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January 19, 12:00 PM ET
Chat with Matt Williamson

Matt Williamson
  (12:02 PM)

Just finishing up a cut of pizza. iPod blaring, but I just have it on random right now-my 3500 favorite songs or so. Not sure what direction to go on the tunes yet, but make no mistake-I am wound up. Again, try to keep up.

Robert (Latrobe, PA)

Matt, what do you make of James Starks? Is the guy for real, or is he a product of opposing teams not having much tape on him? Might the Bears (and PIT/NYJ) take away some of his effectiveness now that they've had time to study him?

Matt Williamson
  (12:04 PM)

Those are three brutal defenses. Side Note: I don't think it is an accident that the four best Ds in football are still left in the tourney-and that warms the cockles of my heart. Anyways, I like him, but I think he is still very much adjusting to the speed of the game and what it takes to excel at this level. Remember-came from U of Buff and didn't play last year! Runs a little too high for my tastes, but he does see the field pretty well and isn't bashful about hitting it up in there. Don't see a ton of big play ability, but he can make guys miss. He is still going to be a complementary piece though-esp with how well Rodgers is playing.

Eric (Chicago)

Dubbster...Bears/Steelers Super Bowl. You like that better than the Packers and Steelers?

Matt Williamson
  (12:06 PM)

Picking Pack vs. Steelers. But I am expecting two very close games this weekend. I have sold the Jets short two weeks in a row-and fully expect them to play the Steelers very tough. Also, the teams I am picking against have huge special teams advantages. That might be a real big deal in what I expect to be close games. Buckle your chin straps Fellas. It is going to be a heck of a Sunday of football.

Robert (Latrobe, PA)

Which version of Sanchez do we see this weekend? Jekyll, Hyde, or both?

Matt Williamson
  (12:07 PM)

I am expecting more Hyde...but I always say that! lol. Just doubt that NYJ runs on PGH as well as they did in the first meeting and I expect Sanchez to have to win this game.

travis (pa)

i was just wondering do you think that the redskins will try to take gabbert with the 10th pick and do you see them trying to get vincent jackson or nnamdi asoumgh thank you

Matt Williamson
  (12:08 PM)

Knowing how Wash does biz, I would fully expect them to be VERY active in free agency. They live for today. Both those names seem logical. I still need to do a lot of draft research, but if Gabbert is the best QB in this draft, I doubt he lasts until 10.

Brian Urlacher (Chicago, IL)

Keep picking against us! Been saying it all year, keep picking against us!

Matt Williamson
  (12:08 PM)

I picked you last week. Picked you to blow out the Hawks..which you did. Relax.

Andrew (Kansas City)

When you look at Darrell Revis where does he stand amongst the best corners you have ever seen?

Matt Williamson
  (12:10 PM)

He is the best in the league and an overall elite player. How does he rank against Prime or R Woodson or guys like that? That is tough for me. I was like 15 years old when those guys entered the league. They were amazing, but to really compare a great current player to someone who is long since retired isn't fair from where I sit. Wasn't in my scouting prime back then! ...actually, maybe I am not in my scouting prime yet either.

Sharell (NCFalconFan)

To depress to listen to podcast, watch tv and radio after my team decide not to show up Saturday. We obviously had a bad game with bad coaching. I think we have glaring needs all over the board, OL, WR, corner and DE. Do FALCONS need to add a few pieces or blow it up.

Matt Williamson
  (12:12 PM)

They were just beaten by a rediculously hot QB and an overall better team. ATL is still a rising team. That D will get better with experience. The #1 need I see is another play making WR (or maybe TE). Need to score a lot of points to keep up with Rodgers/Brees/Vick/etc. DE would probably be next considering Abraham's age. But I think you are too down on your club.

Brian Urlacher (Chicago, IL)

Yeah, went out on a big limb vs the Seahawks there Matt. Grow a pair and take a chance chump!

Matt Williamson
  (12:13 PM)

Yeah, that limb wasn't real weak. Can't argue that. But nah-not growing a pair. Taking the Pack in a tight one. They are the better football team.

Tom (GB)

What needs to happen for the Bears to beat the Pack? I feel like if both teams play well, with none or minimal turnovers, the Packers will win. If the Bears cause some turnovers or score a Special Teams TD, they have a chance. Agree?

Matt Williamson
  (12:15 PM)

I don't disagree. Cutler values the ball much better than he is given credit for any more, but I don't want to see him playing like a maniac to try to keep up with Rodgers. He might be wired that way. BTW-check out my QB article on the remaining four signal callers on the front page of the NFL page. Anyways, ST could be a huge turning point. I like the Bears' D a lot-great at causing turnovers, shouldn't allow the big play and with all the zone they play, should limit Rodgers' running. A big play or two on D/ST could be enough. Again...close game!

