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. Got a full hour today...
Mickey (Ann Arbor)
The Patriots look unstoppable now. Who has a shot at upsetting them in Foxboro in the playoffs?
Chris Mortensen (11:06 AM)
The Patriots look unbeatable but we know that's never quite true. It's been amazing to watch them evolve into this clearly superior team - just validating that there is Bill Belichick at the top of the coaching tree by a good margin. As for question of who can beat them in Foxboro, it would have to be a physical team like the Steelers or Ravens (at their best) that can also rush the passer.
Mort, what is wrong with Eli Manning this year? He's always been a bit turnover prone, but this is ridiculous.
Chris Mortensen (11:08 AM)
Eli knows 19 interceptions is unacceptable. My internal Giants sources say that he is responsible for 12 of them. It is something he knows has to be cleaned up.
Hey Mort, I saw a poll that said, " bigger collapse, the metrodome or the Chicago bears?" Have the bears really collapsed and fallen out of the playoff picture? Why would ESPN say that?
Chris Mortensen (11:09 AM)
I have no idea. Were they (we) basing it off one game? That's my guess. On Sunday, there were two collapses - the Metrodome roof and the Bears vs. the Patriots. It's on to the next game for the Bears. I'm anxious to see how they rebound.
Mike (Boca Raton)
Your assessment of Mark Sanchez's current level of play please?
Chris Mortensen (11:11 AM)
Not very good, obviously, though if Santonio Holmes catches some passes this past week, the alarm level is probably not that high. Sanchez (and Chad Henne) played in brutal weather Sunday. That kind of rain & wind is tough - most QBs will tell you they'll take the snow over that kind of rain any day. But the Jets need to simplify things for Sanchez. He has talent. I believe they have him on mental overload. Call the play. Run the play. Pocket fundamentals need some work, too.
Keith Redding (30'000 ft in air)
I like that they are under the radar,but honestly what give with all the talk about N.O. , Philly, &Giants The Falcons are on top, I can't see them losing more than one game, and I don't think it's th N.O. game so if everybody has to come through Atl, why is there not more talk about the Falcons
Chris Mortensen (11:13 AM)
Apparently you haven't been listening because I have heard plenty of talk about the Falcons on our network, TV & radio. They aren't flying under the radar, at all.
Al (Wausau, WI)
Chris, given that the Vikings will not make the playoffs this year, plus Brett Favre's and Tarvaris Jackson's injuries, might it be most prudent for them to try starting Joe Webb Monday night? That could help them determine what they need to do to upgrade the QB position in the offseason. Your thoughts?
Chris Mortensen (11:16 AM)
I do believe the Vikings need to assess what they have in Joe Webb. Now, you have an interim coach in Leslie Frazier who is trying to convince an owner that he deserves the job going forward. That blessing should come from the owner because winning games are important to the coach and, as you heard in the locker room after the Giants game, to the players.
Mike (Boca Raton)
Is Mark Sanchez the root of the problem with the Jets offense or is he being unfairly blamed for their struggles?
Chris Mortensen (11:18 AM)
To follow up on the Sanchez issue, I think the Jets' defense has not lived up to billing. The pass rush is pretty average, at best, and the linebacker play hasn't been what a lot of people expected.
Mort, I know not many care about punters, but please give your opinion on the release of Hunter Smith by the Skins. He has been an excellent punter for 12 years and it seems that he is simply a scapegoat in the the debacle that is the Redskins. Kicker misses 2 chippies, McNabb can't hit receivers, etc. Heck, last year Smith was their most dangerous offensive threat on fake field goals (Touchdown pass and touchdown run). He's also sacrificed his stats for the team's sake (ie: kicking every punt out of bounds against the Bears to avoid Hester-for which he received a game ball). I think Shanny, Allen and Danny are just trying to please the media.
Chris Mortensen (11:21 AM)
I agree with you. I think this release is transparent. The kicker had failed miserably. It was raining heavily, it was cold and the snap was high. It's his job to still make the play but I think it was a media play or a warning to players that they are being held accountable for their mistakes.
Is Steveh Smith out for the season? Who wins Eagles @ Giants?
