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December 23, 12:00 PM ET
Chat with Matt Williamson

Matt Williamson
  (11:51 AM)

Hey everyone. Happy Holidays to all. Let's get this rolling. Lots to discuss.

Mike (Boca Raton)

Am I a knucklehead for agreeing with Tomlin's decision to go for the onsides kick? If I had Tyrone Carter and William Gay as starters in my secondary I'd probably do it everytime.

Matt Williamson
  (11:54 AM)

I certainly see where he was coming from, as everyone in the stadium knew that Pittsburgh was unable to stop Rodgers. Plus, he did have the element of surprise on his side. It was executed well and if the recovering player waits half a second longer, the play works in Pittsburgh's favor. Still, it seems too risky for me. That being said, after GBay made a play or two on O after getting the onside kick, I suggested that the Steelers then just let them score a TD so they could get the ball back.

john (philadelphia)

who do you like this week pierre thomas or hightower?

Matt Williamson
  (11:56 AM)

Can't say that I love either, but would go with Thomas. It is obviously an extremely favorable matchup against the Bucs and I see him as the more dangerous RB of the two. If I were Zona-I would really want to get Wells rolling heading into the playoffs.

johnny (new britain,ct)

after beating the NO saints, will romo and dallas gain enough confidence to have a december to remember?

Matt Williamson
  (11:57 AM)

First off, Romo has played great in December of 2009. Great. And-I am not so sure that there is a lot of shame in losing a close game to SD. I expect the Cowboys to roll the Skins this week, but will probably pick Philly over them next week.

Paul (Trenton, NJ)

Do you think Oakland would have been in the playoff mix had they gone with someone else (Garcia, Gradkowski or Frye) other than Russell this year?

Matt Williamson
  (11:59 AM)

No, but surely they would have been better off. Russell just brings down that whole team so dramatically. Plus, he stinks. Oak did beat Cincy, Philly, PGH and Denver this year. I guess maybe they could have gotten to six or seven wins at this point with Gradkowski at QB all year-which would have them in the playoff scenarios still.

Brad (NM)

Hey Matt..Happy Holidays to you. Has Perry Fewell shown enough to be considered a candidate to remain HC, or is Buffalo going to be stuck with somebody like Mike Martz?

Matt Williamson
  (12:00 PM)

I wouldn't want Martz in Buffalo. It is Buffalo-cold weather. Poor throwing conditions. Not real Martz-friendly. As for Fewell, you hear and get the feeling that his players like him and play hard for him, but to me, there really isn't any improvement in the results on the field since he took over. Go get someone who is rather established and more or less blow the whole thing up. Start over.

Daniel (Long Beach, NY)

Hell Matt! How would you rank B.J. Raji coming out last year to the elite DT's coming out this year?

Matt Williamson
  (12:03 PM)

Well, I need to do a lot more draft prep so I know Raji far better than this year's class-which does look very impressive. The thing that Raji has going for him over McCoy and Suh is that he can be a true NT type, where I see them as more of the upfield penetrating types. Raji can do both in my eyes though and is very impressive-both now and then. That being said, Suh is a rare dude and looks like an instant impact prospect. McCoy is more of a playmaker than Raji as well, but could use some strength to do battle in the trenches.

Peyton Manning (Indianapolis)

My performance last Thursday sealed the MVP, right? Right?

Matt Williamson
  (12:03 PM)

Sure did. Congrats.

Kevin (OH)

Mattycakes, with Holmgren signing on for Cleveland...where do you see Mangini and Quinn next year?

Matt Williamson
  (12:05 PM)

My bet is that Holmgren hires someone that he is more familiar with and institutes more West Coast O principles. Not sure who that HC will be though off the top of my head. As for Quinn, that one is trickier. In a WC O, I do think he could be better, but I really worry about this guy. Would surely shop him to see what you might get in return, but my guess is the offers will not be overwhelming. So I bet Quinn stays in Clev and they give him another year to sink or swim.

Blake (Abilene, TX)

Could there be a Chris Johnson run-alike in Jamaal Charles? Charles has broken several runs for over 40yds has that sprinter speed and has surprised people with his carry load much like Johnson

Matt Williamson
  (12:06 PM)

He is actually quite similar and I have made that comparison before as well. But-he is CJ Lite. Not quite as explosive, quick or fast. Still, it has to make you wonder-why hadn't Haley started this guy from the beginning of the season?

Justin (Denver)

So, what are we to think of the Broncos? If they get to the playoffs, can they actually win a game?

