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 (4:02 PM)
We're getting Gary!
Gary Horton (4:03 PM)
This is a defining game tonight for two good football teams. I think the team that emerges out of this will have a lot of confidence. I'm anxious to see if Denver is a team that comes back to the pack or if last week was just a blip on the radar when they lost to Baltimore. But these two teams could easily meet in the playoffs.
Gary, who would you start tonight, orton or big ben, thanks
Gary Horton (4:05 PM)
Oh, I don't think there's any question, it's Big Ben. His abilities to extend plays with his feet and to break down defenses is outstanding. It's becoming clear that the offense is a passing team. I think Denver still wants to run the ball. What I saw from Kyle Orton last week was a lot of check downs. If I'm a Denver fan, you have to worry that this team is too conservative. If I'm right, then that doesn't add up to many fantasy points.
Graham D. (Las Vegas)
Which quarterback will be remembered as having had the best career? Peyton Manning or Tom Brady?
Gary Horton (4:07 PM)
Oh wow. I think that's a great question but an absolute toss-up. Peyton Manning is going to break every record in the book. I think he might be remembered as the best QB to play the game. But Tom Brady already has 3 Super Bowl rings. It's hard to discount that. These are two great QBs. I think we'll look back at their careers and we'll love Brady and his wins and for being an offensive machine. And we'll love Peyton for his stats and his ability to carry his team on his back. We might as well get ready to include Drew Brees in some of these conversations.
Will the Packers ever be a great team this year?
Gary Horton (4:08 PM)
I don't think they will this year, because I think some of the problems are not easily fixed. The pass protection has been horrendous and they can't change their OL problems during the season, even though some of those issues are the result of Rodgers holding on to the ball too long. I also think the switch to the 3-4 defense looked promising early, but I don't think they have the personnel in place. What alarms me is that they are starting to look like a sloppy team. Mistakes on special teams, too many penalties. That is so unlike them. I don't think they can fix all of thsoe problems in season.
What's happened to the Bears? They seem to be getting worse?
Gary Horton (4:11 PM)
I think a lot of their problems come down to one thing: they do not have a good coverage secondary. If they don't get good pressure up front, it exposes those DBs in coverage. They played a team Sunday in Arizona that can really spread you out with a lot of weapons. I also think Jay Cutler is making too many mistakes. I don't see the physical run game that I thought I would. This team seems to me like the Packers, they are getting sloppy and they have some fundamental flaws that can't be fixed right now. But I would say their biggest problem is in their pass defense.
Should Carolina's loss to the Saints give a wierd sense of hope for the fans, seeing how they played them.
Gary Horton (4:12 PM)
I think it's encouraging. I'm not so sure that Carolina played great as much as New Orleans played a mediocre game. They didn't look like they usually do, maybe that's because of Carolina. Drew Brees didn't look good early. I think it's simple for Carolina, run the ball, control the clock and keep good QBs off the field. They're not going to be a passing team. They are not as bad a team as their record indicates.
Craig G. (Fairfield, California)
Hey Gary, do you expect tonight to be a defensive battle or a high-scoring affair?
Gary Horton (4:14 PM)
I think it's probably somewhere in the middle. I don't think it will be a shootout, because I don't think Denver will let it be that way. I don't think either one of these offenses is capable of putting up huge numbers, though Pittsburgh is probably more likely to do it. These are two defenses that play smart, they don't give up a lot of big plays. This will be a physical game, decided by one or two big passing plays that maybe comes off of one of those rare coverage mistakes that we don't see by these teams. I think the Steelers win, but by no more than a TD.
Gary, which team do you think will take a chance on LJ?
Gary Horton (4:16 PM)
I think there are some teams that will be interested, but based on why he was cut, it makes it a little bit tough for anybody to sign him because of all of the fallout that goes with it. I would not be surprised for the market to be somewhat weak. I personally watched him on film and I'm not sure he's playing well enough at this stage to be worth the headaches.
J.B. (Dunmore, PA)
With what has happened to the Ravens, 49ers and Packers lately, do we really know how good the Vikings are? I can honestly see them potentially losing five of their last eight games.
