Print and Go Back ESPN: SportsNation

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

Matt Williamson
  (11:58 AM)

Hey everyone. Let's roll!

Brad (NYC)

Giants back seven (primarily LBs and safeties) need an overhaul...will it be through draft FA or both...if Phillips and Boley start next year healthy can they fix it enough to make a SB run?

Matt Williamson
  (12:01 PM)

Certainly not playing doctor here, but I got the vibe that Phillips' injury could be a bigger deal than just him missing this season. Hopefully that is not the case-obviously. But let's assume that he is healthy, then yes, he will start and Boley will start on the outside. To me, that still leaves two holes that need addressed on D-another safety and another LB. That other LB could be an OLB, but I think I would prefer a MLB in this case...Goff is still an unknown to me. Don't count NYG out for the long term. They will contend, but changes are needed. Also, I wouldn't just assume that the OL is fine and dandy. Could use a youth movement there.

RAY GORDON REID ( COLLEGE STATION TEXAS 77843)

QUESTION TO MATT DUB WILIAMSON AT 12.20PM HI MA MATT DUB WHO YOU HAVE SATURDAY NIGHT SAINTS OR COWBOYS

Matt Williamson
  (12:02 PM)

Oh I have NOrls. They are rolling and are the superior team. Despite all the "Dallas can't win in December" talk, they flat out just are not as good as the Saints. And this is doubly true if Ware can't go. Could see a shoot out though...but once again, that favors the Saints.

J. (NYC)

Matt, how do you forsee Tebow's pro career playing out? In other words, what position will he be playing 5 years from now?

Matt Williamson
  (12:05 PM)

The influx of Wild Cat type QBs helps Tebow's cause and I do think there is a place for him in the NFL. But just not as a traditional starting QB. Should be a backup QB and top notch special teams player who also comes in here and there on O for some specialty packages as he learns a new position, most likely H Back. But, here is the million dollar question? Can he catch?

James (Indy)

Matty!!!! I've been out of action the last several chats, so it's good to be activated again. What (if anything) do you see in this year's Colts that suggested they will fare better in the playoffs with a bye?

Matt Williamson
  (12:07 PM)

Good to have you back Sweet Baby James. I have big worries about the Colts' CB play right now, but overall, I like their D more than usual. More pressure. Take more chances. More variance in play calling. All of that will help, esp at home in the dome. As for the O, I dare to say that the QB is actually playing better now than at any point of his amazing career and they might just have more weapons than I can remember. There isn't the vertical presence of yester-year but the running game seems pretty consistent and something they can rely on.

Jon (DC)

Hey Dub, why can't the Cowboys get into the end zone? They can rack up the yards, but can't hit paydirt.

Matt Williamson
  (12:09 PM)

Red zone O is tougher than many realize. This is especially true from the QB position. The field is shrunk, but there are the same amount of people (large people) in this confined space. Everything happens much quicker. QB play must be much more precise with his read, decision making, release and accuracy. I like Romo, but he isn't an extremely quick processor of information and he doesn't have a rocket launcher on his right arm to fit the ball into real small spots. Much of the same is true with D McNabb and in turn, both could struggle with red zone O for much of their careers.

Vince Young (Nashville)

The Sky is the limit right? Do you still think we are limited with me under center? Unlike Alex Smith i can drill the ball when necessary maybe not like the lovely Jay Cutler but certainly on par with McNabb & Rogers

Matt Williamson
  (12:12 PM)

You don't throw the ball nearly as well as Rodgers and you never will, but I am now a believer-at least in terms of handing the team over to you next year and for the forseeable future. Certainly a lot of playmaking skill there and your QB skills have greatly improved while sitting behind Collins. Still, conditions are now rather optimal: Elite OL, Elite RB who also acts as the big play threat and is a great pass catcher which can really get you out of a jam, excellent play calling designed to cover up some of your weaknesses and play to your strengths (which NFL teams simply do not do enough of) and a very good healthy D.

Jesse (Albany,NY)

afternoon Matt, rumors are starting about the Skins drafting a QB with their eventual 1st Rd pick. I just do not see it being the right way to go when the O-line is severly needing the most help, as well as a possible replaceme t for Portis. Thoughts?

Matt Williamson
  (12:14 PM)

I agree with you-but certainly would not put it past the Skins. I would keep Campbell and build around the guy. OT would be my top priority and the line does need a ton of attention overall. RB is clearly needed as well, as I believe Portis is done.

James (Indy)

In general, isn't in incredibly unfair to expect teams to come off a Sunday game only to turn around and have to play a Thursday nighter? Is this purely a TV exposure/dollars driven thing?

