Print and Go Back ESPN: SportsNation

June 10, 12:00 PM ET
Chat with Matt Williamson

Matt Williamson
  (11:56 AM)

MW here. Game 7 on Friday at Joe Lewis. Huge. Will try to keep my focus on the NFL...but no promises today. Gettyup.

Broad Street Brian (Philly)

MW, When are you going to post the weakness articles for the NFCE?

Matt Williamson
  (11:58 AM)

Not sure exactly when they go up, but I would bet it will be early next week. I must say, Philly was very difficult for me to do. But, in the meantime, on Thurs and Friday we will be doing Building Blocks. My editors asked me to make a list of the 10 players who I would pick to start a team with. Now, it is isn't entirely for the long term, but of course age was considered. To win the next three or four Super Bowls. Was a fun project.

Matty Ice (The Burg, PA)

What a great day, the Pens won and I am in the best chat in the sportsnation. Matty, do you think we will see some wildcat looks from the Sixburgh with Dennis Dixon running the show?

Matt Williamson
  (11:59 AM)

You know what I like-will post that every time! As for Dixon, maybe...but only if he really can beat out Batch for the #2 QB spot or can make an impact on game day (returner?) other than that WCat. Otherwise, I would expect that DD is inactive more often than not.

Larry (Charlotte,NC)

What player or players did u enjoy in college and the pro level right now in the NFL?

Matt Williamson
  (12:02 PM)

That is an incredibly easy answer. Larry Fitzgerald. I was fortunate enough to help recruit Larry to Pitt when I was the Recruiting Assistant. My job was to watch tons and tons of High School tape. So-I got to see Larry's junior and senior film at the Academy of the Holy Angels in Minnesota, his year at Valley Forge Military School, every Pitt game and practice and now, of course, in the NFL. What a treat. Watching him day to day in practice was really something. Also, he spent a lot of time around the facility and was a lot of fun to be around. Like I said, very easy answer.

Mike (Boca Raton)

are you also of the somewhat increasing group of people that think that the bengals could be a surprise team this year? there offensive line took a hit losing andrews, they lost t.j., and their defense is still lacking quality players. how can they be expected to make any progress in the afc north?

Matt Williamson
  (12:04 PM)

I do hear where you are coming from, but I also disagree with their D. That (

Paul (Trenton, NJ)

Do you think L. Neal has anything left to give Oakland besides leadership and mentoring off the field? If he does, Oakland could boast a pretty potent running game, couldn't they?

Matt Williamson
  (12:05 PM)

For sure. Isn't what he once was, but I expect him to be missed in Balt and make an immediate impact in Oak...as he has everywhere that he has been. It isn't an accident that RBs have flourished behind that guy and yes, I do like Oak's running game to begin with. Not a big McFadden guy here as a pure RB, but I do like his specialty player skills. Bush is a player though.

Geno (Pittsburgh)

r u taking any hockey questions today?

Matt Williamson
  (12:06 PM)

Of course...but I got to warn ya, I really don't know much about the sport and everyone one of my answers will be incredibly Pens-biased.

Pat (Philly)

Do you think that the Eagles have improved their roster from last year after the draft or do you think that losing veteran players such as Dawkins has hurt them to bad?

Matt Williamson
  (12:08 PM)

Much improved. More weapons for sure...and don't overlook that signing of L Weaver. He will be that short yardage pounder that has been lacking. I love the acquisition of Peters and Andrews as well and would be shocked if Philly didn't have one of the best five OLs in the league. I can't say that they improved on D-which might mean that they are slightly worse on that side of the ball. Jim Johnson's health obviously is a factor to consider as well. Get well soon and get back to dialing up the pressure!

Matt (Miami)

Who wins the starting QB job for the Jets, Clemens or Sanchez?

Matt Williamson
  (12:09 PM)

Snachez would really have to struggle in the preseason to be #2.

