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 (4:03 PM)
We've got Gary!
Gary Horton (4:05 PM)
If there is any good news this week, it's that the two sides are at least back in meetings, as ordered by the court. There are some owners actually involved now. I don't know that anything will really get done this week. I think we're down to both sides letting the courts decide what happens. It's anybody's guess as to where it goes.
How will the Chiefs finish in the West
Gary Horton (4:07 PM)
I think they will continue to be one of the surprise teams in the NFL. They have really built this roster with a solid foundation. They are a young team with a lot of weapons. With Denver really struggling, the Raiders being up and down and who knows what we can expect from the Chargers, I expect the Chiefs to win the division. They are so tough to beat at home that I think it gives them a real advantage. I would suspect something like an 11-5 record from them.
Scooter, minny [via mobile]
Vikings starting Qb on opening day will be?
Gary Horton (4:09 PM)
I know everybody says that Christian Ponder is ready to play, but I just can't get away from the fact that Minnesota will bring in a veteran free agent to be the starter, at least the first part of the season. They are a veteran team with heavy playoff hopes. I am just not sure they will turn over the reigns to a rookie right off the bat. I wouldn't be surprised if they got a guy like a Donovan McNabb for a one or two year stop gap.
What do you think of Rob Ryan as a DC? How do you think he would do with the addition of either Huff or Weddle at free safety for Dallas?
Gary Horton (4:10 PM)
I think the players will really play hard for him, because he is a players' coach. I also think that he will do some gambling and take some chances, much like his brother, which the players will really like. This will be a fun defense to play in, with a lot of different looks and pressures.
Does Jamal Charles repeat what he did last year. with maybe a few more TD's
Gary Horton (4:11 PM)
I don't think there's any question he's headed for another productive year. That's their philosophy, a run first offense. They're trying to bolster their line a little bit. They will give him a lot of carries.
Any idea who might be in the market for Plaxico Burress? Why is his transgression judged so harshly by a lot of people?
Gary Horton (4:13 PM)
I think there will be interest, but I don't know that teams are going to jump at him. He's been away from the team for a long time. He's an aging player. Who knows if he still has the same skills that he did. I don't think anybody will sign him without giving him an extensive workout. At this stage of his career, he's probably more of a fill in career than he is the guy projected to really have good production.
Gary Horton (4:14 PM)
He is certainly a guy that will be negatively effected if this lockout continues, because he's going to need time after someone signs him.
Will this finally be the year the Texans get to the playoffs? Seems with the recent draft their front seven is in good shape and secondary is improving.
Gary Horton (4:16 PM)
It's hard for me to believe in the Texans because every year that I do, they eventually disappoint us. They just seem like pretenders all of the time. I do think their defense will be better with Wade Phillips, especially in the front seven. But I worry about their secondary. It should be better. They just give up too many big passing plays. However, I will say this, their division in my mind, is not very strong right now with Indianapolis maybe taking a small step backwards and Tennessee and Jacksonville right there for the picking. So they could conceivably win this division by default.
Have you checked out tape on the Bears' new O-lineman Carimi? Any reason he can't play LT in the NFL?
Gary Horton (4:18 PM)
I think the Bears' biggest need was in the offensive line and they addressed it very well. This has been a patchwork group for several seasons. I know they want to run the ball effectively. That sets up play action for Jay Cutler and they want to protect him. They will be an improved blocking group heading into the 2011 season. I like how they identified their need.
Is Jason Campbell or Bruce Gradkowski the answer in Oakland??
Gary Horton (4:19 PM)
Based on their philosophy of really running the ball and controlling the clock, I think they can get by with either guy at QB, but I don't think they're elite. I'm really disappointed that Jason Campbell hasn't had a better career.
Gary Horton (4:19 PM)
But even though Al Davis loves the vertical passing game, I'm not sure this is an offense right now that believes the QB has to carry them. I think they can get by with what they have.
Richard (Greensboro, NC)
If we look at the bottom five from 2010, we have Carolina, Denver, Buffalo, Cincinnati, and Arizona. Maybe we didn't see Cincinnati falling so far, but really we weren't very surprised with the teams at the bottom as a whole. Predicting the worst teams is a bit easier than predicting the best ones usually, so who do you see rounding out the bottom five next year?
Gary Horton (4:22 PM)
It's hard to see any of those teams quickly climbing out of the cellar, so I do expect them to probably stay near the bottom. It's hard in thsi league to turn successful overnight. Teams with good drafts and smart free agent acquisitions have a chance to be competitive quicker. With the film that I have watched since the end of the season, I think one team that you left out that really has a long road back is Washington. I thought they had more needs which means bigger weaknesses, than any other team in the NFL heading into the draft. As we know, they are very impatient. Rebuilding this roster through the draft is not their style.
With all their injured starters returning & Ted Thompson having another excellent draft, do you see the Packers as the favorites to repeat? Thanks for the chat!
Gary Horton (4:25 PM)
I think one of the biggest advantages the Packers have, that not a lot of people are talking about, is how many guys they have coming back that didn't play in their playoff run and Super Bowl. Remember, these are all guys that know the system and they can plug right in, which is even a bigger factor as this lockout continues. In reality, It's like having a huge free agent class that you acquire and also having all of the time to get those players familiar with your playbook. I think it is a huge advantage for Green Bay and they are going to be tough to beat, especially if this work stoppage goes deep into the summer.
How do you think the Broncos finish this year after their draft. and is their best option to start Tebow
Gary Horton (4:27 PM)
I do think it's time to find out if Tebow can be the real deal. I think this is not a playoff team and they are in a rebuilding stage. Although, I could see them playing Orton early until they're out of the playoffs. But I think with Tebow, it's time to decide if he's the guy or if they have to move on. I think sitting him only delays that decision.
Gary Horton (4:28 PM)
What he does in the next year will deeply effect this franchise for years to come. If it were left up to me, I would give him this offense from Day 1 until he proves that he couldn't handle it.
Craig G. (Fairfield, California)
Hey Gary, how do you think Hue Jackson will do in Oakland? Do you think he is a good fit with the current roster?
Gary Horton (4:30 PM)
I do. I think he's a very steady guy. I think the players like him. I think he's a very good developer of QBs. Maybe he can get something out of Gradkowski or Campbell. But they will be a run first offense with a very physical style, which is interesting considering he's a QB guy who likes to throw the football and he's coaching for an owner who likes the vertical passing game. That will be interesting to watch.
Gary Horton (4:32 PM)
I don't know about the rest of you, but this work stoppage has really started to eat away. This is really a time when rookies develop and make most of their progress before coaches take a break in mid-June. Now, none of that is happening. I know we said it last week, but how would you like to be an undrafted rookie and be forced to sit around and wait to sign a contract? How many of these guys will get an honest chance this year to stick on a roster with little time to repair. It's just a lot of interesting and frustrating dynamics.
Buzzmaster (4:32 PM)