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November 11, 12:00 PM ET
Chat with Matt Williamson

Matt Williamson
  (11:55 AM)

What's up everyone? Lets get this rolling a smidge early...

Jeff (Charleston, SC)

Hey Matt. Don't you think 2nd year MLB Curtis Lofton of the Atlanta Falcons (in his first year as every-down backer) deserves to get into the Pro-Bowl. He leads the NFL in tackles and makes plays week in and week out.

Matt Williamson
  (11:57 AM)

I do. Big fan of Lofton's. Actually, our editors asked me to rank and write up the league's top 10 tacklers. Put Lofton right around #5 or so. Developing into a big time player. I think adding Peterson next to him and to the LB meeting room was a good move as well.

Dave (San Diego)

Who needs the Chargers/Eagles game more, and what is your prediction?

Matt Williamson
  (11:58 AM)

Would say that SD needs it more. I think Philly is going to the playoffs. SD will need to win their division to get in most likely. I like the Eagles here. They should get after Rivers and compete well with SD's receivers on the backend. SD won't run at all. I would worry about Philly's ability to protect McNabb though, as Merriman and Philips are both really getting after QBs right now.

Robert (Latrobe, PA)

Matt, is the Steelers O-line the most surprising unit of the season? It seems that most of the sacks they give up are the result of Roethlisberger refusing to give up on a play, and the running game has improved dramatically in the last few weeks.

Matt Williamson
  (12:00 PM)

They are playing very well as a unit. No question about that. Everyone knows that Ben is going to take some sacks. That is who he is and honestly, it is not a real problem if it doesn't get out of hand. Well put.

Bob (Oakland, CA)

Most pundits suggest that J. Gruden would never return to Oakland, yet he doesn't close the door on it when asked. If it was a possibility, do you think this would be Oakland's only shot to return to prominence?

Matt Williamson
  (12:01 PM)

Wow, have a hard time picturing that. A guy like Gruden (or Shanny/Holmgren/Cowher) has such a great resume (& enough in the bank) that he can sit and pick and chose his next job. Why on Earth would someone like that chose the Raiders?

Jason (Chicago)

What do you make of VY he looks like a real NFL QB?

Matt Williamson
  (12:03 PM)

He does and I credit Fisher for bringing him along slowly and not putting a ton on his plate. Plus, the Titans supporting cast has really played well-namely C Johnson, who is rather amazing. But, in the end, I just don't think you can coddle the QB position and you can't hide inaccuracy. Not a believer that he is a long term solution. I do give him credit though of late.

Liam (Pleasanton, California)

Hey Matt - what do you think the niners have to do to turn it around? Is it possible to overtake Arizona? Do you think Arizona could collapse like last season?

Matt Williamson
  (12:04 PM)

First off, I like the Niners to win this week. I also expect them to use more multiple WR sets and shot gun for Smith. But, can they catch Zona? I really doubt it and I see them as the inferior football team. 8-8ish.

Mike (Boca Raton)

What do you make of Baltimore?

Matt Williamson
  (12:06 PM)

Better team than their record indicates that is for sure. Cincy also obviously has their number-that also is for sure. Ngata was really missed last week. Need to get him back. CB play really worries me and in general, the D is not what it once was. But, they have a terrific young QB/RB combo to build around, along with a good OL and strong offensive balance. Still missing a difference maker at WR.

Frank (Indy)

Is this the time that Peyton shows up and proves hes better than brady> and can they stop dallas clark

Matt Williamson
  (12:07 PM)

D Clark is a nightmare to defend is instrumental in just about everything that Indy does in terms of dictate their offense with personnel. Right now, I feel like Peyton is the best football player on the planet. When comparing these two amazing QB's careers-I really think it is a tie.

Shawn (Toronto)

Matt, who do you like in the Raiders - Chiefs game this weekend? As a Chiefs fan, I'm really looking forward to the compelling battle of field position between two of the games best punters - Lechler and Colquitt.

Matt Williamson
  (12:09 PM)

Well, that is something to look forward to! Both teams stink. Don't need to expert analysis to see that. Would like to see KC build some O identity for the future though and operate more out of the shot gun with 3 WRs.

