Chat with Scouts Inc.'s Gary Horton
Welcome to SportsNation! On Monday, Scouts Inc.'s Gary Horton stops in to talk about the NFL season and other news from around the league.
Horton spent 10 years in the NFL as a scout and another 10 years at the college level as an assistant coach and recruiter. He is the founder and most seasoned member of the Scouts Inc. staff, and his extensive experience at all levels of football make him an excellent talent evaluator.
Send your questions now and join Horton Monday at 4 p.m. ET!
Gary Horton (4:01 PM)
I don't know if I've ever seen this early in an NFL season the separation between really good teams and really bad teams. We are seeing some great football, but we are also seeing games that are almost unwatchable. I don't know if there is any more parity in the NFL.
Tom Ruhlman (Seattle, Washington)
The Hawks are average with Seneca Wallace, and amazing with Hasselbeck. But are they 41-0 good? Was today just a home field quirk?
Gary Horton (4:02 PM)
I think they are a team that is going to get better, especially with Hasselbeck, but I don't think they are as dominating as the score looks. I think a lot of it has to do with a bad Jacksonville team. They'll be in this West race all the way to the end.
Nick (Camarillo, CA)
What team is the worst in the league?
Gary Horton (4:04 PM)
I would say Oakland right now. They have no chance currently to get better because of the QB position. JaMarcus Russell has been awful, and right now he appears incapable of turning this offense around. The Raiders were at least playing hard and with some pride, but I don't even see that right now. I think St. Louis, Buffalo, Cleveland, and Jacksonville are certainly not far behind.
as a panther fan what do i have anything good to look forward to? for some reason this team is a every other year team.
Gary Horton (4:06 PM)
I think your team is well-coached. You have the potential for a dominating run game that we haven't seen yet. You have a great receiver in Steve Smith, but I think there are weaknesses on defense, I don't trust your QB on a weekly basis, and we should have seen this coming. They were not good in the preseason, and I think everyone assumed they would turn it on. They're one of those teams that are close and could fight to get back in this more quickly than you might think. This is not a disaster team.
Joey(Los Angeles, CA) [via mobile]
The 49ers had a rough day yesterday, do you think they will bounce back after there bye week?
Gary Horton (4:07 PM)
Yes I do. Mike Singletary will be very tough on them. I was really surprised at how badly they played vs. Atlanta, even though Atlanta is a better football team. This is a young group of players that Singletary is basically willing to play at a high level each week, and probably above their ability level. Because they are so young, we will see glitches every now and again. That is what drives Singletary crazy, laying an egg like that.
SprungOnSports (Long Island)
How legitimate would you say the Broncos and Bengals really are, and can their success be sustained?
Gary Horton (4:10 PM)
I say yes, cautiously. But the reason they are winning right now has a chance to continue. Denver is doing it with a much better defense than everybody thought, they have a potentially good run game, and a QB that doesn't make mistakes. This team reminds me of the Ravens in their Super Bowl year, although their defense is not as dominating. In the case of Cincinnati, I like the way that they are playing. Palmer is playing well in the fourth quarter, and the Bengals in general are playing with resilience through all four quarters. You get the feeling that they think they are never out of the game, and they are having fun...I can't remember the last time I saw that. They're for real.
i think the folks predicting the end of brady as an elite QB are premature..it took peyton a full season to get over the same type injury...in the end i see brady leading the pats to the playoffs but i do wish they still had seymour and vrabel...also i hope that fool merriweather has a hefty fine to pay in the kangaroo court...your thoughts?
Gary Horton (4:12 PM)
I couldn't agree with you more on Brady. That type of injury takes time for a player to get back to 100 percent. I agree with you that Seymour and Vrabel not being there hurt them. I still think the Patriots are talented and be competitive in any game, but you can't replace all those players they've lost. They're lacking in depth and leadership. They do have enough to get to the playoffs, and then who knows what happens. But their margin of error is not what it used to be, and they don't have a shutdown defense.
WE NEED A QB CHANGE IN DALLAS, NOT THE COACH
Gary Horton (4:14 PM)
I would strongly disagree with that. I think Tony Romo is still a very talented player who is pressing and making some mistakes. I think he's working hard to correct those mistakes, and there's not a throw that he can't make. My problem with the Cowboys is that there is no consistency or flow to the offense. Romo doesn't call all of those plays. However, I am concerned about Romo's accuracy. He seems to get a lot of balls that sail on him, but I think he can be top-flight in this league.
Shane (Los Angeles, CA)
In an otherwise dismal season, the Browns Special Teams have been spectacular. What is your assessment and are they the best in the league on Special Teams?