Matt Williamson
  (12:07 PM)

I doubt it. They might have the worst starting QB of every team that makes the post season and I don't trust their ability to stop the run at all. Also not thrilled with their running game. Surely the Broncos exceeded all expectations this season, but to me, they are one and done.

Jeff Reed (Pittsburgh)

Do you think the Steelers and I will part ways after the season? My contract is up and no one has said anything to me yet. Should I not go out as much?

Matt Williamson
  (12:09 PM)

The off the field incidents will not help your cause at all Jeff. Plus, you did miss a few big kicks this year. But, kicking in Heinz Field is no easy chore and you seem to have that down pat. That works very much in your favor, but I wouldn't ask for a crazy contract!

MJ (Boston)

As the biggest Cowboy fan there is, I was dissapointed with the way the Chargers beat them, missed fg, Sensabaugh made a horrible pass interference, he had perfect coverage...that put the ball at the 1. They killed themselves with drive killers....

Matt Williamson
  (12:09 PM)

True and I still contend that this is a very inconsistent team (& franchise) that can play with anyone or lose to anyone. Obviously the kicking situation needs to be figured out.

billy schindler (belcourt ND)

Peyton Manning should hands down be the MVP this year. He led the colts to 7 come back wins, and is so dominate teams wont even kick the ball to the colts with 2min remaining in the game. I think it is pretty obivious who the best is this year Manning18. Colts all the way.

Matt Williamson
  (12:10 PM)

Well said. Couldn't agree more. Best football player on the planet.

John (Guilford,CT)

What do you think of Chad Henne? Is he up there with Matt Ryan and Joe Flacco as a future pro bowl quarterback, or will he be a bust?

Matt Williamson
  (12:12 PM)

I like him a lot and yes, in their class. Would like to see more of him to put him right with those guys, but I am confident in him. Very strong physically. Big arm. Confident. Sees the action well and isn't afraid to pull the trigger. Tough guy who will take a hit for his teammates. I see him as the long term answer in Miami.

Bucky (Cleveland)

Cleveland is a great football city, and for old times sake needs to return to winning. How far are the Browns away from making a playoff run??

Matt Williamson
  (12:14 PM)

Very far. Let's just look at their needs real quick. Here is my list in no particular order and maybe a guy or two who is presently on the roster fills one or two of these needs, but here goes: QB, probably a big RB to complement Harrison, a true #1 WR, TE, RT and if they stick with a 3-4 on D then I want a true pass rushing OLB who can make a big difference, maybe a heavier ILB, probably a safety and certainly a starting CB.

J.B. (Dunmore, PA)

Hey M-Dub. Unfortunately I can't stick around today as I have some things to attend to. Just wanted to get your take on the Favre-Childress issue and how you think it will affect the Vikes down the stretch. Have a happy, healthy and Merry Christmas and I'll catch you next time.

Matt Williamson
  (12:15 PM)

You too Brother. If all the info that has come out is true-which it probably isn't-I don't have a problem with Favre not wanting to come out of the game. I do think he has some very selfish qualities though and if he defied a direct order, then I am not for that either. But-the order didn't make a lot of sense to me either.

Matt Williamson
  (12:15 PM)

Losing breeds these things.

Julian (Cincy)

Do you see LJ stealing significant touches from Ced Benson this week because of the revenge factor vs KC for LJ, or will Ced still get the majority of the work?

Matt Williamson
  (12:17 PM)

If Cincy quickly gains control of this game, I would hand it over to LJ-and Bernard Scott to a lesser degree. Not worried about revenge, but I would want to conserve Benson for when you really need the guy. Still-I bet LJ has a little something extra for KC this week.

Bill (OH)

Matt, you give the Bengals any chance of making a strong playoff run, barring they make it?

Matt Williamson
  (12:18 PM)

Maybe, if their passing game keeps coming around. That is what worries me though. It was great last week, but I want to see more of that.

Vince Young (Nashville)

Last week you said I didnt throw the ball as well as Aaron Rogers and I Never wouldPersonally I think you are a hater because i threw two of the prettiest TD's you will ever see.... Am i correct? What else do I need to do to prove you wrong? I can be the best QB in the league!

Matt Williamson
  (12:20 PM)

You don't throw the ball as well as Rodgers and never will. Rodgers is an elite passer. Don't underestimate what Rodgers can do with the football. Still, VY, I have been quite complementary of you of late and you clearly have exceeded my expectations. Yes, you have also made some very nice throws. But few spin it like Rodgers.

