Chat with Gary Horton
Welcome to SportsNation! On Monday, ESPN's NFL "Caveman" -- and Insider -- 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 3 p.m. ET!
Buzzmaster (3:00 PM)
Helloooooo! Gary Horton will be joining us momentarily! Keep your questions coming!
Gary Horton (3:03 PM)
Hello! The NFL is always full of drama at the end of the season and this year is no different. We did get some good divisional matchups and I can't remember a final Sunday with so much on the line. It's great for fans to have something to be interested in on the final Sunday.
Ken (Chapel Hill, NC)
Sometimes I wish that a Billionaire would just buy the Cowboys and all of our troubles would just melt away...
Gary Horton (3:06 PM)
I don't know if Jerry would sell the Cowboys for a billion. He loves what he is doing and that is not going to change. What bothers me is Garrett got this job because he was a bright offensive mind and then you take the playcalling away from him .. it seems like Jones just continues to tinker with the team, trying to find the right mix ... and I do think he really wants to him ... it's not just a power play. But the best teams have tremendous stability. Everyone knows what their roles are. The Cowboys just don't have that. I've heard some say the Cowboys are missing the bad cop. Both Garrett and Jones are good cop types. A team exec told me there just wasn't any fear in these players on any level.
Who in their right mind would want to coach in that train wreck Browns organization?
Gary Horton (3:08 PM)
I'm confused at how poorly they played late in the season because early when they had Hoyer, I thought he played well enough to make them an interesting offense. Their defense is better than a lot of people realize and they have some exciting playmakers. Now they have a high draft pick which could help them find their QB of the future if that is what they want. At midseason I would have said this is a team on the rise and not that far away. But what I saw in the last seven weeks would cause we to second guess that.
Smitty [via mobile]
Do you think Raiders should fire Dennis Allen or get rid of Terrell Pryor. .I personally was hoping on picking up coach Lovie Smith. Is that being discussed? I think he would bring alot to Oakland. He took Rex Grossman to Super Bowl. .I know he can make miracles wIth QBs but he can also Improve the defense. .
Gary Horton (3:11 PM)
It's hard to get rid of Allen. In all honesty, with the roster he has there wasn't much of a chance of winning. Everyone in the organization knew that because of the salary cap mistakes in the past they were going to go through a tough period in terms of personnel before they cleared up the financials. But watching them on film, they are a bad team. You don't always know if it's personnel or scheme. I think they have had a long enough look at Pryor to know what they do or don't have with him. As hard as it is with so many other needs, they need to address the QB position. They can't win right now unless they upgrade it. This is just not a team with a lot of difference-makers.
Who do you have as the winner for the 49ers vs. Packers game in Lambeau? It's going to be very tough to win in Green Bay especially when you factor the weather and Aaron Rodgers coming back in playing great football but the 49ers are the better team in my opinion and they match up well with Green Bay as we have seen the last couple seasons.
Gary Horton (3:14 PM)
San Fran is a dominant team right now that has had a lot of success against Dom Capers' defense and they have more talent on both sides of the ball. But playing in Green Bay in January vs. a Packers team that now has Aaron Rodgers and a new run game is not going to be easy. The weather could be a factor. Although the 49ers are certainly capable of running the football with a lot of heavy packages. I think the 49ers defense is significantly better and should make some game-changing plays, but this is not going to be easy for the Niners.
Chicago Illinois [via mobile]
Is it possible for my chicago bear's to use J cutler and Josh mcown in a duol QB setting. For sittuation like Josh mcown IQ and then for J cutler's arm strenth.
Gary Horton (3:16 PM)
I don't think that would work at all. The coaches have to make a decision. If Cutler is their future, they need to reward him and let everyone know that is their decision. It's easy to look outside and say "get another QB" but how are you going to find a guy with his skill set? When I watch film, this is a potentially great offense in terms of skill players. If they get good play at the QB position, they could be a great offense. But they still have a lot of work to do on defense. That's where I would concentrate on in the offseason. McCown is a great backup and did an exceptional job while Cutler was hurt but he just doesn't have Cutler's skillset.
Rich (New Jersey)
Hi Gary, I always look at the # 5 seed in the AFC, since 1990 that position has not put a team in the Super Bowl. These teams have gone 8-13 since 1990, with only 1996 Colts, 1997 Jaguars and 2009 Jets making it to the AFC Championship. If the Chiefs beat the Colts I don't see them getting past the Patriots or Broncos. Do the Chiefs under Andy Reid have a good chance of making it to Super Bowl 48?
Gary Horton (3:19 PM)
The way they played the second half of the season causes you to doubt them, but what also gives you hope is the fact they have a lot of elite players on both sides of the ball. When they are going good, they create big plays on defense, they take care of the football on offense and they have a run game with Charles that can potentially have success on the road at New England or Denver. They are the type of team that I believe could compete in adverse weather conditions. But they need to get their swagger back this week at Indianapolis. I don't see a confident team right now. I'm not sure they can win a high-scoring duel against a team like Denver especially and New England to a lesser degree.
