Chat with Michael Wilbon
Welcome to SportsNation! On Monday, ESPN's Michael Wilbon stops by to chat and share his thoughts on the sports world.
Wilbon, a longtime Washington Post sports columnist, is co-host of ESPN's Pardon the Interruption, the popular weekday sports debate and discussion program, as well as an NBA studio analyst for both ESPN and ABC, in addition to writing for ESPNChicago.com. A pioneer in sports journalism, Wilbon was one of the first sports writers to broaden his success beyond newspapers to include television, radio and other media.
Send your questions now and join Wilbon Monday at 1 p.m. ET!
Is RGIII that good or is the Saints defense that bad?
mike wilbon (1:16 PM)
Hi Everybody...We'll jump right into all the stuff from the weekend, NFL, college football, U.S. Open, whatever's on anybody's mind...As for the first question, while I hate to make any grand declarations off of Week 1 of the NFL, it's hard not to have been hugely impressed by RG3 yesterday. He was perfect. It's the best debut by a QB ever. I mean, what else could the kid have done? He hung 40 on the Saints in New Orleans when the Saints were about as motivated as they could be to come out and win yesterday. Is the Saints defense the 49ers defense or the Ravens defense? No, absolutely not. But 40? RG3 was composed, he was accurate (even after losing his best receiver on that long TD pass)...I want to see a bigger sample size, obviously, but don't we have to start with a tip of the cap to him?
The Patriots defense looked pretty good yesterday. Probably still not world beaters, but definitely improved from last season, right? And if they're even marginally better, they're the heavy super bowl favorite, yes?
mike wilbon (1:25 PM)
It's too long a season for me to get into declaring Super Bowl favorites. Rodney Harrison got excited on NBC last night, which is understandable, considering he used to be a pillar of that defense in championships times. But it's not like the Patriots played anybody yesterday, in Tennessee. I think the Patriots are A favorite anyway, right there with the Niners and perhaps the Ravens; we'll see about them tonight against the Bengals...But yeah, if the Patriots defense continues along the path we saw yesterday, of course they're a favorite because we KNOW the offense is championship quality...maybe we'll look up again in a month and you'll be right about the Patriots being THE fave.
The Jets put up 48 points yeaterday. Let the Tony Kornheiser hype machine begin!
mike wilbon (1:27 PM)
I know...I know. Do we know WHAT to make of that? Is Buffalo a joke again (wait 'til I get ahold of Jaws and Peter King!) or is it possible the Jets are actually going to be closer to their 2009-2010 form than their 2011 form?
There was another team that allowed 40 points yesterday... the Chiefs. 2nd year in a row they allowed 40 in the first week. I realize they are pretty banged up on defense and Tamba Hali was suspended for the week, but come one. The Falcons didn't punt the ball until the game was pretty much over. Is it too much to ask for these professional athletes to stop a team at least once before the 3rd qtr. over?
mike wilbon (1:28 PM)
I hear you, I really do...But considering the number of teams that threw up more than 30 points yesterday, and those that threw up more than 40, maybe this is just the NFL we're going to be stuck with...Look at the Bears, for instance. They never score 40, not without a return or two from Devin Hester. This is the NFL of the concussion era, which is to say...POINTS. I don't know yet whether the Chiefs, who I stupidly picked to win that game, are just inept defensively or if they're going to score 40 on somebody this coming weekend.
Has Djokovic taken over the mantle as the best men's tennis player right now, regardless of Federer's age and Nadal's injuries?
mike wilbon (1:30 PM)
If he wins today, I'd say yes, he has. Federer may still be able to pop up and get to semis and a final here and there but he's past his prime, obviously...And Nadal's injuries are going to limit his run of greatness...I can't see Murray beating Djokovic today...just can't see it. If he wins another Slam title, yeah, he's the top dog on the men's side.
Is Chris Johnson a bust?
mike wilbon (1:31 PM)
While it took awhile, he had a couple of really good games late last year and I thought he might start off there yesterday...not so. Talk about a guy the pressure is on RIGHT NOW. He's on the verge of being exactly that...He needs a 175-yard game in the next game, or the week after.
