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October 29, 7:48 AM ET
Chat with Chris Mortensen

Chris Mortensen
  (11:00 AM)

Good morning.... as usual, we are not lacking for topics and we're at the midseason point, so let's get started.

Trey (VA)

Hey Chris, always enjoy the work and look forward to the Mort Report. I know the Redskins haven't been blowing people out on the scoreboard, but they've been dominating the stat lines. If, hopefully when, this team starts to click and finish those drives with TDs, are we looking at a dangerous team? Thanks.

Chris Mortensen
  (11:03 AM)

The Redskins obviously have a better record than most experts forecast. A win is win. If they can keep Clinton Portis healthy, I think they're really a candidate to win the NFC East. They do have a tough one vs. the Steelers, but then they get bye to get healthy. Their second half schedule: All three NFC East games at home (if that means anything) and they also play the Seahawks, Bengals & 49ers. But I look at Jason Campbell's improvement, the emergence of Santana Moss as a star and London Fletcher as a Defensive MVP candidate, you should be happy.

Dan (Chicago)

Hey Mort, The Miami Dolphins have been frustrating to watch at times. Beating good to great teams and losing to ones they should beat. Do you think this is a growing pain for a team with new staff or do you see something else as the culprit?

Chris Mortensen
  (11:07 AM)

"Losing to ones they should beat" is one of the traps we fall into as media and fans. This is a league all about matchups. The Ravens, for example, just presented the Dolphins with some bad matchups. The main thing, this Dolphins team just looks different, plays different and I mean in a positive way. I don't know how many wins but you have to be excited about the future.

Keith (Carlsbad, CA)

Mort, simple question: Does Ron Rivera put the 'D' back in San iego?

Chris Mortensen
  (11:08 AM)

I don't think one coaching change is the simple answer but Ron is a good coach, he'll have some different ideas. But, remember, this Chargers' defense has some real skill/health problems at linebacker and with the safeties. And the London game was more like 7 on 7 football because nobody could get traction on the field to rush the passer.

Justin (Ohio)

Chris, who are the real Cleveland Browns? Chances KW is with this team next season?

Chris Mortensen
  (11:10 AM)

I think the Browns team we have seen the past three games is the team I mostly expected. But, as I have repeated, too many injuries at the start were a bad recipe. I like how the defense is playing - Shaun Rogers is a beast! - and the offense is coming around. Now, if Braylon Edwards and KW can just run the routes right, it should be pretty good. I question whether KW is around in '09.

Richard (florida)

Chris, why is the media so enamored with the overrated cowboys. They do not play as a team and have way too many selfish "players". Is Jerry Jones as disturbing in person as he is on television?

Chris Mortensen
  (11:13 AM)

Well, I have to speak up for Jerry. He's really a good guy to be around and I think a lot of people outside the Cowboys would tell you that. The Cowboys were legitimately one of the Super Bowl candidates going in, based off last yar and they have a history and aura so, yes, maybe there's too much enamor. Right now, they probably lose to the Giants, get healthier over the bye week. Let's see how they do with the post-Thanksgiving stretch before we issue the final verdict.

Peter (DC)

How can Brees be considered the MVP when he laid an egg vs Redskins and Carolina?? Portis has come to play every week, brees has not.

Chris Mortensen
  (11:14 AM)

Good point. We were talking about offensive MVP. Portis is amazing. He has 5 straight 120-plus yards rushing games and I read where that's the first time since Jim Brown any back as done that. But Drew Brees does come to play every week, I promise you that, whether or not he "lays an egg."

Terry (San Diego)

Since we are at the midpoint of the season, who do you like as MVP, DPOY, ROY, and Comeback player?

Chris Mortensen
  (11:17 AM)

On this same theme, I probably would vote for Portis for MVP, London Fletcher or Albert Haynesworth as Def. POY, Matt Ryan edging Chris Johnson/Matt Forte for Rookie and comeback...well, Kyle Orton came back from something, huh? My coach would probably be Jeff Fisher over Tom Coughlin, Jim Zorn, Dick Jauron & John Fox with special mention to Bill Belichick.

