Print and Go Back ESPN: SportsNation

May 20, 10:39 AM ET
Chat with Scouts Inc.'s Matt Williamson

Matt Williamson
  (11:53 AM)

Alright folks, let's get this party started.

Cosmo (NYC)

Just wanted to say how glad I am to see Len Pasquarelli's articles... I know he has been back for a while, I just love his style and content....

Matt Williamson
  (11:53 AM)

Enough said. Agreed.

bob...jerseee [via mobile]

woohooo i love green bay change to the Three four matt... matthews and raji are gonna rock.. aand kampman comin outside we cant be stop... lol

Matt Williamson
  (11:55 AM)

Love it. Perhaps, just perhaps, I have been a smidge too critical of this change in philosophies...but I sure think Raji would have been a great 4-3 DT in the old scheme and Matthews could have immedatly upgraded Poppinga's spot in the old scheme. I love the 3-4, but the 4-3 does work just fine.

Mike, Balt. MD

Which team in your opinion has the best OL and DL, and the most depth at nearly every position? Even though they don't have an established WR I say the Giants may have the most overall talent in the NFL. Agree/disagree?

Matt Williamson
  (11:57 AM)

Real hard to disagree. NYG has a Top 5 OL. I don't think that can really be argued. Don't love the OL depth, but overall, it is a terrific unit. The DL should be even better and might be the best in the league from top to bottom. Does that mean that NYG has the best overall talent in the league? Not sure that I am sold on that. REALLY worry about the passing game-and some of that has to do with Eli when comparing NYG with the other elite teams like Philly, NEng and PGH. SD has an awful lot of talent. Dallas still does as well. Not an easy call.

Brandon Calforina [via mobile]

Whos The Best QB In the NFC East I Think Its Eil A Lot Of People knock him still And Blame Him For last year but losing your best WR During A Playoff push is hard to adjust To. Hes been To The Playoffs 4 year in a row has a ring and isnt injury prone cant say the same for rest of QBs in NFC East Or Most In The Nfl I Think He Still Doesnt Get The Cerdit He Desveres In The Public eye.

Matt Williamson
  (11:58 AM)

I see where you are coming from, but personally, I would put Eli third right now. I know he hasn't won a playoff game, but I might take Romo first. McNabb second. Still, your points are huge and Eli is the most impressive come playoff time I suppose-although he body of work isn't huge. That is another very tough decision, but give me 1. Romo 2. McN 3. Eli

Joel, Philly

Which team has the best and worst year: Eagles, Giants, Skins or Ravens?

Matt Williamson
  (11:59 AM)

1. Philly 2. NYG 3. Balt 4. Wash

Erik (NH)

Hey Matt. How likely is the Raiders' Burgess to Pats trade? If it's for a 2nd rd pick, it seems like a win-win for both teams.

Matt Williamson
  (12:00 PM)

That actually seems a little steep to me. I know NEng has a ton of 2nd rounders, but those picks are gold. How old is Burgess? Not sure off the top of my head and I do think he would certainly help that D. NEng is one piece away-an outside pass rusher. Is the answer? Torn on that one. Wow, I am really riding the fence on these quesions so far today. Come on Matt, get your game face on. Make some decisions!!!

Carlos (LA,CA)

Matt, Can San Fran be considered a dark horse team? Also do you think Smith will be the starting QB? Thanks.

Matt Williamson
  (12:02 PM)

I am not overly high on SF, but could see how they would surprise-if they get vastly improved QB play. Hill isn't good enough in my mind. Ideal #2. Smith has been awful, but I am not ready to totally discount him quite yet. Soon-but not quite yet. The D is good, well more like average. Every aspect of that team seems very average to me right now. Love the Crabtree addition though. Picking them behind 1. Sea and 2. Zona in the West.

Jeff, Mpls

Is Steve Hutchinson the best guard in the league?

