Print and Go Back ESPN: SportsNation

September 16, 12:00 PM ET
Chat with Matt Williamson

Matt Williamson
  (11:51 AM)

Alright everyone. One week in the books. Tons to talk about. Bring it on.

Andrew (Missouri)

Matt, will the Packers make a run at the Super Bowl this year? The defense seems to have adjusted to the new scheme very well, and I feel that the offense will get back to itself now that the Week 1 jitters are gone. Thanks!

Matt Williamson
  (11:53 AM)

They look to be a contender to me. I must admit that yes, the D does look very formidable. Big fan of Rodgers here and they have a ton of weapons and enough of a running game to get it down. RT looks to be a massive problem after Sunday Night and that might force another blocker (RB or TE) to stay in more than McC would like. But yeah, I am a believer. Big win for certain.

Bob (Oakland, CA)

How could one guy (Seymour) make such a profound difference for Oakland's defense? I knew he was good, but Oakland's entire run defense looked spectacular.

Matt Williamson
  (11:54 AM)

I woudn't get too excited. SD's OL has been a big problem all preseason and then they lost their starting RG and OC. I really worry about their ability to run going forward. I think Oak played that game with a ton of opening day emotion and it really showed early on. SD looked unprepared and flat-which tends to happen early in the season under N Turner. Seymour is a great player and can line up anywhere on that DL, but I still would be quite concerned with Oak's ability to stop the run. I want to see much more before I change my mind.

Phil, (Pittsburgh)

Your top 5 defenses are......Your top 5 defensive lines are....Your top 5 offensive lines are....

Matt Williamson
  (11:59 AM)

Wow-this might take a minute. Defenses: 1. Pittsburgh 2. Baltimore 3. NYG 4. Minny 5. NYJ....DLS 1. Giants 2. Minny 3. Balt-including Suggs 4. NEng 5. Maybe PGH, Maybe NYJ-could be forgetting someone there. OL-1. Denver 2. Carolina 3. NYG 4. Tenn (maybe number one) 5. Jets

Matt Williamson
  (11:59 AM)

That took a little something out of me. Okay, I am bouncing back now. Gettyup.

Kelly Ann (Beaver PA)

I love the Ravens and KC almost pulled it out. Our D is real good but if KC can pass on the secondary, what will Brady, Rivers, Rodgers et al do? I have a feeling that the Ravens won't be as good as everyone is saying they are. Comments

Matt Williamson
  (12:01 PM)

Two of KC's TDs more or less came on returns-INT and in special teams. I don't see that being the case very often going forward. KC did throw on them, but I wouldn't worry unless it becomes a trend for a few weeks. That D's track record is just too strong. Weird things happen in Week 1. Don't overreact. At the Chargers will certainly be interesting though and a better barometer. Don't sweat it yet.

Dom Capers (Green Bay, WI)

How do you like us now?

Matt Williamson
  (12:03 PM)

Hey, I give you credit. I contend that the D could be as good if they would not have switched schemes, but a few things are for sure-GBay's is extremely well coached and that certainly goes a long way. I also never would have thought that Raji would have fallen into GBay's lap on DDay. He hasn't paid huge dividends yet-but he will. Not afraid to say I was wrong. GBay's D is tough. Excellent players. Excellent coaching.

Robert (Latrobe, PA)

Does the Steelers OL have any more luck against the Bears than they did against the Titans? I know the Titans have a great D, but the complete lack of push in the run game was pathetic.

Matt Williamson
  (12:03 PM)

I would expect more of the same. Urlacher being out might help some in the run game, but I fully expect the Steelers' OL to be overmatched against the Bears' DL.

Adam (Jersey)

Hi Matt -- I know the Bucs defense looked awful for most of that Dallas game, but I'm going to assume (Read: hope) that they are at least somewhat better than they showed on Sunday. I mean, you can't allow 22 YPC all year... right? Anyway, I'd like to ask you what you saw from the offense. I think the offensive line looked GREAT in the new zone run blocking scheme, and the pass protection was pretty good, considering the amount of throws and (presumed) strength of the Cowboys' pass rush. Leftwich overthrew some receivers, and there were a couple drops, but otherwise the vertical passing game was impressive. Obviously the loss of Jeff Faine for the next couple of weeks will hurt the offensive line a lot, but do you think the Bucs could end up a top 10 offense this year, even with Leftwich at the helm?

