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September 26, 2:00 PM ET
Chat with Jamison Hensley

Jamison Hensley (ESPN)
  (2:03 PM)

Thanks for joining the chat. As you might have heard, it looks like the ref impasse is about to end. Of course, that still means the replacement refs will handle the Browns-Ravens game. They can't mess that one up, right? Well, on to the chat ...

Ed in Cleveland [via mobile]

There seems to be a lack of urgency in Cleveland's front office with their 5 year plan. This seems to me to have transferred to the coaches and players in their lack of aggressiveness, urgency, and even meanness. Do you see the team's young and newer players having a sense of entitlement and a lack of realization of the urgency and importance of their efforts?

Jamison Hensley (ESPN)
  (2:06 PM)

The plan was to get the defense in place and then use the draft to rebuild the offense. The Browns have hit on the first-rounders, but the middle to late picks (Buster Skrine, Eric Hagg) have yet to pan out. Even Greg Little has been a disappointment. In this league, it comes down to drafting. The ones who do it right are the ones who win. It looks like there will be a new five-year plan when soon-to-be owner Jimmy Haslam cleans house.

Chris Fiegler (Latham,NY)

What Bad Calls did the Replacement Officials made in the Ravens-Patriots Game that made Bill Bellichick so mad that he grabbed the Official?

Jamison Hensley (ESPN)
  (2:07 PM)

Maybe the 1,000 holding calls or the fact that he didn't agree that Justin Tucker's kick made it inside the right upright.

Brian (Cleveland ohio)

Why on earth have the browns not gone after a veteran wide receiver?

Jamison Hensley (ESPN)
  (2:08 PM)

Do you really think Plaxico, T.O. or Chad Johnson could really help? They are unemployed for a reason. If they had anything left, a team would have signed them by now.

Mike (Raleigh, NC)

I think TRich is gonna run over Uncle Ray because Uncle Ray is old slow and did I mention old and slow? My question is, don't you think Ray Lewis is too old and slow?

Jamison Hensley (ESPN)
  (2:10 PM)

I wasn't in favor of the dramatic weight drop for Ray Lewis because it would make it tougher for him to get off blocks. But he has been faster. That said, he was invisible in the Patriots game. As for the other part of your question, yes Ray is old. He's a 37-year-old. In linebacker years, that's at least 120.

dooommeeeedd (Margaritaville)

JH, can you please revive the predictions thread? I'm pretty sure the readers did miserably against you last year, but we're a resilient bunch. We all want our chance to be famous!

Jamison Hensley (ESPN)
  (2:11 PM)

Maybe next year under the right circumstances.

Berea [via mobile]

With Fujita back and last year's 2nd best pass defense do you think the brown's defense can hold back the ravens and give them a threat?

Jamison Hensley (ESPN)
  (2:13 PM)

It comes down to whether Bad Flacco shows up. You know, the one from the second half in Philly. My guess is the Ravens don't throw the ball as much as the first three games. Expect a lot of Ray Rice against the Browns on Thursday night. And it will take a lot more than Fujita to slow down Rice.

notmattlythgoe (VA)

Why have none of the coaches or players taken any flak for bullying the refs? If they want to complain about the integrity of the game why don't they police themselves. The ref is not completely to blame when they give an extra timeout after a challenge or something along those lines, put some of the blame on the coach that tried to take advantage of the tough situation that the refs are in.

Jamison Hensley (ESPN)
  (2:15 PM)

The problem is with the inconsistency of the calls. The coaches try to teach the players about what is the right and wrong way to do things. But they couldn't do that with the replacement refs because holding and pass interference rules changed throughout the game. The "bullying" of the refs comes from frustration. And I believe a lot of owners heard from their head coaches about getting the regular officials back.

Billy (Ft.Mitchell Ky.)

Which OC would you want calling your plays? Only can pick one from the AFC North..

Jamison Hensley (ESPN)
  (2:16 PM)

Jay Gruden has made all the right calls for the Bengals the past two weeks. I would go with the hot hand right now.

