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 (3:00 PM)
Hello everybody. Thanks for joining me. Let's get started.
Matthew (Pennsburg, PA)
Hi Ashley, if the Eagles draft Geno Smith with the 4th overall pick and boo him, like they did with McNabb would that affect the way the fan base is perceived around the league?
Ashley Fox (3:03 PM)
If the fans boo him at the draft? First, I don't think that'd necessarily happen again. Eagles fans are tough and can be nasty to opposing teams, but they are knowledgable football fans. And they haven't gotten to celebrate a Super Bowl victory yet, so to me their angst is understandable. They want players who play hard and a team that is a reflection of them. I think most people in the league appreciate that. And the certainly haven't had that the last two seasons.
Chris Fiegler (Latham,NY)
Which NFL Team do you think will be very bad after the Free Agent Signings & the 2013 NFL Draft?
Ashley Fox (3:07 PM)
Well, Chris, we've still got a couple more weeks to go to see how teams fill their rosters. We've watched this week already the continuation of the quarterback roulette. It is like teams are exchanging average quarterbacks for average quarterbacks. What is Jacksonville going to do at quarterback? What exactly is Matt Flynn? I like Carson Palmer to Arizona but the Cardinals need offensive line help. I think if Buffalo can protect Kevin Kolb and have a decent running game, he can help them. But I don't see any of those guys taking their team to the playoffs. That might not mean they're "very bad," but they won't be terribly good.
Do you think the Giants and Victor Cruz will come to an agreement on a long-term deal at some point this offseason?
Ashley Fox (3:12 PM)
I thought it would have happened by now, but yes, I think they will get something done. He is important to the Giants. He is very important to Eli Manning. There are stories floating out there about what he wants or doesn't want and what the Giants have or haven't offered, which happens this time of year. It gets messy. Ultimately, I would be surprised if they can't reach some sort of compromise that works for both sides. And if not, New York will have a big position to fill.
Look into your crystal ball. Who is the starting QB for my Browns in September, Campbell or Weeden?
Ashley Fox (3:15 PM)
Oh boy. I will say Campbell. But does it matter? The Browns have lacked stability at the two most important positions in football: Quarterback and head coach. The head coach keeps getting fired because he/they can't find a quarterback. Here we are again. I'm not sure either of those guys are the long-term answer. There's a new regime in Cleveland, so I suppose patience is in order. But Browns fans have been patient. Very patient.
Tim (Marietta, OH)
Can the Steelers be a contender this year, or just a pretender?
Ashley Fox (3:19 PM)
They can be a contender, but they have work to do. And they have to be relieved that Baltimore lost so many key guys off their Super Bowl team. The Ravens feel like they have built more successfully through the draft than the Steelers. I think you've seen that by the results. But Pittsburgh still has the right guy under center, which is the most important thing, as long as he can stay healthy.
ron (san francisco)
what about seattle how good do thing they are football
Ashley Fox (3:23 PM)
How good are they going to be? I think very good. One thing that's going to be fascinating to watch this season is how will defensive coordinators counter Seattle's offense, and San Francisco's for that matter. They are spending a lot of time studying the read option. This is a reactive league, and defensive coordinators are smart. This is a priority. That said, Seattle has weapons on offense -- I love the addition of Percy Harvin -- and one of the best defenses in the league. I would expect them to take another step from last season. They are ascending, for sure. And they have money to spend because they don't have a ton locked into Wilson. That helps.
Im not trying to complain, but is there a reason this chat is moving so slowly? 5 questions answered in 21 minutes? Im able to check several other sites in between questions...
Ashley Fox (3:23 PM)
I'm typing too slow.
Julio ((overland Park, Kansas)
Where do you think geno smith is going to land with ?
Ashley Fox (3:26 PM)
It's a great question. I wrote yesterday that the Cardinals should take him at No. 7 even with they're trading for Carson Palmer, but I don' know if he will be there that long. I think he's an intriguing pick for Philadelphia. He'll be the first quarterback off the board and will go higher than he probably should.
Tony (Richmond, CA)
What type of material does Tony Romo have on Jerry Jones for the owner to continually stick with him, and now grossly overpay him with a contract guaranteeing him 55M when the guy has won only one playoff game?
Ashley Fox (3:29 PM)
I understand the frustration there, but I didn't mind the move. If the Cowboys didn't re-sign Romo, they risked losing him in free agency next year and then becoming (take your pick): Jacksonville, Oakland, Buffalo, Arizona. Romo isn't top a top five quarterback, in my opinion, but he's not 15-30 either. And that team had bigger problems last season than Romo. Start with the offensive line and the defense. I think they had to re-sign him and continue to build around him.
Shawn ((Cleveland, OH))
Do you think the browns will make it to the playoffs and win a playoffs game this year?
Ashley Fox (3:29 PM)
No. Not this year.
What's your opinion on Vince Young with regards to his relationship with Jeff Fisher and how he can't find a job even with current state of QB's in the league. I've heard some media heads cast blame on Fisher because of the influence he has
Ashley Fox (3:33 PM)
If another team thought that Vince Young could help them -- as a starter or a third-string guy -- they wouldn't care who said what about him, even Jeff Fisher. That wouldn't matter at all. It's all about beating the competition and getting the best players in order to do that. I know Young wants to play again, and maybe he will, but I think it is going to be hard for him to get another job.
