Chat with Gary Horton
Welcome to SportsNation! On Tuesday, 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 Tuesday at 4 p.m. ET!
Gary Horton (4:03 PM)
Often times Super Bowls don't live up to the hype that we expect, but this one was different. It was a great game, I thought, between two really talented teams. The city of New Orleans did a wonderful job the entire week.
Deven (Buffalo, NY)
What does another Super Bowl win mean for Ray Lewis?
Gary Horton (4:03 PM)
I th ink it's just a great ending to his career. His legacy has already been decided. But what a way to go out as world champs. For a retiring player, it doesn't get any better than that.
Were you surprised that the 49ers couldn't get the winning (or at least go-ahead) touchdown at the end?
Gary Horton (4:05 PM)
At first I was, because I really thought their offense was hot. I thought it was just a matter of time before they would score. But as I re-thought it, Baltimore was really interesting defensively in that last drive. They brought the blitz a lot and basically said we're not going to let Kaepernick beat us with his legs. It forced them to throw the ball more than they probably wanted to. I got the feeling that they wanted to pound it and run the ball against Baltimore. It was an interesting chess match between the coaches.
Peter (Atlanta, GA)
More likely to get a first ring next year: Matt Ryan or Colin Kaepernick?
Gary Horton (4:06 PM)
Both teams are good. But I think San Francisco is a team with very few flaws. They are young and talented. They know how to build through the draft. I think they will be elite for several years. I would probably put them a little ahead of Atlanta right now, in terms of talent.
Marty (Nazareth Pa.)
Please break down the officals in the Super Bowl. I think they stunk and I was a netural fan and din't have a cent on the game. Why can't they send the best crew they have?
Gary Horton (4:07 PM)
I'm not really as down on it as you are. I think in the Super Bowl and big games like this, officials tend to let the players play. I don't think they want this game to hinge on a questionable call. I know there was a lot of contact, but it was on the offense and defense. I don't think it was a catchable ball. I came away thinking it was an OK non-call.
Deven (Buffalo, NY)
Why do you think the momentum changed after the power went out temporarliy?
Gary Horton (4:09 PM)
I don't know that was it, although I do think the 49ers had a chance to take a deep breath. I thought they were more explosive than Baltimore. Even though they were dramatically behind, you got the feeling the only way they would lose is for the clock to run out and they wouldn't have enough time. Baltimore played as good as they possibly could and they had to hold on for dear life. I don't think their defense could have held on much longer.
KING Kevin (Fandom)
What is the latest on Titus Young? Has he been claimed off waivers or when will we know if he has been claimed?Thank Gary!
Gary Horton (4:10 PM)
He's wanted out of there for a long time. He's been a disruptive force. Personally, I think that kind of act is really boring. I think they just got tired of it. He probably thinks he can catch on with another team. I am told he irritated a lot of people in Detroit.
Frank (Minneapolis) [via mobile]
Gary, how do you see the Percy Harvin situation resolving? Speculation is if the Vikings sign one of the big name free agent receivers that Harvin will be traded.
Gary Horton (4:11 PM)
I don't see how he's expendable if they can keep him healthy. Right now he's the most dynamic playmaker they have. Even if they get a free agent WR, I still think they need to keep Harvin. I think the only way they should consider trading him is if they don't feel good about him medically. He's a terrific player when healthy.
Where will Ed Reed be next year?
Gary Horton (4:12 PM)
Oh I think either he'll retire or return to the Ravens. I favor the latter. He's now the face of this defense with Rice retiring. While his cover speed is not what it used to be, his instincts are still so good that he can be effective as a center fielder in this defense.
If your part of the Cowboys organization wouldn't you say 1st 3 Rounds should be OL/DL in some capacity using BPA and truly believe difference between Dallaa n the Super Bowl teams is play from both Trenches so if I'm Jerry and Co I'm talking trenches early and often. Would you agree and thoughts?
Gary Horton (4:14 PM)
I think that's an excellent place to start. They expected a lot more out of their OL this year and it didn't happen. Defensively, they need more big plays and better pressure. But this is a team with a lot of holes. They need safety help. They could look at the RB position. But I probably agree with you that they'll look in the trenches early.
The Super Bowl is in New York next year. If there is a huge blizzard/nor?easter with 1-2 feet of snow and legitimate safety concerns for fans getting to and from the game, do you think the NFL would postpone the game for a day? If not, would they really play the game to a near empty stadium?
