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 (4:04 PM)
We've got Gary!
Gary Horton (4:05 PM)
Obviously, the best thing that can happen for our game is for the two sides to continue to talk. I don't think we're close to getting a deal done, but I really sense that neither side wants to take this thing to the courts, because then it could fall apart quickly and that could bring out a lot of anger and posturing on both sides. From my standpoint, I'm very hopeful that they will continue to talk and not resort to that, no matter how long it takes.
How close are we to reaching an agreement?
Gary Horton (4:07 PM)
I think there's certainly a good chance we'll still see a lockout. They're so far apart on these issues that my fear is that tempers will get involved and one side will just say "I'm done." I don't think we can get a deal done quickly, but I think we can make progress. I don't think we're in any hurry, as long as we're talking about making progress. It may take a month to get things done, but it will be better than cancelling games. I think the key here is to keep extending deadlines, if it's a week at a time, so be it.
What should the panthers do about the QB situation? Free agency? This years draft? Or just wait, be bad enough to get Luck in future drafts? Thanks.
Gary Horton (4:12 PM)
I think their situation shows you how critical it is to make good decisions at the QB position. When you fail at that, it can set your organization back five years. I personally think they have to draft a QB and start over. They're not a playoff team. They have a lot of holes. They have to have a face of the organization. And I don't think it's Jimmy Clausen, based on what I saw his rookie year. I just didn't see a guy who I thought was someone who they could build around. It's a shame because there are so many other needs that need to be filled. It's a very tough decision for this new coaching staff. It would have been a lot easier if Andrew Luck would have come out.
dannyboy (Washington D.C.)
Who do the redskins get in 1st and 2nd rounds? Will these picks make them a playoff threat,wimp, or average type.
Gary Horton (4:15 PM)
I was very surprised at how poorly the Redskins personnel was this last season. Going into the Mike Shanahan regime, I thought they were more talented than they were. They have an alarming number of needs, more than any other team. They don't have enough draft picks, because they trade them away. That's going to be a problem. This is not a team that's close to being competitive in my estimation. I think they have a major decision at QB, WR, RB and OL. I just don't see any difference makers on that side of the ball.
Rich (New Jersey)
Plaxico Burress, former NY Giants, will be released from prison in June. Will the Giants welcome him back or will some other team give him a try out & fits in with their plans?
Gary Horton (4:17 PM)
I would be very surprised if the Giants would bring him back. I think they'll move on. But I think a lot of teams will at least show some interest in him. There will be a huge curiosity factor. Keep in mind that even though he hasn't played in the last couple of years, his body also hasn't taken any hits. Teams are always looking for big, physical receivers. I think he'll get a look from a lot of teams, but I don't think the buyer market will be high.
How close are the Broncos to being a legitimately good team? It seems like they've got studs at every position. Do you feel that it was simply a coaching issue last year? Personally, as long as there is football this year, I look for them to be one of the surprises of 2011.
Gary Horton (4:21 PM)
They're horrible on the defensive line. In fact, on all three levels. Their secondary needs a lot of work at both safety and corner. They just don't have enough difference makers. Their concentration in the draft will be on defense. They're a team that will be interesting to see what they do with the QB situation. Obviously Orton is the guy now, but can Tebow become the guy? I don't think that this team is that close to being that good as I watch them. But with John Fox as their new head coach, you know that at least they will concentrate on making their team better. The guys that left Denver and the Josh McDaniels regime I think will hurt this organization for years to come. It seems like two years ago, this was a pretty good team with good talent.
Tom (MN) [via mobile]
What should the Vikings do about their secondary? Cedric Griffin can't stay on the field, Madieu Williams isn't playing up to his contract. The only good think is Antoine Winfield.
Gary Horton (4:24 PM)
I agree with you, they underachieved in the secondary a year ago. But part of that is the pass rush wasn't as good as we're used to seeing. I think they'll have to replace old safeties. This is a team that's really bad in the deep middle of the defense. They also have a problem at OLB. I think they could maybe get by at CB because of all of the Cover 2 they can play. But they've got to get better inside and in that secondary. And don't forget, their biggest decision is what to do at the QB position. I think they believe they're still a good team with good players. Because of that, I think they'll go the free agent route at QB instead of a rookie. I think that's a mistake, but they think their window is bigger than it is. I wouldn't be surprised for them to go after McNabb or be involved in the Kevin Kolb sweepstakes.
Jordan (Casper, Wy)
Are the Bengals hopeless as long as Mike Brown is in charge?
Gary Horton (4:27 PM)
From a fan standpoint, it seems like the team is drifting under the current management regime. The team lacks heart. But when I look at them, they have talent. And when I hear that the front office is cheap, I don't believe that. They spend like other teams. It's all about who you spend on. They're a very confusing team. My biggest concern with the Bengals is probably that they seem to have lost their physicality and toughness and I don't think they intimidate anybody any more.
Chris Fiegler (Latham,NY)
Will there be a Lockout if the CBA Deal Does not Get Reached by 5:30 p.m. on Friday?
Gary Horton (4:31 PM)
I think that we will likely have another extension. I think they'll hopefully make enough progress this week to keep the talks going and extend it for another week, which is a good thing. If this thing goes to a lockout and decertification by the players, then everything falls apart. Then we have no constructive progress until probably September. Both sides will poster and that could cost us training camps and OTAs. If you have to keep extending these deadlines, then so be it. We have time to get this thing done now. If we get to the lockout stage, then everyone quits talking and this becomes a huge problem for fans.
Gary Horton (4:33 PM)
It's so interesting to me that if you were in an NFL front office right now, how do you do your job? It's hard to know what the future holds. I know every team has a plan for the draft and free agency, but there is so much unknown that this time can be very trying for the coaches and personnel people. It may continue like that for weeks to come.
Buzzmaster (4:33 PM)