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September 1, 12:00 PM ET
Chat with Matt Williamson

Matt Williamson
  (11:58 AM)

Okay everyone-Let's get this party started. The regular season is right around the corner. Get through this week and then it gets serious.

Knish (Home of the Scarlet Knights)

Matt....Do the Fins have enough in the secondary to compete for a playoff spot?

Matt Williamson
  (11:59 AM)

Yes, but it is a worry-along with the pass rush, which I see as average. To me, that is the #1 worry for Miami. I really like V Davis though and expect him to take a big step forward. The rest of the guys on the back end I could take or leave. I am picking Miami for a Wild Card though.

Jake (NYC)

Should the Giant fans be worried about the numerous injuries they currently have? The only ones that stand out our Ross and Snee.......I still think they win the Division

Matt Williamson
  (12:00 PM)

I picked NYG to win the East too. Still, I don't feel great about it. OL is a big worry to me. It seems like every starter had one ailment or another-and yes, Snee is the best of that group. OLs in general in that division are a mess right now.

Bob (Oakland)

Oakland was mentioned as a team that might have some interest in trading for M. Leinart. Why? After Cambell, Gradkowski played terrific last year and then again in his last pre-season game a few days ago. Boller has also looked solid as the #3. Why bother with Leinart, particularly if you have to pay for him?

Matt Williamson
  (12:01 PM)

Cause they are Oakland-and they do dumb things. But honestly, I am with you. No thanks. Leinart is a third string QB on that team.

Al (Wausau, WI)

Matt, with Chris Cook out for at least a couple of weeks with his injury, how severely will it limit the Vikings at defensive back?

Matt Williamson
  (12:02 PM)

Well, that pass rush makes a lot of problems go away in the secondary, but they open in New Orleans! Ouch. I don't see that game going well for the Vikes for that reason and several others. But I hear ya-they must have felt that they had a surplus there when they dealt Sapp, but now-they all of a sudden have a shortage.

Mike (Madison, WI)

So, the Jets are obviously a run-heavy offense again. What other teams do you expect to heavily rely on the run this year?

Matt Williamson
  (12:04 PM)

Carolina comes to mind immediately. STL should wear Jackson down pretty hard while grooming Bradford. I know Cincy went out and got a lot of weapons, but they were quite successful as a run-first O last year. Oakland too.

shaz (tampa)

so you think jevon walker would be WR threat or You still think that Percey Harvin would be the main person

Matt Williamson
  (12:04 PM)

Harvin is their #1. Not even close.

Darryl (Oakland, CA)

I've never been a fan of Jay Cutler, I believe he's the most overrated QB I've ever seen. A recent espn article had him as an "elite QB" which is insanity. How many years will the Chicago Bears wait and watch exactly how bad he really is until they make a switch at QB?

Matt Williamson
  (12:05 PM)

I don't think he is "Elite", but I am a believer. I love his toughness and his tools. Really stands in there to deliver the ball. Does he try to do too much? No question. But I do think he is a Top 10 guy.

Jeff (Chicago)

Matt, I know that early on in training camp the Bears were growing on you. After the first three weeks of preseason games have you changed that tune, and if so what is your outlook for the team?

Matt Williamson
  (12:06 PM)

They were growing on me and I did expect some O growing pains, but this protection situation is pretty frightening. I suppose I have cooled on them a little, but haven't given up on them either.

Brian (CA)

Alex Smith looks much improved from last year. With all the weapons that the 49ers can now field, do you think they put together a top offense?

Matt Williamson
  (12:07 PM)

No, but good enough to win that division pretty easily. I do like Smith too-as a game manager type. Smart. Short passes. Lean on Gore heavily. And a great D.

Matt (Hudson, OH)

Matt, give me some reason to believe that my Brownies will be better that 5-11 this year. Please. Please?

Matt Williamson
  (12:08 PM)

I can't really do it. Delhomme has certainly looked better than expected though. It's a start. The D surely has some pieces, esp in the secondary.