Matt Williamson
  (12:03 PM)

Yeah, I think so. The guy is really something. There are plenty of good ones and surely I am missing a few, but I do think I would take Hutch right now over L Davis, Snee, Mankins, Grubbs, Steinbach, Andrews, etc.

Chris (Chicago) [via mobile]

Which teams do you think are likely to pursue Mike Vick if he's allowed to play next season?

Matt Williamson
  (12:04 PM)

There should be several interested parties-no doubt in my mind. Immediatly Oakland comes to mind. As does Sea with the Mora/Vick ties. How about Carolina? Can't say that I like Delhomme all that much. The Skins surely will kick the tires. SFran?

bob...jerseee [via mobile]

why everybody sweatin eagles they draft unproven wr and rb and give an ovarated peterss big money who gave up eleven and half sacks..ur thoughts.thx

Matt Williamson
  (12:07 PM)

I love the Peters deal for Philly and it might give them the best OL in the NFL when it is all said and done. Yes, he had a bad year. Came in late. Overweight. But, the year before, he was a killer. Top notch guy. There is risk involved, but A Reid knows what he is doing at that position and franchise LTs don't grow on trees. I also really liked the Maclin and McCoy picks. GREAT value. Maclin is a personal favorite of mine and fits their system well.

Chad, Des Moines, IA

What do you think about Vick to Pittsburgh?

Matt Williamson
  (12:07 PM)

That is funny

Jeff, Mpls

Who makes your list for the top five running backs in the league right now?

Matt Williamson
  (12:11 PM)

Funny you brought that up. I was kicking that around the other day in my cranium. Actually, I was thining "Who would I want behind Peterson?" Couldn't get excited about anyone as the #2 guy. I guess Westbrook is that guy now. LT surely could be-but (sorta like Westbrook) trusting him to be healthy is real tough. West at least looked great when he was on the field last year. LT did not. Turner is in the top 5, as is S Jackson-although he can't stay healthy either. I really like MJD and would put him on the list. Forte could make it, but want to see more. Same wtih C Johnson. Gore could be, but I can't put him on there now. Portis still might be, but is going backwards. Still, I suppose Portis is on it. In no order: Peterson, MJD, West, Portis and S Jax. Yuck.

jay raleigh NC [via mobile]

What's the likeliness that Atlanta will make it to the playoffs again this year

Matt Williamson
  (12:12 PM)

Picking them to win the South here. Huge believer in Ryan. What worries me on O is the OL, but they did exceed my expectations last year. On D, they are average on a good day. But, they still might be slightly improved on that side of the ball and their O makes their D's job much easier. I put the Falcons on that second tier behind those top four that I mentioned earlier.

Robert (Florida).

Does Matt Ryan crack the top 10 QBs this year or maybe even the top 5 with the offense they have?

Matt Williamson
  (12:13 PM)

Oh yeah. Maybe top 3. Probably will not be a huge stat guy, but if I were starting a team right now, I would have a hard time passing on Ryan first overall. I would take Big Ben and Brees over him and surely I want to see a 2nd season from Ryan, but I really like the guy.

Carlos(bronx,ny) [via mobile]

Wat do you think the colts are gonna do this season, do you think they can make it all the way?

Matt Williamson
  (12:15 PM)

Also picking them to win their division. Manning will keep them rolling, but all their coaching changes does bring up a little bit of concern. Still, they are going to score a lot of points, the running game should be improved (which is huge) and Manning will start this year healthy. Indy seems to be under the radar for some reason, but I think they are the 5th best team in the NFL.

Xander (Philly)

Is it a good idea for Joshua Cribbs not to attend workouts for the Browns?

Matt Williamson
  (12:16 PM)

How could that possibly be a good idea?

Roy Light [via mobile]

What do you think of the Skins moving Orakpo to LB? Will transition well?

Matt Williamson
  (12:17 PM)

Certainly not in a typical 4-3 role, but they used Washington in a similiar capacity and I would have some worries playing Orakpo play after play on the LOS. He shows some pass dropping ability, but that also surely will be exposed by guys like Westbrook and F Jones. You want Orakpo covering those two in the flats?