Matt (DE)

How big of a factor is the Soldier Field turf? To me, a slower field benefits Chicago. They have no reason to replace it...

Matt Williamson
  (12:16 PM)

I think it benefits Chi this week and overall, they surely know/understand it better than anyone. But overall, they are a Cover 2 D and a M Martz O-both of those schemes are predicated on speed. I don't think their field conditions help their cause. And pass-rushers like Peppers would certainly benefit from better footing, as would quick small WRs like Knox.

Marc (Malden, MA)

Obviously Asomwagh is going to be the top free agent this offseason, but Champ Bailey is also a free agent. How much does he have left and would he be a good fit in New England, playing with McCourtey and Bodden?

Matt Williamson
  (12:18 PM)

I would be more excited about getting a pass rusher than CB for the Pats, cause I really like those two guys you mentioned. And the other youngsters will improve. Bailey looks like a Texan to me with Kubiak and I do think he is still playing very well. How long can he keep it up? I have no idea, but he is obviously a freak athlete and could maybe make a Woodson/Lott type of move to FS when he loses another step to his game.

Ryan (Damascus, MD)

Are there any glaring needs the Giants need to address this offseason?

Matt Williamson
  (12:20 PM)

Adding one more OLineman makes a lot of sense-younger guy. Preferably a LT prosect. That is about it on O, unless they part ways with Jacobs-which I wouldn't argue with. On D, LB has to be the #1 need. Maybe a CB as well. They are not far off though. Cut down on turnovers.

ben (fairfield, conn)

Still can't give the jets credit huh matt??

Matt Williamson
  (12:22 PM)

Listen to Tuesday's podcast. I give them a lot of credit. Amazing two games. Great scheme. Great execution. Not a Sanchez fan-but he has made big throws when he has had to.

Curt (NJ)

I haven't heard anyone talking about this matchup in the Pitt/Jets game: Maurkice Pouncey vs. Nick Mangold. Two Pro Bowl centers, both dealing with a tough defensive line. Who do you think will have the better game?

Matt Williamson
  (12:23 PM)

Well, they are not going against one another! And-Mangold is the FAR superior player right now. He's amazing. Watch him vs. Indy in Round 1...all I can say is WOW. But Hampton is a stiffer challenge than the guys Pouncey will go against. Still, Mangold gets the nod. One of my favorite players in the NFL.

Scott (Denver)

How big of an ego boost is it that these Bears and Jets fans care so much about getting your approval??

Matt Williamson
  (12:24 PM)

Hadn't thought of it that way...

Todd (Mexico)

Please explain to Curt that Mangold vs Pouncey is not a matchup, which is why no one is talking about it. It is a comparison.

Matt Williamson
  (12:24 PM)

Indeed. No reason for Ed to throw a flag on him. But didn't want it to slide either.

Marc (Malden, MA)

Ok, then how about Bailey to the Pats to play Safety? The Pats current safetys aren't that good...and please don't tell me Merriweather is a Pro-Bowler, that's a joke.

Matt Williamson
  (12:26 PM)

Merriweather isn't a Pro Bowler at all, but he isn't terrible or the problem either. Of course adding a guy like Champ to a contender like the Pats would be great. And for now, he is still a big time starting CB. I just think OLB is the WAY bigger need...but the Pats have a few draft picks to address all their needs if they so chose.

Tim (Saginaw, MI)

Will the Steelers be able to confuse Sanchez? Esp with TP?

Matt Williamson
  (12:27 PM)

I tend to think so. #1 though is that they have to totally shut down the run. Take that weapon away from Shottenheimer. Then, it will get interesting in a LeBeau vs. Sanchez chess (or checkers) mind game. I will take the HOFamer in that game, esp with #43 is totally healthy, which I am not convinced he is btw.

Andrew (NY)

Will sunday's game in Chicago, be a defining career moment for Aaron Rodgers or for Jay Cutler?

Matt Williamson
  (12:29 PM)

I feel like Rodgers just had his defining momemnt. Obviously more might be on the way. I feel like a win here would do more for Cutler's rep. Many will dismiss the Seattle victory-but Cutler did play great. He is improving.

jim (Farmington, NM)

Polamalu makes the difference in this game and Heath Miller? They did not play in the first matchup.

Matt Williamson
  (12:30 PM)

Miller is huge, esp when considering how the Jets like to use their CBs. Also, guys like Brown and Sanders are more developed. Still, the Jets haven't stayed totally static either. Ever changing.

Matt (PA)

Tramon Williams has been incredible all year and in the playoffs. Does he keep it going on Sunday?

