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!
Buzzmaster (4:03 PM)
Gary is here!
Gary Horton (4:04 PM)
I thought yesterday was a very strange day. It seemed like we had so many blow outs, with a couple of exciting games. Maybe it just proves that the haves and the have nots are more pronounced than ever. It seem to me that it was a day that was really confusing. Some teams didn't show up and some played better than you'd ever expect. I guess that's why we love this game so much.
SteveFitz (Cicero, IL)
Was Cincy's thrashing of the Bears more coaching or more lack of player production?
Gary Horton (4:06 PM)
I think it has a lot to do with player production. Although, I will say this that Cincinnati used an unbalanced like for most of the day with an extra tackle in the game. It not only opened up holes for Cedric Benson, but it also helped Carson Palmer in the passing game. I don't think the Bears ever figured it out. Cedric Benson had a great day against his former team. If I were a Bears fan, I would be not only concerned about the loss, but that I was manhandled in almost every area. If the Bears are a contender, you can't have a game like this in the middle of the season against a good, but not great opponent.
Gary Horton (4:07 PM)
But I thought the Bengals coaches did a great job in this game.
Jacob (Portland, OR)
Am I the only one who sees the Jim Zorn situation as cruel and unusual punishment? Management overpays for overrated players, none of which are O-Linemen, or a QB, and he boasts a 2-4 record, and chats run wild for him to be fired. What happened to management taking accountability here! And I thought Al Davis was out of it, Snyder is out of his mind for being an NFL owner, I would have rather seen Rush run that team!
Gary Horton (4:09 PM)
I think that's a great question. I think they have always overrated their talent level. Not only are their players not as good as their management thinks, but it's hard to have team chemistry if they're just buying guys off the street. They're not drafting and developing guys and now I think they're just grasping at straws. I will say this, that I think Daniel Snyder is committed to winning, but they just don't know what that is. I think they need a strong figure head that they should hire first, like Bill Parcells, and let him structure this organization the way he wants to.
Paul (Bozeman, MT)
The Boys looked good against Atlanta and seem to have made big strides durring the bye week. Can Dallas fan breathe a bit easier now?
Gary Horton (4:11 PM)
I think they played the way we always expect them to play. I like their aggressiveness. Defensively, they really turned up the heat. They attacked the QB. They didn't put Tony Romo in bad situations. This is a team that we criticized most of the first part of the season because they didn't create turnovers and that put all the pressure on Romo. This is a talented team that can run and pass. The key for them is can they do it on a regular basis. In the past, they haven't shown us good mental toughness. They need to play to their strength and not try to dazzle us.
J.B. (Dunmore, PA)
Being a Vikings fan, I have a lot of positives to take out of that game yesterday, don't I? They may have been one bad tripping call and/or a bad bounce on a screen pass away from a road win.
Gary Horton (4:13 PM)
I think you can look at it both ways. I think because of the Vikings' start people got caught up in how good they thought this team was and forgot that playing the Super Bowl champs in their own stadium isn't a gimmie. The feeling I got, even at the end of the game, was that Minnesota didn't play their "A" game, but I thought they were going to win again. Having said that, I would be really concerned about their pass/run ratio. I know the Steelers have a great run defense, but this team is not built for Brett Favre to pass 51 times. That's a trend they have to be aware of.
Gary Horton (4:14 PM)
But this would have been a great win. Now, if they lose in Green Bay this week, then all of a sudden, we'll be saying, what's wrong with the Vikings? The reality is they're on the road and it's tough to win on the road in this league. But I'd like to see more balance on offense.
Gurman (San Ramon, CA)
Gary, is San Diego's run defense really improving?
Gary Horton (4:15 PM)
I think it's OK. I don't know that you can draw a lot from the Kansas City game yesterday, but it is absolutely possible that the Chargers realize their backs are against the wall and they'll play better. They're not going to be the same team without their NT. But they have talented guys who can step up and defend the run in their 3-4, but I'd just like to see more consistency.
Bills defense: Legit bend but dont break style, or lucky to play two bad QBs in the past two weeks?
Gary Horton (4:17 PM)
I think they played with a little more pride than people realize. They have good team speed. I have liked their secondary all along. They have good cover guys and aren't afraid to come up and hit you. My concern is they don't have great depth. When they face mediocre QBs, they can do a good job in coverage and you have to like the fact that at least they're not quitting. But I think yesterday's win over Carolina, the story was more negative Carolina than good Buffalo.
Are the steelers back to being the favs to win the super bowl again?