Matt Williamson
  (12:15 PM)

I would imagine that is what drives it for sure and personally, it bothers me too. I am not sure if there have been enough of them to do a study, but I would be curious to see if the % of injuries is much higher on Thursdays. I bet it is. To me, the games are often sloppier and there just isn't much time to prepare a game plan on such a short week.

Bill (Boston)

How do you see Moss reacting to all the negative comments about him and does he have a BIG game this week?

Matt Williamson
  (12:16 PM)

I see him either stepping up and being outstanding or completely going into shut down mode. No middle ground. But, I also contend that he isn't the dominant presence that he used to be and has lost a bit of his explosiveness.

Kelly (Bushkill PA)

Love the Ravens...Is Suggs overrated? He got all those $$$ comes in overweight and hasn't really done much this year? Also, can the Ravens ever draft receivers who end up being good like the Eagles or Giants did? Is Ozzie overrated too?

Matt Williamson
  (12:18 PM)

Ozzie certainly is not overrated and almost every team in the league should be jealous of his drafting track record. I also don't think Suggs is overrated and feel like he has been dealing with more injuries than he has really let on. I was very much in favor of signing him when they did. Do it all guy who was ascending. I expect a bounce back year in 2010. As for the WRs-it is a massive need. If I were Ozzie, I would be on the phone with Zona to see what it would take to pry Boldin away.

Bob (San Diego, CA)

Matty - great job - happy holidays to you and yours! How about my Bolts - looking good. Need the bye week to get healthy but what are you thoughts on SD

Matt Williamson
  (12:20 PM)

They are looking good and thank you. You won't like this, but I still see two flaws that will eventually stop this streak they are on-run D and run O. I still don't trust either of these aspects of SD. Rivers and the passing game are amazing, but at some point in the playoffs, they will need to lean on LT to make plays-and unfortunately, I just don't see it happening.

milton (illinois)

Matt:do you see arizona drafting a q.b or do they consider leinart the they're next in-line?

Matt Williamson
  (12:22 PM)

Just in terms of dollars, I am not sure how you can tie up 1st round money into another QB right now-esp when you are a contender and could use that first round pick on an OLB or someone who can help out much sooner. But, with Leinhart, he scares me. Very deliberate with everything he does and he is another one (& much more so) that I think everything around him needs to be perfect and plays/game plans need to go to script.

Talib (St Louis)

Sjax has no chance right now it seems. Now with RG Bell sent to the IR will they look to rest him or does he have a solid week #15?

Matt Williamson
  (12:23 PM)

I hope they sit him down. STL released Incognito today too. Jackson has been tremendous this year, but there is nothing to gain at this point by crashing him head on into a D. Save him up and don't chip years off his career for no good reason.

Jared (Kennewick, WA)

Why does no one give any credit to Steve Smith of the Giants? Hes the leading WR in the NFC besides in TDs, but yet no one mentions him up with any of the top WRs? Also why is Nicks not mentioned in rookie players for the year?

Matt Williamson
  (12:25 PM)

Well, if you listen to Tuesday's Football Today podcast, we went over all possible Pro Bowl caliber players. I thought Smith was deserving. Still, he isn't real flashy and the Giants do have two other comparable weapons, so he remains a bit under the radar from a public eye standpoint. Plus, even at USC, he wasn't their #1. Nicks has also been great, but he isn't a OROY candidate in my opinion, esp compared to Harvin. Nicks should be a Boldin like player though for the Giants. I like their WRs for the long haul.

Brad (NM)

Is Jason Garrett a horrible play-caller..or is it just me? How about instead of calling Barber's number four straight times from the one, he tries using that Witten guy in goaline situations once in a while? I don't get it..he happens to be the best TE in football.

Matt Williamson
  (12:27 PM)

Witten is excellent and a real weapon near the stripe, but I didn't have a massive problem with relying on your huge OL and big power RB to get that one yard for you.

Ryan (San Diego)

Ok, while the two points on SD are valid, why do you not make the same points about the Colts. You do realize they are equally as bad in both areas right?

Matt Williamson
  (12:28 PM)

I like the Colts running game more than SD's and I might just like their run D a bit better too. Still, the Colts are far from flawless and they would really have a tough time with SD's receiving corps.

Leeroy (Tampa)

Do you think the Bucs should give Raheem Morris the Gunther Cunningham treatment and demote him to defensive coordinator?

Matt Williamson
  (12:28 PM)

If you don't believe in him as the Head Coach, then you part ways with him. That just isn't a good biz decision to me.

