Print and Go Back ESPN: SportsNation

January 14, 9:46 AM ET
Chat with Scouts Inc.'s Matt Williamson

Matt Williamson
  (12:50 PM)

Hey everyone. Let's get started early-a LOT to cover

hambone boston ma

can warner beat the philly blitz?

Matt Williamson
  (12:52 PM)

That will be huge and yes, I think he can. He won't be overwhelmed by it and he gets the ball out quickly. Zona's protection isn't real talented, but they are well coached. Great question to lead this chat off and yes, I think that could be the biggest key to the game. Just dont see Zona running the ball well at all.

gints rye ny

how overrated are the eagles on offense? as poorly as the giants played - the philly offense was not impressive. do thye have enough to get by the cards?

Matt Williamson
  (12:53 PM)

I think you are on to something-sorta. Westbrook didn't look healthy to me last week. The guy is ALWAYS battling one injury or another and you just never know how hurt he really is. Anyways, when he is right, the O is very good. Without him on top of his game, it comes back to Earth in a big way.

Les (Baltimore)

I asked last week and I'll ask again now that it's a reality. Do you pick your home town Steelers to beat the Ravens again?

Matt Williamson
  (12:54 PM)

I did. Wrote that game up for Scouts this week and have them winning by a TD or so. Balt's D looked very fatigued to me last week and they suffered even more injuries. PGH is the fresher team by a wide margin. Emotion will obviously carry the day early, but I expect PGH to begin to seperate themselves in the 2nd half.

Justin (Phoenix, AZ)

Hey Matt, Do you think the Cardinals defense will be able to maintain control of the line like they have so far in the playoffs

Matt Williamson
  (12:56 PM)

Yeah, I do. The key to Zona's D's resurgence is the play of their secondary, most notably D Rogers Cromartie. Philly doesn't have dangerous pass catchers and I give Zona's secondary the edge on the backend. That allows Wilson to spend more time near the line of scrimmage and Pendergast to be more aggressive flodding the line as well. Very well coached.

Adam (CT)

Hello Matt, Just wanted to know what you thought the Bears would do with there first couple of picks?

Matt Williamson
  (12:58 PM)

The Bears could use a lot of things, but I also don't think that they HAVE to go in one direction or another. I assume they will live with Orton, but I am not completley sold and would use a 2nd or 3rd round pick on QB as insurance and for the future. A true #1 type WR prospect would be very hard to pass up. Another OT wouldn't hurt either, as Tait is up in age. DE help is needed. That pass rush needs to be better. Brown is a free agent, so S might be a big need come DDay. Not in a bad spot though overall.

Broad Street Brian (phila)

The Ravens have to be the team that NO ONE wants to play right. They are frighteningly good on D

Matt Williamson
  (12:59 PM)

They are, but I think PGH is even better on D.

Chris (Philadelphia, Pa)

What's the word on Boldin playing this weekend? What are the chances the eagles go after him this off season and finally give McNabb some more help?

Matt Williamson
  (1:01 PM)

Well, he was a game time decision last week so that seems to favor that he will go, but hamstrings can be tricky. Philly would be a great landing spot for Boldin, but TONS of teams could use him. NYG, Chi, TBay, SF, etc. I bet Zona moves him. Excellent WR, but not worth Fitzgerald money. Misses too much time with injuries.

Oscar El Paso, TX.

Do you think Harrison, Woodley, & Co. can put enough pressure on Flacco to force him into some turnovers?

Matt Williamson
  (1:02 PM)

That won't be easy. Cam Cameron is excellent at getting his QB all the protection needed and Flacco is incredibly good at "living to fight another day" for a rookie QB. Not sure that PGH will sack him often, but they will hurray him for sure.

Mike (Boca Raton)

everyone is talking about the Terrelle Suggs injury, but do you think that Le'ron McClain's ankle is as big as--if not bigger--issue for the ravens? McGahee looks done as a RB.

Matt Williamson
  (1:03 PM)

Not a fan of McGahee at all either and Ray Rice would be man handled in this type of game...so yeah, I feel ya for sure. However, Suggs is a great player and I think his injury/loss is greater.

