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

Matt Williamson
  (11:57 AM)

Hey everyone. Let's get this started a little early. Fired up.

Rayshawn (Seattle)

Is Golden Tate one of the best steals in the draft in your mind?

Matt Williamson
  (11:58 AM)

No. Good value pick. But a "Steal"? Nah. Good with the ball in his hands. Physical guy. But not ultra quick or laterally explosive. Can do a lot with him, but I question what kind of route runner he will be. I like him-don't get me wrong-and he is VERY welcome to Seattle's WR corps, but I don't think he is the savior. I am excited to watch him in the preseason of course.

JJ (Seattle)

Is the Seahawks defense being overlooked?Trufant had a down year after injury.Tatupu was injured.Curry was a rookie.I feel like the Hawks have a good defense this season.

Matt Williamson
  (12:00 PM)

I see where you are coming from. The LBs have to be improved and could be a team strength. I very much still believe in Curry. Adding Thomas on the backend is a nice help in terms of range and ability to play the pass. But-that is about as far as I can give you. I don't like the DL (or pass rush) at all other than Mebane. Trufant is fine, but their CB position is a bunch of smurfs. I am not sold. Bottom 10 D overall.

Jeff (Chicago)

M-Dub- what kind of year do you see Boldin having?

Matt Williamson
  (12:02 PM)

Underwhelming. Obviously he is a very good player, but he isn't in a real pass happy O-or playing against NFC West Ds. Sure, Balt will pass more and Flacco should continue to improve, but he still isn't Warner and they won't throw like Zona did. Boldin will be a welcome addition though-great blocker, tough, move the chains guy. But, never forget with Boldin, that yes, he is tough, but he misses a ton of time with injury.

Eric (Chicago)

M-Dub, are you Wacko-For-Flacco this year?

Matt Williamson
  (12:04 PM)

Nope. Excited about him a little-but not Wacko. I watched Joe in HS and recruited him to Pitt-very much rooting for him. But baby steps. Still not a top notch guy. However, with their mess of a secondary, I could actually see Balt getting into their share of shoot outs in 2010. Puts a lot of pressure on Flacco. He is capable of excelling in that situation, but I also think he will hit some speed bumps along the way still. Baby steps.

Eric (Chicago)

Matt, what is Todd Haley thinking? Does anyone know? How can Jamaal Charles not be RB1 right now? Is it because Thomas Jones had 1300 yard seasons for 2 seasons in a row? Does Haley feel like Jones should be handed the rock or is there more with Charles that we don't know about yet?

Matt Williamson
  (12:05 PM)

I very much believe that Charles will be the primary ball carrier in KC. Haley would be a fool to do otherwise. I expect a lot of Cassel in the shot gun. Multiple WR sets. Spread field. That isn't Jones' game-and obviously Jones has no where near the explosive game changing ability that Charles possesses.

ron (michigan)

Feels different this time believing in the Lions......I'm nuts, huh?

Matt Williamson
  (12:06 PM)

I think you are 1/2 nuts. Really like the O now. Still hate the D.

Matt (Chinatown)

Is it just me or is the Saints D due for major regression? They were so reliant on the turnover, and that just seems hard to maintain.

Matt Williamson
  (12:08 PM)

I couldn't agree more. I think G Williams' play calling is conducive to creating turnovers, but you just can't hang your hat on it like the Saints did last year. They were weak against the run-very weak. Besides Vilma, I don't like the LBs at all. I love the secondary and W Smith...that's about it.

David (NY NY)

As Giants' fans, we're getting encouraging reports on Jason Pierre-Paul and Linval Joseph. If I'm remembering correctly, DTs generally take longer to develop than DEs, so Pierre-Paul may be more positioned to make an impact?

Matt Williamson
  (12:09 PM)

I would say so because with JPP you can just tell him on passing downs to "Go Get the QB". I see Joseph being worked in throughout the year though and contributing, but this will be a learning year and he does have some stamina issues. Nice position to be in though with your DL! The Giants are extremely strong now up front.

Chad (Las Vegas)

Tell Matt (Chinatown) that the Saints D wasn't all that bad. They were up so much in some games that they gave up a lot of yards. Then they had a ton of injuries. Yes they were very opportunistic in turnovers but when you are forcing teams to press to catch up you will get those.

