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 (12:59 PM)
Hello everybody. Thanks for joining me today. What's on your mind?
Paul Fisk (Fort Drum, NY)
Ashley,Although I respect your point of view on OTL about not allowing your son to play football, I need to ask are you going to have him live in a bubble all his life? Not allow him to drive? Will you allow him to play any sport?V/RPaul Fisk
Ashley Fox (1:01 PM)
Paul, I am not going to have him live in a bubble, but I'm also not going to encourage him to play a sport where there is a likelihood he will suffer repetitive head trauma. I would prefer he play another sport.
Rich (New Jersey)
Of the rookie quarterbacks that see playing time this season who'll have a successful first year?
Ashley Fox (1:04 PM)
Well, we're now looking at five rookie starters, which is the highest amount since the NFL-AFL merger. Since then, there had never been more than two. It is really remarkable. Success is going to be defined differently for each, given their situations. Russell Wilson is taking over a very talented team where he won't have to necessarily win games for them. RGIII also has a good supporting cast but will be playing in a tough division. Luck should be good but that team is rebuilding.
Jack Mehoffer (jacksonville, fl)
I need me some MJD
Ashley Fox (1:04 PM)
You aren't alone, Jack. It is about time he reports.
Matt Flynn (Left Field)
Russel "FREAKING" Wilson!?!
Ashley Fox (1:05 PM)
Okay, this made me laugh. Six minutes into the chat too. Very nice.
Al (Wausau, WI)
Ashley, what are your thoughts about Seattle naming Russell Wilson as their starting QB?
Ashley Fox (1:07 PM)
Well, after what we've seen from Wilson in the preseason, it's hard not to like it. Wow. He went in there and with his play forced Pete Carroll to pick him. It is going to be fun to watch him play. Still, size will always be an issue. He isn't your prototypical quarterback. Not saying he can't succeed, but he's not your 6-foot-5 guy.
Joe (San Fran)
Hows it feel to have a chat going at the same time as Joe Montana?
Ashley Fox (1:08 PM)
I was unaware of that. Can't beat Joe Montana.
What do you think of the Fins trading V.Davis to the Indy?
Ashley Fox (1:10 PM)
They got a second rounder for him, which is good for them (although they used a first to pick him in the first place). I think you're seeing Joe Philbin trying to set a culture there, and clearly Davis didn't fit in Philbin's plans. Now, will he be highly motivated in Indy? I would imagine he would be. If he has his mind right, he should help the Colts.
Is the Jetsa?? offense going to drag them down, or should I not worry about preseason?
Ashley Fox (1:12 PM)
I never put too much stock in the preseason, because it's the preseason. No game planning. Not using all of the playbook. All that. But I can't completely write off the Jets offensive struggles either. They don't have much of a vertical passing game.
Ashley Fox (1:13 PM)
Just heard Montana is going to be on the Scott Van Pelt show this afternoon. FWIW.
What changes would have to happen on the NFL, college, or high school level that might change your mind about your son playing football?
Ashley Fox (1:14 PM)
I'm pretty sure I'm not going to change my mind on this one. Personal choice.
Have u had a Chinks Cheese Steak in Philly?
Ashley Fox (1:15 PM)
No, but I'm not a huge cheese steak eater.
Wow Ash!! Up against a chat with Joe Montana.... that's tough company....Can J-E-T-S fans OFFICIALLY start worrying now or is it a case of Ryan not showing off his new tebow toy too much in meaningless games?
Ashley Fox (1:17 PM)
I know, right? I'm impressed anyone is on here with me, honestly. Joe Montana is the best. As for the Jets, we won't really know anything about how they're going to use Tebow until the season starts. There's absolutely no reason to put anything on tape in the preseason. I would imagine we'll see him in goal line and short yardage situations. Should be interesting to watch.
How will this mess at UNC play out?
Ashley Fox (1:18 PM)
Ashley fox, Is there any chance that Patriots can go back to this superbowl this year.
Ashley Fox (1:20 PM)
Of course there is. The defense looks better. The offense looks the same. I was disappointed to see they cut Donte Stallworth. I really like him. But they wrapped up Hernandez. Can't imagine Welker is super happy, but he is making a pretty penny this season. I think the Patriots should own the division, again. Masterful head coach. Great quarterback. So why not?
