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July 15, 12:00 PM ET
Chat with Matt Williamson

Matt Williamson
  (11:55 AM)

Okay everyone, let's get this started early today...

Dan (Philly)

Isn't $68 million over six years way to much to give a QB who has had one successful year, especially when that one year came on a team with such a dynamic offense and an incredible system? Would you agree that the Chiefs should have at least waited a year to see how Cassel does as a full time starter on a team that is not packed with superstars before treating him like a superstar?

Matt Williamson
  (11:58 AM)

Certainly a good point, but this situation is a little different in that Scott Pioli worked first hand with Cassel and obviously feels extremely confident in what he has. Your points are valid-no question, but it speaks to this young man that both Pioli and Josh McDaniels would try to bend over backwards to lock him up. He did progress very rapidly as last season went along, is a good athlete with enough physical ability to play in this league and oh by the way, franchise QBs do not grow on trees. If not Cassel, then they would probably have to use a very early 1st rounder on the position-which is probably even more of a crap shoot.

anthony (bronx, new york) [via mobile]

I'm a huge ny giants fan, but do the giants have a legit chance of winning the division or the super bowl again with the losses of plaxico and derrick ward coupled with the teams in the east adding even better players?

Matt Williamson
  (11:59 AM)

They certainly do. I am picking Philly in the East, but by a narrow margin. I see these two as the class of the NFC by a pretty substantial margin.

Greg (Denver, CO)

What is your take on J. Russell actually going through with his off-site workouts for himself and several Raider WR's? A good sign or a PR effort to combat questions about his work ethic and desire?

Matt Williamson
  (12:00 PM)

Who is to say? But, gotta give the guy the benefit of the doubt on the surface. But what do we know? Maybe they get together, throw a few passes around and then go out on the town. But, like I said, give him the benefit of the doubt. He is still a very young man and surely will do some maturing.

Paul (Trenton, NJ)

What is your take on Khalif Barnes if he is not suffering from off the field distractions?

Matt Williamson
  (12:02 PM)

There is talent there. Probably enough talent to play LT in this league. He was flat out bad last year though. No one really wanted him in free agency. Pretty sure he only signed a one year deal-but don't quote me on that. Not sure that he is an upgrade at all. In fact, I really see Oak's OL as a continued problem. It should be better, but still amongst the worst in the league.

eric buffalo,ny [via mobile]

Hey matt. stiller question here- do u think the rookies, urbik and shipley will get a chance to help the o-line?

Matt Williamson
  (12:03 PM)

Urbik much more so than Shipley for this season. Urbik will push Stapleton in camp. I give him about 50/50 to win that job. Pittsburgh covets size up front and Urbik has much better mass than Stapleton.

Massimo (Italy)

Hi Matt. Italian fan here!! Who can be interested in trading for Tarvaris Jackson if Favre finally lands to the Vikes?

Matt Williamson
  (12:05 PM)

Good to hear from the Boot. I doubt that list will be real long, but there will be some suitors. Who comes to mind? Hmmm. Maybe Washington? Seattle? I can't say that I am real enthralled with Jackson at all and personally, I would look elsewhere if I were in need of a backup QB.

Justin (Boston)

Hows Loadhoalt looking for the Vikes and did the Cowboys make a mistake by not drafting him?

Matt Williamson
  (12:06 PM)

I don't know how he has looked in mini camp first hand and I am looking forward to seeing what he does this preseason, but I think it would be a major upset if he were not the opening day starter at RT. That is what he is. A big RT who takes a long time to get around. Dallas put a fair amount of money into Columbo recently-which shocked me a bit to be honest. But Dallas' OL is worrisome for sure, esp at OT. He would have helped.

Sam (Lake Bluff, IL)

Over/Under on games played for Orlando Pace this season: 10

Matt Williamson
  (12:08 PM)

I will take the Over, but yeah, that has to be a huge concern. Maybe being on a contender will help. Shaffer is far from great-actually, he is pretty bad-but the Bears do have options at OT and I believe that Cutler will help as well. Senses the rush well and gets it out of his hand.

