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October 28, 11:00 AM ET
Chat with Chris Mortensen

shanard (slc,ut)

Mort, with the emergence of Austin, can dallas do some things different in their offense now, or u give him more time. because if he commands double teams will (roy williams) have a better outing, plus the running game on top of that would be hard to stop.

Chris Mortensen
  (11:01 AM)

Oh, I think there's no question that Cowboys clearly will deploy Miles Austin as an explosive threat and that should allow offense to breathe.

Mike (VA)

Ive seen you mention Jake Locker couple of times on twitter and I def think he can be a great pro qb but he still seems like he is a year away do you think he will come out if so what teams do you anticipate looking at him

Chris Mortensen
  (11:03 AM)

I agree Jake Locker and many underclassmen QBs - are usually better off staying in school. But the dynamics and economics of the NFL change the landscape. Now with Sam Bradford's injury, you'll see that tilt the scales, too. I know a handful of teams - a couple looking at QBs - who have Locker at the top of near the top of their lists. First round grade, though he is "raw" but with big upside. Still penty of evaluation left, though.

Jason (DC)

Do you think Dan Snyder will ever get to the point where he says wow my way of trying to assemble a fantasy team isnt working and I need to hire a real gm(not vinny cerrato) and stay out of the way

Chris Mortensen
  (11:07 AM)

I think it's very important to pour a lot of financial resources into making the entire football operation the priority, which includes head coach/GM who understand the value and importance of building through the draft, then developing those players with right coaching staff. Free agency has its purposes, too. I believe Snyder will make the necessary corrections.

david (halifax)

i've read analysts blogging for 5 weeks about how good the giants are and how they are a complete team. Any chance you and your colleagues were wrong and the giants are not as good as you all believed they were?

Chris Mortensen
  (11:10 AM)

I have never thought there was a single "great" team when the season started. I thought there were a handful of very good teams: Giants, Saints, Vikings top that list in NFC. I thought Packers would be there (wrong, but we'll see). I originally thought Giants would slip but a loss at New Orleans is no disgrace; the loss to Arizona might say a lot about both teams - Cardinals may be for real now and Giants have to fix some things. Knowing Coughlin, they get fixed & remain a contender.

carlos (ca)

How do you think Alex smith does against the colts? Do you belueve he will keep the job the rest of the year?

Chris Mortensen
  (11:13 AM)

I'm just very curious to see how Alex Smith does and I've expressed this on air: He's only 25 (he was 20 when drafted); he's been through a lot - 5 coordinators and shoulder surgery. He had a strong finish in 2nd year under Norv Turner, then lost him. I give him a shot and if he does become that guy, it will be huge for 49ers future because they can then use their two first-round picks next April on addressing other team issues, such as O-line & some defensive needs.

paul (detroit, mi)

are stafford and calvin johnson going to be back soon?

Chris Mortensen
  (11:17 AM)

I think we'll know more in a couple of days. Stafford finally tested his knee Tuesday after 2 weeks off it. How does it respond today, tomorrow? Both he

Yatin (LA)

Is Andy Reid gonna wildcat us Eagles fans to death before he realizes it just isn't adding much and risks throwing McNabb's rhythm off?

Chris Mortensen
  (11:18 AM)

It will be interesting to see how they manage it. I think a QB has to get in rhythm early in a game but Chad Pennington handled it well. Vick did complete a pass and ran for a first down. (Neither of those plays were wildcat, by the way).

jj carlson (Iraq)

hey mort do u think that the packers are of equal talent to that of the vikings? and do u think the packers will make the playoffs this yr

Chris Mortensen
  (11:20 AM)

Well, JJ, I picked the Packers to go to Super Bowl this year so I thought they had the talent to do that. Like the Packers, I've been caught off guard by the offensive line problems. As of now, I can't put them on the same talent level as Vikings. As for playoffs, I'm not ruling out Packers.

Clay (Charlotte)

Obviously this is a lost year for the Panthers. What do they need to do the rest of the season to help rebuild and become the team they have been in the past?

Chris Mortensen
  (11:23 AM)

Play to your strengths, that's what Panthers need to do. Now, they are not as dominate on defense as they'd like to be, but they're good enough on D. I would try Matt Moore at QB for now. It's apparent that a QB should have been drafted by now to step in and that will need to take place in April, when there will be a lot of border 1st round/2nd round QBs that they could possibly get, even without a first round pick next year.

