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May 12, 12:00 PM ET
Chat with Matt Williamson

Matt Williamson
  (12:00 PM)

Just put the finishing touches on this week's Football Today podcast (check it out-good show, as always), but now have music blaring and ready to chat it up!

Paul (Trenton)

Do you think Oakland could be around .500 this year if Cambell continues his slow, but steady annual growth at QB? His OL should receive a big boost with the return of Gallery and the addition of two OTs in the draft.

Matt Williamson
  (12:01 PM)

"Around .500" Yes, but not over and maybe not at .500. I do think that I will pick them for 2nd in the AFC West and it wouldn't shock me if they managed four wins from the division. But still, I am skeptical for sure. Love the Campbell addition though and a QB can certainly make a huge difference.

phil (san diego)

Hello Matt, There's a possibility that Shawn Merriman could be traded, have you heard any rumors of where and what can the chargers get in return? also can English step in and be a dominant pass rusher? How will this effect the chargers D? I need answers help?

Matt Williamson
  (12:04 PM)

First off, I contend that Merriman is not the player that he once was. Maybe he wasn't fully healed last year. Maybe not using banned substances has resulted in lesser player. But he was not what he was. Can he get back? Maybe. But, I bet you don't get nearly as much in return as you would expect. Vets in general right now are not yielding high returns, Merriman has showed diminishing play and he already has been suspended from the league. That is not good. I want to see a lot more from English before getting on his bandwagon, but obviously this is what he was drafted for. I liked him a lot coming out of school, but didn't see a ton to get excited about in year one. But remember, he was learning a new position (more or less) and was coming from a small college. The learning curve was obviously very steep.

David (NY NY)

Most of the comments around the Giants LB situation has focused on middle linebacker, but are they going to be o.k. with their two other guys, Boley and Sintim?

Matt Williamson
  (12:06 PM)

I like Sintim going forward and think he could be a real asset. Boley is just so inconsistent lately. Question his durability and take on ability. I don't love the Giants' LBs at all, but they will be playing a lot of sub packages so the will not have three guys on field as much as you might think. Still, I would be concerned.

tim (parma)

with all the parody in the nfl, when teams can go 3-13 then 13-3, why in heck can the CLEVELAND BROWNS or DETROIT LIONS get it together?

Matt Williamson
  (12:07 PM)

How often does such a turnaround really happen Tim? I contend that Detroit is getting it together-but these are massive rebuilding projects.

Scott (Dallas)

Steelers fan here: Dixon or Leftwich to start the season? I say Dixon for his younger legs, his quicker delivery.

Matt Williamson
  (12:09 PM)

I would want Dixon to win that job and would try to help him in any way possible to do so. I think we all know what they have in Leftwich and I condone their trading for him. PGH can certainly go 2-2 in those first four games with Leftwich. But, big picture, it would be great to really enhance Dixon's stock. Really continue his progression. Then, if Ben screws up again, you trade Ben and go with Dixon, or more likely, you start to hear offers for Dixon-like Schaub or Whitehurst.

Sharell (NCFalconFan)

Still diappointed that the FALCONS did not draft a DE. Is their anyone out there that they should go after through trade?

Matt Williamson
  (12:10 PM)

Osi? No one else jumps out at me. It is tough not having that 2nd round pick. The DEs that ATL surely targeted in round 1 were all gone-that Graham/Eagles trade really hurt the Falcons. So, they settled for Plan B and didn't reach for DE. I have no problem with that, but I do agree, this team still has a big hole at DE.

Blueman (Indy)

Any idea who the Colts starting o-line will consist of?Saturday is a lock but from there?

Matt Williamson
  (12:12 PM)

I JUST posted an article on Indy's run game and of course mentioned their OL. There are some options, but I don't see a clear starting five. I think Diem is safe and I think Johnson will end up as the LT. But who are the guards? I do think Johnson would be a heck of a OG if Terry or Ugoh could prove serviceable at LT-but I also think that is a long shot. Some of those young interior guys (Pollack) need to step up.