Professorballsohard (Philadelphia )

I said I would be here week after week to make you rue your decision to turn coat and bail on the Ravens, picking the Squealers to finish first on no more basis than they won (by cheating) in '08 and '10. Well here I am, and your "top team AFCN' is 1-2. Nice.

Jamison Hensley (ESPN)
  (2:17 PM)

Yes the Steelers are 1-2. I believe they are going to announce this week that they have decided to not play the final 13 games because they have no chance. Thank you for pointing out the errors of my way.

Ryan (Pittsburgh)

Do the Steeler's defensive problems run deeper than just missing Harrison and Polamalu, or will their return fix everything?

Jamison Hensley (ESPN)
  (2:19 PM)

The loss of Harrison and Polamalu are the obvious explanations. Let's see what happens when one or both of them return. That's the only way we'll find out. A big problem is the lack of execution by the players who are currently on the field.

Ryan (Salt Lake City)

I don't want to take anything away from Michael Johnson but Carlos Dunlap was an absolute beast in his first game back! I know you were praising Dunlap during training camp, but what was your impression from his first game of the season?

Jamison Hensley (ESPN)
  (2:20 PM)

The more Dunlap can get on the field, the better the Bengals defense will be. Dunlap showed his playmaking ability when he absolutely crushed RG3 and recovered his own fumble. He's big and athletic. Tough combination for offensive linemen.

Ravenous128 (Columbia, MD)

Hey Jamison;Any thoughts regarding the Ravens' revamped offensive line? They've looked much better than expected, and Bryant McKinnie has yet to see the field.

Jamison Hensley (ESPN)
  (2:21 PM)

I've never been a fan of Oher but he has been a surprise this season at left tackle. I was also surprised how quiet Vince Wilfork was last Sunday after dominating the Ravens in the AFC championship game. That was an impressive effort.

Anthony (Cleveland)

What do you see as being the problem with the Bengals DB's? Is it their age and health, or could the problem be that Hue Jackson doesnt really know how to coach them that well?

Jamison Hensley (ESPN)
  (2:22 PM)

It looks like age has caught up to Clements and Newman. Hall hasn't looked the same since returning from that season-ending Achilles injury.

bradblackandgold (Berkeley, CA)

JH, hope all is well with your family. Can we chalk up the Oakland game to missing starters and going cross country? I'm worried about the defense.

Jamison Hensley (ESPN)
  (2:24 PM)

The concern should be the Steelers play on the road. By my count, they've lost four of their last five away from Heinz Field. As far as the defense goes, let's see what it does when Polamalu returns against the Eagles. Harrison is still week to week. There was a report that he left the facility today before practice. That's not good news.

Phil (Cleveland, Ohio)

Is there any hope for the struggling Browns? Or is this franchise doomed for the next several years?

Jamison Hensley (ESPN)
  (2:26 PM)

The Browns have to find a quarterback. That's why this season is all about figuring out whether Weeden is that guy. Teams can move forward without addressing the game's most important position. The Browns are behind the rest of the division in that respect. If Weeden isn't the guy, the Browns have set themselves back.

Kevin (San Jose)

Is it looking like Jimmy Haslem will clean house in October? Is anyone safe when he does decide to make changes?

Jamison Hensley (ESPN)
  (2:26 PM)

No. And after an 0-3 start, everyone should be worried.

Bryan (Atlanta, Ga)

What is going on with the Defense's in the AFCN?

Jamison Hensley (ESPN)
  (2:28 PM)

Injuries and age. Suggs, Harrison, Polamalu, Haden, Phil Taylor, Carlos Dunlap, Leon Hall have all missed time. Plus, Ray Lewis, Ed Reed, Keisel, Hampton and Larry Foote are getting up there in years.

Sean (New Haven, CT)

Have you seen Mendenhall practice this year? Can he fix the Steeler rushing woes afer the bye?

Jamison Hensley (ESPN)
  (2:28 PM)

I haven't seen him practice. I was out at training camp but he wasn't cleared to practice at that point. Don't be surprised if Mendenhall suits up after the bye week against the Eagles.

Jordan (Casper, Wy)

Is Muhammed Sanu the best rookie QB in the division so far?

