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)
We've got Gary!
Where do you see the vikes in the nfc north at the end of the regular season?
Gary Horton (4:03 PM)
It obviously depends on what they get out of the QB position. I think they will get better play from there than they have in the past. But they have to get better play from the defense. I don't know if they can stop the three prolific offenses with Green Bay, Chicago and Detroit capable of putting up big numbers. I think this looks like Chicago and Green Bay as the top two teams followed by Detroit. But, how long have we said Detroit has the talent, but just underachieves?
Grant (Birmingham, Alabama) [via mobile]
Being a big Kansas City Chiefs fan, should I be worried that Alex Smith and the team are having trouble agreeing on an extension? He's a lot better than what we've had in previous years. Should they even sign him to one? Is he worth it?
Gary Horton (4:04 PM)
I think they will get it done, because it's beneficial to both sides. They need Smith and he needs the Chiefs. I would be really surprised if it becomes a bigger problem.
which young QB is more likely to throw for 4,000 yds this season Kap or Russell Wilson. thanks - and who will be best running OL this season
Gary Horton (4:06 PM)
I think both are headed for great years, because they have another year in their offense. But I think the biggest advantage will be that both have great weapons on offense, better than what they've played with a year ago. They have terrific running games. They have a lot of weapons at WR. And they have defenses that can put them in great field position. If I do have one question about them, I'm a little concerned about what I see as some instability in the Seattle OL. They got away with it a year ago, because of Russell's ability to get out of it and scramble, but I think the guys up front are something to watch.
The Dolphins Owner said a team will be put in L.A. within 5 years. Do you think that's true or is ownership just using L.A. to get local governments to give money for new stadiums?
Gary Horton (4:09 PM)
I just don't know. We've been teased so many times. If they do get a franchise, it will be one that relocates, rather than a new one. I just don't know who that is. It's no longer Minnesota. I guess the only other candidates would be Buffalo and Jacksonville, but I'm not sure that will happen. It seems inconceivable to me that we don't have a team in L.A., but it also seems to not be as important to a lot of people that live there. BTW, I guess you could always throw San Diego into the mix as a team that could relocate, but we've seen so many times examples of teams threatening to leave in order to get a stadium deal, but it never happens.
Michael (Cincinnati) [via mobile]
If I am trying to find a bright side to the circumstances Josh Gordon finds himself in the middle of, it is I don't have to worry about paying him any guaranteed cash ever again. This has to be the Browns only positive thought on the circumstances since the end of the season.
Gary Horton (4:11 PM)
This Josh Gordon situation puts a huge damper on the excitement around the Browns this offseason. I thought at times he was the best WR in the league. He's their best big play guy. With a QB position that we think will be improved, I think there was tremendous excitement about either Hoyer or Manziel and having a guy who could give you those big plays. When you add that to a run game you're not sure about, I don't know where the big plays are going to come from. It definitely is a huge blow to what looked like was going to be a huge passing game.
which team do you feel is ready for long term success?
Gary Horton (4:14 PM)
That's hard to narrow down, because there are so many good ones. I would probably put Seattle and San Francisco at the top. Maybe right now Seattle is the best, because their front office and head coach are exactly on the same page. In Pete Carroll they have a coach that is a good evaluator and they have no fear of turning the roster over. They value competition. But how can you criticize organizations like New England, Green Bay, and several others. I think two organizations that could jump into this category, who haven't been there in the past, are Arizona and St. Louis. They seem to have been pushing the right buttons over the last few years.
Gary did you have a chance to go back and look at the draft? Any team's performance rise above the rest?
Gary Horton (4:17 PM)
I'm always hesitant to overreact to a draft, because it takes at least a couple of years to know how a team did. That's why I personally never believed in grading drafts immediately after the draft is over, but it's certainly what the fans want and expect. I suppose off the top of my head, I really liked what St. Louis did in their overall approach to the draft. I also liked the idea that San Francisco is doing such a good job in compiling extra picks to give them even more depth than in the past. I liked that they used those picks this year.
New England has been shrewd in compiling picks, but knowing that it takes 2-3 years somtimes to develop players, whouldn't they have been using more the last few years?
Gary Horton (4:21 PM)
I see what you're saying, but I don't think they think in those terms. I don't think they let one player, even Tom Brady, dictate how they operate. They are truly an organization that thinks they can reload every year and they will find players to plug in. But I do understand the idea of really making a couple of more runs while Brady is at the top of his game. If I were a Patriots fan, I would probably be a little confused by the drafting of Garappolo as high as he was, since, unless they lose Ryan Mallet, he has little chance to help this team while Brady is still with the team. Could that have been a draft pick used on another position that could have helped earlier? If they do lose Mallet or trade him, then it's a pick that makes sense. It's hard to criticize Belichick who makes those kinds of moves, because he usually has a very deep thought process behind it.
Scott (Westminster, CO)
Most likely to show they are a franchise QB - Bradford, Locker, Geno, Manuel?
Gary Horton (4:23 PM)
I'm not sure that I totally believe in any of the four yet. But if I had to stick my neck out now, I probably believe the least in Geno Smith, partly because of his inconsistency, partly because of his lack of weapons. I probably believe the most in Sam Bradford, because most of his problems have been the result of injuries, not inconsistent play. I now think he has enough of a supporting cast on offense and a great defense -- especially on the front seven -- to get him the ball back with great field position. There are no excuses for him this year. He needs to stay healthy this year. If he does that, then I look at the Rams as a real surprise team in this league.
Scott (Westminster, CO)
Do you think Patrick Peterson is a top 5 CB, or are we just a little too excited about his measureables and put him there prematurely?
Gary Horton (4:26 PM)
Oh no, I think he is there and, probably along with Richard Sherman, the best at his position. What I like about him is he can play any style, press and run, zone and he has the size to run with any receiver. I like that he's not going to be a return guy this year, which will allow him to focus on playing corner. And, unlike Sherman, who plays a lot of off schemes and is allowed to react to the ball, Peterson will play a lot of man and cover. Sherman has the feel for the game and reactions of anybody. I'm not so sure that Peterson isn't the best athlete at CB in the NFL.
Scott (Westminster, CO)
If I put the over/under on how many more seasons each that Peyton and Brady play at 2.5. are you taking the under or over on each?
Gary Horton (4:27 PM)
I think from Peyton, we'll get this season and maybe one more. Unless, if they win it all this year, then I could see him saying that's enough. Brady may have a little longer. His health is good. He loves to play. I truly think he is a guy that might play into his early 40s, as long as he can physically get it done. I do know this, when these two guys leave the game, we will be able to look back on an era in the NFL that was fabulous, led by these two.
Gary Horton (4:30 PM)
Even though there is not a lot of news coming out of camp right now, this is a very popular month for coaches and players. As the OTAs wrap up the next few weeks, everybody gets a well deserved vacation, especially the coaches look forward to that. I also know that it's a big time of concern for these organizations because for 3-4 weeks they do not have control of their players, and we know what kind of problems that can lead to when guys go back to their hometowns and have a lot of free time. It's a great time to rejuvenate, but it's also a time when you hope the guys come back the same way they left.