Chat with Ashley Fox
Welcome to SportsNation! On Monday, ESPN.com 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 Monday at 1 p.m. ET!
Ashley Fox (1:00 PM)
What's up, everybody? Happy Monday. Thanks for joining me. Let's get started.
Rich (New Jersey)
Will the Cleveland Browns trade Colt McCoy this or wait till Weeden is ready in a year or two and if so what teams are out there willing to deal for McCoy?
Ashley Fox (1:02 PM)
Good question, Rich. It sounds like they are more than willing to go ahead and move McCoy, even for a sixth- or seventh-round draft pick. My colleague Jamison Hensley speculated that McCoy could land in Green Bay, St. Louis or Denver, given those teams' backup situations. Dan Graziano wondered why Philly hasn't made a move for McCoy yet. Those all sound like good options.
Deven (Buffalo, NY)
Hi Ashley, Will the Bills make the postseason for the first time in many years?
Ashley Fox (1:04 PM)
Hi Deven. It has been a long, long time since the Bills made the playoffs (1999). Could they make it this year? Sure. But they are going to have to start out well out of the gate, given that four of their first six games are on the road, including back-to-back trips to San Francisco and Arizona. New England at home is also in that stretch. The schedule lightens up a little in the second half, but the Bills are going to have to have a strong showing early to be able to take advantage of that. Tough division, too.
How will my redskins be with Rg3 as the qb and Pierre Garcon as a wide receiver
Ashley Fox (1:06 PM)
Better than they have been. Everyone is raving about those two. Griffin obviously is an upgrade. Garcon is a going to be a true No. 1, and he's got great speed, is smart, is able to get separation. There of course will be growing pains, as there always are with rookie QBs. But the Redskins finally seem to be on an upward trajectory.
sidney baker [via mobile]
My team is the eagles are they good enough to win it all this year?
Ashley Fox (1:08 PM)
I think they are, Sidney, as long as No. 7 stays healthy and plays well. Only once in his career has Michael Vick made it through all 16 games of the regular season. We know he doesn't like to slide. He's not going to change the way he plays. He's 32. But he is surrounded by some very, very talented guys on offense, like LeSean McCoy and DeSean Jackson and Jeremy Maclin. It will be interesting to see how they survive losing Jason Peters for the year. The defense should be improved. They finally have a true middle linebacker. Good pass rush. But it all comes back to the QB.
Shaun Lee, Kailua,Oahu,Hawaii [via mobile]
Lots of talk about the Pats RB uncertainty, but what about Woodhead? He's a versatile weapon especially on passing downs and back in the '10 season he and BGE were a dynamic duo. If either Ridley or Vereen can step in and come close to filling in his shoes plus the addition of Addai and possibly use of the FB position I think the Patriots will be fine in the running game department. They should also be helped out by an assumed greater outside/deep threat by a revamped receiver corp that is very talented and deep.
Ashley Fox (1:11 PM)
My colleague James Walker spent part of last week at the Patriots minicamp and he filed a detailed report on this topic. New England is going to again go running back by committee. The thing James points out is that BGE was so reliable -- never fumbled in four years -- and a huge threat in goal line situations. That's probably where Addai fits in. Woodhead is more of a third-down guy. Stevan Ridley and Shane Vereen will get to battle it out to see who gets the majority of the carries. I'm with you, I think they will be okay, but they are in unchartered territory heading into camp.
Mychal (SD CALIFORNIA)
LT is definitely a first ballot HOF! He put together one of the strongest seasons at the running back position in history and was consistent for 9 consecutive years before getting dumped to the Jets as a back up! I'm glad to see him retire as a Charger and he will be inducted in the first year he is eligible!
Ashley Fox (1:13 PM)
I'm glad, too, Mychal. I'm not a huge fan of players signing those meaningless one-day contracts and then retiring, but in this case I like it. Same with when Brian Dawkins did it in Philly. LT had nine consecutive 1,000-yard seasons, starting with his rookie year out of TCU. He had an incredible run there.
Sorry to hear about you dog Ashley...Never easy to lose a part of the family..I can't seem to make sense of the NFC east... Egles look great on paper again, the Super Bowl champs didn't lose much, the Cowboys are always in the mix and the Redskins snatched up the next Cam Newton...... how do you see this playing out?