Mike (San Diego)

M-Dub, is McNabb questioned more than any other QB ever has been? I was a fan, and sad to see him go, but why does he get more crap than any other QB in history, given his credentials? Is it really because he was a "company man"? I could think of worse things to be!!!

Matt Williamson
  (12:13 PM)

I guess I am with you. Just got SO close SO often. But can't the same be said about Marino, Tarkenton and Kelly? But as strictly a talent evaluator, I see McNabb as an overrated player. Not a HOF type to me. Holes in his game that just haven't gone away.

Matt Williamson
  (12:14 PM)

Oh by the way, in case any of you care, my boy Ponce is taking me to Game 7 tonight at the Igloo to watch the Pens knock off the Habs. Jumping out of my skin with anticipation.

Joey (DC)

UMD a small college. That hurts.

Matt Williamson
  (12:15 PM)

Hey, I was the Director of Football Ops at Akron and very much respect the MAC, but it is a further jump to the NFL than the SEC! Plus, was changing positions. A red shirt year should have been expected.

George (Ireland)

Can you see either Sidbury or Biermann becoming a consistent pass rusher opposite a rejuvenated John Abraham in 2010? Were the Falcons right to trust this group of young and experienced pass rushers over a 1st rounder?

Matt Williamson
  (12:16 PM)

I worry about Abraham's durability. They need to keep him fresh, which will be very tough to do. I like Biermann and maybe Sidbury grows up. Sure. But is either a difference maker? I don't see it.

Houston's (Tortilla soup)

Which player would you rather have: Bobby Carpenter or Alex Barron? Can either one be a starter for his new team?

Matt Williamson
  (12:17 PM)

Barron-by far. GREAT deal for Dallas. Get an extremely talented-but not real motivated-player out of a losing environment. Barron can play either RT or LT. He will prob be #3, but if motivated, he could excel with Dallas. Carpenter has done zero since joining the league to show me that he can play at this level.

Joey (DC)

Glad you respect the MAC but we're talking ACC. Crab cakes and football that's what Maryland does best.

Matt Williamson
  (12:17 PM)

I am talking about English, the OLB from the Chargers. He didn't play at Maryland.

Josh (nashville)

Sorry Matt, but your golden boy Crosby is going to choke tonight. You always take whichever goalie is better in a game 7. Go Habitants!

Matt Williamson
  (12:18 PM)

Come on. MAF is a stud when backed against the wall. Happen to watch the Cup Finals last year?

Ryan (San Diego)

I laugh at anyone who thinks that any team from the AFC East is better than San Diego. The only team on their level is the Colts. The Chargers just have to get out of their own way, and when they do, they rip off double digit winning streaks

Matt Williamson
  (12:18 PM)

...then lose in the playoffs to a lesser team

John (Cincinnati)

Hey Matt. A lot has been said about how bad/inexperienced the Browns WRs are. Do you think changing to a west coast offense might benefit Robiske compared to last year's scheme? It seems like a "polished" route runner with decent size would fit well in the WCO...Thanks.

Matt Williamson
  (12:19 PM)

Good point. Sure, it could and I think he fits it well. Use his body to shield the defender. But still, I do think that their WRs are clearly amongst the very worst in the league. It won't help that Jake D likes to throw the ball to the other team.

David (NY NY)

When you predict how teams will do next year, do you take defensive turnovers in account? It seems to me the Scouts Inc approach does a good job of assessing the talent on the field, but some of the game is just defensive turnovers.

Matt Williamson
  (12:21 PM)

Projecting turnovers is obviously very hard to do, but two factors are important to me in that regard. 1. Coaching. Does this DC have a track record (Gregg Williams comes to mind) of doing a great job of putting his guys in position to get turnovers. Does he confuse the O and mix up his play calling. 2. Pass Rush. Pass rushers make things happen. They make QBs get rid of the ball before they want to. They make the QB think quicker than he is sometimes capable. They cause fumbles in the pocket.