John (Buffalo)

Hi Matt, overall how would say T.O.'s first year with the Bills has went?

Matt Williamson
  (12:20 PM)

Horribly.

Steve (Houston)

Have you heard of the high school prospect Mike Buckley?

Matt Williamson
  (12:20 PM)

No-is he your son? Nephew? Neighbor?

Mike (Akron)

Just heard Big Ben beat out Jerome Harrison for AFC player of the week. Really?! In what way does this make sense?

Matt Williamson
  (12:21 PM)

He did throw for over 500 and did against a far better opponent. That choice would have been a coin flip for me.

Jack (Cleveland)

Will DA and the legs of Jerome take down the Raiders this week Matt? I have got some free tix and am trying to get my wife to go, and if I can convince her they win, I may get her to go with me!

Matt Williamson
  (12:22 PM)

Who knows with DA. That guy is so streaky. I don't like his game-don't get me wrong, but sometimes he comes out firing and it works for him. Gets on one of this his hot streaks. I am picking Cleveland for now, but might change my tune on that one. Believe it or not, that was my toughest game to pick this week-but I went with the home squad.

Greg (NYC)

Eli contract was supposed to expire this year...Today, the giants are not in the playoffs and they have 1 win against a team with a winning record (the cowboys)....I'd say they are a different team without plax...TODAY if Eli had to be resigned...is he worth the 100M$ contract he signed?

Matt Williamson
  (12:25 PM)

Yes. Do I love Eli? No. But I keep a running chart of every team's QB situation (big picture) from 1 to 32. I have the Giants at 13-right behind Houston. That could go either way for me, but I don't blame Eli for this team's struggles this season. In fact, I think he has played better than ever and the passing game is quite strong overall. The problem lies on D this year-esp at safety, which has been a nightmare. The fact is, you are not really even able to go get an upgrade even if you wanted.

Bobbie (Houston)

Is JaMarcus Russell going to be a good QB? He stands in the pocket like a dead corpse.

Matt Williamson
  (12:25 PM)

He is awful. I have seen nothing at all to suggest that he is going to be a NFL QB.

Griffin (Texas)

Will Austin Collie on the colts win rookie of the year

Matt Williamson
  (12:26 PM)

He actually could make a run over Percy Harvin, as Harvin missed the game two weeks ago and did very little this past week. That race looked like an easy win for Harvin, but it is heating up and you know Collie will not be rested during the reg season.

Matt K (Enola, PA)

Matty, can we finally say Ben belongs in the top 3 QB's in the league, he has 2 super bowls, so many 4th quarter come backs and last week shows he can carry any team.

Matt Williamson
  (12:27 PM)

Big fan here and I very much respect all he has done, but he is #4 to me behind 1. Peyton 2. Brady and 3. Brees. Rivers is a very close

Bobbie (Houston)

I agree. JaWalrus doesn' look good. What are the Raiders option?

Matt Williamson
  (12:29 PM)

That is the thing. I say you have to bring back Gradkowski. Do you use a high pick on a QB? Remember, they don't have their first rounder in the following draft due to the R Seymour trade, so it is kind of a now or never situation. Vick? I don't see free agents who are real enticing, although J Campbell would certainly be an upgrade. But is he the answer? That goes back to the Eli question...how do you get the next guy?

Ben (Albany)

what about Hakeem Nicks? if he hadnt missed 2 games he would be a 1000 yard WR as a rookie

Matt Williamson
  (12:29 PM)

But he did miss those games. I love this year's WR class now and Nicks should be an excellent player, but I don't think he can keep up with Collie and especially Harvin in this conversation.

Nick (Morgantown, WV)

Big Ben behind Brees?! I agree and disagree with you. Brees is a better QB, but Ben is a better winner and until Brees gets the bling on his finger I think Big Ben edges him out.

Matt Williamson
  (12:31 PM)

That is a legit argument and being in Pittsburgh-trust me, I have it a lot. I contend that if you flopped both players and put Ben on NOrls and Brees in PGH, neither would approach their success. Both are tremendous fits for their respective cities and teams and offenses. But, the lack of a ring is really the only thing that I think you can put down in the negative column for Brees. There are more holes to Ben's game.

Ben (Albany)

fair enough..... but in all honesty I think the award should go to Oher.... biggest contribution in that hes on the field every play..... both RT and LT.... never overwhelmed

Matt Williamson
  (12:32 PM)

I have no problem with that at all. He is deserving.

Ben (Albany)

longterm Nicks, Crabtree or Maclin?

