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January 12, 11:00 AM ET
Chat with Chris Mortensen

Chris Mortensen
  (11:05 AM)

Good morning... I'm sure many of us are freezing and dealing with the latest blizzard/snow. So let's spend some time inside talking football.

Jamie (Pelham,Tn)

Hey Chris, was wondering what the Browns see in Pat Shurmur that other teams haven't yet? As far as I know the Browns seem to be the only team interested in him.

Chris Mortensen
  (11:09 AM)

I believe Shurmur's strong candidacy with the Browns is having a well thought-of assistant who is tied to the Mike Holmgren tree and allows the organizational to go forward with an identical philosophy. Shurmur was the longt-time QB coach under Andy Reid, who served under Holmgren as QB coach (not coordinator). Browns GM Tom Heckert was in Philly and observed Shurmur, who did a very nice job this year with Sam Bradford playing with a bunch of No. 3 receivers. He also is an ideal age, 45, for Holmgren to help mold. And, as you may know, Pat's uncle Fritz Shurmur was defensive coordinator under Holmgren during the GB Super Bowl years.

Marc (Charlotte)

Mort, who might be on the radar as far as OC for the Panthers?

Chris Mortensen
  (11:11 AM)

I haven't done a lot of work on Rivera's staff but coming from Norv Turner's staff, you'd think Chargers TE coach Rob Chudzinski would be a strong candidate, having served - and served better than credited - as the Browns OC when Derek Anderson had a Pro Bowl year.

Suburban Rhythm (Pittsburgh)

Mort, what is going to be the difference between the winner and loser in the Steelers-Ravens matchup?

Chris Mortensen
  (11:14 AM)

I believe it's Joe Flacco's ability to get at least two touchdowns and carry a 7-to-10 point lead in the 4th quarter because if the Ravens leave the game in Ben Roethlisberger's hands in the final two minutes, then I have a feeling what will happen. The other key is the Ravens' ability to get Roethlisbergr on the ground and force a turnover or two. Steelers' defense...speaks for itself.

Mike (Denver)

Seems like it's Fox or, more likely, Dennison for the Broncos. That sound like what you're hearing?

Chris Mortensen
  (11:17 AM)

I think Dirk Koetter is interesting. Dennison with his history in Denver makes him a clear strong candidate. But you have a guy like John Fox who would boost the defense and who has a history with Broncos OC Mike McCoy in Carolina, which would allow for a smoother transition on that side of the ball.

Mickey (Saint Louis)

If Pat Shurmur is such a great coaching candidate then why is everyone in Saint Louis praying that he gets the HC job and gets away from our up and coming Rams?

Chris Mortensen
  (11:20 AM)

Because fans are fans and have little clue about the nuances of running an offense with no receivers, a rookie QB (even a good one) and the directions from the head coach on how to compete, manage games to stay close and give yourself a chance to win. Winning games was a huge priority for the Rams and seven wins was a big leap. The next step forward is adding to the talent base and letting the offense breathe with more skill at WR and I'd say even a RB who can break off some big runs as a change of pace with S. Jackson.

Carson (Boone,NC)

Andrew Luck isn't coming out, but the Panthers still need a QB to compete in a QB heavy division. Any ideas?

Chris Mortensen
  (11:22 AM)

You make sure Jimmy Clausen isn't the guy - I'd say that will take another year for the new coach to decide. Hire an OC who will open things up. But you also have to evaluate whether Missouri QB Blaine Gabbert is a true franchise QB. Even then, he'd still be a rookie.

Matt (PA)

Is Starks a one hit wonder or will he do it again this Saturday?

Chris Mortensen
  (11:24 AM)

I think he's very talented. Former Bills GM and Steelers personnel director Tom Donahoe identified Starks to me as one of his big sleepers last year. He missed his senior season with injuries so as a rookie he's made coaches a little nervous because of the complexities of the offense but he has real talent and I'd expect some success with him.

Shane (Los Angeles, CA)

Mort, as I see it, there are 10 teams in the NFL who absolutely need help at the QB position and another 3 who may be in the market. Looking at the available vets this offseason, there looks like there are about 8 (Bulger, Hasselback, Kolb/Vick, Orton, McNabb, Palmer, A. Smith, V. Young) vet QBs available between free agency or potential trade. Which QBs do you think make the most sense for Arizona? Would getting Orton + McDaniels be something they should look into?

Chris Mortensen
  (11:28 AM)

I believe Hasselebeck and Bulger would make sense. Remember, people thought Kurt Warner was broken down at about the same age. In hindsight, Bulger is somebody the Cardinals probably should have brought in. Both those guys are free agents. If you could pry Carson Palmer away from Cincinnati, I think new life would be good for him. I like Orton but that's a trade, as is McNabb. I don't think Vince Young will be in the mix. I believe Kolb and Vick are untouchables, for now. On McDaniels, I haven't heard it and don't think Bidwills would pay the money to get him if he was even wanted there.

Awayne (Indy)

Will the lack of a CBA change the philosophy of how teams draft,such as draft day trades an teams looking a little more for need than the best player avail. not knowing how FA will work?

Chris Mortensen
  (11:30 AM)

If there is no CBA, then my understanding is there cannot be any trades or free agent signings - not even rookie free agent signings, barring some amendment specific for the draft, which seems iffy.

