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June 3, 12:28 PM ET
Chat with Scouts Inc.'s Matt Williamson

Matt Williamson
  (11:58 AM)

Okay folks, let's get rolling.

Brenden Thief River Falls MN

How will the QB battle in Minnesota get affected if Brett Favre comes back to play/

Matt Williamson
  (11:59 AM)

Surely there will not be a battle if Favre is a Viking. I am not saying that he is clearly a better player right now than the other two-particularly if his throwing arm isn't 100%-but he isn't coming back to fight for a job.

Larry (Charlotte,NC)

Who will be the better back a year from now Donald Brown or Joseph Addai?

Matt Williamson
  (11:59 AM)

I think it will be Brown. For all you FF guys out there, he is the pick this year. Expect Addai to conistently lose a % of his touches as the season goes along.

Sean (Philly)

If John Runyan is cleared to play before the season, do the Eagles resign him on the cheap for depth, or will he take an offer for better money? He has established himself in the Philly area, and would love to have him for some insurance.

Matt Williamson
  (12:01 PM)

Would guess that he goes to a team like Pittsburgh or Minnesota (for example) where he could probably start and compete on a good team. I am sure there are other suitors that make sense as well, but would be shocked to see him return to Philly as a backup. Plus, he can only play one position.

Pitt Panther (Granbury, TX)

I always hear the phrase "Well, you can never have too many good ____" And then I hear it said about every position on the field. In your expert opinion, which position would that apply to the most, where you could never have too many of _____?

Matt Williamson
  (12:02 PM)

Good point! CB comes to mind immediatly, as then you can lock down WRs in any personnel grouping. DLinemen in general is the answer though. Just keep rotating in fresh able bodies to cause havoc. Just wait and see how NYG does it this year.

Larry (Charlotte,NC)

At best, what kind of stats can Miles Austin put up and who does he compare to?

Matt Williamson
  (12:03 PM)

Hmmm...comparisons are always very tough-and usually off. But he is quite impressive physically and I wouldn't be shocked if he reached as high as 750 rec yards and 7 TDs. At best, he is the third receiving option in that O. I expect F Jones to catch quite a few passes as well and Crayton isn't a bad player either.

Larry (Charlotte,NC)

Is Julius Peppers still one of the top 2 or 3 defensive ends in the NFL?

Matt Williamson
  (12:05 PM)

I am not his biggest fan, but he isn't too far off that status for sure. I think he runs a little too hot and cold and I have a hard time putting that 2 sack year out of my mind and then he is real good again in a contract year. Just a little fishy. But, he surely can play and surely is a difference maker. There can't be an OT in the league who looks forward to matching up against what Peppers has physically.

Pitt Panther (Granbury, TX)

In your previous answer about Favre, you correctly said he's not coming back to fight for a job. But what if, at some point, Childress decides another QB gives the team a better chance to win? Would he really bench Favre? And how could Favre respond to that?

Matt Williamson
  (12:07 PM)

Well, I think Childress has to know that his job is not in the best status right now. If things go poorly with #4 and he can't throw the ball well enough-like the second half of last season-then I don't know how you leave him on the field. Will Childress pull him? Hard to speculate. How will #4 take it? I wouldn't guess too well! The streak would end. He would be embarrassed. Still-could happen.

Paul (Albany, OR)

Ok, so I am trying to figure out a bright spot of being a Ram fan at this time. Please help if at all possible. Is there a unit on the team that you consider good and one they do not have to focus on replacing the players within the next couple of years so they can upgrade in other areas? Just looking for bright spots here.

Matt Williamson
  (12:09 PM)

I just turned in my article about STL's Weakest Spot-I picked offensive playmakers (with the exception of S Jackson, who I love), but there were many areas that I could have chosen! Maybe though, just maybe, by the end of the season, STL's WRs will be good enough if Burton, L Robinson and Avery all step up. Still, I don't see a true #1 there. I also don't see a sutiable QB of the future or backup RB. The OL might be fine, which is more of what you asked. Guys like Greco and Incognito may be pretty good players. Of course adding Brown and Smith is huge.

Guy (Hot Coffee, MS)

Is Deuce McCallister going to catch on anywhere?

