Chat with 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 (4:01 PM)
We've got Gary!
Gary Horton (4:03 PM)
The thing that really strikes me about this weekend is so many matchups with teams that already know each other well and in every game, they've played each other already in the regular season. We have some great natural rivals. I think that we're looking at a weekend where coaching is very important, based on what we have to go on.
Squall (Balamb Garden)
How 'bout them 8-9 Seahawks? Did it take all they had to squeak by the Saints in a thrilling shootout, or can they bring their A-game into Chicago too?
Gary Horton (4:05 PM)
I am actually writing up the Chicago-Seattle matchup today. When I first started doing it, I was all in on Chicago. But the more I break the Seahawks down, the more I think they have the chance to win in Chicago. Matt Hasselbeck gives them a puncher's chance because he can get hot. If Lynch can run like he did last week, they have a real chance to beat the Bears, who I think are a good team, but not quite as good as dominant as their seeding would indicate.
Gary Horton (4:06 PM)
Obviously, Seattle beat them in Chicago earlier in the season. So, they're not intimidated. They're having a good time I think it will probably come down to which team's defense makes the most stops.
khris(new york) [via mobile]
What do u think of the ravens after their 30-7 win over the chiefs?
Gary Horton (4:07 PM)
It looked to me like a perfect case of a veteran playoff tested team that's been in this situation before against a team that had not or maybe wasn't quite ready for this stage. Baltimore has a proven scheme for the playoffs, because they're physical on both sides of the ball. I was very impressed in how they played at Arrowhead, which is not an easy place.
Can we once and for all put an end to the debate of Manning vs. Brady? Manning's post season career record is 9-10. Of his 11 trips to the post season, he has lost in the first game 7 times. Brady is 14-4 in the post season. He has only lost in the first post-season game ONCE.
Gary Horton (4:09 PM)
Well, I still think they're both great quarterbacks with different styles and I am starting to lean your way a little bit in the fact that I think Peyton probably needs another ring to solidify his spot in history. Based on how the Pats are playing, we could see Brady get his fourth this year. But let's give Peyton a little slack on how he made this team good, even with a team that had so many injuries.
If James Starks can keep running effectively and Rodgers doing his thing are the Pack the favorite in the NFC?
Gary Horton (4:11 PM)
I think they are the most dangerous team in the playoffs right now, because Aaron Rodgers can make every play necessary. I love the different exotic look that the defense gives us. The only thing holding them back is the run game. At least yesterday, they had one for three hours. If they can have enough of a run game to force defenses to sit back a little bit and also allow Rodgers to set up playaction, they can beat any of the three teams left in the NFC.
John (Fort Wayne)
Gary, who do you see as the front runner for Denver's head coaching job?
Gary Horton (4:14 PM)
I think most of us right now just don't know how good of a job that is, because we don't know what the organization is going to look like. Is John Elway hands on? Is he a figure head? How much power does the next coach have in personnel? What certainly looked to me like a downfall of Josh McDaniels was that he had too much power and a lot of those decisions didn't work. I don't think this is a very talented roster, with age in some area, lack of talent in others and personnel that doesn't fit the scheme that they wanted to run, though we don't know about the new scheme. I think patience will probably be required for anybody taking this job. My guess is that they'll hire a well-thought of assistant coach who can really work with the front office.
Gary Horton (4:15 PM)
I think the biggest question on hiring a new head coach is what he feels about his QB situation.
Mr.V (9er country) [via mobile]
Dothe 9ers get a Qb in the draft? Maybe mallet? Locker? Maybe a veteran?
Gary Horton (4:17 PM)
I think that's a real problem, because they have other needs. To start over at the QB position could really set them back. I still think that Alex Smith has a chance to become a decent QB, but I don't say that with a lot of confidence. I would lean to trying to evaluate my QBs for one more year while trying to surround them with more talent. But I think that's a tough question to answer and I don't think we go into the offseason feeling necessarily good or bad about it. But this team has more good players than you might think.
What do you think of the Panthers hiring Ron Rivera?
Gary Horton (4:18 PM)
Ron Rivera is certainly well respected in NFL circles. I think he's done a nice job in San Diego. In all honesty, he's probably a lot like John Fox, who was a defensive oriented head coach. If that's the case, it looks to me like a solid hire, but not an exciting one. I don't think this is an organization right now that's very splashy. Because of that, my guess is that the local fans will not be overly excited by it.
Suburban Rhythm (Pittsburgh)
Gary, who is the key player on defense for the Steelers vs. Baltimore? Polamalu seems the obvious choice. But, maybe Timmons or Farrior in coverage on Heap?
Gary Horton (4:20 PM)
Ryan Clark is always a big factor on Pittsburgh's defense, because his ability to play centerfield as a safety allows Polamalu the freedom to freelance in formation. He can sit back and has good range to get to the football. I also think that Timmons is a guy that nobody talks about a lot, but he's their leading tackler as an ILB and he is an underrated blitzer. He may be asked at times to cover Ray Rice on swing passes, which he can do well. I would say that the Steelers need to be really good in the middle of their defense, which is Timmons and Clark.
Anthony Powell (Boynton Beach, FL)
Gary are the Patriots and the Ravens on a collision course to meet in the AFC Championship Game with everything on the line?
Gary Horton (4:23 PM)
I think right now all four AFC teams are almost equally talented. I think we're overrated the 45-3 New England win over the Jets a few weeks ago and I think Baltimore-Pittsburgh are almost exact mirror images of each other. That gives us four really good teams. Obviously, I think the Patriots are playing the best football, but I would not be surprised of any of the four winning this weekend. I think it's important to remember that as much as we like the Pats, this is not a team that bullies you around. They're well coached. They have a sophisticated passing game and they just don't make mistakes. But they're not your typical juggernaut of a team that just punches people in the mouth.
Weese (Nashville, TN)
Chances that Nnamdi will end up being resigned by Oakland or does he leave to go play for a championship contending team?
Gary Horton (4:25 PM)
I don't think there's any question that he'll leave via free agency. He has great skills. Though you have to factor in the lockout as a part of this situation. This guy seems to me that he will have some options.
Now that the wild card weekend is over, who do you think that will have the best shot for an upset during the devisional rounds?
Gary Horton (4:27 PM)
To be honest, I think the only game that we might consider an upset is if Seattle beats Chicago, and I'm beginning to think that might not be as big an upset as we think. I'm beginning to feel that all three of the other games could go either way. I just don't see a big discrepancy. I would not be surprised at all if any of the road teams went in and won a game. In my mind, this might be the most evenly matched divisional weekend that we have had in a long time. As I said earlier, the more I've watched Seattle today on film, the more I think they have a chance against a Chicago team that may have the No. 2 seed. But I think they are beatable.
Gary Horton (4:30 PM)
As crazy as these playoffs sound, if Seattle upsets Chicago and if Green Bay would upset Atlanta, both scenarios which are possible, Seattle could be hosting the NFC Championship at 9-9. Don't we live in a great country?
Buzzmaster (4:30 PM)
Thanks for chatting Gary!