Print and Go Back ESPN: SportsNation

September 8, 12:00 PM ET
Chat with Matt Williamson

Matt Williamson
  (11:59 AM)

About 32 hours before kickoff. Anyone else as psyched as I am? Let's get this rolling.

Ike (Nashville)

Who are the offensive lines that stand apart in your opinion?

Matt Williamson
  (12:01 PM)

It isn't as clear as it was to me about a month ago. I felt Miami was #1-but they have had injury problems and haven't played great during the preseason. You still have to include the Jets, but I do have real worries about their LG spot and overall depth. Balt deserves consideration, but I don't like the OT switch-and Gaither is out. NOrls is quite good, but I don't trust Bushrod at all. The Pats should be strong, but not fantastic. Tenn is strong, but Johnson makes them look better than they truly are. Would like to see Otah back with Carolina. So-as you see, lots of questions right now with the big boys in the trenches.

Brian (CA)

Crabtree has flown under the radar not having played in the preseason. With Alex Smith making strides at QB, what can we expect from the 2nd year WR?

Matt Williamson
  (12:02 PM)

I expect a very impressive showing from Crabtree. Not sure there will be a ton of big plays in this O, but Crabtree will play big and should be WAY better after the catch than he was as a rookie. Also a tremendous red zone threat. When it is all said and done this year, Crabtree will be feared by Ds more than V Davis.

SprungOnSports (Long Island)

Will the Bengals be able to throw all over New England Sunday? Who wins that game?

Matt Williamson
  (12:03 PM)

I like NEng. Home. Better coached. Better QB. But worse D for sure. I want to see it from the Bengals passing game before I am a true believer. My hunch is that Belichick has a little something extra for the Bengals this week.

jake (texas)

how epic would a TEXANS vs COWBOYS super bowl be? It seems more possible than ever this year. THE BATTLE FOR TEXAS

Matt Williamson
  (12:04 PM)

Epic indeed. Possible? Sure. I aint buying it.

Todd (Boston)

I have Farve for my quarterback this year. What can we expect from him given that Rice is out? Can he be a top 10 QB this year or is he heading for a big downturn?

Matt Williamson
  (12:05 PM)

Top 10 seems high, esp behind that OL. He has to be more immobile than ever with that ankle. Less 7 step game/deep passing. More running as well from Peterson. But Rice does come back-and maybe the ankle really improves. More INTs as well. But the guy can still play the game.

Paul (Boise)

Mike Williams for the Seahawks. Does he still have first round potential?

Matt Williamson
  (12:06 PM)

First round of what? I think he was a tremendous find and has a lot of talent, esp near the goal line.

Ray (Germany(USAF))

How do you think Flacco will do this year? Also, I think LT is gonna have a great year!! What do you think?

Matt Williamson
  (12:08 PM)

LT has already far surpassed my expectations this preseason, but I am still a believer in him being done. Let's see him maintain it. Flacco is good. Up and coming. But overall, I do think many are getting a little too excited about him right now. He has more weapons for sure, but no deep threats and Boldin is injury prone. I also think Balt's D takes a big step back this year-esp against the pass. That puts more stress on Flacco-in a similar situation to Brady and Rodgers in that respect. But he isn't Brady or Rodgers.

Ryan (NJ)

How could you possibly think the Chiefs are better than the Broncos?

Matt Williamson
  (12:09 PM)

I see KC being way better on O than a year ago and way better coached on D. I see very little in Denver to get excited about. Wouldn't say that KC is WAY better or anything, but I like their weapons better for sure.

Scott (Dallas)

Remember when everyone was questioning Doug Free. Dallas' new LT is their best olineman. It's high priced declining vets Gurode and Big Davis I'm worried about.

Matt Williamson
  (12:10 PM)

Big time. I had my concerns too with Free-just wasn't sure if he was a LT or RT. But he can play. The rest of the OL is VERY worrisome. That-and to a much lesser degree safety-are where I see Dallas being weak. That goes back to the end of last year and over the off season, but they didn't really address it. Now, the line is battered a bit already. Worrisome.

Brian (Oregon)

Enjoy your work, Matt. Let me know if you open assistant positions. Glad we can now talk about Week 1 instead of just the season as a whole. Most intriguing Week 1 matchup? And one you see as an upset given consensus team rankings?

