Good morning! Once again, plenty to talk about...
Hey Mort! I know the Bengals are atrocious...but no Pro Bowl selections!?! They have to have at least on "elite" player on their team!
I imagine we'lll talk a lot about the Pro Bowl selections. I do believe T.J. Houshmanzadeh was very deserving.
Do you think Eric Mangini might ever consider playing Vernon gholston at I dont know DE which is what he naturally is instead of forcing him to be a LB where he has played very little and hasnt been able to be the pass rusher he is capable of being....I have this bad feeling the Jets will cut him and someone else will sign him let him play DE and he will be great
The Jets aren't going to cut Gholston. They have to develop him. By next year we should know whether it was a poor pick or not but somewhat of a conversion here and sometimes there's a culture shock for these rookies coming into the NFL.
Hey Mort, the Pro Bowl is a joke of a popularity contest yet AGAIN!! How does London Fletcher get snubbed yet again?!!!! The Pro Bowl holds no clout what-so-ever anymore!!
I happen to agree with you on London Fletcher but you can't label this a popularity contest alone. I mean, Jon Beeson of the Panthers and Patrick Willis of the 49ers - the two inside linebackers - are not household names. They are deserving. I just wished Fletcher would have gotten one of those spots.
Chris, What changes do you see the Green Bay Packers making this offseason? Will they fire the DC, or get him new players?
Ted Thompson, the Packers GM, says he's fallen short on getting the team better in depth. They have had some key injuries and there has been speculation about assistant coaching changes. I like Thompson's approach - keep getting the players and become a deeper team of talent.
chris, did Brett Favre really deserve his spot?!?!
I think the QB pool on the AFC was very deep. I think Roethlisberger deserved a spot over Favre. I think P. Manning and Jay Cutler belonged but QBs like Big Ben, Phillips Rivers and Chad Pennington and even Matt Cassel were worthy. But Favre also has been a very good positive for the Jets, who are 9-5 so it's not like it's a joke.
Mort, how about the Skins in general? "Anyone" who watches them knows flat-out that the team needs to quit giving away draft picks for has beens and start building their offensive and defensive lines. Yet Ceratto and Snyder choose the glamourous position players that will sell jerseys and merchandise. Is the franchise doomed until those 2 are gone?
They did not give up draft picks for the most part last year. They have re-committed themselves to the draft and I believe they'll continue to do that. Because Jason Taylor was injured, that's one area where the Skins will be second-guessed because they did give up draft picks in '09.
Your thoughts on the Chiefs...frontrunner for GM?...is Herm safe?...trade LJ or TonyG for picks?
I spoke with Chiefs owner Clark Hunt yesterday and he reiterated he is looking for a shrewd talent evaluator first and foremost for the GM spot. There are plenty of good candidates, and it doesn't mean "winning the press conference" - in other words, making the best public relations hire is not and should not be the driving force. He wants a GM who believes in building through the draft so trying to get more picks for veterans isn't a bad thought. But they could turn around quickly and you have to be careful.
Do the Bears or any other team in the market for a wide receiver have a shot at Anquan Boldin in the off-season?
Not based on my conversations with the Cardnals brass. They want to get a new contract done with Boldin but he doesn't have a lot of leverage - just a lot of respect. I'm sure it will be an off-season topic.
Is Mike Holmgren on the hotseat or is he retiring? Is their a possibility he will take another coaching position?
Mike Holmgren announced after last season that this would be his last in Seattle. So this is his final home game on Sunday (vs. the Jets & Brett Favre!). He has expressed some second thoughts, but he's 99 percent sure he'll coach again, most likely in 2010. However, and I've speculated about this, if the Cowboys fall short and Jerry Jones makes a change, Holmgren could be tempted. He and Jones are fairly tight.
Do you think Daunte Culpepper (barring any lingering effects from the injury) has played his way into a starting position somewhere next year? With some training camp and the right team, I think Daunte could still be a very solid starter in this league.
I think Daunte needs to drop15 lbs before anybody will look at him as candidate for a starting position.
why no love for Aaron Smith? He is not ever even mentioned as a snub, and he is the best 3-4 DE out there, the guy is a monster against the run and has chipped in a few sacks this year.
You just may be right. Love Aaron Smith and he is definitely one of the most underrated players of the past 10 years.
Is Ryan Clady the biggest Pro Bowl Snub? If not him it has to be P. Rivers or D. Williams.
Clady is near the top of my snubs on the Pro Bowl team. He will get my All-Pro vote at tackle. Rivers and Williams were not true snubs - they were Pro Bowl worthy but their positions were deep. Clady's position was not deep in terms of Pro Bowl worthiness.
Hey mort do you see the ravens defense coordinator rex ryan being in cleveland as a coach and if he was coach there will it be the same when romeo was in there cause he was a defense minded coach and we had the worst defense bout every year
I think Rex Ryan should be on everyone's list as coordinators worthy of a consideration as a head coach. Of the coordinators, I'm sure Ryan, the Giants' Steve Pagnuolo & the Titans' Jim Schwartz will get big looks for teams looking to hire a coach with a defensive mind. However, remember, you're looking for a head coach, not a coordinator.