Jamison Hensley (ESPN)
  (2:29 PM)

He certainly has the best quarterback rating.

Michael (Cincinnati)

If you paid a billlion dollars for this wouldn't you make changes? Regardless of the start, changes were going to be made.

Jamison Hensley (ESPN)
  (2:30 PM)

If Browns went 9-7 and made the playoffs, it would've been harder for Haslam to make changes. That's obvious.

Brian (Greensboro, NC)

Jay Aitch, very disappointed in you and your employer for not bringing attention to the dirty and malicious chop block on Ziggy Hood in the Raiders-Steelers tilt this weekend. Do you guys only care about the safety of QBs and WRs?

Jamison Hensley (ESPN)
  (2:31 PM)

Don't you know that I only care about the safety of the Ravens players and those on my fantasy football team? Come on, get with the program.

Jordan (Casper, Wy)

Joe Mays got suspended, any chance Mundy gets the same?

Jamison Hensley (ESPN)
  (2:31 PM)

Hearing $21,000 fine only.

Prophet (MomsBasement)

Where is your nearest Applebee's and are they hiring?

Jamison Hensley (ESPN)
  (2:32 PM)

I make road trips. I'll come to your closest neighborhood bar and grille.

RJ (OH)

Jamison, if the same terrible TD call made at the end of the Seattle/Green Bay game was made against the Browns instead, would anyone still be talking about it?

Jamison Hensley (ESPN)
  (2:33 PM)

If that happened in the Bills-Browns game, people would talk about it. But it would not be anywhere close to the buzz generated by Monday Night Football. It was the NFL's worst nightmare for it to happen in a prime-time game that everyone was watching.

John (Euclid, Oh.)

Just saw the poll on "Best QB in the AFCN."No Weeden. Yeah, I know he's not, but how can the non-inclusion of him in the poll not be taken as an insult?

Jamison Hensley (ESPN)
  (2:35 PM)

Do you think it would be a credible poll to include Weeden? Did you see him play in the season opener and in the fourth quarter last week? It's not an insult. It's reality.

nakaz (honolulu)

Big Ben looked great but a lack of a running game will hurt down the line..if Rashard is healthy do you insert him right away? or is Baron Batch an option?

Jamison Hensley (ESPN)
  (2:36 PM)

I believe the Steelers are hoping Mendenhall can be ready after the bye. And you're right, no running game will take a toll on Roethlisberger and defenses teeing off on him throughout the season.

Cloud1902 (Ohio)

Why the constant use of QBR when talking about quarterbacks instead of the traditional rating system?

Jamison Hensley (ESPN)
  (2:36 PM)

Let me explain. QBR is a rating system used by ESPN. This is an ESPN web site. Understand?

John (Cincy)

any update on Nate Clements? Who's going to end up at safety along with Nelson in the Bengals backfield? Mays, Miles or other?

Jamison Hensley (ESPN)
  (2:37 PM)

Last thing I heard was Clements was in a walking boot. I think Miles has played good enough to start or at least stay in the rotation at safety.

Matt (Steinway)

@RJ, if the call was blown in a 1pm game between GB and SEA, you would not have seen as much chatter about it. Bt it was the last play of the week. That drives the conversation.

Jamison Hensley (ESPN)
  (2:37 PM)

Agreed.

Michael (Cincinnati)

That's pretty funny, Browns 9-7. After the impending 0-5 start, they'd have to go 9-2 the rest of the way.

Jamison Hensley (ESPN)
  (2:37 PM)

I didn't say they would go 9-7. The point is that it would be more difficult to make changes to a successful team.

Chris (Chicago)

JH--props to you for dealing with the haters/idiots with tact. Anyway, if (and it's a big if) Weeden establishes himself as a legit NFL QB is there a chance that it's the Browns and Bengals who are fighting for #1 in the AFCN while the Steelers and Ravens struggle to reload after their older key players retire or is this just wishful thinking? Thanks!

