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pakowitz 05-07-2003 04:08 PM

ESPN Chris Mortensen chat

Chris Mortensen: Good afternoon. Let's have lunch...

Ezra Johnson (milwaukee): Mort - What's the real truth with Packers 1st round pick Nick Barnett? Shoiuld the Pack really have passed on Bailey and Henderson?

Chris Mortensen: Barnett's a legitimate pick. I think he was just not on the media radars because Oregon State is obscure. I thought Bailey would have been an excellent pick because the Packers need to increase their team speed. But Barnett might be a better football player. And he does some really good things going from sideline to sideline. E.J. Henderson was projected as the logical pick for the Pack but the medical concerns on his back really knocked him down on a lot of people's boards.

Chuck - Montrose, CO: Hello Mort. Most people believe that Griese will end up in Miami on or shortly after June 1st. Many Bronco fans (and coaches) were unsatisified with Griese's attempt to become "The Guy" in Denver, but these same people (myself included) clearly see him as a much better quarterback than Fiedler. What gives, Mort? Assuming that Griese will land in Miami, how long before he's the starter?

Chris Mortensen: Based on your assumption (Griese landing in Miami), I think it will take a lengthy injury during the season to Fiedler for Griese to get the nod and he would have to play lights out. Remember, Fiedler's getting a second season under Norv Turner's system. The Dolphins have been very emphatic about their commitment to Fiedler and their actions have backed it up.

Jason (Miami,FL): Mort I'm a Giants fan and I feel good about the Giants chances winning the SuperBowl it's seems like there on a misson how do you feel about the Giants offseason and do you see them as SuperBowl Contenders

Chris Mortensen: I think the Giants are definite playoff contenders. And if you make the playoffs, you have a chance to make the Super Bowl. I know that the Giants really like their team. It's too early for me.

Alex - Blacksburg, VA: Mort, what do you think about Patrick Ramsay, after have an on and off rookie year? With a strengthening of ther WR corps i think he will be a pleasant surprize. He reminds me most of Chad Pennington(b/c he makes good decisions) except he has an arm. Do you think the 'Skin offense might be the surprize of the season?

Chris Mortensen: I really believe the Redskins' offense is going to be a force this year. I think Ramsey will play in a few Pro Bowls during his career. I like your analogy because, like Pennington, he is very intelligent but he does have a cannon for an arm. If Spurrier can bring some chemistry and orchestration with a lot of new players, then it actually could be some fun n' gun this year.

Darius(Mpls): Mort, I think the agent for Leftwich is the same as for Kevin Williams. Is he really going to say both deserve 7th choice draft money?

Chris Mortensen: Yeah, it's Tom Condon of IMG and he represents both players. I imagine he'll have his partner, Ken Kremer, do one deal and he'll do the other. And, yes, it's likely they will claim the 7th slot for both players. But one advantage they have is that Leftwich is a quarterback. And quarterbacks always are different when it comes to contracts. They rarely get a "slotted."

Pat (Manistique, MI): Hey Mort, what is your take on the Lions draft, and how much improvement do you see in the team this year?

Chris Mortensen: I really liked the Lions draft. I think Mariucci also will bring a sense of order to the team. They could win six more games. I haven't really studied their schedule but I would expect big improvement.

Bob, NJ: Hey Mort! Good to hear from you. Do you think the Steelers first round pick was a reach? He he has a history with concussions and is a self-stated head-hunter. Also, the stereotype of the safety position is either someone too small to play linebacker or someone less skilled to play cornerback. With all of this was he worth a first round pick?

Chris Mortensen: I think Polamalu is a great football player. He certainly fits the Steelers' identity of being a physical football player. Normally, safeties don't go that high but Polamalu was climbing fast. The debate could be that the Steelers really needed to improve their pass defense and does Polamalu solve that issue?

Bobby (Great Mills, MD): How well do you think the Cowboys will do this year with Parcells in charge?

Chris Mortensen: I can only go by his track record. He will make them better. But how much? You can't (and he can't) be comfortable with his QB situation. That will determine whether the Boys win six or seven games, or maybe nine with a very demanding schedule.

OB, Seattle WA: The Raiders website says they signed Akbar Gbaja-Biamila on April 29th, yet espn shows he re-signed with the Packers. What gives?

Chris Mortensen: That's the Packers DE's kid brother.

Ed (Portland, OR): Mort, To your knowledge what is the current relationship like between Bill Parcells and Bill Belichick? They used to work together pretty closely, but I have not read anything about what "terms" they are on now. Friends/Enemies/"professional relationship"? Your take?

Chris Mortensen: To my knowledge - and I think I'm right on this - they have not spoken since that infamous day in the Jets' offices.

Loop (Toms River, NJ): With the Bills drafting Willis McGahee, and already having Pro Bowl RB Travis Henry, do you see a Ricky Williams-Deuce McAllister situation in 2004 when both men are healthy and who do you think has the better chance of sticking in Buffalo?