Matt Williamson
  (12:06 PM)

I really don't like TBay's D one bit, but they also played with two slower heavier safeties and as a result, Dallas scored a ton of points off just a few big plays. Exposed-and might be for the next three games. As for the O-I do think the OL played great in both the run and pass game. That game overall was much closer than the box score would indicate. I won't say that the O can be Top 10 though-just not a believer in Leftwich. Is Bryant ever going to be completely healthy? I still forecast a long year in TBay. Might pick in the top 5 of the draft. That bad. Sorry to say it.

Matt (Philly)

So no Philly in the DL talk? Carolina gave up 20 sacks last year and with the same 5 guys, gave up 5 sacks to the Eagles...and 7 turnovers

Matt Williamson
  (12:07 PM)

Good DL in Philly for sure. Not top 5. Carolina's OL certainly didn't play like it last week, but they were exceptional in 2008 in both phases.

Mike (Boca Raton)

How many games do you think Jay Cutler will need to get more comfortable with the receivers on his team?

Matt Williamson
  (12:08 PM)

Next week vs. Pittsburgh could be brutal as well, but it will come. First off, Cutler played a terrible game. There is no getting around that. But, I also contend that several of those INTs could be blamed on his receivers. Poor communication. Some routes that were not run to their fullest. Plus, how often is Jolly going to make a one handed INT like he did?

Robert (Latrobe, PA)

How much will Mayo's absense affect the Patriots D? They were already thin at LB and nobody currently on the roster seems like an adequate replacement. I see lots of shootouts for the Pats this year.

Matt Williamson
  (12:09 PM)

Big loss. I haven't heard how long he is out, but you see NEng going to more and more 4-3 with two monsters at DT. That would designed for Mayo in my opinion. Let him really run and hit. I think Mayo actually had an outside shot at DMVP-I am that high on him. Huge loss.

Carneg (Fort Wayne, Indiana)

How about them colts man. Do you think with the Gonzalez injury they should persue a free agent receiver such as David Tyree or Amani Toomer if the injury is a prolonged one?

Matt Williamson
  (12:11 PM)

From what we read, it is 3 to 6 weeks. To me, this O can weather that storm. Wayne is exceptional and D Clark will be a very good #2 option. Hard to plug WRs into that O in my opinion. You really need to be on the same page as Manning. A slower lumbering guy like Toomer really wouldn't fit either.

JR (CO)

For all the thanks Chicago fans have been giving us Bronco fans for Cutler, you are welcome! You got the BAD with the good. Enjoy the amazing arm, along with the red zone picks and 10 cent head.

Matt Williamson
  (12:12 PM)

There is a lot of truth to that. Will be a lot of highs and lows. Just his nature.

Brandon (Columbus)

Are any of these WR's for real: Mark Clayton, Michael Clayton, Louis Murphy, Chansi Stuckey?

Matt Williamson
  (12:13 PM)

None have me super excited, but I like Mark Clayton the best. Home run threat. Decent after the catch. Really needs to stay healthy, but Flacco will get him the ball deep downfield. I also like Murphy, but down the road.

Louie ((Tampa))

Matt, everyone always says games are won and lost in the trenches. So, with you ranking the Jets as being in the 5 in both categories (as well as overall D). I ask you this, are the Jets a playoff team and a possible force to be reckoned with?

Matt Williamson
  (12:14 PM)

I was very torn in my AFC Wild Card predictions between the Jets and Titans. I went with Tenn, but NYJ is quite formidable. I like Sanchez a lot, but I also contend that he will also have his share of downers as well-rookie. They are excellent on the lines and that D will be very tough.

Jay Jay (Bay Area)

How about Marvin Harrisson going back to the Colts after the injury to Gonzales?