Sean (TR NJ)

Matt what do you think of the Dolphins offseason moves and draft did they do what they had to in order to stay competitive in the East?

Matt Williamson
  (12:19 PM)

I really have not liked what Miami has done. But, I will also be the first to say that Parcells and company really know what they are doing. He even knows more than I do-obviously. But, those WRs they drafted really are not high on my list. The secondary players are also questionable. A lot of uncertainty with the rookie DBs. But, the secondary surely is vastly improved and adding one more pass rusher (JT/Wake) should make that pass defense vastly improved. But, who is going to make big plays on O? Side note, their OL might be awesome.

Dan (Buffalo, NY)

Cribbs and a pick for Leon Washinton?

Matt Williamson
  (12:21 PM)

Interesting. They bring similiar skills to the table-well. at least with the ball in their hands and in the return game. Washington should be a very welcome addition to the Browns. Cribbs and Harrison for Washington? These teams have been known to do business before! How about throwing Braylon in there in some capacity? Braylon, Cribbs, Harrson for Washington and the Jets' #1 next year....just off the top of my head.

Paul N.Y [via mobile]

How do u c the NYJ d this year

Matt Williamson
  (12:23 PM)

I really like it. Have a ton of faith in Rex Ryan. Those OLBs could really step up their games. Revis is a star. The ILBs are excellent. They have the stud NT ala Ngata in Jenkins. He has the pieces and his scheme will be FAR more aggressive and player-friendly than Mangini's.

james (pitt)

Who would you rank as the top 5 offenses in the league this year?

Matt Williamson
  (12:24 PM)

Wow. Let's brainstorm again. NEng and Indy come to mind right off the bat. Zona looks very strong. SD could be excellent. Dallas could be, but I will keep them out of the top 5. Probably the same with Philly. I do like GBay's quite a bit. NOrl still for sure. ATL has to be in there too.

james (pitt)

Who would you rate as the top 5 offenses..and the top 5 defenses this season?

Matt Williamson
  (12:26 PM)

Well, since we just did Os-on D, I would still put PGH at the top of the list. NYG would probably be #2. After that, Balt and NYJ will get heavy consideration. Philly is good, but probably just misses. I like Minny as well, but probably just misses as well. I see Tenn taking a step backwards on D without Haynesworth. Dallas' is good, not exceptional.

Eric (Atlanta)

Matt buddy, I can't wait to see you hop off that Atlanta train

Matt Williamson
  (12:26 PM)

If they look crappy, I will hop off. Nothing personal. Strictly business.

John (Seattle)

These questions are becoming repetitive..Who would you rate as the top 5 Off and top 5 Defenses have come up twice now and you still post them. Your chats are very frustrating.

Matt Williamson
  (12:27 PM)

What they heck are you talking about? I listed the top 5 Os and Ds once apiece.

Sean (TR NJ)

I know a lot of people are really hyped up about Henne but I have seen nothing from him to say the same (not his fault just no oportunities yet) should I be with the masses on this one or are there concerns i should know about?

Matt Williamson
  (12:28 PM)

Well, he isn't the most mobile fella around and I don't see him excelling when the play breaks down. But looking ahead, with that OL and surely Miami will always stress the running game, he should be a good fit. Star? Doubtful. I alos think drafting White does put some pressure on him. But, Henne surely throws the ball better than Pennington and will open up some room on the backend.

Sean (TR NJ)

So to add to it you post that John come on man its all in good fun lol

Matt Williamson
  (12:29 PM)

Not exactly a TON to talk about right now in the world of football. Calm. It isn't like I am posting the same questions over and over.

Xander (Philly)

Do you like extending the season or is it just another money-grubbing move by the owners?

Matt Williamson
  (12:31 PM)

Seems more money grubbing than logical. Right now, it bothers me that too often the league has been a war of attrition. So many injuries. I understand that is part of the game, but these guys' bodies can't hold up for a much longer year. Of course, the rosters would be bigger, but that just means adding more poor average players to the mix...the game might get even more specialized though.