Chris Mortensen (11:24 AM)
Yes, Steve Smith is out for the season. I don't know who is going to win the game. I'm aware of the Eagles streak of success against the Giants, regardless of stadium site. I do think the Eagles losing MLB Stewart Bradley is a bigger loss for this game than the Giants losing Smith. I have been leaning Giants on this game in terms of a pick. I don't know.
Mike (Boca Raton)
The Ravens seem to have all of the pieces to the puzzle, but something appears to be missing. What is it?
Chris Mortensen (11:27 AM)
Their defense has holes, for whatever reason. The secondary is average. Their linebackers can be exposed in coverage as well. On offense, it's almost like the addition of all the receiving weapons has them conflicted over their identity because Ray Rice is not nearly the factorback(an ode to Merril Hoge) we expected.
Does Seattle have a snowball's chance of beating Atlanta this weekend? I know Atl is much better, but they are on the 3rd road game in a row, travelling across the country, and Sea (almost) always plays tough at Qwest, and needs the game much more. Interested in your perspective. Thanks!
Chris Mortensen (11:30 AM)
Seattle has a chance because of the reasons you stated. However, the Falcons are a very mature, professional, talented, well-coached team. The Falcons also know that if they win their sandwich games - Seattle and Carolina - then their Dec. 26 matchup with the Saints won't be as costly if they should lose. The Falcons' offense is designed to play well anywhere - dome, outdoors, inclement weather. Their offensive coordinator, Mike Mularkey, is a pretty hot head coaching candidate.
Tom (Ocean, NJ)
Is the 18 game season really the only thing that will save us from a lockout?
Chris Mortensen (11:32 AM)
That's the owners' viewpoint, for the most part. I have heard the attitude of "If the players don't want 18 regular season games, then we'll do 16 and two preseason games and they can take their money out of a smaller (revenue) pie."
How much do you think Howard Mudd retiring has to do with the Colts O-Line woes?
Chris Mortensen (11:34 AM)
Pretty significant. The Colts' line talent is average to below average and Mudd was a magician of sorts. He also was probably the most important voice in Peyton Manning's ear. I think Mudd's retirement has proven to be a major setback, which is why he was making around $1.2 million as a line coach.
is polian losing it as gm of the colts
Chris Mortensen (11:35 AM)
I doubt it from the overall personnel expertise but Bill Polian also is not the GM anymore - it's his son Chris Polian.
Ben (Baton Rouge, LA)
What are the chances that Aaron Rodgers and Brett Favre play their next games? Who has the better chance to play out of the two?
Chris Mortensen (11:36 AM)
Rodgers has a better chance than Favre.
John T (Eagan, MN)
Re: 18 game season, has there been any talk about being able to take players off of IR in the event of a longer season? Seems like something to think about.
Chris Mortensen (11:37 AM)
Yes, that would be part of the 18-game model - revert to the former injured reserve rules of a limited stay on IR with the ability to come off after six (or eight) weeks.
Arvydas (Tampa, Fl)
What are your thoughts on Josh Freeman?
Chris Mortensen (11:38 AM)
Loved him coming out and love him even more now. Great talent. Much poise.
Matt (Brookings, SD)
What do you think of TO's comments?
Chris Mortensen (11:39 AM)
He can't help himself. There was no reason for him to pop off in that manner and whether he realizes it or not, he just hurt himself again on his potential earnings in 2011.
Ryan (San Diego)
How would an increase in the games played affect the HOF for players? More games will mean more inflated stats
Chris Mortensen (11:41 AM)
That's for the HOF voters to discern. Even now, voters know that "stats" are inflated because it's the era of passing the ball, meaning more yards, more catches, more sacks, etc. I'm not a big stat guy - maybe to a fault. I believe the eyeball test is still a major factor in identifying Hall of Fame players, in addition to their statistical and team achievements.
Dalton (Fredonia, KS)
What is your opinion of Tashard Choice asking for Michael Vick's autograph?
Chris Mortensen (11:45 AM)
Most overblown story of the weekend. Players have asked others for autographs. The timing was maybe poor and because it was a fairly high-profile game, Choice wasn't thinking about the fact more cameras were in play. But I also know that Choice grew up in Atlanta, was a high school star in Atlanta (Lovejoy HS) and a college star in Atlanta (Georgia Tech). So he was clearly part of a large throng of Atlantans who remember how Vick energized a team and fan base. I have no doubt that he was a huge fan of Vick's as a younger man - and I am not excusing Vick's dogfighting criminal issues.
