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July 1, 12:00 PM ET
Chat with Matt Williamson

Matt Williamson
  (11:56 AM)

Okay, let's get after this a little early. Can't wait any longer-jumping out of my chair here. Let's roll.

Jim (Acton, MA)

In your opinion, do the Patiots have adequate personnel at OLB opposite Adalius Thomas?

Matt Williamson
  (11:57 AM)

I see that far and away as their biggest weakness. The two young kids are promising, but I would feel much more comfortable with either as the #3 guy instead of a starter. Plus, while I like Thomas-he hasn't been the same guy in NEng as he was in Balt and age/injuries are now a concern. NEng's secondary is vastly improved-vastly, but the pass rush still really worries me.

Ozzie (WPB,FL)

Even with the toughest schedule in the league this year,do you see the dolphins getting a wild card spot or another AFC east crown?

Matt Williamson
  (11:59 AM)

I don't see either. I like what they have done quite a bit in the last year-plus, but can they really keep their turnovers down so well again this year? Will Pennington stay healthy? Is there enough in the passing game overall? I do expect the D to be better overall, but that secondary still frightens me against teams like NEng. Also, their schedule was very kind last season-not so this year.

Matty Ice (The Burg, PA)

Matty, i still can not believe Matt Jones has not been signed, he would be a huge up grade for Bears as a #1, Browns as a 2, what is the deal?

Matt Williamson
  (12:00 PM)

Shocks me too. There must be more to his off the field incidents than you and I know about. Would think there would be a handful of teams who would love to get their hands on an improving and talented huge WR. Dallas. Chicago. Baltimore. Not sure what the deal is there with that.

Corey (D.C.)

Bill, I know I am in the minority here, but I look at Cleveland, Detroit, Denver, and Cincinnati and believe they have the ability to compete most weeks, with all being capable of reaching 6-7 wins if things fall their way. Everyone else wants to assume they will all lose 12-13 games. Do you agree with me that the cellar-dwellers got better, will be well-coached, and should not be taken lightly?

Matt Williamson
  (12:02 PM)

Somewhat. They should not be taken lightly-no question in my mind. To me, Cincy is the best of the group, but I still only see a 7 win season. I still really worry about their run game and ability to dominate the O line of scrimmage and get after the QB on D. As for Denver, I gotta think that the O regresses a bit and I have no faith in their ability to stop the run on D. The Browns will be more competitive-no doubt, but they are still a bottom dweller for many reasons. Detroit isn't good enough on either line of scrimmage. By the way... I am not Bill. Watch your step.

Broad Street Brian (Philly)

Which good pass rushers do you also feel are good run stoppers as well.

Matt Williamson
  (12:03 PM)

Surely I am missing a few, but Justin Tuck is the first guy who comes to mind. D Ware is excellent as well. Peppers is okay, but a bit inconsistent. I like Super Mario quite a bit. Like I said, surely I am missing someone.

Jim (Acton, MA)

If the Patriots used a 4-3 look with Warren, Brace, Wilfork, and Seymour... would it work in your opinion or not enough of a pass rush?

Matt Williamson
  (12:04 PM)

Have kicked that around in my cranium of late as well. Not sure there is enough quickness and speed with that foursome from a pass rushing standpoint, but wow, they would be awfully tough to run on and Mayo would make a ton of plays in that department.

eddie york,sc [via mobile]

Do u think the colts will be a playoff team this year?? Even though we don't have dungy and harrison.

Matt Williamson
  (12:05 PM)

I do. Such a solid organization from top to bottom. They have a personnel plan and stick with it by surrounding Manning with star power. I expect their running game to be vastly improved-and if that is the case-this O will be deadly.

Adam (Jersey)

James Harrison?

Matt Williamson
  (12:05 PM)

No question. Very powerful at the point of attack and a great leverage player.