Steve (St. Paul)

Matt, how do you see the NFC North playing out this year? I'm a die hard vikings fan and am worried about Brett Favre and the drama he'll bring to town. Couple that with a Bears offense that now features Cutler and Forte and I'm starting to get nervous. What are you're thoughts?

Matt Williamson
  (12:09 PM)

Picking Chicago here. Cutler is a huge reason why of course, but I also expect their D to be much better. Great Special Teams as well. Minny is 2nd and yes, I would not be excited at all about all the Favre drama. Not a believer that #4 can still play here.

Hook (Southern Maryland)

Why are the Skins not getting any love? Do you think they will surprise people this year?

Matt Williamson
  (12:10 PM)

It is possible, but I am still picking them #4 in that division. I don't trust the passing game or OL at all. The D will be better, but there just seems like there are so many things that can go wrong for the Skins. Such little room for error...which also always seems like the case with that franchise.

Blips McGee (Pittsburgh - City of Champions)

Got any good fantasy sleepers for us?

Matt Williamson
  (12:11 PM)

Vincent Jackson is my guy. Now I am going to have to draft him in like the 2nd round, as everyone else in my league will know who I covet...but that happens every year.

Corey (D.C.)

Did the Ravens signing of Suggs cler up any cap room for this year? How, if at all, does this affect their potential pursuit of a WR, via FA or trade? Surely they cannot go into the season with those WRs can they?

Matt Williamson
  (12:12 PM)

Not positive on the cap ramifications, but I do know that Balt is a very intelligent front office, so I would expect that they now have more room...esp considering that Suggs was eating a big chunk as the Franchise Player. That isn't cheap. And yes-they MUST get WR help. Otherwise, Forgetaboutit.

GG Allin (Lancaster, NH)

Over/under at 15 on Randy Moss touchdowns this year.

Matt Williamson
  (12:13 PM)

Over. Good line though.

Brett (WI)

Assuming Sanchez ends up as a starter in NY, what type of plays are run for a rookie QB to keep him out of trouble?

Matt Williamson
  (12:14 PM)

Running plays. Honestly, I would expect to see a lot of what Baltimore did last year. Heavy run sets. Out-physical their opponent. Keep games close. Don't make the big mistake. Check downs. Keller and Leon Wash could be even more involved-which is a good thing.

Lamar (Washington)

How many leagues are you in Matt? FF

Matt Williamson
  (12:15 PM)

Zero-wouldn't mind trying my hand in such a thing though. I like my chances.

Jon (Mad-town)

Do you see Greg Olsen joining the NFL's elite Pass Catching TEs this year?

Matt Williamson
  (12:15 PM)

No doubt. Much like V-Jax, Olsen is one of my guys this year.

Stuart (Chicago)

Will Plax be playing this season and what are the chances it will be for the Bears?

Matt Williamson
  (12:16 PM)

Gotta think that Balt would love to have him right now. Chi makes sense. As does TBay. Dallas?

Dan (Buffalo, NY)

MW, given the fact that this is the worst QB/Offensive Coord. combo he has ever had, could we all witness the biggest TO blowup yet?

Matt Williamson
  (12:17 PM)

No question about it. It is also a dreadful OL, esp at OT. Going deep is going to be a tough chore. Then, Edwards will get hurt after taking too many big hits. Then, you get Fitzpatrick. That worked out well for 85 last year. However, I do see a lot more quick hitting routes that won't put a lot of stress on the OL. That favors TO more than Evans for sure. TO is great after the catch.

Blips McGee (Pittsburgh - City of Champions)

Do you guys have these chats just to slow down our work production?

Matt Williamson
  (12:18 PM)

Indeed

Phil S. (NJ)

Who puts up better FF numbers at WR in 2009 - Hixon, Hester, Royal, or Ginn?