Ryan (San Diego)

I thought Rivers played an outstanding game against pittsburgh considering Gates was gimpy and no running game? What are your thoughts on him going forward? Is he in the elite category?

Matt Williamson
  (1:05 PM)

Outside of the elite category, but he has far surpassed my expectations this season and the arrow is clearly going up on him. It is his team and will be going forward. Not sure how many QBs I would take over him, but that list is shrinking for sure.

Tony S. (KY)

Matt, what should my Lions do draft a young Q.B. or get a vet through free agency and either trade the #1 or draft Andre Smith from 'Bama to sure up the line for the next 10 years?

Matt Williamson
  (1:07 PM)

My question about Andre Smith is if he is quick enough to be a true LT. Might be more of a S Andrews type at RT/OG when it is all said and done. As for Det, they need a coach/scheme first! Usually I not in favor of going QB first overall for a franchise that needs everything, but in this case, I might change my tone. I can live with Backus and Cherilus at OT for right now. Get a young QB to grow up with Kev Smith and esp Calvin J. They can add a OG in free agency and then, overall, that O would not be terrible-which is saying something. The D needs a LOT though.

Mike (Boca Raton)

The Ravens had some success with their unbalanced line running at the steelers the last time they played. do you think they will be as effective this time around?

Matt Williamson
  (1:09 PM)

It was huge. Using that three OT set with two OTs (Terry) over Harrison. More or less neutralized Harrison in the 2nd matchup after he had a big game in the first go-round. So, yes, I do expect more of the same. But, I think Harrison and the entire D is much fresher now than then and of course, playing with six OL shorts you in terms of weaponry.

Al (the District)

What will it take for the Skins to take that next step from being first round fodder (in a good year) to making serious noise in the playoffs?

Matt Williamson
  (1:11 PM)

That isn't an easy question to answer. More questions than answers right now with that organization. The biggest thing they need though is to build both lines. A killer pass rusher would be excellent opposite Carter. The DTs are just ordinary. The OL is getting old and RT is clearly a problem area. I am a believer in J Campbell, but I have said all along that he doesn't fit Zorn's system all that well and is better off as a pocket passer/deep thrower.

Joshua S. TN

Do the titans need to draft a playmaker at WR?

Matt Williamson
  (1:11 PM)

Very much so. C Johnson went out last week and it felt like Tenn was doomed. No other playmakers. Huge need.

Kelly, Westminster MD

Jake sounds jealous cause his Giants lost to Philly. If they had Plax it could have made a difference but all NFL teams can say .... woulda shoulda coulda blah blah blah. Go Ravens

Matt Williamson
  (1:12 PM)

Not sure what to add to that...

J.B. (Dunmore, PA)

The question for me isn't will the Eagles make the Super Bowl but more do the Eagle fans deserve it after how they've treated McNabb and Reid?

Matt Williamson
  (1:12 PM)

Also, not sure what to add to that!

Steve (Moscow, ID)

Why do we never hear guys like Jim Johnson or Dick LaBeau as head coach candidates? I know they are old but they are the two best defensive minds in the game!

Matt Williamson
  (1:14 PM)

So are better suited as coordinators and simply thrive in those situations. Moore in Indy. Those two. No reason to flirt with extreme success and sometimes those guys just want to concentrate on what they know. More Xs/Os, etc. LOTS of head aches with being a head guy.

Mike (Boca Raton)

what is the deal with ravens te todd heap? he appeared to be a huge weapon early in his career. are the injuries catching up to him, is it cam cameroon's scheme, or what that has him as less of a factor?

Matt Williamson
  (1:15 PM)

I think both. Not nearly as explosive/dangerous as he once was and as I said earlier, Cameron really emphasizes keeping plenty of blockers in for Flacco-which is smart, but also doesn't help Heap's production.

John (Cincinnati)

Hi Matt, who do you see the Browns targeting in the first two rounds this year? Thanks.