Matt Williamson
  (12:15 PM)

That is the one thing that you hear and I suppose that makes sense. Would be much more seamless. But, Harrison just didn't look good last year. Can he still play at a high level? I really have my doubts. Obviously the Colts know the answer to this question better than anyone. Guys like Garcon and Collie might surprise you a bit though, as they face a lot of single coverage.

Matt Williamson
  (12:15 PM)

That is the one thing that you hear and I suppose that makes sense. Would be much more seamless. But, Harrison just didn't look good last year. Can he still play at a high level? I really have my doubts. Obviously the Colts know the answer to this question better than anyone. Guys like Garcon and Collie might surprise you a bit though, as they face a lot of single coverage.

Mike (Boca Raton)

How much do you attribute Jay Cutler's early season struggles to familiarity with his WRs v. just making bad decisions?

Matt Williamson
  (12:16 PM)

50/50. It will get better. See my previous comments.

Xander (Philly)

Which team had the most devastating injury?

Matt Williamson
  (12:17 PM)

Urlacher is pretty big. Pisa being out at OLB hurts as well. Just a big drop off and now LB depth is terrible. Urlacher isn't what he used to be, but he certainly is a leader and a well above average player at his position.

Cody (NC)

You ranked the Panthers O-line in the top 5, aren't you thrown off by that horrible game against Philly?

Matt Williamson
  (12:18 PM)

No. If it keeps up, then yes-of course. But they are playing with the same five as last year and that five was exceptional for a full season in 2008. Too early to say that they are not a top unit. Certainly concerning though.

devestated (cincinnati)

How devestating was that loss to the Broncos, for Cincinnati? A lot of people pegged the bengals as a sleeper team this year. How will that loss effect their season?

Matt Williamson
  (12:19 PM)

Still, just one game. But the way they lost it was brutal for sure and obviously it was very winnable. Might get a lot of the "Same old Bengals" feelings. I do bet that is a fragile organization though from that standpoint. At GBay will be a real tough game for sure, but if they pull out a W by chance, all is forgotten. Always next week to redeem yourself in the NFL.

Marc (PA)

The Bills looked a lot better on Monday night than virtually everyone expected. Do you predict a comfortable victory over the Bus this Sunday or is their inexperienced OL

Matt Williamson
  (12:21 PM)

I hate Buff's OL, but this isn't much of a test against a poor TBay DL. I am also not convinced that Buff can expect an easy victory over anyone at this stage of the game. I suppose that I will pick Buffalo, but I am not a believer at all.

Mike (OH)

Talk about a 180. 4 years ago the Bengals offense was top five and only missed the playoffs because their D was horrible. Now their D is fantanstic and the O can't even score on the Broncos.

Matt Williamson
  (12:22 PM)

True, but Palmer played very little this preseason or really all of last year. Expect him to improve and all in all, I didn't think he played a bad game. Some drops didn't help. The O will improve. Not ready to say it will be anywhere near what it was back in the day, but it will get better.

Sean (Philly)

Who starts for Philly this week? Are they protected by Runyan?

Matt Williamson
  (12:23 PM)

Runyan played respectably last season and you know he will play hard and with a nasty tough edge-which is good. What we don't know is just how healthy is he? Obviously that is a major factor. Gotta think Kolb is starting.

Sweet Baby James (Indy )

First week funk, folks. Let's not jump to too many conclusions. Fifteen games still to play for each team.

Matt Williamson
  (12:25 PM)

But of course. Like I said, Week 1 can be quite odd. None of these players played 60 minutes since the year before. Your opponent has spent a much longer time than usual in prep and scouting. Let's not get too carried away just yet.

Mark (WI)

Stafford says he's dedicated and confident that he and Megatron will make some sort of connection and really juice it up this year. You buying?

Matt Williamson
  (12:26 PM)

I am buying. I buy that Stafford will be better this year than anyone that Johnson had throwing to him in 2008. That isn't saying much, but it is a testiment to just how awesome Johnson is. Mark, I don't know what kind of arm you have, but I bet Johnson would have a decent year with you or me behind center.

Kenny (Philadelphia)

What did you think of the Eagles defense on sunday?