Matt Williamson
  (12:12 PM)

Much appreciated. They are ALL intriguing of course. Must say, I am so tired of speculating and making predictions. Balt at Jets, Cincy at NEng, Car at Giants, ATL at PGH are prob the games that intrigue me the most right now.

Paul (Boise)

I'm wondering if he's capable of being what Detroit originally drafted him (Mike Williams) to be.

Matt Williamson
  (12:13 PM)

I like Williams, but that might be a bit much. When drafted, many saw him as a physically dominating guy who was way bigger than every CB who guarded him-almost like Calvin J. He will never be that freak like Calvin, but he can be quite good. Big body for sure. Knows how to use it.

Trent (WA)

Re: Crabtree. Aren't you at least a bit worried about the team's frustration with Crabtree's attitude?

Matt Williamson
  (12:13 PM)

Not at this stage of the game, but could see long term concerns between him and Singletary.

Vikes fan (MSP)

Why does everyone like Miles Austin more than Sidney Rice it seems as if they are very similiar players

Matt Williamson
  (12:15 PM)

Similar I suppose. Both were GREAT last year and both have only done it one year. Obviously you can't factor in this hip injury right now too much, but Rice has been injury prone. I would say that Austin is better after the catch for sure and faster, but Rice can surely get downfield deep.

danny (dc)

laron landry has been overrated for a couple years now...has all the physical tools, but can't cover and lacks the discipline. is he gonna take a step forward this year in the new scheme, or is it more toast for him

Matt Williamson
  (12:16 PM)

Very much agree. But this scheme fits him well. Think Troy P in Pittsburgh. Landry isn't THAT gifted, but he could do a lot in that role. Agreed though this this is a make or break situation though for him.

Brendan (Charlotte, NC)

Favorite color?

Matt Williamson
  (12:16 PM)

Paint it Black

Todd (Boston)

Matt, what are your thoughts re SD's WR situation. Will Floyd be able to put up numbers close to VJ's?

Matt Williamson
  (12:18 PM)

Less. Less passing in general too with Mathews on board. And Gates should get increased targets from a year ago. So, just less to go around to the WRs. But I very much believe in Rivers and that is the key here. He will get more than enough from the WRs at a whole and I did like them picking up Crayton. Depth/#3 guy who is pretty proven all in all. I like Floyd, but he is inconsistent-and now has to face better coverage players. Just think in that division-and it won't always play out this way-but Flowers, Champ and Nnamdi.

Trent (WA)

Don't you worry about Boldin and Housh coexisting? Both seem like guys who've been frustrated by being considered "number 2" receivers and not elite number 1 guys.

Matt Williamson
  (12:19 PM)

In a way, yeah. Throw Mason in as well-and you have three WRs with very similar skill sets. I don't love that formula. Egos will have to be set aside.

Peyton Manning (Indianapolis)

Why didn't you tell me before you answered that Colts blue isn't your favorite color? We haven't been communicating well and I feel left in the dark.

Matt Williamson
  (12:20 PM)

Bro, it is cool. I still picked your Colts to win the whole thing. No worries. Get back to the film room. Big game on Sunday. Well, at least the Texans think it is a big game.

Matt (PA)

Rodgers to Finley will be the most dangerous combo in the league this year

Matt Williamson
  (12:21 PM)

Bro-I hope so. I went a little nuts in my FF Draft on Sunday. Round 1: Moss Round 2: Rodgers Round 3: Finley (as first TE off the board). That is SO not like me...but I am smitten.

Mike (Boca Raton)

How does the uncertainty in Baltimore's oline screw up their newly revamped passing game (not to mention ray rice and mcclain)?

Matt Williamson
  (12:22 PM)

It is still an above average group, but it does worry me. No idea why they moved Oher to LT and Gaither to RT. Why fix what was working so well? Now Gaither is out. It is a concern, but let's see how they protect in NYC vs. the Jets...excellent test obviously.

Trent (WA)

I'm worried that my Bengals will have the same problems at safety that they did last year, although getting Crocker back should help. Is Roy Williams really better than Ndukwe? Or at least close enough to put in the better pass defender?

Matt Williamson
  (12:24 PM)

They traded for Nelson-which tells you all you need to know. They have safety problems! Nelson really isn't a good football player. I would be concerned. Cincy is now loaded at CB though, which can alleviate some problems, but still-worrisome...esp against the fire power they face this weekend.

jake (ny)

You think Revis will be fresh for the opener?

Matt Williamson
  (12:25 PM)

No question

Jeff (Chicago)

Is the Bears O-line in the category of the worst in football?

