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 (4:04 PM)
As we all know, these are kind of the dog days of any football season - after the draft and before training camp. But that's obviously tremendously magnified with this lockout. It just seems to be such a shame that we are now forced to watch the courts deal with everything. Hopefully some things could get done this week. I'm still optimistic that we will have a full football season. I hope that's not just wishful thinking.
Ryan (San Diego)
Do you think the Bengals will bring in vet QB to help Daltons transition to the NFL? If so who do you think will be a good fit?
Gary Horton (4:06 PM)
Everything that I've heard and everybody that I've talked to says that Palmer is adament about not coming back to Cincinnati. But I also know the Bengals front office and they are very stubborn. It would surprise me if they traded him. He could easily retire. I think they will find a veteran QB as a stop gap until they get Dalton ready. It's amazing to me how this offense has deteriorated the last couple of years.
Michael (Gulfport, MS)
Do you think the Pats drafted the o-line like they did with intentions of trading Mankins away for a more proven pass rushing end-linebacker since it is unlikely they will resign him?
Gary Horton (4:09 PM)
My biggest surprise, maybe in the overall draft, was that the Patriots did not draft that edge rusher which is their biggest need. But if you look at them a little closer, they have always done a good job of bringing in veteran pass rushers to plug those holes. Guys like Mike Vrabel, etc. I think they drafted an OL not only to potentially cover the loss of Mankins, but I think they are also getting prepared for Matt Light at LOT to be replaced. The most important thing this team can do is protect Tom Brady on the edges. Matt Light might be closer to the end of his career than we think. Taking an OL was an insurance pick.
Do you think the NFL will ever lift the lockout before the 2011 NFL season?
Gary Horton (4:10 PM)
I do think that there will be an agreement. I think there's too much at stake. I think pressure will start to mount on both sides to get it done. I would not be surprised to see something happen by the middle of June, which would be fine, because that would at least give us a full training camp to get ready.
Gary Horton (4:13 PM)
But if we thought about the worst case scenario, this thing could go through September and I think once the players miss 3-4 games, it would really hurt their wallets, then that could force the two sides to come together. That's such a bad scenario, because you're talking no free agency, look at all of the rookies in limbo who weren't drafted. What kind of quality of football would we have without training camp? How long would it take to get teams ready to play?
I'm tired of this crap already, I'll be spending my money watching college football this year.
Gary Horton (4:15 PM)
Honestly, we always talk about that, but I think the owners feel like they'll always get the fans back, even if they're upset. And I reluctantly agree with them. As much as we'll talk about we're tired of it and they're losing us, once we get the product back, as angry as we are, we'll support it. I think that's the feeling with this lockout. It's such a great game, people will return to it.
Gary Horton (4:16 PM)
I think disgruntled fans probably come back to the NFL quicker than they do in any other sport.
What are your thoughts with the QB situation in Seattle? Can Charlie Whitehurst step up? Matt saty? or something else?
Gary Horton (4:18 PM)
I was surprised that they did not draft a QB position. I don't think Whitehurst is the answer, certainly with the way he played last season. I think Matt Hasselbeck can still play for another year or two. But a lot of people think he'll leave Seattle. Until we get into free agency, the Seahawks can not improve the position. I think they're very much in limbo.
Gary Horton (4:18 PM)
That's probably why they concentrated on the OL in the draft, to build a run game in their offense.
Jason Morton (Pittsburgh,PA)
I know it's taking a long time for the NFL to make a decision to move and relocate a team to Los Angeles..the reason being is that is it probably due to the tough location they want the possible L.A to play..I mean where could they play other than the collesium?
Gary Horton (4:20 PM)
I think we're closer to getting a team in L.A. than a lot of people realize. I think as soon as they establish a stadium site, there are some great candidates to move there. I think right off the top of my head of Jacksonville, Minnesota, San Diego. The Chargers and Vikings could certainly use the stadium issue as leverage for either staying or leaving. Jacksonville just has an attendance problem. If L.A. gets the stadium issue resolved, I think they will get a team quickly.
Gary Horton (4:21 PM)
And let's not forget that Oakland could also always be a part of any movement.
Gary, how does it normally work with undrafted guys? They contact teams or visa versa? How do you think it would work now?
Gary Horton (4:24 PM)
In an ordinary year, teams have a ready list of free agents that aren't drafted. They start contacting players at the end of the draft. They're pitch is, if we don't draft you, we want to sign you as a free agent. Most of these guys are signed within 24 hours. Each team probably signs 10-15 free agents. Then they are a part of mini camps and then training camps. Right now, these guys are in total limbo and teams have their list ready. The minute we have a CBA, they would probably sign all of these guys in a matter of a couple of days. But depending on how long we go, how prepared will they be? What kind of chance will they have to make the team with that lack of time? It's a huge disadvantage for a young guy who needs every day he can get in a team's facility.
Gary Horton (4:25 PM)
Another negative for these undrafted rookies is that this lockout goes deeper than we hope, how are coaches going to have time to work with them and bring them up to speed when they are trying to get their veteran players ready with little offseason contact and preparation?
lino g SA Tx [via mobile]
Do u like the way tampa beefed up there d line and what chances do u give them to be reall championship contenders with freemen at the qb.
Gary Horton (4:27 PM)
I really like what Tampa did in the draft. I think their DL will really improve that team. And I love the young Josh Freeman. I think they'll be better. The reality is that Atlanta and New Orleans are elite teams in the same division. That may make the progress a little bit slower. But they're a young team that's exciting to watch.
Gary Horton (4:27 PM)
They are on the right track.
Gary, what is your opinion of Mario Williams playing OLB in Wade Phillips system? won't he basically do what he's always done except he'll be standing up instead?
Gary Horton (4:29 PM)
As we all know, your edge pass rush comes from the OLB int he 3-4. I think that will be Williams' primary role. I just don't see Phillips dropping him a lot into coverage. I think he can be very effective from that standup position. They will probably play some 4-3 schemes in nickel situations. Look for Phillips to be very creative with his use of Williams, moving him around, but always concentrating on his pass rushing abilities rather than his coverage.
Gary Horton (4:30 PM)
Supposedly this is a week that there will be some movement in these negotiations, or at least some decisions. Hopefully that's a good sign.