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)
Gary Horton will be joining us momentarily!
Gary Horton (4:10 PM)
Hello! Any of the four teams playing yesterday were worthy of going to the Super Bowl. But we ended up getting a great matchup with two well-deserving teams and we should have a great game. I'm ready for your questions.
Nathan (Coralville, IA)
What's your take on Big Ben's performance yesterday?
Gary Horton (4:11 PM)
As usual, his numbers are not as good as his production. Stats-wise, he was just average. But he made plays when he had to. His ability to elude pressure and extend the play was great. He was always able to buy time. He is the best in the league at that. Rodgers is a good runner, but Ben just knows how to extend a play.
So if Mike Tomlin's win his second ring in three years where does that place him in the "Best NFL Coach" debate? I say number 2 right behind bellicheck!
Gary Horton (4:12 PM)
I think he is still a very young guy so it's very exciting to have this much success so young. He has an excellent team around him which tells me he will be successful for years to come. His status will grow each year. This is not a team that is going to fall apart. He seems to have an absolute handle on the strengths and weaknesses of the team and knows which buttons to push.
Tabitha (New Jersey)
Who would you like to see on this season of HBO's Hard Knocks and why ?
Gary Horton (4:14 PM)
I don't think the Cowboys would do it again. I don't think they would do it but I think Indianapolis would be fascinating with Peyton. They are a very unique organization with a unique approach. The team I would love to see on Hard Knocks is New England and the chances of that are the same as me winning the lottery.
Gary Horton (4:14 PM)
Can you imagine Bill Belichick talking into a camera every week? I don't think so.
Al (Wausau, WI)
Gary, now that Jay Cutler has been diagnosed with an MCL injury, I feel that he has taken a lot of undeserved grief from fans and the media. It now seems to me that he was TRULY injured and ineffective yesterday after his injury, and the Bears did the right thing in getting him off the field. How do you feel about this?
Gary Horton (4:16 PM)
I think part of the problem is self-inflicted by his body language and mannerisms. They are very disturbing to a lot of people. He almost looks disinterested on the sidelines. He looked like a guy that didn't want to come back in, whether he could or not. I'm not making any judgements. But you would think in such an important game he would be more animated. You are looking for those reactions and I just didn't see them. I would feel a lot better if it is a serious injury because if it isn't, something like that could end a guy's career.
Ryan (San Diego)
If Bengals trade Palmer what are some QB options for them?
Gary Horton (4:18 PM)
They are not very good. One part of me says both parties could probably use a change of scenery. Carson I think feels like he just can't do any more there. But he hasn't played well so that doesn't help his trade value. The Bengals probably think they are not a re-building team but rather a team close to being able to contend. When you feel that way, you don't want to get rid of your QB and start over. It's a dicey situation. Sounds good on paper to trade him but it's a hard thing to do.
Josh S. (Philly)
What do you think are the eagles primary concerns this offseason?
Gary Horton (4:20 PM)
I think they have to fix their OL. They have been toying with that for a long time. That is the only thing that could hold back the offense. I think they will keep both QBs for another year. If the OL gets more stable, this will be a tough offense to deal with. They have to get back to the attacking group they were when Jim Johnson was alive. They have really missed his coaching philosophy.
Is BJ. Raji becoming the best nosetackle in the game? He eats up a ton of space, but he has the rare aility to get pressure on the QB with his strength and quickness. Your thoughts?
Gary Horton (4:22 PM)
I'm actually watching him on film today and he is almost unblockable. He is 336 lbs according to the press guide and he can drop into zone coverage, which was his TD return yesterday, and he is a lead blocker in goal line situations. He is probably right up there with Vince Wilfork, Chris Jenkins and Haloti Ngata.
Gary, it seems to me the packers have built a roster that will contend for the next 3 to 5 years, young, quick, deep and great qb, my question to you is ted thompson one of the best in business? The best?
Gary Horton (4:24 PM)
I absolutely think they have a roster built to last. They have primetime players at every position, although they do need to bolster the OL and run game. But Aaron Rodgers gives them a chance every week. Forget the draft choices, look at the guys like Tramon Williams, Sam Shields ... those guys are making major contributions that weren't even drafted. There are guys on this team they picked up for almost free. It's a real testament to the scouting department.
What strategies can the Packers employ to at least keep the Steelers defense honest aginst their run game, especially with Starks struggling? Use Kuhn and Jackson more or just hand it off and hope for the best?
Gary Horton (4:27 PM)
Their bone formation is powerful with two fullbacks leading into the hole for Starks. I would think they would use that. Ironically, which will shock some people, is that Rodgers has a very productive play-action package without a great run game. I'm not sure why, but I see a lot of defensive players that honor his play fake.
Are we going to see a repeat of last years game between pitt and greebnay, I would love to see a shootout...
Gary Horton (4:28 PM)
I think we have a chance for a shootout because of the perfect surface with no weather. We've seen what the Packers can do on a fast track and the Steelers have more speed than we give them credit for. This has a chance to be a really entertaining Super Bowl even though both defenses are really good.
Anthony Powell (Boynton Beach, FL)
Gary how big of a loss is Maurice Pouncey to the Steelers already suspect offensive line would have to think the Packers defensive line has the advantage in this matchup I mean Dom Capers has to be licking his chops when he looks at that O-Line
Gary Horton (4:31 PM)
It's a huge loss. It looks like he was making the OL calls. He was good in pass protect and good on the second level. He was good on snaps, regular and shotgun, which were a problem yesterday. Having said that, Legursky did a good job replacing him.
Chris Fiegler (Latham,NY)
Who do you think will win Super Bowl XLV?
Gary Horton (4:33 PM)
This is always when I question if I really have a life. We're spending all week in the Digital Center cutting all the telestrations to take to Texas and it's the most enjoyable time of the year for me because I can spend all week breaking the teams down and learning all the in's and out's. I'm going to delay my pick until next Monday after I spend all this week watching video. Then you can go against my pick if you really want to win. But right now I really like Green Bay. I'll be back next week from Dallas! Thanks for the questions!