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ESPN Insider: Chris Mortensen Chat Wrap 9-8


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Chat with Chris Mortensen


Chris Mortensen: Good morning, everyone! I am traveling to New England today for the Patriots-Colts game so I'm a little more limited on how many questions I can get to, but let's quit talking about it and get started....

Russell (Lexington,KY): In Cincinnati, with Warrick sitting out most of preseason and Washington's known speed do you think Washington will take over the #2 spot and if he does, will Peter Warrick become expendible?

Chris Mortensen: Kelly Washington's good speed make him a natural No. 2 with Chad Johnson on the other side. But it would not make Warrick expendable - he just gets in his most natural spot as a slot receiver. The Bengals are dangerous because of the diversity on depth on offense. They don't need to be discarding anybody now, if that's what you are talking about.

MAKO: Mort the chronicles of Mike Vick trying to get the West Coast offense down are many. I'm starting to think that Vick my never posess the short yardarge accuracy needed to flourish under that system. It's obviously too early to tell, but is this a waste of Vick CAN do?

Chris Mortensen: Can we please just let Vick play this season before we get to excited, judgemental, high and mighty about the West coast offense thing? To me, there is one primary question that Vick must answer, and that is whether he can stay healthy. His accuracy is an issue, but John Elway didn't become a 60-percent plus passer until he was introduced to this offense. The irony is that ex-Giant Phil Simms told me three years ago that he thought that Dan Reeve's offense was a great fit for Vick's talent. Falcon coach Jim Mora thinks Vick's talent is a great fit for any offense.

Aaron (Sylmar, CA): Sir: Will Brees be on the Chargers' roster after this season's trade deadline?

Chris Mortensen: Interesting question. If the Chargers keep Doug Flutie and make a change to Philip Rivers by the end of the first month, then I can see a scenario in which Brees is dumped. If another team has an injury and needs a quarterback, Brees would be available - I think. Of course, let's see if Brees plays well enough to keep his job.

Matt, Darien, CT: I'm a huge Bills fan, and the last couple years haven't been what I have expected from them. Last year they had a good defense, what can i expect from them this year? and can they compete w/ the Jets, Dolphins, and Patriots in the AFC East?

Chris Mortensen: The Bills were a disappointment last season, but I expect them to make a step forward this year. They certainly will compete very well inside their division - especially if Eric Moulds and Travis Henry stay healthy. I see the Bills capable of a 10-win season with a shot at the playoffs. That would be a good step forward with a new coach in Mike Mularkey. It is a very competitive division and conference.

Jack, Montgomery, AL: Why are sportscasters so "sure" that the 9ers will be terrible just because they're young? They still have some good players. Wouldn't it be more prudent to say no one knows what they'll be like? What do you think?

Chris Mortensen: That's a little too logical, talking about the media being prudent. Everybody has good players. The question is whether teams like the 49ers, Chargers and Cardinals have enough good players. I happen to think the 49ers are going to struggle to win 6 games, at best. But don't let my reasoning - or anybody else's - diminish your logical outlook. As the saying goes, that's why they play the games.

Christopher: San Diego, Ca: What's going on Mort; I'm a Marine stationed out here in Southern California, but i grew up in the heartland and i bleed red and gold. I got a couple of questions for you. Do you see the Kansas City "D" making an improvement with Gun back in town with the personal he has now vise when he had D.T. , Neil, Dale Carter ect... ? Do you think a certain individual(s) performance will have a difference in making or breaking the "D"? One more thing I know the wide out situation is a little shaky with Johnnie and Eddie coming off injury's; What's the story with McCardell situation in Tampa Bay, are they going to just sit on him? Any rumors on releasing him or trading him? I appreciate you time I'm a big fan.

Chris Mortensen: First, thank you for serving our country. As for the Chiefs, Gunther obviously does not have the game-changing type players like you mention, but Dick Vermeil is hoping that a different scheme and new energy will give them a lift. Obviously, the Chiefs' offense is a lot better but I don't see the Bucs releasing McCardell and Vermeil is on the record saying that he wouldn't be interested in McCardell's salary ($2.5 mil). But McCardell does make sense.

Craig (Norman, OK): With two disgruntled cornerbacks why don't the Raiders and the Packers make a swap?? Charles Woodson for Mike McKenzie sounds good to me!! Thanks Mort! Love your work! God Bless!

Chris Mortensen: For one, it's called the 'salary cap'. Woodson gets more than $8 million in guaranteed salary this year; the Packers don't have the space to accomodate that - I think McKenzie's base is under $2 million. The other part some would point out is that Woodson is considered one of the four best corners in the NFL - maybe the best when he's healthy. McKenzie is good, sometimes excellent, but below that rating. And, last point, Woodson is not digruntled; McKenzie is.

Bob, Cincinnati, Ohio: Do you think the Bengals offense can offset the young defense to propell them to the playoffs this year?

Chris Mortensen: That is the right question with the Bengals. If Carson Palmer masters this thing, the Bengals offense can be pretty explosive and we have seen the Chiefs and, to some extent, the Rams and Colts make the playoffs with marginal defenses (the Rams may have been underrated). But it usually doesn't work that way and my sense is that Marvin Lewis is going to stick to his plan and the big payoff will be in year 3 - if his plan works. I don't see them in the playoffs this season.

John (Staten Island, NY): Hey Mort, let's get a Jets question in, assuming the defense is as quick as advertised and with thier big 3, Martin, Pennington, and Moss I think they have a "shot" at making a run, could they be an AFC Super Bowl "sleeper" as opposed to the trendy pick (Jax Jags)?