Cameron (SoCal)

Do you think Rivers can repeat the numbers from last season?

Matt Williamson
  (12:31 PM)

I do. Used to be very critical of this guy. But I wrong. He is a heck of a QB.

Sean (TR NJ)

Actually that was directed to John from Seattle for jumping on your case my bad lol

Matt Williamson
  (12:32 PM)

Right-was trying to stir the pot further. Let you all battle it out.

Jacksonville Fl [via mobile]

Do the Vikings make your top 5 O if Brett Farve joins them?

Matt Williamson
  (12:32 PM)

No way.

Dan (Pittsburgh, PA)

Do you think this is the year Mendenhall takes over the starting job from Willie Parker, and how good do you think Mendenhall will be?

Matt Williamson
  (12:33 PM)

I like Mend a lot, but I also am really not that big on Parker. Last year around this time, I thought Mend would be the starter by mid year. Obviously that did not come to fruition, but I do expect him to be the lead dog before long.

Shane (Los Angeles, CA)

As a Cards fan, its disappointing to see them still given little credit for their SB appearance last year...even you have Seattle picked to win the division. When I look at the Cards, their biggest weaknesses are Special Teams and the O-line...do you agree and is this why you have them finishing behind Seattle?

Matt Williamson
  (12:35 PM)

That isn't an indictment on Zona as much as I think that Sea is primed for a huge bounce back season. Can Warner stay healthy again? I have serious doubts. Will Boldin be there? Tend to think he will not be. Who is going to pressure the passer? Love the secondary, but I think that front seven lacks a dangerous pass rush guy. You touched on the OL, but they are also very well coached. Along the coaching lines, losing two coordinators could be costly as well.

jon amherst, ny [via mobile]

k.c.joyner....dr.joyner doesnt even put big ben in his top 5 qb list. whats that dude watching?

Matt Williamson
  (12:37 PM)

Didn't see KC's list. Did it just come out? I really respect what he does-very inovative. But, Ben is on my list every day of the week and twice on Sundays. I would say that Peyton, Brady and Brees are all superior QBs right now to Roethlisberger. But that is it. Ryan could be after we see a little more. Some other great ones out there, but who do you want in the fourth quarter of the Super Bowl? Ranking QBs by their Ws and Ls is tough-so many other factors contribute to winning or losing a football game, but Ben sure does win a lot of them.

Ryan (Tulsa)

Who leads the NFL in sacks this season?

Matt Williamson
  (12:38 PM)

Give me Mario Williams. Ware is hard to argue with, but I expect Williams to even take another step forward in his development. Having better play at the opposite DE spot should help as well.

Jeff, Mpls

Will the old addage "He was a 1,000 yard rusher" ever be increased to something more respectable?

Matt Williamson
  (12:39 PM)

Good question. It really isn't that impressive any more. That is 250 yards per every four games. So? Yards per carry is obviously an important stat, but it doesn't take into account how well of a short yardage runner the RB is.

John (Seattle)

We're all just waiting for the Bill Simmons chat at 1 pm anyway.

Matt Williamson
  (12:39 PM)

Sure seems like it! Slow room today! John, I am keeping my eye on you though.

Chris (Cambridge, MA)

Do you think Rivers would be as good as he is if he were never traded from NYG? Those Meadowlands winds in Nov/Dec make life difficult for the qb.

Matt Williamson
  (12:40 PM)

Oh who knows...but yeah, it sure is a major problem. That worries me with Sanchez an awful lot.

Adam (Jersey)

Bill Simmons is actually going right now too...

Matt Williamson
  (12:40 PM)

Oh great-now everyone who thinks he comes on at 1:00 is going to bolt!

bob...jersee [via mobile]

why wouldnt green bay trade for sheldon brown.. woodson and harris are ovarated. they do have an lot of cap space ..why dont they eva sign anybody.