Matt Williamson
  (1:16 PM)

OLB is a huge need and they simply must improve their pass rush. ILB wouldn't hurt either-someone who is a true leader/tough guy/tone setter. It might be time for a RB, but I wouldn't take one extremely high. The personnel in Clev isn't bad. S Jones is a free agent, so safety could be a need as well for a starter.

J.B. (Dunmore, PA)

I can see the commercial now. The Eagles win and Donovan McNabb gets asked the question, "Where are you going now?" He responds directly to the camera, "I'm going to Minnesota!"

Matt Williamson
  (1:17 PM)

Excellent-could be a Favre-like offseason for McNabb. Favre to Minny?

Steiny (NYC)

Will Rex Ryan be the next head coach of the New York Jets?

Matt Williamson
  (1:18 PM)

Not sure why he wouldn't be. Could immediatly do great things with that D-then you have a team that is tough to play against. I like that hire a lot for NYJ.

J.B. (Dunmore, PA)

Is internet service in Boca better than it is everywhere else?

Matt Williamson
  (1:19 PM)

Seems that way, huh?!!!?

Dave (Philly)

Whats up Matt do you really think the Cardinals are going to be a problem for the Eagles on Sunday. I know their D is playing better but lets not get crazy and treat them like their the next coming of the 85Bears 00Ravens or 91Eagles for that matter

Matt Williamson
  (1:20 PM)

Oh, I do think they will be a problem. That passing game is a problem for anyone and weather will not any sort of an issue. You can't eliminate Fitzgerald and I don't think Philly's O is all that tough to prepare for if Westbrook isn't 100%. I expect a very tight game.

Doug (NY)

Which WRs will be there for the Giants to take at the end of the 1st round?

Matt Williamson
  (1:20 PM)

Not entirely sure. Heading down to the Senior Bowl with McShay next week-get back to me on this.

Matt Williamson (Bristol, CT)

Will J.B. from Dunmore, PA ever stop posting???

Matt Williamson
  (1:21 PM)

I sense a battle for my affection

Matt (Philly)

The key isn't sacking Warner, it's hitting him and making him throw earlier than he wants. Just like on Thanksgiving Day, the Eagles certainly will be able to do that.

Matt Williamson
  (1:22 PM)

Wouldn't say they certainly will be able to. Warner reads the blitz very well and gets it out quick. One thing I agree with you on though is that he doesn't protect the ball well in the pocket and can be prone to fumbles with Eagles flying all around him.

Mike (az)

Re Dave in Philly: Lets not pretend like the eagles offense is the second coming of last years patriots either. Average WR's at best, a solid TE and a good RB who is hurt. Mcnabb is good but its not like he cant be forced into some errors either...

Matt Williamson
  (1:22 PM)

Indeed

Matt Williamson
  (1:23 PM)

I see that game as very evenly matched and don't expect either QB to make a lot of big errors. Should be fun.

Justin (Phoenix, AZ)

Does the NFL, most importantly the Eagles underestimate the 12th man in AZ? Do you see the crowd being a big factor to the Eagles communication on the field?

Matt Williamson
  (1:24 PM)

Not sure about that. I might be one of those underestimating the 12th man in Zona as well. Does it really get THAT loud there? Do the fans really get THAT crazy? Has there ever been a real big game there before-not including college bowl games or Super Bowls that the Cards were not playing in that is.

Not Mike from Boca Raton

While it is probably unreasonable to see Willie Parker produce as well as he did v. Chargers, do you think he will have more success than in the past running v. the Ravens? p.s. This is actually Mike from Boca again

Matt Williamson
  (1:26 PM)

Nice. I do not see anything close to last week's production from Parker, but did make him PGH's X Factor. With just decent production from him, PGH's O will be in very good shape. I also think M Moore should have a prominant role as a pass catcher, which can give Balt's D problems.

Mike (az)

Matt, Read COY Mike Smith's comments about the crowd noise for the Wild card game if you dont believe it.