Jay (Middletown, CT)

Mort, why hasnt Denver used more play action passing knowing Cutler can make all the throws needed? Seems as if they have been playing pretty conservative lately. Thanks

Chris Mortensen
  (11:19 AM)

Well, they got conservative because theyv'e been missing Stokley and Scheffler, plus Eddie Royal has had the ankle injury...not to mention, trying to help a defense that is fairly soft. too bad because they looked like they had a chance but I have to see a lot more than I've seen to feel good about them.

alex (tempe, az)

do you think the titans are for real yet?

Chris Mortensen
  (11:20 AM)

I have yet to hear but maybe one person who suggested they weren't for real and his name wasn't Chris Mortensen.

Mat (Boston)

What about DROY.....Jerod Mayo has to be at the top of the list.

Chris Mortensen
  (11:20 AM)

Yes, good one.

JEFF (EAGLE ROCK, CALIF)

I THINK CINCY SHOULD TRADE "OCHO CINCO" HE NEEDS TO PUT UP OR GIVE PART OF HIS SALARY BACK FOR CAUSING ALL THE DISTRACTION OVER THE OFF SEASON, WHAT DO YOU THINK MORT?

Chris Mortensen
  (11:21 AM)

I thought they should have traded him in the offseason when they had a great offer from the Redskins (1st & conditional 3rd). They got stubborn about it and should have unloaded him then. No way they get that kind of value after the season (trade deadline has passed).

Terry (Charlotte)

Respectfully Mort, i think Comeback Player should go to someone coming off an injury, not a down year or a year on the bench. Delhomme overcame Tommy John surgery, which was unprecedented, he has to be the shoo in if he keeps it up.

Chris Mortensen
  (11:22 AM)

You win that argument. Hands down. Delhomme.

ray gordon reid new orleans la 70112

question TO CHRISMORTENSEN AT 11.25 AM HI MORT WHAT IS THE TALK ABOUT ELI MOUTHING PLAY THAT THEY DIDNT SCORE ON

Chris Mortensen
  (11:23 AM)

Oh, that happens all the time, especially on road with crowd noise. Eli simply called the play "32" at line and the Steelers picked up on hit but I could make a case that Brandon Jacobs crossed the plane anyway. Not that unusual. That's why you have blockers and tacklers - still comes down to execution in an obvious run play.

Johnstone (Bucktown)

Respectfully Mort, Romeo Crenell should be coach of the year...

Chris Mortensen
  (11:24 AM)

If Romeo can get the Browns winning more games, I will put him in there. I love his patience, his steadiness, his no-panic personality. He learned that being around Parcells & Belichick.

Reid (NOLA)

Is it virtually assured that Deuce, Smith, Grant get suspended? Or does their appeal have a chance?

Chris Mortensen
  (11:26 AM)

Based on how the NFL handled the case of their teammate, Jamar Nesbitt, I would say those three Saints have little chance on appeal. They all tested positive for the same substance and Nesbitt just came back from his 4-game suspension. Now he didn't appeal but his atty did file a lawsuit against the maker of the product these guys took.

Donnie: Leesburg, Va

Where do you think Anquan Boldin's next football home will be? The Redskins have the money and need a big guy to help Moss out.. what do you think?

Chris Mortensen
  (11:27 AM)

The Cardinals don't have any real intention of letting Boldin go - they want to sign him to a new deal. If he was ever on the market, plenty of teams would have interest.

Dan - New York

Will the Giants try to unload Plaxico Burress in the off-season or is the guaranteed money they paid him with the new contract too prohibitive to permit a move?

Chris Mortensen
  (11:28 AM)

They only guaranteed Plax $11 mill, I think, so they could move him, in my opinion.

Jon (Mad-town)

I miss watching Devin Hester pull a rabit out of a hat on every other kick sent his way, and I blame his time being spent as a full-time receiver for the kick-return dropoff. That being said, where does he have more value to the bears, as a return specialist or as a receiver?

Chris Mortensen
  (11:30 AM)

That's a very good question. When he got healthy (before geting nicked again) he looked pretty good as a receiver. As a return specialist, teams have adjusted somewhat but it does make you wonder. They are paying him as a receiver, though.

Karen (Richmond, KY)

Why not Jim Zorn being in the conversation for coach of the year? What has Cheater Billicheck done that's so amazing? Why not Horton, the Redskins safety as defensive ROY?

Chris Mortensen
  (11:31 AM)

I certainly meant to mention Zorn. As for Belichick....come on, it's obvious what he's done with Matt Cassel and how great a coach he is.

joe (new orleans)

with brady out, is drew brees the best QB in the NFL right now?