Mike (Madison, WI)

Who's the most talented RB for the Browns and will he get most of the carries this year?

Matt Williamson
  (12:10 PM)

Hardesty is the most talented. The only real question with him is durability-but it is a legit concern. I do tend to think that he takes over the lead role at some point about mid-season though...and does well.

RODNEY (ONE OF YOUR BIGGEST FANS)

What's up M.W. I got one question How is MJD going to be come week 1?

Matt Williamson
  (12:11 PM)

I don't know. I am reading the same stuff you and everyone else is. REAL tough for me to comment on injuries from where I sit. Not a doctor. I have to believe what I hear/read. They say he is going to be fine. Let's hope so. You talk about a guy who is important to his team? Wow!

jay (Baltimore)

Flacco will put up top 5 numbers this year...eash 4000 and 25td...thoughts?

Matt Williamson
  (12:11 PM)

I will take the UNDER

Ed (Milwaukee)

Can Foster really be the man in Houston this year?

Matt Williamson
  (12:11 PM)

I believe he can be. Exactly what they need at that position. Tough. Downhill guy with power. Not a lot of wasted movement.

dee (Minny)

Outside of Harvin...who steps up? Shiancoe maybe gets more targets?

Matt Williamson
  (12:12 PM)

I do think Peterson gets a fair amount more targets-he looks great as a receiver anymore. Shiancoe too should see more looks-maybe more vertical than he has been. Of course Berrien, esp deep. But overall, more running for sure. Get Gerhart a little involved as a ball carrier too.

joe (omaha)

better 2nd QB in fantasy...henne or VY?

Matt Williamson
  (12:13 PM)

That is a coin flip to me. Very similar for FF. VY runs a lot more, but Henne is the better passer. Tie. If I only get one-Henne.

dustin (mesa)

Do you think the niners will make some noise this year?

Matt Williamson
  (12:14 PM)

They will win the division. They will struggle in the playoffs. I think that is "Noise" considering how horrible that franchise has been in recent memory.

Mike (Madison, WI)

There are a lot of concerns about the Packers secondary around here. Can Tramon WIlliams hold down the fort, or are the Packers destined to be in a bunch of shootouts.

Matt Williamson
  (12:15 PM)

I picked GBay to go to the Super Bowl, but have also been harping on it for a long time-that pass D isn't good enough. I just don't love anyone else in the NFC more. Shootouts galore! Could also use another pass-rusher.

jon (philly)

Matt, you ever consider doing a fantasy football chat? KC Joyner does two chats a week....you slackin?

Matt Williamson
  (12:17 PM)

Would consider doing anything-love it. But I am an NFL expert. Not to knock FF-I love playing/reading about it, but some consider being a pure FF guy as a bit of a step down for me. I do understand that it is huge-and frankly, I like talking about it...and I am quite good at it! Also, KC is the man. But, I do two podcasts a week, tons of radio hits all over the country, will hot the Cover it Live for Sunday and Monday games and write about 8 or articles per week for the .com. No slackin' going on over here Brother!

MJ (Boston)

Matt - did you see Claytons' top QBs? I thought it was pretty dead on. Except, if i need to win a game tomorrow, i'm going with Brady. Thoughts?

Matt Williamson
  (12:18 PM)

I didn't see his list. John is also The Man-obviously. Would be curious what he had to say about that subject. I have said it on here a lot, but my rankings go: 1. Peyton 2. Brady 3. Brees 4. Roethlisberger 5. Rivers 6. Rodgers

MJ (Boston)

Matt can you do me a favor and really study Asante Samuel, I could find 15 CBs that i'd rather have. It seems like he gets thrown on and completed more than any other CB i've seen. He jumps routes well, but if i need a shut down guy...he's about 15-20 on my list.

