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 (4:03 PM)
We're right at the end of the offseason program for these NFL teams. As coaches prepare for a month long vacation and players do the same before reconvening in late July for training camp. So, there is still probably at least another week to get quality work done.
Is RG3 enough for Washington to compete in NFC East?
Gary Horton (4:05 PM)
I think they'll make them much more competitive. I think they really looked to improve his weapons in free agency. I think that his run skills will help him make plays that look like they're going to break down, much like Cam Newton a year ago. When you honestly look at the Redskins personnel, I think it's getting better. But in my opinion, they're well behind the other three teams in the division in terms of talent. But I do think they will be fun to watch.
Gary, What are your thoughts on Brian Quick? I heard some compare him to T.O. Was he just a late bloomer out of high school other wise was did he go to App St.
Gary Horton (4:07 PM)
It's probably too early for those kind of comparisons, but he is a big receiver with good deep speed. I don't think that Sam Bradford has had that kind of guy in St. Louis. I think he can be an excellent red zone target. He can run some vertical routes and he should be of service on third downs. I have been amazed at how poor this receiving corps was in the last couple of years.
Gary Horton (4:08 PM)
The main thing he needs to work on is his route running, but all of the skills are there to really develop.
Bob Moss (Toronto)
Who will win the nfc there is a lot of good team bears, packs, giants, etc. and which team has a chance to be 16-0 this season
Gary Horton (4:09 PM)
I think Green Bay is still a terrific team, even though they have to be bitterly disappointed in how they finished a year ago. The sexy bet right now is the 49ers, because they don't seem to have a lot of holes. I also think Carolina is an interesting team, along with maybe Detroit. And in the NFC East, I don't think you can ever count out the Giants and the Cowboys. But it's very very competitive this year. I believe someone will emerge that we haven't seen in the past.
Chris Fiegler (Latham,NY)
What NFL Teams do you think will have the Worst Defense,Passing Yards & Rushing in 2012?
Gary Horton (4:12 PM)
I thought Miami was a team that didn't have a very good offseason. It seemed like they just didn't make a lot of improvements. I also didn't see a lot of upgrading from the Oakland Raiders. Both of those are teams that come to mind as ones that didn't better themselves.
seems like no ones talking much about the Bears...what do you think about them?
Gary Horton (4:14 PM)
They have improved. When they get Matt Forte signed, they will have a nice 1-2 punch in the run game with Forte and Michael Bush. Brandon Marshall brings them a huge addition in the passing game and a comfort level for Jay Cutler. I like their offensive philosophy in 2012 under Mike Tice, which will be a more ball control run game with safer passes. He will protect his OL more. My biggest question is on the defensive side of the ball. As good as they are, age, in my mind, is starting to be a factor. For them to be really successful, they need to stay healthy on defense in 2012.
Tony (Richmond, CA)
Does the signing of Gronkowski to a huge deal signal the end of Wes Welker's career in New England after next season?
Gary Horton (4:16 PM)
I don't think so. I don't think that was the plan. The Wes Welker situation is a little tricky. He's a small guy who's taken a lot of hits over the years. As good as he is today, you don't know how much longer he can hold up with a heavy workload, especially when he has so many plays out of the slot. Bill Belichick is a guy who seems to have a great feel when a player starts to go downhill. That may be a situation for Welker, where they see a year or two of production, but maybe not four years. It's almost like RBs in this day in the NFL. It's hard to get that big contract when you start to be thought of as an aging veteran.
Kurtis (Houston, TX)
Who has the best running GAME (not single RB) in the NFL today?
Gary Horton (4:19 PM)
It's the Houston Texans. Not only do they have Foster, but Tate is a capable backup. They run that zone blocking scheme by the OL to perfection. That leads to everything else. Having said that, they are replacing their RG and ROT, because of free agency defections. In a power run game, that's a lot of change. I also love what the Carolina Panthers have a chance to be in their run game. They have three backs in Stewart and Williams and they added underrated Mike Tolbert into the mix from San Diego. He can lineup at fullback or in one-back sets. All of tehse guys catch the ball out of the backfield. When you add Newton's run threat, there is a lot for defenses to deal with in stopping this rushing attack.
Turner (Boise, ID)
Have you gotten any "Insider" info on the QB battle in Seattle? I'm going to guess it's really only a matter of time before they name Flynn the main man.
Gary Horton (4:21 PM)
I think that's everybody's expectation. Although, I will say this, Pete Carroll has a strong reputation of welcoming competition in training camp. I don't think this is lipservice. I think he will give all of his QBs a chance to succeed, including the rookie Wilson. But I think at the end of the day, Matt Flynn will emerge as the starter. But I don't believe this is a decision that will be made until training camp.
Alonzo Williams (Miami)
Everyone is talking about Luck and RG3 eithe one will me Best rookie but you can throw trent richardson in the mix for rookie of the year
Gary Horton (4:23 PM)
I like your thought process, because I think he will play in a West Coast offense that will give him a lot of touches. The coaches will try to protect the QB in a run heavy scheme. What I like about Richardson, which many people don't talk about is he's a three down back. He will stay in the game and will be an underrated outlet receiver, with his main challenge being learning how to pick up the blitz. But I agree that he's headed for excellence.
What's going to be the most intriguing camp battle or team to watch?
Gary Horton (4:25 PM)
In terms of teams to watch, Seattle and Carolina are going to be fascinating because they have better personnel than most people realize. Now they just have to make it all gel. Obviously, we're all looking at the Broncos and how far Peyton can carry them.
Gary Horton (4:26 PM)
In terms of a training camp battle, I look at the QB position in Miami and Cleveland, although we probably have the answer in Cleveland with Weeden likely the starter. But in Miami, with three potential starters, will they go with the veteran and will they bring Tannehill along slowly or throw him into the mix right away.
Gary, Are the Rams LBer poor and is there a rooie in camp that we show up?
Gary Horton (4:28 PM)
Well, we know they were awful a year go. They did really try in the draft to upgrade their personnel, but it's going to take more than one offseason. They get better pressure than you might think on the QB, in terms of sacks, but they're just not good enough on the back seven. Injuries were a huge problem last year. They will be aggressive. They will use a lot of different looks to try and confuse teams. But unless that pressure up front can continue, they will be exposed on the back end. Although free agent pickup Courland Finnegan will help. Keep in mind they don't have their defensive coordinator Gregg Williams this year.
Gary Horton (4:29 PM)
This team was also really bad against the run a season ago and that just kept them on the field too long.
Gary Horton (4:30 PM)
We're headed into a quiet month in the NFL, but when that's finished, I think we're headed for a terrific 2012 season.
Gary Horton (4:30 PM)
I'm sure all of us can't wait.