Matt Williamson
  (12:33 PM)

Crabtree. Love his game and thought he was the best player in this entire draft before the selections were made. Has done nothing to disappoint.

Liam (Pleasanton, California)

You don't think Brees would have won those 2 Superbowls with the Steelers? Could Big Ben have guided any of Brees teams to SB wins? I don't think so.

Matt Williamson
  (12:33 PM)

Which, in the end, is why I have Brees over Ben.

Christian (Indiana)

do the colts have reason to be afraid of the chargers?

Matt Williamson
  (12:34 PM)

Sure. Very hot team right now. SD's WRs/TEs have big advantages against the Colts CBs. Rivers is nearly on par with Peyton. Of the AFC teams, they should fear SD the most. Still, SD has some holes as well. Can they run it well enough to really control the clock?

Greg (NYC)

Eli, Rivers, Rothlesberger...That was the draft order...their Qb rating today...Rivers, Rothlesberger, Manning...Please be a non-homer....if you have redo that draft who are you taking #1?

Matt Williamson
  (12:35 PM)

1. Ben 2. Rivers-close second. 3. Eli is clearly number three. Thought I was pretty clear on this.

Ben (Albany)

how has William Beatty looked filling in for Kareem Mac?

Matt Williamson
  (12:36 PM)

Considering that he is more athlete (LT) than mauler (RT) and was a LT at UCONN, I think as a rookie at RT, he was been quite good. Could see him being the starting LT next year and move Diehl inside, which was their plan all along I assume when they selected him.

Nick (Morgantown, WV)

Touche Mr. Williamson. Touche. But I keep my thinking until Bress wins the big games.

Matt Williamson
  (12:37 PM)

Fair enough and I have no problem with that.

Ryan (San Diego)

The Chargers run it when they need to and can easily do it on the Colts. See Sproles last year, and the 15 play 7 minute drive in Dallas to ice the game two weeks ago where LT had about 25 yards rushing on that one

Matt Williamson
  (12:38 PM)

LT is not a high end RB anymore and of course, their running game feeds off the passing attack. Don't underestimate Indy's run D-it isn't great, but they swarm to the ball well and I do feel like they are good enough in that department overall.

Ben (Albany)

could Diehl play RT? Mac is on his last legs, but Seubert might have another year in him at LG

Matt Williamson
  (12:39 PM)

He probably could. I like Diehl more as a OG, but that is the beauty of a guy like that. He isn't ideal for any spot, but doesn't embarrass himself at any spot either. And he is versatile. Great guy to have around.

Tim (Saginaw, MI)

Who is the Defensive POY this year? The race seems muddled to me.

Matt Williamson
  (12:40 PM)

It is muddled, but my top two votes would be 1. C Woodson and 2. D Revis. Woodson didn't have a great week last week though and Revis did-as usual.

Matt K (Enola, PA)

Matty, In that Pitts vs GB game is it me or does Tyrone Carter miss play so many tackles and coverage that we would be better off with anyone else back there?

Matt Williamson
  (12:42 PM)

He is horrible. R Clark isn't much better. The safety position is a massive liability and very well could be the Steelers' first round pick, even with 43 in the fold. Just isn't anyone any better on the roster though.

Griffin (Texas)

Who would you rather have on your team Chris Johnson or Peyton Manning.

Matt Williamson
  (12:43 PM)

Manning every day of the week and twice on Sundays and Monday Nights and Thursday Nights. Not only do I think that he is better at his respective position, but he is a QB and QBs make the NFL go round. Meanwhile, I think RB is possibly the easiest position need to fill.

Ben (Albany)

why has Manningham regressed from the beginning of the season?

Matt Williamson
  (12:45 PM)

I think it is a case of Nicks progressing as much as anything else. But, Manningham isn't real physical vs. press coverage and is somewhat sloppy with his route running.

Chad (St. Paul)

How can the Titans find space for CJ but the Vikes, better at nearly every skill position, cannot get the same space for AP? What needs to change?

Matt Williamson
  (12:46 PM)

Not entirely sure what is going on with Peterson right now. One thing is for sure-Tenn's OL is FAR superior to Minny's. Never been a believer in Minny's OL, esp at both OTs. Also, a great running game takes patience, esp with home run threats like Peterson and Johnson. Keep giving it to them and they will break free eventually.

Tim (Saginaw, MI)

C. Johnson is having a great year, but I think I'd still take AP as first RB.

Matt Williamson
  (12:47 PM)

Oh me too. It isn't even close to be honest in my opinion and here is the better question: Who is the 2nd best RB in the NFL? Personally, I would take Steven Jackson. I know that I am in the minority, but the guy does it all and doesn't have a weakness.