Matt Williamson
  (12:19 PM)

That is pretty accurate. GREAT big play CB, but also a boom or bust guy. Takes a lot of chances. Really studies QBs though and reads tendencies well. Also, not the most physical tackler or run support player.

jon (philly)

Matt, you the man, dont get the wrong idea...i wouldnt have asked if i didnt respect and appreciate your football insight...keep up the great work!

Matt Williamson
  (12:20 PM)

Thanks Brother! And I am ALWAYS up for doing more! However, I do have a family. I need to find a way to get my wife to retire at an early age so she can take care of all the children duties! Those little buggers take up a lot of time even though they are at day care 6 hours a day! But again-thanks!

MJ (Boston)

John was something like this: 1. Peyton, 2. Brady, 3. Breese, 4. Ben, 5. Favre 6. Rodges, 7 Rivers, 8 Romo....something like that.

Matt Williamson
  (12:21 PM)

Looks pretty similar. I respect Favre, but I guess I just don't trust him like I do the others. I like Eli more than Romo.

Matt Leinart (Between Places)

Where do you think I can go to get my starting gig. I'm thinking Chicago or Cleveland. Martz or Holmgren could be the mentor I need to show my skills.

Matt Williamson
  (12:22 PM)

Oh no-you aren't starting for anyone anytime soon. And in those two towns, your lazy throws would really not work once the weather hits.

Furman (South Carolina)

How do you see the Panthers quarterback play this season? Who do you see as the number one guy?

Matt Williamson
  (12:23 PM)

Moore for sure. One thing we need to remember about that O this preseason-they have not had Stewart, S Smith or Otah! You add those three to any O and it is going to get WAY better. I am usually rough on the Panthers, but they are starting to grow on me.

brian (paradise)

I been watching CJ Spiller some experts have been saying he looks real good his last game he had 12 carries for 43 , I think he is so overated he only started 1 season he was never an everydown back , Jahvid Best had had more yards on 1 carry

Matt Williamson
  (12:24 PM)

From what I have seen in the NFL, I do like Best better...and his situation is WAY better. Spiller impresses me though. So versatile. Very explosive, both laterally and getting to the next level.

William (Philly)

Who has a better season Kolb or McNabb, not based on W-L but level of play?

Matt Williamson
  (12:24 PM)

Give me Kolb. Better receivers. I don't trust McNabb to stay healthy either...and he is already proving that.

jay (Baltimore)

Clayton also referred to flacco as an "elite" qb...care to change your "under" precition?

Matt Williamson
  (12:26 PM)

No. I don't see Flacco as Elite yet. He could get there. Maybe. But not right now. I do see some shootouts for the Ravens considering their secondary and that will boost Flacco's numbers, but I also think their protection is a little suspect right now and that they really don't have a big time vertical threat in that O since Stallworth's injury.

Darryl (Oakland, CA)

Who would you draft 1st overall: Jake Locker or Andrew Luck?

Matt Williamson
  (12:27 PM)

No idea yet. It is amazing, but I know less and less about college football as I get busier and busier with the NFL. I attack it for a few months before the draft, but as it stands now, I can't get to it nearly as much as I would like.

Mike (Madison, WI)

The Spiller question makes me wonder what rookies this year are most likely to hit the 8-10 week "wall." What do you think?

Matt Williamson
  (12:29 PM)

All. In a nutshell. Okay, think about what every rookie has been doing since training camp started in his final season of college. College camp...college season...draft prep...get drafted...rushed off to a new city/team to play against full grown men...mini camp/find a place to live/get acclimated to the league and a new city at a young age...NFL training camp (your first ever)...NFL preseason-4 games including things like Special Teams that you have never done...then, a 16 (16!) game schedule!...if you are lucky, playoffs. Remember, every player is used to having a substantial time off after each college season. NFL Rookies never got that. BRUTAL.

Nathan (Coralville, IA)

So what do you think happens to Leinart?

Matt Williamson
  (12:30 PM)

He will get picked up on the cheap. Wear a baseball hat all season.