I respect the fact that you and many other parents don't want their kids to play football given what's come out recently about head trauma related to football. Having said that, do you think football is in serious danger of losing participation and/or popularity?
Ashley Fox (1:22 PM)
I appreciate that, Nelson. I'm not judging anyone else on this subject. It's just a personal choice for our family. As to your question, football will probably lose some participation, but probably not much. Popularity? No. I actually asked Roger Goodell that question last week. He also said no, because he thinks the sport will continue to evolve in how it deals with (and tries to prevent) head trauma. He is sensitive to the issue.
Hey Ashley, What are your thougths ont he Ravens offense this year? Do you think they will move to the uptempo attack offense they have displayed in the preseason or will they go back to the conservative approach that Cam Cameron loves?
Ashley Fox (1:24 PM)
From my discussions with Joe Flacco and John Harbaugh, they want to be up tempo and aggressive, and I think that's just what we'll see. Flacco wants to keep his foot on the gas and has hammered home the message that the offense can't rely on the defense to win games for them. He wants them to apply pressure and then keep the pressure on. I really think he's going to have a big, big year. Same for Matt Ryan in Atlanta.
It Occured to me that if Pete Carrol were that confident of Russel Wilson they would have kept Jackson as a Backup and Traded Flynn. I'm sure there a still a couple of QB needy Teams that would have come calling. If Pete isnt that confident in Wilson doesnt he risk alienating Flynn and brusing his confidence by Starting Wilson considering he may need to come back to Flynn?
Ashley Fox (1:27 PM)
I don't think Carroll would've named Wilson the starter if he wasn't confident in him. That's the point. And Flynn is a big boy. I'm sure he is disappointed but business is business and he'll have to wait for his chance.
I was talking to montana and he said the Drew Brees, Tom Brady, and Aaron rodgers are all just as good as each other. do you agree?
Ashley Fox (1:28 PM)
I totally agree. I'd put Eli Manning in there, too, and Peyton. And Roethlisberger.
What is Flynn's value now going forward as trade bait? He just proved that a rookie can come and steal this thunder.. Is this a blueprint for NFL teams to stop taking big risks moneywise on players like him and Kolb?
Ashley Fox (1:32 PM)
That's a good question, Mark. I don't know if it's a blueprint, but I think it's always preferable to take a quarterback high in the draft and help him grow. Peyton obviously is the exception to this. I'd like to think this was more about what Wilson did than what Flynn did not. But you're right. The Seahawks brought Flynn to Seattle to be the starter and he couldn't win the job.
Terrell Owens (NFL obscurity)
Ashley, I got cut again, say itsn't so. Is your basement still available for rent? Does this truly mark the end of my career and T.O. show?
Ashley Fox (1:32 PM)
I thought you were done the last time.
Ashley: What prime-time NFL player do you see as a future front runner for the MVP that wasn't in the running last year? Take Brees, Brady, Rodgers etc out of the equation, give me your gut deep sleeper!
Ashley Fox (1:35 PM)
I think it's going to be hard for a non quarterback to win any time soon, given the passing numbers. But if I had to pivot from one of the big six, how about Matt Stafford? He somewhat quietly threw for more than 5,000 yards last season. Got a huge target in Calvin Johnson. He's entering his fourth season. Not out of the realm of possibility that we will be talking more about him when we talk about Brees, Brady, Rodgers, etc.
Marc (Malden, MA)
Is there anything worse than being cut in favor of Tavaris Jackson?
Ashley Fox (1:36 PM)
I guess we should ask Vince Young. But yeah, I hear you.
Keenan (Atlanta, GA)
What did you think of the 49ers defense yesterday against the Broncos? A little shaky or just preseason vanilla? Will the hit Manning took silence some of the worries?
Ashley Fox (1:38 PM)
I'm going to go with preseason vanilla. I still think they are going to be pretty strong defensively. Lots of pieces there to work with. Like I've said before, you can't flip out about what happens in the preseason. It's just the preseason. Teams don't want to put anything of use on tape.
