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 (4:10 PM)
The Big Week is finally here. I'm down here in New Orleans and this city is crazy, like a combination of Mardi Gras and the Super Bowl. It will be a very exciting week.
Craig G. (Fairfield, CA)
Hey Gary, what is an underrated, but important, aspect of the Super Bowl no one is talking about?
Gary Horton (4:12 PM)
I think how well both of these offenses block outside of the offensive line. They are great blockers at WR. Their fullbacks are great lead blockers. And these guys don't get a lot of credit. It turns a lot of average runs and passes into big plays.
Will the Super Bowl be high scoring like many of the other postseason games?
Gary Horton (4:14 PM)
I think it probably will be, because both of these offenses are really in a groove right now, both in the run and pass game. They have excellent skill players. Neither team has really dominated in recent weeks.
Rich (New Jersey)
Hi Gary, Has the Pro Bowl seen it's last game yesterday or can changes to the game save it for years to come?
Gary Horton (4:15 PM)
I think it was a little more competitive but certainly not what a lot of people wanted. The reality is when you look at the ratings today, it really doesn't matter. People watched the game and that's probably all that counts for a lot of people.
Gary Horton (4:15 PM)
So, my guess is why are they going to cancel something that's lucrative.
Frank (Minneapolis) [via mobile]
With Kyle Rudolph's performance in the Pro Bowl is he not being used the way he should in the Vikings offense?
Gary Horton (4:16 PM)
He's a perfect example of the new breed of TEs in this league. You don't have to play them in line, you can play them outside. It's all about matchups. He's a guy that probably will beat a LB and even a safety most of the time. I think it's certainly a sign of things to come.
better QB in the game?
Gary Horton (4:18 PM)
They're both playing at a really high level. They both have different styles. They both have tremendous velocity on their throws. Both have tremendous accuracy. But Flacco has been doing it longer than Kaepernick. When I was watching him on film last week, he was playing at an exceptional level. Having said that, Kaepernick doesn't play like a rookie. Nothing seems to get to him. His combination of run and pass is interesting. It wouldn't be an easy pick to choose between them.
Hey Gary, who do yo think the Chiefs should the draft?
Gary Horton (4:19 PM)
I thought it was mildly entertaining. You saw some great athletes. But I don't think we saw a good enough matchup that we thought we were looking for. I still don't think we were getting the effort we would like. Better than a year ago, but not what we want. To the average fan, I think it was entertaining. It's like watching a 7 on 7 practice in the NFL.
what's the best unit in the game?
Gary Horton (4:21 PM)
First of all that's really a good question. You have to love the 49ers offensive line. They're big, physical, athletic and their blocking schemes are some of the most creative in the NFL. Having said that, I also really like Baltimore's perimeter passing game. Torrey Smith and Jacoby Jones are great deep threats. Pitta and Ray Rice are great on the short passing game. I love the way that Flacco is throwing the ball.
biggest key to a win?
Gary Horton (4:23 PM)
I think the Ravens must not let the 49ers get off to a fast start. I believe San Francisco is more talented and I think the Ravens need to prove to everybody that this is going to be a long game. The first 10 minutes are important. The obvious answer is how Baltimore defends the pistol. But also, on the flip side, how the 49ers handles Flacco's passing game. The biggest thing of all might come down to the kicking game. If that happens, you might favor the Ravens over the 49ers if it comes down to a field goal.
If you win the coin toss, what would you do?
Gary Horton (4:25 PM)
I would probably accept, because I think that first drive is very important for both teams, to establish some kind of trend. To me, this game will be so physical, it may come down to who can impose their will. In my mind, that makes the first drive of the game pretty important.
49ers offense or Ravens defense winning the game?
Gary Horton (4:26 PM)
To me, it would be the 49ers offense. The Ravens defense has played well in the playoffs, but they're not the dominating group they used to be. This 49ers offense has so many ways to beat you. They have an answer for anything you try defensively. They're the most fun on film that I've seen in the last several years.
Most important piece of 49ers D?
Gary Horton (4:28 PM)
It's probably their secondary. They get a lot of publicity for being great on the back end of their defense, but their CBs struggle at times in man to man. As good as their safties are, they tend to bite on playaction and get out of position. If Flacco can have success early in the run game, he can be good in play action. He has two guys in Jones and Smith that can go deep. When you look closely at the Ravens WRs, they are good at elevating and Flacco does a good job of putting it in in tight spots. There are a lot of times where they are covered, but they go up and get the ball.
most interesting thing you saw on film lsat week?
Gary Horton (4:30 PM)
Probably how these teams do the little things. I am so impressed on how they are coached. They have great lead blocking fullbacks. Their overall blocking schemes are very creative. Their WRs block in space and are very selfish. All of these guys go up and compete for the football. Both teams tackle very well. On defense, their pass rush teams are also very creative. There are a lot of unselfish players on either team that do those little things.
Which team has the best chance to make it a blow out win?
Gary Horton (4:31 PM)
Oh, I think it's easily San Francisco. I don't expect it to be a blowout, but if it were, it would be because San Francisco physically imposed their will on the Ravens and wore them down. Having said that, we all know how many snaps this Baltimore defense has taken the last few weeks and it doesn't seem to bother them and now they've had two weeks to prepare. But if there is a blowout, I would say it's because all of a sudden this Ravens team got tired.
Gary Horton (4:33 PM)
When we chat next week, we can second guess ourselves on everything we said leading up to the game. But with these two teams, we should be in for a good game.