Matt Williamson
  (12:26 PM)

Could be. You hear that they haven't used all their protections yet-and of course Martz's system puts a lot of stress on any OL. But the more I see it, the OL just needs to be better to pull this passing attack off. Like O Pace in his prime at LT better. Concerned. I see a trend to this chat-LOTS of concerns. I am usually higher on all teams at this point of the year, but instead, I am seeing warts.

Claude Durden (Riverside Ca)

Will Moss lack production because of him feeling unwanted?

Matt Williamson
  (12:26 PM)

Just a hunch, but I think quite the opposite.

Murph (Brink of Season)

Shanahan vs. McDaniels. Who's the best personnel evaluator? Shanny traded for the entire Browns D Line and McDaniels just tossed out essentially a first round pick in A. Smith and his NE buddy Jarvis Green.

Matt Williamson
  (12:27 PM)

Good question! Shanny drafted well, but really didn't do a good job with free agency-esp on D. McDaniels has made a lot of trades-and got pretty good value for his stud players, but I hate who he has selected with those picks. Shanny is the better of the two.

Corey (DC)

Are the Chiefs really going to have Charles on the sideline for chunks of the game while TJones is on the field? Seems to me that makes their offense significantly less dynamic.

Matt Williamson
  (12:30 PM)

I tend to think not. Can't say that I have supreme confidence in Haley on this matter though. But-to me-KC is trying to be NEng of the midwest. Cassel's best days are in NEng's system. Weiss is the new OC. Put Cassel in the shot gun. 3 WR sets. That REALLY favors Charles over T Jones, who is way more adept at a power running game (with a FB) like he had with the Jets.

CC (Atlanta)

You took a TE in the 3rd round?? Wish you were in my league!

Matt Williamson
  (12:31 PM)

I know dude. Insane. That isn't what I do. Was about to pull the trigger on S Smith from Carolina with that 3rd rounder (had 10th overall in a 12 teamer), but he went right before I picked. KNEW I could get Finley in the 4th, but there was just no one who had my juices flowing. Had to have him. Smitten. BTW-he is crazy good.

Jamie (England)

How do you rate the Ravens chances? I fancy them highly and I am a Pats fan from the over the pond.

Matt Williamson
  (12:33 PM)

I don't fancy them as much as most experts do. Love their coaching staff and front office-and general leadership and aggressiveness. But I really worry about their pass D and I think the passing game might be setting us up for too high of expectations. Tough division as well. Predicting they don't make the playoffs.

AKC (ny)

how do you think the titans will play against the raiders

Matt Williamson
  (12:34 PM)

Truth: I think they crush the Raiders this weekend. Maybe the biggest point margin victory of all 16 games.

CC (Atlanta)

Are we gonna see a MW/J Finley Brokeback Mtn youtube re-enactment soon?

Matt Williamson
  (12:34 PM)

I actually thought it was already out there....for quite some time now.

Doc Holliday (Tombstone)

Forget football, let's have a spelling contest! Which team wins?

Matt Williamson
  (12:35 PM)

Music Lover! I need to see that movie again soon. It is just so good for the soul. "Wyatt is my friend." "Doc. I have lots of friends." "I don't."

Sergio (Fresno, CA)

What are the chances that the raiders defense is in the top ten?

Matt Williamson
  (12:36 PM)

Possible on their own merits, but I think the O consistently puts them in rough situations. Will be progress on D for sure. But not sure that it shows up in the Win column.

Matt Williamson
  (12:37 PM)

The iPod shuffle is loving the Floyd today. Wonderful stuff.

AKC (ny)

how are the eagles going to do againt the packers

Matt Williamson
  (12:37 PM)

Poorly. That OL is a mess right now. Might start out as a shoot out, but I don't think Philly can keep up in a track meet against those guys.

Raymond (Des Moines)

Do you think J Best will be productive from week 1 or will it take him some time?

Matt Williamson
  (12:39 PM)

I don't think it will take him some time, but I do worry about his ability to hold up. Much like Spiller, he screams "Rookie Wall"

Sergio (Fresno, CA)

what do the raiders need to do to fix the OL problem?

Matt Williamson
  (12:39 PM)

Add some good blockers to the group. Right now, I think they have one. That isn't enough.

CC (Atlanta)

Do you see the Steelers blitzing like crazy to try to force TOs? Seems to me short fields are their best (only) hope of scoring.

