Chat with Ashley Fox
Welcome to SportsNation! On Thursday, ESPN's NFL columnist Ashley Fox stops by to chat.
Fox joined ESPN.com in 2011 after 11 years as a writer and columnist at the Philadelphia Inquirer, where she covered the National Football League, the Philadelphia Eagles and the Philadelphia 76ers. She also has worked at the Louisville Courier-Journal and Sports Illustrated. A North Carolina native, Fox lives in suburban Philadelphia with her husband, daughter and son.
Send your questions now and join Fox on Thursday at 2 p.m. ET!
Buzzmaster (2:11 PM)
Hang on folks, Ashley's power went out. She's trying to get back online.
Ashley Fox (2:14 PM)
Okay folks, sorry to be late. We've had an earthquake, a hurricane, tornados and now mudslides and more power outages here in Philadelphia. Fun times. It is Week One. Let's get started.
Why are so many ppl giving up on the Colts because P. Manning is not going to be there for a few games. They have a strong team, a good not great defense, and their running game game is virtually nothing yet they are still a good team; K. Collins is a good quarterback and a great game manager, why are ppl giving up on the Colts?
Ashley Fox (2:17 PM)
Hi David. I'm not sure people are giving up on the Colts, but it will be jarring to see another quarterback out there for them on Sunday. Manning has been so consistent, and so consistently good, that anyone else will be a massive downgrade. Collins historically has been a slow starter. It is tough to expect him to step in and be sharp. This is certainly not the end of the world for Indy, but it could be a rough couple of weeks.
Do you think the Rams might have a problem that the expectations and pressure to win might get to them?
Ashley Fox (2:18 PM)
Hi Brad. I will be in your city this weekend. I don't think the pressure of expectations will get to them. I spoke with Steve Spagnuolo last weekend, and he likes the group he's got. They brought in some nice veterans and have good young talent there. There's still a bitter taste in their mouth over that loss to Seattle to end the season. Yes, they have a tougher schedule this year, but I still picked them to win the division.
Do you think we're more likely to see offensive exhibitions or defensive standoffs in these first few weeks? Who has the sharper learning curve as far as the lockout shortened offseason?
Ashley Fox (2:21 PM)
That's a great question, Tim, and something that will be fascinating to watch. I recently posed that question to an offensive coordinator in the league. He thought that defenses would have the edge because it is easier to play defense than offense. But he thought that there would be the potential -- potential -- for big plays by offenses, presuming the players could quickly get on the same page. I would tend to lean more toward veteran defenses, like the Steelers, having the upper hand early. We will see.
Marc (Harrisburg, Pennsylvania)
Who will win the superbowl?
Ashley Fox (2:22 PM)
Hello Marc, my pick for the Super Bowl is the Steelers over the Eagles. But as we all know, a lot can happen between now and then. I like the Steelers getting back there and winning it. Lots of continuity on that team, which I think will really help them early. They play the NFC West and the AFC South, which will help. Their Oct. 30 game against the Patriots is at home. They'll have a good shot at home field advantage, which will help.
Crazy George (Minnesota)
Hey Ashley! I went with a colleague's (fantasy expert) manifesto and drafted Vick and McCoy. Good move, or bad move? Thanks!
Ashley Fox (2:24 PM)
Hello Crazy George. I don't play fantasy, so I am far from an expect on that. But Vick and McCoy certainly will get their touches. I'm expecting big things from McCoy this year.
Dan (Indianapolis) [via mobile]
With the way the Colts' season may end up turning out, would it be out of line to think they could end up with Andrew Luck considering their unproven offensive line and bad defense?
Ashley Fox (2:26 PM)
The only way the Colts' are getting Andrew Luck is if they have the No. 1 pick in the draft, which would mean they have to go 2-14. That isn't happening. It is way too early to panic in Indy.
For years the general consensus was that NFC South was the weakest division in football; however, the south has proven to be just as strong as any division even stronger than the NFC East esp since it was the only division in football to produce 3 teams with 10 wins or more, why no love for the South?
Ashley Fox (2:29 PM)
It certainly isn't the weakest division any more, is it? I think the division gets plenty of love, and respect. New Orleans and Atlanta I think are legit Super Bowl contenders. Tampa Bay is going to be in that discussion probably in the next year or two. And Carolina is building for the future.
Will the Falcons's win the super bowl?
Ashley Fox (2:30 PM)
I think they will win one with Matt Ryan. I don't think it is this year.
Rich (New Jersey)
Eagles look like odds on favorites to win the NFC East this year, who'll give them the most trouble, the Giants or the Cowboys this year?
Ashley Fox (2:32 PM)
Hi Rich. I think the Cowboys are that team, although they certainly have issues in their secondary right now. The Giants had such a rough preseason on the injury front that I think it will be difficult to bounce back from that. But if Vick stays healthy and that offensive line can come together -- granted, two huge "ifs" -- I don't see another team winning the division.