Jason Taylor (Indiana)

What is with all the hating on Jay Cutler? Dungy didn't like the trade and now Ditka. What's up with this?

Matt Williamson
  (12:10 PM)

I didn't hear either comment, but to me, Chicago is a better football team because of that deal. I can be hard on Cutler for sure, but the guy is very good and might be getting much better if he cuts down on his bad decisions. You need a rocket arm in that city and he clearly has that-and much more.

Jason (Chicago)

What does VY have you do to get his job back... You wrote a very insightful piece about him back in September

Matt Williamson
  (12:12 PM)

Thank you. I am not a fan of his. Not at all really. He sure doesn't seem mentally tough enough to excel at this level at that position. But moreso, I just don't think he is accurate enough. Can't forget about that. Cut through all the smoke and you realize that he isn't a good passer. Not a fan of Collins here either (which is why I see Tenn going backwards this year), but he gives the Titans a much better chance to win than VY.

Larry (Charlotte,NC)

What did u think of Anthony Spencer in college and what should Cowboy fans expect this season?

Matt Williamson
  (12:15 PM)

One thing that cannot be forgotten concerning Spencer is that he has learned a new position, going from DE to OLB. I like what I see-but would surely be MUCH more comfortable with a guy like Ellis there as well. Spencer, like Shaun Philips in SD, is going to greatly benefit from the other OLB on the other side. Can he excel in that situation? If not, he might never.

Matt Williamson
  (12:18 PM)

FYI, if you guys want to throw out a fantasy question or two, I am cool with that as well.

Greg (Denver, CO)

Do you think Greg Ellis could be a good fit in Oakland since they play a 4-3 and that is supposedly his preference?

Matt Williamson
  (12:20 PM)

I do think he is a far better fit in the 4-3 and yes, Oakland would be a fine fit-especially if they do go ahead and trade D Burgess. Even with Burgess (neither player is all that young), adding another pass rusher like Ellis certainly makes a lot of sense.

Matt Williamson
  (12:22 PM)

There seems to be a problem with the chat room right now. Sorry about the confusion.

Matt Williamson
  (12:28 PM)

Back. Sorry about that.

Mike (Boca Raton)

fantasy question: who would you rather have on your beach--marisa miller or giselle?

Matt Williamson
  (12:29 PM)

That is a very tough call and I think you need to include Jessica Simps in that conversation as well. Great conversation to be a part of though!

Broad Street Brian (Philly)

What are the Skins goint to do at RT? Will they go into camp with Heyer as the guy?

Matt Williamson
  (12:30 PM)

Sure seems that way. I know they talk highly of Mike Williams as well--but wow, that is really going out on a weak limb. This OL has a chance to be a complete disaster.

R.J. (Midland,TX)

how well do you think my boys the Browns will do this coming season? we still have some qb issues and lost some key players but do you have a prediction on their record? (be honest)

Matt Williamson
  (12:31 PM)

Can't say that I am very optimistic and overall, I have not been impressed with Mangini. Still, they have created depth and competition at more positions. But-I don't see a lot of star power. I expect a VERY conservative O with Quinn behind center. How about 4-12?

Ryan (San Diego)

You wrote the article on the Chargers weakness being the Oline. If they shore that up with either improved play or the new faces that could start like Forney/Vazquez...how much better can the offense get? They were the 2nd highest scoring offense in the league last year

Matt Williamson
  (12:33 PM)

They were and honestly, finding massive weaknesses for SD isn't real easy. My worry is that McNeal's back/neck acts up and then all of a sudden, you can't protect the weak link OT nearly as well. But, right now, I expect SD to score a ton of points and steamroll the AFC West. Probably get a bye in the first round.

Xander (Philly)

How do you like the new chat from you end? It seems slow and awkward from this end.

Matt Williamson
  (12:33 PM)

Hasn't worked so well on this end either yet!!! Maybe I just need coached up on some things.

