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November 19, 8:19 AM ET
Chat with Chris Mortensen

Chris Mortensen
  (11:06 AM)

Good morning. never dull in the NFL.

Tom in Indy

With some of the younger players on defense playing stronger, and the O-line getting better, do you think the colts can make a run at the 3 or 4 spot in the playoffs?

Chris Mortensen
  (11:07 AM)

Yes, I believe the Colts can pull this off. The O-line, especially, is coming together - LT Tony Ugoh had a strong 2nd half vs. Mario Williams on Sunday. I don't know about the defense without Bob Sanders. There are still real problems at DT. But Peyton Manning looks like the old Peyton Manning. If they beat the Chargers on Sunday, watch out.

Steiny (NYC)

Chris, Jets QB Brett Favre leads all other QBa??s in AFC pro bowl voting. Do you think he actually deserves it because of the way he is playing or is he getting all of the votes because of his name?

Chris Mortensen
  (11:08 AM)

Obviously, his name is a major factor but Brett is having a good season. They have needed 5 big drives this year to tie or win and he's delivered. Now, the fans don't pick the Pro Bowl team. fan balloting is one-third of the equation - players and coaches are the other two-thirds.

Joey (Rochester, New York)

Mort, I'm sick of people saying the Overtime rules need to change. Why can't teams just play defense? Do you think The Greatest Game (Colts-Giants 58')would be called the Greatest Game or have had the impact if after Ameche scores, then the Giants get the ball back?

Chris Mortensen
  (11:11 AM)

I like your point of view. I know the argument is a passionate one and very legitimate. The competition committee does worry that if you have a six or seven quarter game on a Sunday, followed by a Thursday game, do you create a competitive disadvantage? Ties can favor teams in the playoff picture. But your point is valid and an extra 15 minutes to settle a game seems appropriate to me.

Greg - tampa

Mort, why are teams limited in the number of players they can dress on game day?? Why not activate all 53 players?? Even the inactive ones get a game check. Why is that rule in place??

Chris Mortensen
  (11:12 AM)

It's a little complicated but the league expanded rosters to 53 to allow for the injury factor. (teams were taking advantage of the injured reserve rules at the time). But I agree with you - make 'em all active on game day.

SprungOnSports (Long Island)

Because of Hines Ward, do the Bengals get jacked up enough to keep the Steelers close?

Chris Mortensen
  (11:13 AM)

The Bengals generally have played the Steelers well and I think with maybe one exception in the past six or seven weeks, the Bengals have played teams close.

RILEY (SOUTH MISSISSIPPI)

with reggie bush injury, and suppossed to be back soon, do you think the saints have a good chance of winning the division or get the wild card? and if so how far you think they can go?

Chris Mortensen
  (11:15 AM)

Sorry, I don't see it with the Saints. The defense is still not there and the Bucs, Panthers & Falcons make this a more imposing division. For your sake (being a Saints fan), I hope I'm wrong but that's the way I see it.

Tom (Indy)

Chris, hear anything different about RB Jacob's knee. If he can't pound the ball the Giants aren't as good.

Chris Mortensen
  (11:16 AM)

I'm not hearing that it's serious but even if he sits out Sunday in Arizona, Ward & Bradshaw are pretty good - the O-line is the best and, in a warm-weather or dome game, Eli Manning and the passing game should be very, very productive.

Keith (phoenix)

Good morning Mort, How much of a chance to you give the Cardinals this week? They typically play every well at home, and seem relatively healthy compared to the Giants. Would a win be a giant upset, or just a surprising/pleasing win?

Chris Mortensen
  (11:16 AM)

I'd put it under the surprising/pleasing win category.

Peter - ATL

Mort, I smell a huge upset in the making this Sunday in the DOME!!! What can the Birds do to knock off the sleepwalking Panthers??

Chris Mortensen
  (11:18 AM)

They have to slow down the running game of DeAngelo Williams & Jonathan Stewart and make sure Steve Smith's big plays are limited. Tall order.