Gary Horton (4:19 PM)
I think they have to be in the conversation. I still don't think they're a complete team. I don't know if I trust their run team. But having said that, they really haven't been a dominating run team for a few years. But they have proved you can win with a good pass game. I have thought the last couple of weeks that they can only go as far as Big Ben takes them. If he has a subpar game in January, then they could be in trouble. Homefield advantage will be key for them. It will be tough because even teams like Indy and New England can come in a beat them. And, if Troy Polamalu can stay healthy, this returns to an elite defense.
Going back to the Arizona game, Jake Delhomme has 18 ints in 7 games. How does he still have a job? What should the Panthers do with him and his fat contract extension?
Gary Horton (4:21 PM)
Well, that's a real dilemma for this organization. I was one of those who were shocked for that extension. Their problem is they don't have another option. They have so much money tied up in Jake and they don't have a QB of the future on that roster or a guy you even have a remote though process that he could be the guy. I don't know the reason for making a change and they may just have to go draft a guy and live with Jake. Benching him in favor of a guy you know isn't your future and just throwing away that money doesn't make sense, but I also don't think he can play his way out of this slump.
odie (Big D)
Is Tony Romo having undue pressure put on him this year to have performances like yesterday week in and week out..it almost seems like people are hoping he fails. Also, is Miles Austin the real deal or a two hit wonder?
Gary Horton (4:24 PM)
Romo, because he's the QB in Dallas, is always going to be in the spotlight in the media. I think he's a good player who is getting better but I think a lot of his pressure comes from his publicized life off the field. When you become a tabloid guy, you're going to open yourself up to that scrutiny. I think he's focused this season, he's working hard. My personal opinion is that the playcalling is the reason for the way he's looked. At times they're too pass happy and they put it all on his arm. It sets up a situation where he has to carry this offense when he has three great backs ready to carry the ball. It's a lot easier to complete a pass off of playaction when the defense is playing the run versus when they're playing a coverage scheme.
Gary Horton (4:25 PM)
Miles Austin is the real deal. He's had time to develop. He's a speed threat and he knows that if he can get open, Romo will get the ball to him. There are a lot of young WRs in this league ready to blossom if they can get the chance to get on the field.
Sam (San Francisco, CA)
Thoughts on Alex Smith being named the Niners starter?
Gary Horton (4:27 PM)
I was really happy yesterday to see Smith get another chance. I really like him. Not only as a player, but people around him think highly of him and how he's handled the situation. The 49ers are last in the NFL for throwing to their WRs. For the most part, this passing game has been to RBs and TEs. That makes it easy to defend. Smith has the bigger arm than Shaun Hill. They now have Crabtree on the perimeter and they have the ability to really stretch the defense with Smith's arm strength and that opens up the run game. He's had a lot of time to study defenses and work on his weaknesses and I would like to think that this is not only a real positive for Smith but that it really opens up the 49ers offense.
Chad (Las Vegas)
What would your top 5 power rankings look like?
Gary Horton (4:29 PM)
I think I would make New Orleans my No. 1 team. I would make Indianapolis No. 2. Then I think there's a little bit of a drop off with good teams, not great teams. I don't think you can crown Denver yet. What I like about New Orleans is that they've proven they can win in a variety of ways, not just throwing the ball. The Colts have proven that whether they have a run game or not, you just can't stop Peyton Manning. They're the smartest team in football. I watched a lot of film on the Saints and Colts. Every team has good coaching in this league, but these two are exceptional in their game plans, their adjustments and ability to exploit their opponents weaknesses.
Gary Horton (4:30 PM)
Denver might not be in that class now, but in the first half of the season, they've been the best of making adjustments at halftime. They're seeing what the other team is doing and fixing it.
Gary Horton (4:31 PM)
If you want to see a stat that's overwhelming. They've outscored their opponents 76-10 in the second half. That means that defense has only 10 points in six games. That's impressive.
Gary Horton (4:33 PM)
I think tonight's game is very interesting between Philly and Washington. A lot because of the drama in Washington. I think it takes on more importance because the Giants have lost two games in a row and a Philadelphia win keeps them right in the middle of this thing. We're seeing that the NFC East, with the exception of Washington, is up for grabs. No one is going to run away with this. I hope we see a better effort out of Philadelphia. This is one of those games that a good team goes in and wins. I guess the rest of the week, all we'll talk about is Brett Favre going back to Green Bay.
Gary Horton (4:34 PM)
By the way, how ironic is it that we're heading into a week where we have a World Series and an NFL matchup between two cities that are separated by I-95 -- New York and Philadelphia. If you're a talk show host in either of those cities, you have an easy job.
Buzzmaster (4:34 PM)
Thanks for chatting Gary!