TJ (NYC)

If M. Bush is healthy, do you see him rushing for 1200 yards this year or will the Raiders still try and run McFadden more than Bush?

Matt Williamson
  (12:31 PM)

But he isn't healthy. He has a broken thumb. I know that they don't seem too worried about that publicly, but that sounds like a terrible injury to me for a RB. Carry the ball in that hand=fumbles. Carry the ball in the other hand=major pain on stiff arms, etc. Not sure on that. I did like his prospects though before the injury. Still would have went UNDER on 1200, but OVER on 1000.

Mike (Boca Raton)

is your former pitt boy, antonion bryant, going to hook you up with some of that $8 million he got for doing nothing in 2010?

Matt Williamson
  (12:32 PM)

I was with AB in Cleveland too. Yeah, how about that! And...he will get ANOTHER signing bonus with his next team!

Nathan (Coralville, IA)

I ask this question all the time and nobody every answers it--why don't the Bills trade Marshawn Lynch for whatever they can get?

Matt Williamson
  (12:32 PM)

I think they would have, but he is recovering from injury and Fred Jackson is banged up. Bad timing.

Corey (Albany, OR)

With the trade of Josh Wilson today, how do you feel the Seattle Seahawks "D" will compete against their division teams?

Matt Williamson
  (12:33 PM)

I think that D will be rather terrible. I do like the LBs though.

Mike (Madison, WI)

Seems everybody (esp. Ryan) is talking up Tomlinson. Is he the same guy as last year or what?

Matt Williamson
  (12:34 PM)

I wrote him off as DONE many times over the past 2 years. Been saying it for a long time actually. However, if anyone can regain his ability, it would be LT-an all time great. Still, the pace of the game increases dramatically once the regular season starts. As does the physical grind. I still tend to think he is done, but my interest is peaked and I hope I am wrong.

Allow me to break the ice: My name is Freeze. (Learn it well, fo

Bottom 3 defenses in the league are...?

Matt Williamson
  (12:35 PM)

Hmmm...STL for sure. SEA. DET. Up for debate obviously, but they spring to mind.

Austin (Boston)

Is there any possibility the Patriots explore a deal with Denver for Champ Bailey, and what would it take?

Matt Williamson
  (12:35 PM)

Can't see it. He would be a Great Pat, but why would Denver deal him...unless it is J McD's only quest in life to trade away every good Broncos' player who was there before he arrived.

William (Philly)

Am I wrong to think Antonio Gates is in for a monster season?

Matt Williamson
  (12:36 PM)

I don't think you are wrong at all. Not sure he is the physical specimen that he once was, but I do think he will get a ton of targets and has a great feel for the nuances of the position now at his age. Plus, his QB is awesome.

BOOMS (CLEVELAND)

What kind of numbers to you see Ronnie Brown putting up this year?

Matt Williamson
  (12:36 PM)

Real big numbers until he gets hurt. No faith in him to stay healthy.

BOOMS (CLEVELAND)

What kind of numbers do you see Johnny Knox posting this season?

Matt Williamson
  (12:37 PM)

Real big numbers-all year long. Bombs. RAC. All of the above.

DJ (Chicago)

We've seen the Bears o-line and it's similarities to swiss cheese. Logan Mankins is a pro-bowl OL who wants out. what would it take as far as compensation both with picks and a contract to bring him to the Windy City?

Matt Williamson
  (12:38 PM)

That would be a fantastic addition for them. Actually said it on the air here in Pittsburgh too that the Steelers should put an offer in. PLENTY of teams could use Mankins. But, NEng does just give away great players. My bet is that he is in a Pats uniform before long.

MJ (Boston)

Who was the better running back, Ernest Byer or Kevin Mack?

Matt Williamson
  (12:38 PM)

I don't know Dude. I was born in 1973. I remember both, but not in great scouting detail.

MIKE (NY JETS)

Lightning Round: Sanchez or Stafford!!!