Burwell (Addison, PA)

Can we now officially close the conversation on whether or not Reggie Bush is a great player? He's barely averaging 4 yards a carry, has 4 TDs (rushing and receiving combined) and is a non-factor on returns now. He's being pushed for playing time by guys like Mike Bell and Pierre Thomas. Seriously, can we all just admit that the guy is nothing more than an occasionally explosive, but generally unremarkable role player?

Matt Williamson
  (12:10 PM)

Big play potential. Excellent returner. Spot player. A toy to play with. More WR than RB.

Mike (Boca Raton)

Do you think the emergence of Caldwell as a third down receiver has been an overlooked positive impact to the Bengals offense?

Matt Williamson
  (12:11 PM)

It surely has helped and Housh has not been missed. 85 is playing MUCH better than a year ago as well. Palmer has been great. Accurate. Not turning the ball over. But back to Caldwell-I like him quite a bit. Ascending player with plenty more upside. BTW-you should have seen him in high school in Tampa. Wow. Fabulous player against great competition at that level. Of all the HS tape I used to watch, he stood out.

Bill (La Verne, California)

Hey Matt, coming off the bye, I like my Jets over the Jaguars this weekend. Do you concur? And what do you think of Sanchez in the second half? More of the same, i.e. up and down, or more consistency, i.e. good? Thanks!

Matt Williamson
  (12:14 PM)

Yes, I like the Jets. Jax is pretty poor on D and won't get to Sanchez. I see steady progress from Sanchez going forward, but he also will have a stinker game or two. Up and down for sure. However, I like that NYJ has finally incorporated Keller more into the O-key for a young QB. I would expect Greene's touches to increase as the season progresses as well. Sanchez is pretty fortunate-quite a group assembled around him.

Pete (Mass)

Do the pats not like Ron Brace or is he injured?

Matt Williamson
  (12:15 PM)

I think he is healthy, but I think they just like their other guys better. Brace is learning a new technique and it is tough to trust rookie DLinemen. Belichik certainly is all about trust.

Mike (San Diego)

M-Dub, just read that, "Surprise", Mangini was the one pushing to draft Gholston. After it's all said and done, does he even get a coordinator position in the NFL? He's horrible.

Matt Williamson
  (12:16 PM)

Agreed. He's terrible. But yes, he will be hired as a DC before long.

Burwell (Addison, PA)

Have the Broncos been exposed a little? The 6-0 start was surprising, but they really struggled against hard-nosed, physical teams. Is this the blueprint for beating them, or do you think McDaniels can adjust and get the team back on track?

Matt Williamson
  (12:17 PM)

Yes. And most importantly, the inability to go vertical in this offense has been exposed. Orton has been exposed to a degree. Still, to me, they are a solid football team...just not on par with the big boys. No shame in losing either of those games.

V Davis (San Francisco)

What has spurned the resurgence of VD?

Matt Williamson
  (12:19 PM)

Promiscuity? Seriously, obviously he has a lot of talent, but now he has developed a much better feel for running routes, the timing of a passing game and deciphering coverage. Plus, SF has been smart with how they now use him. Let him run fast in a straight line deep downfield. Causes problems.

Kyle (OH)

"Spurned the resurgence of VD?" Contraception ignorance, perhaps?

Matt Williamson
  (12:19 PM)

Should be a lesson to all of us

Mike (San Diego)

M-Dub, you think Vernon Davis appreciates the nickname, VD? Yikes!!!

Matt Williamson
  (12:20 PM)

Could argue that he earned it before this season...

Bret (Minneapolis)

There may be no shame in the Broncos losing to better teams but there is shame in getting pushed around and not competing.

Matt Williamson
  (12:21 PM)

Never felt that Denver stopped competing, but you are right, they did get pushed around. Would bet that Denver's first round pick is a DLineman.

Henry (WI)

What do you think of the GB-Dallas game this weekend? The Cowboys are three point favorites, which makes me wonder if anyone watched the Pack play last Sunday. It seems like Dallas is going to win this game by 17. Am I missing something?

Matt Williamson
  (12:22 PM)

I am with you, but those folks in Vegas do seem to have a pretty good idea on the outcome! Still, I can't see how GBay keeps Rodgers upright. I like Dallas big. Much better team.

Chad (Las Vegas)

Did you hear about Skip and Ritchie putting the Saints 6th in their power rankings this morning. Are they crazy?

