good morning... with all going on, I have to keep this to about 35-45 minutes...but let's get started.
Alright Mort, lets have your prediction for the biggest game of the week - Tampa or Carolina on MNF and why??
Well, the Bucs pasted 'em pretty good the first time but the Panthers are healthier and I think their win in Green Bay was a huge confidence boost. Also, I don't think the Bucs' running game will be at the level it needs to be....so I'm taking the Panthers in a tight one.
Mort, In regards to Pro Bowl voting, don't you think the Hall of Fame Panel, the Awards Panel & a new extended Panel should vote for Pro Bowl players instead of the Coaches, Players & Fans? The more Pro Bowl Votes a player gets the more he's in consideration for the Hall of Fame so I think this process needs to be changed. Your thoughts?
Yeah, I could agree with you but the fans don't pick the teams - let's get that straight. The fans have a 1/3rd say and it is a fans game. I do think the Pro Bowl status of players needs to be discounted by HOF voters but that was always the case. Coaches & Players didn't do a great job, either, for either political reasons or they just didn't focus when they analyzed the ballots.
With the Vikes suspensions announced, do you think the Pack can claw back in to this thing? They do have the easiest remaining schedule
Yes, if the Vikings suspensions hold up - and they now also have lost their third DE Bryan Robinson to a knee scope - the Packers have a golden opportunity unless the court intervenes today. Packers have a chance to run the table.
Mort, is this Mike Shanahan's best coaching year ever for him? I find it amazing how well he has drafted lately and the way he game plans with so many injuries that have decimated the Broncos. Would he even be considered for Coach of the Year...Your thoughts?
I agree that Shanahan really has done a great job...a very young team with injuries. But the coach of the year is going to be tough...I canname 10 guys but I believe it will come down to Mike Smith of the Falcons, Jeff Fisher of the Titans, John Harbaugh of the Ravens, Tony Sparano of the Dolphins and Tom Coughlin of the Giants.
Hey Chris is Dick Jauron going to be gone after this season I hope so
Is that always going to be the answer - just keep firing people....front office, coaches, players. That's been the problem. However, I will say that despite a 3 yr extension, Jauron may be on the hot seat so maybe you'll get your wish and get the next coach in there to be fired.
On the other side of it, can the Vikes hold on to win the North with out the WIlliams Wall?
If the Vikings can win this division without the Williamses, it will be because Adrian Peterson emerges as the NFL MVP, which is is quite capable of doing.
Mort, some people have said Kerry Collins name for MVP. While I disagree with MVP why not "Comeback Player of the Year". That award shouldn't always go to an previously injured player, should it?
No, it doesn't always have to be an injured player and I would agree Collins is a candidate. Also, let's see how Delhomme continues to play. His injury was unique and the Panthers are 9-3.
Mort, I am so confused along with many other Broncos fans and football fans in general. The Broncos are 3-0 against the tough NFC South and they manhandled one of the hottest teams in the league on the road. They also lost by three touchdowns to a terrible offensive team and have also lost to the Chiefs and Jags. Can you explain what is going on?
Figure out the Broncos? Figure out the league? That's almost impossible but there are always different variables - how matchups differ each week, the degrees of physical injuries, teams that press too much and teams that are just flat. Also, divisional games are generally tougher because of the teams' familiarity with each other. The Broncos' mediocrity at home puzzles me, too. But, hey, they have won some impressive games.
I'm disappointed by yesterday's bumetanide suspensions; it seems overly harsh, considering the circumstances. What is your take? Also, do you have a feel for how team owners, as a whole, are viewing the Commissioner's leadership on disciplinary matters?
The commisssioner is getting very high grades on these matters. The policy is collectively bargained. It is crystal clear on these substances; however, I felt there was room for compromise (maybe fine 'em their game checks but let 'em play). But, remember, they could have taken their suspensions earlier. The league could find itself answering to Congress again if they gave these guys a pass. I think the system needs to be revised eventually.
What's Lovie Smith's biggest deficiency as a coach? I believe it's his ability to make in game adjustments.
I know Lovie well enough that he's not overmatched in that dept. at all. I believe when they don't turn over the ball and they play good defense, they win. It's simple. And the Vikings at home are no treat. It's not like the Bears have talent that is a cut above their competitors; in fact, I have seen them as overachievers this year. They are still in the race.
Mort, will the Giants look to free agency to maybe replace Plax at the end of the year or the draft or players already on the roster?
They have a very ample group of receivers. That won't be a priority, I don't think, but certainly they will look to add one because Toomer is getting some age even though he remains an effective wideout.
Do assistant coaches such as Monte Kiffin and Dick LeBeau deserve Hall of Fame consideration?
