Chat with Ashley Fox
Welcome to SportsNation! On Wednesday, 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 Wednesday at 4 p.m. ET!
Ashley Fox (4:00 PM)
Greetings everyone. Thanks for joining me today. Big week ahead. Let's get started.
Rich (New Jersey)
Hi Ashley, Carolina Panthers are out scoring their opponents 28 to 12 during their current 5 game winning streak and a great win at San Francisco, with two games against the Saints in December do have a shot at the NFC South title or will they go into the playoffs as a wild card team?
Ashley Fox (4:04 PM)
That win at San Francisco was a signature win for the Panthers. That's a tough place to play against a physical team that, granted, has been having some trouble on offense. But to hold them to nine points was impressive. As for can they overtake the Saints, they certainly can. They're only a game back. They've got Miami and Tampa on the schedule, among other teams. And as you mentioned, they get New Orleans twice. I still think the Saints will prevail, but I also think the Panthers will be a playoff team.
Does Schiano have a chance of saving his job?
Ashley Fox (4:06 PM)
I think he does, for this simple fact: Ownership isn't going to want to pay out the rest of his contract and pay another coach, too. They've been doing that for years now. Now, that doesn't mean ultimately that Schiano will return, but that is a factor. I was at the Bucs game on Monday, and Tampa didn't strike me as a team that had quit on its head coach. So there's that, too.
bob nj [via mobile]
hi ashley do the bucs get the secmd win against the falcons this weekend?
Ashley Fox (4:08 PM)
I don't think so. Atlanta has really struggled this season for a variety of reasons, injuries to key guys being one big one. But I think the Falcons will be able to move the ball on the Bucs. They will need Tony Gonzalez to be out there, though.
What do you think about the timing of bye weeks? This bye week was in the best possible spot for the Pats. just before a couple tough matchups, guys are banged up so its perfect. Had it been in week 4 it'd be a very tough final stretch of games. On the flip side, if the Bills was earlier they could have had Spiller sit a week before the bye and get some decent time to heal up. Its all luck but man can it be a big factor.
Ashley Fox (4:11 PM)
It is all luck of the draw. In theory, coaches prefer the bye week to be as close to the midpoint of the season as possible. Most don't like the early byes, but sometimes, depending on the circumstances, early byes are helpful. The bigger issue is how many times does a single team face opponents who are coming off the bye (or long weeks after a Thursday night game). The Bills think they've faced too many rested teams this season (six).
Chris Fiegler (Latham,NY)
Why are the NFL Teams that play their Home Games at the Sites of the Super Bowl are Terrible?
Ashley Fox (4:11 PM)
It's the curse of hosting the Super Bowl.
Greg(MD) [via mobile]
Who gets the first pick Jaguars or Buccaneers?
Ashley Fox (4:12 PM)
It'll be a fight to the finish, but I think ultimately the Jags will get it. And boy do they need it.
Al (Wausau, WI)
Hi, Ashley. I get the feeling that the Seahawks could absolutely dominate my Vikings on Sunday. Your thoughts on this game?
Ashley Fox (4:14 PM)
I think you could be right, Al. Everybody knows how hard it is to play there, with the 12th man and all. Seattle is a flat out scary team. Physical, stingy, opportunistic defense. The quarterback is the real deal. I just think your Vikings are going to have a hard time moving the ball. It could get ugly.
Ed (Queens Village)
I like to see a change in OT rule. Chargers/Redskins game Redskins won toss in OT scored TD on first drive game was over. Chargers should at least have gotten one possession to tie game. If Redskins had kicked FG on first drive game isn't over. Why two different rules?
Ashley Fox (4:18 PM)
I don't mind the rule. It's an improvement over the previous rule, where all a team had to do was kick a field goal to win the game on the opening possession of OT. The Chargers should have won that game in regulation and not had to even worry about overtime.
Peyton (Denver) [via mobile]
Seeing as I have at most 3 years left barring injuries, should the Broncos draft a quarterback to learn under me before I retire/ something bad happens?
Ashley Fox (4:20 PM)
Nice of you to join us. Yes, the Broncos need to take the long view on the QB position, and I'm sure they will. The trend these days is for rookie quarterbacks to start right away, as opposed to sitting for a couple of years the way Aaron Rodgers did behind Brett Favre. But Manning would be a great guy for a young quarterback to learn from, even for a year or two.