Matt Williamson
  (12:10 PM)

They were not all that bad on D, but can the insane amount of turnovers created keep up? Can they score on D that often again? I just see a lot of weaknesses on that D. But...having an elite O sure makes those problems more bearable.

Randy (Portland)

What kind of season do you see Beanie Wells having?

Matt Williamson
  (12:11 PM)

A monster season. Very much a believer. Incredibly talented. Whiz/Grimm kind of RB. Also plays a very easy schedule vs. the run.

Golden Tate (via mobile)

Speaking of steal, have you tried these maple bars? They are irresistable!

Matt Williamson
  (12:11 PM)

Very nicely played

Jeff (KC)

Eric beat me to the J.Charles question. The problem is, Haley is just the fool to keep JC on the bench. This is the same guy who deactivated JC last Sept. This is the same guy who listed JC behind Jackie Battle last summer. This is the same guy wanted to start Dantrell Savage after releasing LJ last year. This is the same guy who couldn't identify an obvious top 5 talent. Are you still questioning whether Haley is foolish enough go with Jones.

Matt Williamson
  (12:12 PM)

Not sure what sort of rebuttal I can have for that! Nice work Jeff. But-do you think C Weiss will stand for it?

eric (baltimore)

Rumors of Bal trading McGahee or Clayton to Den for A Goodman. Good deal or no?

Matt Williamson
  (12:13 PM)

First I heard that, but Goodman is a starter for Denver. And Denver needs an OLB even worse than Balt needs a CB! Can't see that happening.

Winston (Seattle)

Clayton, Schlereth, and the other Williamson think the Raiders are improved enough to get out of the Double Digit Doldrums. What are your thoughts and expectations on the Raiders this season?

Matt Williamson
  (12:15 PM)

I disagree. I see them winning about six games. Maybe 5. Hate their OL. Not thrilled with any of their skill players. The QB is a huge upgrade, but he is still an average player at best. Besides Nnamdi, where are the difference makers? The D should improve, but will they play more 3-4 (which I think they should) or 4-3 (which is prob what they will do)?

eric (baltimore)

You underrate Bal's safeties. Landry,Zbikowski,Nakamura and Hamlin are fine and Reed now looks like he will play Week 1.

Matt Williamson
  (12:16 PM)

If Reed plays Week 1, then I take that all back. I do think that Reed is very due to take a step back this year though, but still, can't count that guy out. Anyway you cut it, if I am lining up against the Ravens, I am opening the game with 3 WRs and forcing their nickel package on the field all game long. Their run D will be elite-why pound your head against that wall? Throw all day.

Travis (Santa Clara)

What are the chances of 49er fans coming to reality about their 1 dimensional team?

Matt Williamson
  (12:17 PM)

I don't see them as one dimensional and expect Smith to take a noticable step forward. Excellent D too in SF. I see SF as an improving team that will win a very bad division-but not a contender in the NFC.

eric (baltimore)

Matt: Antwan Barnes is the other name rumored to Den for Goodman.

Matt Williamson
  (12:19 PM)

Now Barnes makes some sense. I have always thought that he deserved more of a chance and could be a decent OLB in the 3-4. Still, is Denver that happy with their CBs to deal a starter? A Smith was a big disappointment in year one-maybe they have faith in him.

Joe (LA)

Are you related to the other Williamson?

Matt Williamson
  (12:19 PM)

Nope. Not Troy W either.

bob sanders (indy)

can i still be the player i once was- or have the injuries taken too much a toll?

Matt Williamson
  (12:20 PM)

Who knows Bob-we haven't seen you play the game in way too long. I tend to guess that you will be the same...and then you will get hurt.

Kenny (Philly)

Do you think the acquisition of Ernie Sims was overlooked? He has looked great in Eagles camp from what I've read.

Matt Williamson
  (12:21 PM)

Yes. Really liked that pickup. True WLB for their scheme. I also think getting out of such a brutal losing environment can really help a talented guy like Sims. No pressure on him now. Line him up next to Bradley and behind a pretty good DL. I like the addition a lot.

Marc (Malden, MA)

I looked at the schedule and see the Redskins going 10-6. How about you?