Matt Williamson
  (12:40 PM)

Maybe. I am expecting a big time performance from the Steelers' D this weekend. Will vary it up though. Sometimes only bring 3. Sometimes bring the house. A lot of overload concepts. Try to tax Ryan mentally. Rough environment as well.

Johnny Ringo (Tombstone)

"The fight isn't with you Holliday. Alright, come on lager!" Holliday, "Say When." Do you think there will be a lockout in 2011?

Matt Williamson
  (12:40 PM)

Why Johny Ringo! ...I have no idea. Hope not!

Matt Williamson
  (12:41 PM)

"I'm sorry, I forgot you were there"

Chris (San Diego Ca)

Chances of the Chargers going to the big dance (SB)?

Matt Williamson
  (12:41 PM)

Nope. Could set themselves up real well with home field in the playoffs considering their division, but that isn't a SB D.

Tim (Saginaw, MI)

Is Leinart now a "bust"?

Matt Williamson
  (12:42 PM)

About to be.

Brendan (Charlotte, NC)

Ron Gronkowski, what do you know?

Matt Williamson
  (12:42 PM)

His brother is a good player.

Val Kilmer (Hollywood)

I thought it was "lunger"

Matt Williamson
  (12:43 PM)

Pretty sure it is. Let it slide.

Tyler (Dallas)

Whose DEF is in more trouble this weekend: Minnesota or Geen Bay?

Matt Williamson
  (12:45 PM)

Minny's and Cincy's could be in for real long days. The Vikes' secondary is WAY overmatched against the Saints. If I am NOrls, I come out with 6 OL, R Bush and 3 WRs. P Williams comes off the field. Extra OLineman helps Bushrod vs. Allen. Really don't even pretend to run. But if Minny goes extra light with their personnel grouping, put Bush behind Brees and run at them-some. Even then, they will have plenty of so-so cover men on the field trying to keep up with these weapons. Bush is healthy and that is the beauty of a guy like him. Expecting a big game from Bush.

Marc (Malden, MA)

Oops...Son-a-bi### Holliday, nobody's that lucky...Why Ike, whatever do you mean?

Matt Williamson
  (12:45 PM)

Like Playing Cards With My Brother's Kids

vorak (nyc)

hi matt, love your chats and podcasts. i know youre big on qb arm strength. can you please rank the following qbs based solely on arm strength? cutler, big ben, palmer, flacco, stafford, brady, eli, colt mccoy. also, am i missing anyone glaring that belongs in this discussion?

Matt Williamson
  (12:47 PM)

Colt McCoy? Are you trying to be hilarious on me Vorak? His is terrible. Anyways-first off, J Russell would be #1. But then: Cutler, Flacco, Stafford, Ben...then those other three: Brady, Eli then Palmer. But Palmer might prove me wrong, but until then, I want to see it first.

vorak (nyc)

btw, hows your mouth doing?

Matt Williamson
  (12:48 PM)

LOL-thanks! I think I am going to survive! Did take a chunk out of my tongue though while eating pretzels. Ouch...but playing through it.

Kmac (Boston)

Good Day Matt, Where are you watching football this weekend? What are some games or situations that you are looking forward to follow. Thank You

Matt Williamson
  (12:49 PM)

Always watching football in my Man Cave in my basement. Laptop on my desk in front of me. Hosting a TON of Cover it Live this year during the games. You all need to stop by.

Greg (Baltimore)

Stafford has a stronger arm than Flacco. Guarensheed.

Matt Williamson
  (12:50 PM)

Those top three were very hard to rank. All can REALLY sling it. I tend to think that if the pocket is perfect and Flacco can really step into it, that his arm is better than Stafford's. But Stafford's is prob more functionally strong-throwing from compromising positions, on the move, etc.

Matt Williamson
  (12:51 PM)

The iPod is treating me so well during this chat: Paradise City. Live. Loud. Very loud. Neighborhood is shaking. The season is almost here!

Ed (San Diego)

Who's your suicide/eliminator pick this week?

Matt Williamson
  (12:51 PM)

The Titans. Lock it up

Brian (Charlotte nc)

do u think the bills will surprise everyone this year

Matt Williamson
  (12:51 PM)

Not at all

Joe (Pittsburgh)

What do you think the Steelers record will be without Ben?

Matt Williamson
  (12:51 PM)

2-2...at worst

Justin (Little Rock)

Do you see Welker or Nicks putting up better numbers to start the season?