Gary Horton (4:15 PM)
They're really good because Cribbs is an excellent return guy. What impresses me about that is that bad teams are usually bad on special teams as well. The depth is not good and those backups are big part of your kicking game. Also, when you are losing, attention to detail and pride in the kicking game is not always there. The rest of their game is just awful. It's a sad commentary when you have to brag that your special teams are the best part of your game.
Scott (Bakersfield,CA) [via mobile]
Do you think Moreno be a elite RB
Gary Horton (4:17 PM)
Yes I do. I think he's an excellent guy for their offensive scheme, which is one-cut and go. I think we saw yesterday that they will mix things up and put him in the WildHorse and let him take the direct snap. He looks to me like an explosive player with breakaway speed. He will run behind a very good offensive line and in an offense that believes in running the ball. That puts a lot of things in his favor.
AJ Kohn (Kohn)
Are the Ravens for real, or are the Pats and bengals just good.
Gary Horton (4:19 PM)
I think the Patriots and Bengals are good teams, and the Ravens ARE for real. But they are inconsistent. In that AFC North, with the exception of Cleveland, any one of the other three teams can win. Remember, there have been weeks where we fell in love with the Ravens' offense and their versatility. If I have a concern about Baltimore, it's that I don't see their defense dominating every week like they once did. They lost their composure vs. Cincinnati. Offenses seem to have the ability to put to together long drives against them, which we never saw before. There's a lot of pride in that locker room, and they are playing some tough opponents.
Can you remember a time when so many tight ends were such major contributors to teams' successes? Is 2009 The Year of the Tight End?
Gary Horton (4:21 PM)
That's a very interesting observation. NFL scouting departments are realizing that when you can draft an athletic TE that can move around the formation like a Dallas Clark, it's such a tough matchup for defenses and it gives you so much flexibility in your offense. What I noticed yesterday was how athletic some of these guys are. It seemed to me that every time I turned around, a TE hurdled over a tackle. I'll bet that happened five or six times yesterday.
What do you think the rest of the season holds for Green Bay? Will Rodgers improve at all??
Gary Horton (4:22 PM)
GB confuses me a little bit right now, because Rodgers in the preseason and the early season was untouchable, but his issues in the OL and poor pass protection holds this offense back. It hurts them when running empty sets because they need to play more max protection schemes. I loved their transition to the 34 defense in the preseason, and it looked like they were adapting, but that has levelled out also. I don't see them being as aggressive with their blitz package. It's difficult to see where this team is going. They are talented but inconsistent and may have a tough time catching Minnesota.
Gary Horton (4:25 PM)
For some of us, he probably is. For other Orton fans, they suspected this. Josh McDaniels expected this level of production. As well as Orton is playing, it's important to remember that he is not asked to do a lot. He's helped by a defense that creates turnovers, a very good running game, and a safe gameplan. Having said that, when you can drive 98 yards to win a game against the Patriots, that says something about your leadership and ability to run the offense. I think the best part of Orton's game is that he knows who he is and his limitations.
How good do you think Minnesota Vikings are? you think they can make a super bowl run?
Gary Horton (4:26 PM)
There is no question that they have the type of talent that can take them to Miami. They don't really have a major weakness on either side of the ball, although they give up more plays in the kicking game than I would like. Their key will be if Favre can stay healthy for the rest of the season, and if his arm doesn't tire out and he takes a dip in production. If he stays fresh, this team will be tough to beat because you can always count on AP and you have a SB defense. It all comes down to Favre making plays when he has to.
Scott (Bakersfield,CA) [via mobile]
Which offseason add has helped their team more Dawkins or Sharper?
Gary Horton (4:28 PM)
That's almost a push. They are both great veteran players with tremendous leadership skills. Your first inclination might be to say Sharper because of his big plays and his instincts. He can turn around a game with those interceptions. My sources in Denver tell me Dawkins is like another coach on the field and is a huge part of the speed in which Denver has made the transition from a 43 to a 34. That may not show up in the box score, but it is a big factor in their success.
RAY GORDON REID ( ORLANDO FLORIDA 32802)
HI GARY WHO DO YOU HAVE FOR TONIGHT JETS OR DOLPHINS
Gary Horton (4:30 PM)
I picked Miami 17-13. I think the Dolphins will continue to run the Wildcat and I think they will really come after Sanchez. While I like this Jets team, I'm not sure they were quite as good as everybody thought early in the season. I see Miami as a team climbing to get back in the playoff race. They are explosive, know how to win, and will play mistake-free football. This will be a physical, low-scoring game.
Gary Horton (4:31 PM)
It seems like every week we look at the schedule and see some games that will not be very good, but we continue to be surprised. That's the beauty of the NFL...you just don't know what you will get on a week-to-week basis. Thanks!