Matt Williamson
  (12:23 PM)

Who are Skip and Ritchie? Saints have to be 1 or 2.

george (england)

What do the Falcons do at CB in the offseason?

Matt Williamson
  (12:23 PM)

Draft one in the first round and bring in a veteran to compete. Really could use two. Big problem.

Kyle (OH)

Never too early to talk NFL Draft (when you're a Rams fan)...who are some potential guys in the 1st round for STL? Bradford? Suh? Berry? Dez Bryant? So many needs...

Matt Williamson
  (12:24 PM)

Must say, I not yet on top of the draft-but of course I will be. In terms of position, Berry seems like a tremendous player, but I can live with STL's safeties considering all the other needs. If you go O, it should be a big Andre J type WR or a QB. On D, I would have a real tough time passing a guy like Suh.

Big Hawk Hunter (Tempe)

Any chance the Cards can translate a winning road performance back home and whip the Seahawks? They stink at home.

Matt Williamson
  (12:25 PM)

Amazingly, they do stink at home. But, I am on board with the Cards (which is what I said before Carolina whipped them). They take care of Seattle though.

Vinny (New York)

Who do you think needs Larry Johnson the most and who do you think will pick him up?

Matt Williamson
  (12:27 PM)

Would say that Seattle has the weakest group of RBs in the league off the top of my head...but who really wants LJ? A lot of wear and tear on his body. Has been suspended already and has a history off the field. Doesn't exactly seem like the best guy for a locker room. And...he really isn't that good.

Matt Williamson
  (12:28 PM)

Teams would line up for Boldin. Baltimore comes to mind immediately. But-here is the rub with Boldin. Sure, he is an excellent WR, but he misses a TON of time every year with injuries. Plus, I think he benefits from having Larry on the other side more than the other way around. What happens when he is the D's #1 target?

Matt Williamson
  (12:28 PM)

Teams would line up for Boldin. Baltimore comes to mind immediately. But-here is the rub with Boldin. Sure, he is an excellent WR, but he misses a TON of time every year with injuries. Plus, I think he benefits from having Larry on the other side more than the other way around. What happens when he is the D's #1 target?

Fast Willie (Rolar's)

So Mendenhall is second in the league to Peterson in carries over 20 yards - in abbreviated work no less. I'm clearly done as a Steeler. Will I land somewhere else next year? PS. how much for my rookie card?

Matt Williamson
  (12:29 PM)

Yup, you are done as a Steeler and I bet you can pick up a FWP RC pretty cheap right now. Just a hunch. You will get work next year though. Not starting work.

Jake (DC)

So is there any chance that Washington can come in and physically overpower Denver? Or was that second half against ATL just an anomoly and we are going to get smoked again?

Matt Williamson
  (12:30 PM)

I think the Skins D can give just about anyone problems. But, the problem is that awful O, which consistently goes 3 and out and puts the D back on the field. Could be a close game for a while.

michael (lafayette ga)

why want u answer my question

Matt Williamson
  (12:30 PM)

Happy?

Jake (Pittsburgh)

The only place wille parker will land is on the injury list again

Matt Williamson
  (12:31 PM)

He is good at that as well. One thing I was very critical of Tomlin was during his first year as Head Coach. Ran Parker into the ground and made no bones about it. Parker has never been the same since.

Kyle (OH)

Are there any intriguing [current] second-string QBs the Rams could trade for in the off-season to compete for a starting job next year (a Matt Schaub-type)?

Matt Williamson
  (12:32 PM)

Philly could have an extra guy. Not sure who they would want to keep though. Not much is coming to mind though.

Ryan (San Diego)

Denver is on a short week, off 2 straight losses, travelling to the east coast and have to play an early start. This is a tough spot and I think Wash could win

Matt Williamson
  (12:32 PM)

All good points. Just can't get behind that Skins' O one bit. It is really atrocious.

Eric (Chicago)

Matt, do you think Jay Cutler is a franchise quarterback? I don't seem to think so. Thanks.

Matt Williamson
  (12:34 PM)

I do. Would take some guys over him for sure, but I don't think he is the problem in Chicago. That OL is terrible and Chi has no running game. And now-the D flat out stinks. So, as is his nature, Cutler tries to do it all. Will do some great things but we also know about the INTs. He does need to scale back on the bad decisions.

