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)
Good morning and a salute to are men and women in the military and all those who have served as we honor them on Veterans Day (Thursday). Let's talk some NFL for an hour.
Reg (Austin, TX)
Who picks up Al Harris salary from recent release? Packers or Dolphins once he cleared waivers?
Chris Mortensen (11:01 AM)
Dolphins have signed Al Harris. Good veteran.
mike (belmont, nc)
do you think the falcons have what it takes to slow down the ravens offense and get the big thursday night win tomorrow?
Chris Mortensen (11:03 AM)
Tough game to call. One thing the Falcons have is a physical team that seemingly will not be overmatched against a very good Ravens team. Matt Ryan has to avoid the great Ed Reed. Michael Turner has to avoid the great Ray Lewis and Haloti Ngata. It would be a signature win for the Falcons. I haven't figured this one out yet but I better pretty soon.
Mike (Boca Raton)
Do you think Jerry Jones would consider giving up some of his player personnel control in exchange for the coach he wants?
Chris Mortensen (11:05 AM)
By all accounts past and present, Jones is a good listener. Bill Parcells got his way most of the time - as did Jimmy Johnson - so I think that can be a compromise Jerry would make. However, I do think Jones will give total control to any coach. I could be wrong but that's what I think.
Scott (South Dakota)
Thanks for the Tweets, Mort - you keep me informed. Hypothetical question here: if there is a coaching change in San Francisco next year - do you think Manusky keeps his DC job? I think he's a pretty good DC.
Chris Mortensen (11:07 AM)
I think Manusky is a good DC, too, but a new head coach will evaluate it. I believe if the defense performs at a high level in the final eight games - and there is a head coaching change - then that would help Manusky.
Carlos (Los Angeles)
Are the Raiders considered "For Real" now that they got the big win against KC?
Chris Mortensen (11:08 AM)
I believe the Raiders are for real. I mostly felt that way during training camp. When they started slow, I wondered if it was another Raiders' mirage/heartbreak. But we can now see the talent. We see a team playing with passion. It's good to have them back!
the mvp debate has been between Manning and Brady, i think Manning is the mvp. Brady may be playing with new weapons but at least he had the whole off season to practice with those weapons , Manning is throwing to guys off the street and the 4th string running back. Brady is playing for the best coach in league, has a good o line, and a run game Manning none of the above. I would also say NE beat Miami and SD without Brady lifting a finger and prob Minnisota, would indy have won a game this year without Manning?
Chris Mortensen (11:11 AM)
Brady deserves equal consideration. He lost Randy Moss. Who's he really throwing to?Run game is just ok. But my bet is that the Chargers come on strong in the second half and the best case may be for Phillip Rivers. Look at what he's done with all the injuries.
James (North Little Rock)
How do the Panthers approach this offseason and upcoming draft? they have so many holes but they traded away its 2nd rounder to N.E. and Jerry Richardson refuses to pay big money or sign any veterans
Chris Mortensen (11:15 AM)
I think the Panthers' demise is a direct result of owner Jerry Richardson's personal charge that the labor situation has created a bleak outlook. I don't know what they do in free agency. It's true they don't have a second rounder in the 2011 draft but at least they have a first rounder. It's going to be a real high first rounder and my belief is that there will be a rookie wage scale in place, regardless of whether there's a labor agreement. That will make Richardson happy.
Should I give up Welker for a returning Rice?
Chris Mortensen (11:17 AM)
It's your call but I don't know many people who wouldn't take Ray Rice over Wes Welker.
It seems Tom Cable is going with Jason Campbell at QB @ pittsburgh (correct choice in my mind) What are your thoughts? Also should jacoby ford be a starter in the slot now?
Chris Mortensen (11:19 AM)
I can't argue on either idea. Campbell definitely provides the Raiders with the ability to open up the offense. He's playing well and it's no secret he is Al Davis' choice. And Jacoby Ford was outstanding. He didn't just show his speed but he made some real football plays in the clutch vs. KC. Enjoy the bye week.
Jeff (Los Angeles)
Is the resentment toward Childress deep in the Vikings locker room, or are reporters just using the same sources over and over again to feed all the various stories? If the resentment is deep, is hatred toward the coach really a rallying cry that can save the season, or do the Vikings need to make a change now?
Chris Mortensen (11:21 AM)
The information I received last night is that while Childress will not win a popularity contest, the team has a very positive vibe about it. The players have taken ownership unlike, say, the Dallas Cowboys. Oh, and Brett Favre can still play.
I think Jerry meant Sidney Rice, not Ray Rice. He was asking about giving up Welker for Sidney Rice.
Chris Mortensen (11:22 AM)
Ok. Now I understand the question. I'd be tempted on Sidney Rice. He will be back soon, maybe as soon as Sunday vs. the Bears.
Do you think JG will demote some underachieving players, namely Mike Jenkins, Alan Ball, Leonard Davis, Anthony Spencer, etc? It certainly would send a message to everyone that he means business.
Chris Mortensen (11:25 AM)
I don't know that everyone you mentioned will get demoted. Garrett is giving everyone a clean slate but if any player is not with the program, then he will act accordingly.
Why do you doubt that McNabb isn't a "franchise" QB as you put it last week on sportscenter? The guy doesn't have a decent wideout outside of Cooley and he is the TE!
Chris Mortensen (11:27 AM)
I have never suggested McNabb wasn't a franchise QB. I simply passed along how the Redskins internally - specifically, the Shanahans - feel about McNabb and why. I even made the point at various times of the limitations around Donovan.
King Kevin (TX)
Do you think the Cowboys will let Stephen McGee play, if nothing else to see if he is a servicable backup? And lets face it, this year should force them to make sure they have a servicable backup. Kitna is putrid.
