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)
Gary is here!
Gary Horton (4:03 PM)
If you're a football fan, this has to be one of your favorite weeks of the year. We are really lucky to have some excellent Thanksgiving Day games that mean something. I always feel on Thanksgiving that we are now starting to turn the corner for the stretch run of the season. This is when things really get interesting.
Puckett (Fort Collins Co)
Do you think Andy Dalton can be the futurefor the Bengals, i love what im seeing out of him, even the games we loose he keeps close?
Gary Horton (4:04 PM)
I don't think there's any question that they think he can be the face of the franchise. He's really helped with a very much underrated supporting cast, including WRs AJ Green and Simpson and TE Jermaine Gresham. This passing game will only get better as they grow together. I think they're a team to watch in the future.
Gary Horton (4:04 PM)
I love the poise of Dalton. Even when he makes mistakes, he doesn't seem to rattle.
Tommy (the big easy)
Gary, can you help a skins fan out and point out a few positives that I can take from this season?
Gary Horton (4:05 PM)
Well, I thought Rex Grossman played pretty well yesterday. It looked to me like he had nice throwing windows and there was a little bit of a flow to their passing game. I like their potential to their pass rush. They just don't have enough playmakers right now on either side of the ball to be overly competitive. I thought against Dallas they played hard. That has to impress you at this time of the year.
Gary Horton (4:06 PM)
But they have a long road, in my mind, to become respectable.
Rich (New Jersey)
With the injury to Jay Cutler, what are the Bears chances for the 6th and final playoff spot?
Gary Horton (4:07 PM)
I think they're in decent shape to get in. But I also think that it may require the Detroit Lions to really struggle down the stretch, because that could be the competition for the wild card spot. I think Hanie will do OK because he knows this offense. But the Bears players have already said it. To keep this season going, they need to play great defense, give the offense a short field to work with and hopefully run the ball effectively.
Scooter, minny [via mobile]
How did the vikings become so bad is it because of bad drafting and a aging players?
Gary Horton (4:09 PM)
Well, I have contended the last couple of years that I thought the organization viewed themselves much higher than people outside the organization. I think they felt they were a veteran team really close to becoming a Super Bowl winner. But when I looked at them I saw a lot of age and I didn't think there was enough turnover on this roster because they were trying to win it all and didn't want to rebuild. Now, to me, all of a sudden they look old and with a lot of holes that can't be fixed quickly.
Mike newyork [via mobile]
With such a short week to prepare for the 49ers do you think the ravens will be ready for thursdays game ?
Gary Horton (4:11 PM)
I think they will be. When you have a short week like this you have a lot of people in the organization preparing the game plan for two teams. You just don't spend much time reviewing your Sunday game. I think for the players, they like a short work week, because they jump right back into a new game plan. They know when they get through Thursday they will get a couple of days off. It's almost like a bye in their eyes. I think the 49ers are not overly complex in what they do, although they do have a variety of offensive formations. But I think to be competitive with them, you just need to play sound and not make a lot of mistakes. I don't think it's anything exotic to prepare for.
Scott (Northglenn, CO)
Bigger disappointment this year - Rivers or Chris Johnson?
Gary Horton (4:14 PM)
That's a tough one. I think probably for me it's Rivers. He's such the face of that team and I can't get a handle on why he's playing so poorly, though he was better for most of the game for the Bears. He's making bad decisions with the ball. Part of the problem is his receivers don't get separation and he doesn't have a run game to complement the passing game. When I watch Johnson on film, I just don't see the big play explosiveness. What defenses are doing now are setting the edge and not letting him get outside. When he's forced inside they're getting safeties and LBs up quickly. He can't seem to get into space where he can use his speed.
Does Palmer start next year for the Raiders and can he keep up his recent preformances???
Gary Horton (4:16 PM)
Yeah, I think he only gets better as he gets more comfortable with the system. He still has skills. The advantage he has in Oakland is the terrific run game that sets everything else up. In my opinion, he will be much more effective as time goes on in the play action package. I also think he will use his TE a lot, especially on third down. I think a lot of people forget that this is a young Raiders WR group with a ton of speed. They have a chance to get better. This is an offense that will be around for a long time and can post some numbers.