Matt Williamson
  (12:52 PM)

More skeptical of Welker-just because of the injury. Let's see him play a full game a few games in a row. So-give me Nicks on that one.

Val Kilmer (Hollywood)

I'm your huckleberry Matt

Matt Williamson
  (12:52 PM)

You're no Daisy. You're no Daisy at all.

Brian (Charlotte nc)

what record do u think the bills will ed up with, and where will they draft in 2011

Matt Williamson
  (12:53 PM)

2-14, maybe 3-13. Will draft in the Top 2. Locker/Luck.

7 (Pittsburgh)

I'm not doing anything Sunday. Can I watch the game at your house?

Matt Williamson
  (12:53 PM)

I am down with that. Real nice big TV. No one bothers us. Serious business.

Mike (Akron)

Hey M-Dub, surprised you didn't have Cleveland as a strong Offensive line unit. Your boy Thomas anchoring the left with Steinbach and up and comer Alex Mack. The right side isn't bad either. So what gives?

Matt Williamson
  (12:54 PM)

LOVE Thomas-he is my boy. Very impressed with Mack too. Steinbach is overrated though. Questions on the right side. Good, but not big time.

Tom (Boston)

Another 2007 type season for Brady this year with all the new toys and Welker back?

Matt Williamson
  (12:54 PM)

Uh-Huh

Eric (Chicago)

I'll bring the pizza over!

Matt Williamson
  (12:55 PM)

Easy Cha-Cha. Three's a crowd.

Ryan (PA)

I picked MIA over BUF for my suicide...should I switch to the Titans?

Matt Williamson
  (12:55 PM)

Yes, but you are safe.

Greg (Baltimore)

That makes sense Matt. Thats why you are the best in the biz. Great Analyisis. I didn't think about that.

Matt Williamson
  (12:56 PM)

Close call for sure. Both get an A for arm strength. And...Thanks

Frank (Philly)

Who's the best WR up in Chi-town?

Matt Williamson
  (12:57 PM)

Knox. Really fits the system well. I do think Hester can have a big year and I bet he leads the team in catches, but Knox just drips with big play potential.

Chris (San Diego Ca)

when will Eric Weddle show his worth of moving up to get him?

Matt Williamson
  (12:57 PM)

I like Weddle. Have no problems with that guy. Very solid all around. He isn't the problem with that D.

Joe (Pittsburgh)

Which 2 teams do you predict to meet in the Superbowl

Matt Williamson
  (12:57 PM)

Indy over Green Bay

Patrick (Rochester, NY)

Do you think the Browns will use Cribbs more in their offense this year?

Matt Williamson
  (12:59 PM)

If they have to. He still so gimmicky to me. If they can establish and generate consistent O the old fashioned way-keep it up. Still, you use him, but don't rely on him. Make Ds prepare for Cribbs.

Mike (Akron)

You are such a Pitt homer!!! LOL!! Kidding! I drafted Mike Wallace in my FF draft in round 12, will he do me proud?

Matt Williamson
  (12:59 PM)

That is a steal. How many teams in your league? 6?

Ryan (Germantown, MD)

Well I've got 2 guns. One for each of ya.

Matt Williamson
  (1:00 PM)

Love it. Play for Blood-That's just my game!

Matt Williamson
  (1:00 PM)

Next week maybe we will do Godfather lines.

Ryan (Philly)

NFC Defensive ROY?

Matt Williamson
  (1:00 PM)

They don't hand out AFC and NFC, but my pick was B Graham in Philly.

Peyton (Indy)

Picking us again huh? Don't you know we usually choke in big games? Reminds me I still have to pay off Rex for handing us that title on a silver platter!

Matt Williamson
  (1:01 PM)

Picked Pittsburgh over Atlanta at this time last year.

Clay (Charlotte)

Any word about someone being interested to pick up Pat White? Someone looking for a wildcat option?

Matt Williamson
  (1:01 PM)

He will get picked up, but as Wild Cat guys go, White is just so fragile. Skinny. Not built like those other guys: Cribbs/R Brown/etc.

Marc (Malden, MA)

YOU CAN ACT LIKE A MAN !!!

Matt Williamson
  (1:03 PM)

Premature...but nice work. Okay ladies, I am out. Take care. Another movie that could be a theme is The Hangover. Much like J Finley...I am smitten. Adios. And check out the Cover it Live and Football Today podcasts!