Joey (Pittsburgh)

Dwight Freeney is by far the most overated overpaid one dimensional DE in the history of the league. He is nowhere near the talent of Strahan and Jason Taylor yet he made far more $$$ than they ever did. He is not even a pro-bowler

Matt Williamson
  (12:09 PM)

I don't agree. One trick pony-no doubt about that. But, like I said earlier, Indy has a plan. A great plan. It is all based on Manning and knowing that he is going to score a lot of points-plus they play in a dome. If they can make their opponent have to throw to keep up with Peyton, than Freeney and Mathis go crazy. The guy can really get after the QB-just about as well as anyone in recent memory. While he is a one trick guy-it is a heck of a trick. Would have liked to see what sort of player he would have been as a 3-4 DE. Fast.

Jim (Acton, MA)

Opinion on the Northcutt for Alexander trade?

Matt Williamson
  (12:12 PM)

Blah. But seriously, I think it is a very strong indication that Jax is very happy with their WR corps. Thomas and Dillard must be looking quite good. Walker must be very healthy and Holt is probably surpassing expectations. Good sign for the J-Ville passing game. I haven't said this yet, but I see the Jacksonville O as a real sleeper unit overall. Should be VASTLY improved on that side of the ball. However, I think the D is still poor. Adding Alexander should help depth at a weak position though. Northcutt is a guy who you know what you are going to get with him. He will help their veteran movement in Detroit and act as a good mentor/bridge player to someone like D Williams.

Matt Williamson
  (12:12 PM)

Also, Northcutt will make Stafford's transition that much easier as well.

Jimbo (Brooklyn)

Only remaining big question marks for NYJ are the performance of Sanchez and the WR's yes?

Matt Williamson
  (12:13 PM)

Really the entire passing game in my eyes. I really like Keller and Washington, but other than that, I dislike the pass catchers. I also don't see that OL as an upper teir pass blocking group-esp at OT.

RAY GORDON REID ( CONWAY ARK 72035)

QUESTION TO MATT WILLIAMSON 12.20PM HI MATT WHO DID YOU HAVE FOR QB ALLTIMER PAYTON OR BRADY

Matt Williamson
  (12:14 PM)

Brady, but by such a tiny margin. I have said this over and over-we are extremely fortunate to be watching two of the all time greats right now. When it is all said and done, they very well could be the best two who ever played the position.

jval21 (DC)

can you evaluate the steeler's offseason including trades, draft, etc. and how that translates to next year?

Matt Williamson
  (12:15 PM)

B-Just like every year it seems. Stay the course. Bring in young guys for two years down the road-let them make their bones. Tremendous formula. I still see them as the best team in the league and the best D. The passing game could be improved a bit and I like Mendenhall to upgrade that position.

Fiona (Dallas)

Matt, you mentioned the Jags rookie WR Jarrett Dillard earlier. He seems almost unguardable in footage I've seen. Is there another WR in the league you can compare him to, to give me an idea of his potential?

Matt Williamson
  (12:16 PM)

Comparisons are brutal. This is a guy who just catches everything. Big catching radius with long arms and a great vertical jump-which translates to the field. Not the most physical guy and should struggle getting off the jam initially, but an advanced route runner for such a young player. Probably not going to get deep real often either. But, I really like him. Never should have lasted that long on DDay.

Mary (Virginia)

Ravens question: One of your fellow NFL bloggers predicted that Ray Rice could eclipse 1000 yards rushing, and catch over 50 passes this season. I know he is talented, but is that realistic?

Matt Williamson
  (12:18 PM)

So tough to predict that RB situation, but I do not think it is too far fetched. McClain has been moved to FB and has added lbs. He could see the goal line work, but other than that, his workload probably will be greatly reduced. I have zero faith in McGahee in any capacity any more. Rice is the better player at this stage. Much better pass catcher. Could happen. Side note: Do not overlook the drafting of Peerman. Another guy who lasted way too long on DDay.

