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!
Gary Horton (4:02 PM)
I think this is starting to shape up like any other NFL season, with teams that we thought had no chance to be competitive are playing hard. And some of our so-called elite teams aren't as good as we thought. I continue to be really impressed by the huge numbers that the QBs are putting up. I keep waiting for defenses to catch up, which is really surprising because they are usually ahead of the game at this stage of the season.
What is your take on Baltimore, looked so good week 1 and so bad week 2......superbowl contender or pretender?
Gary Horton (4:04 PM)
I am baffled by their lackluster performance on Sunday. A good team is supposed to put away an inferior team and Baltimore showed no toughness on either side of the ball. Joe Flacco simply wasn't very good and defensively they made Matt Hasselback look like he was going to the Pro Bowl. They had no sacks and no pressure and that exposed their defense on the back end. I was also disappointed in the DL play after being so good in Week 1. This is a veteran team with great leadership. I am sure they will turn it around, but I don't know how they can be so flat after Week 1.
How bout them Bills?? 2-0, I believe they are the most underrated team in the NFL. What are your thoughts on this and are they going to make the playoffs?
Gary Horton (4:06 PM)
I think their problem is they're in such a tough division. It's easy to assume that the Jets and Patriots go to the playoffs. They're a great story. Fitzpatrick is playing at a high level. Their playing calling is great and they have offensive balance. I don't think it will last, but I think they are a well coached team that will be fairly competitive most of the season.
Do the Packers have real problems on D? Or is it just a case of early season rust?
Gary Horton (4:08 PM)
I think there should be some real concern. They're giving up a lot of yards on the back end. But their pressure packages are so good. They come up with big plays and turnovers when they need them. Most of the yards against them don't really seem to hurt. However when they play an elite team, they're not going to have the same margin for error. I think they need to tighten things up in the secondary. Charles Woodson can't carry them forever.
Scooter, minny [via mobile]
Do u think the vikings should start ponder and rebuild the team 4 the future?
Gary Horton (4:09 PM)
I would probably wait another week or two before making a move. There are so many veteran players on this team that have had success. You send a real message for them if you bench McNabb that the organization is giving up on this season and that's not good. Keep in mind that McNabb's numbers were better in Week 2 than in Week 1. While I don't think they're very explosive right now, I would give them more time.
Brett Favre to Indy?
Gary Horton (4:11 PM)
Uhh, no I don't think there's any chance they give him a call or that he comes back. Keep in mind this is a complicated offense. It's tough to just step in an produce if you're an outsider. Bringing in someone else would probably take a month to net results. At that point, it wouldn't matter. I think this is a team right now that is probably deciding if we were to blow up this roster and start over in a rebuilding mode rather than try to keep things together until Peyton gets back.
Early in the season, rate the top 5 MVP's candidates
Gary Horton (4:13 PM)
Well, he's not an MVP candidate, but Cam Newton is shocking everybody with his early season production. Though he did make some mistakes on Sunday. Right now, Tom Brady is in a zone that few QBs ever get to. I watched some film today and that offense is almost unstoppable, with Brady making every good decision. I love the way that Matt Stafford is playing. Matt Schaub is showing great consistency. Phillip Rivers and Matt Ryan seem to be playing at an elite level. One thing that I am noticing this year is how many receivers/pass catching TEs have become so dominant and are just ridiculously tough matchups for the defense.
Dr. H. Doofenshmirtz (Tri-State Area)
Kerry Collins has been a decent quarterback in the past, any chance he gets it together? And why would the Colts even keep Painter on the roster if they so clearly have no faith in him?
Gary Horton (4:15 PM)
I don't think there's any chance that he has Peyton's success. This team has nothing around him. They no longer have the ability to get matchup advantages through the no-huddle. They can't play at the frenetic pace they're used to. I'm not surprised that they're a bad 0-2. Without Peyton, we've always said, there's a trickle down part to their team.
Dan (West Covina, CA)
I have a debate with my Co-Worker and i think im wrong but maybe u could help out. In the Miami vs. Patriots game do u blame all the passing yards on the DB's or does the defensive line take blame as well? thanks, great chat by the way
Gary Horton (4:17 PM)
I think it's a combination. I know that Miami really brags about their corners. But when you put guys on an island and give Tom Brady time to throw, there is no secondary in the NFL that can slow him down. The thing that makes the Pats so tough to defend is they always have two TEs on the field. They can spread you out and get ridiculous matchups. The only times that I see Brady become less effective is when you pressure him and knock him down. Even then, that pressure needs to come from the inside more than the edge. Also, without a real vertical passing game, the Pats get the ball out so quickly on the short and intermediate routes that it's almost impossible for the pass rush to get to him.