Matt Williamson
  (12:39 PM)

Stafford...by far. Keep em coming

Mike (Madison, WI)

Gotta go (baby getting fussy), but thanks for the insight. It's gonna be a fun season. What week 1 game are you going to?

Matt Williamson
  (12:40 PM)

I don't go to games. Go into my Man Cave. Watch the huge plasma. Host Cover it Live. See pretty much all the games at once. Can't be so pinpointed on a single game.

Steve (Buffalo)

Pierre Thomas or Javid Best?

Matt Williamson
  (12:40 PM)

Tough...but give me Best. He is so impressive.

Huggins, Mike Williams, and Freeman (Bucs)

In three years, any of us in the Pro Bowl? Who?

Matt Williamson
  (12:41 PM)

I don't think Huggins. I would say Williams has the best chance, but he and Freeman could become that type of player in 3 years.

Kurt Warner (Anywhere but the desert)

Do you think the Cardinals would offer me $25 million to play this year?

Matt Williamson
  (12:42 PM)

LOL. Just hand you a blank check. Take whatever you want Kurt!

Jon (Detroit)

Most disruptive: Suh, Mccoy, or Raji for 2010

Matt Williamson
  (12:43 PM)

Wow, I like them all. But give me Suh.

TJ (NYC)

Z. Miller or K. Winslow? Thanks and great job as always!

Matt Williamson
  (12:43 PM)

Another tough one. I expect both to lead their team in catches. Miller by a hair. Less chance of breaking down physically.

DREWSTARR (MILE HIGH)

Tebow or Quinn for the number 2 role in Denver

Matt Williamson
  (12:43 PM)

Has to be Tebow. Quinn doesn't look like he belongs in the league.

K (work)

Dez or Crabtree?

Matt Williamson
  (12:44 PM)

Dez is in a better situation for vertical routes. But I like Crabtree better slightly overall and by a decent margin for 2010. Remember, Dez really hasn't played much football since 2008!

EZ (KC)

Do the Chiefs have a 1000 yard rusher this year?

Matt Williamson
  (12:44 PM)

Yup...JC

Mike (Boca Raton)

Bleaker future: Lineart or Quinn?

Matt Williamson
  (12:45 PM)

Ewwww...Quinn's is bleaker.

Joe (NY)

Matt how much is Rivers helped by the fact that he has such big receivers to throw the ball too?? He doesn't have to be accurate all of the time

Matt Williamson
  (12:45 PM)

Not a bad point, but I also think that his OL isn't all that great and that overall, he is the one who makes everyone better around him MUCH more so than the other way around.

Jon (Detroit)

THanks Matt, You are by far my favorite analyst? We need more Matt Williamson. Can we get a producer to put you on NFL LIVE???

Matt Williamson
  (12:46 PM)

LOL...I have a face for radio!

EZ (KC)

Chiefs 8 - 8. Over or under?

Matt Williamson
  (12:47 PM)

UNDER, but 8-8 seems possible to me. But I like their chances of being a 7 win team more than being a 9 win team.

Mike (Ohio)

Peyton Manning or umpires who can't get out of the way?

Matt Williamson
  (12:47 PM)

#18...I bet that makes him absolutely insane. Don't blame him.

Nathan (Coralville, IA)

Can the Chargers do much without their two holdouts?

Matt Williamson
  (12:48 PM)

They will win the division. Rivers will be great. Mathews and Gates too. The D will be blah. One and done in playoffs.

Col. John Matrix (Just bodies.)

Reggie Bush: over/under 9 total TDs scored this year?

Matt Williamson
  (12:48 PM)

That is a good line for him. Would have to go UNDER considering his injury history, but I really like what I have seen from him this preseason. Can be a difference maker in that O when right.

Col. John Matrix (Just bodies.)

Terrence Cody vs. a buffet?

Matt Williamson
  (12:49 PM)

Wow-that buffet has NO CHANCE!

Kevin (Warrenton, VA)

Shonn Greene over/under 1,100 yards, 11 TDs?

