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December 31, 6:47 AM ET
Chat with Chris Mortensen

Chris Mortensen
  (11:03 AM)

Good morning and almost Happy New Year! Let's see I've gotten aout 8 hours sleep...over the past five days so my brain is overloaded and it's a small brain at that. So let's see if you can make sense of what we're about to talk about.

Austin (Houston)

Is Michael Turner or Larry Fitzgerald going to face any disciplinary actions from the league over the domestic violence accusations?

Chris Mortensen
  (11:04 AM)

The league will take disciplnary action if there is a final dispensation on those alleged incidents. Neither Turner nor Fitzgerald would come under the category of repeat trouble guys so nothing will happen that impacts the playoffs.

Brian Baltimore,MD

How dangerous do you feel the Ravens are heading into the Playoffs?

Chris Mortensen
  (11:06 AM)

Real dangerous. First, they match up well with the Dolphins. Next, we know what the defense is capable of. But, more importantly, OC Cam Cameron has the offense humming in all phases. And other than the obvious on offense with Flacco & the running game, Derrick Mason, etc., is the play of the young offensive line. Really strong there.

Shawn (Toronto)

Mort, have heard little regarding the Kansas City GM vacancy. Doesn't seem that they are being as aggressive in going after people as Cleveland. Who are the front runners?

Chris Mortensen
  (11:08 AM)

I just think Clark Hunt, the owner, is more low key. He has had contact with Scott Pioli, selling him on the long-term commitment the Hunt family had with Carl Peterson for 20 years. Hunt also has been aiming for a younger GM - among the names that keeps popping up is Mark Domenik of the Bucs who has ties to the Chiefs. And Hunt is very receptive to convincing Herm Edwards staying on longer as they rebuild with youth.

Will J (Portland, OR)

Mort, how surprised were you on the Shanahan firing? It definitely caught me off guard.

Chris Mortensen
  (11:09 AM)

Very surprised but short of "shocked." Shanhan actually did one of his best coaching jobs but clearly Bowlen felt Shanahan's GM work had fallen short. And Bowlen wanted changes. Quite an event.

Dan (Buffalo, NY)

Mort, Who do you think Randy Lerner will end up getting for GM and coach?

Chris Mortensen
  (11:10 AM)

Everything I hear is that Lerner will try to close the deal with Scott Pioli is their meeting goes well today. If it's Pioli, then Kirk Ferentz of Iowa and Josh McDaniels, the Pats OC, are the coaching candidates, based on what I know. I'd add that Titans defensive coordinator Jim Scwhartz, who is hot, will interview with the Browns and Lions this week. Schwartz was on the Belichick staff in Cleveland, too.

J.B. (Dunmore, PA)

How long do you think Shanahan and Mangini stay unemployed?

Chris Mortensen
  (11:12 AM)

Shanahan probably can get a job today if he really wants one. I am not going to rule out the Cowbys because Jerry Jones probably had no idea Shanahan would come free but we'll see on that one. Mangini had two winning seasons in three so he'll get some interviews or he'll take a defensive coordinator's job that makes sense.

Yatin (LA)

Do you see Andy Reid going back to his pass-happy ways against the Vikings great run D, or will he see how good this team can be w/ a balanced offense that includes Buckhalter?

Chris Mortensen
  (11:13 AM)

I think it will more through the air but Andy will attack wherever he feels they have favorable matchups - that's what coaches do.

John (Detroit)

Mort I thought the NFL has the Rooney Rule any minority coaches?

Chris Mortensen
  (11:15 AM)

Yes, and all teams will comply with that rule. The rule requires teams to interview minority candidates for their head coach vacancy. It does not apply yet to the front office.

Ross (Chicago)

Do you think Pioli will hold off on accepting the Browns job and talk with the Broncos and who do you see as Denver's next coach?

Chris Mortensen
  (11:17 AM)

I don't know but have wondered about that on Pioli; if anything it gives him leverage with Lerner. As far as the Broncos, I expect Pat Bowlen to hire a GM, then a defensive coordinator as head coach - OC Jeremy Bates just agreed to a 3 year contract extension so the offense wouldn't have to take as big a hit.

