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!
No one expects KC to go undefeated, but can they win that division?
Gary Horton (4:04 PM)
I think the formula for success for KC is very simple. It's exactly like they are playing now: run the football, don't turn it over, play great defense and play smart. The biggest problem is when the Chiefs have to get into a high scoring game, I think they are in real trouble. If a team like Denver can score a couple of quick TDs, it totally changes who the Chiefs are. I think they'll continue to win 21-17 type games, but I don't know if they could win a 35-30 game. They're just not built for explosiveness. I'm afraid if they get into a game where they're forced to play from behind, they're not the same team. I'm not sure they're good enough to control the flow of a game early, like a lot of people think they are.
Rich (New Jersey)
Hi Gary, Who has the most to worry about after this weekend - Greg Schiano of Tampa Bay or Gus Bradley of Jacksonville?
Gary Horton (4:05 PM)
I think it's Greg Schiano in Tampa Bay. It certainly looks like he doesn't have a lockerroom that is gung ho. They're getting worse each week. And they spent a lot of money in the offseason to upgrade this team. A lot of us saw them as a serious playoff competitor. Nobody expected that from Jacksonville. Replacing Gus Bradley right now with Bill Belichick probably wouldn't make a difference. With the Jaguars, they just don't have enough talent. It might cost Bradley a job at the end of the season, but I just don't see it.
how does a team lose 49-9? the bengals are not 40 points better than the jets. did the latter just give up? or just have a day where everything went wrong? remember, the jets came back and dominated the pats in the playoffs after getting destroyed a couple weeks before in the regular season. i could see a similar situation in the playoffs this year (i'm not convinced about this bengals team has only had one key injury)
Gary Horton (4:07 PM)
I didn't watch the game cover to cover, but it looked to me like their coverages in the secondary were terrible. They just didn't play with any enthusiasm, which really surprises me. The one thing that really shocks me in the first half of the season is how badly teams can play on certain Sundays. In the last couple of weeks, I've seen some games that I didn't recognize. How in the world could you look at Philadelphia and the Giants on Sunday or the week before with the Giants and Vikings on Monday night and come away liking the product on the field? We have a lot of good players, but we have a lot of mediocre players as well. And that shows up on certain Sundays.
raygordon reid (ATLAnta ga30303)
QUESTION TO GARY CAVEMAN HORTON AT 4.25 PM WHAT ABOUT MAGATRON YESTERDAY
Gary Horton (4:09 PM)
I thought what was scary yesterday was how he dominated double and triple team coverage. How he went up and got the high ball. Remember, this is a guy that's not healthy right now. He does not have his great natural speed and burst. Can you imagine how incredible he will be when he can run full speed? He's a great competitor and almost impossible to stop.
Hi Gary, why is Gio Bernard not more productive in running game with Bengals given his speed - is it running scheme or is it running style of Gio
Gary Horton (4:10 PM)
I would have thought they would have been more creative in how they used him. In the preseason and early in the season, we saw a guy that we said would be excellent on draw plays, screen plays, anything that gets him in space. I just don't see that creativity to figure out ways to get him the ball. That should be a real goal in the second half of the season. He is a terrific weapon.
hey gary. can you talk a little bit about the NYG defense? is the secondary starting to come into their own now? or can we expect them to get torched again when they face better quarterbacks? thanks.
Gary Horton (4:12 PM)
I suppose, if you're an optimist, you feel good about the pass rush of the Giants starting to come back. We all know when the pass rush looks good, it protects a mediocre secondary. However, the Eagles are simply not playing well up front. Michael Vick wasn't close to being 100%. So, it's probably a little bit of both. Maybe the Giants are getting a little bit better, but also playing mediocre teams.
I fear I know the answer to this but with the week off and a chance for extra practice, is there any chance the Bears' defense can significantly improve moving forward? I think Chicago is starting to realize that the Lovie era spoiled us in terms of quality defense. Bears' D has looked AWFUL the past couple of weeks.
Gary Horton (4:14 PM)
I probably tend to agree with you. I think they'll be a little healthier. They'll look a little more like their old selves. But this is an aging defense and I think their best days are behind them. They'll still create their share of turnovers, but I don't think they're a good matchup defense. My biggest concern is the defensive line and inside. Are they physical enough to handle strong teams in between the tackles?
Harry (Babylon, NY)
Hi Gary - is it more difficult for Rex Ryan to regroup the Jets coming off yesterday's game versus if they had lost a game where they were in it for a while but ultimately lost by 10 or 14 points?
Gary Horton (4:16 PM)
That's a tough question to answer. I know today, he did not even show the film to his players. They immediately wanted to move on. I think because Ryan has a swashbuckling attitude, getting beaten that badly is really a blow to your ego and that trickles down to the players. I think right now what the Jets are looking for is to make people think they're competitive in every game. They were not that way against the Bengals which probably scares some people in the organization, that they're not as close as they thought they were.
Rick speilman on thin ice with vikings or do u think he is back next year?
Gary Horton (4:17 PM)
Oh I think everyone there is on thin ice. The coaching staff and the front office. This is a team that's not that young. They're probably not as good as their record a year ago indicated and we probably bought into them too much as a viable team. I think they're close to starting over and rebuilding and getting rid of some of their high priced veteran players.
Gary Horton (4:17 PM)
Their failure at the QB position right now could set this franchise back several years.
Al (Wausau, WI)
Gary, do you foresee any trades before tomorrow's NFL trade deadline?
Gary Horton (4:20 PM)
I just don't think there's much going on right now. There are not a lot of glamour names out there. I've heard very little about any big deals. I think the deadline will come and go with not a lot of flash. It's really hard to add a guy to your roster at the end of October and think you can actually get some good production out of him quickly enough.
what team has surprised you the most?
Gary Horton (4:21 PM)
From the negative stand point, Atlanta. They were supposed to be a playoff team. Injuries have hurt them, but they're not even close right now. A major disappointment is the NFC East. I just look at those four teams and wonder if any of them are playoff worthy?
Gary Horton (4:22 PM)
On the positive side, it's got to be the Chiefs. Not because they don't have talent, because they do, but I love the fact that Andy Reid went in there and he knew exactly his blueprint for success and they've followed it to a "T." They are not a perfect team. I believe they'll lose some games, but they look to me like a team that every Sunday afternoon, following the final gun, you got their best shot. That will win you some games.
Harry (Babylon, NY)
Gary - over the past few years the best team during the regular season has not won the Super Bowl but it looks like this year the top teams are far superior to the middling teams. Are there any of the middling teams that is better than their record?
Gary Horton (4:26 PM)
What I think is fascinating about the NFL is every year, it seems like, teams that have fewer flaws all of a sudden get on a run and seem to play with more confidence. If you're hot coming into January, that could be a very positive thing. However, as I look at all 32 teams, I really do not have a positive vibe about any of them right now, because what I see on film is still enough flaws to even prevent some of those late season runs. Usually we have some elite teams, we have some terrible teams and then a whole bunch in the middle. We've got the terrible teams covered. We have the ones in the middle, but I don't know who you could challenge right now as an elite team. There are some good teams. Is it San Francisco and Seattle? Both of them have shown weaknesses at different points of the season. Certainly New England hasn't played elite. And Denver, as fun as they are to watch, they're not always perfect. So, I think it's really hard to predict.
Gary Horton (4:27 PM)
As bad as some of this football looked, there are still a lot of good players and a lot of good coaches to go with a lot of pride. So, expect the level of performance to maybe get a little better, especially if some teams can get healthy.
Buzzmaster (4:28 PM)