Mike (San Diego)

M-Dub, back to McNabb. I guess I was trying to say how his teammates diss him all the time. I'm not suggesting HoF or anything. It just seems like he gets piled on, and to me it doesn't make sense.

Matt Williamson
  (12:22 PM)

In that sense, I am with you...but we are not in those locker rooms. Sometimes when there is smoke in these type of instances, there is fire. We really don't know.

Scott (Oakland)

What would it cost, realistically, for the Raiders to aquire Jared Gaither?

Matt Williamson
  (12:23 PM)

Well, they don't have a first rounder next year, but I would bet that their 2nd rounder would be a very good starting point. The rumor is Buff's #2 next year for Gaither...but I think that Bills' pick will be

David (NY NY)

Why don't teams make their players run 40s every year so they can be certain who's lost speed and not just be pretty certain or even guessing?

Matt Williamson
  (12:24 PM)

Because they watch tape and tape is a better indicator of football speed than lining up in spandex and running from a track start. 40 times are practiced over and over-and somewhat manufactured.

Ryan (San Diego)

Your point? The Colts did that about 7 times before they ever won a Super Bowl and then did it after. Nobody seems to care about that I guess

Matt Williamson
  (12:25 PM)

I am not saying that SD is not a contender or that they are incapable of winning the Super Bowl. Huge believer in Rivers here and with Mathews, I expect their O to be elite this year. Could happen, but their warts are pretty obvious as well.

Brad (NM)

Ryan..you're a good guy and all..but you talk the most smack about a team that has accomplished NOTHING. Maybe they can bring Stan Humphries back so they can get stomped in another SB. The Jets have a far better defense than SD does now, and I bet even the Patriots would get the better of the Chargers at this point. Saying the best team in the AFC (Indy) is the only team that matches up with them is simply ignorant.

Matt Williamson
  (12:26 PM)

We have a fight on our hands! Must be all the hockey talk getting the testosterone flowing! Drop the gloves! But, SD has accomplished something. Winning the division is a big accomplishment. I don't like to judge teams as 31 had a poor year and only one had a great year. But still, obviously the big hurdles remain.

Matty (Pa)

M dub, can you see the Steelers going old school and pounding the rock with Mendenhall, dwyer and Moore for most of the year?

Matt Williamson
  (12:27 PM)

More than they have. I see the OL as improved. Big group of linemen. When ownership "suggests" that they need to run more, they will run more.

Nate (Madison)

Ryan has a hard time seeing over his popped collars.

Matt Williamson
  (12:27 PM)

Or maybe just all that SD sun is in his eyes

Blueman (Indy)

Your thoughts on Tampa reorginizing there scouting department after the draft? If you were going to make these changes shouldn't that have been done before the draft?

Matt Williamson
  (12:28 PM)

Well, this group had been scouting the players from this past draft for pretty much an entire year. Now, you bring in the new guys to begin for the next draft. SUCH a long process.

keith (louisville,Ky)

Hey Matt do u think Brain Bromh is good enough to start in the NFL

Matt Williamson
  (12:29 PM)

No and especially not in Buffalo. I certainly liked him more coming out of Louisville than what he has shown in the NFL. Maybe changing teams will do him good. But in the end, he doesn't throw the ball well enough-esp in that weather. Also is just a very marginal athlete.

Joey (DC)

If you had a vote for DROY for last season, who would it go to now?

Matt Williamson
  (12:30 PM)

Clay Mathews Jr....stud

Brandon (LA)

So when is the AP going to re-vote on Julius Peppers and Shawne Merriman receiving their DROY awards?

Matt Williamson
  (12:30 PM)

Mentioned that in today's podcast. Well, I overlooked Peppers.