Clay (Charlotte)

I've read many blogger saying the Panthers are going to take a step back before they take a step forward. I agree Delhomme is getting older, but that team responds to him. Steve Smith, Pep is back (for at least a year), the RB combo, the corners have stepped up...where is the step back?

Matt Williamson
  (12:20 PM)

I see them taking a decent step backwards as well. I love S Smith, but the rest of that passing game is poor. Not a believer in Delhomme any more at all-but he is a good deep thrower, which works well with that run game. Play action, etc. Still, I see two huge weaknesses with Carolina-the DL overall (even though Peppers helps for sure) and the passing game. 7-9 in 2009.

Alfonso (victpria)

Hey matt what are your thoughts on the cowboys first draft selection olb jason williams havent heard to much about him

Matt Williamson
  (12:21 PM)

Superb athlete. Kinda short for a 3-4 OLB, but has the potential as a pass rusher to play that role. I would expect him to take time to learn the game at this level and maybe we will see him in some sub packages, but mostly as a special teams demon for now. Upside though for sure.

Shane (Los Angeles, CA)

What's your assessment of the Cardinal's secondary this year? With a couple of potential Pro Bowlers, how good do you see them being this year?

Matt Williamson
  (12:22 PM)

Exceptional. One of the better groups of DBs in the league. Improved for sure. But, my worry here is their pass rush. You can have Mel Blount and Nighttrain Lane at CB, but if you and I are rushing the passer, WRs are going to get open. I don't see a pass rusher who opposing Os should fear.

Matt Williamson
  (12:22 PM)

I do like Dockett though quite a bit as an interior pass rusher and Wilson as a blitzer. Dansby as well. Just not a typical dangerous OLB or DE type.

Alfonso (victoria)

hey matt do you think miles austin has the potential to be the #2 guy for the cowboys i know we haven't seen as much as we want from him but when we do see him he does impress

Matt Williamson
  (12:23 PM)

For sure, but he doesn't have to be a #2. With Witten, he really just needs to be a three-sorta. I like Austin and expect him to start. Crayton is fine in the slot, but doesn't have the upside.

Walter (Boone, NC)

Is Thomas Jones going to be in a Jets uniform this year? Or will he leave and leave the reigns for Shonn Greene or Leon Washington?

Matt Williamson
  (12:24 PM)

I would imagine that he plays this year out and Greene and Washington slowly take that role over as the season progresses. RBs get hurt often though, so having three options is a nice situation. Doubt Jones is a Jet in 2010.

King Kong Bundy (Boston, MA)

Any strong opinions on these 3 rookies I am following that are somewhat under the radar: Andre Brown, Patrick Turner, and Mike Wallace.

Matt Williamson
  (12:26 PM)

King Kong Bundy-that is just phenomanal. I really like Brown and like many RBs in this past draft, he slid way too far on DDay. Obviously he could be in a great situation in NYG-has a lot of similiarities to D Ward actually. Wallace is a burner/returner. Wouldn't expect much this year, but he might be the outside the numbers deep threat ala Nate Washington. Not a fan of Turner. S-L-O-W. Too deliberate in all his movements.

Shane (Los Angeles, CA)

MW: I know three way trades are always a hard sell, but what do you think about Peppers to Ariz, Boldin to Philly, and draft picks (from Philly) to Carolina? Understanding contracts would be an issue, wouldnt this be a GREAT fit for all teams?

Matt Williamson
  (12:29 PM)

Wow. I love Peppers to Zona for sure. But, Carolina surely views themselves as a contender right now after last season. I don't tend to agree and would covet high draft picks (as they have traded theirs away and have no way of getting that future QB), but that would be a tough sell to management. "I know that we won a ton of games last year, but we are going to trade one of our best players for draft picks." Hmmm. Boldin would be great in Philly, but they also have a LOT of WRs right now. Maybe they include one of the youngster WRs to Carolina?

Sean (CT)

Matt, in my opinion the Patriots had an A/A- draft this year. Do you see the Patriots drafting Tim Tebow out of Florida next year?