Chris Mortensen
  (11:31 AM)

Brees is playing the best QB right now.

Laura (North Carolina)

Do you think Aaron Rodgers is in the running for MVP? I have been surprised people have not mentioned him. He has been impressive and through an injury.

Chris Mortensen
  (11:32 AM)

yeah, Aaron has been impressive and I know he has played through a very painful shoulder injury that has shelved other QBs. Not quite MVP material yet but has a chance as they start the second half of the season.

EB NYC

Mortimer- As a Giants fan I'm excited about our start...But I don't understand why Kenny Phillips isn't out there more? The play James Butler had on Nate Washington the other night was the last straw for me. We want Phillips!!

Chris Mortensen
  (11:33 AM)

Understand this: The coaches know. They see it every day in practice & in meetings. They want to win and they are going to play the best players and utilize Phillips at the right time as he learns the defense.

Paul ( Phoenix)

I dunno Mort, Kurt Warner looks pretty good, even in a loss to Carolina. He carved up that D for 381 yds and 2 tds, while Brees offered up 1 INT and no TDs to the same Panther squad...

Chris Mortensen
  (11:35 AM)

Kurt Warner is right there. I know the Panthers came away with a healthy respect for Kurt because they hit him and hit him a lot. But I also know the Panthers said there was no comparison between the WRs that the Saints had available that day and the ones the Cardinals had...plus, divisional familarity with NO.

Jason (Indiana)

Where do you see Kyle Orton's ceiling at? How good can he be? A top 5 in the NFL this or next year?

Chris Mortensen
  (11:37 AM)

Can't you just enjoy what you're getting out of Orton now? I have always liked the guy. He just needed to mature, but he's got enough tools to be a winning QB. He's no different than a lot of them - put players around him and a good defense and he can win.

Paul New York

I dont buy into the steelers titans or giants as superbowl contenders you tell me who is legit???

Chris Mortensen
  (11:38 AM)

I think you're a skeptical person about a lot of things, then. All three of those teams are Super Bowl contenders. The Panthers intrigue me, especially when they get healthy after bye - but their 2nd half schedule is tough. The Redskins have a pretty good post-bye schedule that could put them in good position. But who was predicting the Giants at this time a year ago?

Newkirk (Gboro)

do you think peyton is on the dwnfall of his career which is causing the Colts to struggle along with the older m. harrison ?

Chris Mortensen
  (11:40 AM)

There are a lot of reasons why the Colts aren't what maybe people expected and it goes well beyond Peyton. I know that internally they are second-guessing things they did in the off-season, both in personnel decisions and in allowing Peyton to delay more aggressive medical attention on his knee.

Sam (Cleveland)

Help me figure out Savage's logic. He didn't want to get rid of DA last spring for a 1st rounder. Now he turns down MN's offer of 2 1sts for Quinn. That is 3 1sts he's turned down, not to mention the one they used on Quinn to ride the bench. Please explain how that makes any business sense. Sounds cowardly, like he's scared to trade the wrong guy.

Chris Mortensen
  (11:43 AM)

MN did not offer two 1sts but the Browns made it clear before the season that they weren't listening this year - for all the right reasons. They went into the season primed to make a playoff run and you need two QBs. They also are following the Chargers' Drew Brees/Phillip Rivers plan of waiting two years before making a decision. And Quinn is not making huge money - his salary is right in line, or a little lower, than some backup QBs.

Jonathan (Toronto, CANADA)

I almost feel dumb saying this but I think the Rams could be a real force the rest of the way. 2 huge upset wins over NFC east teams and they had the Patriots on the ropes last week without the helpof Steven Jackson. The schedule gets easier now too. Can these guys make the playoffs?

Chris Mortensen
  (11:44 AM)

"Force" is a little strong. I do think they're interesting to watch but I feel like that as improved as they are under Haslett, they won't make the playoffs.

Paul (Philly,PA)

I'm a huge Redskins fan living in Philly. My question for you Chris, do you think getting Shaun Alexander was a good pickup for the Skins considering we have Rock and Ladell?

Chris Mortensen
  (11:45 AM)

Sure, with Betts out, it gave the Redskins another back through the bye week and a cheap look at Alexander going forward.

Kev (NYC)

Would 20 TDs and 8 INT & 4,000+ passing yards and a 1st round bye get Eli into his 1st Pro Bowl?