Chris Mortensen: Sure, they would have a shot if the defense has improved dramatically and if the big three can be the big three. Martin is one of my favorite players but he has something to prove at his age and Moss has to prove he's a 16-game talent. I'll give you Pennington and I'll give you that sleeper shot.

Michael James, University Park, PA: Why does it seem like the experts are overlooking the Raiders? With the additions on defense and the health of stars such as Rich Gannon and Jerry Porter as well as the depth at the quarterback position I believe they have a very good chance of making the playoffs as a wild card or even winning a weaker than last year AFC West.

Chris Mortensen: I'm leaning toward your side on this one. I think the Raiders have a terrific quarterback situation with Rich Gannon - my preseason pick for comeback player of the year - and Kerry Collins (if needed). Watch Tyrone Wheatley have his best season under Norv Turner. If the O-line comes together and the big if - if the defense can stop the run - then the Raiders will push the Chiefs and Broncos in the AFC West.

Mat, Visalia, CA: I'm a huge Rams fan, and I can not believe the disrespect that the Rams are getting! They were 12-4 last year, and this year they are pick for 2nd behind the Seahawks, and they are rank 16th in the power ranks, whats up with that! I still feel that the NFC goes through St.Louis not Seattle or Philly. What do you think?

Chris Mortensen: I understand your pain. The Rams and Packers are probably the best teams getting lesser respect. Remember, it means nothing (these prognostications) - it's for entertainment value only. The Rams have lost def. coordinator Lovie Smith, DE Grant Wistrom, and RT Kyle Turley, among others. There are questions about Marshall Faulk. I happen to think they will give the Seahawks a heck of a race, but I do like the Seahawks to win the division this year. I do think it's a mistake to dismiss the Rams.

Shar, Solati: WI: What's up Mort, the Packers have struggled in the pre-season to generate offensive continuity and production. Brett Favre has thrown an unexpected amount of interceptions in his last two pre-season games. Are the G.B. receivers still relatively inexperienced, Favre showing his age, or is the phrase "It's only Pre-Season" the only logical reason for the offensive pains?

Chris Mortensen: Yes, 'it's only preseason', is the best spin for the Packers. Their offense rolls when the O-line and Ahman Green are healthy and working together as a unit. That was never the case in preseason. Brett's going to throw interceptions, but the great ones have never been perfect. If the Packers stay healthy on offense, they have a shot - maybe a big shot, but the defense will have to do its part.

MB: Hey, Mat from Visalia, The nfc forever and for always runs through Green Bay.

Amar (Indianapolis, IN): Hey Mort, I'm a colts fan, and I want to know, does edge have his edge back, and if so, will the colts win the superbowl?

Chris Mortensen: There's no question that James had lost a step last season, but if another year beyond his knee surgery means he gets it back, then the Colts can indeed win the Super Bowl. I think that's the key to the Colts beating the Pats on Thursday night - James' ability to rush for 100 yards, which should enable Peyton Manning to make big plays. But until we see James run - and he basically skipped preseason - we will have to wonder.

C.J. Pensacola, Fl: Hey whats the deal here? The Saints are so underrated its not even funny, their D is improved, They have AB,Deuce,Horn,Stallworth,Boo williams, and a top 5 offensive line wheres the love mort?

Chris Mortensen: You're basically right. They have a lot of weapons. They could win the NFC South and they could go to the Super Bowl. I don't like their secondary and I have to see Aaron Brooks play big in big games. If that happens, you'll be very happy.

Mort's biggest fan!: Mort, how bout them Vikes? Is this the year? And will Morten Anderson be good enough this year? And lastly, what surprise, if any, should I look for in the Vikes this year that most people might not expect? Please answer!

Chris Mortensen: I like the Anderson pickup. Even though he proved he could kick outdoors, he made a reputation indoors and that should give him an extra five yards, although it's not the old AstroTurf that kickers love. As for a surprise, two that may sound ridiculously obvious - Randy Moss will have his greatest season and DT Kevin Williams will establish himself as one of the most dominant players in the NFL.

Jesse (Redding Connecticut): Will the Eagles be as good as people think? The NFC east is going to be tough, is there a chance they wont even make the playoffs?

Chris Mortensen: Wow, you're about the first person I've heard ask that question. And it's an interesting question. Maybe a legitimate one. I do have real questions about the Eagles' defense. Can they stop the run? Will Jevon Kearse stay healthy enough to create a pass rush to help the relatively new secondary? I believe the Eagles' offense will be terrific, though, and I do have the highest regard for Andy Reid as a coach. But if the Cowboys steal the division, will I be shocked? (No). Is it wise to underestimate Joe Gibbs? (No).

Chris Mortensen: Unfortunately, I have travel in the way, so I have to run. I always enjoy answering your great questions. I'll be here in The Show each Wednesday at 11 am ET (expect when travel issues come up) Have a terrific opening NFL weekend! God Bless!

Buzzmaster: Thanks Mort! Hey everyone, next up is the Buzz Session! I'll be back momentarily to mix it up on whatever topics you want to talk about!

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Originally posted by sjinhan

oh by the way... thanks for highlighting the important part... always helps me avoid great deal of pain of trying to skim and find the part that matters to me...

keep up the good work...

That is something Bubba usually does if he posts an article with only a portion of "local" info. Ever making it easier for us to gleen only the stuff we want. :)

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