12yearoldeeagleslover (reading, pa)

San Diego winning the division would be an accomplishment if the teams in the AFC West were better than the Chiefs,Raiders and Broncos.

Matt Williamson
  (12:30 PM)

That too is a good point. But you can't tell me that SD wasn't a good team last year though. They can play with anyone.

Ryan (San Diego)

Haha the Jets, I'm not sure their is a bigger house of cards in the NFL than that team. Everyone seems to forget they shouldnt have even made the playoffs last season and their qb is a mess who has yet to prove he can carry a team at all. Get ready to miss the playoffs New York! Oh and be sure to stop by here when your team is slumping and Rex Ryan has more dumb stuff to say

Matt Williamson
  (12:31 PM)

Wow-not sure how I feel about you Ryan. You do have some good points about the Jets though. I worry about their QB for sure. But-they can run the ball and play D. Can win a lot of games that way. I also think Rex Ryan is a heck of a coach.

Lou (Boston)

Great response to Ryan, Matt. The kid is like a bad rash.

Matt Williamson
  (12:32 PM)

Perhaps. A little abrasive for sure.

Paul (Denver)

Can Martz rediscover his magic through Cutler, or is this situation a disaster waiting to happen?

Matt Williamson
  (12:33 PM)

Tend to think the latter. Cutler is going to get hit a TON. Plus, I think Martz will take a lot of Cutler's inprov abilities away. Trust me, I am believer in Cutler-and Martz to an extent-but I don't like this marriage at all. If it works, it will work big, but I am not betting on it.

heath (louisiana)

matt, do u think the saints have a legitimate shot at a repeat ?

Matt Williamson
  (12:33 PM)

Sure. It won't be easy-never is. But I see them as an elite team.

Robert (Latrobe, PA)

I think you should hit the "ignore" button on Ryan from San Diego. He's a blind homer and dominates chats with his ignorance of the Chargers' repeated failures.

Matt Williamson
  (12:34 PM)

Can't say I disagree with your points. Plus, you are from Latrobe, so you must be cool. But, his points aren't terrible either....and we aren't getting a ton of questions today!

Brian (Richmond, VA)

Matt - before camp starts and all of that good stuff... who is your SuperBowl picks this year?

Matt Williamson
  (12:35 PM)

Too early. Not revealing it yet. Most because I don't know. Not getting a strong feeling.

David (NY NY)

Mike Tannenbaum said the Jets would not have made the AFC Championship game without Braylon Edwards. He says he is a tremendous run blocker. Do you buy both of those statements?

Matt Williamson
  (12:36 PM)

I do. Braylon has value. He frightens defenses. He is capable of big plays. His talent is immense. Of course his drops are maddening and he is extremely inconsistent. But don't discount his value either.

Joey (DC)

You play any fantasy football?

Matt Williamson
  (12:37 PM)

I do. Been in a league now for over 10 years with my buds. Have done well. Actually, about to join an Experts Dynasty league this year. Looking forward to it.

Luis Montes (Los Angeles)

How will the 49er's fare next season withing their division?

Matt Williamson
  (12:37 PM)

They will win it. Confident that they have the best D and running game in the West. Maybe the best QB too.

heath (louisiana)

matt, who is your early picks for offensive and defensive rookies of the year ?

Matt Williamson
  (12:38 PM)

Not sure how you go against R Mathews, but J Best really has me excited too. I also like Graham in Philly for DROY. Haven't put a ton of thought into that question though.

Steve Smith (Charlotte)

Last week you mentioned Andre J Larry & Calvin Why didnt I get any love? I am small but can do all the things they can?

Matt Williamson
  (12:40 PM)

No you can't. I love your game and I truly feel for you considering your environment the last few years. You play bigger than your size indicates, but they are big strong people who also play bigger than their size indicates. This is a big man's game. That isn't to say that smaller guys can't succeed, but you can't do all the things those two beasts can do...and never will be able to.

Craig (Braintree, MA)

Do the Vikings need to pick up an offensive lineman?

