Chat with Ashley Fox
Welcome to SportsNation! On Friday, 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 Friday at 3 p.m. ET!
Ashley Fox (3:00 PM)
Happy Friday everybody. Thanks for joining me. Let's get rolling.
Chris Fiegler (Latham,NY)
What NFL Teams will be Playing in London,England(Great Brittan) in 2013?
Ashley Fox (3:01 PM)
Minnesota and Pittsburgh will play in London on Sept. 29 and then Jacksonville and San Francisco will play on Oct. 27. Jacksonville will have three more games in London in subsequent seasons.
Candy (Slippery Rock)
Hi Ashley, I read your free agency piece on the Dolphins and wondered what you think they should have done since you didn't seem to be a fan of their moves?
Ashley Fox (3:03 PM)
If I remember correctly, my piece was specifically on Mike Wallace. I think the Dolphins and Jeff Ireland have done a nice job in free agency and clearly are in win-now mode. And they have 11 picks in the draft, including five in the first three rounds. So they've got freedom to package picks and move up or down as they see fit. Looking ahead to 2013 I think they could possibly be a playoff team. They're definitely pushing in the right direction.
What has been the most underrated free agent signing so far?
Ashley Fox (3:05 PM)
This isn't a free agent signing but I think San Francisco acquiring Anquan Boldin was a great move for them. I'm still surprised Baltimore parted with Boldin because he was so valuable to Joe Flacco. The Ravens wouldn't have made their Super Bowl run without Boldin, who made clutch catch after clutch catch in the playoffs. He's not going to blaze past anybody but he's got great hands and is so physical. That was a good pickup for the 49ers.
Do you think that cerdarl Paterson will fall to the texans
Ashley Fox (3:08 PM)
I don't think so. I checked my colleague Todd McShay's latest mock, and he has Cordarrelle Patterson going to the Rams at 16. That's well ahead of Houston at 27. But the Texans would like to add another receiver opposite Andre Johnson. McShay listed potential wide receiver fits, including Keenan Allen, DeAndre Hopkins of Clemson and USC's Robert Woods. I like Woods.
is it all draft all the time for teams now?
Ashley Fox (3:10 PM)
Well that is certainly the focus from a personnel standpoint. Teams are having private workouts for prospects and getting to the point where they've got their draft boards in order. But free agency is ongoing. It's going to be a busy couple of more weeks and we'll see some more player movement for sure.
When will the regular season NFL schedule be released?
Ashley Fox (3:11 PM)
We still don't know that yet. We know what the match ups will be, just not the schedule. Maybe next week. It is a pretty closely guarded secret.
Tommy (Pelton, CA)
Ashley, I gots to know!! Will Matt Barkley be a first round pick?
Ashley Fox (3:16 PM)
It's funny you ask. I'm working on a piece about Barkley now. I've talked to a lot of people about him, and the prevailing thought is no, he won't be a first-round pick. Maybe high second. McShay has him going to Jacksonville with the first pick in the second round. I've had one person say he's maybe a fourth-round prospect. People are all over the map on him. He'd be a good fit in a West Coast system that features short and intermediate throws. I thought before Kansas City traded for Alex Smith that Barkley would be a good option there.
Katelyn (Syracuse, NY)
How is it determined who gets invited to the NFL draft. Geno Smith and EJ Manuel get invited, but not Matt Barkley and Ryan Nassib. I figured Smith would be invited, but was surprised about Manuel given the uncertainty of when he will go; uncertainty that also falls to Barkley and Nassib. Any idea why one gets invited over the others?
Ashley Fox (3:18 PM)
I'm not sure the exact process, but the guys projected to be first-round picks usually get extended the invitations. Barkley got invited and opted not to stay in Southern California and watch the draft with his family. No one wants to be Aaron Rodgers sitting in the green room as player after player gets picked.
Do you think the fact that Cruz was working out with Eli this week at Duke bodes well for him staying long term with the Giants?
Ashley Fox (3:21 PM)
I think Giants fans certainly could take some comfort in that. I would. Manning obviously wants him back. Cruz wants to remain with New York. He just wants to get paid what he thinks he's worth. I've got to think that they can come to a mutual agreement, but it sounds like there's a significant gap there now. Still, for Cruz to take the time and spend the money to go to down to Durham and work out with Manning is a good sign.
Ashley Fox (3:23 PM)
Sorry, I got locked out of the chat for a second...
Assuming no injuries who do you think leads the NFL in rushing this year AP or the field?
Ashley Fox (3:24 PM)
Well, the field is usually the safer bet, but after what Peterson did last year it is impossible to pick against him. And given the current status of the Vikings offense, you know he's going to get the ball a lot. I'll take AP. And let's hope for no injuries.
John (Los Angeles, CA)
Who had the better move, the 49ers with Boldin or the Broncos with Welker? Also, do you think the redskins can have back to back good seasons?
Ashley Fox (3:27 PM)
I like both of those moves, but if I had to pick, I'll go the Broncos with Welker. I thought Peyton's comments to Mort earlier this week were interesting about how sometimes, as a quarterback, you just have an immediate connection with a player. He said he has that with Welker. I'd be shocked if Welker didn't catch 100 balls this season. I think he's going to have a huge impact on the Broncos offense and is a perfect fit. As for the Washington question, it's all going to depend on the health of the quarterback. If he can go, and the indications have been positive, then they can go back to the playoffs.
Will the ravens make the playoffs this season even though losing Anquan Boldin and Ed Reed?