Matt Williamson
  (12:23 PM)

Wow-no. Would have to go through their schedule and obviously playing a last place schedule is advantageous. But right now, I still like Dallas, NYG and Philly better than Washington. Just SO much change there on both sides of the ball-how early will they gel? Really dislike the RBs and don't really like the pass catchers. Middle of the road D. Improved, but not 10 win team.

Joe (MN)

Keep Steven Jackson over Cedric Benson and DeAngelo Williams?

Matt Williamson
  (12:24 PM)

I assume you are talking about a FF Keeper League? If so, I would want DeAngelo first, Jackson second and Benson third for the long haul.

Matt (Tacoma)

Do the Hawks draft a QB with their 1st pick in the coming draft or do they try and develop Whitehurst?

Matt Williamson
  (12:25 PM)

That is something that they must figure out before the season ends. Supposedly a very strong QB draft too. They have to have a VERY good feel for what they have in Whitehurst when this season ends. I tend to guess that he isn't the answer, but I also don't feel very confident saying that. Haven't seen this guy in a meaningful game since Clemson!

Joel (NY)

do you think that the panthers recievers can do enough to roll coverages away from steve smith so that he can have a productive year along with matt moore

Matt Williamson
  (12:27 PM)

Yes and No. No one will roll coverages away from Smith, but I still think he can have a big year, esp due to the respect their excellent running game will get.

Chad (Las Vegas)

Why are people so high on the Jets? Did they forget that Mark Sanchez had the 2nd most INT's in the league last year? Do all people remember is the playoff where they won in spite of him? I just don't see the Jets making a big splash this year.

Matt Williamson
  (12:27 PM)

I am very much with you and will not pick the Jets to make the playoffs. Mostly due to their QB.

Mark (cleveland)

Chances of Colt McCoy being the starte by the end of this season are....

Matt Williamson
  (12:29 PM)

25%...their season surely will not mean much by Week 15 (or earlier) and it might be wise to give McCoy some reps. But...I don't see him ever being the answer. The Browns' QB of the future isn't on their roster-that is a problem.

Robert (Latrobe, PA)

Are you impressed with Denver's D-line "upgrades" this offseason? Williams is near the end (although could be a monster if healthy), Jarvis Green couldn't stay healthy even as a rotational fill-in, and Bannan, while promising, is still unproven.

Matt Williamson
  (12:30 PM)

I am impressed. It also turns the three starters from last year into backups that can enter the game as part of a rotation. Not world beaters, but good run stuffers and good fits for the 3-4. Still don't know where the pass rush comes from.

Marc (Malden, MA)

Do you think the Jets would be willing to trade Revis? Perhaps for a certain disgruntled defensive lineman (Haynesworth)?

Matt Williamson
  (12:30 PM)

Highly doubtful. If I get one D player to build around right now, I think I take Revis. Plus-Big Al doesn't want to play in a 3-4.

Ryan (Seattle)

Is it just me or are people overstating the contributions Chester Taylor will provide to the Bears offense. Here is a telling statistic - 31, the number of birthdays he has had.

Matt Williamson
  (12:32 PM)

But he doesn't have a lot of wear and tear on his body for a 31 year old RB. I think he fits that system well and will contribute. Not saying he will go to the Pro Bowl or anything, but it was a solid addition esp considering how Forte played last year.

David (NY NY)

Are there any quarterback competitions this training camp and pre-season that have any juice? There's no suspense down the road in St. Louis, for example.

Matt Williamson
  (12:32 PM)

I can't come up with any. Buffalo? Who cares.

Bob (Oakland)

All due respect Matt, but on the defensive side of the ball, how can you suggest that Richard Seymour and Tyvon Branch are not difference makers in Oakland? Meanwhile, Rolando McClain and Lamarr Houston are rookies, but are said to look very impressive early.

Matt Williamson
  (12:34 PM)

I think those two vets are very good players. I suppose Seymour does qualify. Branch is a good player, but his stats tend to inflate his true value in my opinion. McClain and Houston very well could turn into very good players too. But the jury is still really out on any rookie. I do like the D much more than the O...but I think many out there like that D more than I do.

Ryan (Seattle)

But Forte suffered two leg injuries last season and played behind an awful offensive line. Taylor player behind a better line and still averaged only 3.6 YPC.