Matt Williamson
  (12:41 PM)

I really don't like their OL at all, but this is not the season for picking up starting OLinemen. That ship has sailed.

Ehsan (College Station)

MW Huge fan here. If Dez does as expected do you see the Cowboys having the best receiving cores of the NFL? or anywhere close to it? Miles Austin sure was hard to cover last year and Roy Williams might be a very good #3.Thanks

Matt Williamson
  (12:41 PM)

Love Dez. And if you include Witten, it is hard to argue against your point. GBay is quite strong. SD is strong. Indy for sure. But Dallas will be in that conversation-I am sure of it. Big believer in Austin here too...not a one year wonder.

claire (ohio)

if all wr's are healthy going into the 1st game who starts alongside wayne

Matt Williamson
  (12:42 PM)

Garcon. He is bigger. More physical. Unlike what they have usually had in Indy at the position. Only getting better too. Impressive guy.

Mike (Akron)

Hey M-Dub, could you answer this for me, what does God, Allah, Mohammed, whoever, hate Cleveland so much? You had two jobs in Ohio, can you give us some insight on why Cleveland is unable to get a championship?

Matt Williamson
  (12:43 PM)

Patience. Just a little Patience-Axl Rose. They are WAY too impatient. Hire someone good, believe in him and stick with him. Will be bumps-huge bumps, but stick with your convictions.

Jason (Bmore)

Reports are that Timmons has gained some weight and is up to 250. Regardless, I only see him being situational. Do you see a scenario where he and foote start, and Farrior actually subs in?

Matt Williamson
  (12:44 PM)

I see a rotation-which is good. Timmons should be a stud on later downs and as a toy on passing downs. Plus, a rotation will help keep Farrior fresher. All three should play plenty.

Boyd (Nashville) [via mobile]

Matt, how do you see Myron Lewis fitting with TB? Future safety or barbers replacement?

Matt Williamson
  (12:45 PM)

More of a banger, Cover 2 CB. The nice thing about drafting a guy like Lewis is there is a backup plan if he doesn't work out-can move him to S.

Joey (DC)

Its because there is nothing to do in Cleveland, and when there is nothing to do opponents get good sleep. Get a night life, see championships.

Matt Williamson
  (12:45 PM)

Like Pittsburgh? Stairway to 7...

Luis Montes (Los Angeles)

So if the 49er's are your pick to win their division, who do you see as the runner up? Seahawks, possibly?

Matt Williamson
  (12:45 PM)

Would still go with Zona. I just see too many remaining holes in Seattle.

Brad (NM)

Do you think Buffalo will trade for either Gaither or Jammal Brown? I mean they have to, right? The Demetrius Bell/Ed Wang battle doesn't instill much confidence in Bills fans that's for sure.

Matt Williamson
  (12:46 PM)

You would hope so! I am with ya brother. Make the move!

biff (seattle)

can the pats hold it together until welker returns? with a suspect running game and only Moss as a proven threat with the new TEs and 2nd yr WRs, I'm concerned.

Matt Williamson
  (12:47 PM)

I see why you would be concerned, but Edelman has shown promise and I think A Hernandez will play a bigger role than you prob expect. Slot guy. More like a movable possession WR than true TE. Oh yeah, that Brady guy is pretty good too.

Jeff (San Diego)

Matt,Good stuff. Bold Prediction. AFC West...Broncos finish last. McDaniels gets the dreaded vote of confidence and is seen in church with Tebow taking communion. That is going to be one fun rollercoaster this year.

Matt Williamson
  (12:48 PM)

Roller coaster indeed. If I had to bet, Tebow starts at least one game this year...that isn't good.

Ed Hochuli (Chat Ref)

Stairway to 7? That's 5 yards for attempting to tarnish one of the greatest rock songs of all-time. You should be ashamed. It remains 1st down.

