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December 4, 4:00 PM ET
Chat with Ashley Fox

Ashley Fox
  (4:02 PM)

Hi everybody. Let's get rolling.

Jim (Memphis)

Philly or Dallas going to screw up less and win that division?

Ashley Fox
  (4:08 PM)

I think it's going to end up being Dallas, but your point is well taken. It is a mediocre division. While I have not seen the Cowboys in person yet this year, I've seen Philly several times, most recently on Sunday. They've really grown as a team and it is remarkable, given the instability they had earlier in the year at quarterback that we're even talking about them potentially winning the division. Chip Kelly has done a remarkable job and Foles obviously has been lights out. One more touchdown without an interception and he'll tie Peyton Manning's record of 20 consecutive touchdown passes without throwing a pick. That is impressive.

Scoop (GA)

I know Carolina's been the hottest team in the NFL the past two months but the Saints have to bounce back at home Sunday night after that dismantling in Seattle, right?

Ashley Fox
  (4:10 PM)

Seattle really handed it to them. I thought the key to that game was that the Seahawks really seemed to rattle Brees and the offense from the jump. That's rare. So do they bounce back? We'll see. Like Seattle, New Orleans is tough at home. I would think that will be a huge help. That's the game I will be at this weekend.

Don (Berkeley, CA)

Is the division now officially out of reach for the 49ers after Monday Night?

Ashley Fox
  (4:12 PM)

At this point, Seattle is the best team in the league. They have a huge lead over San Francisco. They're 3-0 in the division. They haven't lost at home in the two years that Russell Wilson has been the quarterback. Not only do I think they're going to win the division, I don't think anybody will catch them for the No. 1 seed. So yes, I think the division is out of reach for San Francisco.

Tony (Richmond, CA)

Do the sanctions against Mike Tomlin place his job in serious jeopardy after what appears to be another non playoff season? Do you feel the penalties laid down by Roger Goodell are once again excessive?

Ashley Fox
  (4:16 PM)

I was just talking about this before the chat with someone I trust in the league. Yes, I think the penalties are excessive, but Goodell is sending a strong message to Tomlin and everyone else that coaches must be held to a higher standard. You can't do what he did. And Tomlin is on the NFL's competition committee, which is the ground entrusted to take care of the product on the field and legislate rules changes. He should know better. But no, I don't think his job is in serious jeopardy. That is a stable franchise that values stability at the head coaching position, and I think Tomlin is a very good coach.

Jacob (baltimore)

If the skins coach wasn't named Shanahan wouldn't he be fired at the end of this year? Please let me know he is gone regardless.

Ashley Fox
  (4:18 PM)

There's a lot of chatter about that. Will he be fired? Maybe. There is a funky dynamic there between him and the quarterback, and ultimately, the quarterback would win that battle. It took Washington a long time to find a franchise quarterback. And Daniel Snyder is notorious for running through head coaches. He's had a slew of them. So I do think there could be a coaching change there.

pj (midlo)

Hi Ashley, do you see weather this weekend in philly imapcting either teams approach to game ? and do you see McCoy able to run for more than 65 yards vs the Lions staunch run D to date

Ashley Fox
  (4:22 PM)

I just had to check the forecast, and it looks like it's going to be 35 degrees with a wintery mix of rain. Yuck. Those will be tough conditions for sure. It certainly could impact the passing games of both teams. McCoy and the Eagles have struggled when teams have blitzed the run game, which is what Arizona did a lot of in the second half on Sunday. I would imagine the Lions, with that defensive front, will do the same thing. It will be important, given the weather conditions, for McCoy to be effective.

John (Baton Rouge)

Hi Ashley. Things on pretty slow on this chat. What gives?

Ashley Fox
  (4:23 PM)

Sorry. I'm typing slowly.

Tony (Richmond, CA)

How effective do you anticipate Crabtree being the rest of the season?

Ashley Fox
  (4:24 PM)

I think it's going to be a process given how much time he lost. But he should help their passing attack and give them a deep threat that they've lacked.