Matt Williamson
  (12:29 PM)

I liked their draft as well and as usual, positioned themselves to be in great shape for the next draft. Tebow really does seem like a Patriot huh?

Corey (D.C.)

Are you and Bill brothers?

Matt Williamson
  (12:30 PM)

Nope. Not brothers with Troy either. Troy is faster than I am. I have better hands.

mike (Akron (OH))

Hey Matty-Ice!! Whats up my man? Would it be a fair assessment that the Browns will probably go 6-10, 5-11, and have about seven losses by single digits? I only say this because they do have above average offensive and defensive line. You agree?

Matt Williamson
  (12:31 PM)

I suppose, but do you trust their pass rush, running game, secondary or QB play for the short term? I do like the DL.

Kori (Cincinnati)

Hey Matt can the Bengals be a contender this year in the wildcard race and in the AFC NORTH

Matt Williamson
  (12:32 PM)

A contender for a Wild Card-yes. I still doubt that they actually get in. Don't trust the pass rush or running game. Palmer surely will help.

Awayne (INDY)

Any chance Matt Jones ends up with Redskins,they could use a big possesion rec.and Jones would come cheap.

Matt Williamson
  (12:32 PM)

Also seems like a very good fit.

Danny (Charlotte)

Who is more likely to leave Oakland next year, Fargas or Bush? I think Bush is a stud waiting to happen. The next Michael Turner if you ask me.

Matt Williamson
  (12:33 PM)

I really like Bush and while you have been a bit generous in your assesment of Bush, I tend to agree with you. For that reason, I would expect Oakland to deal Bush-because that is the wrong move.

BSB (Philly)

Which Qb will surprise this year? One in a good way? and one in a not so good way.

Matt Williamson
  (12:34 PM)

Garrard could be quite strong. Worried about Warner being able to approach last year's numbers and stay healthy. Not such a great track record of late on staying on the field.

Mike (San Diego (CA))

Hey i really like the chargers chances this year of making it to the superbowl i just dont know if phillips rivers and LT are going to live up too their potentials this year like they did 2 years ago?

Matt Williamson
  (12:36 PM)

I agree. Should steamroll over that division and set themselves up for a playoff bye. I have more faith in Rivers than LT. Plus, I see that OL as merely average any more. But getting Merriman back will make a huge difference on that side of the ball. A healthy Gates could be a difference maker as well.

BSB (Philly)

Should the Eagles pick up veteran back to go along with McCoy? If so who do you see as a good fit?

Matt Williamson
  (12:37 PM)

Only if they think that Westbrook will be unable to start the season...which isn't what I have been hearing.

robbie (michigan)

do you think m. stafford orm. sanchez will get more pasing touchdowns?

Matt Williamson
  (12:38 PM)

Stafford. He throws to Calvin J. I see the Jets being in more close games with a strong D-therefore, more running from NYJ.

Otto (CA)

Do you think Jeff Garthia will get a chance to start in Oakland?

Matt Williamson
  (12:38 PM)

Unfortunatly, I do. That is both a knock on Russell and the Raiders' organization. Not a fan of Garcia here and didn't like the signing.

ozzie (WPB FL)

Do you see any elite teams taking a nose dive this year after last year's performance?and vice versa?

Matt Williamson
  (12:39 PM)

I am not high on Tenn or Carolina in comparison to last year. I see Seattle taking over the NFC West. Chicago will be vastly improved. Houston could surprise.

Awayne (INDY)

Any chance the NFL changes the emergency QB rule to free up teams to have a "wildcat"specialist play without endangering a teams ability to put in the true no.2 QB if the no. 1 guy gets hurt.Also is it possible to list a guy like Pat White at another position so he would not be considered a QB in this situation.

