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 (3:59 PM)
Gary will be here shortly to take your NFL questions!
Gary Horton (4:10 PM)
Sunday proved again that it's so difficult to predict this league from week to week. I look at Baltimore and New Orleans and I think that we like to think of them as elite teams, but they sure haven't looked like it in the last couple of weeks. I'm beginning to wonder if the only elite team in the NFL right now is Green Bay. Although, I did like the fight in the St. Louis Rams, who I thought played with a lot of pride.
Gary Horton (4:10 PM)
Also, I thought that some coaches really did a great job of using the bye week of evaluating their own team and make really good adjustments coming out of the bye.
Whether someone is a Tebow fan or not, it seems like he's getting judged and graded on every single pass. Shouldn't we give him some time to see if he can figure things out? How long would you give him? Afterall, Peyton Manning didn't exactly light things up his first season either.
Gary Horton (4:12 PM)
I have been a fan of Tim Tebow. I really want him to succeed. The mistakes that I've seen in the last two weeks have made me question if he can overcome his inconsistency. He really looks out of place. I know he doesn't have a good supporting cast. Some have said let him play the rest of the season and then make a decision, because the team isn't playing well. I don't think as a coach you can allow that to happen if you have as many weeks as you had last Sunday. Tim Tebow is too good a person to throw out there and embarrass him if his play doesn't improve. I think the Broncos are really in a tough spot. I have a feeling that right or wrong, they will pull the plug on him if they don't see improvement.
When do you think the Bears will finally sign Forte to a new deal or are they seriously thinking of moving on without him next year?
Gary Horton (4:14 PM)
I don't think they're moving on without him. I think there's a good chance they could give him the franchise tag, which he does not want. He wants a long term contract. If the Bears do franchise him, he is not going to be a happy camper. That is not a situation that I think is very happy. But I don't think they're inclined to give him a long term deal right now.
James (San Jose, Ca)
After watching Arizona having success against Baltimore's defense, is it safe to say the 49ers may have the best defensive unit in the NFL?
Gary Horton (4:15 PM)
I think it's a good defense, but I wouldn't put it in the best category yet, although I don't understand the defense that I saw against Arizona on Sunday. I still really like the Ravens, but they played uninspired two weeks in a row. I will say this about the 49ers. They're well coached. They don't make many mistakes on defense. They are very aggressive and talented, especially at LB.
Frank (Minneapolis) [via mobile]
Gary, it appears Christian Ponder isn't getting enough credit for the Vikings win. In his first two starts he's beat Cam Newton and almost beat Aaron Rodgers and he seems to have lit a fire throughout the entire offense. That has to count for something. Thoughts?
Gary Horton (4:16 PM)
I think Ponder is receiving a lot of positive feedback. If you watch him on film, I really like his composure and best of all, I like his mobility. He can move around the pocket, he can get outside, he can throw on the run. He looks much more comfortable than I thought he would this early. He looks like the real deal at this stage.
Gary, what should we be expecting from this game tonight?
Gary Horton (4:19 PM)
It's a huge game in the AFC West, because Kansas City, surprisingly, jumps right back into this race with a win. I would have not thought that a couple of weeks ago. What I am looking for is can Rivers bounce back with a little more consistency which he has not done in recent weeks. That's really a surprise. KC is probably the toughest place in the NFL to play in and now San Diego will place a frenzied, Halloween crowd. I probably think this game comes down to who protects the ball. Neither team is great in the run game, but they figure out a way to produce. I do like San Diego's big play capabilities better. Maybe I'm wrong, but I just don't know if this is the kind of game that San Diego can go in and win.
Gary Horton (4:19 PM)
So, I picked the Chiefs 21-17, probably playing a little bit of a cleaner game than the Chargers.
Gary Horton (4:20 PM)
Tonight is a good indication to me if this is a talented Chargers team that is a little soft I can see every year.
Jumpin' (Atlanta Ga)
The Eagles are 3 and 4 but one thing that has not been pointed out is that all 4 losses were against teams doing very well so far this year (except Atlanta and they will be there at the end).Can they run off 4 or 5 more in a row and get right back in the playoff picture?
Gary Horton (4:21 PM)
I think the Eagles are a very dangerous team right now, because I think they made some terrific adjustments out of the bye week. I expect them to go on a really strong run. Plus no team in their division will run away with it. They've adjusted their defense to be better against the run. They're playing more man to man schemes. And they are more committed to the run game and hitting on offense feeds on that.
Gary Horton (4:22 PM)
At 3-4, as crazy as it sounds, they might be the second best team in the NFC.
The Saints lose to the Card, Cinn and Cleve last year. This year the 0-6 Rams! I see a nasty pattern here. Your thoughts?
Gary Horton (4:24 PM)
I don't understand it, because they're well coached. They have a lot of character players. Yes, they play uninspired at times. It just doesn't seem like their makeup, but you can not deny the results. I tend to think that their loss to St. Louis yesterday was more of a result of the Rams really playing well. They deserved to win that game. I just don't think the Saints are good enough to waltz in and play lousy and still win.
Gary Horton (4:24 PM)
I will say this, they are the most confusing team to me in the league.
Are the Giants playoff bound?
Gary Horton (4:27 PM)
I think there is certainly a good chance of it, although their upcoming schedule is brutal and they could be in trouble. At New England next Sunday, at SF the following week, home against Philadelphia and at New Orleans on Monday Night Football the following week and then against Green Bay...and then, holy cow against Dallas the next week. They could theoretically be the underdogs in every one of those games. That is a tough, tough schedule and I think the NFC East teams could beat each other up. That might cause somebody to not be the wild card. But it's still early.
How can the Colts be this bad without one player, other teams can put somebody in a QB and at least manage to get a couple wins.
Gary Horton (4:29 PM)
Well, as we've said week after week, Peyton Manning effects every part of this team. They are used to playing with the lead, which forces other teams to throw the ball, and that allows their small, but athletic and fast defense, to be in pass rush mode most of the game. And the run game doesn't have to be a huge part of the offense. Without Manning most teams know they can't score much, so they can grind the ball right at you, take away your athleticism and grind you down. Ironically, it's the Colts that are now the team that when they get behind they can't come back.
New Orleans is more confusing than the Bucs?
Gary Horton (4:30 PM)
Yes, I do, because you can give the Bucs a little bit of a free pass, because they're young and improving. They have a gifted QB that plays with a little bit of inconsistency. That's not the excuse for New Orleans. They have enough veterans on both sides of the ball and have established philosophies. There shouldn't be inconsistency. I wish I did understand it.
I know it's early, but who are you leaning toward in the big division matchup between Pitt & Bmore?
Gary Horton (4:32 PM)
I would probably go with Pittsburgh right now, because they are back to playing Steelers defense. Big Ben is really in a groove right now throwing the ball with a lot of offensive weapons. I don't think Baltimore can get into a scoring contest with Pittsburgh. Although I am confused by their defense not playing very well last week. I look at this Pittsburgh team sort of rediscovering their identity. I think they're a little bit like Philly that we talked about earlier: they're a dangerous team that will get better as they get healthier.
Gary Horton (4:33 PM)
I think as we look ahead to next week's games, there are great matchups to watch, including the Jets at Buffalo, Green Bay-San Diego, Giants-New England, Baltimore-Pittsburgh, Chicago-Philadelphia. Those are all heavyweight teams and we're now at the point in the season where every game matters.