Do you think Brandon Jacobs will play Sunday night? Who do you like in that game vs Carolina?
Yeah, I'm pretty sure Jacobs plays Sunday night. I think I like the Giants in close one.
Good Morning Mr. Mortensen, Any chance Shanahan releases Bob Slowick after this year and go after Greg Williams? Thank you in advance.
No, I don't see that happening.
Please explain how the top rated qb and leader in td passes was not a true snub? Rivers has made a few mistakes this year but blame the record on SD defense not him. I'd love to hear your explanation on why Favre and Cutler were more deserving.
As I said, I believe Ben Roethlisberger was more deserving than Favre. This is not all about statistics and it shouldn't be. As for Cutler, no team put more on a quarterback's shoulders than the Broncos did. Two weeks ago, they started eight rookies. They have lost five-to-7 running backs and their defense has been spotty, also hit with injuries. But Rivers & others in the AFC that I've already mentioned were worthy...just a deep position.
Mort, I'm not blaming you, but the Panthers have been ignored by the national media all year, and it's getting frustrating. DeAngelo leads the NFL in TDs (16), and is a top 5 rusher. He's averaging 5.5 yards a pop. He should be getting mentions for MVP, much less Pro Bowl!
Well, DeAngelo also got caught up in the traffic among NFC running backs. Adrian Peterson, Clinton Portis (who was a midseason MVP) & Michael Turner all are deserving, as is DeAngelo & Matt Forte.
HAHAHAHA...ESPN and their foolish ways. Favre in over Rivers, Pennington, or me...those guys kill me.
Don't quite get all your message but the players, coaches and fans select the Pro Bowl teams, not ESPN.
Mort, thanks as always for the insightful chats. Do you think Joshua Cribs was snubbed out for the Pro Bowl? I know the team is an embarrassment, but he's certainly stood out as one of the best ST-Players in the league.
I would have selected him as the AFC special teamer. Not only is he a return man but a great cover player. The combination would have gotten my vote. Maybe the AFC coach will add him.
Biggest Snub HANDS DOWN was John Abraham. How can Peppers and Jared Allen go (who has 2 Pro-bowl DT's next to him) - Abraham has more sacks and is doing it ALL BY HIM SELF! -
Good case, especially on Allen because he has two Pro Bowl DTs to free him up with a lot of one-on-ones. Peppers does not have a lot of help.
IF the Pro Bowl isnt all about popularity....explain Jason peters making it agian. He was very Mediocre.
That was the biggest head scratcher for me. Peters held out, had a sloppy year at LT...but I don't see where he gets the popularity - how many fans know him? He was not worthy but he was last year and maybe because he missed the game with an injury, there were some pity votes but never should have happened.
Now that the Giants have locked up Corey Webster, how long until we hear something on a contract for Jacobs?
Jacobs' deal will be more interesting because he's a running back. I don't know what his demands or expectations are but if they're too high, he could be disappointed.
Dallas Clark vs Antonio Gates, common! Clark got a raw deal, without him this year the Colts don't win this many in a row.
Actually, I was thinking Owen Daniels should have been the other TE ...Daniels or Clark over Gates.
Do you think that all the off season changes the Browns are going to make is going to make things any different? I am sick of always losing!!!
In speaking with coaches who look at the Browns, they think that's a very good situation because the talent level is pretty solid - with more work to be done - and the QB position is secure. You did win last year....you went to the playoffs once under Butch Davis...and I believe the Browns will be very competitive over the next few years. Obviously, there will be a new head coach.
When will the pro-bowl move out of Hawaii?
Next season the game is expected to be played in Miami during the off weekend before the Super Bowl as an experiment. I don't like the idea but willing to give it a shot. The game may get a lot of criticism but when you actually attend it and see an Adrian Peterson running like it's a playoff game..or Peyton Manning embracing it...and the 4th quarter is usually pretty intense...I don't see it as big a joke as others do. I've stood on the sideline many of those games and it's pretty interesting to se ehow competitive those guys get as they get into the second half.
Saying Allen isn't worthy because he plays with 2 great d tackles, is a detriment to his talent. Thats like saying AP is only where he is beacuse of his o line, or Peyton is where he is because of his WR. Talent should not be judged on talent around them.
I didn't mean to say Allen wasn't worthy.Of ccourse he was. But if I had to put Abraham on the NFC team, Allen may be the one I would pull off. But I'm not complaining about Allen's selection at all. As for as Peyton goes, maybe you haven't been paying attention to all the talent he's been playing without this year. But I understand your point.
Which NCAA player do you see having the best NFL career in the future? Any immediate impact players out there like a Matt Ryan?
I don't see it. Ryan had four years of starting in college. Even though some of the underlcassman QBs are very gifted, I think they will struggle early unless one of them gets lucky and goes to a team with a great defense.
