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 4:30 p.m. ET!
Buzzmaster (4:31 PM)
We're getting Gary!
Gary Horton (4:37 PM)
It was certainly a trying week in Texas, with the weather, but the weekend ended up salvaging what was a tough early part of the week. I thought it was a great game. It's not the fault of the people of Texas that things were so tough. But I thought the game was worthwhile. The best thing for me is that I'm headed back to San Diego and driving across Arizona. I don't have to deal with ice anymore.
what was up with the Dallas field? seemed like a lot of ground caused injuries
Gary Horton (4:39 PM)
Nobody's ever complained about the field, so I think they were just freak injuries. Charles Woodson landing on his shoulder had nothing to do with the field. I didn't see anything where the field was a big factor. I haven't heard anything today about it.
Is it possible that the Steelers cut Keyaron Fox #57? He's the moron who received the 15 yard penalty with 2 min left!..he should have been cut immediately.
Gary Horton (4:40 PM)
It was dumb and you spend a lot of time with your backup players talking about not making those mistakes and costing field position. I don't know about cutting him on the spot, but most players have no patience for mental mistakes like that. Phyiscal mistakes you can deal with, but mental mistakes have no place in a game of that magnitude.
Rich (New Jersey)
After Aaron Rodgers Super Bowl MVP Performance where would he rank among Tom Brady, Drew Brees, Eli Manning and Peyton Manning?
Gary Horton (4:41 PM)
Right now, he is one of the hottest 3-4 QBs in the league. The upside is huge. But I really think we rush to judgement because you have got to put together a body of work. This guy is so fun to watch and his skills are so off the charts that I think he could be in the Brady, Manning class, but in my mind he has to do it a little longer. He was great this year and a year ago, but put 3-4 years ago before putting him into that discussion. This guy has a future that's going to be off the charts.
At what percentage did you think Polmalu was playing with? He didn't look like the same player to me.
Gary Horton (4:43 PM)
I don't think he was totally healthy, but he is so used to playing hurt that he usually plays through it. I think it was more of a result of Green Bay taking him out of the game by anticipating where he was, working the opposite side with slant routes or getting him into man to man schemes and neutralizing him. I thought the game plan was excellent and they didn't give him a chance to make plays because the ball came out so quickly.
mike (new jersey)
now what do we do now since there is no football for 7 months?
Gary Horton (4:44 PM)
Well, assuming we get a CBA, which is a big assumption, it's business as usual. Hopefully, they'll get into free agency, which I'm worried about now without the deal. We'll have the draft and before we know it, we'll be back in training camp. It's always tough for football fans these first couple of months, but believe me, the players are glad to have a couple of months. But I'm sure without an agreement, there will be a lot of NFL stuff in the news the next 2-3 months.
Rich (New Jersey)
Now that the NFL Season is over, do you think they'll be an NFL season in 2011?
Gary Horton (4:46 PM)
I think we will. I think the two parties are finally starting to meet. These are very smart people and I think they were shown yesterday on how popular their game is and to disrupt that game makes no sense at all. There will be a lot of posturing, I'm sure, but as long as they keep meeting, I think we have a chance. I believe now there is more of a commitment than there has in the past. I'm also pleasantly surprised that a lot of big name NFL players are starting to get involved in the negotiations. That's a good sign.
Do you recall seeing a WR have such a great but up and down big game like Nelson? On one play he'd look like Jerry Rice, then on the next look like Condi Rice.
Gary Horton (4:48 PM)
I agree with you totally. I think the team had 6-7 drops in the game, including a couple of crucial ones by Nelson. The good thing about Rodgers is he'll look at all of his receivers. Nelson has the advantage of matching up with the 3-4 CB and that gives the Packers the advantage and Rodgers knows that. When the Steelers went man to man, Green Bay took advantage. One of the impressive things about Rodgers now is finding those matchups and exploiting them. This is an offense that each week can produce a big game by a different receiver depending on how the defense plays him.
Tod (Sedona, AZ)
Football in 2011? Absolutely but what are the chances a deal gets done by March1st? Teams like the Cards need to see what holes they can patch through FA's before the draft. It's a killer to lose that and player for picks options!
Gary Horton (4:50 PM)
I think you're exactly right. I think the March 4 deadline may be a little tough to reach. I could see them backing it up a little and getting a deal done before the draft. It impacts free agency and your offseason plans. Free agency could suffer if there's a delay. Teams would have to play catch up. This may be an offseason that will be difficult to fill the holes that you would ordinarily fill. Teams may have to look to the draft. I agree with you, by the time we get to training camp, things will be leveled out. But it could be a rocky February, March and April.
If you take off that Pick six or the fumble i it is ring number 7 for the steelers would you agree?
Gary Horton (4:52 PM)
Yeah, you could say that, but you could also say that if the Green Bay WRs don't drop some critical passes, they could have had a bigger lead. It was on both sides of the ball. The Steelers were ready to win the game in the 4th, though I never thought they were in sync. They never looked dominant. Big Ben was up and down and yet in the final two minutes, they were putting together a drive to win the game. I'm not sure either team played close to their best game. It came down to Aaron Rodgers was hotter than Big Ben on that night. If I were a Pittsburgh fan today, I would probably feel like we let one get away that we shouldn't have. And that's not taking anything at all away from Green Bay.
How puzzling was the decision to kick the field goal by Pittsburgh? And did you think it was a bad hold?
Gary Horton (4:54 PM)
I was shocked because the word on the kicker is that he's not a long range guy and that would have been shocking if he had made a field goal like that. If you have a really good kicker, I could see you taking a chance on the points. I thought it was a shot in the dark for this guy to make a kick like that. It just didn't seem like a sound decision at the time.
Gary, you know all of the words to the National Anthem, right?
Gary Horton (4:55 PM)
I do and when left out the ramparts, I found myself saying, "did I miss something?" I'm not sure that if I was going to sing the anthem that I wouldn't have a 3x5 card in front of me. Missing that verse was embarrassing. I'm a Christina Aguilera fan, but I thought her rendition was very bland. I thought she should have had an orchestra or surrounding musicians. It didn't sound inspiring, even with the miss. She's just too good for a performance like that.
Gary Horton (4:56 PM)
But at least the new word of the day now is ramparts.
Watching the SB, I'm convinced more than its a passing league now, its a wr league. The deeper you are the better you will be. Bill Walsh once said all things equal the WR can make the difference.
Gary Horton (4:57 PM)
I think you're exactly right. It's hard to let go of the idea that defenses and running games win Super Bowls, but look at these teams now. If you have a great spread package, you can negate a team's defense. If you're deeper at WR than the defense is at cover guys and if you have a great QB, you're going to have the better matchups. And spread offenses lead to better run angles.
Big Ben hardly ever got out of the pocket. Was that the plan on GB's part? Aren't you wasting Clay as a spy as well?
Gary Horton (4:59 PM)
You're right, but that's a tough call. I think they realized that if Big Ben is in the pocket, he's not nearly as dangerous. Matthews has great closing speed. They made the decision that he would mirror Ben and not let him get those runs. I'm sure Matthews wasn't excited about not being a pass rusher on every down, but we've seen pass rushers fall off of Ben when he's in their grasp. I think they confused him with their spy techniques.
Gary Horton (4:59 PM)
It's been a great year, I'm glad we had two tremendous organizations in the Super Bowl, with a great history. Now we can all rest and get ready to start over again.