Matt Williamson
  (12:49 PM)

Whoa Ed-HUGE Zeppelin guy here. But also a Pittsburgher. I didn't make the slogan up. Just what you hear around here. No disrespect to Jimmy, Robert, John and JPJ.

Boyd (Nashville) [via mobile]

Any chance DJ Moore cracks the lineup for the Chicago Vandy-Bears this year?

Matt Williamson
  (12:49 PM)

I think they need a more physical guy than Moore, but he isn't the fastest guy around. Seems like a slot CB to me.

Ehsan (College Station)

How much of Alex Barron's struggles do you think were related to his lack of help on the OL? Do you think he could do a decent job in Dallas considering a new WINNING environment?

Matt Williamson
  (12:50 PM)

Certainly won't hurt, but he deserves blame too. Not saying he is the answer, but Dallas is clearly a better football team with Barron over Carpenter. A lot of upside still. He needs to work though.

Xander (Philly)

So who is better, Gaither or Jammal Brown?

Matt Williamson
  (12:51 PM)

Hard to say since Brown is coming back from injury. What will he look like in Week 1? I like Gaither a lot though and think he is only getting better.

Jason (Bmore)

Will Ronnie Brown's potential legal issues and Ricky Williams on/off retirement saga adversely affect the fins this year?

Matt Williamson
  (12:52 PM)

Can't help, but having two guys certainly helps. I still have faith in Ricky to be quite effective. They kind of need one another though.

Ed (Newark)

Would NYC getting the Super Bowl open up opportunities for other outdoor east coast teams to host future SBs or is this a one shot deal by the NFL?

Matt Williamson
  (12:52 PM)

I have no idea. No one consults me on such issues.

Clay (Charlotte)

What are the chances that, barring injury, Matt Moore starts all 16 games?

Matt Williamson
  (12:52 PM)

Decent. Every time he gets on the field, he plays well. Give him a chance.

Blake (Abilene, TX)

Matt, Not that I think Colt McCoy should start. But I do find it interesting that after Colt got to Cleveland and the coaches started to see how accurate he is that they backtract on their comment about him not playing next season.

Matt Williamson
  (12:53 PM)

True. But that was mini camp. Mini camp. Lets see how he handles the Steelers and Ravens blitz schemes.

Robert (Latrobe, PA)

O/U on games Brandon Jacobs starts this year? 10.5?

Matt Williamson
  (12:54 PM)

I will go under. Don't trust him to stay healthy and could actually see him benched for his play as well.

Blake (Abilene, TX)

Matt, I do not understand the Chiefs pick of McCluster. Yes he is a terrific player. However did we just not see Jamaal Charles rush for over 1,000yds in 8 games?

Matt Williamson
  (12:55 PM)

Search back for an article I did on this. You are viewing McCluster the wrong way. Don't think of him as a RB. Think of him as KC's Wes Welker who can also return kicks and line up at RB on occasion while he learns his trade. That Welker guy in this O is needed. It could/should be McCluster.

Bob (Oakland)

Why aren't more teams making a play for J. Gaither? At 24 and with great size and skills, what major red flags am I missing here? Why isn't Oakland in the mix?

Matt Williamson
  (12:56 PM)

Well, the Ravens analyze talent as well as/better than anyone. Why do they want rid of him? To me, that is the red flag. Coming out of Maryland, his work ethic was questioned. If that is still a big problem, I can see why teams would be hesitant to invest a high draft pick and a lot of money in the young man. Hard for me to answer that, but I like him on tape and I only think he will improve if he works hard.

heath (louisiana)

matt, the saints first round pick cb patrick robinson. what are his strengths and weaknesses, never seen him play much ?

Matt Williamson
  (12:57 PM)

Very fluid, fast and athletic. Not real physical. Doesn't make as many plays as you would expect considering his physical gifts. Upside though for sure.

Matt Williamson
  (12:57 PM)

Folks-great chat...as always. Be back next week and check out the Football Today podcast. Take care. Go Pens.