Matt Williamson
  (12:41 PM)

I like that suggestion. All in all, I never really understood why NFL teams have guys on their roster/payroll who they can't play on game day. Wouldn't it just make the game better with more players at their disposal? Would open things up for more specialists-wild cat guys, pure returners, extra RBs who can't play special teams, stud special teamers, etc. To me, it would only raise the level of play overall.

Rick (NY)

Do you think the NFC east will send 3 teams to the playoffs?

Matt Williamson
  (12:41 PM)

Two for sure. Three is tough, as they often beat each other up. On the fence on Dallas right now as a wild card. Having a hard time seeing how they are better than last year. But the talent is there and the running game should be exceptional.

Ben (Minnesota)

Matt,will the eagles be better than they were last year?

Matt Williamson
  (12:42 PM)

I have picked them to go to the Super Bowl, so yes. But remember, the were a Final Four team last year! That aint bad.

Walter (Boone, NC)

Everyone's question about Tampa Bay: Which QB will start?

Matt Williamson
  (12:43 PM)

The more I think about it, the more I lean towards Freeman, but who knows just how far along he is right now. Need to see some preseaon action first before pulling the trigger, but one thing I am confident about is that Leftwich and McCown are not the answers.

robbie (michigan)

will tom brady be as good as he was 2 seasons ago

Matt Williamson
  (12:44 PM)

Could happen. I tend to doubt it heavily. He was crazy-good in 2007!

Rick (NY)

whats your thoughts on the giants this year? how far do you have them going?

Matt Williamson
  (12:44 PM)

Big fan of theirs. Have them neck and neck with Philly. Might have the best D in the league. Well coached. Can the OL stay completely healthy yet another year? Is the passing game enough? On the fence on Eli here.

BSB (Philly)

Thanks for all the good stuff Matt. It doesn't feel like the dead part of the off season at all.

Matt Williamson
  (12:45 PM)

No such thing

Steven (Magnolia,AR)

Any chance that Curtis Painter gets the number 2. job behind Peyton Manning?

Matt Williamson
  (12:46 PM)

Really doubt that he beats out Sorgi this year. Sorgi just knows that system so well. But next year, yeah, I see it being Painter. Liked that draft pick quite a bit by the way.

Otto (CA)

Are the 49ers better off with Alex Smith's "upside" or Shaun Hill's efficient play?

Matt Williamson
  (12:47 PM)

I don't see worlds of "upside" in Smith. For him to be effective, he will have to be an effecient move the chains type of QB. Once again, I want to see Smith in preseason-been a while. But the more effecient guy is who deserves the job in SF.

James (Indy)

Matty!!!! Glad to be in the saddle with the Chat King. You mentioned earlier that Freeney is a one-trick pony, and I have to agree. What would you do with Bob Sanders while you have Melvin Bullet sitting there? This is an odd year so the curse shouldn't apply but hwo can you keep paying a guy crazy cap money who is hurt so often?

Matt Williamson
  (12:48 PM)

Can't cut Sanders though either. Bullit is excellent and I would try to incorporate more 3 safety personnel groupings to use everyone. But, like you said, you know that Sanders will go down eventually. REAL tough call...but I think they are married to him at this point.

tom (hackensack)

What makes the bears so much more improved? is cutler that big of a difference? i feel like he had tunnel vision towards marshall way too much last year...hester is no marshall....also, the two tackles they brought in could crumble at any second...forte is a beast though...

Matt Williamson
  (12:50 PM)

Cutler is a huge difference. I expect the OL to be better. Not tremendous, but better. The O in general will be better balanced and more improved. Hester is not Marshall, but he can go deep and open up room underneath for guys like Olsen. But-maybe most of all-I expect the D to be vastly improved and that all starts up front with Tommie Harris. If he is back, look out. Hiring Marinelli was a great get.

Brett Farve (St Paul or Hattesberg)

(thinking... no mention of me yet...better say somthing) My arms feeling better...

Matt Williamson
  (12:51 PM)

That is great to hear

CC (Atlanta)

Place a percentage on Childress being the Minny HC this time next year. I'm guessing 20% at best. That team is a mess and the Favre thing will blow up.