Hey Mort - What are the chances that the NFL reviews the fact that a team winning the division automatically gets a home game, despite the possibility of it having a losing record?
Chris Mortensen (11:47 AM)
They'll review it again but how would you feel if the Saints won the NFC South with a 9-7 or 8-8 record because Drew Brees missed six games due to injury and they played a really tough schedule?
Mike (Danbury, CT)
Are there any more commercials planned for you and Adam Schefter? I love those....
Chris Mortensen (11:48 AM)
One per year. We have a lot of fun. Adam is just now experiencing the fun of what we do at ESPN. Over the past 20 years, I know Boomer, TJ and I have some pretty fond and hilarious memories of our commercial shoots.
Would you go with the over or under of 5 years for the NFL to have a team back in LA?
Chris Mortensen (11:50 AM)
I believe the Chargers will be playing in LA within two-to-three years.
Rakibul Islam (NY NY)
This a bit of an odd question Mort. Do you think, esp with the push for 18 games, we could see more Monday Night doubleheaders? I know this past Monday wasn't planned, but being in NY, it was actually pretty cool to have multiple games going on a day other than a Sunday.
Chris Mortensen (11:51 AM)
I guess multiple MNF games is possible but I would say unlikely. I know the NFL would like to have a full season of Thursday night games. That's one of the reasons why the players union would want two byes during an 18-game season.
Does Kubiak coach the Texans next year? Who would be the ideal candidate if they do decide to make a change? Thanks
Chris Mortensen (11:53 AM)
I think Kubiak is the coach in 2011 but that is speculative. If there is a change, obviously Bill Cowher would be a strong candidate because the defense is struggling.
Is it common practice for NFL players to tweet Ed Werder with info about their physical condition leading up to games?
Chris Mortensen (11:53 AM)
You mean "text?" It's not uncommon in these days.
So you think L.A. will have two NFL teams the vikings and the chargers?
Chris Mortensen (11:55 AM)
I do not believe the Vikings will be in L.A. I believe they will be in Minnesota with a new stadium.
what should the cowboys do next year to improve?
Chris Mortensen (11:56 AM)
Address the defense on all levels, especially the secondary, and the offensive line.
Rakibul Islam (NY NY)
Mort. It's you v. Schefter in the fantasy playoffs. Who ya got? And any side bets going?
Chris Mortensen (11:58 AM)
Oh, my team is terrible. I don't even know how I got into the playoffs, let alone win a game in the playoffs. I'm scoring consistently in the 60s, I think. Schefty doesn't even need to show up this weekend.
Morty bear, Do you really think randy moss leaving the patriots has improved them or is getting logan mankins back the real story?
Chris Mortensen (12:01 PM)
Morty bear??? That's a new one. I believe both events have been catalysts to this unforseen evolution of a good team into a great team. Moss' subtraction took away the tension that was building; allowed the offense to breathe even more and triggered the trade for Deion Branch. But Mankins' return has been significant - the Patriots are very physical and he is the most physical of all those guys. He brings an attitude. And the pass protection has made Brady the envy of a lot of quarterbacks in this league.
Hey Mort, the NFC South blogger said that Carolina would not take Luck even if they have the #1 pick, because people in the front office liek Clausen. Do you think that whole front office should be fired if they do pass on Luck, if he comes out?? Clausen hasn't shown anything this year, he's throw more TDs to the other team than his own!!
Chris Mortensen (12:04 PM)
Nothing against our NFC South blogger - I believe IF Andrew Luck comes out then the Panthers will take him. In this case, I'd call that informed speculation. But the biggest piece of that puzzle is Luck. He's only a redshirt sophomore. He set a goal to stay in school four years and get a degree (he's a fair distance away from obtaining one). I believe if Jim Harbaugh leaves Stanford after the Orange Bowl game, the chances increase of Luck leaving but at this juncture it is not automatic.
Chris Mortensen (12:05 PM)
Our hour has flown. Thanks for a lot of interesting questions. Catch me on Twitter @mortreport. Sunday NFL Countdown at 11 a.m. ET...oh, and time for Christmas shopping. God Bless!