Matt Williamson
  (12:10 PM)

I really doubt it. Too many knee surgeries. Too little produciton of late. I don't see anything special about him right now and would rather take a shot on someone like Edge or W Dunn before Duece.

Broad Street Brian (what's all the hub bub anyway?)

Why do people care so much about offseason rankings? I'd rather be number 1 at the end of the year,on the field, than #1 on paper in June.

Matt Williamson
  (12:13 PM)

I couldn't agree more. I personnally have a very tough time doing the power rankings this time of year becaue every team is as stacked (percievably) as it will ever be all year. All the rookies look great. All the free agent additions all seem like good fits. Hard to rip a team for poor depth in one area or another this time if year-but we all know that depth is critical and that this league is a war of attrition. But yes, I feel ya bud. I don't see many comments telling me that I am so insightful for putting a specific team high on the list, but I do take serious heat when I offend fans of specific teams that I place low. Do these people really think that I don't like the Panthers (for example)?

Rich (Roswell, NM)

Hey Matt, Thanks for the chats. How much of a difference will a year playing together make for the Steeler offensive line? How do you think they will fare? Thanks

Matt Williamson
  (12:14 PM)

I still see that group as a clear weakness, but continuity is also extremely important with the OL. It showed last year as this fivesome played more and more together, their combined production continually improved. But there is a cieling for sure with this particular group and I wouldn't say that ANY of their starting OLineman is amongst the top dozen or so players at his respective position-in some cases, it is much lower than that.

Matt Williamson
  (12:15 PM)

Programming note: Why so few questions today? Is the link hard to find? S-L-O-W

Sean (Philly)

Can Philly afford Peppers? What would he cost...Sheldon and Reggie Brown and a possible 2nd rounder? We could use another pass rusher...I guess I would even take Ellis.

Matt Williamson
  (12:17 PM)

Can always use another DLineman....Can never have enough DLinemen! Anyways, I don't see that as a huge need for Philly. I think your offer is a little light, but not terrible. Can they afford Peppers? Honestly, I have no idea. You would think that Philly is very tight on the cap, but it also seems to me that these guys who handle the cap can massage it in just about any way they want to get a player under the cap. Can't see it happening though.

Broad Street Brian (philly)

I thought that the knock on ChrisC anty has been his motor running cold. Is he someone who may mail it in after getting a big payday?

Matt Williamson
  (12:18 PM)

Would be shocked if he did in that environment. Plus, he can stay within a rotation-which surely helps. My question with him there is the scheme fit. Can he be a 3 Tech upfied guy? Not a DE in the Osi/Tuck mold for sure. But, also along those lines on a positive note, he gives them great versatility. Big end on shor yardage. Inside pass rusher on throwing downs.

Paul (Albany, OR)

If the offensive line is not the weakest of their units, AND they have Steven Jackson, any chance the Rams will then try to be a smash mouth team, keep the score low and be able to steal some wins late in the games?

Matt Williamson
  (12:21 PM)

That has to be the approach. Dropping Bulger back over and over and throwing to ordinary (being kind) pass catchers isn't going to win them games. Ride SJax. BUT...here is the catch that drives me crazy. SJax is injury prone-and the franchise. You can't use him all up now. NEED an acceptable #2 RB to spell him and get more out of him for the entire season and more importantly, down the road over the next few years when STL might actually be a contender.

Brian (Redmond, WA)

Looking at the schedule, I see that the NFC East is facing the NFC South and the AFC West. Both of those divisions weren't exactly steller against the run. Which RB out of the East will have the biggest year statistically?

Matt Williamson
  (12:24 PM)

Good question and surely a tough one. A lot of very good RBs in that division. Would lean towards a power guy like Jacobs, but that is a three headed monster situation-same with Dallas. It certainly could be Portis, but much like SJax, I don't trust him to be great for an entire season if Wash rides him like they did last year. He really fell off. But, West also isn't the most durable guy either. I guess Jacobs. Tough one.

Mike (MO)

Do you see Edge or even JJ Arrington as being a decent pickup for Rams #2?

Matt Williamson
  (12:25 PM)

Arrington was released for health reasons. Is he able to help? If/when he does get healthy, I would not expect a lot of teams to be beating down his door. As for Edge, do you really think he wants to go to STL at this stage of his career? I might rather retire to Miami.

