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May 23, 12:00 PM ET
Chat with Matt Williamson

Matt Williamson
  (11:59 AM)

Hey Hey Hey....let's get this rolling!

Danny (Houston)

Matt - your thoughts on Cowboys window closing to win Superbowl? Though they must start finding future replacements for Romo, D. Ware, Witten within next 5 years!

Matt Williamson
  (12:00 PM)

I don't see that window closing as we speak. FEW teams are really built for the long haul and Dallas has some young guys to build around in Bryant and Claiborne. I don't see any noticeable signs of decline from Romo or Ware.

Scott (Northglenn, CO)

Rather have AJ Green or Dez Bryant for the next 3 years?

Matt Williamson
  (12:01 PM)

Green. I would rather have Green for the next 3 years than any WR in the NFL other than Calvin J. I guess Fitzgerald would still be in that convo as well.

Dr. H. Doofenshmirtz (Tri-State Area)

Surprised Vince Young got a job? Should Fitzpatrick be worried?

Matt Williamson
  (12:02 PM)

Fitz has nothing to worry about, but VY to BUFF is a good fit. Gailey has done well with similar QBs. Just a backup though.

David (New Jersey)

You look at the problems the Lions had with personal fouls last year, and the Saints nonsense, and to me it's not that hard to connect the dots to Jeff Fisher. Jim Schwartz and Greg Williams were both DCs for him.

Matt Williamson
  (12:03 PM)

I hear where you are coming from, but sounds like pure speculation to me

jt (tampa)

Bring it on home or The Rain Song?

Matt Williamson
  (12:03 PM)

Bring it on Home...tough choice there though. Ten Years Gone is #1 for me

Dr. H. Doofenshmirtz (Tri-State Area)

The extension of the trade deadline and the tweaking of the IR rules are long overdue, and I'm glad they are going to make the players wear more leg protection, too. Why have so many players spoken out against the leg gear? It's required at every other level of football, and the new stuff really is pretty lightweight. And they're all going to have to wear it, so speed shouldn't really be an issue...

Matt Williamson
  (12:04 PM)

I agree that all are good changes. Must say, pretty impartial to the leg protection though.

Joe (PA)

As a steelers fan, do I have to be worried of a short season? Or can the black an gold return to SB glory?

Matt Williamson
  (12:05 PM)

I think the Steelers are very strong. Having an upgraded OL could really go a long way. Big time contender.

Mike P. (SD, CA)

true or foss: Chargers will play in a Super Bowl with Rivers? And is the window closed or closing?

Matt Williamson
  (12:06 PM)

Big Rivers fan and the window is still open-but not as wide as it was a few years ago. Mathews could be a star and Gates could be healthy, but I really am worried about that OL. The Front 7 looks to be improved too.

Mike (RI, CHICAGO)

Your thoughts on the afc west. Are the raiders being severely overlooked?

Matt Williamson
  (12:07 PM)

Tweeted (@WilliamsonNFL) quite a bit about the Raiders yesterday. Not a huge fan here because of lack of depth, the QB, TE, RT, CBs and declining edge pass rush. It could click for them though-if McF stays healthy. Still, I will pick them for 4th in AFC West.

jt (tampa)

You see Peyton having a typical Peyton season? You like Decker or D. Thomas to post better numbers?

Matt Williamson
  (12:09 PM)

More big plays from Thomas, but more catches from Decker. And No, not expecting a typical Manning season. First off, is he the same? We shall see in preseason. But secondly, that O is making a MASSIVE adjustment from Tebow's stoneage O to what Manning wants to do, which is all based on timing, experience and reps.

Ronnie (Denver)

Will Manning mentor Oswiler as well as they hope? What's the ceiling for Oswiler?

Matt Williamson
  (12:10 PM)

What I do know is that Manning is going to want to take nearly every snap in practice as he adjusts his teammates to a new system. That doesn't sound favorable to Oswieler's development to me. But surely being in the QB Meeting Room and around Manning, seeing how he prepares, will be a positive influence.

Scott (Northglenn, CO)

Cecil Lammey, who does nice pre-draft work IMO, said that Ronnie Hillman reminds him of Lesean McCoy...can he be half the player?