Matt Williamson
  (12:34 PM)

He is my vote. Harrison could push for it.

Tony (Cincy)

Can Cedric Benson hold up through this entire season? Similar to Willie Parker, he is really carrying the load and I hope he doesn't break down.

Matt Williamson
  (12:36 PM)

I do think that is a legit concern. Had a stretch there in his career where he wasn't getting a ton of wear and tear though and obviously is bigger and better suited to handle such a pounding. At this pace though, it will eventually show up. Maybe not this year. Maybe in the playoffs. Who is to say? If/when the Bengals get some leads, I would like to see them getting Benson some rest.

Joe Garcia (Fresno, CA)

Matt, what's up with the Bengals getting no respect, I think they beat some good teams yet they get no respect and got robbed in week 1. Yes I took into account they beat the Steelers w/o Troy.

Matt Williamson
  (12:37 PM)

They deserve much respect. Not far from being undefeated. Headed to the playoffs. Very well balanced. Excellent coaching job by Lewis. Respected by me.

Denise (Massapequa Park, NY)

I think you're right about Fast Willie. He was always good but not great. The young blood keeps getting better and Willie keeps getting hurt. The way Mendenhall played on Monday, scary good, Willie probably realizes he's not the first choice anymore. Great game. Fun to watch. Love the Steelers. Steelers-Cincy should be a good one. Steelers will avenge their loss. If they play half as good as they did on MNF, it should be a hard hitting tough game. Polamalau told Jimmy Fallon he wasn't a good tackler. Did you see the look Fallon gave him? If Troy's not a good tackler, I don't know what to say about that one. Not from where I sit. He's rather good, if not great. What's your take on the Steeler-Cincy game?

Matt Williamson
  (12:38 PM)

I am not even going to read this question, but I posted it because it is the longest one I have ever seen since hosting chats. Sorry Denise.

Russ Grimm (Arizona)

Do you think I will get my shot at being a headcoach in 2010? I am ready!

Matt Williamson
  (12:38 PM)

Certainly will interview.

Marc (PA)

Who's your leading candidate to coach the Bills next season? Please don't say Jauron.

Matt Williamson
  (12:39 PM)

Jauron needs to go. Would bet that ownership realizes that. REALLY doubt they spend a big buck though and get involved with a guy like Gruden or Shanny. Grimm?

george (england)

What was with the Burner? He wasn't producing against some of the League's weaker defenses, then he turns it on against NO and the Skins

Matt Williamson
  (12:40 PM)

Looks great over the past two weeks. He didn't early though. Much more sluggish. Not that same burst or ability to run away from defenders. Too much work last year? Hard to speculate as to why he is different now, but it is great news for ATL.

Ryan (San Diego)

How much credit should Norv get for these come from behind wins? His playcalling in the clutch is unreal the last few years. Twice in the playoffs against Indy, once with a backup in, against the Giants, at Oakland.

Matt Williamson
  (12:41 PM)

Certainly worth noting. As a franchise-or maybe it is Norv-but they don't tend to start strong though.

jimmy (seattle)

whats up with the saints, two weeks in a row they have almost blown it. What can you attribute to this?

Matt Williamson
  (12:42 PM)

I do feel like it is difficult to learn how to be a great team. The bullseye is now squarely on NOrls. Dealing with that is not easy. Also, C Ellis' injury is substantial. Much tougher stopping the interior run.

Bret (Minneapolis)

Why are there so many bad offensive lines this year on supposedly playoff caliber teams?

Matt Williamson
  (12:42 PM)

In general, I think there is a shortage of OLinemen at this level. Good point though.

Mike (AZ)

I know you were just being complimentary, but I think calling Boldin an excellent WR is a little overboard. He is an above average player who runs two routes, the drag and the bubble screen. They are far better off with Breaston and Doucet and the 2nd rounder they will get for the malcontent.

Matt Williamson
  (12:43 PM)

I don't disagree with that. Plus, it would open up more $$$ to spend in free agency. His stock has fallen for sure. Still-not a bad WR!

Brett (WI)

If Jon Gruden was coaching Green Bay this season, would they be 4-4?

Matt Williamson
  (12:44 PM)

I will take the over

Matt Williamson
  (12:45 PM)

I agree with the move. Stafford wasn't particularly polished coming out of Georgia. Needs reps. Seems tough-physically and mentally-to handle a real long year of lumps...but should pay off in future years.