Matt Williamson
  (12:35 PM)

Minny's OL was awful too run blocking. Again-Taylor isn't a world beater. But Chicago was VERY short on draft picks this off season and did need to add a RB that they can count on. His receiving ability and ability to pick up the blitz is key in this discussion. Not a Forte fan here though.

vk (dc)

Last place schedule got the Skins: Peyton Manning, Aaron Rodgers, Matt Schaub, Brett Favre, and 6 games against the Boys, Eagles, and Giants. 4-12 here we come!!!!

Matt Williamson
  (12:36 PM)

I am more with you vk than the guy who said 10-6!

Ron (Michigan)

My pick Colts over 'Boys in the Super Bowl....yours?

Matt Williamson
  (12:36 PM)

Colts over Packers I think will be my final answer. SO boring.

Vince Young (Nashville)

Is my GM dumb wouldnt we be better off to have Jammall Charles in Round 3 and DeShawn Jackson than CJ?Or is CJ an equal playmaker to both of them?

Matt Williamson
  (12:38 PM)

Would say that is somewhat by default, but yes, those two have a ton of ability and fit what Singletary wants to do very well-esp Iupati. Still, Iupati took a TON of penalties at the Senior Bowl and needs to stop being such a grabber. And Davis needs to play hard every snap. Tough lessons for rookies-again, there will be some growing pains.

Matty Nice (The Burg, PA)

Matt, the power rankings have the Steelers at 19, come on with the defense back and an improved o line, we are much better. right?

Matt Williamson
  (12:39 PM)

I don't get that at all. I would have them in the Top 10. Might pick them to win the division. Best D in the league.

Marc (Malden, MA)

Do you really think the Redskins are going 0-6 within the division? They also have HOU, @STL, @CHI, @DET, TB, @JAX. You don't think they win all 6 of those games?

Matt Williamson
  (12:40 PM)

Of those games you mention, I will give them 4-2 or 5-1 at best. In the division, I give them 2-4 at best. So, if everything goes well, 7-9.

Eric (Chicago)

The Redskins will not beat the Bears in Chicago...this isn't the 80s!

Matt Williamson
  (12:41 PM)

In Chi-Town is no walk in the park. Agreed.

Shane (Los Angeles, CA)

MW: Who is the one team you think will surprise folks this year? Not necessarily a playoff contender, but a team no one expects to do much.

Matt Williamson
  (12:42 PM)

Chicago. But the problem is, I still put them behind GBay and Minny (with #4). So, the playoffs seem unlikely, but I think they become a much better team. KC as well-esp on O.

Andrew (Seattle)

If Beanie is going to have a monster year, and the only glaring weakness in the Cards D is ILB how can you say the 49ers will win the division? Wouldn't a strong running game help the much questioned Matt Leinart?

Matt Williamson
  (12:43 PM)

Of course a great run game would help-but it wouldn't hide him completely. I don't think SF is WAY ahead of Zona or anything, but I do like SF's running game at least as much and I like their D and QB better.

Josh (Mission Viejo, CA)

Can the Chargers receiving corps step it up without Vincent Jackson? Supposedly, Floyd, Davis, and Naanee have been looking very good in camp.

Matt Williamson
  (12:45 PM)

Have heard that and that Gates character and an improved running game certainly could help. Plus, they have an elite QB. Rivers is big time and will make average WRs look better than they really are. Still betting that V-Jax reports at some point though. Not a fan of SD's D though at all...but they still win the West if Rivers stays healthy.

Benjamin (Plattsburgh really concord)

Long term Hakeem Nicks or Michael Crabtree, who do you want?

Matt Williamson
  (12:46 PM)

That is a brutal question Benjamin. Brutal. Huge fan of both. Not gonna pick. Both will spend a lot of time together on the NFC Pro Bowl roster.

Logan (Maryland)

What do you think of the peppers acquistion for the Bears

Matt Williamson
  (12:48 PM)

Gigantic. He is inconsistent, but the guy is simply a stud. Exactly what they need. Wish they still had A Brown though. And to me, the whole key with that D is T Harris.

Jordan (Cleveland)

Who do u think will end the season with more rushing yards on the Browns: Jerome Harrison or Montario Hardesty

Matt Williamson
  (12:49 PM)

Hardesty. His injury history is def a worry though. Staying healthy in this league isn't easy to do for a RB. But I really like Hardesty and think he is what Mangini wants from the position. Powerful. Plus, he is also what Holmgren wants-bigger RB who can catch the ball.