Ashley Fox (1:16 PM)
Thanks, TK. Appreciate that. As for the NFC East, and with all due respect to those reigning champs (who were 9-7 during the regular season last year, let's not forget), I'll go: 1. Eagles, 2. Giants, 3. Cowboys, 4. Redskins, with probably two playoff teams. We know these teams like to beat each other up pretty good during the season, and it seems like it's always close down the stretch of the season. As I've said, I really like this Eagles team as long as Vick stays healthy. Love Eli. It's a big year for Romo. RGIII is going to be a player.
Scooter, minny [via mobile]
Do u think ponder will have a good year with the o-line better than last year?
Ashley Fox (1:18 PM)
Well, Scooter, it's going to depend on how you define "good." Will he be better than last year? I would expect so. Ponder certainly should benefit from actually having an offseason and from knowing that he is the guy. He's not waiting behind a veteran now. But as we've discussed here in the past, that team has a lot of work to do. They addressed it in the draft, getting Ponder some protection up front. But there's a lot of work still to do, and the division is loaded.
Happy Monday Ashley! Anything new on the Matt Forte situation? Are the Bears willing to stand their ground and force Forte and his agent to make the choice to play under franchise terms or sit out?
Ashley Fox (1:20 PM)
It certainly seems that way, doesn't it? The coaches were heaping praise on Michael Bush last week, too, which to me sounded like they were saying to Forte: "We've got someone else to do your job if you don't want to do it for $7.7 million this season." I don't blame Forte for not wanting to play under the franchise tender. He wants some security. That's cool. But with Bush and Kahlil Bell there, this doesn't really seem like the year to be holding out.
PJ (Sea Girt, NJ)
Commenting on your article on Tom Coughlin, as a Giants fan who hasn't missed a game since they moved to New Jersey in the 1970s, I can tell you that Tom Coughlin is a good coach, and he someday may equal Parcells as a NYG head coach, but he will never surpass Parcells as the top NYG coach. Parcells won in an era where he first had to get past the likes of Coaches Walsh and Gibbs (not to mention Landry and Ditka), had a dominant team in 1986-87, and won a Super Bowl with a backup quarterback after stopping the three-peat 49ers. Parcells loses points in the eyes of many because he left the Giants, but it was no coincidence that he left at the same time that Tim Mara (who was Parcells' primary ally in the front office, but whose health was suffering) was selling his half of the team to Bob Tisch. That would be a good story for someone to write if they could ever get Parcells to talk about it. Anyway, I don't mean to knock Coach Coughlin at all, but, like many things, "you had to be there" to understand what Parcells meant to the organization.
Ashley Fox (1:21 PM)
I hear you, PJ. Appreciate the feedback.
Is Sanchez's job truly in jeopardy?
Ashley Fox (1:23 PM)
If he throws a bunch of picks and the Jets start 0-3 or 2-5 and Tebow is sitting there, yes. If he has a strong season and the Jets are winning, then no. The Jets want Sanchez to be successful. They're paying him a lot of money to be successful. But if he's not, then his job will be in jeopardy.
Max (Dallas )
LOVE YOUR WORK FOX -- What agenda would the NFL have for lying about the bounty evidence and just trying to punish these players for no good reason? It doesn't make sense to me and I don't buy it at all.The owners want these good players on the field and they sure as heck don't want all this bad publicity with all the dirty play talk.I think it was bad and they had no choice but to suspend to make the players respect their wishes. I have to do the samething with my kids on occassion and lets face it the way the majority of these football players act they really act like kids most of the time. I don't many of them ever grow up.
Ashley Fox (1:25 PM)
Thanks, Max. There are all sorts of theories out there about why the NFL would lie about it -- the mountain of lawsuits against them high atop the list -- but you're right. And forget the players for a minute. The NFL threw out one of the top head coaches in the league for a year. They indefinitely suspended a defensive coordinator. And they suspended a GM for half the season. They wouldn't do that arbitrarily. The evidence, I've got to think, will come out, when the league wants it to.
rick,tx [via mobile]
Classy move SD signing lt.id or liked to c him play once more.Do u think hes a first ballot HOF or second...thxAshley
Ashley Fox (1:27 PM)
I'd like to see him play once more, too, but that's not happening. Will he be first ballot or second? I don't know. I'd need to study who else will be eligible five years from now. But he'll get in.