Charlie (Knoxville, TN)

What kind of passing numbers do you see Matt Ryan putting given that the offense is going to be as loaded as any in the NFC?

Matt Williamson
  (12:27 PM)

They should be a run-first group. Why would you switch from that considering how well it worked last year? Plus, I would incorporate Norwood a smidge more in that regard. But, I see this O putting up a LOT of points and I think Ryan is going to have a monster year. 30TDs or so. Love this O.

brent(montana)

Can you rank the NFC WEST FOR ME- top to bottom?

Matt Williamson
  (12:27 PM)

I went with Seattle narrowly over Zona. SF firmly at #3 and STL as the very worst team in the league.

Matt(AR)

Hey Matt.....Does KC have a chance at either Greg Ellis or Travis LaBoy? 2-14 seasons dont impress FA's but what are their chances of landing either of those players?

Matt Williamson
  (12:29 PM)

Just a hunch, but I would guess that Ellis would prefer to go to a 4-3 team. KC will be mulltiple up front, but if it were me, I would look to help out an even front D as a rotational player. Teams will want Ellis. Maybe TBay (first that comes to mind). As for LaBoy, he would help, but, he is another guy who is always hurt.

brent(montana)

YOU DA MAN!!

Matt Williamson
  (12:29 PM)

Got that right Brent. Stop back anytime.

Charlie (Knoxville, TN)

Given your previous answer do you think that the Falcons will have to score a lot more because they will be in shootouts most of their games because of their lack of defense?

Matt Williamson
  (12:31 PM)

I think they will score a lot because they are absolutley loaded on that side of the ball. Ryan will be in the conversation as a top 5 QB at this point next year. But, like you said, their D is bad. The D needs to keep it close. When I did my "Weakest Spot" article on ATL, I picked their entire D and likened them to Indy over the last few years. DEs like Abraham/Freeney to make big plays with a lead in a dome. But, the D isn't there yet.

Rich (Raleigh, NC)

Who's a better fit for the Pats at OLB, Burgess or Ellis?

Matt Williamson
  (12:33 PM)

Neither is ideal for the 3-4 and both are better off in a 4-3, but I also think both could do it. Would want to see them rotate a fair amount considering both players' age. But, I guess to answer the questions, Burgess. Just because, when right, he is the better pass rusher. Like I mentioned with ATL/Indy, when your O can score a ton of points, you need to be able to get after opposing QBs who are forced to throw from behind. I question how well NEng can do that today. Trade two of those #2s for Peppers!

Fiona (Miami FL)

Hi Matt!! Im starting to read a lot of hype about my favorite player Anthony Gonzalez. Do you think he will make the 3rd year jump, potentially eclipsing the 80 catch mark?

Matt Williamson
  (12:34 PM)

Big fan of his here. 80 catches seems possible. Maybe a little lofty assuming Clark and Wayne stay healthy, but I see a big year in his future though. I like. Great fit in that O. Marvin will not be missed.

Xander (Philly)

How much is Harrison's retirement going to hurt NE?

Matt Williamson
  (12:35 PM)

Maybe from an attitude/leadership perspective, but they are athleticly better now at SS with Chung. Harrison was longer a great player.

Sean (Philly)

Ellis should follow his old DC to Philly. Also would like to throw in my well wishes to Jim Johnson and his family, it will be a sad day in Philly when he isn't on the sidelines.

Matt Williamson
  (12:35 PM)

I very much agree concering Johnson.

Brando (Belleve, WA)

How do you think the carries will go in Pittsburgh? Will Willie be used more as a change of pace guy?

Matt Williamson
  (12:36 PM)

I said this last year, but am going to stick with it. I think Mendy will be the top dog by Week 6ish. Parker will still have a role-no question. But, like you said, more of a change of pace guy.

Rachel (Minnesota MN)

I look at the Packers and genuinly believe they can compete for the NFC Title. If Ryan Grant can be a 1500 back (He did get 1200 in an abismal year last year) then watch out! How close do you think the Cheeseheads are?

Matt Williamson
  (12:38 PM)

I am higher on Grant than most and like him as a workhorse. Your point about his 1200 last year is also well taken, but 1500 might be out of his reach. Consider the weather he plays in late in the year and the amount GBay throws. But, that division is attainable. I like the O-have some concerns at OT though. Both OTs actually. Have I mentioned lately that I didn't agree with their switch to a 3-4? Not a fan of that, but they do have good players and coaches on that side of the ball. It wouldn't shock me and dare I say, they have the best QB in that division.