J.B. (Dunmore, PA)

M-Dub: Did you have a problem with moving Barber to the fullback spot on 4th down? It didn't fool me and obviously didn't fool the Chargers either.

Matt Williamson
  (12:29 PM)

Actually, I should have said something about that and yes, I didn't see the logic to that move at all. Do what you do. That was getting cute.

Jon (DC)

What does Alex Smith's future look like?

Matt Williamson
  (12:31 PM)

Decent. I like what I have seen quite a bit this year. I don't think he will ever be an elite passer and will struggle in poor weather at times, but he is smart and finally looks comfortable in an offensive system. Hopefully, the Niners continue to play to his strengths and keep him in the shot gun and run spread principles. He will only get better...as will Crabtree. The OL needs a lot of work though.

Ryan (San Diego)

That's fair, just for reference sake though, the Colts average less than a yard more rushing per game than the Chargers and give up 4.1 ypc on defense to SD's 4.3.

Matt Williamson
  (12:32 PM)

I hear ya...esp on D. Splitting hairs a bit. Both teams have the advantage in that they are usually going to score a ton of points on O and force their opponent to keep up-usually through the air. I also like the Colts' pass rushers better for what it is worth.

jason (atlanta)

skip bayless gave the colts a grade d for the decade(didnt they just break records for most wins) and said their superbowl doesnt count because it was against rex grossman. can you comment please?

Matt Williamson
  (12:33 PM)

Did he really or are you making that up? Sounds made up. Let's just say that I don't agree and leave it at that.

Ryan (San Diego)

Yes, the Colts generate a much better pass rush without blitzing. Merriman needs to get healthy

Matt Williamson
  (12:34 PM)

True. Merriman had a short stretch this year where he actually looked healthy for the first time in a while...then got hurt. Hard to trust that guy now and I bet he is playing his last days in SD.

JD (Sioux Falls, SD)

Hey Matt! Eveyone seems to think that Green Bay defense is tops, but I noticed that they have allowed 24 passing touch downs, which is one of the highest in the NFL. What Gives???

Matt Williamson
  (12:35 PM)

We addressed this today on the podcast as well-simply put, there isn't a great D in the NFL this year. None. Some good ones, including GBay, but nothing close to the Steelers of a year ago. One thing about GBay though is that they cause a ton of turnovers...which is huge. Plus, their O scores a ton of points, so teams have to throw against them to keep up. But I hear ya.

Brad (NM)

Is T.O. worth trying to re-sign for Buffalo...or should they spend that money on a different WR and other positions?

Matt Williamson
  (12:37 PM)

I wouldn't. Buff is a LONG way away. They don't have time for upper 30s WRs. I can live with the D, although I think a run stuffing NT type would go a long way. But that O is a mess. I am cool with Evans and the RBs and probably can live with the interior OL considering their ages, but other than that, it needs totally overhauled. Two OTs and a QB for sure. Then you look for the big complementary WR and maybe a TE-depending on what they think of Nelson.

Grahame (Vancouver)

Is it conceveable that the Chargers get the bye, beat a Wildcard team, beat the Colts in the AFC game (They Have Indy's number) then go to the Super Bowl ... all this without fixing the run game?

Matt Williamson
  (12:39 PM)

Oh it is possible for sure. Not saying that they are not a contender. If the matchups work out well for them, it very well could happen. Not that the Jets are nearly as good as SD, but if they run into a Revis type CB who can take away V Jax and then bracket Gates without a huge worry of SD's run game, then the Chargers might struggle to score points. But, it looks like SD will not play in any poor post season weather-and that is very promising for Rivers.

J.B. (Dunmore, PA)

M-Dub: Barring injury, any chance we see what Sage Rosenfels has to offer with the Vikes this season? That deal is looking like a big waste of money right now.

Matt Williamson
  (12:41 PM)

Well, they didn't know that 4 was coming on board when they made that deal-so you have to give them a pass to some degree. It is also apparent that Jackson is the guy they want to get reps and that should continue.

jason (atlanta)

bayless did say that on 1st and 10 monday morning i have it on dvr.

Matt Williamson
  (12:41 PM)

Then I wonder what grade he gives the Lions

Scott (Maryland)

It seems most everyone is talking about Shanahan going to DC next season. Is this all just rumor or is there any concrete evidence that is influencing all of the experts predictions?