Richard (Greensboro, NC)

Who reports 1st: Jackson, McNeill, Revis?

Matt Williamson
  (12:50 PM)

McNeil. He is the worst player of the 3...therefore, has the least leverage. I still think Revis signs before the season though. Opening day is still a ways away! Only 1 preseason game in the books!

Angelo (Cleveland)

What will be my Browns record

Matt Williamson
  (12:50 PM)

3-13. 0-6 in the division.

Jake (NJ)

Who do you think is coming out of the AFC south for the playoffs this year? Because I think if the Texans can stay healthy and take down the Colts in week 1 i think they can start an upset in the division

Matt Williamson
  (12:51 PM)

Couldn't disagree more. Indy steamrolls that division as usual. I see Houston going backwards this season. Where are they better than from a year ago?

Bob (Oakland)

Who do you like better, Revis or Asomoghua? I think I know, but I'm curious anyway.

Matt Williamson
  (12:51 PM)

Revis, but that isn't a knock on Asomugha at all. Both are incredible.

Matt Williamson
  (12:52 PM)

Slightly biased there though-recruited Revis to Pitt. Have to come clean on that. Still, I thought he was clearly the best D player in the league last season.

Mike (Ohio)

Wait, the Jets won't even make the playoffs? I'm not even a Jets fan but I don't see where you're coming from. Explain yourself Matty

Matt Williamson
  (12:53 PM)

I think they are very weak at the QB position. Love the D and am assuming that Revis reports. Expecting the running game to take a small step back as well. Mike, if Indy didn't roll over last year, the Jets wouldn't have made the playoffs in 2009. I am picking NEng to win that division and torn between the Jets and Dolphins for 2nd in the East.

Nick (Spokane)

do you think Brett Favre will come back healthy and play for the vikings?

Matt Williamson
  (12:56 PM)

Okay, you heard it here first. Minny opens the season Thursday night in New Orleans. HUGE stage. Every fan in America watching. About noon on Thursday, Brett puts on his Wranglers and hops on his tractor. He's heading for the Super Dome. At the half, Minny is down 21-3. All hope is lost. But wait, a tractor pulls right into the bowels of the stadium. He jumps off and throws on his purple #4 jersey right after the Vikes take the field to start the half. Jackson gets sacked on first and 10, but out trots Brett. Takes the ball out of Jackson's hand and leads the Vikes to an inspired 24-21 victory. Mark it down.

NFL FAN (Long term)

Would you rather have Matt Ryan & Sam Baker or Jake Long

Matt Williamson
  (12:57 PM)

LOVE Long, but the QB and LT for sure. If it was Henne and Long, I would take the Phins. But I am high on Ryan too-and he is a QB!

Jordan (Cleveland)

Which QB from this year's draft except for Bradford would u want to start a franchise with

Matt Williamson
  (12:58 PM)

None.

Richard (Greensboro, NC)

Where are the Patriots any better than they were a year ago? Obviously they aren't a push over by any means, but I don't see much progress on their end either. Not seeing the Patriots being the power they have been.

Matt Williamson
  (12:59 PM)

I think Brady will be much better-that is all they need. I also expect that passing attack to be ELITE this year. The D is very young-should take some steps forward, but I do worry about the pass rush. In Brady I trust.

Trent (WA)

Thoughts on the Bengals O-Line? They were praised for their run blocking but Palmer always seems rushed.

Matt Williamson
  (1:00 PM)

That is accurate. Big heavy nasty group. Heavy footed and don't collectively recover well as pass protectors. I also don't think Palmer moves well within the pocket anymore either. A Smith would help-but wow, does he seem tough to count on.

Shane (Los Angeles, CA)

Shocked you have the Browns 0-6 in the division, they beat the Steelers TWICE last year!

Matt Williamson
  (1:01 PM)

I recall. Just to me, they are so clearly 4th in this division (like Buff in the East). Sure, they could win a game or two-divisional games are tough to predict. But just saying that playing in the AFC North doesn't help their cause right now.

Matt Williamson
  (1:01 PM)

Folks, I am out. Great chat today. Psyched for tomorrow night to see more live football. Check back next week and check out the Football Today podcast.