Jeff, Mpls

How tough will it be for opposing defenses to gameplan against the Vikes? They will have to consider AP, Berrian, the Harvin wiggle, and even Shianco. That seems to be a tall order right?

Matt Williamson
  (12:40 PM)

It does seem to be. Will Childress allow himself to be creative? Will the QB play be good enough? I have doubts there on both accounts, but as long as they keep feeding Peterson, everything will work out just fine. He stirs the drink.

BSB (philly)

Which three teams do you think have the depth to withstand injuries?

Matt Williamson
  (12:41 PM)

Honestly? None. Well, none are able to withstand injuries at certain positions. If the Giants lose a DLineman, they will be okay. If they lose their best WR, they may not be. Have a specific team or teams in mind to ask about?

Brando (Bellevue, WA)

What is going on in Denver? I am not an expert but I do flatter myself into thinking I am not completely clueless; however, I would have a hard time believing that McDaniels could make the same arguement.

Matt Williamson
  (12:42 PM)

I am with you. I do concede that Denver could shock us and that O might be great. But, I can't say that Denver would not have been a much better looking team right now if they had let Shanny do his thing and fix problems his own way....but, it wasn't like his fixing of the D year after year was working one bit either.

Guy (Hot Coffee, MS)

Who do you think will emerge as Eli Manning's primary receiving target?

Matt Williamson
  (12:43 PM)

Nicks, but not initially. Hopefully Eli can spread the ball around effectively (think McNabb), but he doesn't seem to excel with that. Looked to Burress a LOT. I think Eli still needs his wobbie.

Brett (MN)

Rodgers better than Cutler? You've got to be kidding! The Pack receivers are better, but Cutler will still have better stats.

Matt Williamson
  (12:45 PM)

I would rather have Rodgers. Less of a risk taker. More accurate. Equal athleticly-maybe Rodgers is actually better runner. Cutler's arm is bigger, but Rodgers can sling it. Yeah, I want Rodgers over Cutler for sure. By the way, how many games has Cutler won since high school?

Brian (Orlando, FL)

Please explain the Chiefs logic of letting Tony Gonzalez go without giing MAtt Cassal a replacement target? Why not Boldin?

Matt Williamson
  (12:46 PM)

Doesn't look like Boldin has been for sale in all reality. That system (think NEng) is not real TE freindly and they feature 3 WRs more than the TE. Plus, KC stinks and they wanted the draft picks for the future. Looks like Waters will be next to go.

Benjamin (Plattsburgh)

if Aaron rodgers was drafted 1st by the 49ers do you think he would have busted like Smith? (I do)

Matt Williamson
  (12:47 PM)

Quite possibly. Smith was forced to change coordinators and systems year after year. Plus, zero supporing cast. However, Rodgers clearly throws the football much better than Smith. You can't overlook that.

Corey (DC)

Nice try Brett...Rodgers is a better QB than Cutler. His arm is even comperable. Now that I think about it, in what area is Cutler better than Rodgers? I cant see any. Certainly not in the maturity catagory.

Matt Williamson
  (12:48 PM)

Agreed. But yes, I do think Cutler's pure arm strength/power is superior. Not a knock on Rodgers' arm at all though. Cutler can put some serious heat on the ball.

Liberal, KS

I am a true Raiders fan who bleeds silver and black. Please tell me my team will be MUCH better this year as it has been really tough (and horrible) since we went to the Super Bowl.

Matt Williamson
  (12:49 PM)

I don't see it being much better at all. My O/U for Oak would be around 5.5 wins next year. Being in that division will help, but do you trust the passing game? I don't. Also, I could see the D actually getting worse. Who are truly the good players on that side of the ball? Asomugha for sure and the two top LBs. There are others, but if Burgess leaves...

Benjamin (Plattsburgh)

Manningham and Nicks will live up to the expectations of replacing Toomer and Plax..... not Smith and Hixon or Barden...... those two guys of everyone have the "it" factor to be studs

Matt Williamson
  (12:50 PM)

Tend to agree with you. More killer instinct. Not much of a believer in Barden.