You can't seriously put Big Ben in the same class as Brady, Brees and Rodgers right? I mean, in terms of winning, maybe, but QBs get too much credit for winning.
Ashley Fox (1:39 PM)
I put him in the top six at six.
Ashley, if you were putting together a real team, who would you rather have...a safe, know what you get RB who doesn't get injured very much; or a potential superstar who can never stay healthy (ala Run DMC or JStew in Carolina)?
Ashley Fox (1:42 PM)
If my guy is not on the field then he's not helping my team. If I could pick someone I'd pick LeSean McCoy. Versatile. Shifty. Reliable with the football. Can pass protect and can catch. Plus, he's good in the locker room. And, he played in 15 games last season.
Tony (Richmond, CA)
Would we be talking about Russell Wilson in the same manner as RGIII and Andrew Luck if he was 3 inches taller?
Ashley Fox (1:44 PM)
That is a great question. I'm not sure we would, but I'm not so sure we wouldn't. But Luck and RGIII look like they're going to be special. Don't want to take anything away from them.
JR (Tampa Bay)
How will not having receivers to throw to hurt a young QB's development?
Ashley Fox (1:48 PM)
I assume you're talking about Miami, where there isn't a clear-cut No. 1, No. 2 or No. 3 receiver. The thing you don't want to have happen with a young quarterback is for his confidence to take a beating early. It can happen. You need reliable targets, guys who can stretch the field, who can create separation and who can make tough catches. Those kinds of guys make quarterbacks better. I wouldn't be surprised to see Miami sign a receiver or two now that teams are trimming their rosters. Stallworth comes immediately to mind.
What is your thoughts on the Packers signing of Cedric Benson? He seemed to provide a major boost to the Packers run game? How big of an impact can he make on the offense which is already very good?
Ashley Fox (1:50 PM)
I really like the signing. Here's a guy coming off three consecutive 1,000-yard seasons. He's perilously close to that 30-year-old mark where history shows running backs decline rapidly, but he's not there yet. And you're right, the Packers are pretty loaded on offense and will be playing with I can only think will be an enormous chip on their shoulder after the way they bowed out last year.
Al (Wausau, WI)
Ashley, have you read the article that's out on the ESPM website about Matt Kalil and his eating situation? If so, what are your thoughts? I sense he may just be eating to keep from losing too much weight, given his metabolism. Is he REALLY putting his life in danger??
Ashley Fox (1:51 PM)
I haven't read it, so I can't comment on it, but I will read it.
Ok, ok, I'll give you that. Thanks for answering! BTW, I'm with you, if i had a son, I would be very hesitant to let him play football right now
Ashley Fox (1:51 PM)
Interesting. And you're welcome.
what team will possess the 1st pick in the 2013 NFL Draft?
Ashley Fox (1:54 PM)
I was looking to see who was last in our most recent power rankings, and I think it was Indy (but can't totally be sure). I'm not sure about that. And I don't like to pick these sorts of things because things happen that sometimes are beyond a team's control. Like a key player suffers a season-ending injury. But I would think the Colts are going to have some growing pains. Minnesota, too.
Tony (Richmond, CA)
How long of a season is it going to be for my Raiders with color blind Carson throwing picks every 5 seconds?
Ashley Fox (1:56 PM)
Now, now. I'm not going there. But I think your Raiders are going to be staring up that their friends in the division. That's going to be a tough, tough division.
Here we go again with the Steelers OLine... how much of a concern is DeCastro's injury and do you think Ben et al will be able to overcome another season of shoddy protection and subpar ground game?
Ashley Fox (1:59 PM)
It sounds like a tough injury, and according to Adam Schefter the Steelers aren't sure if he's going to play this season. So I'd say that's a big concern. He's a first round draft pick. Not good.
They put you head to head with Joe because your a Hall of Fame columnist!
Ashley Fox (2:00 PM)
That is very sweet. I appreciate it. We'll do it again next week, where hopefully I won't be going head-to-head with one of the greatest of all time. Thanks, everybody. And hit me up on Twitter: @AshleyMFox. I know there were questions I didn't answer. Appreciate everyone's participation.