Travis(KC MO)

Do you think the cheifs have found a long-term QB in Thigpen,or what direction do you think the franchise should go in having a solid QB in the years to come.

Chris Mortensen
  (11:19 AM)

I really believe Thigpen can be the guy. Physically, he has the skills and he's clearly more comfortable. Plus you have to give credit to OC Chan Gailey for adapting on the fly. I'd be fairly optimistic if I were the Chiefs, going forward.

Kris (Banner Elk, NC)

What is the latest update on the University of Tennessee coaching search? There are rumors abound that the next coach will be an NFL guy.

Chris Mortensen
  (11:20 AM)

They are just conducting a turn-over-every-stone search so they have reached out to guys like Jon Gruden, Lovie Smith & Bill Cowher. I hear the decision could come down to Lane Kiffin or Brian Kelly (U of Cinci) but that is hearsay.

Scott (Dallas)

With the cowboys getting healthy on the oline, can their run game support the offense until Tony's pinkie gets healed? How bout T-New and Ware game on Sunday Night

Chris Mortensen
  (11:21 AM)

I think the Cowboys have a shot. They just need to play with urgency every week. Romo should get better and Felix Jones should come back, too. Terence Newman was huge Sunday night at corner.

wayne va bch

Why don't the Browns play Harrison more? I've watched them a few times and Lewis has clearly lost a step or two. It should all be about production, right?

Chris Mortensen
  (11:23 AM)

No question Harrison should and, I believe, will get more carries. Lewis & Harrison can be effective one one-two punch.

tim charlotte, nc

hey i got a goos question for you, do you think that the nfl writers, including yourself think the carolina panthers atr 8-2 are not a good football team or is it the small market we in and they cue you guys to not talk about us on the air.. i have never seen a team who is 8-2 get less respect than the panthers.. you guys talk about cleveland, san diego chargers more than the panthers and they got losing records..can you explain this one for me??.. thanks

Chris Mortensen
  (11:24 AM)

First of all, lose the "respect" card. I said a couple of weeks ago I thought Panthers were a threat to all the NFC East teams. I have heard others on our network say the same thing but I am actually bothered a little by the way they've played in some of these recent games.

Mike (Happy Valley, PA)

What is your take on what happened at the end of the Steelers-Chargers game? Did they ever consider changing the final score?

Chris Mortensen
  (11:26 AM)

No. The result of the game wouldn't have changed and points scored is now 7th on tiebreakers and they don't get that far down the list. There are plays in the first, second & third quarters of games that are affected by bad decisions, too, but you can't chang the final score after the fact. That should have been done by the referee, and he did get it right the first time out of the booth. Once the officials leave the field, there will never be a score-changing reversal.

Ed (Boston)

Huge game in Miami Sunday. Prediction?

Chris Mortensen
  (11:27 AM)

Patriots over the Dolphins.

Brad (charleston)

why in the world did romeo sqib kick the ball. the browns are lucky they won that game

Chris Mortensen
  (11:28 AM)

Well, the Bills return team is one of the best in the NFL - not just the returner but the design and execution, too - so I think the squib just had to be executed better.

Zac (MN)

Hey Mort, how does AD go the entire 4th quarter without a carry after carrying the VIkings to a win the previous game. This is exactly why Chilly needs to go. I know the Vikings didn't have the ball a lot in the 4th, but that was because they didn't get their only playmaker the ball. INEXCUSABLE!

Chris Mortensen
  (11:29 AM)

I find it hard to argue with you on the Peterson part. I'm not into firing coaches, especially with so much time left in the season.

johan: (Austin)

Do you think pats gonna make it to playoffs?

Chris Mortensen
  (11:30 AM)

I have a feeling the Colts & Pats will grab the wild card spots or the Jets if the Pats win the AFC East. So, yes.

Ed (Boston)

What do you make of some of this "Trade Brady" talk from some national pundits? We're getting a big laugh out of it in NE, I mean Cassel has been okay but puhleeze.....

Chris Mortensen
  (11:30 AM)

My reaction: Puhleeze!!!