Being someone who has had access to NFL locker rooms, have you personally witnessed the type of behavior that purportedly took place in Miami in any (every?) other locker rooms?
Ashley Fox (4:24 PM)
NFL locker rooms are not for the faint of heart, to be sure. I've seen my share of teasing, ripping and joking. I've been targeted before, too. You need a strong personality and a thick skin. But I've never seen anything that seems to be as personal as what allegedly transpired in Miami. We don't know all of the facts but what is out there is ugly. And I've never seen a player walk away from his team because of how he's been treated either in the locker room or from a teammate.
Tony (Richmond, CA)
Ashley, I know I've asked this before. But does Matt Flynn have pictures on NFL executives across the league that allows him to continually find employment when he's done absolutely nothing? And will he finally be prosecuted for grand larceny, after stealing in excess of 14 millions without earning it? Thanks
Ashley Fox (4:25 PM)
He's made a lot of money for not a lot of production. Kevin Kolb, too. And now Flynn has come full circle.
Seth A (Scranton, PA)
Hi Ashley - Do you think there is a correlation between all the new "safety" rules being implemented every year, and the increase in injuries seen in the league? It seems like the last few years there have been a LOT of significant injuries and I'm curious as to if it has something to do with players having to change how they play to a way they're not as comfortable with.
Ashley Fox (4:27 PM)
I agree there seems to be a lot of significant injuries this season, but I will be interested to see the data after the season and see if there were more "significant" injuries than in years past. I do know one thing: The competition committee studies all injuries and will make changes accordingly. The number of quarterbacks out right now is a little alarming and disappointing. It hurts the game.
RAYGORDONREID ( lincoln neb 68138)
QUESTION TO ASHLEY FOX AT 4.25 SUNDAY NIGHT BRONCOS OR CHIEFS
Ashley Fox (4:29 PM)
I am pleased to say that I will be in Denver for that game. Should be a good one. I'm not ready to make a prediction. It is Wednesday and Manning didn't practice today. He will play. But how effective will he be if he can't push off his back foot? Kansas City's defense is playing very, very well, and they're coming off their bye. Andy Reid is 13-1 after the bye week. I wouldn't be shocked if after Sunday he is 14-1.
Ed Reed just went unclaimed on waivers. Atleast I'm not the only one who doesn't want him! I think he has nothing left, what say you?
Ashley Fox (4:30 PM)
Mike with breaking news. I like it. I don't think he has anything left, either. The Ravens knew what they were doing when they didn't re-sign him. They're usually astute when making personnel decisions. That said, I wouldn't be surprised if someone did sign him.
Please pick the most likely scenario for the Bears and Cutler- franchise tag, long-term deal or let him walk?
Ashley Fox (4:33 PM)
That's a great question, Paul. It's a tough situation for Cutler for sure. Unless the bottom completely falls out, the Bears aren't going to be in the top half of the draft, bearing a potential trade up, so they won't be able to get one of the top quarterbacks. Cutler is probably looking for Matthew Stafford-type money, which I doubt the Bears would want to pay. So I think the most likely scenario is they use the franchise tag on him. We will see.
Drew (Green Bay, WI)
Why is it that when there is an issue with female reporters having comments thrown at them in the locker room then the issue gets blown up into a huge political movement when the female reporter complains, but when a male player faces supposed intimidation, verbal threats, physical confrontations, forced payments for others, etc. then the player, who is the victim, is looked at as having handled things wrong for blowing the whistle? Is this sexism at it's worst?
Ashley Fox (4:37 PM)
It's an interesting question. I don't like that Martin has gone from potential victim to villain, instead of Incognito being the villain. I think it says a lot about the locker room culture. But this situation isn't over, and I think there will be ramification and change to result from Martin speaking up and doing what he felt was right. This isn't over.
Seth A (Scranton, PA)
Kind of a follow up to a previous question about injuries. Do you think the excess of QB injuries also has something to do with these guys never taking hits? I think of guys like Favre, Young, Marino, Elway...and these guys were never hurt to the extent that guys are getting hurt now. They were also hit a lot more. I think it's in kind to parenting. If you protect your kids from every little thing that could harm them...they're going to end up being easier to harm.
Ashley Fox (4:40 PM)
I don't know about that. I think the biggest reason is that the guys doing the hitting are bigger, stronger and faster than they were 10, 20, 30 years ago. Quarterbacks are still getting hit. The rules are in place to limit the damage, but they're still getting thrown to the ground, sacked and hit.