Gary Horton (4:15 PM)
I suppose that's a possibility, but it's very very unlikely. It would take a really interesting situation to force them to postpone the game. I don't think it would happen. A lot of people will be staying in the city, so as long as trains and buses were running, everything will be OK. But I'm sure it's a concern. I don't think it will be a problem during the week, because people will be in the city.
jared (san leandro CA)
what about alex smith from the 49ers what will happen to him??
Gary Horton (4:16 PM)
I think they will probably get good trade offers for him. This rookie class coming out of college does not look very deep. So many teams need QBs, I think he will be a very hot commodity to several team. The 49ers can probably really get something in a trade.
how or more importantly why did people start evaluating QB's based on Superbowl wins and losses? it leads to some ridiculous conclusions!
Gary Horton (4:18 PM)
I agree with you. It's a wonderful thing to add to your resume, but as one player, you don't control it. You have a lot to do with your team reaching the Super Bowl, but it's out of your hands. Dan Marino, as great as he was, didn't have enough players around him to get him there a few times. I think all of the great players that we talk about, if they're great, they can be great in any game. I don't see these elite QBs getting to the Super Bowl and laying an egg.
why did SF continue to come out flat in the playoffs?
Gary Horton (4:20 PM)
I'm not sure I have a great answer for that. They are young and this success has come fairly recently for these guys. It doesn't make a lot of sense because they are well coached and well prepared. They know they are talented. I do think this is a team that never flinches when they get behind. Maybe that attitude and confidence sometimes spills over where they don't always have a sense of urgency where they feel like they can come back in any game.
Do the 49'ers bring back Randy Moss next year?
Gary Horton (4:21 PM)
That's an interesting question. It really looks to me like at this stage of his career he's just a role player without a lot of explosive plays left. I feel like the 49ers will probably have the attitude that they want one of their young guys to get some of his snaps. He's been a good teammate in San Francisco and mentor to the young guys. But my guess is that this will probably be it.
Thoughts on Jim Harbaugh's coaching and behavior Sunday night? Blaming the officials?
Gary Horton (4:23 PM)
I think he was forced to throw the ball more at the end of the game, because of what Baltimore did defensively, by bringing a variety of exotic blitzes and taking away the run. I thought it was a brilliant strategy by Baltimore. I don't know how anybody can second guess the way Jim Harbaugh coaches his team. They are fundamentally sound. They are the most creative offense in the NFL. I think coaching is a real strength of their organization.
With RG3's knee questionable. How do you think washington's offense will run, keeping him in the pocket? And if so how hard will it be for his first instinct be to not run?
Gary Horton (4:24 PM)
I think they definitely will change some. I don't think they'll run the option as much. What we will see in this offseason is a lot of teams will study these offenses and decide that hitting the QB a lot is the best way to defend them. That forces coaches to look in the mirror and decide how many hits they're willing for their franchise player to take. I think RG III will always be a threat to run if the pocket breaks down and he scrambles. They will still do a portion of an option game, but I think they'll protect him a lot more than in the past.
Who has more of a chance of doing better next season, Andy Reid or the Reid-less Eagles? Thanks Gary!
Gary Horton (4:26 PM)
Probably the Eagles, because they have more marquee players that can keep them competitive while they're fixing their problems. But neither team right now has the answer at QB. That's a huge set back. I probably trust the Eagles players more than the Chiefs players right now.
Deven (New York, NY)
What was up with that blackout? Do you think it changed the momentum of the game?
Gary Horton (4:27 PM)
I have never seen anything stranger in a big game. I thought both teams handled it well. It was good that they stayed out on the field. They did a good job of stretching and staying ready. There was a calmness on both sides, even if the coaches were agitated.
John (Los Angeles)
Early in the game, P.Simms remarked along the lines that C.Kaep doesn't anticipate where is WRs will be, but rather he reacts when they're open and has the arm stength to get the ball to them. If true, would this be a potential red flag for next year, after defenses have had more of a chance to scout and game-plan him?
Gary Horton (4:29 PM)
I think first of all, he's a guy that doesn't have a lot of experience. Those things will come with more starts. However, I thought he really showed improvement as the season went on. He throws the ball with great velocity, but it gets to his receivers so quickly. I thought he got better at anticipating the breaks and getting the ball to his receivers as they got out of their break. I don't see this as a problem for the future. Having said that, I think the coaches have kept the offense simple without a lot of reads. That's where his improvement will have to come, being able to look at his fourth and fifth option as the play develops.
Gary Horton (4:30 PM)
What's great about the NFL now is that there is never really an offseason. We'll have a couple of days to relax and then we'll look at team needs as we prepare for free agency and the draft. It's a great time for me because I'll have a lot of time to watch film and really break down teams from this last season. The next 2-3 months are very important to building their team.