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 will be here in one minute to start taking your questions!
Buzzmaster (4:04 PM)
We've got Gary!
Hi Gary, do you think the Dolphins are moving in the right direction after the horrible bullying scandal?
Gary Horton (4:05 PM)
I think they have a lot of work to do, because I don't think there is a lot of trust there. I think it will take time for everybody to really trust this organization. On the outside looking in, it just seems so unrealistic that all of this stuff happened and nobody in the organization had a handle on it.
Al (Wausau, WI)
Gary, how do you like the free-agent moves made by the Vikings, with their emphasis on defense? Do you think they could be a competitive team in the second half of the upcoming season?
Gary Horton (4:06 PM)
This was an aging defense that was about ready to fall apart. But unless they solve the QB situation, I don't think they have a chance in this division. All of the other teams in the NFC North have outstanding playmakers on offense.
Gary Horton (4:07 PM)
So, I think the Vikings will be really challenged to keep up with everybody else.
Rich (New Jersey)
Hi Gary - who'll have a better 2014 - devin Hester or Matt Schaub, I'm leaning towards Altanta and Hester?
Gary Horton (4:08 PM)
Ooooh. Good question. I would probably say Devin Hester, because I think the Falcons have not gotten enough from their special teams and I think he will play with a chip on his shoulder and because he is not a full time player, I think he has a chance to make some impact plays.
Wil peyton manning have enough fule in the tank to win the Super bowl next year
Gary Horton (4:10 PM)
I think he absolutely has at least two years left. He wins with his preparation and mind. He doesn't have to rely on athletic ability to beat you. I think that's a huge benefit for his age. He has a good team around him. He will force them to be better. I think this is a Super Bowl candidate as long as he is still playing.
Harry (Babylon, NY)
Hi Gary - will there be less and less pure pocket passers playing in the NFL over the next few years or will we be seeing most of the multi-dimensional QB's having to develop into players who can stay in the pocket as they get older?
Gary Horton (4:12 PM)
I think what we've seen in the last few years is that the read-option and the athletic QBs are a flavor of the day. The reality is, you better be able to play from the pocket and make all of the throws necessary. I don't think you can win consistently by having your QB as a runner. Now, a lot of people will go the opposite route and they will say that because so many QBs are coming out of college as athletic run guys that the NFL will change what they want out of the QB position. But I don't think so. All of the young guys that we loved a couple of years ago have become more pocket type QBs.
Kansas City is supposedly going with a WR with their first pick in the draft. Is a speedy receiver such as Cooks or Lee the best choice for them or would a red zone receiver like Kelvin Benjamin make more sense based on Alex Smith's lack of arm strength?
Gary Horton (4:13 PM)
I think there is no question that the only guy that they have that they trust is an aging Bowe. So, they need more weapons in the passing game. Even if Bowe rebounds and has a great year, they need to take some coverage away from him. But, also, look at the TE position, which Andy Reid loves, that they have not been productive enough there.
Reports have it that Chip is only looking for a third round pick for Jackson. I honestly think they should be asking for A LOT more but that's why I'm not a GM. What's the going rate for a 27 year old pro bowler who just had the best season of his career?
Gary Horton (4:16 PM)
Once teams realize that you're trying to get rid of a player, the market dramatically goes down. They know that the fact that you could actually cut him is a reality. For some reason, Chip Kelly feels like he has enough weapons and DeSean Jackson maybe doesn't deserve the money that he makes. So, teams are waiting, because they think that the Eagles will take whatever offer they can get at the end of the day. He is a really good player and I think a lot of teams will be very interested, especially the New York Jets.
torey [via mobile]
Do you think Micheal Vice will ever regain his form, And if so i will he be an elite qb in your eyes?
Gary Horton (4:17 PM)
I will be surprised if Michael Vick does not beat out Geno Smith as the starting QB of the New York Jets. I still think he has great QB qualities. He will be a strong locker room presence. I think he has 2-3 years left to be a solid, but maybe not elite, guy. It would not shock me to see him be the starter for a couple of years while Geno Smith learns under him.
Ed (Queens Village)
Is Jets secondary the worse in NFL?
Gary Horton (4:19 PM)
What really surprises me is the fact that Rex Ryan is really a good coach, in terms of pass coverage. Yet, he does not have the players to play his man-to-man schemes. The pass rush is only average and that exposes the secondary that wants to play a lot of turn and press schemes, but they're just not that great at it. A huge surprise for me is that I think the weakness of this defense is in the secondary, which I thought was Ryan's strength.
Keith H (Seattle)
What do you think Jared Allen will do?
Gary Horton (4:21 PM)
I think he has some time left as a situational pass rusher. But I'm not sure he's an every down player and I think he sees that differently. To me, he's a guy that could give you 25 snaps a game in pass rush situations and be really productive. He's an absolute professional in terms of his preparation. He is a guy, in my mind, that could probably play a little bit longer than you might think, because of how he approaches the game. But I also know he is his own man and it wouldn't shock me for him to just retire, if he didn't like the situation he was going to.
what do you make of the Desean Jackson saga? Did something defining happen that we don't know about? I understand D Jaxx is one dimensional and under contract for a lot of money, but that dimension is great in this offense and the money makes sense to cut him after this season when there is only $2m of dead money, NOT NOW>
Gary Horton (4:24 PM)
For some reason, it seems like Chip Kelly doesn't really believe in him and value his skill set. I think that Kelly probably thinks that he can replace him at a much cheaper salary and the system makes average players really good. I think you're right, there is something missing here. He's still a good player that will be somewhere else next season.
Gary,How important is C in today's NFL? It would seem that you need a smart guy who can read defensive alignments and dictate blocking assignments to his fellow linemen, but they don't have to be physical specimens (provided the G's next to him aren't slouches too.) Are the Colts misguided to trust this position to an underwhelming Phil Costa and Khaled Holmes (who barely played last year?) It seems they undervalue the position or at least believe they can find competent centers easily. I'm not so sure.
Gary Horton (4:26 PM)
You're absolutely right about the value of the OC position on a team. I think that the OC position is absolutely a priority for a good OL. Not only does this guy make all of the OL calls, but he is also protecting the inside blitz of his QB, he's asked to get to the second level and block. And I think the confidence the QB has in him is a big part of the success of the offense. I think too many teams do not value the OC position enough .... think Jeff Saturday.
If EJ Manuel can stay healthy (fairly big assumption) can he make a big jump in year 2?
Gary Horton (4:27 PM)
I think so, but my optimism is a little guarded, because I don't think I saw enough of him as a rookie QB. The coaches like his skill set and they believe in him. I probably lean toward the idea that he will advance his game to the next level.
Gary Horton (4:29 PM)
We're to the point in free agency where teams are now trying to fill in needs and it is really interesting that so many players that thought they had a market in free agency do not have jobs right now. They are forced to re-think their bargaining position. I think we will see a lot of them returning to their original teams.
Buzzmaster (4:30 PM)
Thank for chatting Gary!