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 (11:01 AM)
Good morning again! We get 30 minutes so let's roll.
Is Bradshaw a go Thursday night?
Chris Mortensen (11:01 AM)
There's no word yet. I don't sense optimism so Andre Brown and David Wilson are getting ready. We'll stay on top of that one.
I'm a big Tim Tebow fan. Do you think he's going to start this season?
Chris Mortensen (11:02 AM)
Only if there's an injury or if it's part of a strategic/gadget opening play.
Hey Chris, based on the last 2 games, can we finally remove the "game manager" tag off Alex Smith? Is he good on his own merits? Sure, he has a great defense and a solid run game, but his passes seem so accurate to his WR that he is edging on elite status.
Chris Mortensen (11:04 AM)
Yes but what's so silly about that debate is being a game manager is a big part of the job. For instance, I've always been a Jay Cutler fan (one of the few, apparently) but I will say it's bothered me that he doesn't recognize moments when it's essential to manage the game. Alex Smith is entrenched as a very good starting quarterback in the NFL and that is quite an accomplishment. And if you really look at all the trials and tribulations he has withstood, it speaks so well to his character. He's got a fan in me.
Falcons OL has held up well through 2 weeks. Is it possible Sam Baker is actually serviceable?
Chris Mortensen (11:06 AM)
That would be a huge development and it does appear that way. The one thing the Falcons do need to accomplish is to become more consistent in the run game but Sam Baker emerging at LT when most everyone had given up on him is significant for the Falcons.
If the officials are doing so well why are games longer and why do they need an "assistant" on the sidelines who is getting queued from upstairs. The NFL is losing credibility.
Chris Mortensen (11:08 AM)
I was going to say, who says they're doing well? The NFL has lost credibility on this matter, it has diminished its claim on "integrity of game" and "health and safety" concerns. They want to call this nothing more than a labor situation. I have seen the financials on this and it's embarrassing how reasonable the locked out officals are being - and they stand ready to compromise. As of this moment, I don't think the NFL has reached out to renew talks.
Scott (Northglenn, CO)
Any idea on if Michael Turner will be desciplined, and will this give the Falcons an excuse to play Jacquizz Rodgers more?
Chris Mortensen (11:11 AM)
Heavy Falcons here. Turner's DUI falls under substance abuse policy and the doctor who oversees that program. This is his first DUI (I think) and if we use Kenny Britt as a model, if Turner pleads guilty or no contest, then a 1-game suspension would be the most likely discipline when the case is adjudicated. If they want to play Rodgers, they will. And maybe it does give them a reason to play him more.
Cardinals get a huge win over the patriots, seahawks dominate the cowboys, rams look very competitive and the 49ers are the best team in football. Would you say the NFC west the best division in the league?
Chris Mortensen (11:11 AM)
No, I wouldn't say that but before the season I said it would be the most improved division in football. It's also maybe the most physical division in football, along with the AFC North.
What are your thoughts on Jake Locker? Cumulative stats look great but watching the games I'm not very sure of him.
Chris Mortensen (11:13 AM)
I thought Jake was more effective last year but it's only two games. In talking to other teams' scouts and some coaches, I'm hearing a lot more criticism about the scheme, formations, O-line and Chris Johnson. In other words, Jake is not getting a lot of help and that's why I think Matt Hasselbeck should have started the season as they worked through these issues and get Kenny Britt back to prime condition.
Keith H (Seattle)
A toast to Steve Sabol, one of the most influential people in the NFL for nearly half a century.
Chris Mortensen (11:15 AM)
Amen. Hope you can watch (or DVR) NFL32 on ESPN2 at 6 ET or 3 PT. We have a unique look at his influence on today's game. He was also one good man, one of the best.
Many people believed the Chiefs were the deepest team in the AFC West. KC fans are calling for Pioli and Crennel to be fired immediately. What is your take on the situation in KC, what needs to be done, and what can the fans look forward to in the future?
Chris Mortensen (11:16 AM)
You don't fire people "immediately," to use your word. I'm surprised, especially at the showing in Buffalo. This is a talented roster. It has gone through a change in offensive coordinators and I am confident Romeo will get the defense fixed.
What are you feelings about T.Rich?
Chris Mortensen (11:18 AM)
You could not watch Trent Richardson run and catch Sunday for the Browns and not believe he is as good as advertised. Now durability over the long season will be his true measure among the greats.
How do you think the Saints are going to do this Season?
Chris Mortensen (11:21 AM)
I always felt people were underestimating the loss of Sean Payton. His one game suspension truly impacted competitive balance. Payton is one of the head coaches that truly make a difference. The combination of Payton and Drew Brees made the Saints elite. They will win their share of games but I did not have them projected as a playoff team because of Payton's absence. I saw them more as 8-8 or 9-7. One longtime respected NFL man told me we (media) also failed to realize that the Saints' talent level on defense is "average, at best."
Rob (San Antonio)
Are the Steelers run game issues a matter of the o-line or inexperienced running backs?
Chris Mortensen (11:22 AM)
I'd say a bit of both. Good news that Mendenhall was get a "thud" practice this week to get bumped around. he is running and cutting. It looks like he will be back in another couple weeks or so. That doesn't totally fix the O-line.
Shane (Robins Air Force Base, GA)
Mort, I agree the officiating has been garbage, but fans who think their team lost because of the officials are delusional. Even the Ravens-Eagles game, which by my Twitter timeline, seemed to be the worst officiated Sunday, the officials were not responsible on the Ravens final drive for overthrown passes, dropped balls, and a play call in which you have no backfield w/ on 4th and 2 when you have Ray Rice. The opportunities for winning are there and I have not yet seen any HOCHULIAN call that determined the outcome of the game. I think generally the standings would still be where they are today even with the regular officials. Thoughts?
Chris Mortensen (11:24 AM)
Shane, I would agree with you for the most part. But that's besides the point. It takes officials about three years to master the rules and application of the rules. That's why the head of the crew - the referee - is promoted after several years of seasoning.
Tim Irvin (NFL, CA (Not For Los Angeles))
Mort, Today is my Birthday (#52). Please tell me that one day I am going to be able to root for the Los Angeles Whatevers in an NFL game. I know you are from So Cal and can remember the days when the Rams were as big as the Dodgers and were 10 times bigger than the Lakers. Are we EVER going to see a home game in LA again?
Chris Mortensen (11:27 AM)
We will see it. I certainly hope so. I grew up in Los Angeles, my grandmother's house was not too far from the Coliseum and they were drawing 90,000 to 100,000 fans. It's going to happen but I can't tell you when. Oh, and Happy Birthday!
This is really to the entire network, I hope y'all are as rough on the regular referees when they come back as you have been on the replacements. If you had been in the past we might not have so much replay.
Chris Mortensen (11:28 AM)
I think the network has scrutinized the regular locked out officials. To be honest, this is more about criticism of the NFL and its owners, not the replacement officials.
Kurtis (Houston, TX)
Thoughts on J.J. Watt? I know JAC/MIA aren't the best offenses, but 5 passes defensed already, 3 sacks, 6 solo tackles for a 3-4 DE in 1st 2 games is impressive. Only a 2nd year player and offenses will have to game plan around him.
Chris Mortensen (11:29 AM)
JJ Watt will be Pro Bowl player for a long time, and as long as he's healthy. In an era of offensive football, it's one reason why I picked the 49ers and Texans for the Super Bowl. These two defenses are special.
Chris Mortensen (11:30 AM)
Time for my conference call for NFL32. Again, 6 ET on ESPN2. Sunday NFL Countdown at 10 a.m. ET. Follow me on @mortreport. God Bless!