Jamison Hensley (ESPN)
  (2:39 PM)

I get your thinking, but it could be wishful. The Ravens and Steelers have a history of reloading through the draft. Plus, Roethlisberger is just reaching the prime of his career and Flacco could be finally turning the corner in terms of consistency. If Weeden establishes himself, the Browns can become part of the conversation. That's where it really starts.

Logan (Fla.)

Your thoughts on Andrew hawkins going forward? Has looked great so far.

Jamison Hensley (ESPN)
  (2:41 PM)

Keep giving him the ball in space. Hard to bring the 5-foot-7 guy down. I've always been a fan. I liked what he did in a limited role last season. It's good to see him getting some passes thrown his way. Very good story.

Auto4Short (Fort Walton Beach, FL)

What are the chances AJ Green finishes the season with the most receiving yards in the NFL?

Jamison Hensley (ESPN)
  (2:41 PM)

It looks like it will be between Green and Calvin Johnson.

Craig (Fairfield, CA)

Hey Jamison, do you know if Troy Polamalu and James Harrison are healthy enough to come back yet?

Jamison Hensley (ESPN)
  (2:42 PM)

Polamalu should go against Eagles. Harrison probably won't. Week to week, as Tomlin likes to say.

Matt (Steinway)

From what little I've watched him it looks to me like Dalton is the real deal. What's holding him back from being a top 10 QB?

Jamison Hensley (ESPN)
  (2:43 PM)

Dalton hasn't looked composed when getting a lot of pressure. That's what led to him throwing that interception for a TD last Sunday. He also has to improve on third downs. Dalton has done most of his damage on first and second downs.

DJ (North Carolina)

I guess my question isn't gonna be answered. Should have put something about the steelers or browns i guess..lame

Jamison Hensley (ESPN)
  (2:44 PM)

You do know this is an AFC North chat, right? We'll address the Panthers when they play the Browns, Bengals, Ravens and Steelers.

scanster (Baltimore)

Hey JH, as baltimoreravens.com pointed out, Ellerbe is having a good start to the season (tied for 2nd on the team with 20 tackles, 2.5 sacks). Is this a fluke, or do you think he's turned the corner? Could Ray Lewis' replacement already be on the roster?

Jamison Hensley (ESPN)
  (2:45 PM)

Ellerbe has always shown flashes of potential. But he's a head case. Some of my sources with the Ravens told me he has been constantly late for meetings in the past and didn't take the game seriously. If that has changed, maybe he has changed as well. The Ravens need some playmakers at linebacker.

Gene (Baltimore)

Think the Ravens start throwing more to T.Smith as season goes on?

Jamison Hensley (ESPN)
  (2:47 PM)

Torrey Smith's track record the past two seasons has been slow starts in first two games and then come on strong starting in Week 3.

Jordan (Casper, Wy)

Just a reminder to all you pesimistic Browns fans, you only need to lose more than you win far another 10 years to reach the level of Bengal fans suffering circa 1991-2005.

Jamison Hensley (ESPN)
  (2:47 PM)

Thanks for the reminder. Wait, Browns fans, should I really thank him for that?

Will Smith (Parkersburg, WV)

So about them Panthers? Just kidding. What do you think the Bengals should do with Mauluaga? Get rid of him after this year and let Burfict take over?

Jamison Hensley (ESPN)
  (2:49 PM)

Ha. Good one. With Maualuga becoming a free agent at the end of the year, this season will determine whether he's coming back. I know that the Bengals coach Marvin Lewis really likes Burfict, which can't help Maualuga's chances.

John (Euclid, Oh.)

Haven't seen any "Desitnation" pieces. Did ESPN cut it's budget, or is the new one keeping you at home (nothing wrong with he is.) I would certainly like it if you managed to actually see us up here in Cleveland.

Jamison Hensley (ESPN)
  (2:51 PM)

Didn't travel in Week 1 because my son was born three days prior. I was allowed to stay home for Week 2 so I could still be with the new one. Week 3's best game was clearly Patriots at Ravens. I will cover Browns at Ravens on Thursday night. The plan is for me to be on the road for Week 5. It's just the way my family life and schedule worked out.

Bryan (Atlanta, Ga)

Do you think it's a coincidence that Mike Brown took over the Bengals from his father in 1991 and they didn't have a winning season since until 2005?