Matt Williamson
  (12:32 PM)

Oh I think so. The Bears WRs are good. Shifty. Fast. Good with double moves. But Williams is so athletic, is bigger than those guys and studies the game well to know what is up. Plus, I really think GBay will get to Cutler with their pass rush and esp their blitz. Expecting an aggressive D game plan from Capers.

Ryan (San Diego)

Cutler should have thrown at least two ints on Sunday if the Seahawks could catch

Matt Williamson
  (12:34 PM)

That is a valid point.

Awayne (Indy)

If Jets win will they be the first team to beat 3 SB winning QBs in one Playoff year?

Matt Williamson
  (12:35 PM)

Anyone know the answer to that?

Harry (Babylon)

The one player on each team who needs to step up this Sunday are...

Matt Williamson
  (12:36 PM)

Hmmm....going with the Bears' OTs. As for the Pack, going with all phases of special teams.

Rick (Hollywood,Fl.)

Will the Miami offense be more explosive & give them a chance to win the division in a good AFC East division next year ?

Matt Williamson
  (12:38 PM)

Not sure on that. Depends what they add. I can't say that Daboll did much in Cleveland for me to get excited about Miami being a lot more explosive though! They need a WR with serious speed. RB help wouldn't hurt. QB is the obvious issue too. Can't say I am real excited about how that organization has gone of late. Losing faith.

Rob (San Antonio, Texas)

Can the Steelers O-line keep Ben's uniform clean?

Matt Williamson
  (12:38 PM)

No. It just can't. He will get hit. The Jets have brought minimal pass rushers of late. Bet they attack him more than Manning or Brady though. He always takes hits. Just his game and the nature of his terrible OL.

Scott (Denver)

More important for GB or CHI to have an effective running game?

Matt Williamson
  (12:40 PM)

The Bears. Just think Cutler needs that help more than Rodgers. The Pack hasn't had a good running game all year. The Bears became a much better team once they did get a running game. Not a coincidence.

Eric (Chicago)

Matt, can you answer Rob's question again using the Packers O-Line and Rodgers vs the Bears defense?

Matt Williamson
  (12:42 PM)

I don't remember Rob's question, but I worry about Bulaga a lot in this game. I like Chicago's deep DL and it was very encouraging that T Harris stepped up big last week. He could sway the balance of power. Peppers vs. Clifton obviously favors the Bears, but Peppers hasn't done a lot vs. the Pack this year. Could see him over Bulaga a lot. In the run game, Wells and Sitton will be the guys who GB runs behind.

Dalton Kingery (Fredonia, Kansas)

Matt, what are your thoughts of Carolina's hiring of John Fox?

Matt Williamson
  (12:44 PM)

I assume you mean Denver. Can't really argue with it in that he is a D guy and their D has been a nightmare for a LONG time. He is very proven. Conditions in Carolina were not close to optimal for winning, but he didn't get any more from his team though-which is a worry. The key here is Tebow though. Denver is married to him. How well does Fox develop Tebow? Can't say his track record for developing QBs at Carolina is very impressive.

Justin (ATL)

The Falcons arrow is still pointing up, right?

Matt Williamson
  (12:45 PM)

I think so. Well coached. Real strong front office. Good young QB who should only improve. I think they need to build around Ryan more though. Still will prob pick ATL to win that division next year-as I did this year.

Aggie (TX)

Matt do you think Rob Ryan can return that Cowboys D to near-elite levels? If so how long will it take and what does he need?

Matt Williamson
  (12:47 PM)

They need secondary help most of all. One more CB would be great, but would love to see them add a real play maker at FS. I like Ryan. Interested to see what he does with a pretty stocked cabinet.

Curt (Rocklin )

So Matt based on all your comments, your pretty much saying Chicago has no shot at home?

Matt Williamson
  (12:47 PM)

Not at all what I said. Said expecting an extremely close game. But I am picking GBay. Don't take it personnally.

Rick (DC)

Going into the 2011 season. What coaches do you see need to have a big season or they are fired?

Matt Williamson
  (12:48 PM)

Everyone in the AFC South.

Tim Tebow (Denver)

Why is Denver married to me??? I was a low 1st round pick 5 years 15 million base contract... Seems like if somebody loved me I can be easily moved. Sam Bradford is married to the Rams but my contract is alot closer to Jimmy Clausen than Sam B

Matt Williamson
  (12:49 PM)

I guess that is a valid point and it was a former staff that went out on a limb for Tebow. Guess I am just assuming that Broncos' ownership is not ready to scrap the Tebow project and that Orton could be elsewhere next year. Have to build around the guy at this point. But...if it doesn't work out, I suppose you are right that it isn't a Ryan Leaf type of problem.