Matt Williamson
  (12:11 PM)

Cecil does great work. I can see that comparison. Big Hillman fan here too. McCoy is probably a bit shiftier/more explosive, but I can see that comparison.

David (New Jersey)

I don't think you could do anything to push your kid into being a football fan more than to take him/her to a Pirates game. Pirates team batting average this season: .218.

Matt Williamson
  (12:11 PM)

Baseball has been dead to me since the mid 90s

Matt (Olympia)

How do you see the Seahawks QB situation playing out? Who's going to be more successful in 5-10 years between Flynn, Wilson and Jackson

Matt Williamson
  (12:13 PM)

Just posted an article on ESPN.com about this actually. I think it is Flynn's job, but I see him as a Cassel like caretaker QB. I am excited about Wilson, but highly doubt that he gives SEA the best chance to win now.

jt (tampa)

Do you like Doug Martin as a lead back in Tampa? How high will he rank among rbs this year. Gotta love Tampa's o line

Matt Williamson
  (12:14 PM)

Big fan of Doug Martin and actually just interviewed him for our Football Today podcast. Perfect all around fit for what Schiano wants to do at that position. TBay is going to run the ball a ton though, so I don't see Blount going away. But Martin's abilities in the passing game will seperate him. I do worry about RT, but yes, overall, TBay's OL is very strong. Zuttah to OC is an upgrade as well.

B (NC)

How much do you see David Wilson contributing to the NYG rushing attack in his rookie season?

Matt Williamson
  (12:16 PM)

Well, they like to use 2 RBs quite a bit and I don't trust Bradshaw to stay healthy. Also, this front office wouldn't have used a 1st round pick on a RB if they didn't plan on using him. Bet he ends up with around 38% of the carries, but hard to project due to how much Bradshaw will actually play.

Nathan (DC)

Why is it so hard for teams to assemble a good offensive line? There are probably twice as many good D-lines.

Matt Williamson
  (12:17 PM)

There is a huge OL shortage right now in my opinion. Some of the reasons to me are that-DLs are bigger/faster/better than ever & continuity is a HUGE deal for OLs, which is now a problem with all the player movement year to year. But more than anything, all the spread Os in college I think has hurt NFL OL play a great deal. Many of the kids don't ever even operate out of a 3 point stance until the NFL and it used to be that rookie OL knew the run plays, but you had to coach them to protect...now you have to do both.

jt (tampa)

Has Carolina used J. Stew properly in your opinion? Shouldn't he be getting more touches and the lead back role?

Matt Williamson
  (12:19 PM)

Love Stewart and really like that they finally began using him as a receiver more in 2011. But I just don't think there are enough touches to go around for him in Carolina right now. DeAngelo can still play at a high level. So I don't blame the Panthers at all. Would LOVE to see what Stewart could do in a pure lead back role though. One of the best RBs in the NFL.

Steve (Bristol)

3rd year under 3-4 defense, full preseason, healthy players, and hopefully a QB that will minimize bad decisions, is this the year the Skins defense really makes a HUGE improvement? Or is the 2ndary going to hold them back?

Matt Williamson
  (12:21 PM)

The secondary isn't great, but I also don't think it is awful. Wilson is a very good CB. Will a rookie QB really minimize bad decisions? I do think WASH has a very good D though overall. Maybe not Top 10, but in the upper half of the league.

Nick (LA)

Sportscenter had their "future rankings" this morning (which they deemed as Power Rankings circa 2015), and the Patriots were 2nd behind GB. Given Brady will be 38 in the 2015 season, is this just a confidence in the young defense to step it up? That much faith in the young TEs? What do you think?

Matt Williamson
  (12:22 PM)

I was one of four guys-along with Trent Dilfer, Mel Kiper and Gary Horton-that did that project. I ranked the Pats high because they have some young QB options after Brady, are a very smart organization to adapt as the years go by, have a fantastic head coach and also have a really strong young talent base. Wasn't an easy project though! It is an INSIDER article: http://insider.espn.go.com/nfl/story/_/id/7937696/nfl-future-power-rankings-projecting-every-franchise-entering-2015-season

Brandon (Phoenix, AZ)

Looking at the Chiefs roster, I don't see really a glaring weakness anywhere. Oline got cleared up with Winston and NT with Poe pick. If Cassell can just play solid this team will win the AFC West.