Reggie (NO)

Can the Saints get to the superbowl? Can Brees go to the slate, and be the MVP?

Matt Williamson
  (12:50 PM)

NO certainly can go to the Super Bowl. Home field advantage for them is massive. That place will be insane come playoff time. But, the NFC is brutal and I really like all the teams that will be entering the tourney. But, another thing that should favor NOrls is if/when they get their CBs back and the bye will really help with that. Porter is now back, which is huge, but they need Gay and esp Greer. When healthy, I think they have the best secondary in the league, but lately, it has been a massive liability.

Christian (Indiana)

better reciever, randy moss or vincent jackson?

Matt Williamson
  (12:52 PM)

Right this second, V-Jax by a hair. Has just edged past him. Moss is great. All time great. But he really only does one thing well-fly down the sidelines and catch bombs. Don't get me wrong-that is a nice thing to be able to do as consistently as he does! But, Jackson can do that as well-but is far more physical and more of an intermediate and over-the-middle option as well. Obviously the arrow is also going opposite directions on both of these players careers as well.

Daniel (Long Beach, NY)

Top 5 MVP candidates? Here are mine, in order : 1. Peyton 2. Chris Johnson 3. Aaron Rodgers 4. Phillip Rivers 5. Drew Brees

Matt Williamson
  (12:53 PM)

I like that but would put Rodgers fifth and keep the rest of the order the same.

Tim (Kansas City)

Why isn't Pioli getting more criticism for the horrible job he's done in his first year? How do you cut Bernard Pollard for the ancient Mike Brown? How do you draft a "run stopper" with the 3rd pick of the draft, and give up 280 yards to Jerome Harrison? I don't see any hope here besides Jamaal Charles, who he didn't draft.

Matt Williamson
  (12:54 PM)

Very well said. I contend that KC is in worse shape overall right now than they were one year ago. I think my top 10 disappointments from this past draft article comes out today. Tyson Jackson is #2 behind only DHB.

Tom (NYC)

Better long term solution...Sanchez or Stafford? Merry Christmas!

Matt Williamson
  (12:55 PM)

Stafford. FAR better physical skills. Huge arm. Guts. Tougher in the pocket than Sanchez. Not afraid to let it fly. Both need a lot of work and actually, I was higher on Sanchez on DDay-not anymore.

Christian (Indiana)

do you think losing Jamal Williams in week 1 is the reason for san diego's weak run D

Matt Williamson
  (12:55 PM)

Oh for sure. They have brought in all kinds of guys off the street for that role. But big time NTs don't grow on trees. Will need to draft a guy.

JJ (Folsom)

DHB drops everything. It's like his hands are wet or frozen after just having eaten an otter pop or a frozen burrito. Can DHB ever be productive?

Matt Williamson
  (12:56 PM)

I agree and no, he can't ever be productive if he can't catch the football. Pretty important at that position.

Grayson (California)

If the Bengals make the playoffs, do you think they will focus on milking Cedric Benson like a common dairy cow?

Matt Williamson
  (12:57 PM)

Yes, I do, as they have all season. But, in the tourney, you have to be able to throw it too-which is what gives me pause with the Bengals. Love Palmer, but I don't like their protection and they really only have one pass catching weapon of note. Last week was promising, but I want to see more.

Liam (Pleasanton, California)

Doesn't Andres Johnson belong in the conversation as best WR if Moss is in it?

Matt Williamson
  (12:58 PM)

I don't think Moss (or V-Jax) is in the conversation. I see it as a conversation between Andre J and Larry Fitz. Two horse race.

Tom (NYC)

So does that mean you do not like Sanchez long term? Did the Jets miss again with their QB?

Matt Williamson
  (12:59 PM)

I fear that they have. I worry how well he sees the field and his skill set is very average, which is a big problem in the area of the country that he plays. We shall see of course-and it is way too early to think he is a bust-but I would like to see better pocket presence as well.

Tim (Saginaw, MI)

Calvin Johnson gaining ground?

Matt Williamson
  (12:59 PM)

Not this year-but he will pass them both.

Kevin (Carlisle, PA)

Better hands, Ike Taylor or Darius Heyward-Bey?

Matt Williamson
  (12:59 PM)

Pretty funny.

Matt Williamson
  (1:01 PM)

On that note-I am out of here folks. Enjoy your holidays. Enjoy your football. Take care and be safe.