George (NY)

Would the NYJ job interest Shanahan? Does Shanny interest the Jets?

Chris Mortensen
  (11:19 AM)

I would say the Jets would have interest but I doubt Shanahan would be big on that job just because I know Mike really believes that you need a special QB to win a Super Bowl - and I mean in a mid-to-long-term range, not a Brett Favre for one year, especially at 40 years old.

brandon (Indiana)

Does Bill Cower come back if Jerry Jones gives him a call?

Chris Mortensen
  (11:20 AM)

No and Jerry's not going to do that. Not a match there. Now Shanahan might be very appealing to Jerry and that's the one development I am monitoring.

PaulieP (Scottsdale)

Do you think the Broncos discussed Shanny losing the GM title and just being a coach (ala Holmgren in Seattle?

Chris Mortensen
  (11:20 AM)

I have a feeling that's true but we'll hear from Pat Bowlen today on that.

Jay (Middletown, CT)

Mort, Jay Cutler is expressing his displeasure of the Shanahan firing, should I be concerned or will he get over it? Also, is it a REAL possibility as some suggest that Cowher will come to the rescue? Please say yes! Happy New Year!!!

Chris Mortensen
  (11:22 AM)

No on Cowher w Denver unless Cowher wants it so badly he would give Bowlen a financial discount and now have all the power that belonged to Shanahan. I addressed this earlier. Cutler said exactly what I would expect him to say but he'll move on and he could keep Jeremy Bates as the OC.

Greg - tampa

Mort, who are your award winners?

Chris Mortensen
  (11:24 AM)

I don't have time to explain them all but here's how I voted: MVP - Peyton Manning; Offensive Player - Drew Brees; Defensive Player - James Harrison; Offensive Rookie - Matt Ryan; Defensive Rookie - Jerod Mayo; Comeback Player - Jake Delhomme; Coach of the Year (and the toughest vote) - Mike Smith.

Jim (Kansas City)

Why is Clark so sold on Herm? Doesn't make a lot of sense. The defense has been horrible and he brought in Gunther and that is his side of the ball?

Chris Mortensen
  (11:26 AM)

Well, I think he has a good working relationship there and clearly has assigned a lot of blame to Carl Peterson for not starting to rebuilding process one year earlier. Chan Gailey did a terrific job with the offense - and, yes, the defense needs fixing. If the new GM is adamant about a new coach, I believe Hunt would go along with that.

Rick Albany NY

Mort, with all of your talk about Shanahan possibly being of interest to Jerry Jones, how would Shanahan fit with the personel and scheme that Dallas runs both offensively and defensively?

Chris Mortensen
  (11:28 AM)

Rick, a very smart question. Offensively, Shanahan was a huge Romo guy. The Cowboys are three deep at RB with Barber, Jones & Choice. The O-line may be less athletic that Shanahan prefers and the WRs probably would thrive. On defense, Shanahan wanted to fool around with a 3-4 in Denver but didn't have the players. Cowboys do.

Matt (orlando)

Mort, aren't the broncos released from having to pay Shanahan for his remaining salary from the point he accepts a new job? Unless you don't think he will coach for 3 years, why would Bowlen worry about the money? He has always been one of the most generous owners.

Chris Mortensen
  (11:29 AM)

It would be what you call an "offset" depending on how the contracts written. Let's say Bowlen owes Shanahan $7 mill next season. If somebody wanted to hire Shanny and pay him $3.5 million, then Bowlen would have to pay the balance. Or, Bowlen and Shanny could always reach a settlement and make it a clean break.

brandon (Indiana)

Mort, is anybody interested in Mike Martz for OC, maybe the Bears??

Chris Mortensen
  (11:32 AM)

No, I don't see the Bears doing that because it may not be compatible with their philosophy. But I will say that I was very impressed with what Martz did in SF, especially under Singletary. No one is perfect. Mike has some flaws but he is a very qualified offensive coach with the right checks and balances from the head coach.

Jim (Indy)

Do the Lions have any hope aside from Kevin Jones and Calvin Johnson?

