Chat with Ashley Fox
Welcome to SportsNation! On Tuesday, 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 Tuesday at 3 p.m. ET!
Ashley Fox (3:01 PM)
Hi everybody. Thanks for joining me. Big news out of New York today. Let's get started.
Just how bad were the Jets yesterday?
Ashley Fox (3:04 PM)
Bad enough that they've benched Mark Sanchez. And deservedly so. With his five turnovers on Monday, Sanchez now has an NFL-high 50 turnovers over the last two seasons including a league-high 24 this season. That is a huge reason why New York is 14-16 the last two seasons. I don't mind this move, but it begs the question: Why is Tim Tebow on the roster?
Am I nuts or does Colin Kaepernick remind me an awful lot like Randall Cunningham? Lanky, accurate cannon arm, longish delivery, quick acceleration, makes people miss...
Ashley Fox (3:06 PM)
That's not bad. He showed some things against New England that I wanted to see. One was an ability to go deep. Another was the toughness to fight through the adversity of seeing a 28-point lead vanish in a matter of minutes. Yes, he had issues with handling the ball after it was snapped. But I think that game will serve him, and the 49ers, well as we move into January.
Seth A (PA)
Hey Ashley, I'm really looking forward to the Seattle/San Fran game on Sunday night. However, I'm seeing somewhat of a mirror situation from earlier this season. San Francisco was riding high, blowing out the Jets and Bills by massive margins, and were playing at home against a team that they hated, and laid an egg against the Giants. With the Niners heading into Seattle, and Seattle being a pretty inexperienced team when it comes to big games, do you see a possibility that San Fran stomps them?
Ashley Fox (3:09 PM)
I don't know about that. It's a division game. Seattle is 6-0 at home. If anything, I think this could be a trap game for San Francisco -- coming off an enormous win and a cross-country road trip, playing against a team that's scored 108 points the last two weeks. So I'd be surprised if it's a blowout on either side.
Who do you expect to win the NFC East?
Ashley Fox (3:10 PM)
Great question. Whichever team can win out, probably. As crazy as that division has been this season, it's conceivable that Dallas loses this weekend to New Orleans, Washington loses to Philly and New York beats Baltimore. Nothing would surprise me.
Anthony Preziosi (Philadelphia, PA)
If A.J. Smith called you and said, "I'm thinking of hiring Andy Reid to coach the Chargers. Should I do it?"
Ashley Fox (3:13 PM)
One of my Philly peeps. Nice to see you here, Anthony. You know I've seen just about every game Andy Reid has coached in Philadelphia. I know the flaws. If I were the Chargers, I would do it. Let Reid work with Philip Rivers, put in his offense, get some more weapons. The Chargers would be back in the playoffs. Can Reid win them a Super Bowl? I don't know about that, but they would be consistently competitive, which for the Chargers would be a change. But, Smith might be around to make that call.
Last years defensive draft class was pretty remarkable with Watt, A. Smith, and Miller the top 3 in sacks this season. Who would you pick for DPOY?
Ashley Fox (3:15 PM)
I wrote about this last week. It was an awesome class. Amazing all three of those guys are just second-year players. I said my pick as of last Friday would be Miller, but I really don't think you can go wrong with any of the three. Watt had a huge game on Sunday. Smith really disrupted Brady in the first half. Miller is Miller. This race is going to come down to the last snap.
Paul (St. Louis)
I know you get Falcons questions every week about whether they are a great team or just have a benefitical schedule but did this last game prove anything to you that they are a great team that will be tough to beat in January? Espically in Atlanta?
Ashley Fox (3:18 PM)
I've consistently liked the Falcons all year. And yes, I think their win over New York was very, very impressive. Pitching a shutout against those guys was telling. But the Falcons aren't going to get their due until they win in January. They know that. I think Asante Samuel has really helped that team, and not just with his play on the field. When you've had the kind of failures in the postseason Atlanta has had, that can stick in the back of your mind. Samuel has no fear. He talks a ton of smack. His confidence is infectious. I really think this is the year Atlanta will do something in January.
Ricky (Rochester, NY)
Do you Michael Vick going to Buffalo?
Ashley Fox (3:20 PM)
Wouldn't be a bad fit. There's mixed feelings around the league about what kind of market there will be for Vick. Some folks say there will be done. Others think he will be in demand. We'll see.
Does a Patriots vs. Broncos rematch really going to matter all that much about who has homefield? It just looked to me that the Patriots were the more complete team when they played and if they meet again in January I'm picking the Pats whether it's in New England or Denver.
