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 4 p.m. ET!
Buzzmaster (4:01 PM)
Gary is here!
Are people just born to think a QB needs to go #1? didn't Seattle, Giants & Ravens Superbowl wins show with a good def you only need adequate qb play?
Gary Horton (4:03 PM)
I think what happens is teams realize that if you don't have a QB that can really pull the trigger and win, you have no chance. Where you're valued at QB is the biggest deal. Seattle got lucky. They spent a lot of money on Matt Flynn, but then they drafted Russell Wilson, who they really liked. Give them credit. Tom Brady was a sixth round draft pick. What has happened now. NFL teams have realized that you can't win if you don't have a good QB.
Ed (Queens Village)
What areas of defense do Jets need to address in free agency?
Gary Horton (4:04 PM)
I love their defensive line. I think they need more speed and athleticism at LB. Ironically, even though Rex is a really good defensive coach, I don't think their secondary is that good. Their strength of the team is their DL. Other than that, you could upgrade anywhere.
how good can Jay Cutler be?
Gary Horton (4:05 PM)
Now that he has guys around him, I look at this offense and I think they have a chance to be the best in the NFL. They are loaded at the skill positions. He has bought into Marc Trestman's offense, which was a huge piece. I think you'll really see him get better in the next couple of years.
Hey Gary, if you were the GM of the Dolphins how would you go about repairing this team?
Gary Horton (4:07 PM)
Woah....The good news is they're a .500 team, so fixing them is not quite as hard as it looks. Their OL is an absolute disaster. They have to replace three, maybe four, starters. They need for their QB to go to another level. And they need their defense to play as well as they did. To be honest, they almost overachieved a year ago. They are a good, but not great defense, but they play hard.
what do you think of jim harbaugh chaos with 49ers?
Gary Horton (4:09 PM)
It's hard for me to say, because I'm a Harbaugh fan. He's not easy to deal with. I'm sure people talk all of the time, in generalities. I don't think it ever got serious. This is a great team. He's a great coach.
Do you agree with the argument that you don't take CB in top 15 or 10 because of the limited impact they have? Very rarely will you find a patrick peterson.
Gary Horton (4:10 PM)
I do not agree with that. I think so many times now this game is about matchups. If you have a No. 1 CB that can control the No. 1 WR, that totally changes how you can play defense. I know a lot of teams are going to zone schemes and different looks, but I really think a great CB is a big advantage to have.
David (Dunk City, FL)
The Redskins just tied up around $11 million in cap space for Orakpo. Good idea? In the past, they often let home grown guys get away but in this case can they afford to keep him with all the other holes, particularly on defense?
Gary Horton (4:11 PM)
I don't think they had a choice. He's their best pass rusher. This is a bad defense, with terrible coverage on the back end. So, their best chance to be better on defense is a great pass rush. Orakpo gives them that chance.
David (Dunk City, FL)
A shorter version of my previous question. What does Jay Gruden have to do to make RG3 better and how does he go about that task?
Gary Horton (4:12 PM)
Ooooh. Good question. I think RG III has to go back to doing what he does, forgetting about the chance of getting hurt. When he runs, he changes the whole dynamic of how teams defend him. When he's a pocket QB, he's not the same guy. Jay is really good with QBs. I think he'll find out what he does best and really influence that.
ben (los angeles)
Gary, since it looks to me like none of the QB's in this draft are of the ilk of Luck or RG. Why wouldn't most teams draft for need at other positions and pick a QB in later rounds?
Gary Horton (4:14 PM)
The biggest challenge you have is to not reach early for a QB. You want a difference maker, but you have to know where these QBs should go. The hardest thing in this draft is figuring out where a QB is going to be picked. This is the hardest year I've seen for trying to figure out where a QB goes in the draft. You want a guy, but you don't want to pull the trigger too high.
Foulwind (Riverbank CA)
Whats the dealio with the Oakland Raiders? No signing of anyone?
Gary Horton (4:15 PM)
The good news for the Raiders is they're out of their cap problems now. They were one of the worst teams in the NFL with their cap. They had virtually no chance to make moves the last couple of years. Now, they have a chance to make some moves. I think they'll look at the QB position. They'll look at WR. They'll look at defense. But it will take a couple of years to catch up.
what do the Bears need to do?
Gary Horton (4:16 PM)
I love their offense. I think they have the best passing game in the NFL right now. Potentially they should be awesome on offense. I'm worried about their defense. They're getting older. They're not creating turnovers like they used to. On all three levels, they need to concentrate on improving and bringing guys in. In this division right now, I'd probably favor them. They're closest to being the most complete team in the division.
Jets, Bills, Dolphins, who has the best chance to give the Pats a run for the East?
Gary Horton (4:17 PM)
To be honest, I don't think anybody. I think the Patriots are the superior team. I might say Miami, but I think all of the other three teams are trying to catch up.
Are WRs over rated? Seattle, Carolina, Pats, Colts, etc. all had very good seasons without outstanding wideouts. I'd argue a good running game is better than a good WR.
Gary Horton (4:19 PM)
I think that a No. 1 WR is a huge deal right now, especially the big guys that are good on third down and in the red zone. Having that premiere guy you can throw the ball to is a huge deal. If you don't have it, it really impacts your offense.
David (Dunk City, FL)
Thank you for taking my questions! Very much appreciated. If you get the chance I have on more. Last year Chip Kelly unleashed his system on the NFL with some startling success. The way defenses went to school on the read option last off-season, does the Eagle's offense get the same study this year?
Gary Horton (4:21 PM)
Obviously, these are smart football coaches and they study the read option. I think they'll get better at it. But the bottom line is Chip Kelly loves to run the football. His read option is not like the other ones. I think he will continue to try to confuse defenses with his schemes.
So... is this the year we finally get Brady a WR? Is Billicheck's ego that he's smart enough to win without a top wideout holding the Pats back?
Gary Horton (4:23 PM)
I think that's probably a great question. I'm not sure Bill Belichick ever feels pressure, but the Patriots need to find a No. 1 WR. Their two young guys have a chance. And they have two slot guys in Edelman and Amendola. Those young guys on the outside need to come through. Gronkowski needs to be healthy. This can be a a great offense if the young guys step up, Gronk is healthy and they keep Edelman.
Will the Pack make a splash in FA? Where do you see them going with pick #21?
Gary Horton (4:24 PM)
I think the Packers are really close on offense. On defense, they have a lot of work to do and need to make some moves. Their DL isn't as good as they need. Their coverage has some lapses in concentration. Their offense is nearly complete, with a small hole at TE.
Do you agree the Lions should take ANOTHER WR? Megatron is great, why not just sign James jones and shore up the Def?
Gary Horton (4:26 PM)
Absolutely. Megatron gets double and triple coverage because no one respects the other WRs. As soon as you can spread the field with a TE or another WR, that will change the offense.
Gary Horton (4:28 PM)
Remember March 11 starts free agency. This is a year round business. Talk to you next week.