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November 18, 11:00 AM ET
Chat with Chris Mortensen

greg (ashburn va )

do you see any other nfl firings in 2009 or just the bills?

Chris Mortensen
  (11:00 AM)

I assume you mean before the 2009 season is finished. I would say keep watch in Cleveland. The owner, Randy Lerner, has used the phrase "plans on sticking" with Eric Mangini. That's a loose commitment. The Redskins are playing better so maybe Jim Zorn stays but not ruling something out there, either, before the year over.

Kurtis (Houston)

The Texans look legit this year. Most likley the Colts will take the division; but what do you think their chances are having a winning season, and getting in the playoffs as a wildcard this year?

Chris Mortensen
  (11:03 AM)

I think the next two games very well could define how viable the Texans are as a playoff-caliber team. They're home Monday night against the Titans then then host the Colts. Both tough games but both winnable. If they win both, I like their momentum headed down the stretch but they can't stumble in road games like Jaguars (who they lost to) and the Rams.

John (Denver)

Mort - what are you hearing on Ronnie Brown. Seems like this could be a bad situation.

Chris Mortensen
  (11:05 AM)

Anytime you hear a player visiting a specialist means there's serious concern about an injury. I'd say get ready for a lot of Ricky Williams and Lex Hilliard, a tough 230-pounder.

ozzie (florida)

Yo big mort,what's goin on with the big tuna down here?He looking at any 2nd rd LBs to draft if he gets rid of porter?and why in the world hasn't anyone made a ESPN MIami site yet?we're not cool enough down here??

Chris Mortensen
  (11:06 AM)

I think beefing up the linebacking corp will be a major priority for the Dolphins in the off-season. As for ESPN Miami site, oh, it's coming, I'm sure.

Quaggs (Schaumburg, IL)

So im not aware of any fines on Brady Quinn yet for the cheap shot on Suggs on MNF, Suggs is out for a few weeks and Quinn gets nothing? whats up with that

Chris Mortensen
  (11:08 AM)

Those fines get sent to the player. He should know by either today or Thursday. The NFL does not announce these fines but they leak out and league will confirm only on Friday. I have a feeling we will hear something shortly about Quinn getting fined. The outrage is there. Quinn wasn't trying to hurt Suggs and he was very apologetic. He had a football reaction and it's clear he was aiming for Suggs' hips, upper thigh but he will have to pay the price for that, I'm sure.

anthony (san antonio)

Rex Ryan crying? what gives?

Chris Mortensen
  (11:10 AM)

Dick Vermeil cried almost every week speaking to his team. Some guys are just more passionate and emotional; Rex was trying to pour his heart out to his team and his emotions got the better of him.

Rene (TX)

Morning Mort. If you were Belichick, which QB would you rather have under center on the same situation, 4th & 2? Manning or Brady.

  (11:19 AM)

Hang on folks. Chris is rebooting.

Chris Mortensen
  (11:24 AM)

Sorry, computer answer the Brady-Manning-Belichick decision: Well, I'd say Brady since that would mean I'm the Patriots coach. I clearly saw this as a vote for Brady and a vote for Manning in that neverending debate of who's better. Initially, I thought it was a lame decision. Clearly, the confusion before the play meant there was some doubt. However, as I've listened to more football people discuss it, both publicly and privately, I don't have a problem with Belichick's decision.

Greg (Indy)

I am glad we (The Colts) won that game the other night. I have one concern and it starts with back at the 49er's game. It seems that Peyton is under throwing his receivers alot. What is that about? Also what are the chances we resign Bethea? Thanks Mort...

Chris Mortensen
  (11:26 AM)

It's interesting. I can't give you a clear-cut informed answer but it could be he's rushing his throws (or somebody's making him rush it). One thing about the Patriots game, as effecive at times as Manning was, the ball did not come out of his hand real clean all night. I don't think he's having arm problems, even though he's been resting it it some.

Brad (NM)

Mort, do you beleive Buffalo will do a complete re-haul of their personnel department, or is Wilson more likely to bring in some coordinator without head coaching experience?

Chris Mortensen
  (11:30 AM)

Wilson's history has never been to hire the "big-name" coach. Even when he and Bill Polian hired Marv Levy, there was a negative reaction, although Marv did have some prior head coaching experience. For Wilson to really give Bills' fans what they want, he would have to open up his wallet. That's not his history. The other thing is that it's well known around league circles that there's way too much interference from Detroit (where Wilson resides along with other advisers). And many a coach and GM has had to spend Tuesdays - a pivotal work day for the staff - being subjected to a grinding telephone session.