Because the NFL has outlawed defense and every QB including Tavaris Jackson now throws for 3000 yards, how much easier is it for a rookie QB in today's game as opposed 20-30 years ago?
mike wilbon (1:34 PM)
Great question! It's much easier, but not just because defense has been legislated out of the NFL. What helps QBs get prepared earlier is also that the option and those kinds of archaic offenses have been legislated out (largely) of high school and college football. I mean, how much pure option football do you see anymore? Look at all the programs where they play NFL-style offenses...Even if the pure spread offenses don't translate in some ways, what it does is get young QBs throwing the ball ALL THE TIME, gets 'em reps in practice, gets 'em games where they pitch it 40 times...Gets 'em reading defenses, figuring out how to throw more difficult routes and to different kinds of receivers...They come ready-made, or closer to it...And when they arrive, the NFL has decided nobody can hit them anymore...None of these conditions were in place 20 years ago...
Could you please tell me where the Bears Offense was yesterday? That team looks nothing like the Jim Miller Bears!
mike wilbon (1:39 PM)
Ha! This is an offense that should score 35 points a game. I told Trent Dilfer that two weeks ago and he told me to calm down, that I should be happy if its in the high-20s and Trent is almost always right about these things. Still, when Devin Hester goes from being the No. 1 receiver (totally miscast, by the way) to the 5th option behind Marshall, Forte, Jeffery and the kid from Vandy whose name I'm forgetting, you know that's a potent offense. And while Michael Bush may not want to be known as a short yardage guy, as we saw yesterday Mike Tice isn't listening to that b.s. The Bears offense is loaded. Cutler has all kinds of play toys he never had. A defense as bad as the Packers defense could be in trouble Thursday. My feeling yesterday was once the Bears got up 34-something they went back into a preseason shell and didn't attempt much other than that go-pattern to the rookie, Jeffery...it's potentially the best Bears offense of my life...and I'm getting old, Dude.
Mike (San Diego)
Mike, I'm an Eagles fan...please, say something encouraging? I'm just glad we played the Browns...
mike wilbon (1:41 PM)
I think getting scared to death yesterday was just what the Eagles needed...I can't imagine a better outcome for the Eagles than that. They felt the pressure of the week, of their owner telling Andy Reid to shut up and coach, of all those talented players not producing up to snuff last season until it was too late...But they came through. And remember, lots of bad teams play people close in Week 1 because they can prepare for the opponent for 20 weeks...But those teams often slide back into being bad teams...The Eagles are a talented team; time will tell whether they stay awake and become a good team. I think they will...
Will we look back and Nadal's career 20 years from now and think, what could have been? I think those nagging injuries are going to cut his career short.
mike wilbon (1:43 PM)
Nadal has to play so hard, with such physicality, I just think his career was meant to be brilliant and relatively short. It happens. Very few careers play out over as long a period of time, in men's tennis, as those of Connors and Sampras and Federer. I think Nadal is going to be more like John McEnroe. Mac, I'm pretty sure, won all his Grand Slam titles from 1979 to 1984...it was a relatively short run...not necessarily the same reasons as Nadal...but yeah, I think the injuries are going to keep Nadal from another three or four years at the top of the game...Then again, I don't think he can play any other way...Neither, remember, could Boris Becker...
Hey Mr. Wilbon, side note, did you get to see The Boss at Wrigley over the weekend?
mike wilbon (1:48 PM)
I did go to see Bruce Springsteen at Wrigley Field, and enjoyed the experience immensely...I won't go into all the observations I have...I'm not into rock, not in any way, shape or form. But I wanted to see Springsteen, specifically...I'd never seen anybody perform for 3 straight hours without a break...not sure I'd seen anybody connect in that intimate way with 45,000 people in an outdoor stadium...With 250 people in a club, sure...but 45,000? No. I loved the band, loved it, loved the MUSIC. I could listen to the band for hours. What I found is that while I like that Mr. Springsteen is such a great story teller, his stories don't resonate with me...girl sitting on the hood of a Dodge somewhere in Jersey...that doesn't do it for me, and neither to his voice and stylings...But these are personal choices, as we all exercise in our music choices. I just like venturing outside of my comfort zone (R&B, Jazz, pop standards) and experiencing something else and Springsteen was at the top of that particular "to do" list...Very, very, very glad I went...
Cowboys, Redskins, 49ers, Broncos - which win impressed you the most?
mike wilbon (1:50 PM)
RG3...how can you not start with him? The Cowboys always look good for a certain number of games then, like the Chargers, turn into pumpkins for a certain number of games. I need to see MUCH MUCH more from the Cowboys to convince me they're not doing their usual act. For the Niners defense to go to Lambeau and pop the Packers in the mouth is impressive...And Peyton Manning was Peyton Manning, which to me was no given...I hoped, but didn't presume. It was nice to see...And the Redskins defense, by the way, did a nice job on the Saints. Raheem Morris probably deserves a kiss on the forehead for the way his DBs played against Drew Brees. Wait! Morris' Buccaneers had done that a time or two when he coaches in the NFC South...