Chris Mortensen
  (11:33 AM)

It's a real building job but the first pick in the draft could yield a QB and that guy will have a Calvin Johnson and Kevin Smith to grow with.

Sean (Nasua, NH)

Hi Mort, There has been some talk of Pioli as the GM for the Browns, and Mangini is being interviewed, any chance the two could bury the hatchet that was Spygate? Thanks

Chris Mortensen
  (11:33 AM)

I guess that would surprise me.

Mike (Boca Raton)

do you think the jets firing of mangini (and particularly the subsequent comments made at the press conference) violates marv levy's saying: "those that listen to the fans will soon sit among them"?

Chris Mortensen
  (11:35 AM)

I don't think Marv's thought was an original one but it is certainly correct. However, the Jets are in the midst of a difficult campaign and a stressed economy to sell a lot of personal seat licenses and there's no question it was a factor. How big? I don't know. There were other factors, obviously.

Mike (San Francisco)

Can the Giants kiss Spags goodbye? I know he is more patient than most and wants the right opportunity, but he is getting a ton of interest.

Chris Mortensen
  (11:36 AM)

Oh, I'd say this is it for Spags unless his family protests loudly.

Kevin (New York)

Is it wrong that I think Tim Tebow could be the savior for my Detroit Lions? Also what can we do to fix our defense?

Chris Mortensen
  (11:37 AM)

Well, I love Tebow but nobody projects him as a high first round pick. Most project him as a second or third rounder...a few maybe a low first rounder and there is a majority who believe he does not project well into the NFL as a QB. I'm in the minority - I think he can pull it off with his work ethic but I would be nervous about making him the first pick.

DB (San Jose, CA)

Do you think the Mike Singletary signing is good by the 49ers? Who do you see as the 49ers next OC? Any chance Norv Turner comes back?

Chris Mortensen
  (11:38 AM)

Norv is the Chargers coach, right? I think Singletary will interview a lot of guys but the favorite could be Scott Linehan.

Ted (Milwaukee)

Happy New Year, Mort! How about Parcells to Denver?

Chris Mortensen
  (11:40 AM)

I don't know...he's not talking to me. It's a thought but I think it goes another direction in Denver.

Dave (Dallas)

What do you think of the Bills bringing back Jauron? Seems like the team always plays hard for him, but they also do some stupid things sometimes when it comes to game management.

Chris Mortensen
  (11:42 AM)

I think it was the right thing to stick with Jauron for stability reasons. But if Wilson had kept Donahoe and Mularkey together, this deal would have gone to the next level (to open new wounds). Look, I really do hope the Bills get this thing going but you can't keep changing coaches and the football operation.

Nick (NJ)

How about Spags to Denver?

Chris Mortensen
  (11:43 AM)

I think it would be a terrific move for all concerned but there are other really good coach candidates out there.

Dan (Atlantic City, NJ)

Have any of your sources told you that Jerry Jones might be interested in hiring Shanahan; or, are you speculating it could be a fit given their mutual respect? As a Cowboys fan, I will be very unhappy if Wade Phillips returns.

Chris Mortensen
  (11:44 AM)

Hmmmm, I would say somewhat informed speculation but Jerry really believes Wade was getting the defense fixed and he knows defense wins championships. Can Jerry navigate through this and still pull off Shanahan? I'm curious.

Mike (FL)

Any chance Parcells DOESNT opt out? I'm not saying he will definitely leave the Dolphins, but doesnt it just make sense for him financially to exercise his option?

Chris Mortensen
  (11:46 AM)

I think it makes more sense for Stephen Ross, the new owner, to ask Bill to stay at least one more year and he can accomplish that by deferring this walk-out clause to 2010. That's what makes sense.

Matt(N.J)

Mort, as a die hard Titan fan, what is your opinion on them re-signing Albert and Jim Schwartz leaving?

Chris Mortensen
  (11:47 AM)

The Titans have been focused on re-signing Haynesworth for awhile. Schwartz, the defensive coordinator, is ready to be a head coach. if he leaves, Jeff Fisher can bring back Gregg Williams, who only signed a one-year contract with the Jaguars.