Anthony (NYC)

M-Dub at the start of the season I thought the Browns would have a sound running game due to the O-line which was one of their strengths, what has happened?

Matt Williamson
  (12:45 PM)

Like everything about that organization, it has crumbled. The right side of that line needs rebuilt. Plus, the RBs are far from spectacular there as well.

Steve (Prosser, WA)

Hey Matty-Dub, is there a big difference in the quality of trainers from team to team in the NFL? If so, what team is known for having the best and worst training staffs.

Matt Williamson
  (12:46 PM)

I have no idea. I would imagine that there is a difference for sure and much of that probably has to do with how much the owner is willing to spend for the best docs, the right number of docs and the facilities.

Podvader (CT)

Who has an easier job than me?

Matt Williamson
  (12:48 PM)

Pod does have an easy job...well, not easy, but a cool one for sure. We all do. Who am I to compare? All I do is watch, read, write and talk about football. Bet there are a few of you out there who would trade with either of us. That being said, check out the Football Today podcasts this week. I am/was on four out of five this week. Usually do Monday and Friday-which is a blast. Tune in.

Eric Mangini (Cleveland OH)

If you need a QB, you may have one of ours.

Matt Williamson
  (12:49 PM)

Especially if you have a lot of extra 6th round picks and former Jets to offer up as compensation. However, if I were a team like STL, I might consider Quinn at the right price. That guy needs a change of scenery.

Knish (NYC)

What do you think of the 2 rookie corners down in Miami?

Matt Williamson
  (12:50 PM)

I like what I have seen. Moreso from Smith than Davis, but both players' abilities are very apparent. Very encouraging going forward, but like expected, there have been and will be some growing pains.

Matt Williamson
  (12:51 PM)

Troy P. Not even close any more to be honest. Reed is #2 and still great, but 43 is a mad man. One of the best handful of D players in the game today.

Todd (Seattle)

Do you think the Tennesee win streak extends to three at home this week over the Bills?

Matt Williamson
  (12:52 PM)

No, I think they will beat the Bills soundly and dominate both lines of scrimmage. Buff coming off a bye works to their favor, but Tenn is playing well/smart right now and I have zero faith in the Bills.

Brad (NM)

I'd like to start a movement for Marty Schottenheimer in Buffalo...who's with me?

Matt Williamson
  (12:53 PM)

Could be their type of guy. Solid. Conservative. Preach fundamentals.

JD (CHT)

Miles austin comment

Matt Williamson
  (12:54 PM)

Tremendous natural tools-big and strong, but still very fluid in all his movements. Exceptional after the catch and a real handful for CBs to get on the ground. Developing route runner, but still quite good in that capacity. Some inconsistencies to him, but all in all he is a very good player.

Jason (Pennsylvania)

I was wandering what you thought but if the steelers keep playing like they did monday i think they will be very hard to beat

Matt Williamson
  (12:55 PM)

They are the Super Bowl champs, very talented and well coached and one of the top four or five teams in the NFL. If I were to do power rankings, I might put them #3. PGH or NEng would get that spot behind NOrls and Indy. Vikes probably

SportsGuy (LA)

Tell me the Pats will not sign LJ

Matt Williamson
  (12:55 PM)

No room for both LJ and Ahman Green and they seem somewhat happy with Green.

Justin (New York)

Matt, sorry if you've already answered this... but.. Alex Smith's emergence - real of myth?

Matt Williamson
  (12:57 PM)

Somewhere in between. There is a ceiling on him for sure, as he will never be able to make big time plays with arm or threaten the entire field like a guy like Flacco or Cutler. But, SF has some weapons now for sure, and if they keep Smith in the shot gun a lot and spread it out, he can do some good things. Doubt that I would look for another QB this upcoming off season.

Bill (Boston)

Um, Ahman Green is not on the Pats

Matt Williamson
  (12:58 PM)

Thought you asked about the Pack. Sorry, misread that. GBay could use a RB as well going forward. Anyways, hmmm, that would worry me a bit as a Pats fan. Could see BB giving that a try.

Matt Williamson
  (12:59 PM)

I am out everyone. Great chat. Well thought out questions today. Give yourselves all a gold star for a good day's work. Adios.