Jake (Saint Paul)

Do you think Farve will return for a second season with the Vikes? If so, do you think he will cause the Vikes the suffering of having to wait for him to make a decision deep into the off-season/training camp?

Chris Mortensen
  (11:32 AM)

We shouldn't rule out Favre coming back but it will have to be on his terms, especially if he finishes this season healthy. As far as the decision, in this case, probably not so long. His terms are obvious - maybe he comes to a little bit of off-season program but he clearly believes it can work otherwise. The Vikes (Brad Childress) obviously were OK with it. He has a two-year deal. He'll be welcome back. Let's see how it finishes.

D. Snyder (Washington DC)

Jon Gruden just signed an extension for TV! He was my top choice, where do I go now for a big-name coach????

Chris Mortensen
  (11:33 AM)

The Redskins will go all-in or all-out for Mike Shanahan. That's obvious. They will have competition.

Ryan (Da Burgh)

Mort, how will Cedric Benson's injury affect him the rest of the season?

Chris Mortensen
  (11:35 AM)

The Bengals don't anticipate the hip flexor strain being a lingering problem. That's the life of a back who has to pound it. Will he rest this Sunday vs. Raiders. They say he'll probably play. They know you can't take anything for granted (see Eagles at Oakland game).

Shane (Los Angeles, CA)

Mort: I am not understanding the thinking behind NFL fines; I know history, severity of infractions, and other factors play a part, but even with that, the punishments do not seem fair across the board. Cutler (and I am not a Cutler fan) gets fined $20K for barking at an official, while Harris gets $7.5K for punching another player? Also, Lewis gets fined $25K for a clearly late hit on Ochocinco, Wesley gets suspended (no fine) for 1 game for one of the cheapest shots in NFL history, but E. Smith gets suspended ($26K) and fined ($50K) out of his $425K salary for a well-timed (albeit helmet-to-helmet) hit on Boldin. What gives?

Chris Mortensen
  (11:38 AM)

Trying to simplify this: Attack of officials' integrity is always going to get a player nailed (Cutler, OchoCinco). T. Harris got ejected on first series, so that was part of his punishment, too. Many other fines are based on prior history and whether or not there was injury based on illegal hit. As you know, E. Smith's hit on Boldin had a frightening result.

Vinnie (ATL)

The Falcons are in a hole to make the playoffs. Do you think Ryan is concentrating too much on Gonzales which leads to more throws over the middle and interceptions?

Chris Mortensen
  (11:40 AM)

The Falcons' schedule was always going to make this tougher than 2008. In speaking with people wo have watched Falcons' tape, they would agree that maybe Ryan has become too dependent on Gonzalez and that he's getting hit/rushed a little more than last year, which is causing a few more bad decisions and, in some cases, expose some physical limitations. But he's a very sharp, dedicated guy, he's young and the Falcons are in good hands.

Corey (D.C.)

Mort, what is your take on the obvious fumble recovery by Felix Jones that was deemed non-reviewable? Isnt that the entire point of a booth review? That turned a 10-0 game into a 17-0 game.

Chris Mortensen
  (11:43 AM)

I thought Jones had it but just the fact he rolled over with ball exposed may have meant he didn't have control. Loose ball recoveries aren't reviewable except on end zone plays. I agree it was a critical play and I think it is something that should be reviewable, especially if a coach is willing to give up one of his challeneges and time outs.

Rene (TX)

Seeing as how the Cowboys trend seems to be to not make the playoffs, or choke in the first round, if that is the case this year, do you see Phillips gone?

Chris Mortensen
  (11:45 AM)

It's always been quite clear that Jerry Jones wants to see the playoffs this year and with success; that's why he hasn't exercised the club option on Phillips contract, which expires after this season.

Tom (Milwaukee)

The Packers obviously need to rebuild their offensive line, but Ted Thompson's "build through the draft" strategy hasn't worked out on that front. What are the odds Thompson tries something different and makes some moves in the free agent market this offseason?

Chris Mortensen
  (11:46 AM)

That's the only real criticism I would have of Thompson. Very good evaluator and scouting dept. But his mentor, Ron Wolf, shrewdly used the free agency (Reggie White) & trades (Brett Favre, Ahman Green) to supplement his team that was built through the draft.

Mikey (Lackawanna,NY)

Do you think Oklahoma QB Sam Bradford has the skills to be a elite QB in the NFL? Will he be a Top 10 draft pick?

Chris Mortensen
  (11:51 AM)

That's a really good question because there are some teams that like him, other teams that think he'll be a solid starter, and other teams have doubt. This QB class does not appear to have a sure-fire "franchise" QB in it, so I'd say Bradford still has a chance to be a top 10 pick.