Derrin (Plano, TX)
Will Matt Schaub and Gary Kubiak join Ed Reed on the list of Texan roster casualties?
Ashley Fox (4:42 PM)
It's not out of the realm of possibility. Going to depend a lot on Keenum. Kubiak said today he's not committed to Keenum for the long term, that that will depend on how Keenum plays. But it's hard to envision a scenario where Kubiak goes back to Schaub.
Jeff (Tampa, FL)
Is Mike Smith on the hot seat in Atlanta?
Ashley Fox (4:42 PM)
Tony (Richmond, CA)
Is it time for Monte Kiffin to call it a career? Do you think Jerry Jones will keep him after the embarrassment in NOLA versus the man who formerly held the job?
Ashley Fox (4:43 PM)
Who knows what Jerry will do? But yeah, it wasn't a good look in New Orleans. And Rob Ryan has done a terrific job with the Saints. He can coach.
Do you think the new Orleans saints will make the super Bowl this year?
Ashley Fox (4:45 PM)
Will they? I don't know. Can they? Sure. They are playing with an enormous chip on their shoulder. But I think if the road to the Super Bowl ends up going through Seattle, the Seahawks are going to be awfully tough to beat.
scott (Palm beach fla)
Being an old school raider fan I was saddened to see the news of the passing of Todd Christemsen. Are you shocked at how many football players die before 60 or do you think it is not football related?
Ashley Fox (4:48 PM)
I was really sad to see that, too. I believe he was only 57, which is way too young. And I believe he died following complications from liver surgery. As for guys dying young, for many men, there are ramifications for playing the game. It takes its toll. I'm not saying that's what happened in Christensen's case, but it does happen.
Kenny Stills (NOLA)
Ashley, do you want my autograph yet?
Ashley Fox (4:48 PM)
I see you.
Foles has looked pretty good. It's a small sample size to be sure, but does he have the makings of a true #1 QB in the NFL?
Ashley Fox (4:51 PM)
He has looked good. Sixteen touchdowns, zero interceptions. It is impressive. I want to see more, though. Expand the sample size, because if you're going to laud the seven touchdown game, you can't ignore the Cowboys game. I think Chip needs to stick with Foles, even when Vick is healthy, and see exactly what he's got in Foles.
Do the Lions have a clear inside track to win the NFC North
Ashley Fox (4:54 PM)
As of today, it would appear that they do. They've beat the Bears twice. They very well could get the Packers at home in three weeks without Aaron Rodgers. They're playing well on both sides of the ball. The division is theirs for the taking, which is really quite something. I think given the health of Rodgers and Cutler, this could be the Lions' year.
Do you see any possible correlation between the declining performances of backs such as Ray Rice and the possible fear of long term brain injuries? In other words, have the recent revelations related to CTE made these backs understandably hesistant?
Ashley Fox (4:56 PM)
I don't think so. In my experience, players while they're playing aren't all that worried about how they're going to be feeling when they're 40 or 50. That seems like a long time in the future for them. They should be concerned about the damage to their bodies, but most I know aren't. They're living in the moment.
Aaron (Leesburg, VA)
Just when you thought it was safe to jump on the Andy Dalton-Cincinnati bandwagon. What happened?
Ashley Fox (4:58 PM)
That question made me chuckle for some reason. I think Dalton is what he is: An average quarterback. As one coach told me, he isn't a player who strikes fear in opponents. I think what you see, on average, is what you get with him.
Tony (Richmond, CA)
Over/under, 3 games before Harvin gets hurt again?
Ashley Fox (4:59 PM)
I hope it's the over. I'd like to see him play. But your point is well taken.
Greg (Pennsylvania woods)
I love your work. How do you think chip kelly is doing in his first year and are the eagles interested in trading for Big Ben
Ashley Fox (5:01 PM)
Thanks, Greg. I think Kelly has made some rookie head coaching mistakes, which is probably natural given that he's never coached in the NFL before. His offense has looked pretty good the last couple of weeks. As to are the Eagles interested in trading for Roethlisberger, I would think not. Nor do I think the Steelers are interested in trading him. I would think Haley goes before Roethlisberger does.
Ashley Fox (5:02 PM)
Thanks everybody for all of the questions. Have a great rest of the week. We'll do it again next Wednesday.