How many wins to you think Sparano needs to get the dolphins to in order to keep is job or is it too little to late?
Gary Horton (4:18 PM)
Well, I love the way that they're playing hard right now. I don't know if that's for Sparano or just because they have some players with pride. They have some good players on both sides of the ball. If I'm a Dolphins fan I like the future. I'm intrigued by Matt Moore at QB. I think the problem for Sparano is that Miami has ownership that really wants a splashy name with marquee value. I'm not sure Sparano fits the image they're looking for. If they keep winning, it may be tough to make a change. But I think this organization would like to totally restructure, including the coaching staff and front office.
Gary Horton (4:18 PM)
But wins may make that tough to do.
Shu (The ATL)
What team matches up the best against the Packers?
Gary Horton (4:21 PM)
I think it's probably the 49ers right now. I think the only way you're going to beat Green Bay is to keep Aaron Rodgers off of the field. That means ball control, time of possession and mistake free football. That is how the 49ers play. And they also have a suffocating defense that can take over and control a game. I think their style of play is suitable for bad weather which we can see. Ironically, as great as the Packers are, they are probably not a team that wants to play in adverse conditions.
Cam (College Station)
Is Murray the future running back of Dallas? and can he help lead the cowboys to the playoffs?
Gary Horton (4:22 PM)
Yes, I think he will be. I think he and Felix Jones have been a great 1-2 punch with different skill sets. The reason I think Murray will be so good is because he is so physical between the tackles right now he might be the best back in the league at yards after contact. That gives the Cowboys a chance to be in a lot of favorable third down situations. It gives Tony Romo a lot more flexibility.
What to make of the Jets?
Gary Horton (4:24 PM)
I think there is absolutely no way that they should have lost that game in Denver. I think they are a talented group of players, but I don't know that I've ever seen a good team taht's more up and down than they are. I think Mark Sanchez is really starting to be a cause for concern because if everything else isn't going right for this team, it doesn't look like he can carry this offense.
Scott (Northglenn, CO)
Better game this week - Lions and Packers or the Harbaugh Bowl?
Gary Horton (4:25 PM)
I'm probably most excited to see the Lions-Packers, just because I love watching this Green Bay offense, especially in perfect conditions on a fast track. They are so well coached and theya re such a smart offense that they are really enjoyable to watch. Even though Detroit played a lot better on Sunday, I still don't think they are in the same class as Green Bay. But in a game this big, they may rise to the occasion. Stafford and Rodgers could put on a show.
Gary Horton (4:26 PM)
The thing that I love about the 49ers-Ravens is I want to see if San Francisco is as good as I think they are. I love the way they've played on the road this year.
Bruce (West Covina,Ca)
How long is the Rams coaching staff going to watch Bradford stare down every primary receiver? I've only seen half their games this year and I can tell where he is going to throw the ball after one step from center
Gary Horton (4:28 PM)
I agree with you. It looks like he locks on to a receiver. It looks to me like his passes are easy to jump because smart defenders anticipate the routes. He also lacks depth in his WR corps. That probably forces his to look too much to Brandon Lloyd. I'll be honest, I just don't see Bradford making a lot of progress right now. I don't know if it's him or the people around him. But this isn't a very good passing team right now.
Shane (Robins AFB, GA)
A lot of talk about Tebow spins around the rhetoric:"He just wins, baby." VY just wins, why do you think so much less is made about VY's record, which, imo, is more impressive than Tebow's?
Gary Horton (4:30 PM)
I think we haven't defended Vince Young the same, because we haven't seen him for a while until last night. But now, I think people will take a longer look. But you're right, he has won a lot of football games and he probably has better passing tools that Tebow. But I think we're talking about the Broncos right now because they're winning with such a unique approach. And keep in mind that Vince Young might go back to the bench this week and that would quiet some of the talk because he wouldn't be giving us anything more to evaluate.
Gary Horton (4:31 PM)
It's really fun to watch all of these fun, inexperienced QBs play. You realize how tough this league is by how slow some of them are to develop. But I think the league will be so much better off with many of these guys playing early and maybe becoming the face of the NFL in the next year or two.