Mike (Boca Raton)

Do you agree with Cleveland's approach to not announce a starting QB until the end of preseason?

Matt Williamson
  (12:34 PM)

I don't agree-unless the race is REALLY that tight. We all know that it will be Quinn. Just make it official and let the guy get on with his new role.

J.B. (Dunmore, PA)

Fantasy Question: How about your three QBs whose stock you see as up for the 2009 season? I'll take stock downs too if you feel like it. GO PENS!

Matt Williamson
  (12:36 PM)

Go Pens indeed. Hmmm, Do Brady and Palmer count as Stock Up guys? Could see Roethlisberger doing more this year-not a top flight starter for FF, but improved. Ryan would be a Stock Up guy for sure. Gotta think that Warner goes down just a smidge-do you trust him to stay healthy? Will put Pennington down as well.

Matty Ice (The Burg, PA)

For all the Dead Wings Fans, The pens blow up Joe Lewis and win the Cup. Matty, Da Bears have to be considering one of the free agent recievers, Harrison, Jones Etc.. to help Cutler right?

Matt Williamson
  (12:39 PM)

You would think so. I don't hate their present group of guys and do expect Hester to make a big step forward-but how about Burress? Now you are talking. I don't want anything to do with Harrison and he prob retires. As for M Jones, are you as shocked as I am that he is not already signed? Seems like J Jones would have him inked by now.

Paul (Trenton, NJ)

Forget the OL, SD's weakness strolls the sideline each week and rhymes with Morv. They should fire him immediately and snap up Rich Kotite before anyone wises up and grabs him first.

Matt Williamson
  (12:39 PM)

I hear ya, but Rivers has come a long way under Turner. Don't discount that.

Dan (Portland, OR)

Matt, Is Portis the right fit for the WC offense?

Matt Williamson
  (12:42 PM)

I don't have a problem with that O. He is pretty much a do-it-all guy who fits just about any system. Good pass blocker. But, my problem there is that Zorn ran him into the ground last year and didn't prepare himself for the long haul. Then, Portis was obsolete to finish the year when they needed him most. Rookie Head Coaching mistake? Maybe. But, they need to get Betts some carries. If not Betts, than add someone else to help out.

Mike (Boca Raton)

better young player: crosby or roethlisberger?

Matt Williamson
  (12:42 PM)

87

J.B. (Dunmore, PA)

Despite the team's steady improvement record-wise since his hiring, is Brad Childress on the hot seat this season?

Matt Williamson
  (12:44 PM)

Oh, I sure think so. The QB situation (

Broad Street Brian (Philly)

You started to answer but the system gliches cut it short, now about the RT spot for the Skins, are they serious?

Matt Williamson
  (12:45 PM)

Sorry about that. It is a mess. Washington I mean-not the system. Well, maybe both. Anyways, Heyer isn't good enough. Rhinehart can play there in a pinch, but I like him better inside. Mike Williams? Please. That OL could crumble.

Greg (Denver, CO)

As a follow up to your comment on Rivers, you are right about him coming a long way under Turner.....and they still lost way more than they should have. SD should have taken what Norv gave Rivers and utilized that under a better coach this season.

Matt Williamson
  (12:45 PM)

I have been brutal on Turner over the years and I agree that he isn't a good head coach. If SD doesn't have a great year, he might need to become very worried.

Chris (Broadview Heights, OH)

I'm starting to hear some rumblings that Donte Stallworth might be available to play this year. Even if he is eligible to play, do you think the Browns will want him around?

Matt Williamson
  (12:47 PM)

I would guess not, as they obviously are preparing for life without him (

Mike (Boca Raton)

is 85 in cincy still a formidable threat or is his game starting to decline? should stillers fans worry about his re-found religion about playing professional football in the queen city?