James (Bethany, CT)

Are the Saints as good as advertised? I grew up in Louisiana, and am a long time fan...I'm just curious to what you think their chances are.

Chris Mortensen
  (11:26 AM)

Let's see, Drew Brees had back-to-back weeks (Bills & Jets) where he didn't throw one TD pass. He threw three ints vs. Dolphins. And they still win. So, yes, I'm buying in. I mean, their defense is aggressive and much better; it's not dominant, though. I like their chances to win the NFC, but I do believe the Vikings, the NFC East rep(s) and maybe the Cardinals can challenge. Falcons defense may not get them there.

Gary (Cincinnati)

Andre Smith is slated to come back sometime after the Bengals bye week. Given how the team is performing without him, do you insert him in immediately or sit him on the sidelines and wait for a few weeks?

Chris Mortensen
  (11:30 AM)

At the winning pace, I think Bengals will rotate him in; a lot will depend on how much the offensive coaches will trust him on the mental side. They're not about to let Carson Palmer get hurt because a rookie who signed late and got hurt misses an assignment.

Brent (Colorado)

Do you think the Broncos have a chance to be undefeated when the square up against Indy in a few weeks?

Chris Mortensen
  (11:31 AM)

Obviously, the Broncos have obstacles until they get to that point, including this week at Baltimore. But I sure like what I've seen of them.

Joseph (Denver)

What was your take on the meltdown in Miami? Obviously the Dolphins played terribly in the 2nd half but if a few calls would have gone their way they win that game (if the Colston catch at the end of the half is correctly called the Saints score no points, the Shaper TD return called a fumble on the field, etc).

Chris Mortensen
  (11:33 AM)

It could have been a huge win for the Dolphins but I know this team will not fold. However, the absence of skill people at wide receiver won't get significantly fixed.

Mark (Philadelphia)

With all of the offensive firepower Philly has, why does this offense continually fizzle? Outside of the long bombs to Maclin and Jackson in recent weeks, this offense is maddeningly erratic, and whenever Vick comes in for that wildcat nonsense, the offense comes to a screeching halt. Do you see these problems being corrected, or is it just that there are SO many weapons, it is proving hard for Reid to know what to do with them?

Chris Mortensen
  (11:36 AM)

One thing is that the offensive line isn't how Andy Reid conceived it during the off-season. Shaun Andrews was a big loss and other injuries. They have weapons. Too many? Nah. I think the Vick portion will depend on McNabb, but gray area there - is the Vick portion disrupting the rhythm in game? Practice? Let's wait and see.

Matt (Bham)

C'mon what is the big fuss about a guy eating a hot dog? Is that all ESPN could find to gossip about? Seems like you guys have shares with TMZ now.

Chris Mortensen
  (11:39 AM)

Actually, Matt, I thought all of our guys on Monday Countdown made it clear it wasn't a big deal. So I don't know what you're talking about. Now I don't watch ESPN every minute so if some of the other live programming debates the topic, that's simply the byproduct of live sports programming. But the majority of our "football guys" dismissed it as no big deal.

Chuck (Huron, SD)

Mort: During the draft, do you have contact with Gm's or are you going off of other information?

Chris Mortensen
  (11:41 AM)

I am certainly in contact with many people in the football operation, from GMs to coaches. How & when are tricks of the trade, so to speak. On player evals, I speak to a lot of people, including college coaches.

Mikey (Lackawanna,NY)

Do you think the Buffalo Bills(if in draft position to get him?) should draft Oklaahoma QB Sam Bradford? I do!

Chris Mortensen
  (11:42 AM)

I don't know that Bradford is made for Buffalo; that guy would be Locker. Takes a special QB to play there, one that won't blink at weather challenges.

Chris (Broadview Heights, OH)

You've said before the Browns should have never fired Phil Savage and boy howdy do I agree with you. George Kokanis (who is taking no heat by the way in Cleveland) turned Kellen Winslow Jr, Braylon Edwards, Joe Jurevicious and Donte Stallworth into Mohammad Massaquoi, Chaunce Stuckey, Jason Trusnik, and some draft picks in 2010. Plus, the 2009 draft was a disgrace. How can Kokanis keep this position with so many horrific moves?

Chris Mortensen
  (11:44 AM)

Well, Mangini shared heavily in those decisions. Jurevicious was a health matter. Stallworth suspended. I will find it interesting to see what happens in the front office after this season. I do think Winslow would have been traded by Savage but not Edwards.