Mike (NC)

How good is Matt Ryan?

Chris Mortensen
  (11:48 AM)

As polished a rookie QB that I can remember...I do think it appears he's running a little low on fuel near the end of a long season. That's why a first round bye would have made the the Falcons even more dangerous.

brandon (Indiana)

Would Bill Parcells ever be interested in NFLPA President job?

Chris Mortensen
  (11:49 AM)

Brandon, you are funny...and I'll push you for all the OC jobs out there, too.

Chris Mortensen
  (11:49 AM)

Brandon, you are funny...and I'll push you for all the OC jobs out there, too.

Guy Pasadena,MD

hey Mort what do you think about adding another statistic dropped balls I am tired of these receivers complaining they don't get the ball enough and the QB hits them right in the hands or numbers and they drop the ball and it goes against the QB reflecting bad on them

Chris Mortensen
  (11:50 AM)

I'm all for it. The statistic is kept but not posted.

John (Baltimore, MD)

Why did'nt Joe Flacco get a single Rookie of Year vote? Everyone says Flacco had a defense, but the numbers are a wash and Flacco played one of the hardest schedules in the NFL.

Chris Mortensen
  (11:52 AM)

You really have a good case. We only get one vote. Flacco inherited a dominating defense, which allowed him the comfort of growing into the job, and where a turnover ccan be erased more readily. But, yes, he played an extremely tough schedule, he was outstanding down the stretch, and he would have been my No. 2 behind Ryan.

Ian (SF, CA)

Mort, please tell me that Bowlen isn't seriously considering Stoops as some rumors have suggested? I just don't see a college coach as the answer to follow up Shannahan, Broncos need someone with NFL experience.

Chris Mortensen
  (11:53 AM)

I would be surprised at that but it was mentioned because Bowlen went to Oklahoma law school. That's a reach.

DB (San Jose, CA)

There was a rumor that Mike Shanahan forced himself out in Denver to try to get the Chargers job. Have you heard of anything like that?

Chris Mortensen
  (11:54 AM)

Heard the rumor but I don't believe it.

Josh (Knoxville, TN)

How about the stat that counts bad throws? I've seen it some places. For instance, TO has more than a handful of drops, but also has a very high number of passes thrown to him that aren't completed even after taking out drops. Doesn't that seem to indicate the QB isn't making good throws to him? ESPN doesn't put that stat on TV, though.

Chris Mortensen
  (11:54 AM)

OK, that's a relevant counter point.

Adam (Jersey)

Any chance Marinelli goes back to the Bucs in some capacity? I don't know how many people are going to be offering him HC or DC jobs...

Chris Mortensen
  (11:55 AM)

Marinelli will be a highly coveted D-line coach and could make a whole lot of money doing that. The Bears already have been mentioned, too.

CC (Atlanta)

Breaking news.... the playoffs start this weekend. How about some wildcard round talk... Falcons/Carldinals.

Chris Mortensen
  (11:57 AM)

Falcons favored... I kind of lean to the Cardinals on this one, which is good news for the Falcons. A friend of mine in the Atl organization pointed out I was 6-10 in picking Falcons' games this year. The Cardinals have been a good home team and I just don't know if the Falcons can muster up enough pressure on Warner - if they can, they win. Michael Turner also will be a major factor in who decides this game.

mike (florida)

who do you think will win the superbowl?

Chris Mortensen
  (12:01 PM)

Ha! I picked the Cowboys over the Chargers before the season. Then, at mid-season, I picked the Steelers over the Panthers (that's got a chance, at least). I really don't have a clue. I think it's wide open in both conferences.

Rams (St. Louis)

Im stuck with my players having a petition to keep Haslett as HC and signing a new one. Who should get the job and why?

Chris Mortensen
  (12:02 PM)

The Rams are in a unique but tough position. They are a franchise for sale and everyone knows that so I don't know how attractive they are to some coaches. The Rams definitely played hard for Haslett - forget the petition, I thought their best statement was the game they played in Atlanta on Sunday. Outplayed the Falcoms, really. So Haz is a candidate, along with other coordinators, including Leslie Frazier of the Vikes.