Matt Williamson
  (12:43 PM)

Rumor of course, but the Skins will probably pay top dollar and could give him full control over personnel, which is what would worry me about hiring Shanny. He struggled with personnel of late in Denver. But, to me, I would bet that Shanny would be more interested in reuniting with Cutler in Chi-Town or replacing his buddy Kubiak in Houston. Better QBs and he has a lot of familiarity with the Texans' staff and system-including his son who is on staff.

kc (oakland)

what do you see the Niners doing w/ the 2 #1s?

Matt Williamson
  (12:45 PM)

I like where they sit in terms of needs. I think they are very defined. The OL is the biggest problem and I think they need to come up with a RT and OG. But, I want a difference maker on D. Someone who is just dripping with potential as a pass rusher off the edge. DE in college to transition to OLB-meanwhile using him on throwing downs and turning him loose. Also, a FS would be nice for sure.

Steve (Ann Arbor)

After that monday night stinker, do you think there's any way the Lions can shock the Cards?

Matt Williamson
  (12:47 PM)

Oh my no...did you happen to see what Detroit did last week in Baltimore? Enough said. They are awful on D. Awful

Scott (Maryland)

Addressing a previous question about the Redskins coach,I have heard Shanahan was going to try to bring his son Kyle to DC as the OC.But if you think Shanahan would be more likely to coach else where like Houston or Chi-town then which coach do you see ending up in DC?

Matt Williamson
  (12:48 PM)

He surely could do that in Washington and bring his son along as well. Campbell could fit what Shanny likes to do as well. I do think Wash brings in a big name.

jason (nebraska)

my questions must be no good cant get one on

Matt Williamson
  (12:48 PM)

Was that a question?

Todd (Seattle)

Matt: I think you are wrong on the Saints-Dallas prediction this Saturday night. Everyone is of course on the Saints bandwagon and discounting the "swooning" Cowboys. But Cowboys match up on both sides well and Saints could easily have los their last two. Dallas wins this easily.

Matt Williamson
  (12:49 PM)

Stop back next week to discuss further. Give me the undefeated team.

Ryan (NJ)

The Broncos hav the Bears first round pick, which looks to be a top 10 pick. Where do you see them going with this high pick?

Matt Williamson
  (12:50 PM)

I would address the DL first and foremost. QB will be tempting though. But a difference maker up front would be ideal. They are sorta playing with just a bunch of guys on their DL right now. But, Denver also has a lot of big named free agents and may have a new need pop up if/when one departs.

Todd (Seattle)

Matt: Niners in for a rude awakening traveling to Philly off that Monday night win that was partially handed to them with all the TO's. Eagles get all over Alex Smith. Would you concur?

Matt Williamson
  (12:51 PM)

I would concur. TOUGH road trip all things considered.

jason (nebraska)

do you think this season shows that the steelers wasnt the best team last season?

Matt Williamson
  (12:52 PM)

Not at all. One has nothing to do with the other.

jason (nebraska)

if you was a coach would you want your team to all ready have a great offense or a great defense?

Matt Williamson
  (12:53 PM)

D. Keep me in every game. Creates a physical nature to your team. D doesn't go away when the weather gets bad and then, you usually should be stocked for special teams reasons. Still, above everything, you must have a QB and you must play to that guy's abilities.

Ben (Albany)

Chris Long has really come on recently, but isnt he more of a LE than a RE?

Matt Williamson
  (12:54 PM)

Yes and yes he has come on well. To be honest, which side of the Dline Long plays on is probably about number 42 on the things STL needs to work on! I just think Little is comfortable where he is. Long could switch in time.

Brad (NM)

wow..a guy whines and gets back to back questions answered...don't open the floodgates for whiners now Matt. If John Fox gets fired, should Buffalo pursue him?

Matt Williamson
  (12:56 PM)

Good point-set a bad precedent there. Wah Wah Wah...oh okay, here I will answer your questions now. Nope-doesn't work that way. Fox seems like a good fit for the Bills. Tough edge to him. Conservative. But proven.

J.B. (Dunmore, PA)

Jeff Otah hits the IR and DeAngelo Williams is not 100 percent but it is a road game in prime time. Do you think the Vikings win this one easily or might they run into an upset?

Matt Williamson
  (12:57 PM)

I think the Vikes-Peterson in particular-just steam rolls these guys. Barely competitive. Brett will rest for much of the 4th quarter.

Derek (Sloan)

What are your thoughts on the Browns (possibly) hiring Holmgren?

Matt Williamson
  (12:59 PM)

Seems wise to me. What that organization needs to do first and foremost is to create stability. Have a guy to fall back on and right the ship when they hit rough waters-and there are very rough waters ahead.

Matt Williamson
  (12:59 PM)

Okay everyone, I gotta roll. This was fun as usual. Stop back next week.