Matt Williamson
  (12:41 PM)

They have a lot of young talented guys who they like. None are big names, but there are a lot of guys there. Still, I see where you are coming from. Just not the nature of the organization. Overall, I think they do a strong job with personnel though.

Jeff (Denver)

How come Denver isnt in the race for Edge? They could really use a 17th running back.......

Matt Williamson
  (12:42 PM)

Yeah, that is true. They are a little light at that position. Maybe S Alexander would come back as well. Think they could get a good deal on T Jones?

Dan (Pittsburgh, PA)

Who would you pick for Offensive and Defensive Rookies of the Year right now? How about Beanie in Zona for offense and Curry for D?

Matt Williamson
  (12:43 PM)

Curry is real tough to argue with. Perfect situation for him to go to. Give me Crabtree though on O. Wanted to pick D Brown, as I think he becomes the lead guy over Addai, but Crabtree is a beast with a lot to prove.

Adam (Jersey)

Do you think Gruden will try to sign some more announcers to compete with Jaws in the booth? I don't think he'll be satisfied with just the one quarterback

Matt Williamson
  (12:43 PM)

Aaahh yes, very good. Nicely done. Too bad Garcia signed in Oakland.

John (Seattle)

See ya! Tell us who the 5 best NFL ESPN columns are first.

Matt Williamson
  (12:45 PM)

1. My peice on the Vikings' biggest weakness. 2. Same on GBay's. 3. Same on Tenn's. 4. Same on the Jets' 5. And lastly, my piece on the Dolphins' biggest weakness. Come back John, I will play nice.

Chris (Boston)

MDub, Simmons is chatting opposite you right now. You're holding your own. Even on a slow day.

Matt Williamson
  (12:45 PM)

Chris in my corner. I am busy right now, but can you go rough up John for me?

Mike (Akron)

PLEASE GOD NO MORE BROWNS JETS TRADES!!! Enough. What do you think about this whole Cribbs situation.....dude still has 4 years left on his contract. Is it possible for the Browns just to throw him like 3 million and keep his contract? Cause I do think he has earned/deserves more money but shouldn't have signed a contract that long.

Matt Williamson
  (12:47 PM)

Agreed on the Jets/Browns love affair. It isn't like the Jets are the 90s Niners or something. I do think Cribbs deserves much more than he is getting. That guy impacts a game in so many ways. Difference maker. Will he ever be a legit WR? I have my doubts, but still-I want him on my team. Same goes for Leon Washington.

Sean (TR NJ)

Did you wrong John from Seattle in a previous life or something he is relentless lol

Matt Williamson
  (12:47 PM)

I give him credit. He keeps taking swings at the champ. I even have been raving about his Seahawks. Poor guy just hasn't landed any punches.

Dan (Pittsburgh, PA)

How do the Eagles get away with blatant cheating?

Matt Williamson
  (12:48 PM)

The Eagles? Cheating? Not sure what you are referring to. Maybe you are getting them mixed up wtih the Flyers.

Matt Williamson
  (12:49 PM)

Oh yeah, did yinz guys notice the Pens are up 1-0 in the conference championship? Yeah baby.

Adam (Jersey)

Where do you think Rod Hood ends up? I thought there would be more movement on him, since he's at least a decent corner

Matt Williamson
  (12:51 PM)

Agreed. Was shocked that he was released and then was shocked that several teams didn't attack him. Remember though, all these teams just added quite a few new players (who they liked) and think their respective needs are probably less than they truly are. Once they get to camp, some of these guys who they are high on will look bad. Also-all these teams are as good as they are ever going to look right now. Glass is half full for everyone. We had to do power rankings (not out yet), but it is just so hard to do this time of year. Can see reason for optimism in every team.

Dan (Pittsburgh, PA)

Nicely played, Matt. I was just poking the bear on the other side of the state. If I can be serious for a minute. . . who are your current favorites for the Super Bowl this upcoming year? It very well could be an all-PA contest.