Matt Williamson
  (12:49 PM)

Maybe I am nuts and I very well may regret typing this, but I see 85 having a big year. Motivated and incredibly talented. Palmer is back and he can throw the deep ball. Cincy must be able to go deep for 85 to excel. That couldn't happen last year-plus he looked incredibly unmotivated. But, that might change this season. Or-it could completely blow up.

Ryan (San Diego)

Ok, I hear this a lot and I get sick of it. The Chargers have 3 playoff wins under Norv, yes that is a franchise record, in only 2 seasons. If it wasn't for terrible timed injuries it could have been more. The slow starts are a concern but he is 13-2 in December and January as the head coach and I will take that

Matt Williamson
  (12:51 PM)

Good point. No doubt about that on all accounts. That team does seem to get motivated when they are backed against a wall. Is that a positive reflection on Turner? I suppose. Maybe, at that point, they win in spite of him. Also, they might be the most talented team in the league over that span. He isn't playing with a bunch of sub par guys! I also don't particulary like his game day coaching. But, yes, Norv' stock surely has gone up of late.

Matt Williamson
  (12:52 PM)

But...be honest now. How confident are you in Norv being able to walk into NEng and out-coach BB for the AFC Championship?

Broad Street Brian (Philly)

Which teams OL will make the production of their skill players higher than it should be? Is there An oline out there for a bad team that would make a marginal FF back better?

Matt Williamson
  (12:53 PM)

Tampa comes to mind right off the bat. Up and coming group. Physical, deep and athletic. Balt's should be better and could qualify.

Sean (Philly)

Will the Eagles offense be unstoppable with the ability to split McCoy and Westbrook out wide into 5 WR sets? The speed and hands they can put on the field right now is scary.

Matt Williamson
  (12:56 PM)

It is, but obviously much moreso with Westbrook than anyone else, including McCoy. I really like the McCoy pick, but asking him to be what Westbrook is just isn't going to happen. If Westbrook isn't himself due to injury, that O is going to struggle. He is the straw that stirs the drink. Big time player. But, having McCoy will also lessen West's strain on his body. I do like the flexibility to put just about anyone out wide-including my guy Weaver. Plus, the OL should be improved enough to handle going empty as well.

Mike (Boca Raton)

that was the right answer...thanks for being so smart...btw bruce arians still stinks

Matt Williamson
  (12:56 PM)

I agree on BA and the fact that I am so smart. Stop back anytime.

Anthony (Douglas(MA))

Bill, you are a western PA guy, so you might know. I just want an answer on why there have been whispers for years about the Steelers and steroids dating back to the seventies leading up to a trainers that was allegedly providing roids. My question is why does everyone call the Patriots titles into question but the Steelers have walked through the rain drops? Why?

Matt Williamson
  (12:57 PM)

I am not Bill. Please try again.

Mike (Boca Raton)

one good reason why the pens steal one in detroit, please

Matt Williamson
  (12:58 PM)

#29

Sean (Philly)

Are there 15 teams in the league that feel their coach can walk into NEng and out-coach BB in a regular season game?

Matt Williamson
  (12:58 PM)

Actually, I think there are none. Of course, BB loses games, but he is far and away the top Head Coach in my opinion. Not even close. All time great.

Alex (Austin)

Do you think Michael Vick will be a full-time quarterback or just a wildcat specialist? Will the Cowboys show any interest?

Matt Williamson
  (1:01 PM)

Once again-not a very good passer. Never was. Is he going to be a better thrower after spending time in the clink? I tend to doubt it. But, he is fortunate that the WCat is popular now. Gives him something to do while he gets his feet wet again. Can he still start in the NFL? If he is the player he was when he went away, then yes. But not as an upper tier pure QB. I gotta think that his game has deteriorated though. Playing QB in the NFL is a full time job.

Matt Williamson
  (1:01 PM)

Okay everyone. I am out. This was somewhat painful, but everything will be worked out better next week I am sure. Stop back Wed at noon and we will get after it. Oh yeah, Go Pens.