Matt Williamson
  (12:51 PM)

I tend to agree. QB situation is a nightmare and that will fall on Childress. But, he has won in Minny.

jim (sf)

How many games into the season before Tom Cable is fired?

Matt Williamson
  (12:52 PM)

Funny. Surely it could happen. But I actually think he makes it out of the year.

Ben (Toledo, OH)

Am I crazy for thinking Sage Rosenfels would be a good starting QB for Minnesota? The reason he was so turnover prone in Houston was because they were usually playing from behind and he had to take risks to get them back in the game. Plus it's not like Houston has that great of an O-Line. I think that on a team with a good defense

Matt Williamson
  (12:54 PM)

Better than what they had last year, but I still think that he tries to do WAY too much. Just who he is. Too much of a risk taker. But still, better than what they had.

Jim (Acton, MA)

Thoughts on Aaron Rodgers this year?

Matt Williamson
  (12:54 PM)

Stud. On the verge of greatness. Big time player.

CC (Atlanta)

As a league "insider", would you say Roddy White is underrated or does everyone realize just how good he is? You don't hear his name mentioned much out in public as a top WR.

Matt Williamson
  (12:54 PM)

I think he is now pretty well known. To me, he is a top 10 WR in this league and one of the few true number ones.

MATTY ICE (THE BURG, PA)

Matty, chances of Ocho Cinco not getting to celebrate any touchdowns this year. we can all dream right?

Matt Williamson
  (12:56 PM)

As you probably know by now, I am pretty old school with such things, but I have to admit, 85 cracks me up. The HOF jacket was too much, but I liked the pile on as a putter and the guy just makes me chuckle every time I hear him interviewed. By the way, he might have a big year.

Matt (CT)

Buy or Sell the Giants as an elite NFL organization?

Matt Williamson
  (12:56 PM)

Buy

Anthony (NYC)

Also M-Dub 6-10 isn't a far cry for the Panthers, especially if DelHomme continues his one man wreckin crew company.......it's time for the Panthers to look for a new QB.

Matt Williamson
  (12:57 PM)

Agreed. For some reason, Matt Moore is someone who is never talked about anymore, but I liked what I saw of him. That isnt to say that he is the answer, but he might see the field sooner than Car might be expecting.

Jesse (Boise, Id)

Does Buffalo have 2 of the top 10 #1 WRS with Lee Evans and TO?

Matt Williamson
  (12:58 PM)

No. I put both players out of the Top 10. These are WRs who I prefer over TO or Evans right now: Calvin J, Andre J, Fitz, Boldin, Moss, Jennings, R White, S Smith, Wayne. Then there are guys like Colston, Braylon, 85, Marshall and Bowe who I could go either way with against TO.

Walter (Boone, NC)

Are you sold on Maurice Jones-Drew?

Matt Williamson
  (12:59 PM)

Big time. In fact-great time for a plug-check out the podcast that Paul K and I did. Airs today. We debate MJD vs. Chris Johnson as to who is the better RB. I had MJD.

California Viking (San Diego)

I hear a lot of people saying that the 2 wild cards for the NFC will come out of the east, but i can see one coming out of the North easily with Minny/Chicago/GB.

Matt Williamson
  (1:00 PM)

No doubt about it. Or Zona/Seattle. I am down on Carolina and picked ATL to win that division, but two could easily come out of the South as well-including NOrl. That is why I was so hesitant to annoint three from the East.

Aaron (K.C.)

Fantasy top 5 RB's in your mind now?

Matt Williamson
  (1:01 PM)

1. Peterson 2. MJD 3. Forte 4. Jackson 5. C Johnson...that might change in five minutes though. Those last few are very tight and Turner belongs in that conversation as well.

Matt Williamson
  (1:02 PM)

Okay folks. I have to run. This was a grin as usual. Stop back next week.