Matt Williamson
  (1:26 PM)

I think I have to do that

Brian (Philly)

Even though the Eagles are a pressure defense, the CB's, namely Asante Samuel, like to play off the receivers. Add to that, Warner is great at reading blitzes...will Arizona be able to exploit the short passing lanes against Philly.

Matt Williamson
  (1:28 PM)

I like Zona's chance of success with their hot reads-and their WRs are strong after the catch. Like we talked about earlier, this strength vs. strength matchup is huge in my mind. Philly's pressure vs. Zona's passing game. Biggest/closest matchup of the entire game in my mind.

J.B. (Dunmore, PA)

Don't people go to Arizona to retire? I think they are more concerned about making it to the Early Bird Special than if the Cards can pressure McNabb.

Myron Cope (Heaven)

for the record: lendale white fumbled, chris johnson injured his ankle, and keith bullock had a hissy fit after the game......................the curse of the terrible towel lives on!

Matt Williamson
  (1:29 PM)

Always. Yoy and double yoy good man.

J.B. (Dunmore, PA)

Who are your X-Factors for each team this weekend?

Matt Williamson
  (1:31 PM)

Picked Parker and Lewis in that game. Lewis because I think he will need to lead his D for 60 minutes. Keep them up when their bodies don't want to anymore. As for the other game, Westbrook immediatly comes to mind. Which Westy do we get? The good one might be all Philly needs. The injured one doesn't do much good. As for Zona, how about Breaston? Should see a lot of single coverage with or without Boldin available. Could make a big play, especially after the catch.

Renegade

Write it down. The Eagles will falter as they always do when thy're expected to win. So far it's been lose for them, becaue they weren't expected to win. The table is turned now, and this is where their true colors come out. Mark it down, and I'm not even a Cards fan.

Matt Williamson
  (1:32 PM)

Renegade who's got it made...

Dave (Blue Bell, PA)

12TH man.......Are you SERIOUS eagles fans are none to travel with the best of them let alone how many people from the philly area moved to zona, I really dont think cards fans realize how their town and stadium will infested with thosands of eagle fans this weekend me being 1 of them

Bruce Arians (3400 S. Water St., Pgh)

why aren't all of the plays i keep calling to carey davis working?

Matt Williamson
  (1:32 PM)

That is awesome

Tim (Seattle, Wa)

We all know Seattle had alot of injurys at WR this year. With the performance by Deion Branch the last few games of the year is he a viable #1 reciever in Seattle moving forward? If not, do we go out and pick up Michael Crabtree with our #4 overall pick? Thanks

Matt Williamson
  (1:33 PM)

Engram is a free agent and obviously up in age. Plus, Crabtree would be very hard to pass up for any team. Hasselbeck would probably vote for him. Can't see many problems with that. Sea has other needs, but I don't see OL, RB, DT, CB being MASSIVE needs.

Zac (Bay Area)

Doesn't Tebow remind you a little too much of a running Todd Marinovich?

Matt Williamson
  (1:34 PM)

Reminds me a lot of Vince Young really. Just more physical.

DAVE(BLUE BELL,PA)

So who plays in the big game 2 weeks from now? honest answer please

Matt Williamson
  (1:36 PM)

I do very much like PGH this weekend. Extremely torn on the NFC game-but I knew I would eventually have to pick one of the two. Taking Zona...but reluctantly.

The Red Sea, Glendale AZ

After playing their 1st playoff game in ten years, how is it you ask if there have been any "real big" games? Together we will make history and show the rest of the world The Red Sea this Sunday. Go Cardinals!

Matt Williamson
  (1:38 PM)

Perhaps...I did pick the Cards, but when I think of brutal venues to play, it doesn't come to mind

J.B. (Dunmore, PA)

True or False: The Vikings will never win anything significant with Tavaris Jackson as the starting QB.

Matt Williamson
  (1:38 PM)

T

Matt (philly)

Arizona picked off Jake Delhomme five times because they tripled Steve Smith and forced Delhomme to look in the direction of those decoys they throw out there at #2WR and #3WR. That defense isn't scary.