This is a HUGE flaw in the Hall of Fame recognition and I have spoken with a number of influential HOF voters. To me, there needs to be a separate wing for contributors and assistant coaches (even those like LeBeau who have gotten a chance to be a head coach). If the media gets a wing, why not front office contributors and assistant coaches?
What team might be willing to take a chance on Plaxico assuming he doesn't face jail time?
Well, the Raiders need a bigtime WR....the Bengals? The Cowboys? If he's not in jail, he will find a team.
Mort, what are you hearing about Carl Peterson and Herm Edwards being back next season? I think we need to give them another year. I see some progress.
I reported on this Monday night - Herm is almost certain to come back. Carl's future seems less certain. There is real progress and Clark Hunt likes Herm, believes the team probably should have started rebuilding a year earlier than it did and the target year to really contend is 2010 when Arrowhead opens with its renovations.
how come nobody mentions thomas jones as an MVP? we are looking at a 1400 yard 18TD season here for a playoff team.
That's a very good point. He should be in the MVP candidate pool.
Can you see Hillis being the starting RB in Denver next season?
No, I think Mike Shanahan loves the versatility Hillis can bring as a receiver/H back with some running mixed in. Hilllis probably has the best hands on the teams and that includes all their receivers.
Mort - the SD front office has made it clear that Norv is coming back in '09. Do you think it's the right call? Does he deserve another season for getting to the AFC championship last year and the work he has done with Rivers? Or should he take the fall for turning a physical team into a passive one?
I am not big into organizations firing coaches after two years. I thought it was a joke Marty Schottenheimer was fired. That said, Norv did get to the AFC title game last year and the loss of Shawne Merriman had a greater impact that maybe they expected, the injury to LT, Gates still being a little off with his prior injury, no Michael Turner, a mistake with the defensive coordinator. So, much blame deserves to go around and I think you just roll up your sleeves and fix it. Oh, this season is not over yet.
Mort, as always great stuff. My beloved Bears have been struggling-- when its clear there is enough talent to have won some games they lost. are we looking at a DC change and maybe a coaching change if the Bears dont make the playoffs?
I certainly don't see a head coaching change - most prognosticators saw the Bears as a 3rd or 4th place team in the NFC North. If Lovie Smith believes there needs to be staff changes, he'll do it. But they need secondary players and they could beef up the O-line, too.
Why has no one mentioned a Co-Offensive ROY w/Flacco & Ryan? They each entered near identical team situations and have each produced near-identical stats (both at 61% completion separated by 2 attempts!). The NBA had Co-ROY w/Jason Kidd & Grant Hill.
I love Flacco but here's why: The Ravens had a dominating defense that gave Flacco more room to grow and there was not the specter of Michael Vick hanging over his head. My rookie class right now would be: 1. Matt Ryan; 2. Matt Forte; 3. Ryan Clady; 4. Joe Flacco; 5. Chris Johnson.
I know the packers knew they were in for a down season when Brett Farve retired then his eventual trading, but if they dont make the playoffs is this season considered a "fail" ?
Somewhat. But they had serious D line injuries, plus Nick Barnett, miss Al Harris for a month-plus, safeties are shaky and Ryan Grant has been off. Plus, Aaron Rodgers has played through a significant shoulder injury....it's not as simple as it appears.
Well, the Broncos have been a shaky home team and their road game are at Carolina and San Diego. I expect the Broncos to win the division but if the Chargers ran the table, who knows? Obviously, a long shot.
Mort, with Kurt Warner's performance dropping the last few games, do you think the MVP race is more open? I think you were spot on when suggesting that Adrian Peterson could get more consideration. He is an absolute freak of nature and I've never seen a running back that has had an easier 100 yard day. Without him, the Vikings would have NO SHOT at reaching playoffs. The Cardinals on the other hand, would probably still be leading the NFC West with Leinart. Peterson and Brees deserve it more than any other.
The MVP race has always been wide open: I believe Peyton & Eli Manning (who were 10-0 in November in spite of all the adversity), Albert Haynesworth, Adrian Peterson, Matt Ryan, Thomas Jones, maybe Brett Favre, Jay Cutler & Warner are all serious candidates. And others....four more games to go!
Hey Mort, How about the Steelers, after shutting down the Pats. They already have a Championship caliber Defense if the offense gets on track they will be tough to beat, your thoughts?
If their offfensive line holds up, keeps getting better and the Wille Parker can stay healthy, the Steelers are very capable of winning it all. The Ravens are now serious contenders, too.
Got to go back to TV....thanks for the time. catch us on ESPN Radio Friday night 7-9 & Sunday NFL Coutndown 11-1....God Bless!