Rob (Minneapolis, MN)
What's the team everyone wants to face in each conference?
Gary Horton (3:22 PM)
I probably would have said Green Bay, but with Rodgers back that makes them an entirely different team. I'd have to say New Orleans right now if they are not playing at home, or at least inside. I know that is a tired excuse, but it's one you can't ignore. All of these teams I think are dangerous, and we have seen so many times once they get in you just don't know what is going to happen. I'm not sure seeding means much really. As strange as it sounds, I'd think some teams would look at the Patriots as a beatable team, or at least as beatable as they have been in recent years. But they continue to find ways to win every week.
Mike P (Greater KC Metro)
Caveman... If you look at the picture from the last second field goal in regulation from the Chiefs Chargers game there are 2 refs behind the formation and 2 more at the goal post determing if its a good kick or not.... so you have 4 refs who could have blown a whistle and tossed a flag for the illegal formation and yet not one does...What needs to change in order to fix this and not have the NFL lose a little credibility on its refs
Gary Horton (3:23 PM)
It's a decision that had a huge impact on a game and the competition committee will have to address it and make sure it doesn't happen again and whether any adjustments can be made. The NFL takes these things very seriously when it impacts the outcome of games. I'm sure this will be as well.
Gary Horton (3:24 PM)
And I'll say this ... that is not a bam-bam quick play where the officials are rushed. That's a play they have plenty of time to see the players as they are lined up. I would think it is something fairly easy to catch.
Martin (New York, NY)
Do you think the Giants would benefit from a new offensive coordinator?
Gary Horton (3:26 PM)
It's hard to say because No. 1 Tom Coughlin has always been loyal. Kevin Gilbride and Eli Manning really have a good relationship. I think the Giants offensive problem is a lack of talent. The OL isn't very good. The RB position is a disaster. They don't have an elite tight end and not enough weapons at WR after Cruz. To me it has forced Eli into trying to make too many big plays to get back in a game and that leads to INTs. This offense has a lot of work to do in terms of improving personnel. I don't think it is that big of a surprise that they struggled this year. I was more surprised at how poorly they played on defense than offense.
I know you mention the Chiefs seem to have lost some confidence in the past few weeks, but competing against SD the way they did with their backups has to be a big positive going into the playoffs. This is the same team that blew them out only a few weeks ago after all.
Gary Horton (3:29 PM)
Yeah, I think it was probably the right thing to do, resting the starters. Reid has been outstanding in his career coming off bye weeks and that is basically what this is. A lot of part time players got quality snaps. So they should be healthy going into Indy. But remember the Colts beat them at home in Week 16 and this 9-0 team finished 2-5 at the end of the season. This wasn't necessarily a two-week slide. A lot of people are asking the question, did they overachieve early? Was the 2-5 team the real team? Or did they have enough injuries that hurt them and being healthy will help turn things around? I'm not sure we know right now. I do know they have a lot of good players. A lot.
Brad (Washington, DC)
Gary--LeGarret Blount has been a wrecking ball for the Patriots the last two weeks. Do you think the Pats' offensive line used different blocking techniques than they had been in previous games or could it be that they were playing against defenses that were just phoning it in?
Gary Horton (3:31 PM)
I have liked Blount a lot and I was surprised actually that he didn't get more snaps. I love the way the Patriots have re-committed to the run game with all their problems in the passing game. There is no team in the NFL with a better handle on their strengths and weaknesses than the Patriots. A run game with power that we saw on Sunday could really set them up nicely for the playoffs. It's an advantage that Tom Brady didn't expect. That could make the passing game that much better.
Bob (Toronto, ON)
How does Seattle's secondary stack up in the NFL? How does it compare all-time?
Gary Horton (3:33 PM)
I think you could make a case for them. They might be one of the cockiest units in the NFL. What I love is they can play any kind of scheme they need to. They can be physical and press, they can play off, they can play zone, and they have more depth than most realize. They are really effective in nickel and dime packages. They can adjust to any offense they see. This is a tough team to beat. Adding a good pass rush just adds up to success.
Chris Fiegler (Latham,NY)
Who do you think will play in Super Bowl XLVIII?
Gary Horton (3:37 PM)
For a long time I had picked Denver and Seattle and I don't see any reason to change right now. They are both teams that will be very tough to beat on their home turf. I think they are both confident and well coached. I just think they are clearly better than anybody else in the playoffs, especially since they don't have to travel. Thanks for the questions! I'm writing up the matchups today for ESPN.com and until you start watching film and breaking down these teams, you don't realize how well-coached they are and how creative their schemes are on both sides of the ball. This has been a fascinating year for this league and I think the next three weeks are going to give us the same kind of excitement we saw on Sunday. I can't wait to talk about it all again next Monday! Oh, one last thing ... 3 of the 4 games on Wild Card weekend feature teams that have already played each other this year. Familiarity will be a factor. New Orleans at Philly is the only game between teams that have met this year!