Chris Mortensen: Yeah, I think that's a real possibility. I think Travis Henry is a heck of a back. He has two years on his contract through 2005. The key is McGahee and how well he rebounds in 2004. If McGahee reaches close to his potential, I would imagine Henry could be on the block but that's a long projection.

Mark Baltimore: Mort, do you think Brian Billick has the patience to stick with Chris Redman if he stays healthy? Given the coaches track record, What do you think the chances are of Ravens fans seeing one guy carry the load for an entire season?

Chris Mortensen: I think that Redman will have a tough chance at winning the job. Kyle Boller has the kind of passion that is unique and I think it will carry him past Redman. You don't make that move back into the first round if you're feeling really good about Redman. I feel like Boller will settle into "being the guy," which the Ravens haven't had since Billick arrived.

Mike, Newark DE: Mort I really like Tampa's addition of Chris Simms. He could turn out to be a great pickup after a few years under Gruden's wing. What is your take? Also, do you think Warren Sapp will end his career in Tampa, or is he moving on after this year?

Chris Mortensen: My take is that Chris Simms and the Buccaneers got very lucky. This is an ideal situation for Simms and it's perfect for the Bucs. As for Sapp, I hear he's in terrific physical condition and I know Gruden would like him to remain a Buc. But that's going to take some give-and-take on both sides to keep him in Tampa for another term.

Greg (San Francisco): When Sam Adams signed with the bills there was a lot of talk about him making a stronger commitment to off season conditioning. Any updates on this?

Chris Mortensen: All I can tell you is that Sam Adams has made a very favorable impression by being present and accounted for in the off-season program. He's got a good pal there in Pat Williams, who he'll play next to. I also heard that the Buffalo guards that got a taste of Adams in minicamp really don't want to see him in pads this summer.

Will(KS): Anybody from going to pick the Bengals for the playoffs this year?? Got burned pretty bad last year?

Chris Mortensen: We're going to let TJ (Tom Jackson) make a fool out of himself again and pick the Bengals. No, really, I imagine somebody will pick them. It won't be me.

Sam (Houston): What is the word on Boselli? Is he close to being back on the field?

Chris Mortensen: Going into the draft, I was hearing that Boselli's prospects looked 50-50 at best for a practical return to the field. But I saw Dom Capers (Texans coach) this weekend and he was more optimistic than that.

MJ(Fayetteville): Mort, the media seems to downplay how great a draft the Saints had; however, I feeel that they had an excellent draft. What is your take?

Chris Mortensen: Yeah, I think the Saints did very well and have done very well during the Haslett era. I think Sullivan is going to be a big-time DT.

Tony,Purely.Tx: Hey Mort what do you think about how the Redskins handled there draft by trading there picks for proven players like Coles and Thomas and so forth,and do you think they can make the playoffs thank you.

Chris Mortensen: I happened to like what the Redskins did in the draft, although I'm not sure I agreed with taking Jacobs in the 2nd round. I think the need pick (with Doss) was the way to go. But the Redskins got really good young players in Coles and Thomas. They are in their prime. If money doesn't change 'em, then they will make a significant difference. The only negative I see is if the money they committed to some of their pick-ups will have a negative impact on future negotiations with guys like Champ Bailey and Chris Samuels. Yes, I think they can make the playoffs.

Andrew (New York City): What's your take on Priest Holmes' injury? Is he going to play? What are your sources saying?

Chris Mortensen: The Chiefs told us what we needed to know by taking Penn State RB Larry Johnson: There is real concern about Holmes. I do know that the Chiefs' medical experts believe Holmes should be OK by fall, but a lot of time has passed since the injury and the team felt compelled to take a RB.

Brett (NYC): Whbat are your feelings on the Jets recovery from the talent raid of the offseason? Are they still they Super Bowl contender they were last year?

Chris Mortensen: I don't know. I think losing Coles at WR really hurts. But Santana Moss has really opened some eyes and the Jets believe Curtis Conway will be very productive. Pennington should only get better. And if Dewayne Robertson is the next Warren Sapp, then the Jets should be contenders. I have to knock 'em down a notch or two until I see them on the field.

Debbie(Cleveland,OH): Who's got the early edge in Cleveland Holcomb or Couch?

Chris Mortensen: Butch Davis insisted to me just prior to the draft that it's dead even. Personally I think Holcomb has the edge because he might be a better pure passer and he has even more familiarity with the offense than Couch. I will say that Couch is very competitive and well-liked by his teammates.

matt: do you think mark brunell's job may be in jeporady this season??

Chris Mortensen: It looks like Brunell will be the starter in 2003. For one, if the Jags actually dumped Brunell in June, it gives Leftwich a lot of leverage in negotiations. The other thing is, the offensive coaching staff believes Brunell will thrive in the new offense (more West Coast) and that Leftwich can learn a lot by watching him run it. The interesting part is if Brunell has a rebirth of Pro Bowl standards, and the Jags do some winning - Brunell will be in a very nice position after the season.

Chris Mortensen: I have to run now. Thanks for the good hour. We'll talk again soon. God Bless....

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