Chat with Gary Horton
Welcome to SportsNation! On Monday, ESPN's NFL "Caveman" himself, Gary Horton, stops in to talk some football and other news from around the league.
Horton, from Scouts Inc., works year-round on ESPN's NFL-related shows, including NFL32, where he breaks down film, earning him his Caveman nickname.
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 (4:04 PM)
To most fans, this probably seems like a slow time in the NFL calendar, but to coaches and players, it's very important. It's their first time to get together, have mini-camps, rookies get to study the playbook and work with the strength coach. Before everyone goes on vacation in mid-June, these weeks are very important for the foundation of a season.
How much impact do you think Decastro and Adams will have for Steelers this year.
Gary Horton (4:06 PM)
I thought it was one of the biggest unit upgrades in the NFL offseason. It went from a position of concern to a position of strength. Not only will it help in the run game, but as Big Ben gets into the second half of his career and scrambles less, pass protection becomes less important. I believe that they have a group now that can get that done.
Gary Horton (4:06 PM)
How about the left side of this line? They'll play Adams at LOT, DeCastro at LOG and Pouncey at OC. That's a pretty good trio of blockers.
Do you think today is the biggest day in Vikings history? Meaning if the stadium vote gets denied we could be looking at the Los Angeles Vikings in 2 or 3 years?
Gary Horton (4:07 PM)
I don't think there's any question that they will be a candidate to move if they don't get a stadium deal. What I think will be very interesting is if the Vikings and San Diego both want to move to L.A. because of stadium problems. It will be a battle on who moves first.
Rich (New Jersey)
Shanahan is making Robert Griffin III his starter. With Cousins chosen in the fourth round - who is 2nd on the depth chart behind RG3 and how long before Rex Grossman gets released or traded?
Gary Horton (4:09 PM)
I think right now Grossman and Cousins will battle for the backup job. I think the coaches are hoping that Cousins are mentally good enough to get it done. That gives them two young QBs that can grow together and help each other. At some point, if RGIII develops like we think he will, then Cousins becomes great trade bait.
Do you think that Coby Fleener can put up the same numbers that Gronkowski and Graham put up?
Gary Horton (4:10 PM)
Oh, I think he's headed for huge numbers. We know he has great pass catching numbers. He's teaming up with his college QB in Luck. We know they'll run two TE packages. He's going to have a lot of chances to catch the football. This young pass offense will grow together.
Mike (Anchorage, AK)
Gary, from a team perspective, is there any real benefit for the Miami Dolphins to NOT start Ryan Tannehill right from the start? Don't get me wrong, I am a big Matt Moore fan, and I appreciate the effort and success he had at the end of last year. However, isn't the team just setting themselves up for the inevitable QB controversy?
Gary Horton (4:13 PM)
Well, I don't think anybody doubts that Tannehill will eventually start. But I just think there was a feeling in this sophisticated west coast offense that it might take a while for him to learn how to run it. However, I've talked to several people and they are convinced that the Dolphins run a real up tempo offensive scheme with a lot of roll outs and bootlegs and they want to run a lot of plays during a game. I think if that simplifies things where he's just reacting, he could wind up playing earlier than I thought. We know his skill set is good. I'm re-thinking the fact that he'll sit his first year. It wouldn't surprise me because of the scheme that he might get in the mix early. The only reason that you wouldn't play him is he's so far behind mentally that you don't want to lose him.
when people talk about a QB learning a new system what are they talking about exactly?
Gary Horton (4:15 PM)
Most college offenses today have very simple reads. They spread the fields. They ask a QB to make one or two of those reads and then get rid of the football. When you get to the NFL, defenses are so sophisticated and they know how to disguise so many schemes and coverages that it really takes these young guys time to learn. I think the reason we saw so much success by the young guys last year was because of the lockout, defenses were not able to put their total packages in so these young guys were facing much simpler defenses than they would during a normal year. There are not a lot of colleges running pro style offenses today.
Scooter, minny [via mobile]
Big day 4 the vikings what do u think will happen?
Gary Horton (4:16 PM)
You know what? It's been a roller coaster and sometimes I think they'll get it done, sometimes I don't think they will. I'm really surprised that the state and the politicians would take a chance on actually letting the Vikings leave. I know we're in tough economic times, but somebody else will build them a stadium. I think it would be sad for a franchise with this much history and pride leaving town.
Anthony (Taipei, Taiwan)
Your thoughts on the Chiefs' draft and their off-season? I personally feel like my fellow KC fans need to relax and stop complaining about the Poe pick. Picking Poe was a necessary risk for Pioli. I believe the KC fan-base need to look at this last draft as Pioli's way of raising talent levels and filling out the roster with competent backup/starters. After their FA signings, the only position that needed upgrades are NT & QB. QB wasn't there as the top 2 were gone, so that leaves us with NT. Necessary risk.....
Gary Horton (4:18 PM)
It all depends on the Poe pick. If they hit on him, it becomes a very successful draft pick at a tremendous position of need. If he winds up being a bust, then everybody is going to say I told you so. I really don't know what to make of Poe. The workout you saw at the combine does not even match closely with the lack of production on film. It was a risky pick for the Chiefs, because they've made mistakes before on the DL, trying to address it high in the draft.
Do you have a dark horse favorite team for next season?
Gary Horton (4:19 PM)
The two teams that really stand out to me in terms of their success in the offseason are Buffalo and Tampa Bay. They really attacked the offseason and the draft and really upgraded their personnel. I think they're going to be two teams to watch. I'm not saying they're Super Bowl contenders, but I think they'll go into this season feeling like they have a good chance to be a contender.
Just how serious are these lawsuits against the NFL?
Gary Horton (4:22 PM)
It's a potential major problem. I know some of them will appear to be frivolous. I've heard stories about lawyers hustling players to get them to file a lawsuit. But I think what is really scary right now is we may be just at the tip of the iceberg. I don't think we know enough about concussions, what it means, how it effects the rest of your life when you're finished playing. I would guess that the league is probably scared to death that this could be a runaway train. When you see tragic situations like Dave Duerson and Junior Seau, it is really scary. I think we may be going through a period of litigation and lawsuits and maybe that's the reason right now that the league is cracking down on stuff like bountygate, trying to show everybody that health is very important to them.
what do you think of Goodell presiding over the bountygate suspension appeals?
Gary Horton (4:24 PM)
I'm not an attorney and I'm speaking as a fan. I support tough penalties from what happened. But, to me, it seems strange that when you appeal you go to the same person that gave you the penalty. On paper, it seems like a moot exercise. If he just made this penalty a week ago, why would he change it now?
Turner (Boise, ID)
So Bruce Irving was the first to sign of the first rounders. I'm starting to get the idea that Carroll and Schneider have an idea of what they are doing?
Gary Horton (4:27 PM)
As a football player, it was a terrific pick, because he fits perfectly as that hybrid outside pass rusher who will play their "Leo" position. If he stays out of trouble and plays with consistency, it could be a terrific pick. In defense of the Seahawks, even though a lot of people had red flags on Irvin, Pete Carroll and his staff knew this guy well. They did a lot of research on him and they came to a comfort level that made them make the pick. I think they feel real good about it. To be honest, as we got closer to the draft, a lot of teams were intrigued by this guy. I just don't know when they would have decided to pull the trigger.
Gary Horton (4:28 PM)
Another round of rookie mini camps this weekend. It will give us a good chance to see how some of these guys drafted a week ago are progressing. In the old days of May and June being a quiet time for the NFL, as we can see, no longer exist.