)
Isn't allowing Aaron Rodgers to play Sunday extremely risky? Does the league need to mandate time off for players with concussions?
Chris Mortensen (11:40 AM)
The league and NFLPA have really enhanced the policy. If Rodgers plays, it's because an independent neurologist has cleared him and he's gone through a battery of tests to assist in that determination. Now, there's always a chance the policy can change if there's an incident that questions the wisdom of allowing a player to return even when he's passed all the tests.
Glenn (Baltimore, Md)
When it comes down to The Ravens sitting at 4-1 & going into New England this weekend. If they come out with a win will people start to take us seriously
Chris Mortensen (11:41 AM)
I'm posting this because I'm laughing. Who's NOT taking the Ravens seriously?
Doc (Nashville, TN)
I realize the Titan's aren't a great team, however, it doesn't seem like they get any props from the football media. Did they not have something to do with how the Giants and Cowboy's played them. Did they not help them implode to some degree?
Chris Mortensen (11:44 AM)
I put the Titans right on the cusp of being among those elite teams. However, the AFC is deeper than than the NFC. But with Vince Young improving at quarterback and the defense also improving, the Titans are clearly dangerous. I still say their defensive line coach, Jim Washburn, never gets enough credit as one of the gerat position coaches in the NFL. Their front four, including a good rotation off the bench, will get after you.
Has Lesean Mccoy become one of the elite RB in the league
Chris Mortensen (11:45 AM)
He's starting to look like an elite RB and his stock went up when he played with a broken rib vs. the 49ers. Looking forward to interviewing him for my Friday ESPN radio show (The Mort Report).
Glenn (Baltimore, Md)
Chris in response to not taking The Ravens serious, I laugh too when I hear it but there have been a few analyst that have said that our record is nothing more than a luck of the draw and not to read anything into the 4-1 start
Chris Mortensen (11:46 AM)
Then I'd say those analysts need analyzing.
Mike (Boca Raton)
Regarding the Favre incident, can you offer any insight why this is showing up two years after it occurred? That is the one aspect that I still don't understand, and don't understand why nobody else has addressed this question.
Chris Mortensen (11:49 AM)
It showed up because it was published via the Internet from a Deadspin website that admittedly has been in pursuit of the material for some time before it finally secured it with a payment. That is troublesome to many, but it wouldn't skew the facts of the case, if proven true. Once the NFL stated it was investigating the allegations of workplace sexual harrassment with the personal conduct policy in play, it became a story we could not ignore, regardless of its timing.
Evan (Chapel Hill, NC)
Given that the Redskins have now beat several big opponents (Eagles, Cowboys, Packers), where do you see them finishing this season? Playoff aspirations?
Chris Mortensen (11:51 AM)
We can't ignore them. The defense has some game-changing players and even though Donovan McNabb has struggled with consistency, he has made big plays downfield. And in the NFC, where few teams have stepped up, why wouldn't we include the Redskins in that talk, for now?
What do you make of Greg Jennings slow start with the Pack? It seems like teams are double-teaming the deep ball and making Rodgers look for the short pass, so do you think the Pack are inclined to put more bubble screens and slants to get Jennings the ball more?
Chris Mortensen (11:54 AM)
It's a little surprising but not panic time..well, maybe. The problem now is that without Ryan Grant and perhaps without TE Jermichael Finley for a very lengthy time, it doesn't help the situation. Finley's surgery proved that he had a more serious injury to the knee so he is expected to miss a significant amount of more time and even his season could be in jeopardy.
J Treehorn (Malibu)
Is Drew Brees (knee) hurt worse than the team is letting on? It certainly appears that way.
Chris Mortensen (11:56 AM)
Any time you have a sprained knee, it means you're playing with something that has stretched or torn ligaments. In this case, my understanding it's not torn. But nevertheless, it could impact his accuracy because he throws with such balance and could impact his drops away from center.
If Atlanta's O gets it together how good can this team be? The D isa greatly improved.
Chris Mortensen (11:58 AM)
The Falcons defense is very improved. They've done a good job with young talent and developing that young talent. DC Brian VanGorder is outstanding. On offense, their offense is what we like to call "portable." It may not be all fireworks but they are physical - which would play well in bad weather - and Roddy White gives them an explosive playmaker. As Michael Jenkins returns at WR, that gets Harry Douglas into being more of a threat, too. Right now, you'd have to say the Falcons are the NFC's best team.
Nice to hear Mr. Kraft's optimistic comments regarding a new labor agreement; do you agree with him that a new deal is possible before the end of the season?
Chris Mortensen (12:00 PM)
I wish he was right but actions, not words, get deals done. If they're serious about this, then go lock yourselves in a room for a week until you hammer out a new deal.
Tom (new orleans)
Is this weekends game between Dallas and Minnestoa the final straw for either Wade or Chilly depending on who wins?
Chris Mortensen (12:01 PM)
I have no indication that it's a final straw moment.
Is Tampa at 3-1 a pretender?
Chris Mortensen (12:04 PM)
I don't see the Bucs as a true contender, yet, but GM Mark Dominik and coach Raheem Morris deserve credit for showing some impressive progress. Josh Freeman looks like the real deal as a franchise quarterback in the making. Other good young players. And they are clearly well-coached so we shouldn't ignore them, that's for sure.
Chris Mortensen (12:06 PM)
Gotta return some missed phone calls everyone. Thanks for the time. I will be on Twitter @mortreport later. Also, check out my Facebook/MortReport fan page...and we're always filing to ESPN.com. Sunday NFL Countdown at 11 am ET. Be well and God Bless!