Matt Williamson
  (1:39 PM)

Don't overlook the contributions of D Rogers Cromartie on Smith...or R White the weekend before. Allows them to be very aggresive.

Mike Nolan (Denver, CO)

Will I be able to bookend Dumervil and the previously-thought-to-be-a-bust Moss in a new 3-4 scheme? Or am I a really mediocre choice for DC as being claimed in the local press? How big of a blow to us is it that Mays is not declaring?

Matt Williamson
  (1:40 PM)

Mays would have been a great fit in Den for sure. Switching that D to a 3-4 looks like a very difficult chore. Can Moss and/or Dumervil play in reverse? Cover the flat? Open their hips and run with McFadden or Sproles or Gates or Gonzo? I don't love their ILBs for a 3-4 either and DJ Williams doesn't fit that scheme real well. Most importantly, where is the NT? The DEs don't really fit either. Yikes.

Matt (Philly)

Go back and watch the interceptions. None were one on one. They all were bad throws to a panther with several Cardinals around him. If McNabb runs on the first play of the game, Arizona will have to respect it the rest of the game and it will open things up in the passing game.

Matt Williamson
  (1:43 PM)

They were all terrible throws/decisions. Delhomme could not have played worse and Car had zero chance of winning that game with his performance. Still, he was pressured and don't discount the Zona secondary-esp against a Phlly group of WRs who lack anyone resembling a #1.

RYAN (EAST MEADOW, NY)

MATT, Im a big Jets fan. Do you think they should draft speed at wr, speed at lb, or take a rb if one of the top picks drop to them?

Matt Williamson
  (1:44 PM)

RB would be my last choice of that group and I think a starting CB opposite Revis is the biggest need. Might need a QB more than anything though. A big time WR prospect is tough to pass on. Woody isn't a RT-might need to draft one. One more true 3-4 DE would go a long way as well.

Matt (Philly)

The fact that the Eagles don't have a number 1 receiver negates Rogers-Cromartie, because other teams aren't used to spreading the ball around, so he takes out the top player. The Eagles don't have that, so he's just taking away a regular player.

Matt Williamson
  (1:45 PM)

I hear ya, but still, gives the Cards more freedom to attack the LOS.

Dave (Memphis)

Are you actually picking the Cardinals? I kinda sounds like you are.

Matt Williamson
  (1:46 PM)

What gave it away? When I said "Give me the Cards."? Yeah, I am taking them, but also like I said, reluctantly.

Gerry (ny)

I just cant see Flacco making the superbowl as a rookie. Its unfathomable!!

Matt Williamson
  (1:46 PM)

Stranger things have happened and the guy does have a lot of starts under his belt.

DAVE (BLUE BELL,PA)

MATT WHAT ARE THE 5 TOUGHEST VENUES TO PLAY AT IN THE NFL?

Matt Williamson
  (1:47 PM)

What do you guys think? Balt and Philly come to mind right away. GBay this time of year for sure. SEA is tough.

Ryan (San Diego)

What do the chargers do with LT? He's owed 9 million next year but if they trade or release him he's only due 2 million. They really could use that extra money to sign Sproles and extend Rivers, Vjax and Merriman. Any chance he would restructure it?

Matt Williamson
  (1:49 PM)

Tough call. What we don't know (& they do) is just how injured LT was this year. Was he very injured and that was the reason for his struggles or was he rather healthy and is just losing it? Either way-and I hate to say it-I would certainly rather use that money on the guys you mentioned than an aging RB who is declining. Not convinced that Sproles is a #1 RB though-would need to draft a bigger guy too.

Doug (NY)

Giants Stadium

Matt Williamson
  (1:49 PM)

Certainly in the conversation-odd winds, etc.

J.B. (Dunmore, PA)

I think we have to factor in that the Ravens haven't had a week off since the 2nd week of the season, don't we?

Matt Williamson
  (1:50 PM)

I think that is absolutly huge and the Steelers being the much fresher/healthier team is the #1 reason I am picking them.

Vinny (Vegas)

Zona to win, or just "cover?"