Chris Mortensen
  (11:46 AM)

Forget the stats. The way he's playing & leading, I would hope he gets a Pro Bowl spot, even though Brees & Warner appear locks. Three QBs are picked so he's got a shot.

Steve (San Fran)

According to last week's St.Paul Press report the Vikings did offer two 1sts befroe the deadline. Quinn's salary is irrelevant. The point is Cleveland has a lot of holes that could be filled with those draft picks. Maybe that is too complicated for you to understand.

Chris Mortensen
  (11:48 AM)

I think they have holes, not a "lot of holes" and I have been told that they did not get a solid "two firsts" offer from the Vikings. Quinn will still have high value - maybe DA, too - before next year's draft because it is a weak QB class coming into the league.

Kev (NYC)

You mentioned on Mike & Mike this morning that Witten would have trouble even sleeping with a cracked rib...Early on a couple weeks ago there was chat that Romo would play despite his injury...Is this the same deal with Witten this week and eventually we find in 2 days that he's inactive? Seems like a huge risk for one game.

Chris Mortensen
  (11:49 AM)

I think the Cowboys winning the Bucs game will motivate them to play it conservative with Witten, but he's a stubborn, tough you-know-what.

Sam (SF)

Mort, I'm in full support of the coaching change out here, but what are your thoughts on Singletary? He seems to be getting all sorts of credit for showing some fire, but the fact that he was still too mad to let Davis talk to him after the game makes me wonder if he'll be able to keep his emotions in check.

Chris Mortensen
  (11:57 AM)

I think it's something to watch. It was great theater but I don't know about the long-term effectiveness. And, for the record, I was not in support of firing Mike Nolan. Should have done it last year or wait to see how they finished this season.

Adam (Philly)

Is there a better pass catching RB in the league than Westbrook? Is it safe to say that he is the Eagles' Marshall Faulk?

Chris Mortensen
  (11:59 AM)

Oh, yeah, that's the best comparison we can make with Westbrook - Marshall Faulk, part II.

JJ in NY

You cannot leave D-WARE out of Def player of the year!!!!

Chris Mortensen
  (12:02 PM)

He's in the debate but if I had to pick one, it would probably be between London Fletcher and Albert Haynesworth. I also like Ware, Shaun Rogers, Charles Woodson, James Harrison, Joey Porter and I am sure I'm forgetting someone else.

Mark- Denver

Mort, What is the latest on the Lions talks with Culpepper? Do you think they will sign him? If so, do you think it's a good move?

Chris Mortensen
  (12:04 PM)

I don't know the status of talks but I actually think it's a worthwhile move. The second half of last year, he was starting to rebound from his knee problems. He has a strong arm and he's accurate - maybe he and Calvin Johnson can renivent the Randy Moss days. It's a dome. But he'll never have thet mobility he had. That being said, I would do it if I were the Lions and the deal was reasonable.

Steve, Baltimore

How can you not mention Ray Lewis as DPOY? He is playing better than all of those guys and close to his best ball ever.

Chris Mortensen
  (12:05 PM)

Actually, teams have told me others are playing better football, including Bart Scott. However, Ray is playing well and he's more of an MVP guy because of the value he brings as a leader & student of the game.

Coach Tuesday (NYC)

Mort: there is a perception out there among Bills fans that you have been overly critical of the organization ever since Tom Donahoe was fired. Any response to that notion?

Chris Mortensen
  (12:11 PM)

I am on record as saying Donahoe's firing was silly (especially after the late great GM John Butler explained to me why he fled Buffalo for San Diego). I would need 1,500 words to break it down and show you why. What I don't understand is why Bills fans - whom I have had great admiration for in the past - are so mean and vindictive, and unwilling to acknowledge that even their success now is connected to the foundation Donahoe built. Remember, he inherited a franchise that had severe salary cap problems, a QB mess and was rudderless. I like Dick Jauron and I like Trent Edwards. Still, even when you look at contributing players on the team now and others around the league Donahoe drafted or signed, you will see he was capable and, not only that, a good man of integrity, a father & husband who has been subjected to too many unfair and mean-spirited barbs. One day, I will take the time to break it all down but, at the same time, not detract at all to what the Bills are doing today - winning.

Chris Mortensen
  (12:11 PM)

Sorry about that rant, but I have run out of time. Thanks for your time and my best to all your teams. God Bless!