Larry (Pasco, WA)

Any comment on the multi-tasking during today's chat?

Chris Mortensen
  (12:03 PM)

There's a lot of it going on, trust me...and the phone is ringing every 2 minutes.

JC (Boston, MA)

If Pioli and McDaniels leave the Patriots who do you see as replacing them? If McDaniels leaves any chance Martz comes to New England?

Chris Mortensen
  (12:05 PM)

Interesting question on Martz because he and Belichick have had a mutual admiration. But Belichick is very hands on with the offense. Belichick is in charge of the football operation so i imagine he knows who he would hire to replace Pioli. I don't know.

Mike (FL)

Will Jim Johnson ever be a HC, or is he content being a career DC like Monte Kiffin?

Chris Mortensen
  (12:06 PM)

I think Jim was very interested in being a HC and I don't quite understand why it never happened for him but it appears it's never going to happen.

Mike (Baltimore)

Hey Mort, what do you think the chances are of seeing a rookie QB matchup in the Super Bowl with Flacco and Ryan?

Chris Mortensen
  (12:07 PM)

Well, I like the Ravens chance to get there more than the Falcons.

Mike: (Freeport, IL)

With a new coach coming to Denver, are Jay Cutler's days numbered if he doesnt lead his team to the playoffs next season?

Chris Mortensen
  (12:08 PM)

No. I must have heard from a half-dozen coaches/GMs yesterday (in a long travel day when I wasn't available) who said that is the featured attraction in Denver - Cutler. Get the defense right, take the burden off Cutler to feel like he has to score two TDs every time he takes the field and he will win a Super Bowl.

Matt R (Madison)

IN my opinion, Aaron rodgers really did a good job following a legend, He passed for oveer 4,000 yards and had a passer rating over 90! YOur thoughts?

Chris Mortensen
  (12:09 PM)

I thought Rodgers handled it better than anyone I can remember in history, both in performance and demeanor.

J (Milwaukee)

What's the difference between Tony Romo and Jake Plummer? Both have been great at times, but both seem to underproduce at critical moments.

Chris Mortensen
  (12:09 PM)

Romo's only had two full seasons of starting so let's see more.

Larry (Pasco, WA)

A lot of experts say J. Cutler is the next greatest thing, but what has he done. P. Rivers has lead his team to the playoffs three years in a row. When is he going to get some love from the ESPN experts?

Chris Mortensen
  (12:10 PM)

Come on. Rivers has gotten plenty of love from everyone. And there is no comparison in the overall talent, especially on defense and RB. But Rivers is a stud, no question about it.

Mike (TX)

Jerry Jones should do for Romo what the Giants did for Eli. Get rid of the prima-donna -- TO=Shockey.

Chris Mortensen
  (12:10 PM)

I think you're right on the mark.

Bud (So Cal)

How about a Chargers vs Giants superbowl? Eli vs Rivers could be a great build up...

Chris Mortensen
  (12:11 PM)

That's a great one. Lot of good story lines and sub plot possibilities.

Jon O (florida)

Please tell me something good about the texans!! After you guys got my hopes so high in the offseason.. I saved my espn mag's where it said you guys picked the texans to make the playoffs. Now i'm just sad, I expect a free t-shirt in the mail for all of these last 17 weeks of being lied too.

Chris Mortensen
  (12:12 PM)

Look, the Texans' offense was outstanding. You found a star RB in Slaton. You have maybe the best WR in Andre Johnson, one of the top DEs in Mario Williams and other talent. I think getting the defensive staff right after an 8-8 season is the proper next step. Keep the faith.

Terry (Charlotte)

Any chance Carolina will have an open QB competition with Delhomme, Matt Moore, and Josh McCown?? I like the team, but Delhomme really holds back that teams potential with all of the lame ducks he throws. He is lucky to have Smith bail him out time after time.

Chris Mortensen
  (12:14 PM)

You don't discard a QB who just won as many games as Jake did and managed it well with leadership. Sometimes, a QB has to give a great player a chance to make a play so you do just throw it up there when you're in awkward positions. I'd appreciate Jake a little more than that.