Matt Williamson
  (12:27 PM)

It was exceptional. Inspired perhaps. I thought Bradley's loss would be felt more, esp against a power running team like Carolina. But, the Panthers really couldn't do much well on Sunday and those turnovers make things just so tough on everyone.

Matt (IN)

Matt just so you know, Polian has already went public with saying that Marvin will not be back in Indy.

Matt Williamson
  (12:28 PM)

I did hear that and in all honesty, that should tell us all we need to know about what kind of player Marvin is at this stage of his HOF career.

Andy (Ann Arbor)

I have a fork. Is it time to stick it in Delhomme?

Matt Williamson
  (12:29 PM)

He has been rather streaky over his career...wow, is he ever cold. Can he rebound? I tend to doubt it.

MJ Gill (Boston)

Matt - thoughts on Dallas/Giants game. I like the matchup issues Dallas will pose. Martellus lined up at WR, makes the D decide if they're gonna go Corner or Safety on him. It opens up alot of other things too...also, we need Felix 100%, he will make plays Sunday night.

Matt Williamson
  (12:30 PM)

Doesn't look great for Felix being 100%, but we shall see later in the week. I am picking the Giants though. I have my doubts as to how well Dallas' OL can deal with the Giants front. Dallas' O is interesting though with several moving parts-which I like.

Matt K (Enola, PA)

Matty, Can we some more Mewelde Moore is Pittsburgh, he looks better then Parker or Mendenhall?

Matt Williamson
  (12:31 PM)

He might just be their best RB. Best RB for a pass heavy O for sure-and that might be exactly what the Steelers are becoming.

Brian (Indy)

Is it bad that I am secretly hoping Addai gets hurt.D. Brown is phenomenal.

Matt Williamson
  (12:32 PM)

I really like Brown as well, but yes, it is bad for you to be rooting for someone to get hurt. Not nice.

Andy (Ann Arbor)

Could the Rams match the Lions 0-16? They looked awful.

Matt Williamson
  (12:32 PM)

They sure did. They will win a few though.

Ryan (San Diego)

Chargers gonna beat the Ravens? I dont see them matching up with the Chargers without Bart Scott and Rex Ryan

Matt Williamson
  (12:33 PM)

I REALLY worry about the SD OL from the OC position to RT. That is a big deal, esp against a D like Baltimore's. Plus, SD didn't exactly look great in their run defense against Oak-Balt might run it down their throat. Give me the Birds.

Matt K (Enola, PA)

Matt- Hank Baskett any takers in the league or does he have plenty of time to be with his annoying play bunny wife?

Matt Williamson
  (12:34 PM)

Someone will scoop him up. Surely Philly tried to trade him and no team thought he was worth a late round pick, but as a free-bee? Sure. She is kinda annoying. Easy on the eyes though.

BSB (Philly)

When did Broderick Bunkley turn into such a beast. I know the the Panthers have a top OL, but they were beaten up between the guards. Is this the yeat the big fella gets his due?

Matt Williamson
  (12:36 PM)

Big time player in the making. Excellent observation. I like Philly's DTs quite a bit with Patterson and Laws with Bunk. All of you who haven't really watched him, pay attention. Could/should be a Pro Bowler this year.

Dylan (New York)

Is Revis the best cornerback in the league besides asomugha?

Matt Williamson
  (12:37 PM)

I think so. Plus, he went to Pitt-so that helps his cause in my eyes. Helped recruit him to Pitt. Great kid. Smart. His mother is Sean Gilbert's sister by the way. Been around the game his entire life. Great CB already. Ate Andre J's lunch.

MJ Gill (Boston)

Matt - did you see all 4 picks Cutler threw. Those were rookie throws....what was he thinking?

Matt Williamson
  (12:38 PM)

Not entirely, but he also did make some other terrible throws that were not picked off. No way does 330 lbs Jolly make that INT every time. And I certainly beieve that his receviers let him down on occasion as well. Still-he played terribly and his press conf afterwards was an embarrasment.

Bryan (St. Louis)

I would like to nominate the Rams' front office for the most ineffectual of the decade award. J.Smith barely beat out Golberg, Long lost his job to journeyman James Hall, and Carriker is done. Oh, did I mention they passed on franchise QB's Sanchez, M.Ryan, and Flacco. Great work men.