Scott (SoDak)

Matty Ice - put on the 49ers hat. Pick # 7. What are you doing with that pick in the draft?

Matt Williamson
  (12:51 PM)

QB has to be a priortiy, but this might be a good organization to try to acquire a vet QB (Kolb?). I really like the D, but wouldn't mind them grabbing one of those top two CBs to really make it complete. On O, I wouldn't argue with any direction other than TE or RB. In terms of their roster, it doesn't have a ton of holes.

Curt (Rocklin )

Nothing personal Matt. Broncos fan here, I just think GB played their best game already. I do like Chicago on Sunday.

Matt Williamson
  (12:51 PM)

Hard to disagree that the ATL game was their best game. Same could be said for the Jets last week. But that doesn't mean either team can't pull off another victory or two.

Mark (Boston)

Why would the Giants cut ties with Jacobs?? He was second in the league in yards per rush, 1st in the NFC, scored 9 TD while basically playing half the time of other RBs and fumbles a lot less than Bradshaw.

Matt Williamson
  (12:52 PM)

Cause he is a pain in the butt...and not that good

Roger (Chicago)

Dude, we're from Chicago. We quite literally take everything personally.

Matt Williamson
  (12:52 PM)

Fair enough! But not as much as Jets fans. Jets fans really hate me! lol

Rob (San Antonio, Texas)

Brady should walk away with OPOY. Who do you have for DPOY?

Matt Williamson
  (12:53 PM)

Honestly-no one is deserving. Really. The guy no one talks about is J Harrison. He would get my vote, but he won't win it. Maybe Ngata...but he won't win it either. Guessing Matthews wins it, but he really fell off the last 6 games or so. Again, no one deserves it.

Curt (Rocklin )

One more. can Denver afford not to pick one of the Defensive Lineman in the Draft?

Matt Williamson
  (12:54 PM)

Curious what D system they play. I would assume it will be a pure 4-3 like Fox ran in Carolina. But either way, adding a stud DLineman would be perfect for Denver. Couldn't agree more. Darius or Fairley.

Reasonable (Miami)

Stephen Ross = less informed Jerry Jones. How scary is that?

Matt Williamson
  (12:55 PM)

He hasn't been too impressive! I am officially worried.

Rob (San Antonio, Texas)

Who has the better receiving corp, Pgh. or NY?

Matt Williamson
  (12:56 PM)

Tough one. Wallace is awesome, but I still think Holmes is slightly better. Ward and Braylon are SO different, as is Keller vs. Miller, but I think these top three more or less cancel one another out. But I like PGH's WR depth better. Sanders is a player. Not a knock on Cotchery. Very close to call that one Rob.

SteveFitz (Chicago, IL)

I'm not ripping on you or anyone else for picking against the Bears. The Packers are a good team, but could the fact that people seem to be turned off by Jay Cutler's personality sway someone's decision? Even yours? We all know how much Rick Reilly loves Jay Cutler.

Matt Williamson
  (12:58 PM)

Honestly, I have no idea how RR views Cutler. Never read anything about it. I have heard that Cutler can rub people wrong, but if you have followed me for the past few years, I am usually in Cutler's corner as a player evaluator...much more so than most "Experts". So, maybe that is true for some, but I can honestly say that it didn't affect my decision at all. However, I would say that Rodgers has superior leadership traits right now-and that is important in such a big game.

Anthony (NYC)

M-Dub DPOY candidates Ngata/ Peppers/ Reed(I know number of games is an issuse)/ McCourty. What do you think?

Matt Williamson
  (12:59 PM)

Can't vote for Reed (or Troy P or Revis for that matter) because they missed too many games. Sorry. I would vote Ngata over Peppers, but again, none jump out. Think about Harrison though-guy is pretty amazing.

Jeriah (Oklahoma)

Is this Aaron Rodgers super bowl to take?

Matt Williamson
  (12:59 PM)

I think Big Ben might have something to say about that. Who knows, I am not sold that either guy will make the Super Bowl! But I am picking GBay/PGH.

Nathan (Coralville, IA)

Excited for the Pro Bowl next week?

Matt Williamson
  (1:00 PM)

Not even a little bit. I won't even watch it. I would like to see them do some sort of skills challenge instead of actually playing the game. Unwatchable.

Matt Williamson
  (1:01 PM)

Folks, great stuff as always today. Check out the Football Today podcasts. I have Greg Cosell on again this Friday. Last Friday's show got incredibly strong feedback. But download all the shows. Also, join me for Cover it Live for both games this weekend. Take care everyone. Great weekend of football upcoming.