Big jets fan and i was disapointed in yesterdays game. yeah they won 32-3 but mark sanchez looked terrible. He threw 2 ints with no pressure on him. should i be worried?
Gary Horton (4:19 PM)
No, I think they're going to be fine. The offensive line played better yesterday. Once they get their run game going, Sanchez will have a lot of good matchups off of playaction. That's when he's at his best. I also think we're going to see more no-huddle schemes, because he's really comfortable with that. It makes his reads easier. I think he's a QB that will be on a little bit of a roller coaster right.
Larry (Pasco, WA)
Should I be encourage or discouraged that the Chargers turned the ball over 4 times and didn't score inside the three-yard line and still had a chance to win in New England?
Gary Horton (4:21 PM)
Well, I think it's a combination of both. My guess is the Chargers came in today and watched film and realized that they lost a game that was very winnable. You can't give up those chances against an elite team. There are no such things as a moral victory. I think San Diego will be fine, because they are explosive on offense. But they just hit a Patriots pass offense that's on fire. You can't match Tom Brady score for score. I think the Chargers will take from this that they can play with anybody.
Gary, Sold on skins yet? I think Shanaplan is finally starting to take shape? People came hard on him, but now as it is becoming apparent, he knew what he was doing when he got rid of McNabb.
Gary Horton (4:24 PM)
Well, I want to admit that I was one of the doubters of Washington in the offseason. I thought they had one of the worst personnel in the NFL, with holes at every position. I think it's too early to pronounce them a playoff caliber team, but the coaches are doing a great job of playing to their strengths. I like their zone blocking run game with Tim Hightower. Rex Grossman is managing the game for the most part. I think their OL is coming around and really understands how to take on those pressure packages. I just don't think they have strong enough personnel for the long haul. They're certainly an interesting team to watch.
How about them Lions? Playoff team?
Gary Horton (4:26 PM)
They certainly look like the most improved team in the NFL. They're not a fluke. As long as Matt Stafford stays healthy. He has enough weapons on offense to put up a lot of points. What I really like is their defensive line and their ability to apply pressure and hit QBs, which really masks their deficiencies on the back end. As corny as it may sound, this team is having fun. I think they have tremendous confidence that they're for real. I believe behind Green Bay, they're the second best team in the NFC North right now. But the wild card race in the NFC is going to be very competitive.
Richard (Greensboro, NC)
I'm a little surprised offenses have such an edge on defenses to this point, but I'm especially surprised running games are being shut down so much. Teams are playing with extra DBs and passing is at an all time high, but it seems overall the success of running games is down even with defenses having to worry about the high flying attacks.
Gary Horton (4:28 PM)
I think we're in an era now where teams are enamored with the spread offenses and especially with the no huddle look. In the first two weeks, it seems to me like those schemes do not allow defenses to substitute. Therefore, they have to keep personnel on the field. I see defenses tiring because they're taking too many snaps. What surprises me is when defenses get in sub packages to match up with the passing game, why offenses aren't going to a more power run game. But I just think there is so much talent on the offensive side of the ball. With so many athletic TEs now, these offenses feel like they can simply get good matchups with changing schemes.
Jason (Ottawa, Canada)
Will the Falcons or will the Saints win the NFC South?
Gary Horton (4:30 PM)
I probably have more faith in the Saints right now because I think I know what Drew Brees will give us week in, week out. I really think this running game that they haven't had the last couple of seasons is starting to evolve. The other thing I like is I feel like a resurgence of the gambling defense that we didn't see in Week 1 and we didn't see last year. But when they are making big plays and creating turnovers, they are a good defense. Having said that, I think it's going to be a great race. And don't exclude Tampa Bay.
Gary Horton (4:31 PM)
I think the first two weeks of the season have been so entertaining. Maybe it's just because we were so worried about not having football. But I went to bed last night saying this is the best game in the world. We are lucky to watch the quality of play that we see on a week in, week out basis.