Ashley Fox (3:31 PM)
Well, they lost more than Boldin and Reed. I lost count how many starters are gone from the Super Bowl team. Their entire starting linebacker corp is gone. But Ozzie Newsome knows what he's doing and has proven to be an excellent talent evaluator. They've drafted well. The thing they have, and in the NFL it all comes down to this, is the quarterback is in place. And look at the rest of the division. Cincinnati needs another playmaker on offense. Pittsburgh has needs all over the place. Cleveland is still rebuilding. So yes, I think Baltimore makes the playoffs.
Ryan (Gilbert Arizona)
With the current situation in Pittsburgh, what does post week 16 look like for them?
Ashley Fox (3:33 PM)
Post Week 17? As in the end of the regular season? I think they'll be evaluating their roster and looking forward to the 2014 season. They've got a lot of work to do rebuilding the defense, which got old fast.
Who do you think will go 1st Overall in the NFL Draft?
Ashley Fox (3:37 PM)
It is still up in the air, which I guess makes this draft a little more fun, even though it lacks the star power at the quarterback position that we had last year. I'd say Texas A&M offensive lineman Luke Joeckel. Andy Reid's philosophy is to build the team from the inside out, meaning both the offensive and defense lines, and he has a history of using first-round picks on lineman. One of Kansas City's problems last year -- and yes, there were many -- was its offensive line's inability to protect the quarterback. They'll need to be able to keep Alex Smith upright for him to have a chance to succeed.
Do you think Rolando Mcclain can get his career back on track with the Ravens?
Ashley Fox (3:39 PM)
I do. I think it's a great fit. Stable organization with strong leaders who will do everything they can to help McClain be successful yet not tolerate any issues. The Ravens certainly needed another linebacker.
Do you like or dislike that Seattle and S.F. are basically copycatting another and with that being said can you see teams like the Rams or Cards bouncing them through the correct picks in the draft?
Ashley Fox (3:42 PM)
I love the rivalry between Seattle and San Francisco, and you're right, there are similarities in what they're doing. Two tough defensive teams with dynamic quarterbacks who can run the pistol. It doesn't bother me at all that they're similar. I don't see Arizona bouncing either. I think St. Louis is closer. The division should be much stronger, but I still think it will be either the 49ers or Seahawks.
Chris Fiegler (Latham,NY)
Do you think that London will have a NFL Team in the Future?
Ashley Fox (3:43 PM)
It wouldn't surprise me, but I don't think we're close. I'd prefer to see the Los Angeles situation straightened out first. The league values the L.A. market.
What do you think of the Super Bowl being in Northern New Jersey next year?
Ashley Fox (3:45 PM)
I think it's going to be a logistical headache for a lot of people, including the teams. Personally, I wish the game would be held in New Orleans every year. It is the perfect setup. Everything is walkable. The teams are right downtown. The city does a great job. The weather is usually nice that time of year. I know that's unrealistic but that's my favorite place for a Super Bowl.
Ashley do you think Sam Bradford was put in extraordinary situation since he has been drafted- 2 or 3 new head coaches and as many or more offensive cordinators - I see how difficult it is for these rookie QB's learning a system while at the same time learing the new speed of the fierce NFL pash rushes -Now take that 3 years in a row - It really is unfair to juedge him the same in that regard- This will be his very first year to get to stick to the previous system he had the year before -I think he has done very well concidering don't you ?
Ashley Fox (3:48 PM)
I completely agree with you on Bradford. He has had an inordinate amount of upheaval that can't be ignored. At the NFL owners meeting last month, Andy Reid was talking about how Alex Smith had to endure a similar situation earlier in his career, and how difficult it was. I think Bradford will benefit greatly from having a stable head coach and offensive coordinator. It takes time to learn offenses and terminology. He's got talent. He's smart. And I bet the Rams try to give him another weapon at receiver through the draft.
Re: NFL team in London, as a fan here it would not work. A lot of people who come to the game are continental Europeans/ex pats who make a weekend of it. Maybe they make it 2 or 3 but they won't come 8 times. A better idea is have a 17 game season with one neutral game each - then you can have 3/4 games in London, 2/3 games in LA, a game in Canada/Germany etc. No one loses a home game either and the owners get an extra week. Everyone wins!
Ashley Fox (3:49 PM)
Interesting perspective. Thanks for sharing.
Rich (New Jersey)
Hi Ashley, I think the Jets are going to cut their losses and let Tim Tebow go. But free agents such as Ahmad Bradshaw, Byron Leftwich and Brian Urlacher are still available, do think they'll wind up somewhere for a year or two to help out some team?
Ashley Fox (3:51 PM)
Of the three you mention, I'd expect Urlacher to sign somewhere. Leftwich might be done. And I would expect the Jets will let Tebow go. It will be interesting to see what happens with him after that.
who do you think rg III will open season with?
Ashley Fox (3:53 PM)
Who knows? The bigger question at this point is will RG III be able to open the season. For his sake, I hope so. What Adrian Peterson did last year was amazing, but it also is unrealistic to expect every player moving forward to have the same kind of recovery and impact.
There's been a lot of rumors floating. Do you personally think this will be Tom Coughlin's last year coaching?
Ashley Fox (3:56 PM)
It's an interesting question. I know this about Coughlin: He doesn't have a lot of hobbies. He's a football coach. That's what he does. It is who he is. And he loves his job. So I don't see him retiring anytime soon, but I guess you never say never.
Kate (Washington, DC)
Who is the best fit at QB if the Bills can't get Nassib?
Ashley Fox (3:57 PM)
I wouldn't be shocked if they took Barkley in a later round, if he's available. He's had a private workout for them and was at their facility earlier this week.
Ashley Fox (3:58 PM)
Alright guys, thanks for all the great questions. We'll do it again next week. Have a fantastic weekend.