MP (Charlotte NC)

Mort, do you think the Panthers are determined to keep Julius Peppers long term?

Chris Mortensen
  (11:31 AM)

Yes. He's a dominant force again and even if they don't come to terms on lengthy deal, they certainly will franchise him.

Duffy (Queens, NY)

When will it be permissible to declare Vernon Gholston a bust? In the same vein, how would the 2008 draft go if it were held today? I'll start you off: 1) Matt Ryan. Your turn.

Chris Mortensen
  (11:33 AM)

I need two years on Gholston. As for the draft, if the Dolphins were picking first it would still go: 1. Jake Long.... they think Chad Henne will be very, very good. It's just the Parcells' way of rebuilding a team. Now, me? Sure, I would take Ryan. But I also am wondering how the Dolphins didn't take Brady Quinn a year ago, even with Ted Ginn making plays this year.

Dan (Buffalo, NY)

Mort, In my opinion the Browns are on the right track and are just one more offseason (focused mostly on the defense) of being able to compete year in and year out. With that said, how many wins do they need to maintain the current coaching/front office staff?

Chris Mortensen
  (11:34 AM)

Well, you don't change the personnel dept because there's a plan in the works. The roster is getting better. Keep building it. I'm a supporter of Romeo Crennel but I do sense his job is at stake, depending how they finish.

Jay (Middletown, CT)

Mort, with a 2 game lead in the AFC West and 6 to play, plus the head to head advantage right now over San Diego, do you see Denver FINALLY making it back to the playoffs? Look at what they are doing with the rash of injuries and playing rookies. Just think of the possibilities when guys like Champ and DJ get back.

Chris Mortensen
  (11:36 AM)

I have to admit I like the Broncos' chances a lot better than I did two games ago. The young players are doing a great job but there aren't a lot of easy ones left (yes, I've looked at the schedule.) They need the Colts to beat the Chargers this week while beating the Raiders, who have been fairly feisty vs. Jets & Dolphins.

Brad(NM)

Mort, did you agree with Buffalo's decision to run the ball 3 straight times to settle for a tough 47 yd FG? I'm thinking when a team's back is up against the wall and they HAVE to win, conservative play calling works against you.

Chris Mortensen
  (11:38 AM)

I think there are enough safe pass plays to get closer but what if Shaun Rogers tipped another one? Rian Lindell has been one of the most dependable kickers, even though he was kicking into a difficult end.

Rich, Philly

You said it is too early to call Gholsten a bust, but how much better are the Jets if they take Mayo at 6?

Chris Mortensen
  (11:39 AM)

Well, they got David Harris at the same position a year ago and he's really good (injured now). The thought in that 3-4 defense is to get those big book-end guys, a serious NT and let it rip. But Mayo was a great player in college at Tennessee and he is obviously a great player as a rookie.

Bud (So Cal)

How long do the Chargers place their hope in Norv Turner. He's just not getting enough out of his high talent squad and the clock is running on their chances down in SD.

Chris Mortensen
  (11:41 AM)

It willbe interesting to see what happens if the Chargers fall short. Do you really fire coaches so readily or analyze more deeply? the defense has been average to bad. No Merriman. LT hurt or on decline and Michael Turner in Atlanta. The Schottenheimer firing never should have happened but the standard set with that action does not bode well for Turner, I guess.

Blue (INDY)

Colts have historicly struggled against 3-4 defenses.With wins against Pitts and NewEngland have the Colts overcame this or should the Chargers D be considered a problem.

Chris Mortensen
  (11:42 AM)

I think the Colts have had so much experience against these 3-4 teams they now handle it much better, especially the protections.

Chris Mortensen
  (11:42 AM)

I think the Colts have had so much experience against these 3-4 teams they now handle it much better, especially the protections.

John (Miami)

Do people understand that the whole "Patriots dont lose again after a loss" thing has been while TOM BRADY was the QB? Im sorry, the Phins are more physical then the Pats, and a much better team then when they met the first time. This game is at home for Miami, and Miami has huge momentum. Whats up with everyone picking the pats?