An attractive Guy (San Diego)
I had faith that at least some women knew what they were talking about when it came to football, and you have killed that. The Bears at 9? You should try watching a game or two sometime, it's kinda interesting.
Ashley Fox (2:33 PM)
I'll do that, thanks.
Burress have a chance to be a "PLAYER" this season and how do you see his season going with Jets?
Ashley Fox (2:36 PM)
I think he has a chance, but it's going to take him a while. He's been away from the game for a while, and I saw it first-hand with Michael Vick. It takes time to get back what was lost in prison. It took Vick until the end of his first season in Philadelphia, and then he got injured. It wasn't until last year that he got himself totally back. Burress might go through a quicker transition, but it's going to take him some time to get that speed back, if he can. I still like him as a big target in the back of the end zone.
Alfred (Bat Cave)
Hi Ashley, I was looking through all the bloggers rankings and the one thing that stood out above the rest was your ranking of the Chargers @ 19??? Seriously, they have an MVP candidate and were 9-7 last year with the #1 offense and defense. If not for special teams they would have been an 11 or 12 win team last year. I'm not even a Charger fan but there is no way they are a below average team. I would like to hear your rationale, but I know you wont anser this question.
Ashley Fox (2:40 PM)
Hello Alfred in the Bat Cave. Remind me, did the Chargers make the playoffs last year with that No. 1 ranked offense and defense? I didn't think so. To me, with all that talent, they have consistently underachieved. Maybe 19 was too low. Probably it was. But you also can't take special teams out of the equation last year. That's part of the game, too.
Matt (Corpus Christi, Texas)
Do the Texans make the playoffs as a division winner this year?
Ashley Fox (2:42 PM)
This really looks like it could be their year now with Manning on the shelf indefinitely. I would think they will come out completely jacked on Sunday. I'm looking forward to seeing Wade Phillips' defense. It will take time for those players to adjust, but I expect them to be aggressive and get after it.
How do you see the JETS doing this year?
Ashley Fox (2:46 PM)
They're winning the Super Bowl. Just ask Rex. No, really, I think they are going to have a good year. I'm interested to see how Sanchez progresses this year. He's got lots of toys to play with, and by all accounts he's really grown into the leadership role. By the way, have you guys watched the best of Hard Knocks special on HBO? I checked it out last night, and it is priceless. It was fun watching Ryan again. And Ray Lewis, among others. It is worth your time if you haven't seen it. A nice prelude to the weekend.
1) How well do you think the Bucs are going to do this year? 2) Who will the Packers use in the back field more, Starks or Grant? 3) Will Finley be a good start for fantasy tonight?
Ashley Fox (2:48 PM)
I still see the Bucs as the third best team in the division. The Packers are saying they are going to give Starks and Grant an equal amount of carries on Sunday, but it will be worth watching to see if that is actually the case. And I really am not the right person to ask about fantasy. Don't play it, and don't know all the intricacies of the point system. Sorry.
Do you see the Lions finally making the playoffs this year?
Ashley Fox (2:52 PM)
You know, Bill, they are a trendy pick, that's for sure. And I wouldn't be shocked if they snuck in, but it will have to be as a wild card. It will really depend on how the Cowboys, Bears and Bucs do. But it is not out of the realm of possibility. They've got a nice young team.
Ashley, you are one of the few bloggers who haven't been hating on the Eagles. I was wondering why so many others have, I mean yes there is a hole at LB, but even during all of Jim Johnson's time in Philly he only have one Pro Bowl LB in Trotter. A majority of his Pro Bowlers came from the DL and DBs, the Eagles strengths.
Ashley Fox (2:55 PM)
Well, I don't know who exactly has been hating on them. But Philadelphia is not without issues. You are right about the linebackers. The Eagles under Andy Reid (and Jim Johnson) have not valued that position. That has led to the revolving door at all of the linebacker positions that we've seen these last couple of years, including bringing Trotter out of retirement. I would be more concerned about the offensive line and DeSean Jackson's contract situation. They need to resolve that quickly, and I just don't see that happening.
Kerry Collins (IND)
HAVE FAITH IN ME!!!
Ashley Fox (2:56 PM)
You got it, Kery.
Do you believe any team will actually give in to the "suck for Luck" sweepstakes
Ashley Fox (2:59 PM)
Creative, but no. I don't. Tanking games goes against what coaches/executives/players are all about. It is counter productive, and can do serious damage to the psyche of a team. Losing is bad enough. So no, I don't see that happening.
wHAT DO YOU THINK OFTHE SAINTS PACKERS GAME TONIGHT AND IS MARQCUS COLSTON GOING TO PLAYTONIGHT?
Ashley Fox (3:00 PM)
I think I'm ready for some football. Thank you guys for joining me today. Sorry I was tardy. We will do it again very soon. Enjoy the night and good luck with your fantasy teams.