Jamison Hensley (ESPN)
  (2:51 PM)

Always a conspiracy theorist in the room.

Prestige Worldwide (Leather Gloves)

Who does new babyHensley root for?

Jamison Hensley (ESPN)
  (2:52 PM)

That's the team my wife roots for.

Jordan (Casper, Wy)

Do you get many e-mails about Mike Wallace being the best receiver in the AFCN anymore?

Jamison Hensley (ESPN)
  (2:52 PM)

Funny how that has stopped. Thanks for pointing that out.

Kevin R (Gaithersburg, MD)

Ed Dickson is fast and athletic so why isn't he getting more targets? I understand Pitta is Joe's best friend and has good hands but that shouldn't over ride the talent of Dickson.

Jamison Hensley (ESPN)
  (2:53 PM)

Can't argue with the results of Pitta. Did you see that hurdle before scoring a touchdown? That seemed athletic to me. The Ravens rank third in the NFL in passing. You can't really complain about the decision-making as far as where the throws are going.

Jack (Lorain, OH)

Could we cut the crap questions about Applebee's and your kid and actually be able to read about football

Jamison Hensley (ESPN)
  (2:54 PM)

Sorry to waste the four seconds of your life that it took to read the two questions I answered about that subject. Now, turn that frown upside down.

Dan S. (Pasadena)

JH, do you actually see Cleveland giving up on Weeden after one year? All this talk of "seeing if he's the guy" would scare me if I were a Browns fan. Would they really give up on a 1st round pick after one year? I understand that if they have the no. 1 pick, Barkley would be tempting though.

Jamison Hensley (ESPN)
  (2:55 PM)

If Haslam cleans house, a new GM and coach may not want someone else's franchise quarterback, especially one who didn't show consistent potential.

Dustin (Canton)

JH, the coaching has eluded to it but why haven't the Browns benched Greg Little? From his dropping passes to posting a picture of his TD after a loss, benching him might give him a dose of reality.

Jamison Hensley (ESPN)
  (2:56 PM)

Call me crazy but I would like to see more passes thrown to Josh Cribbs.

Jerry (Dayton, OH)

JH - Peko, Dunlap, Johnson and Aktins can put constant pressure on the opponents QB, which will significantly help the secondary until they get healthy. The Bengals defense will improve greatly. Your thoughts?

Jamison Hensley (ESPN)
  (2:57 PM)

The secondary still has to cover. That's why getting Dre Kirkpatrick back is the other piece to this Bengals puzzle.

Les (Bmore)

I'd rather have Pitta's more consistent hands than Ed's speed. Ed drops a lot of balls.

Jamison Hensley (ESPN)
  (2:58 PM)

That is valid. But Dickson did make a nice grab in the preseason opener. He held onto the ball even though he banged up his shoulder.

Jake (NC)

Thoughts on how Bengals defense will do vs. Jags this week?

Jamison Hensley (ESPN)
  (2:59 PM)

Very, very good. Unless Blaine Gabbert turns does a Christian Ponder and fakes everyone out for a week.

Karl (Hamilton, NY)

@ Jordan, just remember, a criminal didn't lie to your city and move your team leaving you to start from nothing, only to get shafted again when the NFL changed the supplemental draft rules that Carolina & Jacksonville were able to begin with.

Bryan (Atlanta, Ga)

To Jack in Lorain, OH:You in a hurry to talk about Cleveland's doomed season?

Paul (Cincinnati)

Any word on when Dre Kirkpatrick will be back and in the lineup?

Jamison Hensley (ESPN)
  (3:01 PM)

Based on his injuries, which began in the offseason workouts this spring, I will believe he's back when I see he's back.

Auto4Short (Fort Walton Beach, FL)

JH your the man! 1 full hour this time!

Jamison Hensley (ESPN)
  (3:02 PM)

On that note, I will take a bow. I hope the Browns and Ravens fans enjoy Thursday night's game. I hope the Bengals fans get their wish of routing Jacksonville. And I hope the Steelers fans enjoy their bye.