Do you agree with the U.S. Open in not playing the two men's semifinals simultaneously on Saturday to get within the weather window?
mike wilbon (1:51 PM)
I thought they should have played both men's semis, but I don't know the weather forecast...I'm trying to extend the benefit of the doubt because I HATE the way the schedule played out at The Open this weekend...hate it.
Will NFL coaches (90 hour work week) have to continue working under the awful conditions of having "amateur" officials in charge of the game? It was disgraceful having to watch 2 very legit Super Bowl (NFC championship preview) contenders (GB vs. SF) have to play a very meaningful September game under these conditions! Shame on the shield!
mike wilbon (1:53 PM)
It's a shame, not because of what the handsomely compensated coaches do, just because a industry that generates $9 billion is such a fraud to worry over $15 million or whatever it is. Please.
The US Open announced earlier this week that they won't play the men's semis and finals on back-to-back days anymore, which is great news if 30 years late.
mike wilbon (1:54 PM)
Amen to that. I'm with you...Get creative, why don't they? UNLESS, they want to play the mens semis early Saturday and play the men's final in prime time Sunday...Going up against football, though, is a disaster for the U.S. Open, no matter what.
Better / more dominant tennis player - Federer or Serena?
mike wilbon (1:55 PM)
Damn good question. Two years ago I would have shouted, "ROGER!" But now...Suppose Serena does this for another season and gets to 17 or 18 Slams? It's getting closer, isn't it?
Derrin (Plano, TX)
Will Ivan Lendl get Andy Murray over the same hump that plagued him early on in his career?
mike wilbon (1:55 PM)
Today tells the story. If Murray wins Gold in the Olympics then the U.S. Open, the answer is definitely yes. Can't wait to see it...What a turnaround that would be for him.
As a Colts fan, this has been one of my favorite NFL overreaction Mondays in a good while. So many people saying we should have taken RG3 when in actuality no quarterback could win with that horrendous of an offensive line...
mike wilbon (1:56 PM)
The Colts did just fine and anybody who says they didn't off one game is a moron...So why listen to them?
Did you have a problem with Tony Gonzalez doing his signature dunk at Arrowhead or with the fans booing him?
mike wilbon (2:05 PM)
No problem with anything Tony G. does. I mean seriously, he didn't give the people of Kansas City everything he had in him?
Can the NYGiants ever stop the "opponent didn't beat us, we beat ourselves" nonsense?. They are becoming really annoying. Why all the talk the last couple of years? They won the SB but still act like mental midgets.
mike wilbon (2:06 PM)
It's an arrogance that wears on you after awhile, BUT didn't they earn it. I guess as I get older I'm becoming less tolerant of many individual indulgences but more tolerant of things winning players and teams do...like Tony G. and the Giants.
Jimmy (Overland Park)
Will you be attending the Ryder Cup, since it's in your backyard and all?
mike wilbon (2:07 PM)
Yes, I will...have my own charity golf tournament with James Brown (CBS' James Brown) and Don Graham of The Washington Post on Friday the 28th and will go straight to the airport so I can get to Chicago/Medina Saturday and Sunday...incredibly excited...only been to one other, in Brookline...
Jimmy (Overland Park)
So Rory McIlroy won his 2nd playoff event in a row. He is just destroying the field in the final rounds over the last 4 events. Remind you of anyone?
mike wilbon (2:10 PM)
Rory is King right now. Personally, I require a sample size of an entire year. That's just me. But he's got it going...But David Duval did this, right, once upon a time and couldn't keep it up...Ernie Els did it and stretched it across a wonderful career, but wasn't dominant for a long stretch...I want to see Rory do it for a year...Tiger had to do it for a year-plus before I thought "Okay, this guy owns the sport." A month for me isn't good enough, though I must say you look at the way he's playing, the way he is dominating the field and you have to think he could do it for quite awhile...I just like proof. Sports is about proving it, right? Isn't that the fun, seeing Brady do it not once but three times, seeing Kobe do it not twice but five times...or Michael Phelps do it again and again, or Bolt do it back-to-back over four years plus the world Championships, too...I like proof...Rory might get there...but he might not.
mike wilbon (2:11 PM)
Okay, with PTI airing an hour earlier than usual today because of the NFL Monday Night doubleheader on ESPN I gotta go into hyper prep mode with TK and get ready...thanks for chatting...see you guys Monday...MW