Matt Williamson
  (12:51 PM)

It very well could be. I picked NEng over Philly...but I didn't want to sound like a Steelers' homer.

Anthony (NYC)

M-Dub the thought you had about Vick being a good fit for the Panthers, I thought the same thing over the weekend. Vick could actually sit and learn behind Jake Delhomme(what not to do). Then he could be the starter in 2010. He'd be on a team with better WRs in Smith & Muhammad, plus theres an excellent RB tandem in Williams & Stewart, strong O-line. Thoughts?

Matt Williamson
  (12:53 PM)

That is where I was going as well. Plus, obviously Carolina is in win-now mode as they keep trading away their first rounders for immediate help. In that mode, finding the next QB (which MUST be done) is very tough to pull off. However, now this guy has become available. As with any team though, the owner will surely have to sign off on it-which might not go over so well.

Adam (Jersey)

That makes sense, but I don't understand how a team like the Bucs, who still have $30 million in cap space and a need at corner (I don't even know who their dime back would be right now) wouldn't throw him a reasonable offer.

Matt Williamson
  (12:54 PM)

Adam, you are on top of things here. I could not agree more. He is better than Barber right now. At least very close. I don't know that TBay still has THAT much space, but surely they have a ton. Gotta spend it.

John(Seattle)

So you really would of picked the Steelers...and you are a homer, why not act like 1!

Matt Williamson
  (12:56 PM)

I honestly think it is a coin flip between PGH and NEng. I see NEng somehow (Peppers/Burgess) finding a pass rusher and getting even stronger. PGH won't improve much between now and opening day. But still, I like PGH's D better and their schedule is more favorable. Coin flip. Weren't you supposedly heading to that other chat anyways? Good to have you still around...just watch your step.

Jeff, Mpls

Vikes got 10 wins with Gus at the helm. Should have won at least two more as well. Whether it's Tjoke, Sage, or #4 at QB, and with the second easiest schedule and additions, is it a long shot to hope for a 12 win season?

Matt Williamson
  (12:57 PM)

Oh I think that is a real long shot. I see them real close to GBay and Chi. Picking Chi to win that division. What if the two Willams boys are out for four games each? Still not a believer in the QBs.

Chris (Boston)

Mid morning for John in Sea. He must have woken up on the wrong side of the bed.

Matt Williamson
  (12:57 PM)

It is probably raining there. Makes everyone sad.

John (Seattle)

GO CANES!

Matt Williamson
  (12:58 PM)

Now you have gone and done it. Trying to take the stage and really get under my skin. Might have to cut you off now. Troops, No Soup for John? Not sure yet.

Shane (Los Angeles, CA)

If the Redskins are really going to finish last in their division, how can Haynesworth possibly be worth that contract? You only pay that kind of money to a player who will turn your franchise around.

Matt Williamson
  (12:59 PM)

& he is capable. Just question his desire to do so. To me, he will be mised more in Tenn than valued in Wash. Does that make sense? But, I don't blame them so much for swinging for the fences there. The mistake is with D Hall and maybe Dockery. Big money on not-great starters.

Dan (Pittsburgh, PA)

John is still salty about the Seabags losing Super Bowl XL.

Matt Williamson
  (1:00 PM)

Oh- I almost forgot about that. Such a winnable game for the Hawks too. Just another trophy in the Burgh. Ho-Hum. Stairway to Seven this year.

Chris (Boston)

MW, bounce John like Seattle did the Sonics.

Matt Williamson
  (1:00 PM)

Wow, this is just too easy now.

Jeff (Denver)

Would the Broncos roster only be RBs and QBs if they had hired Gruden as an assistant?

Matt Williamson
  (1:01 PM)

You are trying too hard now

Matt Williamson
  (1:03 PM)

Okay everyone. I am out. Kinda of a slow chat by our standards of late, but I will let it slide this week. Come back with a vengence next Wednesday and we will tear it up. It might be time to incorporate just a smidge of fantasy talk into the coversation to get everyone stoked again. Adios and of course, Go Pens.