Matt Williamson
  (12:39 PM)

Great points. Not their fault that Carriker got hurt by the way. Don't kick dirt on Smith or Long yet either. But still...I hear ya. A QB of the future would be nice.

Brian (Folsom, CA)

I like the 49ers chances against Seattle this weekend. They got their passing game going at the end of last game and I guarantee you that Singletary will eventually get the running game going.

Matt Williamson
  (12:42 PM)

That OL isn't real good though. Gore just kept running into a wall. Singletary fired G Warhopp as soon as he was hired-not sure that was a good move. Also-am I crazy or am I the only one who isn't 100% sold that Singletary is going to be a great coach. Sure, he is intense, honest, smart. I get that. But, just because he was a great LB in Chicago doesn't mean that he can be a CEO-which is the most important thing a Head guy has to be. I will pick Seattle next week.

Bret (Minneapolis)

You want to define embarresment there big boy? Is this more about his laid back answers? He can't win. He talks to much on the field, not enough to the press.

Matt Williamson
  (12:43 PM)

Did you see the press conference big boy? Just incredibly unprofessional. Wiping his face on his shirt like my three year old son. Didn't want to be bothered. He has to realize that he is the face of that franchise. Step up and be a man. Looked like a spoiled teenager.

Anthony (NYC)

M-Dub as a Jets fan I was very impressed with the overall team play, excellent win but it's a long season new system, new coach, new QB they'll have their ups

Matt Williamson
  (12:44 PM)

That was incredibly impressive. NYJ beat Hous much worse than the score showed. Really opened my eyes. Don't want to get too excited about them, but they might just be for real-like Balt last year.

Brett (WI)

Do you see the Bengals D putting up a good fight against the Pack's O on Sunday? They don't have the edge rushers Chicago has, but they are still very solid unit w/ the expection of safties that don't move well....

Matt Williamson
  (12:46 PM)

My worries would be the overall DB depth against the Pack's spread sets with multiple WRs. Also, you touched on it, their pass rush is questionable at best. I do think Cincy will be quite tough to run against.

Bart (MI)

Predictions for the Vikes-Lions matchup this weekend? 35-10 Minny w/ Stafford throwing 3 INTs and being sacked six times sound about right?

Matt Williamson
  (12:46 PM)

It does. Might be a bit too many points for Minny. Going to be so tough to run on Minny-that is a huge problem for the Lions. Peterson will blow up as well.

Mike (Houston)

Any chance the Texans fire Kubiak and cut Schaub. I'm only half serious. This team is a joke, though. They are everyone's sleeper pick every year and always start 1-5. They only play well when it doesn't matter.

Matt Williamson
  (12:47 PM)

I hear what you are saying, but I think it must be noted that a massive natural disaster had something to do with their slow start a year ago. I do think they were embarrassed in all facets at home though against the Jets however.

Mike (Boca Raton)

Do you think the Raven's overall schedule plus playing SD at an opportune time (all the SD injuries) sets them up to have a very good record?

Matt Williamson
  (12:48 PM)

No question. I am a believer. Especially in Flacco. Stud in the making. Balt is good.

Ryan (DC)

The Skins come back and crush the Rams this week right? I know my team is a lot better than they looked against the Giants.....or am I wrong?

Matt Williamson
  (12:49 PM)

I wouldn't say that Wash is "a lot better" than they showed against NYG, but yes, they win handily this week. NYG is a real tough team. STL is not.

Anthony (NYC)

M-Dub as mentioned above in regards to Bunkley, he played very well last season also. I guess none noticed because as fans sometimes we pay alot of attention to stats, be he plays the interior very well.

Matt Williamson
  (12:49 PM)

No question. He was a man last year as well. Surprised he doesn't get more pub. It will come.

Paul (Cleveland)

Hi Matt - were you surprised at how the Browns defense shut down the Minny running game in the first half. Good defense or bad offense?

Matt Williamson
  (12:50 PM)

That was somewhat surprising, but from what I saw, Sullivan was getting killed by Rogers in the middle. Rogers is another one who I don't think everyone realizes just how awesome he is.