James (Texas)

How can you still call the NFC East medicore? There's now two 7-5 teams. Have you looked around at the other divisions? The East might have been a punching bag earlier in the season, but the media needs to refresh their standings page

Ashley Fox
  (4:25 PM)

That's a fair point. There was some awful football played early, but there are two 7-5 teams. So okay. It's an okay division. Is that better?

Tim (El Cajon, CA)

In connection with McNabb's comment, do YOU think NASCAR drivers are athletes or no? Just curious.

Ashley Fox
  (4:26 PM)

I didn't see what McNabb said. And I don't cover NASCAR. Never have. So I really don't have an opinion on the matter.

Kevin (Reno, NV)

How deep is this year's QB draft class now that Mariota has announced his return to Oregon? Do your sources think Hundley will leave?

Ashley Fox
  (4:29 PM)

It's still deep. I was surprised that Mariota decided to come back. He would've been drafted high. But good for him. I don't know about Hundley. It likely helps that Mora is staying at UCLA and didn't get lured to Washington. I saw where Hundley said he won't make a decision until after the bowl game.

Chewy (New York)

Hi Ashley, I'm having a difficult time making my sit/start picks in week 14. Who would you start for RB: Frank Gore or Fred Jackson, for WR: Michael Floyd or Demarius Thomas?

Ashley Fox
  (4:30 PM)

I don't play fantasy, so I'm not the best person to ask. But Thomas is always a good bet.

Davyn (Indiana)

Is there any injury status on my favriote NFL quarterback and my favriote player Aaron Rodgers yet?

Ashley Fox
  (4:31 PM)

He has still not been cleared. He also has not been ruled out for Sunday. But I would bet it's a long shot. The Packers are going to be careful and conservative with him. They desperately need him back but they aren't going to rush him, either, for fear he could get reinsured.

Seth A (Scranton, PA)

Does it look bad for the league that they fine Mike Tomlin excessively for him being too close to the field, but Pete Carroll is yet to be fined for his team regularly testing positive for banned substances?

Ashley Fox
  (4:34 PM)

I wrote about the Seahawks situation over the weekend, and I agree with you that Carroll is the one who ultimately be held accountable because he's the head coach, it's his program, they're his players and someone should know or be regulating what's going on. Should the league fine Carroll? I don't know. But it is an interesting question.

Tony (Richmond, CA)

Can the Saints rebound against a desperate Niners team this weekend in San Francisco?

Ashley Fox
  (4:35 PM)

The Saints are at home against Carolina. Seattle is at San Francisco.

Keenan (Atlanta, GA)

Are you buying Cam Newton and the Carolina offense, staying out their own way, and allowing the Panthers to make some noise in the playoffs?

Ashley Fox
  (4:37 PM)

You know, I think I am. I'm looking forward to seeing them in person on Sunday against a defense that has been decent this season. The thing that makes the Panthers so formidable is that their defense has been playing lights out. That certainly helps the offense. The late, great Jim Johnson used to preach in Philadelphia that if his defense held opponents to 17 points, that should be good enough to win. During this win streak, Sean McDermott's defense has done that all but once. That matters.

Tony (Richmond, CA)

OOPS! Typing too fast and got my teams mixed up.

Ashley Fox
  (4:37 PM)

You're typing too fast. I'm typing too slow.

Ed (Queens Village)

Most head coaches in league either played had serviceable career or didn't play in league. Mike Munchak is only current HC that is a HOF. Is there a chance a HOF player or future HOF could become a possible head coach in next 10 years?

Ashley Fox
  (4:40 PM)

Anything is possible, but it is rare that players after they're done playing opt for the coaching route. It is grueling, and most don't want to put in the hours after spending so much time as players. There are ones who do. Duce Staley is with Philly. Al Harris is with Andy Reid in KC. I could see Peyton Manning running a team, a la John Elway. I don't know if he'd want to coach one though. It would probably drive him a little nuts. He is such a perfectionist.

Tony (Richmond, CA)

Who's the starting QB in Chicago next year, McCown or Cutler?

Ashley Fox
  (4:41 PM)

I would bet McCown. Cutler is in the last year of his deal. He wants big money. I can't imagine Chicago wants to pay it. McCown has shown he can do the job.