Chris Mortensen (11:30 AM)
Winning is still important. If Jason Garrett believes McGee gives the Cowboys a chance to win more than Kitna, then he'll do it. The defense is more putrid, by the way.
Do you think Marshawn Lynch can be an effective runner for the Seahawks given the favorable schedule they have the rest of the way?
Chris Mortensen (11:31 AM)
I believe so but their O-line's not very good.
Justin (Rochester NY)
Where did Steve Johnson come from and will he beable to keep up this production??
Chris Mortensen (11:34 AM)
The Bills really like him. Like him a lot. He's a former Kentucky player, a 7th round steal in 2008 after going for 1,000-plus yards and 13 TDs as a senior. I think he's going to be a player for a good stretch. Good size and nice complement to Lee Evans.
What are your thoughts on the play of Terrell Owens this season?
Chris Mortensen (11:35 AM)
Very impressive. The effort is there and when you consider that he'll still drop some passes, his production is way up there.
Brad (Beverly, Ma)
Why can't the Dolphins beat a good team?
Chris Mortensen (11:36 AM)
They beat the Packers in Green Bay. It is the NFL. Given their schedule, a 4-4 record isn't a shock.
Hayden (Logan, Utah)
how can a WR drop a ball? I mean, thats elementary
Chris Mortensen (11:38 AM)
Tom Jackson, my colleague, tried on some receiver gloves recently and doesn't believe it's possible to drop a ball with the stickiness of the gloves.
Rob Ryan (Cleveland)
Do you see me as a head coach in this league soon?
Chris Mortensen (11:39 AM)
Rob, I think the performance of the Browns' defense, the pedigree passed from your father and the success of your brother Rex as a head coach merits your name being thrown in the head coaching ring.
Finally, the Lions were making real progress, only to lose to the Jets and possibly lose Stafford again to a shoulder injury. Are the Lions cursed?
Chris Mortensen (11:42 AM)
I don't buy cursed. Adversity with Stafford's injury. If they get back Shaun Hill relatively soon, they can get back on track. They gave the Jets - one of the top teams in the NFL - all they can handle. I know the Stafford thing has Lions fans nervous. The crazy thing is that Stafford's durability was never an issue coming into the draft. Never missed a game in Texas high school football or at the Univ. of Georgia. Phil Simms had a rough start durability-wise to his career and rebounded. That's the hope for Stafford. That's the hope for Lions fans. I still believe they will be a strong contender in 2011.
Hey mort, who do you got in the big steelers patriots game this week?
Chris Mortensen (11:44 AM)
Pretty sure I'm going with the Steelers, though these o-line injuries for Pittsburgh are a legitimate concern.
The Bills aren't the worst team in football but sit at 0-8. Do they get their first W this weekend against the Lions?
Chris Mortensen (11:45 AM)
Not a lock, at all. The Lions are a good football team but if Shaun Hill can't line up at QB with Stafford out, then the Bills might get their first win. Shame they haven't yet. Both teams need to re-learn how to finish games.
Are the Giants for real? Do they have a chance against Philly next week?
Chris Mortensen (11:46 AM)
Yes, the Giants are for real even with their latest bout of O-line injuries so they stand a chance vs. Philly. But the Eagles will be the Giants' most serious threat in the NFC East, as you know.
Have you heard anything about WR Antonio Bryant since the Bangles cut him? Will he be back this season or at all? Is his knee issue degenerative?
Chris Mortensen (11:48 AM)
I haven't talked to a personnel man who believes Bryant is a worthwhile signing and, yes, there are concerns his knee has some degenerative/chronic problems. But many players in the NFL have degenerative issues.
Mort - I know the officails have gotten to the point where if a hit is close, they are calling a penalty, but come on the Hampton tackle of Palmer Monday night was a joke. He got blocked into him and tackled Palmer just above the knee. We know it's the "Palmer RUle," but really?
Chris Mortensen (11:50 AM)
I agree with you but the rule book clearly states that when in doubt the referee is to throw the flag.
Jeff (Atlanta, GA)
Mort, who would be your top 5 teams in order through week 9?
Chris Mortensen (11:53 AM)
1. Steelers; 2. Ravens; Giants; 4. Jets; 5. Falcons.... I think Patriots can make a strong argument and I'd say watch out for the Saints.
Chris (San Diego)
Is there a chance that Cowboys could start with a new franchise QB during next year's draft, letting go of Romo?
Chris Mortensen (11:57 AM)
That would surprise me. I guess if they had the first pick in the draft, hired Jim Harbaugh as coach and Andrew Luck was coming out, then maybe that would be a possibility. Though Romo is 31, he is still held in high regard around the league. And the fact that the Cowboys were leading the Giants 20-7 when Romo was injured and then the team completely collapsed tells you that he was much more vital than his critics are willing to admit.
Mort, who will be the Chargers' number 1 receiver once Vincent Jackson gets back, him or Floyd?
Chris Mortensen (11:58 AM)
I wish I knew. I believe it will be whoever Norv Turner decides will give them the most production. But Norv is a big believer in his system and his QB, Phillip Rivers. They'll figure out a way.
first time on one of these ESPN american football chats, Really cool Mort! question, whats it going to take for me jets to get their offense back on track?
Chris Mortensen (12:00 PM)
Welcome Arnold in Australia! The Jets need to run the ball and I think get more vertical in their passing attack early in a game. That's not a revelation but I would be surprised if it doesn't get better soon.
Chris Mortensen (12:02 PM)
Gotta run to the doctor to solve my laryngitis issues. Thanks for the great questions. Wish I could answer more. Catch up with me on Twitter @mortreport. And catch the gang on Sunday NFL Countdown at 11 am ET each week. Thanks, God Bless and God Bless our military and all the veterans out there.