Matt Williamson
  (1:51 PM)

Not sure what the line is-but I do think they are a dog, right? Picking them to win.

Jimmy: philly

if it were the giants who had won the game, would you even give the cardinal a chance? The eagles had 217 yards and 2 ints from mcnabb and 36 yards rushing from westbrook and still took care of the giants. How is it that you think cromartie gives the cardinals that much of an advantage?

Matt Williamson
  (1:52 PM)

If the game was in Philly I wouldn't give Zona that much of a chance. Bad weather doesn't work well for this team, so I would have picked NYG at home vs. Zona. However, that isn't how it happened.

Andy (NYC)

Rich stadium in the 90's was unbelievably hard to play in.

Matt Williamson
  (1:52 PM)

...but not now

Matt Williamson
  (1:52 PM)

It also helped that Jim Kelly, Thurman Thomas, Bruce Smith, etc were the players that visiting teams had to play against...

J.B. (Dunmore, PA)

I'll go with New England and Chicago once the weather gets cold as tough places to play. Pittsburgh too because that field is a God-awful mess.

Brett (Houston, TX)

Come on! The same guys keep getting their questions asked, what about my Michael Oher one? Where's he going?

Matt Williamson
  (1:54 PM)

Bro, I saw your question, but I am not a draft expert. Working heavily on draft prep, but it is a ways away and honestly, that isn't what I do. However, I will be all over it very soon and Oher is a true LT with great movement skills and long arms. Therefore, he isn't falling very far on DDay.

Jmerms (NYC)

Matt, their have been many rumors that the Giants will trade for Anquan Boldin. What do you think the Giants will have to trade to get him?

Matt Williamson
  (1:54 PM)

He is exactly what they need and I wouldn't hesitate to send this year's #1 and #4 for openers.

Eric

Where should the Texans be looking to improve? Any word on who they are looking at for Defensive Coordinator?

Matt Williamson
  (1:55 PM)

They need defense. A DE opposite Mario would be huge. A true NT type in the middle as well. A stud safety would be an excellent get. Lastly, one more CB to compete for playing time.

jimmy:philly

wasn't the matchup in philly a very fair weather game?

Matt Williamson
  (1:56 PM)

It was, but I throw that game out. Traveling accross country with very little rest after a huge game the week before. I just see this one playing out very differently and far more competitive.

kl (philly)

i think this game will be a lot more of a challenge than a lot of eagles fans think, but the eagles do have the best defense in the NFC, just behind the steelers and ravens, that counts, right???

Matt Williamson
  (1:57 PM)

Oh yeah, that counts for sure! Great secondary as well, which will be crucial against this passing game. Also, I really don't see Zona having any success on the ground. That is why I am so conflicted on this game.

J.B. (Dunmore, PA)

Can you see the Vikings trading picks for proven players again this year? The Allen thing worked out pretty well for them last year.

Matt Williamson
  (1:58 PM)

Very much so concerning Allen. I would strongly consider it for a QB. That OL needs some work as well, but finding a QB has to be the top priority.

Josh ( Mesa, AZ)

So do you think the Cards will finally get some love (even if they lose on sunday)? Or will people say "Thats the same o'l Cardinals"

Matt Williamson
  (1:58 PM)

Any way it happens, it is not the same ol' Cards

David Phoenix AZ

Isn't it fair to say Eli had a lot to do with the eagle defense playing so well in NY. He couldn't hit a wide open receiver to save his life and the Eagle only TD came after a terrible Eli pass.

Matt Williamson
  (2:00 PM)

Of course-much like Delhomme against Zona. Both D's helped that to happen though. Still, they were fortunate in those regards as well. I don't expect Warner or McNabb to be a liability though this week. Adds more to my conflicted opinion on this game!

Nick (Boston)

Matt, you said last week that you are picking the Patriots early for Super Bowl 44. Is this assuming Mr. Brady's at full health?

Matt Williamson
  (2:00 PM)

VERY much so.

Matt Williamson
  (2:01 PM)

Okay everyone, I am out. It was a lot of grins. Take care.