Adam (Cali)

Is there a worse starting QB in the league than J. Russell? That game on Monday would not have even been close with even a mediocre QB.

Matt Williamson
  (12:51 PM)

He stinks. Misses open receivers (except for Miller) all the time. Terrible mechanics. I am done with Russell. Oak wins that game with J Garcia...and I don't even like him.

Brad (NM)

What'd you think of the return of Aaron Schobel? That guy's a beast.

Matt Williamson
  (12:51 PM)

Certainly much needed from a year ago. Very good DE for sure. Important without question.

RayRay (DC)

How do you think the Jets Defense will play this week against the Pats?

Matt Williamson
  (12:52 PM)

Well, esp against the run and I do think that Revis can keep up with Moss. But, the thing that would worry me is the Jets' secondary depth. Welker could blow up. Galloway might have some big plays. But, I am also not sold that Brady is all the way back and completely comfortable. Ryan will come after him and make him uncomfortable.

MJ Gill (Boston)

Moss will torch Revis...he's a good corner, but you guys got to slow down on him...I'll take Newman over Revis...

Matt Williamson
  (12:53 PM)

Newman is good. Revis is much better. No doubt in my mind.

len (los angeles)

Matt, kinda feisty today aren't you? any reaction on the inept Chargers defense?

Matt Williamson
  (12:54 PM)

Always fiesty. It was pretty poor against a terrible Oak O. I do contend that Oak will have success on the ground against just about everyone they face though. They should use Bush and McF very well and it will pay off. But, did I mention that Russell stinks?

Jeff (Denver)

Where does Champ fit in with the Revis/Nhamdi discussion

Matt Williamson
  (12:55 PM)

We were asked to rank the top 5 CBs before the season. I went 1. Asomugha 2. Bailey 3. Revis 4. Samuel 5. Woodson. I might re-do it like this today 1. Asomugha 2. Revis 3. Woodson 4. Bailey 5. Samuel...but I want to see more of a completely healthy Bailey. He is far from done.

Mike (FL)

Is there a team more enjoyable to watch than the Pats? Six olinemen formations, 3-4 and 4-3 fromations, four different RBs.

Matt Williamson
  (12:56 PM)

If that is what you are into! I hear you though-they are very multiple. BB wants intelligent versatile football players so that he can implement any game plan to best attack his opponents' weaknesses. And that is exactly what the Pats do. No one like Belichick.

Blake (Minneapolis)

Why doesnt anyone give the Raiders defense any credit in that MNF game? They were all over the place.

Matt Williamson
  (12:57 PM)

They were. Wanted it bad. Still not sold.

Tom (FL)

Is there a more undisciplined safety than Reggie Nelson? His blown coverage cost us the game.

Matt Williamson
  (12:58 PM)

I worry that will always be the case with him. Big problem for sure. Super athletic and has a ton of playmaking ability for sure, but he is going to misread some things and cost his team big.

Jeff (Mpls)

AP is a beast.....That's all.

Matt Williamson
  (12:58 PM)

Clearly

steve (NJ)

What about corey webster, woodson is overrated

Matt Williamson
  (12:58 PM)

I like Webster. He has a better pass rush at his disposal than Woodson-at least last year. Woodson can do it all. Play the run. Play some safety. Big Woodson guy here.

Paul (Mt. Vernon)

Do you think if David Harris stays healthy for the season, could he make a bid for a trip to Hawaii?

Matt Williamson
  (1:00 PM)

For sure. Tackling machine. Great fit in that D. Playing next to Scott and behind Jenkins helps a lot as well. Scott is still the better player of the two though. Makes it tougher to get to Hawaii when the ILB next to you deserves it more.

Walter (Boone, NC)

Better linebacker...Jon Beason or Patrick Willis?

Matt Williamson
  (1:01 PM)

Willis-not even close. Beason is great. Willis is rare. See his INT this past week? Played it like a CB or offensive player. Rare.

Matt Williamson
  (1:01 PM)

Okay everyone. I am out. This was great. Next Wed at noon once again.