Brian (Redmond, WA)

Worse division: AFC West or NFC West?

Matt Williamson
  (12:50 PM)

AFC West. SD will moon walk through that division.

HP in PA

With Jake Long now a gritty veteran, healthy J. Smiley and signing of J. Grove & V. Carey where would you rank the Miami O-Line?

Matt Williamson
  (12:51 PM)

Top 5. Seriously. It will be one of the best. And probably for years to come.

John (Boston)

Who do you see emerging from the New England backfield to get most of the carries, or will it be committee all year? Thanks

Matt Williamson
  (12:51 PM)

Gotta think committee. I like Taylor there, but he won't contribute in the passing game or in short yardage. Maroney could actually be the suprise of the bunch.

Matt (Philly)

Matt! I'm late to the chat, but I have to disagree on my Eagles D-line. Who gets sacks without Jim Johnson there calling the plays and designing the scheme? In fact, James Harrison had better numbers than the entire Eagles linebacker corps.

Matt Williamson
  (12:53 PM)

Yeah, there is not one superstar pass rusher in that group. Cole is quite good though. But, there also isn't anyone who cannot rush the passer. That is important to remember. Even if Johnson is not calling the plays, Philly is going to come after the QB. No doubt in my mind. Sure, adding another would be great, but not required.

Anthony (NYC)

M-Dub question what was V.Young thinking by making his statement? It would be refreshing if he would be honest & say, "I came out early for the money, though I needed to stay at Texas another 2 years to work on my QB skills."

Matt Williamson
  (12:54 PM)

I am done with that guy. He isn't very good. Never has been. Who wants VY? I honestly think Tenn would have a tough time dealing him.

Maxime Talbott (The Igloo)

Goal!!!!!!!!!!!!

Matt Williamson
  (12:54 PM)

More of those coming on Thursday night!

Johnny (New York)

Matt, Im curious, who do you think leads all rookie WRs in receptions this year. I want to say Robiskie in Cleveland, but also could see SF using Crabtree a lot. Your thoughts?

Matt Williamson
  (12:56 PM)

Robiskie makes some sense, but yeah, I would go with Crabtree. Adjusting to the spread may take time esp if he is still mending. Also, SF has now a pretty imrpessive stable of WRs, so a starting job is not assured. Still-that guy can play. Long shot-J Dilliard in Jax.

Jeff, Mpls

Which rookie are you most excited to watch this year?

Matt Williamson
  (12:57 PM)

First off, not a real exciting rookie crop and it was a poor draft overall. But, I gotta go back to Crabtree. Thought he was the best player in this draft.

Brian (Orlando, FL)

So, you say the Chiefs "Stink." Well, you mean to tell me there is no chance for improvement over last year? Seems like you are showing your true colors of dislike . . .

Matt Williamson
  (12:58 PM)

There is room for improvement. They stunk last year as well. Going to take time. A lot of time. On paper, do you think they are better? Close. No Gonzo. Waters will leave. Better at QB. Transitioning on D. True colors? Why would I be biased against KC? They do stink though.

Adam (Jersey)

Don't forget another longshot -- Sammie Stroughter in TB. Could end up winning that slot job and TB will be behind... a lot.

Matt Williamson
  (12:58 PM)

Excellent call by you

Brian (Redmond, WA)

You said that Shields would be next. Where do you think he could end up and what would they accept for him?

Matt Williamson
  (12:59 PM)

Waters, not Shields. I bet KC doesn't get much in trade for Waters due to his age. PGH immediatly comes to mind. Dallas? Wash? SEA? Zona?

Anthony (NYC)

At this point in time wouldn't Peppers be better serve if he focused on his play so that next off-season more teams would want him or are teams waiting for the asking price to go down?

Matt Williamson
  (1:01 PM)

Along those lines, if the guy signs his Franchise tendor, he is guarenteed like 16 million for this year. That doesn't sound so terrible. Then...he hits the open market and signs a massive deal with a crazy signing bonus. Doesn't sound so bad. But, you keep hearing that the guy just doesn't want to play in Carolina. If that is true-more power to him for standing up for his beliefs. Odd though.

Matt Williamson
  (1:02 PM)

Okay everyone. Going to hang it up now. Good stuff. Take care and we will do it again next week. Wednesdays' at noon-spread the word.