Frank (New Orleans)
Was opening up All-22 a smart decision by the NFL?
Ashley Fox (1:30 PM)
That's a good question, Frank. I love it, and I think fans who are into that sort of thing will love it, too. From time to time I'll go over to NFL Films and watch the coaches tape with Jaws, and it is illuminating to say the least. We'll watch the same play 20-30 times. You can see everything develop and where mistakes are made (of course Jaws' analysis doesn't hurt). I'm sure plenty of people, myself included, will ante up for it.
Am I the only one who is sick of seeing or hearing anything that comes from Vilma's mouth? Couldn't the space and time used to promote his irrelevant tweets and comments be better utilized in some other fashion?
Ashley Fox (1:31 PM)
The man feels like he was wronged. He's trying to defend himself. I don't fault him for that.
Rah Steam (Hackensack, N.J.)
Am I crazy for thinking Matt Stafford will become the best QB this season? I'm hearing Titus Young is catching everything, Pettigrew should be improved, and we can't 4get about Megatron!!!!!!!!
Ashley Fox (1:33 PM)
Love me some Megatron. This is Year 4 for Stafford and he's coming off a year where he somewhat quietly threw for over 5,000 yards. Amazing, isn't it. Will he be the best? I wouldn't say that. But he is inching his way into the elite category, which is saying something.
Don (Great Lakes Naval Station)
Good afternoon Ashely. Do you think there is any chance the Bears will extend Lovie Smith's contract during the season, or will new New Bears GM Phil Emery want to explore all options after the season?
Ashley Fox (1:36 PM)
I believe he is signed through 2013, right? He got that extension last offseason. So no, I don't think Emery will extend him during this season. Why rush? But he will have to make a decision after this year because you can't have a head coach going into the last year of his contract.
Dan (Ottawa, Ontario, Canada)
Lovely Ashley, who do you think will have the worst record this year in the NFL?
Ashley Fox (1:37 PM)
Oh boy. I think Indy is going to have a rough time, even with Luck. And I think Minnesota is going to struggle again. Both franchises are rebuilding. Think they will be back near the top of the draft board in April.
rick ,tx [via mobile]
Whats all-22 havent heard
Ashley Fox (1:39 PM)
All-22 is the coaches tape (where you can see all 22 players on the field), shot from an end zone perspective and a sideline perspective. The NFL is making the all-22 available for every game via their website for a fee. Can't remember how much it is, but a season pass I think is less than $100, potentially less than $75. If you want to see what the coaches see, it is worth the investment.
If Curtis Martin is not a first-ballot Hall-of-Famer (he got in his second year of eligibility) then neither is LT. Plain and simple.
Ashley Fox (1:40 PM)
There is that.
Randy (Logan (UT))
Hi Ashley, I enjoy your chats and I also am sorry to hear about your dog. Labs are incredible dogs and have a way of making a large and positive impact with the rest of the family. I am a Steelers fan living in Utah and can't get enough of the Steelers. However, this isn't a Steelers question : ) Of all the players you have met, who is one of the nicest? Who is one that would make you nervous meeting if he was in a bad mood? and who is one that you would not want your daughter to date? Thanks!
Ashley Fox (1:44 PM)
Thanks, Randy. Our Lab was almost 12. A great, great dog, awesome athlete and friend. I'm sad he's gone. As to your questions, that's hard off the top of my head, but I'll give it a try. One of my favorite players -- and people -- of all time is Troy Vincent. Total pro in every facet. From my time covering the Eagles, they always had awesome DBs to cover: Sheldon Brown, Lito Sheppard, Dawkins of course, Quintin Mikell. I wouldn't want to see Ray Lewis or Terrell Suggs in a bad mood. And I don't want my daughter to date anyone, period. She's 8. I can't even think about that yet.