Chris Mortensen
  (11:45 AM)

Well, the Dolphins beat the Pats the first meeting because they unveiled the wildcat plays. No surprise this time. Also, Matt Cassel has his feet on the ground. Now, the Pats have had more injuries since then and I see it as a close game. One thing you don't have to worry about is who picks the winners....they actually get to play the game! It should be a tight one and it won't be a surprise either way. Last thought: The Dolphins have won but struggled last two games vs. Seahawks & Raiders.

Nick (Wisconsin)

If Turner is let go by SD do you think that Bill Cowher would be a) a serious candidate for that job b) interested in it?

Chris Mortensen
  (11:46 AM)

I think Cowher definitely would be interested in that job but are the Chargers willing to pay the big tab (speculating at $8 mill).

Peter (DC)

Mort, would you advocate eliminating the fan vote portion of the Pro Bowl?? Or at least de-value the fan vote, which is basically a popularity contest? Voting updates came out, and of course, the big market players from DC and NY dominated the voting.

Chris Mortensen
  (11:48 AM)

I'm pretty sure fan voting was only used to break ties before but then the formula changed to make it a one-third weight. I agree with you because players have Pro Bowl bonuses and when a popularity contest is factored in, it bothers me a little.

PT (Franklin, NC)

Would Jim Fassell be a good fit in Oakland, everybody is bashing him for the letter and interest, but I'm not convinced he would even be a good fit there?

Chris Mortensen
  (11:49 AM)

I believe Fassel is a great fit for the Raiders. head coach. winning record. super bowl appearance. Two coach of the year awards. Offensive guy. Wants the job. It's so obvious that it probably won't happen.

Eric (Long Island, NY)

Chris you said for Bills fans to be patient last week but now that they are 5-5 are they done? What does this team need to do to finally make the playoffs sometime this century?

Chris Mortensen
  (11:51 AM)

Look, it's difficult for me to really identify the issues with the Bills because many of you think it is connected only to my relationship with ex-GM Tom Donohoe. I'll give you a clue: Why do you think the late John Butler couldn't wait to escape to San Diego when we all thought he was a Buffalo lifer? He told me why but out of respect for Butler, I'm going to leave it to your logic and imagination. I still say, be patient.

Matt (Grand Rapids)

Is Marinelli and his staff to blame for the Lions record or do they just not have the talent to compete?

Chris Mortensen
  (11:54 AM)

The head coach can't escape blame when you're 0-10. I have spoken quite well of Rod and admire him tremendously as a man, but he has had a lot of input in major personnel moves, as well as re-shaping his offensive staff. He has to get a lot of blame and he's man enough to admit it.

Samuel (CA)

The Jets haven't beat anyone except the Cardinals. They squeezed two out against Miami and New England. Why do you Mort have to fall into the hype as well? They aren't making it into the playoffs.

Chris Mortensen
  (11:55 AM)

OK, if you say so. ...I haven't been hyping the Jets. They're not a great team but the AFC is down and they are a good team with a chance to get better down the stretch.

Jay (Tampa)

Hey Mort why isn't rookie CB Aqib Talib starting over Ronde Barber by now for the Bucs? Ronde has been getting burnt on weekly basis and the rookie keeps looking better and better.

Chris Mortensen
  (11:56 AM)

The Bucs believe Ronde is still playing at a high level. Talib is very talented.

Kyle (Davie,FL)

Chris, Should the Titans rest the final 3-4 games,or should they go for the historic 19-0?

Chris Mortensen
  (11:57 AM)

Ask the Bucs about resting players for three or four games. The Giants and Patriots gave us great examples of why you don't do that...especially if you get a first round bye, as the Titans seem destined to get.

Coach Tuesday (NYC)

Mort, it sure sounds like you're either blaming the Bills' fans, owner, or both. It's a passionate fanbase, all we want is a winner. Please don't hold that against us.

Chris Mortensen
  (11:59 AM)

Well, I wasn't referring to the fans, in this case and I do know how passionate it is.