Jaime (DC)

Hi Ashley Jon Gruden to the Redskins? Good fit?

Ashley Fox
  (4:43 PM)

There has to be a vacancy first. I know Gruden likes the job he has. But an opportunity to work with RGIII and continue to build that team, I'm sure that would be appealing. He's got a big personality, which would likely play well in Washington. It would be a good fit.

Eric (Chicago)

So Pete Carroll should be fined because his players have taken PEDs? That's a good one! What Tomlin did, he has to be held accountable and he has been. Pete can only tell his players what's best for the organization but he can't tell people what they can or can't do outside of the stadium doors. They are grown men. Two totally different situations!

Ashley Fox
  (4:44 PM)

I didn't say he should be fined. I said it's an interesting question.

victor (Louisiana)

Do you have some weekend predictions on who is in the playoffs?

Ashley Fox
  (4:46 PM)

I think we're going to see the Ravens emerge as the second wildcard in the AFC, with the Patriots, Bengals, Colts and Broncos winning their divisions and the Chiefs getting the fifth seed. I don't know who the heck is going to emerge out of the NFC North. I don't trust Detroit. I still think San Francisco gets one wildcard and Carolina gets the other, which leaves just the division winners in the North and East. And I think that will leave out Philly.

Don (Berkeley, CA)

The Raiders could/should have won at least 3-4 more games this year. Is this room for optimism? Or should it be discounted considering the majority of the aforementioned game were against the NFC Least?

Ashley Fox
  (4:49 PM)

Could have, should have, but they didn't. I think you could see some significant changes there. There is a dearth of talent there. There's a lot to build up. That probably doesn't provide much optimism.

victor (Louisiana)

Hi Ashley I was sick last week that ;s the reason I took a breakand I,m back my question is who wins the Carolina at new Orleans game this sunday night?comments.

Ashley Fox
  (4:50 PM)

You weren't the only one. Don't worry. It was an abbreviated chat because everybody was already into Thanksgiving. And I think the Saints win.

Chris (Boston)

You said Carroll has to be held accountable.

Ashley Fox
  (4:50 PM)

I did say that. I didn't say the league needs to fine him.

Paul (Denver)

What's you take on Jeffery's emergence? Is it more attributed to playing opposite of Marshall or is his ceiling this high?

Ashley Fox
  (4:52 PM)

I think part of it is because he's opposite Marshall but a large part of it is the guy is really talented. He's made some sick catches. He's fourth in the league with 1,109 receiving yards, trailing only Megatron, Josh Gordon and Andre Johnson. That's not an accident. I'd say his ceiling is real high.

Don (Berkeley, CA)

Just a follow up, do you see a similar situation in the Cowboys future?

Ashley Fox
  (4:53 PM)

Similar to Oakland? I don't. But if the wheels fall off and Dallas doesn't make the playoffs, then all bets are off.

Eric (Chicago)

Re: Chicago QB situation...the Bears will franchise Cutler because they don't know what to do with him. Second, someone (AZ? OAK? STL?) will overpay McCown thus forcing him to leave. Bears draft a QB, trade Cutler for pieces in the draft and there you have it. Regarding Trestman's offense, anyone could play QB and the job would get done. That's the best course of action.

Ashley Fox
  (4:54 PM)

Franchise and then trade? I don't see that happening. Drafting a guy, yes.

Aaron (Leesburg, VA)

What do you think about the Redskins honoring the Navajo warriors prior to the game? Appropriate gesture, attempt at damage control, or even more insensitive given the name of the franchise?

Ashley Fox
  (4:55 PM)

Attempt at damage control. Self serving.

Seth A (Scranton, PA)

In response to Chris, Bill Belichick was fined 500K for something that happened in his organization under his watch. Sean Payton was suspended one full season for something going on under his watch. How is Pete Carroll not in a similar instance.

Ashley Fox
  (4:57 PM)

It's a very interesting debate. The head coach is ultimately responsible for everything that goes on. That's as it should be, given the obscene amounts of money they make in this multibillion dollar business.

Ashley Fox
  (4:57 PM)

That's going to do it. Thanks, as always, for all the questions and participating. We'll do it again next week.