Benjamin (Albany)

what is the ceiling on Smith, Manningham and Nicks as a trio?

Chris Mortensen
  (11:46 AM)

I'd say fairly high because they can all complement each other, each different. Superstars in the group? Probably not but Smith can be an occasional Pro Bowl type if he progresses; Manningham a deep threat and Nicks a physical presence.

jeremy (gillette, wy)

do u think that tampa bay will make a coaching change after the season?

Chris Mortensen
  (11:46 AM)

I am not ruling out anything with the Bucs.

Benjamin (Albany)

Why is Bill Sheridan not blitzing as much as Spagz? He saw Spagz win a superbowl blitzing with almost the same personnel but he decides to change things? the D is playing read/react football and Sheriden looked scared on the sideline against the Cards, this is what got Tim Lewis fired.....

Chris Mortensen
  (11:48 AM)

Panicking? Are you panicking if those receivers had hung onto a few balls. They did play a very talented Super Bowl offense. A little too early.

Mark (Montana)

If you are Pat Bowlen and Josh McDaniels do you look at giving Orton a new contract now, when you may be able to sign him a little cheaper, or wait until the end of the season where he will probably require more money if he keeps playing at his current level and make the playoffs.

Chris Mortensen
  (11:51 AM)

I can see this getting done quickly by December. Broncos have couple advantages - without a new labor deal, Orton will be a restricted free agent. But the biggest advantage is this - Kyle was a 4th round pick. He's making $995,000 - the highest base salary he's made in the 5th year of his original deal. He would absolutely take a "discounted" deal as long as it is reasonable so he can secure himself financially.

Shawn (Toronto)

Mort, what do you think the Chiefs will do with LJ?

Chris Mortensen
  (11:54 AM)

They're debating whether to release him, suspend/fine him for a couple of games; possibly wait untl NFL acts (suspends?). They have discussed keeping him on the bench because they don't want to create a culture where players can force their way out by bad behavior.

carlos (sf)

with all the offensive line troubles of the 49ers, should we have selected a linemen instead of crabtree to solidify the line? i know oher is doing wonders for the ravens

Chris Mortensen
  (11:57 AM)

That's always a good question. Usually, teams draft the player with the highest grade at a need position in the first round. The 49ers had a need at both O-line and WR; Crabtree had a VERY high grade on their board. A top 3-to-5 type of grade.

justin (ohio)

Do you think the bengals are a legit playoff team this year?

Chris Mortensen
  (11:57 AM)

Yes, they're legit playoff contender. That doesn't mean they'll make the playoffs, though.

Drew (Falcon in Japan)

Chris, Do you think ATL has a chance of beating NO?

Chris Mortensen
  (11:58 AM)

A chance, yes. I don't see anybody beating the Saints in the Superdome, though, especially on a Monday night.

spencer (Denver)

Do the Broncos look a little smarter for the Cutler trade?

Chris Mortensen
  (12:00 PM)

They don't look dumb, that's for sure, even though most people in the NFL still will tell you Cutler is a franchise QB and much more talented. Remember, Cutler forced his way out. But McDaniels clearly looks smart for the decisions he made once Bowlen gave the orders to deal Cutler.

Joe (Charlotte)

How does Bradford's injury impact his draft status? Seems there was a RB out of OU a couple of years ago who had durability questions. He seems to be doing OK?

Chris Mortensen
  (12:02 PM)

Depending on the specifics of the injury which we really don't know about, the surgery, rehab...if he can throw for scouts by late March, he has enough tape that those who liked him before he was hurt will still like him as a top 10 pick. Those that had concerns will distance themselves, and there were some concerns.

Jason (Denver)

After last weeks stink fest of an NFL week I have a bad taste in my mouth. Which game(s) this week is going to be close, competitive, and entertaining to watch?

Chris Mortensen
  (12:06 PM)

It was mostly a stink fest, huh? I like Vikes @ Packers, Broncos @ Ravens, Falcons at Saints, Giants @ Eagles, Texans at Bills (a little)Buffalo, maybe 49ers @ Colts and maybe Seahawks (coming off bye) @ Cowboys

Chris Mortensen
  (12:07 PM)

Gotta run. Catch up with me on ESPN Radio & ESPN on Friday nights and throughout weekend; Sunday NFL Countdown @ 11 a.m....God Bless!