Tim (Detroit)

Is last year's Super Bowl upset looking less and less historic now that the Giants, who are missing several key guys from that team, have played so well this year?

Chris Mortensen
  (12:01 PM)

Well, I don't think it looks less historic because the Patriots were 18-0 and scored a late TD to go ahead. But no question that are are beginning to understand that the Giants were worthy of the crown and probably the best team in football right now.

Majeed

What's so special about Brady Quinn that you are still bringing up his name when it comes to Miami not drafting him?

Chris Mortensen
  (12:05 PM)

Browns fans will tell you that I am very high on Derek Anderson and opposed his benching. But after listening to all the critics during that pre-draft analysis of Quinn, I have seen enough from Quinn in practice, preseason and these two starts to see that he is going to be an absolute star in the NFL. I'm not just faulting the Dolphins - I'm saying a lot of teams blew it on Quinn. He prepares like Peyton Manning. Physically, he's big, strong & athletic. I can tell he knows how to play fast. His arm is actually stronger than advertised. His leadership is champion-like. You don't pass on QBs like that, so I assign this oversight to a lot of teams.

Jay (Middletown, CT)

Mort, the NFL moved the Jets/Broncos game next week from 1 to 4 o'clock due to the interest in the QB's and records. Which gunslinger do you see, Cutler or Favre winning this one?

Chris Mortensen
  (12:07 PM)

I'd say the Jets win that game because they are more physical across the board...but that's next week. should be fun to watch - Cutler & Favre battled it out last year with Favre throwing that great deep ball to start OT for the Packers. Oh, and they're both represented by the same great agent - James "Bus" Cook.

Ernie (Sarasota, FL)

After losing some tough games, do you think the Packers are ready to get on a roll and be a force in the postseason?

Chris Mortensen
  (12:08 PM)

Ye,s if the O-line takes control like that the rest of the season, Ryan Grant should take the heat off Aaron Rodgers. I still worry some about the defense but I think the Packers will win the division. A force? Maybe.

Tim (Philadelphia)

What do you think of all these players sticking up for McNabb?

Chris Mortensen
  (12:12 PM)

I think some of these players are telling the truth. I think a lot of players and assistant coaches are rule-handicapped. I admit I was surprised because Donovan has been in the league long enough. However, he didn't play the game differently. And, whether or not he comes back in 2009, just remember where the Eagles were before Donovan McNabb and Andy Reid came along. Maybe it's time to part ways but appreciate what they've done. McNabb is a smart guy, he's been a winner, a great competitor and a great off-the-field man.

John (Watertown, NY)

Do you see the OT rule neing changed anytime soon? It does seem ridiculous that High School and College have plans in place to try and avoid ties but the NFL doesn't seem to think it important enough to look at.

Chris Mortensen
  (12:14 PM)

The NFL reviews it every year. What was this, the first tie since 2002? If the competition committee senses a bad trend, it will recommend a change. But there is very little sentiment for the college system, by the way.

Dan (DC)

It seems like each week the Redskins offense looks more like the West Coast offense and each week their offense looks worse. Do you agree? The throw deep to Moss on play-action isn't be used as much.

Chris Mortensen
  (12:15 PM)

I think you're seeing the effects of how teams are defending them. I do recall Moss, who's had a great year, dropping a deep ball he normally catches.

Jeff (Memphis)

Any chance the three Saints players don't get suspended, or its cut down from three games. Their arguments seem at least somewhat legit.

Chris Mortensen
  (12:18 PM)

It appears complicated but I'm not sure the NFL will look at that way. My feeling is that if the NFL should determine that these are probably weigh-loss issues because of contract bonuses, is that really worthy of a four-game suspension. The policy doesn't have a lot of flexibility but how about just docking the players four game checks but letting them play? There's a pretty detailed debate that I can't do justice in a chat.

Chris Mortensen
  (12:19 PM)

On that note, I have to run. Thanks for the time and catch us against on ESPN Radio Friday night 7-9 ET and on Sunday NFL Countdown 11-1ET. And God Bless again!