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!
Will Joe Flacco have an MVP-caliber season to silence all his critics or will he take a step back?
Gary Horton (4:04 PM)
Based on what he did in last year's postseason, you would think so. Built I'm very concerned that the Ravens have lost too many offensive weapons. With Anquan Boldin gone and Dennis Pitta out with an injury, it really hurts their intermediate passing game. The only threat at receiver they have is Torrey Smith. This is not the team were saw last January. And when you evaluate the defense and its loses, it looks like it will be tough for that side of the ball to create turnovers and get the ball back to Joe Flacco as well as they did in the past.
RCD (Cubicle near you)
Will the NFC East come down to RG3 vs. Eli?
Gary Horton (4:06 PM)
I think its one of the more interesting races in the NFL, even though it might not be as much of an elite division as we've seen in the past. I think all four teams are just about even with the Eagles being a little bit of an unknown. None of these teams are perfect. I say you have to throw Dallas in the mix with Romo right up there with Griffin III and Eli. One team going to the playoffs by winning the division and none making it as a Wild Card.
How does Green Bay protect Aaron Rodgers now?
Gary Horton (4:09 PM)
Green Bay has a young guy they really like as a possible LT. Brian Bulaga was a good player but he wasn't always dominant. Plus he was making the transition from ROT to LOT this season. Though he does bring experience. My big concern is the lack of depth.
sam (seattle, washington)
Was it a waste to get Percy Harvin? Who do think is the best on the Seahawks? Where do you think the Seahawks are loaded?
Gary Horton (4:12 PM)
I don't think it was a mistake to get Harvin. When healthy, he's a game-changing player. He gives you the big plays that Seattle was looking for. I am a little concerned that he has been injury prone lately. I don't think this was anything the Seahawks could have forecasted. Luckily they have a solid team already in place.
Ern (OAK LAWN)
If Cutler doesnt lead the Bears to the postseason, will he be in a different uniform next year?
Gary Horton (4:14 PM)
That's a hard question to answer because I think if he left the Bears, it would be so hard to start over at that position. This is a veteran team that expects to be a contender. I think Marc Trestmen will be really good for Cutler, and if Cutler listens to him this will be a dynamic offense.
Chris Fiegler (Latham,NY)
When will we see a Full Time Female Official in the NFL?
Gary Horton (4:16 PM)
Well it seem that we a pretty close now with the league looking at Sarah Thomas. I think it would be a great move. I'm curious to know how many female refs are out there that could be considered.
What do you think of Cam Newton this year?
Gary Horton (4:18 PM)
I know he really worked hard in the offseason to improve. I think if the Panthers gets back to running the football like they are capable of, it'll really open up the offense. When I look at Carolina on film, I think even though they are flying in under the radar, they have a chance to be a pretty good football team. I think Cam will show improve on the field and with his maturity.
Tony (Richmond, CA)
Which preseason favorite will be affected most by their injuries and offseason distractions, Denver or San Francisco/
Gary Horton (4:20 PM)
I think both of these organizations are so strong and have such leadership at the top and enough veteran players that I think they can both survive what you're talking about. These are deep football teams with strong head coached and they've dealt with adversities in the past. Right now, I won't lower my expectations for either team.
How good do you anticipate Denver's D will be this year?
Gary Horton (4:22 PM)
I really like their D-line. I think they will be strong up the middle. I worry a little bit about their edge pass rush with Elvis Dumervil gone and Miller missing four games. I also think they have to solve some inside LB issues, but this is a well-coached defense. I think we focused so much on Peyton Manning last year that we didn't realize how good the defense was. With a prolific offense, you don't have to have a great defense.
Do you think we will see the Phillip Rivers of old this year, or are those days gone?
Gary Horton (4:25 PM)
I think this new coaching staff has a really good handle of why he's played poorly the past couple of seasons. Rivers will have to make some changes to his game. They will have more short to intermediate pass in the play calling which will help him out. I think he knows he needs to change and he has the weapons to help this season. I expect his completion percentage to go up.
Do you think Doug Martin will have a sophomore slump this year? Or does the health of his Pro Bowl O-line mean he can continue to play at a high level?
Gary Horton (4:26 PM)
I don't think we will see a drop off. I loved the way he ran last year. And he ran behind a OL, like you said dealt with a lot of injuries inside. I know coach Schiano is committed to an inside run game so I think Martin will get a lot of touches.
Al (Wausau, WI)
Gary, do you think the Bengals will be favored to win the AFC North in 2013?
Gary Horton (4:29 PM)
Yes, I do. I've watched them on film and I don't see a lot of weaknesses. They have the best DL in football. They have a well-coached defense. They have the potential for a good run game. They have a good two TE set. The key is Andy Dalton. If he improves, then the sky is the limit. I think the Steelers and Ravens will take a step back and that opens things up for the Bengals.
Huge Titans fan and they never to seem to get much media attention other than CJ. I was wondering if you or any colleagues see them as a potential sleeper team this year with the addictions.
Gary Horton (4:33 PM)
I think they have a chance to be better than they were last year, but I'm not totally sold on them just yet. They have to commit to the run game because that is the strength of their offense. I just don't know if they can make enough plays at QB and I'm not sure how well they can hold up on the back end. And playing in a division with an improving Clots squad and a really good Texans teamdoesn't make it easier. If Locker exploded with a great year, that could certainly change expectations.
Gary Horton (4:33 PM)
Thanks for the great questions. Chat with you again next week.