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 (4:02 PM)
Gary is here!
Hi Gary, what is your opinion of Joe Philbin anddo you think that he will survive this season as Dolphins coach?
Gary Horton (4:04 PM)
I think Miami is over the issues from last year, because they are so aware of how they are perceived now. But on the field, this is the worst OL I've seen in several years. I think that's really going to hold them back. I think they'll play hard, but I don't think they are anywhere close to contending for the division. I expect the Jets and Buffalo to improve from a year ago and the Patriots will always be there.
Ed (Queens Village)
If you takeaway Brady and Peyton was Phil Rivers best QB in AFC during 2013 season?
Gary Horton (4:05 PM)
Absolutely. I think he gets underrated every year because of those two guys. He put up great numbers. He changed systems. He has a huge IQ for a QB, with less weapons than a lot of guys. Although as soon as I say that, I think of Brady and how he produces despite his lack of weapons. But Rivers is a special guy.
Harry (Babylon, NY)
Hi Gary - how much of an influence does a player's performance in OTA's carry over once the regular training camp begins? Do some teams place more emphasis on it versus others?
Gary Horton (4:06 PM)
You get a feel for what a player can do athletically, in terms of overall movement. But I also think that the reality is that we're not hitting, which is a totally different situation. I think a coach can get a feel for what a player is athletically and how he grasps the system. OTAs can be hugely helpful going into training camp, if a player can understand a philosophy and scheme, so you don't have to do as much teaching in July.
Al (Wausau, WI)
Gary, do you think Jim Irsay could be punished by the NFL in the form of forfeited draft picks for the Colts? That seems to be a harsh penalty in my opinion. Your thoughts?
Gary Horton (4:08 PM)
I don't think they should forfeit draft picks, because they don't do that to players. I think he will get a suspension, which is probably inline with what the players get. During that suspension, whatever he makes will be taken away. A lot of people say that even though he's suspended he can still run the team, but you get into dangerous territory if you start penalizing draft picks. But with that said, I get the sense that all NFL players are really watching this situation to see what Roger Goddell does.
What do you think about the Packers defense revamp this offseason?
Gary Horton (4:10 PM)
They had to do it, because Dom Capers has been forced to do it with mirrors for the last 3-4 years with exotic schemes and trying to trick offenses. One thing I've been told is when they looked at their defense from a year ago, they were very predictable on what they would run on first downs. Teams knew what they were going to run. That will change and they will try to become more predictable. They need more production from their DL to make they more viable. With this offense, you don't have to be great. If you're middle of the pack, you're probably going to be OK, because the offense will be so great.
it seems the league has gone to a passing league, yet the past super bowl champs have been defensive teams...what does that mean?
Gary Horton (4:12 PM)
We are in a passing era, where the RB position has been almost ignored. But when you get to the playoffs a good defense is critical to success. The great thing about these explosive offenses is the fact that they can score quickly and they allow a defense to play a certain way, which is usually a pass rush, pass defense mode. If you have a really good offense, you're playing a lot with the lead.
If you had to coach one superbowl, which qb would you want playing for you right now?
Gary Horton (4:13 PM)
Oooh. Good question....it would probably still be Peyton Manning. He is so good ad dissecting defenses. His preparation is off the charts, as is his production. He demands excellence out of everyone around him.
Gary Horton (4:14 PM)
But let me give you a wild card at QB and that's Philip Rivers. He is so underrated. He can make every throw. He has great intelligence. You don't get to the Super Bowl without great QB play, most of the time.
Any news on whether the Cowboys might sign a free agent in light of Lee's season ending injury? Thank You.
Gary Horton (4:16 PM)
He is a huge loss to that defense, one that wasn't very good to start with. In a Cover-2, a MLB is not only asked to tackle, but he is asked to cover the deep middle of the field, between the safties and passing game. The only guy better was Brian Urlacher. Without Lee, they are extremely vulnerable between the safties. I don't know how they'll survive it.
I have already read a report that Carr could already be getting a chance to take the QB job from Schaub...Gary, tell me this is just a rumor and if its not this is typical Raiders management killing me as a fan.
Gary Horton (4:17 PM)
I think it's probably a ploy by the coaches to open up the QB job. I don't think there is any question that this is a perfect example of Schaub being a starter for a year or two and then letting Carr take over. Things can always change in training camp, but I would be really surprised if Schaub wasn't the guy.
how good could marshall and jeffery become?
Gary Horton (4:18 PM)
I think they're the best duo in the NFL right now. They're both big guys. They can elevate. They are extremely competitive. I love to watch them. I think they are only going to get better as they expand this offense. The Bears may struggle on defense, but on offense they're scary.
which teams do you think are in for a tough 2014 season?
Gary Horton (4:21 PM)
Other than the usual suspects, I think Pittsburgh will continue to struggle. I think KC will take a step back. I don't think they will be terrible, but they won't be as good as a year ago. I think Dallas will continue to disappoint, as well as the Giants.
Chris Fiegler (Latham,NY)
How many Preseason Games do you think that the NFL Should have?
Gary Horton (4:22 PM)
I go back and forth on this. I know the fourth game is a throwaway and the third game is usually where you put together the roster. But when you start getting rid of preseason games, it hurts the development of the rookies. You think you know who they are in practice and the OTAs, but until you see them in game situations, it's a different story. A lot of people think four games is too much, but I think we need it.
Do you think the Patriots have a chance at a Super Bowl run this year?
Gary Horton (4:24 PM)
I think what everything comes down to for the Patriots is if their record is good enough for them to force Denver to come to New England for the AFC championship. Those two teams are the best in the AFC. If Denver has to come to New England, the Patriots have a chance, but if they have to go to Denver, they have no shot. But anything can happen.
Which team do you think has the best future considering a 5 year term?
Gary Horton (4:26 PM)
Obviously, the Seattle Seahawks are in great shape. They're young. The organization has a huge plan in terms of how to develop players and build a roster. But the 49ers are the same in terms of creating depth. The sleeper team I like is the St. Louis Rams. They have a front seven that's amazing. If Sam Bradford can stay healthy they're going to be good for a really long time in a division that's going to be strong. I also think you have to keep an eye on the Chicago Bears, who will dominate on offense. But I just worry about how quickly they can revamp this defense.
Chase Parenteau (Boston)
Do you think Brady can win another Super Bowl before he retires?
Gary Horton (4:28 PM)
Yes he can. If they can play their playoff games at home and not have to travel. I believe in Brady and Belichick.
Gary Horton (4:29 PM)
As we talked about last week, we're nearing the end of OTAs and while this is a well-deserved vacation for everyone in the organization, it is also a time that coaches really fear, because they do not have control of their players for a month. We all know what problems that can bring.
Gary Horton (4:29 PM)
Let's hope all of these guys stay out of trouble until training camp.
Buzzmaster (4:29 PM)
Thanks for chatting Gary!