Matt Williamson
  (12:19 PM)

Big on Hester this year, but I will take Royal (with Cheese). Best skills of the group by a large margin. Heavy passing O. Flat out-best player of that list.

Jon (Syracuse)

Pittsburgh has to be the favorite this year right? They essential had 2 first round and 2 second round picks this year. Mendenhall got hurt and Sweed didn't even play. So if they get production out of those 2 they should be good for another super bowl right?

Matt Williamson
  (12:19 PM)

They are my pick. Also a far easier schedule than a year ago. Solid.

Lou, NJ [via mobile]

Hey Matt whats goin on? NY football Giants fan here. Do you the Giants made good draft picks in the recieving core and will they make up for the loss of Plaxico? Do you think Bradshaw will be a good replacment for Ward?

Matt Williamson
  (12:21 PM)

I like the Nicks pick a lot and was shocked that he was still available. Could do without Barden. The WR group is okay and there surely is upside there, but I still see the passing game as their number one problem area and frankly, I don't think Eli can put those guys on his back and get a lot more out of them. I do like Bradshaw though. Mix him in with Ware and/or the rook from NC St and their RB situation will be fine...but, O/U on number of games Jacobs will play this year? Worrisome.

Brett (WI)

How much bigger of a role does Jason Witten play in Dallas this year? Is he a 100 catch TE with T.O. out of the picture?

Matt Williamson
  (12:22 PM)

Let's set that O/U at about 88 catches. 100 is quite possible. Romo loves him. I would also expect Bennett's role to increase as a pass catcher.

Randy (St Paul)

Hey Matt, I know you aren't a fan of Favre coming to Minnesota, but isn't this a similar situation to what happened in '98? They brought in an aging Randall Cunningham that no one wanted and added him to a solid running game and drafted an expolsive WR that slipped because of character issues. The main difference is this years team has a much better D, and yet the '98 team went 15-1.

Matt Williamson
  (12:23 PM)

It doesnt worry me. Extremely stable organization starting at the top and ending at the QB. Don't worry. Plus, it sounds like Mudd and Moore will be heavily involved. They know what they are doing.

Sweet Baby James (Indy)

Matty!!!! I'm glad to slow my work production and hang with the Chat King. Is Garcon a lock at that third WR slot in Indy? How do you see them along the trenches this season? Gotta man up and push some people around!

Matt Williamson
  (12:25 PM)

That OL with all their injuries was a big problem last year, but with all their great skill players and of course, Manning-they will get the job done. Keep the D off balance. I do worry about the DTs however. Still very much of a work in progress. Garcon should win that job, but Collie is going to be a factor.

Matt (Philly)

You brought up a great point ...Shouldn't Brandon Jacobs worry about playing 16 games than talking about Tony Romo or the Eagles? He wasn't even the most productive running back on his team!

Matt Williamson
  (12:26 PM)

Talk is cheap. The guy does back it up with the ball in his hands however. But-injuries are always going to be a major concern for me with Jacobs and he flat out can't catch...which is an issue.

John (Boston)

Over under 6 new playoff teams this year

Matt Williamson
  (12:27 PM)

Wow-big number. Teams that I can see getting involved in that equation: Sea, Chi, Dal, NO, Hous. Not saying it is going to happen, but give me the UNDER.

Mike (Akron)

Matty-ICE!!!! My man, thanks for chatting. Do the Browns surprise people this year much like the Falcons or Dolphins did last year? I say no, but people in C-Town are starting to get very optamistic (This is coupled with the fact that the Indians are truly awful). But I do have to say that with an above average d-line and a top 10 o-line, they should be competitive. Is that accurate?

Matt Williamson
  (12:29 PM)

I agree with the DL and having Ryan as the DCoord will help in that he will employ a much more multiple philosophy up front on D. That is good for guys like Corey Williams for sure. But, I just don't see enough pass rush. As for the OL, top 10? Hmm, maybe. Borderline. Still am not enamoured with the right side of the line. Poor at RB. So-so at best at the O skill positions. REAL questionable at QB. I think they have a long year...once again.