Rick (Long Island, NY)

Hi Mort. I'm wondering, what does Elway bring to the table in terms of running an organization? It's great that he's trying to reconnect the team with its fans, but how exactly does that help in drafting and scouting, and building a contending team?

Marcos (Miami,fl)

What name besides Older brother Garrett and Chargers TE's coach interviewing for the Fins OC job? is Mcdaniels being considered?

Chris Mortensen
  (11:33 AM)

Yes, I think Josh McDaniels is absolutely under consideration for the OC job by the Dolphins.

J Treehorn (Malibu)

More likely to return to the Saints: Pierre Thomas or Reggie Bush?

Chris Mortensen
  (11:34 AM)

Maybe neither but I'd say Thomas has best chance. If Bush is willing to take a significant pay cut, then you never say never. A betting man would say both are gone.

Jason (Richmond, VA)

Hey Mort. Can a trade be made NOW?

Chris Mortensen
  (11:36 AM)

No. Not until the new league year, March 4, if there's a CBA in place.

Frazier (Philly)

Mort, what teams win this weekend?

Chris Mortensen
  (11:38 AM)

I was 2-2 last weekend. So I'm leaning towards Patriots, Steelers, Packers and Bears as my picks. I haven't finalized 'em. The Packers were my Super Bowl pick byt picking against the Falcons is tough for me because of my Atlanta ties. I don't rule out the Ravens' winning. I don't think the Patriots blow out the Jets 45-3 but I have a hard time seeing the Jets win.

Todd(PA) [via mobile]

Mort any new word on Garrett(Jerry)hiring a DC in Dallas. Who you think they end up getting and out of who they interviewed who's the best or maybe the best fit?

Chris Mortensen
  (11:39 AM)

They want to stick with a 3-4 defensive guy and I know Jason Garrett has consulted with Dom Capers on candidates. The next Dc could come off the Packers staff.

Awayne (Indy)

Bigger problem in CBA talks 18 game schedule or % of owner player split on revanue?

Chris Mortensen
  (11:42 AM)

It's probably the % split. Even though I am not a big 18-game proponent, I believe the deal will have to go through that format. So the financial component is important for both sides and the research shows most injuries occur at beginning of season so a lot of the competitive solutions are vital.

dave (home)

mort,what percentage do you think there will be a CBA agreement reached by march 4th and/or football next year?

Chris Mortensen
  (11:43 AM)

I'd say about 60-40 it doesn't get done on time. But deadlines have a way of moving people.

Joseph (Sacramento, CA)

Fans love to hear insider information that can only be gained by getting through people like you. Do you have any old pieces of insider information that would be appropriate to share now? Thanks.

Chris Mortensen
  (11:46 AM)

Ha! That'll be for the book. But there are always some things that must remain secret. I am looking forward to doing a historical perspective on the insider info, including the game of misinformation. Joseph, I hope to satisfy that request one day.

Kelvin (Scottsdale)

How many sources inside a team do you typically have?

Chris Mortensen
  (11:52 AM)

I believe Shurmur's strong candidacy with the Browns is having a well thought-of assistant who is tied to the Mike Holmgren tree and allows the organizational to go forward with an identical philosophy. Shurmur was the longt-time QB coach under Andy Reid, who served under Holmgren as QB coach (not coordinator). Browns GM Tom Heckert was in Philly and observed Shurmur, who did a very nice job this year with Sam Bradford playing with a bunch of No. 3 receivers. He also is an ideal age, 45, for Holmgren to help mold. And, as you may know, Pat's uncle Fritz Shurmur was defensive coordinator under Holmgren during the GB Super Bowl years.

Shane (Los Angeles, CA)

Mort, for folks with questions about the CBA issues, there is a really good writeup on Forbes.com by Maury Brown: http://blogs.forbes.com/sportsmoney/2011/01/10/numbers-show-nfls-economic-realities-for-lockout-unwarranted/

Chris Mortensen
  (11:52 AM)

Thanks. I'll go read it.

J.B. (PA)

So Vic Fangio is NOT going to be the new DC in Dallas?

Chris Mortensen
  (11:54 AM)

I don't know. He's good. he's experienced. I know Jim Harbaugh certainly appreciated his work at Stanford.

Matt (NC)

Can you see the panthers make a trade for Kevin Kolb?

Chris Mortensen
  (11:55 AM)

For two No. 1 picks - would you do that? Maybe it would be worth it but I'd sure like one of those two defensive linemen, Fairley or Bowers. Still got to build a team but I understand the QB question.

Frazier (Philly)

At the end of their respective careers, who will be more highly regarded, Brady or Manning?

Chris Mortensen
  (11:57 AM)

I have a feeling we still have 5 more years with these guys playing at a high level. Brady would have the edge now as he's about to win his second MVP to go with three Super Bowl rings, another Super Bowl appearance in a perfect regular season. And I love Peyton.

Chris Mortensen
  (11:59 AM)

Have to run for some radio duties. Catch us on NFL Countdown in Saturday and Sunday at 11 a.m. ET. Got my radio show running Friday nights from 8-10 ET with Mike Tirico and myself. On Twitter/MortReport. Thanks for the questions. Great weekend coming up. God Bless!