Ashley Fox (3:23 PM)
That game was in Week 5 on Oct. 7. The Broncos haven't lost since. They're the only team in the league with a top five offense and a top five defense. Yes, home field will matter. And I sure hope that game happens, wherever the location. Would love to see Brady v. Manning in the postseason one more time.
Hey Ashley, nice going out on a limb on the who wins the NFC East! Maybe it's the team that doesn't lose all of its games, or the one that only loses one game, or......
Ashley Fox (3:24 PM)
I know, I know. Okay, Washington. How's that?
Do you see A, Smith moving from 49ers going to one of these teams that need a QB like the jets. or Vick moving anyplace other than the bench. thanks #1Skins fan
Ashley Fox (3:26 PM)
Thanks for joining us, Johnson. There will certainly be a market for Alex Smith. I can think of a couple places off the top of my head that would be better with him: Philly, Buffalo, Minnesota, Kansas City, New York Jets. Vick wants to start, obviously. I think he'll get a shot to go somewhere where he can compete for the starting job.
Al (Wausau, WI)
Hi, Ashley. What do you think the Vikings have to do on Sunday to upset the Texans?
Ashley Fox (3:28 PM)
Hi, Al. Well, the obvious answer is give the ball to Peterson, right? One of the many amazing things about Peterson's season is that even though opponents know that the Vikings are going to give him the ball over and over and over, they still can't stop him. He's doing what he's doing against 10 men in the box. It's remarkable. The Texans are fifth in the league against the run. I'd be surprised if they can't at least slow him down, which at this point would be keeping him around 100 yards. Not sure if Minnesota has another way to beat you.
Ricky (Rochester, NY)
Tony Romo is on fire and 3rd in the NFL in passing yards, 3rd in completion pct. (not counting Alex Smith)..with all the critique he gets, they would be nowhere without him.
Ashley Fox (3:29 PM)
This is true. Romo is kind of like the Falcons. He's not going to get his due, either, until he proves himself in the postseason. That's just how it is. We'll see if he gets that chance this season.
The answer to Al's question is just to be lucky
Ashley Fox (3:30 PM)
Dave (Sierra Vista, AZ)
Any thoughts on why Seattle goes continuously unnoticed? 50+ in consecutive weeks and if you watched Sportcenter the last two Sundays, it's two highlights, "by the way the Seahwaks won" and on to Denver!
Ashley Fox (3:33 PM)
Seattle isn't the only one that got the snub. But I hear you. Certain teams move the meter more than others. Denver is one of them. There's a lot of interest in that team because of the quarterback. What Seattle has done is impressive. They've shown me a lot. The big knock, as you probably know, was they couldn't get a quality win on the road. They've done that now. And the 108 points in two games is remarkable.
Do you think the Ravens can turn this one around? They have been decimated by injuries, but even then, just don't look good. Thoughts?
Ashley Fox (3:35 PM)
I'm really starting to wonder, Matt. The number of injuries they've suffered on defense is significant. And they are really struggling on offense. They're in the playoffs, so there's that. But the way things are going, they don't look like they're going to be much of a factor once the playoffs start. They really, really, really need a win over the Giants on Sunday.
Do you think the Packers Defense was as good as they played against Chicago, or do you say the Bears offense was that bad?
Ashley Fox (3:37 PM)
John, the Packers are right in the middle of the pack in defensive statistics -- 14th overall, 14th against the run, 16th against the pass. They're average. They played well against the Bears, but the Bears are really struggling and have become really one dimensional. That said, I think they're going to be a tough out in the postseason. Don't you know they'd love to see the Giants again, if the Giants even get in the playoffs.
If you were the Redskins, would you take a 2nd rounder for Cousins in the offseason, or hold out and keep him around a little longer as a backup and hope the demand increases in a couple more years?
Ashley Fox (3:41 PM)
This is an intriguing question, given Washington's lack of high draft picks. I would hang on to him for a couple of reasons. 1. He's obviously capable. 2. I think he's good for Griffin, and vice versa. 3. Given how Griffin plays, they need a viable backup for when Griffin is out a week or two or three with an injury. Plus, I think Mike Shanahan really likes him.
do u think the jets are smart to sit mark and not start tebow
Ashley Fox (3:43 PM)
Smart to sit Sanchez, yes. Part of me thinks they owe it to Tebow to give him a chance, given that they traded for him to be the backup. Plus, I'd like to see what he can do. I know he's a terrible practice player and has flaws, but things happen when he's on the field. What could it hurt?
Jordan (Casper, Wy)
How awesome is the Bengals-Steelers game going to be on Sunday? Basically whoever wins is in the playoffs. Should be a classic AFCN battle.