Classy Freddie Blassy (Parts Unknown)

On face value, people are questioning the deal Cassel inked. however, look at what Suggs just signed. He got more guaranteed doe than a starting QB!! Plus, Eli and Rivers' deals are up at the end of this year. What the Chiefs paid Cassel will look like chump change (relatively speaking) compared to what those two will command. It was a bit of a gamble, but like you said Pioli cherishes the guy and KC finally has a # 1.

Matt Williamson
  (12:31 PM)

Freddie, You nailed it. Couldn't have said it better myself. Pass rushers (Suggs) are not cheap either and that D would be much different without him. Remember, they are also very multiple and he can do whatever is asked of him. Plus, Pryce is getting up in age.

Mike (Akron)

In order, who has a better year, Brees, Brady, Peyton, and Warner(keeping in mind that the Cards have Bolden)?

Matt Williamson
  (12:32 PM)

That order exactly. Torn between Brees and Brady, but it wouldn't shock me at all if Brady began the season slowly like Peyton did a year ago. I like Warner a lot, but isn't he due to get hurt?

Sharell (NCFalconFan)

Do you ever account for coordinators leaving a team to become head coaches on how teams perform the next year? Do you expect the Giants and Baltimore dipping this year with the loss of Rex Ryan and Steve Spangualo?

Matt Williamson
  (12:33 PM)

In some ways and I would expect it to be a bigger factor in Baltimore. I say that just because the Giants are now much stronger in terms of D personnel than they were a year ago and Balt-at best-stayed equal. Hard to say what we will get from the new coordinators, but there surely will be a drop off to some degree in play calling.

Sam (Chicago)

Did Randy Moss really make Cassel the QB he is paid to be or was it just a matter of time for his true talent to emerge?

Matt Williamson
  (12:34 PM)

I felt like Moss wasn't being utilized nearly to his ability for much of last season. Cassel seemed to grow on his own. Having studs around him surely helps-and he does need to continue to grow quite a bit. This could be a real rough year for Cassel, but that doesn't mean that the signing was a bad move. QBs are not easy to get.

Wes (Highland Park)

More likely to see a decline in production: Larry Fitzgerald or Michael Turner?

Matt Williamson
  (12:36 PM)

Turner. No question. Fitz is as steady as they come. Curse of 370 for Turner? Drop off in number of carries? More throwing with Ryan getting older and Gonzo in the fold? Plus, Turner offers little as a receiver.

Simps (Jacksonville beach)

yo...did you watch Deadliest Catch or the MLB all-star game? also, will the Steelers use a FB at all this year? who is on the roster at FB?

Matt Williamson
  (12:38 PM)

No real FB on the roster. Not Arians' style. The days of Krieder and Lester are history. I don't watch baseball and had zero interest in the All Star game. Didn't see a pitch. As for Deadliest Catch-it is awesome. Huge fan. But I have a DVR and use it. Played hoops last night. Watched DC around midnight.

Mike (Akron)

Piggy backing the Browns response; again I agree with you, however, i look at the similarities the browns have with the Falcons last year. One good WR (Edwards.....hoping for a 07 showing), an unproven qb, and a relatively unknown rb (Harrison). Not to mention a suspect defense and a new coaching staff. Lastly, wouldn't you say that if Tucker is healthy, that right side looks quite a bit better?

Matt Williamson
  (12:40 PM)

Tuck is a very solid player-just never healthy. Wouldn't count on that. I hear what you are saying, but the formula for success in the NFL isn't one good WR, an unproven QB and a relatively unknown RB...or a suspect defense and new coaching staff. I would prefer to have Moss and Welker or Ward and Holmes, Brady or Roethlisberger, a bunch of okay RBs and a two extremely well coached D's with qutie a few great players on that side of the ball.

Chizzie (Thornton, Co)

Living in Denver, and being a Colts fan, isnt easy. But, here's my question. Do you see, the Colts, using brown and Addai, in the same backfield on some sets?