What's the deal with Walter Jones getting named to the Pro Bowl? I've been watching him get burned all year and now he's out for the rest of the season.
That was a reputation pick.
Mort, Is Dick Jauron still on the coaching hot seat here in Buffalo? Or will his extension save him?
I'm guessing that Jauron will not be fired and that Ralph Wilson will make more changes in personnel dept.
Hey Mort, Merry Christmas! What is the possibility that Willie Parker is supplanted at RB next year? He seems to have been really banged up this year, the Heinz field really suits a between the tackles guy, and let's face it, Pittsburgh is much more of a passing team now, and that isn't necessarily a good thing. R. Mendenhall isn't the answer either, at least I don't think so. Thanks.
I don't think the Steelers will overreact. That's why they drafted Mendenhall (too early to tell because he was injured, too). I see them sticking with that combo.
Why no love for Haloti Ngata? He plays linebacker, def. tackle, def. end, and even tight end on goal line situations not to mention an immovable (and athletic)force on the Raven's D. Plus he doesn't get gassed at the end of the games like Shaun Rogers.
Yes, Haloti Ngata goes on the list of my genuine snubs but he does play a position that is one of the deepest in the AFC.
Mort, you mentioned that next season the Pro Bowl will be played a week before the Super Bowl. Will the players in that Super Bowl be required to play in the Pro Bowl as well? If they don't, will they be fined? It just seems rather risky (injury-wise) for a team to have their players compete in a meaningless game just before the biggest game of their lives.
No, the Super Bowl players will not play and that's bothersome for me and I suspect those players. I'm not saying they should play on that basis - no way on that before the Super Bowl - but the NFL is a unique sport so there's no way, in my opinion, to do it other than way it's been done. Even when "starters" drop out, there are often more deserving alternates who step in.
What are your thoughts on T.O. calling out Werder instead of focusing on the source(s) that made the accusations?
Maybe TO ought to focus on himself.
Ok Mort Time to put you on the stop.... Top 5 Snubs in order.
I need more time but off the top I'd put Haloti Ngata, Ryan Clady, London Fletcher, Steve Slaton & maybe one of the AFC QBs not named on that list. Oh, I think Panthers guard Travelle Wharton should have made it, too.
Hey Mort. How do players(Matt Jones for instance) get caught with cocaine/weed and and get a 1-3 game suspensions while the nfl policy for failing a drug test is 4 games? It doesnt seem to make any sense!
I explained this last week - it's automatic four-game suspension for a violation under the steroids policy because it's considered performance enhancing. There is more discretion under the substance abuse policy but Jones being a first-time violator (my understanding he also tested clean right after he was arrested) led to the 3-gamer. It's an apple-and-orange deal as I explained last week.
Why Favre, not Rivers
I've already gotten into that. I would have put Roethlisberger ahead of Rivers, Pennington, Cassel & Favre.
Focus on himself? Whenever he does that the media calls him selfish/greedy/cancer/etc. Seems like he was actually focusing on trying to make the team perform better and ESPN called him selfish/greedy/cancer/etc. Dude really can't win.
I think if you read transcripts from TO's arbitration hearing in Philly, other accounts from SF, too, and then to think that it's all just a coincidence that some elements have risen here again...well, come on, now.
Why Roethlisberger? The defense has carried that team. The offense has barely scored enough points to win games. Give the Steelers "D" to Rivers, Cassel, or Favre and where would they be?
With the Steelers' O-line and running game problems, those QBs might be on injured reserve.
What was the last good thing you've said about the Chargers or one of their players?
Huh? I have LT and Vincent Jackson on my fantasy teams....I love Rivers...I think Shawne Merriman was a huge loss...I think Antonio Gates has worked very hard through a tough toe injury situation. Jamal Williams was great last week when they needed him.
We want Marty Schottenheimer here in Buffalo!
I think Marty's a great hire for anybody.
Who are your MVP candidates right now?
Without getting into a lot of detail, it is a neck-and-neck race between Peyton Manning and Adrian Peterson...and Peyton has the longer neck, literally and figuratively.
Cowboys=no chance at Cowher?
Cowher is not fielding any phone calls now. I believe he will listen. I believe if the Cowboys fall short, Jerry Jones just may be among those owners who pick up the phone and call Cowher. I don't know what Cowher's response will be.
Chris, who do you have in the SB and winning? Thanks.
I have no clue...and I mean that. The hottest and healthiest team will win. I can make a case for a bunch of teams - the Steelers are very interesting.
Are their rumors flying around the league that Dick Jauron might still lose his job? I hear the PR dept will take a big hit if they bring Jauron back?
Why the PR dept? You mean the public is going to be mad if Jauron is brought back? I don't know what Wilson will do. He may not even know.
All right, gotta roll.... catch us Friday night on ESPN Radio and ESPN Radio.com from 7-9 ET and Sunday NFL Countdown 11-1 ET. Yes, I'll be chatting next (Christmas Eve) week. Same time, same bat channel.God Bless!