Gary Horton (4:18 PM)
I don't know we know how good Minnesota is, but we know that they have a hall of fame QB and a hall of fame RB and a great OL. An emerging rookie WR and a rock solid defense. I would say they're not going to lose five of their last eight games. This is a really good football team. I don't know if they're getting to the Super Bowl, but I think they win their division going away. We've seen that good teams can play badly on any given Sunday and bad teams can play hard. I don't know if you can judge a team at this stage by the competition they've played.
Calvin Johnson (Detroit)
We are almost a completely new team from last year. But we are still just 1-7. Are we really only one win better than we were last year?
Gary Horton (4:20 PM)
Well the key this year is they're growing with a new QB. There are some pieces in place with a whole new system and a whole new coaching staff. When I watch the Lions now, I see a team that's competitive. They aren't great, but they are in games more than in the past. This won't be easy to fix. Their personnel isn't good enough. It will take them a couple of seasons to get the right people in place. But at least they go into the game each week with a chance to be competitive. I still think they are better than Tampa, St. Louis.
GaryDo you think the St. Louis Rams will draft a QB or go after a defensive player?If it's a QB would you take Jake Locker or someone else.Thank's!
Gary Horton (4:22 PM)
Obviously, you don't know that now until the draft starts to shake out. They have made a tremendous amount of mistakes of drafting defensive players that never panned out. The problem with drafting a rookie QB is the fans already have had a bad taste in their mouth and now you're asking them to wait another year or two. I don't think they have enough playmakers at WR. But this is a team that could just take the best player available regardless of position, because they have so many needs. I think it will be interesting to see if they try to fix this with a veteran QB -- would Michael Vick fit in? -- or will they ask everyone to be patient.
Joe (Ashland KY)
The Cowboys were very poised at the end of the game last night. Have they turned the corner as far as being a mature football team?
Gary Horton (4:24 PM)
I really think so. I loved not only their poise last night, but I thought their playcalling and adjustments were excellent. Philly hit them with a lot of inside blitzes. They countered with some quick slants and bubble screens. They countered everything they saw from the Eagles. On defense they moved Ware all around depending on matchups. I came away with the feeling that they were a really prepared team. I think this will continue. Tony Romo is a good football player, who gets much more criticism than he deserves.
Do you think that the Haynesworth signing is going to handcuff the next Redskin coach (it very obviously will not be Zorn) into not being able to make enough signings to improve this team due to the size and length?
Gary Horton (4:25 PM)
Right off the top of of my head, I don't know how it effects the cap, but it's a bloated contract. I don't think he'll ever produce up to those numbers. I know this is a team that has some contracts that are out of whack. It's going to take a really good cap guy to work the numbers and help them with free agents.
Scott W. (Reno, NV)
Saints or Colts. Who is the better better team right now?
Gary Horton (4:27 PM)
I think the Saints are, not by a lot. I think they're solid on both sides of the ball. They can throw the ball and win. They can run the ball and win. They can play solid defense. Even when they don't have their A game, they're good enough to win and they're almost impossible to beat at home. The thing about the Colts is that even though they've played respectable defense, especially in the secondary, that they just don't have a big margin for error. I just worry about them wearing down and good offenses exploiting them at the end of the season. For them to win, Peyton Manning has to be perfect. Over the longhaul over the second half of the season, I worry about the depth of Indy, especially at the end of the season.
With the Cowboys defeating the Eagles last night do you see them as the favorites in the NFC East? I personally think Andy Reid made a huge mistake in kicking that field goal because they were not getting that ball back with the way their defense was playing.
Gary Horton (4:29 PM)
I would tend to agree with you. I think the Cowboys probably are the favorite right now. I think Philadelphia will stay in this thing and it will be competitive down to the wire. I think the team that's dropped out are the Giants. They have some problems in pass coverage. They're not as bad as we've seen, but I don't think they have enough to make a run. I think it's the Eagles and Cowboys down the stretch and I think the Cowboys have the advantage.
Gary Horton (4:30 PM)
Tonight's game will be interesting. This is the hump time of the NFL season. We're not close enough to the playoffs to really get excited. I think this is where upsets can occur, where a lot of teams are bored and don't see the light at the end of the tunnel. This is the perfect time where your mental preparation gives you a chance to pull off an upset. Coaches will tell you that these three or four weeks are dangerous. It's hard to get physically and mentally prepared each week. I'm anxious to see if we have a rash of upsets the next three or four weeks.