Matt Williamson
  (12:41 PM)

Probably not. Not sure what they really gets them to be honest. Why not just use a 2nd TE or 3rd WR?

Xander (Philly)

Did you get dunked on and confiscate the video so nobody would see?

Matt Williamson
  (12:42 PM)

No dunking in that game.

Jon (Mad-town)

Will Tommie Harris return to form? The Bears D is an elite force with him on top of his game, and looks pathetic when he isn't.

Matt Williamson
  (12:42 PM)

He is the biggest key to that team-even more so than Cutler. We shall see, but I like the chances of it happening with Marinelli as the DL coach.

DJ (KC)

Pierre thomas be any good this year?

Matt Williamson
  (12:43 PM)

Oh yeah. I picked him as the NFC South's breakout player. Look it up in the achives to see my opinions. I like.

Jason (Southie)

Matt - You don't have the Patriots in the playoff hunt, remember last year they didn't make it? Also who gets the most carries behind Brady?

Matt Williamson
  (12:44 PM)

Missed that. NEng will make the playoffs. Still doesn't quite register that they were home come playoff time last year. Most carries? Going out on a limb and saying Maroney.

Tomwit NJ [via mobile]

How do you think Jay Cutler would do as a crab fisherman on DC?

Matt Williamson
  (12:44 PM)

He would ask for a trade

Jason (Southie)

Is Jerod Mayo a stud LB in the making or just another good player in BB's system?

Matt Williamson
  (12:45 PM)

Stud in the making. But...don't overlook having Wilfork, Warren, Seymour and now Brace in front of him. BB knows the value of DL.

Brandon (Bellevue, WA)

L.T., is he finished or does he have another 1,800 total yards and 14 TDs in him?

Matt Williamson
  (12:45 PM)

Closer to finished than those numbers. A lot of wear and tear on that body. Curious to see him in the preseason...but, will he even play?

Ryan (Toronto Canada)

Just curious isnt there another country other then the USA in the MLB? why do we get a a tape recording for our National anthym? Why cant we get anyone to sing it? see what Justin Morneau has to say!!http://www.sportsnet.ca/baseball/2009/07/15/morneau_anthem/

Matt Williamson
  (12:46 PM)

I have no idea what you are talking about. We talk about football here. Baseball stinks.

GG Allin (Lancaster, NH)

I think the Eagles have the offensive skill group with potentially the most big-play threats in the league...DeSean Jackson, Jeremy Maclin, LeSean McCoy, Brian Westbrook, Donovan McNabb...your thoughts?

Matt Williamson
  (12:47 PM)

Hard to argue with that. A lot of options there who are excellent with the ball in their hands. Also a lot of youth. So-we will see. But, upside for sure. I am still floored that Maclin lasted that long.

Mike (Akron)

What defense will be good this year that was relatively bad last year?

Matt Williamson
  (12:48 PM)

I like Sea to vastly improve on D. Great set of LBs. Depth along the DL. Secondary should be better with Lucas. Chicago as well if/when Harris gets back to being a beast.

Ryan (Toronto Canada)

just realized its football talk!! i agree baseball does stink!!! How about those BILLS???

Matt Williamson
  (12:48 PM)

The Bills kinda stink too. Moosehead does not.

Brandon (Bellevue, WA)

The only thing to make this Chat better is to have an official Fantasy Football league w/ people from this chat. Want to be a part of it and would you like me to set it up?

Matt Williamson
  (12:49 PM)

I will kick it around...but I would win. You do know that right?

Kevin (Houston)

If Matt Schaub stays healthy and the defense stays in healthy also do you think the Texans can win the AFC South or at least make the Wild Card

Matt Williamson
  (12:50 PM)

Really like their chances to finish ahead of Tenn and Jax and over .500. MUST keep Schaub healthy and he is not the most sturdy QB around. Also, too many turnovers last year. An improved club though as of the middle of July.