Ashley Fox (3:44 PM)
I won't be there, but I'm looking forward to it. Enormous game for both. If PIttsburgh loses, they're out. Bengals have won five of their last six. Should be a good one.
Manning or Peterson...who wins MVP this season??
Ashley Fox (3:46 PM)
Or Brady? Got to have him in there. Personally, I haven't decided, but if Peterson breaks Eric Dickerson's rushing record I'm going to have a hard time not voting for him. Manning switched teams and has been strong, but he took over a team that won a playoff game last season. Minnesota wouldn't be sniffing the playoffs without Peterson. Two weeks to go...
Michael [via mobile]
Hey Ashley, the Browns 2nd half collapse made us both wrong Sunday. Simply hard to watch. Can they rebound in Denver?
Ashley Fox (3:46 PM)
Going to be very, very difficult.
Steve (Green Bay)
After watching the Steelers and Ravens play in recent weeks and with the surge that the Bengals have been on is the tide beginning to turn in the AFC North? Looks to me the Bengals might have some division titles in the future.
Ashley Fox (3:49 PM)
It is such an interesting division, isn't it. I'm going to be writing about this for Friday. Pittsburgh has some work to do to restock their team, and it will be interesting to see who and how they draft in the next couple of years. Cincinnati needs another receiver opposite A.J. Green. I'm concerned about Flacco's inconsistency this season. And while they haven't had the results they've wanted, Cleveland has a long of good young talent on its roster. But to your question, it would mean A LOT to Cincinnati to break through and win a division title this early in the Dalton/Green era.
tdiddy (winnipeg) [via mobile]
I am a little surprised that people aren't a little more outraged that the Cowboys let Brent on the sidelines. This guy is a repeat drunk driver and just killed his team mate. It tells me the players don't get it and that the Cowboys brass did'nt have the guts to tell him he can't be there. Cripes...
Ashley Fox (3:51 PM)
I agree. I thought it was totally inappropriate for him to be there. It's one thing to support a teammate/employee. It's another to put him on an NFL sideline where cameras can catch his every reaction. Support him by getting him help, not by putting him on the sideline.
Kurtis (Houston, TX)
I understand the arguments for Von Miller & Aldon Smith for DPOY, but honestly Watt isn't suppose to be a pass rusher as a 3-4 DE. He is tied with Smith for sacks, has more tackles for loss than both of them, plays on a team who has (A) a better record than both teams
Ashley Fox (3:52 PM)
Like I said, you can make an argument for all three.
Ricky (Rochester, NY)
Thanks for the insight Ashley, one more question. Of all the potential wild card teams, assuming they will get in, which one can you see winning it all( besides the obvious giants haha)
Ashley Fox (3:54 PM)
I don't know if I would pick any of them with the exception of the Giants, if they get in.
Regardless of it was Pete Carroll was trying to be tactful or not. Was the decision to call a fake punt given the situation really all that bad? And isnt it the point of the defense to stop the points from being run up?
Ashley Fox (3:56 PM)
Well, yes, if you don't want to get embarrassed by another team running up the score, prevent it. But there was no reason to run a fake in that situation. I didn't like it.
While the Broncos havent lost since Oct. 7, (on a powderpuff schedule) the Patriots were on a streak since the 14th. We are talking about a remarkable game on Sunday 2-3 plays on Sunday for a Patriots win. You put Peyton Manning in that situation I dont think you get the same result, especially down 28 in the 3rd Quarter. Both teams are hot right now, why would Denver suddenly have the edge?
Ashley Fox (3:58 PM)
I didn't say Denver suddenly has the edge, but the comment was that New England would win no matter what no matter where. I don't agree with that. Denver's defense is far and away better than New England's and Manning is playing better than he was in early October.
Jordan (Casper, Wy)
Crazy to think that the Bengals have a win-and-in game this weekend and then could play a game for the division week 17. Could be fun to be in Cincy if the Colts come to town.
Ashley Fox (3:58 PM)
Yes it would.
Who was SEA quality win on the road? BUF, ARI.....not hard to run up score when you fake punt, and pass in 4th quarter of blow outs.
Ashley Fox (3:59 PM)
They beat Chicago before the Bears were in free fall.
Does Tim Tebow have the power to demand a trade at the end of the year? He needs to go to a team that will give him a decent chance to play instead of jerking him around like the Jets did all year.
Ashley Fox (4:00 PM)
There's no reason to keep him around if they're not going to use him. I doubt he'd have to demand for anything.
Ashley Fox (4:01 PM)
Alright everybody. Thanks for joining me. Hit me up on Twitter and I'll answer more questions there. @AshleyFoxESPN. Have a great week.