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, breaking 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!
Does Jason Garrett have to win a playoff game to coach Dallas next year?
Gary Horton (4:03 PM)
I think it's too early to make that decision. I really like this offense. I think they're playing at a winning level. It really comes down to how they play defense the rest of the way. We've always said in this Cover 2 defense, if they can create some turnovers and not give up a lot of big plays, that's probably good enough, with the offense that they have. But I don't like the roller coaster I've seen from the defense the last few weeks.
Are the Patriots real contenders this year?
Gary Horton (4:05 PM)
I think they are contenders every year, as long as they have Tom Brady and Billy Belichick. I'm in shock, like everybody else, that they find ways to win. I thought their defensive gameplan yesterday was brilliant. Putting Talib on Jimmy Graham, one-on-one. When you look at this passing game, you realize this QB might be the only QB in the NFL who can take whoever is given to him and make them into productive players. Don't be surprised if later in the season we all start to know these receivers for the Pats.
RAY GORDON REID ( COLUMBUS OH 43215)
QUESTION TO GARY CAVEMAN HORTON AT 4,25 COLTS OR CHARGERS
Gary Horton (4:06 PM)
I think the Colts win tonight. They're a more complete team. I think they're really mentally tough. I just don't like the inconsistency that we see from the Chargers offense. I think Andrew Luck will really have a nice night against this Chargers defense. This is a very mature and resilient Indy team.
Rich (New Jersey)
Hi, What are the chances the NFC East champion, who ever that maybe, finishes the season with 7-9 record or worse?
Gary Horton (4:07 PM)
It is certainly not an elite division. Dallas and Philadelphia will have their moments, but I don't think either one can sustain it. I would probably pick the Cowboys to win it at maybe 10-6.
Rich (New Jersey)
Hi Gary, The Broncos are currently averaging 44 points a game are there any teams that can hold Denver under 20 or 30 points and who'll beat team, I'm figuring either the Chiefs, who they play twice or New England?
Gary Horton (4:09 PM)
Well, it could be New England, because they can score with them. I think everybody makes the mistake of assuming it's the Chiefs, because they're so good on defense and don't make mistakes. But the reality is that Denver can turn it into a high scoring game very quickly and make you score on nearly every possession. Maybe the only two teams that can do it in the league right now are New Orleans and New England.
If there was ever a game for Marques Colston to step up, was it not yesterday's? Has he lost a step?
Gary Horton (4:10 PM)
No, I don't think so. I just think the Pats did a nice job of defending the passing game. I still think Colston is a good receiver.
Will either Kaepernick or RG III return to their productivity/efficiency from last season?
Gary Horton (4:11 PM)
I watched a lot of film on the first 6 games of the season and probably the thing that surprised me the most about these young guys is that with all of their success they had a year ago running the read option, we have barely seen it in 2013. I know that coaches work on making adjustments in the offseason, but you would think that these teams would come out and at least test the waters instead of saying they're moving on. It almost looks to me that the read option of a year ago is a forgotten scheme.
Andrew (MPLS) [via mobile]
Do you think it's time to blow up the Vikings Coaching staff & Roster? it seems the high priced veterans such as Allen, Williams & Greenway need to go. The Tampa Two is no longer effective and outdated. The players also seem to be getting worse I.e. the offensive line. Totally discouraged Vikes fan!!
Gary Horton (4:13 PM)
I don't think right yet. You've got a back in AP that can keep you in every game. You have the potential of an improved passing game. They need to see what they have in the new QB Josh Freeman. By the end of the season, if all three of those QBs show us nothing, then maybe it is time to blow it up and start over. But right now, it's a little premature.
Would you go with Foles or Vick (when healthy)?
Gary Horton (4:14 PM)
I would probably start Foles right now, because he's shown excellent production on Sunday. I still think Vick is the most suited QB to run this offense, but I would give Foles another week because of the way he is playing.
Do you see any way for the Giants to regain any sense of respectability? I know they have holes, but so does every other team in the NFL.
Gary Horton (4:15 PM)
I don't know where it comes from. Unless somehow they can re-find a running game to take pressure off of Eli, I just don't see where the weapons are on either side of the ball. To me, they just don't look competitive.
Bears are good on offense and struggling on defense. Tell me that the zombies aren't attacking soon!
Gary Horton (4:16 PM)
I think they'll get back to playing good defense and start to create turnovers. I've noticed when I've watched the Bears that how close they are on offense to being really good. I know their coaches feel like that. They have a lot of playmakers. They might be a team that make a nice run in the second half of the season.
Do you think the lions are a contender or a pretender? I get very frustrated watching this team play because we don't know which team will show up week to week.
Gary Horton (4:17 PM)
My thought changes every week. I think you have a lot of really good players, but you just don't have the consistency. I think it comes down to Reggie Bush and Megatron. If they are good down the stretch, they can score with anybody.
Any thought on Affaire le Gronk?
Gary Horton (4:19 PM)
Obviously, I don't know what goes on in that lockerroom, so it's probably not fair to speculate. But if the team clears him to play and he doesn't, then that raises a question mark. But we'll never know, because it's the Patriots. And, he may just be a brittle guy who just can't stay healthy and is headed for a short career. That's the reality we have to look at.
Will Alex Smith's limits cost the Chiefs early in the playoffs?
Gary Horton (4:20 PM)
Not necessarily, because I think they know exactly what they have in Alex Smith. He's not going to make a lot of big plays and not turn it over. And they know what they do well, run the ball, control the clock and play great aggressive defense that creates turnovers. If they do that, they'll be tough to beat in January.
How will Harvin's return affect Seattle's offense? Do you expect a significant impact?
Gary Horton (4:21 PM)
Oh I think he'll have a huge impact. He's one of the most explosive players in the NFL. He gives them the one dimension they've been missing, which is huge plays. Harvin is a guy that is a threat to go all of the way every time he touches the ball. This Seahawks offense will have a totally different feel when he comes back.
Michael (Cincinnati) [via mobile]
What do the Bengals have to achieve this year to ensure Dalton's place as starting QB?
Gary Horton (4:23 PM)
I think they're still fairly committed to him. He now has plenty of offensive weapons, as we've said all season, so there are no excuses. So, if we went through the rest of the season and for some reason, this passing game wasn't very good and he wasn't accurate, I think they'll look long and hard at him.
Ken Sanzotta (Penfield NY)
When will my Bills catch a break? Just one freaking break!
Gary Horton (4:24 PM)
They've got to get some help at QB. You can't really judge Doug Marrone, until he has a healthy EJ Manuel to work with for a length of time. I do like that they seem to play hard each week. It will all revolve around developing the QB position.
How much of a concern is the Bears DT situation? Should they call Seymour?
Gary Horton (4:25 PM)
I am concerned because they're devastated at DT, which can really hurt their run defense. This has been a good front four over the years. It's a weakness that they need to figure out how to improve.
Geno clearly needs better weapons to throw to. after cutting sanchez and holmes after this season (and saving $20M in cap money), who will the jets go after?
Gary Horton (4:26 PM)
They have a lot of offseason moves they need to make. He has the worst receiving corps in the NFL, in my mind. It's hard to really evaluate him, because of the guys around him. Week to week I change on this offense. Sometimes I think he's showing improvement and sometimes I think he's lost. They're just not a good team on offense.
Will Eli manning ever get out of his slump?
Gary Horton (4:27 PM)
All we know is he's done it before. He's one of the mentally toughest guys we've ever seen. But this is one of his biggest challenges, because they have so far to come to become respectable. It will be interesting to see if they blow this thing up in the offseason, because Eli still has enough good years left to carry them through some major changes on offense.