Ed Hochuli (Chat Ref)

Personal foul number 2 on Ryan. Trying to con his way into the Chat King's good graces when he was already ejected. Automatic one-chat suspension.

Matt Williamson
  (12:51 PM)

I might rule in your favor there as well. By the way, in this chat room, it is Ed HULKali.

Mike (SF, CA)

You stated above that you were surprised that Dallas gave Columbo a lot of money. Why the surprise? From most accounts I've read he was their best o-lineman last year.

Matt Williamson
  (12:52 PM)

He isn't terrible. Don't get me wrong. Ugly doing it, but does get the job done. However, he is only a RT. Those guys are not worth all that much. Not a terrible signing, but seemed steep to me at the time.

Tom (Jacksonville)

Do you see the Jags improving this year? I feel they had a really good draft and have a lot of potential, but not sure if its this year

Matt Williamson
  (12:53 PM)

Yes...and No. I see them much improved on O and terrible on D.

Cory (City of Champions (of MLB))

You just hate Baseball because the Pirates are the MLB equivalent of the Raiders, but without the comedic value of mummified Al Davis. On to football, what do you think about the state of the right sid of the Eagles OL?

Matt Williamson
  (12:54 PM)

You are probably right. The Bucs are a disgrace. As for the Iggles' OL, I love it. Expect it to be a top 5 unit this year. Some bad dudes on that line now.

Tim (Hemlock, MI)

Bigger sophomore slump for Ryan or Flacco?

Matt Williamson
  (12:54 PM)

Flacco by a huge margin.

Jon (Mad-town)

While Baseball gets the bad reputation for steroids, what do you think about the NFLs steroid problem?

Matt Williamson
  (12:55 PM)

What steriod problem?

Joe Buck (Fox Studio)

Hi Matt. Giants fan here!! Do you think Nicks will be the #1 reciever in the depth chart? What kind of season are you expecting from him?

Matt Williamson
  (12:56 PM)

Maybe something in the neighborhood of 750 yards and five TDs. Probably not an opening day starter, but will work his way into the lineup. Year two could be big.

Matt Williamson
  (12:56 PM)

By the way, if we were to do a chat room FF league, I would start giving all of you all the wrong info. Don't put that past me. I like to win here.

DJ (KC)

How will Kyle Orton do in Denver this year?

Matt Williamson
  (12:57 PM)

I like that fit. Not a great deep passer, but he should excel in that system assuming that Marshall is playing and reasonably happy.

Tommy (Chicago)

Do you think Chris Williams will perform this season or is he a bust already? Almost like a free 1st rounder for the Bears this year.

Matt Williamson
  (12:58 PM)

Worries me in that he really isn't the rugged RT that you would expect on that team. More of a finesse guy-but Pace has LT. Not real fired up about Williams this year.

Joe (Maryland)

With the retirement of Derrick Mason who are the Ravens more likely to pick up Marvin Harrison, Plaxico Buress or someone else

Matt Williamson
  (12:58 PM)

Burress. He is still a real good player. I can't say that about Harrison. Matt Jones would be helpful as well.

Adam ( Bangor, Maine)

Matt, New England didn't make the playoffs last year. Did you forget to include them in your teams that didn't make the playoffs last year, but will this year?

Matt Williamson
  (12:59 PM)

I did. We already went over that by the way.

Demetric (Orlando)

What divsion is the the strongest top from bottom of the NFL?

Matt Williamson
  (12:59 PM)

NFC East by a large margin.

Frank (Balt)

So are you saying that Flacco is going to take a step back from last season? Or that Ryan is just that good?

Matt Williamson
  (1:00 PM)

Both. Some of that has to do with who they will be throwing to though of course. Flacco used to just stared down Mason.

GG Allin (Lancaster, NH)

When is Matt Jones going to get it together?

Matt Williamson
  (1:00 PM)

How would I know that?

Matt Williamson
  (1:00 PM)

Okay folks, I am going to roll. This was fun as usual. Find me here next Wednesday at noon.