Jon (Brooklyn, NY)

Ferentz has been mentioned as a possible favorite candidate of Pioli's - how do you project him as an NFL Head Coach?

Chris Mortensen
  (12:15 PM)

A lot of people I respect in the NFL project him very well. And, remember, he did coach in the league (with Browns & Ravens).

Chris (baltimore, md)

Will Rex Ryan get a head coaching job for next season?

Chris Mortensen
  (12:16 PM)

Rex is going to be a candidate and he should be. I think he would be a good one. Great relationship guy/communicator with players and very smart with his schemes.

Dan (Buffalo, NY)

Mort, Ferentz may have coached in the league before, but Browns fans will not swallow that hire after the Butch Davis fiasco.

Chris Mortensen
  (12:17 PM)

That's one of the problems with the Browns - owner listens to fans way too much.

Dan (Atlantic City, NJ)

Does Jerry Jones navigating through this and still pulling off Shanahan mean seeing if all parties will accept Wade Phillips as DC under Shanahan?

Chris Mortensen
  (12:18 PM)

That's what I wonder. It would be a major coup by Jones but I'm not sure Wade would accept it. Remember, he was fired in Denver to make room for Shanahan.

Jeff Charlotte, NC

You talked about Jerry Jones' concern with the defense, but what about hiring Dom Capers as the DC since he is just a position coach with the Patriots? They almost did it last year.

Chris Mortensen
  (12:18 PM)

Yes, I thought about that.

Greg - tampa

With Shanahan out, do you think Gruden can feel safe?? The Bucs implosion was worse than the Broncos, they lost 4 straight starting with the embarrsement on MNF.

Chris Mortensen
  (12:20 PM)

I do think there will be a point where Gruden faces a lot of heat but I don't think it will happen right now. The Bucs' defense had injuries and was the major contributor to that decline, not to mention Garcia's health and the loss of Earnest Graham.

Pete (NC)

I bet the Panthers vs Titans would be terrible for TV ratings. But it would be a great rushing battle. Plus Collins vs his first team.

Chris Mortensen
  (12:24 PM)

You know what we have learned - everyone tunes in at the start of the Super Bowl, regardless of the opponents. And if it's a good game, the ratings will hold and increase if it's a nail biter. Plus, Springsteen at halftime!

Chris (Sacramento, CA)

Mort, do you think the 49ers jumped the gun in hiring Singletary, now that Shanahan is on the market? Should have waited a few days and do their due diligence.

Chris Mortensen
  (12:25 PM)

No, they did they right thing and I don't believe Shanahan would embrace that job even with prior history there.

Mike (Boca Raton)

do you have any concerns about the steelers run defense? they looked average at best in their last three games (@bal, @ten, cle). do you think they will stiffen in the playoffs?

Chris Mortensen
  (12:26 PM)

I really believe the bye week will make that better. That schedule was brutal. And that's why Mike Tomlin was a deserving coach of the year candidate, even though he won't win it.

G-Money

Any chance Spags is the next Giants coach, kind of like Jim Caldwell in Indy?

Chris Mortensen
  (12:28 PM)

That's possible but I don't know if Coughlin is going to tire anytime soon. Tom is not the retiring type. He's in great physical and mental health. And I think he would rightfully object to that dynamic even though he would love to keep Spags - heck, he's the one who hired him when nobody was thinking about him.

Marc (Malden, MA)

Is Jerry Jones willing to give up control over personnel? I can't imagine Shanahan would want to cook if Jerry is buying the groceries.

Chris Mortensen
  (12:29 PM)

I don't believe that would be a huge hurdle for Shanahan.

Chris Mortensen
  (12:32 PM)

I really want to keep going but I have to go now. Thanks for the questions...got a ton of them. Happy New Year. Catch us on Saturday 11 ET for NFL Countdown and Sunday, too. Got some great stuff for this weekend, including Tom Jackson's priceless interview with Peyton Manning and some deep breakdowns on all the games. We'll talk about the GM/coaching carousel and project some free agents....God Bless.