Ashley, what is your opinion of Mike Tomlin at this stage of his career in Pittsburgh? Message stale or still resonating with the team?
Ashley Fox (3:35 PM)
I don't think his message has gotten stale at all. I think their roster has eroded. They have needs everywhere. That doesn't just happen all of a sudden. Tomlin is a fiery guy and a good coach. He just needs better players. This draft is very important for them.
James (San Jose, Ca)
Are the Harbaugh brothers the two best coaches in the NFL right now?
Ashley Fox (3:38 PM)
Well, if you go by results last season, yes. At the NFL owners meetings in Phoenix a couple of weeks ago, it was cool to see Jim and John having lunch, just the two of them. They both made such risky decisions last season, Jim replacing his starting quarterback and John replacing his offensive coordinator. Those were gutsy calls that obviously worked for both of them. I don't have a running ranking of best to worst, but John, in concert with Flacco, have had tremendous postseason success and Jim is certainly well on his way there with two NFC title games in two seasons, and the SB.
Will you have acknowledge in a column how wrong you were about picking the Broncos over the Ravens?
Ashley Fox (3:39 PM)
I did. It was part of my Super Bowl predictions column. I was wrong. It happens.
Kurtis (Houston, TX)
I know the majority will say Pats or Broncos in the AFC... but considering that the Texans added Ed Reed & will get Brian Cushing back - should Houston be the favorite? A combination of Watt, Cushing, Reed
Ashley Fox (3:40 PM)
I wouldn't make them THE favorite, but they will be A favorite. That defense should be very, very good. The quarterback needs to take the next step.
Eric (Chicago) [via mobile]
In regards to VY there are some who can play in college, both or none at all. VY had one great game when everyone in the nation knew what he was going to do. He'd become a recycled QB if someone signs him, no thanks!
Ashley Fox (3:41 PM)
Who will be the 2nd qb taken?
Ashley Fox (3:42 PM)
Matt Barkley. I've talked to people who don't think he should be a first-round guy but think he probably will be.
Will folks like Jacob (NYC) ever acknowledge that it's possible for somebody to miss a prediction?
Ashley Fox (3:43 PM)
Is Eli Manning a first-ballot hall of famer?
Ashley Fox (3:44 PM)
First ballot? Wow. No. I don't think so. And I like him.
Which up and coming QB from last year do you see as continuing their progression the greatest, and which do you see falling into the so-called "sophomore slump?" Include Kaep with RG3, RW and Luck.
Ashley Fox (3:47 PM)
Well, Kaepernick is entering his third year, but I get what you're saying. If I had to pick one, it would be RGIII, only because he's coming off a serious knee injury. I don't care if he's superhuman like Adrian Peterson or not, it's still hard for a guy to come back his first year after that type of injury, particularly given how Griffin plays. I hope he feels 100 percent like himself for Week 1, but I'd be surprised if he did.
What's your take on Kolb to Buffalo. With the Card's o-line so bad last year, I have a hard time judging the qbs.
Ashley Fox (3:53 PM)
Sorry, I got knocked out of the chat for a sec. I think Kolb got beat up so bad in Arizona that he picked up some bad habits that Buffalo will have to correct. I also think that protecting him will be a priority, as will be utilizing the run game. I like Kevin. He's a smart guy. But this will be his third team and system in the last four years. I don't see him being an elite guy.
I'd like to challenge you on Eli Manning being a first ballot HOFer. Im not a fan of his, but he will be the NYG all-time leader in every catagory, will have at least 2 rings and 2 Superbowl MVPs, and be undefeated in Superbowls if he never makes it back, and if he does make it back that only strengthens his chances. My question is, will HOF voters find 5-6 other players to take over him? That would be surprising in my opinion. So, did I convince you?
Ashley Fox (3:54 PM)
It's a good argument. I think he gets in. I guess the question is who will be up with him. I just don't see him as a shoo-in for getting in his first year of eligibility.
Tony (Richmond, CA)
Who will suffer the most? The Patriots without Wes Welker, or Welker without Tom Brady?
Ashley Fox (3:55 PM)
Not Welker. Look who will be throwing him the football. The Patriots will miss him more.
Jacob (new orleans)
Where would u rank drw brees in best qb's right now
Ashley Fox (3:56 PM)
He's in the big boy group. And I think he and the Saints are going to be hard to handle this season. Talk about motivated.
Im sorry, but anyone calling you out in a chat for being wrong in an NFL prediction is an idiot. Is there a kids chat you can direct them to?
Ashley Fox (3:57 PM)
You'd be surprised.
What is your take on Urlacher's situation? Will any other team sign him or will he take less money and end up back with the Bears?
Ashley Fox (3:58 PM)
I would've liked to see him stay in Chicago. Talk about a heart-and-soul guy. Great leader. Represented the franchise well. Wanted to stay. He's not the player he was, but he can still help a team. He will end up somewhere, but not Chicago.
Katelyn (Syracuse, NY)
How big of a difference do you see between Geno Smith and the rest of the QB class? Given I don't see a huge difference in talent between him and the next wave of QB's, I'm finding it hard to understand why teams would reach for him when others will be available later. Thoughts?
Ashley Fox (4:00 PM)
Not much at all. But teams reach all the time. Best available player is the smart way to go.
Ashley Fox (4:00 PM)
Thanks, everybody, for joining me. We'll do it again next Tuesday. Have a great week.