Matt Williamson
  (12:49 PM)

OVER...then UNDER on TDs

Anthony (NYC)

M-Dub we all know thatBelichek is a Genius & he's blessed with a top 5 offense, but at what point does he push the panic button in regards to the defense?(his bread

Matt Williamson
  (12:50 PM)

He has to be worried. But, I really like that D up the middle from Wilfork to the ILBs to the Safeties. Maybe he can scheme around that. Plus, the CBs are young and should improve. They really need another pass rusher though. Shootouts.

Eric (Chicago)

Matt Forte - 1100 yards rushing, 750 yards receiving, 8 TDs...where you at?

Matt Williamson
  (12:51 PM)

UNDER on all. Very average skill set for an NFL starting RB.

nick (buffalo)

what are the chances leinert goes to buffalo

Matt Williamson
  (12:51 PM)

Yuck. Terrible fit in a bad weather city. Think SoCal boy would enjoy Buffalo? Yuck.

Mike (Boca Raton)

thoughts on the ravens picking up cb josh wilson from sea?

Matt Williamson
  (12:52 PM)

Depth player. HUGE need position. Has some ability. Small and plays small. Not a banger. It helps. But not enough.

William (Philly)

Matt, I know a good pass rusher in Oakland that the Patriots could use.

Matt Williamson
  (12:53 PM)

Very true. But, when that 2011 Draft rolls around and NEng steps to the podium with the 7th pick overall that used to belong to the Raiders...well...you see where I am going with this.

Al (Wausau, WI)

Matt, how about Matt Leinart in Green Bay??

Matt Williamson
  (12:53 PM)

Were you trying to find the only city in the league with more difficult weather to throw in? He throws soft. He is soft. Horrible fit in Green Bay.

tom (mass)

colts pack superbowl right

Matt Williamson
  (12:53 PM)

Yup

MJ (Boston)

is Darren McFadden pretty much useless? 4th overall pick? Can't break tackles, runs upright...does he have a career?

Matt Williamson
  (12:54 PM)

I am with you. NEEDS to be more of a WR than RB...but I don't see Oakland doing that. Will keep stuffing a square peg into a round hole. Bust.

Eric (Chicago)

MW, should Leinart consider the UFL or CFL?

Matt Williamson
  (12:54 PM)

Not yet. Someone will take him.

William (Philly)

That 7th pick will have to be spent on a WR with Moss gone.

Matt Williamson
  (12:55 PM)

Or the best passing rusher in the draft. Tate can step up at WR. The Pats are loaded with weapons. Plus, who is to say that NEng just doesn't franchise Moss?

Mike (NH)

Who will be the lead ball carrier for the Pats?

Matt Williamson
  (12:55 PM)

So hard to guess, but I would say Maroney. Seems like BB is just saving him.

Nathan (Coralville, IA)

Wow--so many quick questions and answers! I definitely need more coffee just to follow this chat. If Leinart is gone, will the Cardinals really stick with two rookies to back up Derek Andersen?

Matt Williamson
  (12:57 PM)

I like the speed round! Good stuff. Might have to make it a fixture! Anyways, I would call Minny about Sage Rosenfels or Balt about Troy Smith or Miami about Thigpen.

Mike (Boca Raton)

Marisa Miller or Brookly Decker?

Matt Williamson
  (12:57 PM)

Isn't that like Manning vs. Brady? Where are the negatives?

phil (san deigo)

What kind of year will Meriman have?

Matt Williamson
  (12:57 PM)

Mediocre. Just like last year and the year before.

Mike (Boca Raton)

i didn't say there were negatives, but you still have to choose

Matt Williamson
  (12:58 PM)

I will wait for them to chose me.

Matt Williamson
  (12:59 PM)

Folks, I have to run. Exceptional chat today. Not just saying that because you mostly said nice things about me either! It was fun. Check out the Football Today podcasts this week too. Take care.