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!
Willy Russo (Shreveport)
Caveman, are the Saints a real contender for the SB this year? Who Dat!
Gary Horton (4:08 PM)
Yes I do. We always know that their offense is going to be good. But what I think will make them contenders this year is their defense. They create turnovers, they make big plays. They have an attacking style. With the offense they have, if their defense is just middle of the road, they'll be good enough to compete. But I think they'll be even better than that. But, they do have to play at San Francisco and Seattle in January and that's a different can of worms. They need that homefield in the playoffs.
Gary Horton (4:09 PM)
I think the loss of Darren Sproles is a lot bigger than we think. I also don't think they have the depth of WRs as they used to, but they still have enough.
Rich (New Jersey)
Hi Gary - Looking for a better year for Eli Manning in 2014 than he had in 2013, have the Giants done enough to get him the offensive line to protect him & receivers and running backs to move the Giants up and down the field?
Gary Horton (4:11 PM)
I don't think his OL is very good. But I think a new system will cover up some of those inconsistencies. Eli has never run this type of West Coast offense with the shorter passes and that will eliminate some of those sacks that he takes. The offense will be better. If rookie WR Odell Beckham can play well early, that will help the offense. Manning will not have the mistake filled year of a year ago. Remember, this looks like a very medicore division right now.
SPORTSALT [via mobile]
WHO WILL BE THE QB FOR THE BROWN
Gary Horton (4:13 PM)
I think it's going to be Hoyer. He knows the system a lot better. I think Manziel will make some plays, but he'll also make a lot of mistakes. Right now, they want consistency out of the position. They'll get more out of that from Hoyer. It will be interesting how this lockerroom continues to react to Manziel.
Nate (New Jersey)
How do you see the NFC North going down?
Gary Horton (4:15 PM)
I think it will be competitive. Chicago has a chance to be special, if they can get improvement out of their defense. The same holds for Green Bay. Even Detroit. Good offensive teams. Questions on defense. I think Minnesota is probably behind the other three right now. I only see one team coming out of the division for the playoffs and I don't think any of them are great Super Bowl contenders, unless we see more from their defenses than we expect.
With the latest Manziel in Vegas photo popping up this weekend, how long do the Browns wait before having a serious discussion with this guy?
Gary Horton (4:18 PM)
I think they've already put him on notice. The owner has basically already told him to tone it down. And it appears Manziel's stubborn on this. It seems his thought process is, if he's working hard when he's supposed to be working, then it doesn't matter what he does during his other time. To a certain extent it's true, but don't put it on Twitter what you're doing. I have a problem with the media world we live in. Too many people want to draw attention to themselves. If you want to go out and do things, then do it, but don't put it out there for everyone to see. This is a situation that bears watching. I'm really interested in seeing how the lockerroom handles this. This is a guy that hasn't taken a snap in a game yet and he is getting these headlines.
Georgia [via mobile]
Will peyton manning take his team back to the super bowl?
Gary Horton (4:19 PM)
I think the chances are excellent. The offense will be as good as it was a year ago. They took real steps to improve their defense from a year ago. It was obvious that was their weakness in the Super Bowl a year ago. In the AFC, everything could come down to one game -- when Denver visits New England. If that game is for home field advantage, which it could be, then that game could decide who gets to the Super Bowl. I think they're clearly the top two teams in the AFC.
Hi Gary, you say you want to see more out of Green Bay's defense. I say I want to keep Clay Matthews on the field. At this point, is he pretty much labeled injury-prone and bound to miss 4-6 weeks a year?
Gary Horton (4:20 PM)
He's had some fluke injuries that you just can't predict. I would like to think he'll stay healthy. Remember, he has another good pass rusher in Julius Peppers that he hasn't had in the past. That could take some pressure off of him.
Chris (Washington D.C.)
Hey Gary! So let's start this chat off with a banger who wins the NFC East?
Gary Horton (4:23 PM)
Right now Philadelphia is a strong favorite. They need their defense to be stronger. When you have an elite offense, your defense doesn't have to be great, it just needs to be adequate. On offense, I don't know how anybody will slow them down. All three of the other teams look like middle of the road teams to me. I would be a little surprised if Philadelphia didn't run away with this division.
Al (Wausau, WI)
Gary, if you were the head coach of the Vikings, how much would you play Teddy Bridgewater in their preseason games?
Gary Horton (4:25 PM)
Bridgewater is probably a little different than these other rookies. Even though you probably assume that Matt Cassel is the starter, he has experience and he could probably get away with not getting a lot of snaps in the preseason. Bridgewater could probably help the team and might get some snaps. Bridgewater might get some snaps in the preseason in Weeks 1 and 2, with Cassel getting the snaps in Week 4. The key is Week 3. That's as close to the regular season as you get.
Chris (Washington D.C.)
Hey Gary, so assuming RGIII performs as a top 10 QB, do you see the Redskins making the playoffs? The Skins' defense seems to be the only thing holding them back from being a complete team
Gary Horton (4:27 PM)
It's really a long shot, because the defense is really awful. I'm encouraged by the offense. They have good weapons. I think Jay Gruden will do well and he's a good coach. I just don't know if this defense is good enough to stop anybody. As much as I like the offense, I don't think we're looking at a juggernaut like a Denver or even Philadelphia. If you're a Redskins fan, it will be a year where you're encouraged, but they're not there yet. However, this is a mediocre division, so maybe they'll beat up on each other.
Chris (Washington D.C.)
Does Alfred Morris rush for +1,500 yards this season?
Gary Horton (4:28 PM)
I don't think he's a flash in the pan. But I wonder if Gruden will be as committed to the run as they have been in the past. I know there is talk about throwing to their backs more on outlet passes and that's not something Morris has done a lot of in the past. I think the improved passing game will force defenses to play more honest and open up the run game more. That could be a help to Morris.
Gary Horton (4:30 PM)
I get on the same soapbox every week this time of year, but I know the coaches are counting the days until players report and they're under the wings of the organization a lot more than they are now. I know that coaches and administrators get up every day, read the paper, hoping that something bad didn't happen. These guys are home and some of them just don't seem to learn. But we only have a couple of weeks left.