Chris (Broadview Heights, OH)

Everyone keeps focusing on the negatives with the Cleveland Browns but what about the good things the Browns are doing? They constantly keep showing progress in practice.

Chris Mortensen
  (11:53 AM)

When the Browns have Shaun Rogers on the field at NT, their defense can make teams uncomfortable. Wibley has more effective pass rusher. Joe Thomas is arguably the best LT in football.

Dave (Ft Worth)

Ryan Mallett has much more upside than Bradford!! Size, arm strength, system, and no injuries!....

Chris Mortensen
  (11:55 AM)

Here's the issue with Mallett: He will have started only 15 or 16 games in college when he's finished this year. His numbers don't show it but until the last two games (vs. South Carolina and Troy) he has been much more inaccurate than teams would be comfortable with; there also are maturity questions. I'm pretty sure he would not be pleased with his draft position if he came out; another year and he'd be the first QB, I'm fairly certain.

Jason (Indiana)

As much as I appreciate Marvin Harrison's contributions to the franchise, do you think the Colts' offense insane efficiency this year is at least somewhat attributed to Peyton not having to force a quota of balls in 1 receiver's direction?

Chris Mortensen
  (11:57 AM)

Thats another good question. Might be something to it but I do believe Peyton has been pretty efficient throughout his career! And he's always been big into balanced distribution but he'll pull the trigger to the open receiver and his best receiver in the clutch.

jeremy (kentucky)

Should Vince Young should have been named the starter in Tennessee earlier in the season? This reminds me of his "rookie of the year" season all over again.

Chris Mortensen
  (11:59 AM)

I do know he's grown up a lot; coaches and players sense that Steve McNair's death has played a part in his maturity. And the one thing that happened is that naming Young the QB forced OC Mike Heimerdinger into a more conservative approach; the consequences being that the true playmaker in the Titans' offense - Chris Johnson - has gotten more touches. Going into this last week's game, Young was averaging only 18.5 passes per game; Kerry Collins was averaging 32. Best thing Vince has done is not get too careless with the ball but the fewer the chances, the fewer the opportunities to be careless.

Nick (Cincinnati)

So how far do u think the Bengals could go this season

Chris Mortensen
  (12:03 PM)

There's no reason to ignore the Bengals as a potential Super Bowl team, as long as they stay relatively healthy the rest of the year. We seem to ignore that while Palmer was missing most of the season last year that the Bengals were running he ball, playing strong defense and playing hard. Things have fallen into place and if they were playing in Miami at the end of the season, we should not be shocked. It would be quite a story but we should not be shocked, in my opinion.

KingKev (TX)

Why is it that when VY wins games he is hyped beyond belief even with poor stats, but guys like Pennington and Garcia are underappreciated?

Chris Mortensen
  (12:05 PM)

Many people have a tendency to forget that it's a team game. Vince went to the playoffs a couple years ago when he threw something like 9 TDs and 19 ints - the team carried him to the playoffs, not the other way around. But he is playing good football right now.

Liam (Pleasanton, California)

Mort - Do you think USC's fall may get Carroll to take another crack in the NFL? Would he still be a hot candidate?

Chris Mortensen
  (12:09 PM)

I think USC's fall will not help Carroll, at all.

Larry (Rowlett,Texas)

Hey Mort! Who will win the NFC East?

Chris Mortensen
  (12:10 PM)

You tell me! I have no idea though I would lean toward the Eagles. But when you know, shoot me a line.

JP (San Fran)

Chris, if the Browns front office were looking at this right now what would advice would you give them?

Chris Mortensen
  (12:11 PM)

You'd have to say if I was the owner. And if I was, never would have fired Phil Savage as GM. You either go all in with Mangini or get out now. If you get out, give the big guys (Cowher, Holmgren, Shanahan) a blank check and leave town and say, see you in 5 years.

James (Boston)

There are some really anemic offenses this year, more so in years past. What gives? poor OL talent, poor QBs? And then you have my 49ers who have weapons but can't seem to put points on the board.

Chris Mortensen
  (12:13 PM)

Here's what I almost always see, and would include the 49ers: When you see a struggling offense (and QB), you generally see a struggling offensive line. When you add injuries and factor in young or inexperienced skill guys, it's always a struggle.

Chris Mortensen
  (12:14 PM)

Sorry but have to run. Again, pick me up on I'll answer questions when I can. And catch us on Sunday NFL Countdown at 11 a.m. ET. God Bless!