Ashley,i am a little confused by the Ronnie Brown signing in San Diego----was he too good to pass up, are they not a believer in their current backfield or no patience to wait until August to find another option?
Ashley Fox (1:44 PM)
I saw that as just a little insurance. I'm not sure he'll even make the team.
So do you know if there are any plans to show MNF on ESPN 3D live this year?
Ashley Fox (1:45 PM)
I don't know, but I will check.
I played golf yesterday with my buddies who raved about the Bengals all day. These are the same guys who said the Bengals wouldn't win more than 3 games at this time last year. Point is, we don't know who's truly going to be the worst team in the league before they even put pads on, do we?
Ashley Fox (1:46 PM)
That's a good point. But it is June and that's what we do in June. BTW, did your buddies go to the Bengals home games last last season when they had a hard time filling the stadium?
Brad (My desk)
Had a debate at work about which Patriots defenders from their Superbowl teams are hall of famers. I said Bruschi, Harrison, and Mcginest. With Vrabel also being a possibility. Agree or disagree they told me I was crazy.
Ashley Fox (1:48 PM)
I think you're probably a little nuts there, Brad. Four Hall of Famers? That was one mean D, but four Hall of Famers? Patriots Hall of Fame, sure. But you've got to appreciate how special it is to get in at Canton.
Jordan (Buffalo NY)
Chances Vince Young takes over the starting position in the B-lo?
Ashley Fox (1:49 PM)
Only if Fitzpatrick gets hurt.
Why do you assume Washington will be better? Why will Garcon be a true #1 when he was average last year? RG3 is a rookie, you assume he will be Cam Newton? Hasn't history taught you anything about the Skins? The flashy free agency picks up almost always flop. The team plays in a very tough division. Rams will be picking high in next two drafts thanks to same old Skins!
Ashley Fox (1:52 PM)
I know, Jon. I hear you. Why would the Skins do anything right when they really haven't in more than a decade? I get that. But I like RGIII and I think he's going to make them better and Garcon will help him. Goes against my better judgment, but I'm sticking to it. For now.
They are season ticket holders and amongst what I estimate to be the rarest Bengals fan's of all, die hard.
Ashley Fox (1:53 PM)
So there are some of those. Good to know.
How long have you covered the NFL? When did the NFL become a 12 month sport? Don't get me wrong, I love the coverage; but growing up when I did, the NFL was not covered like it is today. I am sure the internet had a lot to do with this, but so did the draft, OTAs, and free agency.
Ashley Fox (1:55 PM)
I've covered the league since 2003, and it has been a 12-months-a-year sport for a while, but never has there been an offseason like this one from a news standpoint. It has been nuts. As for the coverage, it is the internet, of course. There is tons of media. And now there is Twitter. And the interest in the league is there to support the coverage.
Jon Vilma (Night Court)
I did get wronged. This suspension is a stupid "dog and pony show" and Im the scapecoat to something that is done widespread in the league.
Ashley Fox (1:55 PM)
Thanks for checking in.
Jon from NYC has a very good point !
Ashley Fox (1:55 PM)
I thought so, too.
Al (Wausau, WI)
Ashley, do you think we'll see a 16-0 NFL team in 2012?
Ashley Fox (1:57 PM)
Good question, Al, and thanks for checking in. I bet we'll see someone take a good run at it. We're going to continue to see the sick passing yardage totals and teams put points on the board in a hurry. I think Green Bay could make another run at it. New England, too. But 16-0 doesn't really matter. 19-0 does.
Rah Steam (Hackensack, N.J.)
Any chance Luck will have a better season than Griffin? Everyone seems to think Griffin will be better, possibly cause he reminds of Cam Newton, but I don't believe the hype. Your thoughts.....
Ashley Fox (1:58 PM)
I think both are going to be good. Griffin has more help around him. Luck's the more prototypical guy. It's going to be fun to watch them both.
im also playing Vilma today ;)
Ashley Fox (1:59 PM)
Ashley Fox (1:59 PM)
Okay, guys. Thanks for the questions. I will be away next week, so no chat, but we will pick it back up in July. Enjoy your week. And hit me up on Twitter: @AshleyMFox. Take care.