Matt Williamson
  (12:23 PM)

I very much agree and will pick KC to win the West. But not a big believer here in Cassel. That worries me. Don't see a real high ceiling with Cassel as the QB.

Smeagol (fishing)

Why would the Panthers keep Stewart, Williams, and then sign Tolbert, though? Doesn't this seem silly? They've got a rookie QB coming of a 4,000 yard season!

Matt Williamson
  (12:24 PM)

I thought adding Tolbert was overkill, esp with Goodson still on board. No doubt about it. Makes me think that Williams or Stewart won't be there past this year. Still, I would have used that money on D

Brandon (Phoenix, AZ)

Follow up on Cassel, If he can play a little better than last year's Alex Smith (Which is has proven 10), they can make a deep run. Don't have nearly the D as SF but have more weapons on O.

Matt Williamson
  (12:26 PM)

Yeah, similar type of guy at QB. Caretaker. Play it safe. Don't turn it over. I agree that SF's D is better, but KC's is strong. Also agree that Cassel has more around him in terms of weaponry and OL than Smith did last year.

joe (NC)

I read an article somewhere that Tolbert would be used as like a FB. Is that practical?

Matt Williamson
  (12:27 PM)

He can block, but I don't think that is practical. Tolbert is weapon as runner and receiver-should be best used in that fashion.

Paul (Indy)

After being spoiled during the Peyton Manning era, Colts fans are now faced with a much different team and expectations. Can you help me out with positive things / trends to look foward to in 2012?

Matt Williamson
  (12:28 PM)

Indy isn't going to win a lot of games in 2012, but they are set up well for the future-because of Luck. They were wise to surround him with young weapons to develop together. I think you just want to see that Luck is the real deal and that the O is improving throughout the season. The rest will then fall into place and the D will be next offseason's project.

jt (tampa)

Aaron Hernandez is on my radar for a big year. What say you?

Matt Williamson
  (12:28 PM)

Great player-no doubt. But gotta think that Lloyd eats into his production just a little.

Bryan (Springdale, AR)

What are the Cowboy's going to do about that 3rd receiver?

Matt Williamson
  (12:29 PM)

Great question-and a 3rd WR is more or less a starter now a days. Losing Coale does hurt for sure. Need to find another guy ASAP.

mike puter (racine wi)

does green bay have a chance to go back to the playoffs this year

Matt Williamson
  (12:30 PM)

Weren't they 15-1 last year? Yeah, I think they have a chance

Blueman (Indy)

Kellen Winslow a good target that can help make Flynn look really good or a guy who will have an attitude and slow down the developement of the rec. corps?

Matt Williamson
  (12:31 PM)

Good intermediate target, which is what Flynn needs. Not a big armed QB, Flynn should work the middle of the field. K2 works well for that if healthy. Was actually projecting Z Miller to have a big year for SEA at TE before this deal.

Adam (Jersey)

Winslow looked cooked last year. Though Dallas Clark may not be much of an upgrade with his age/injury history

Matt Williamson
  (12:32 PM)

Injuries are the key with both guys. Prob neither is what they once were. TB likes Stocker though from what I am gathering. But more importantly, I think Clark was much cheaper than K2.

cullen sperle (st.paul minnesota)

what are the vikings going to do about there running backs for the first couple weeks?

Matt Williamson
  (12:33 PM)

Would imagine that Gerhart will get a ton of carries. I have no problem with that and I seem to like Gerhart more than most. I just hope they don't rush Peterson back in too quick.

Al (Wausau, WI)

Matt, do you think the Vikings are set up for a bright future? They seemed to address some critical needs at LT, WR, and DB. Like what you said about the Colts, I don't think the Vikings will win many games this year, but should do better next year. I look forward to seeing that new talent!

Matt Williamson
  (12:34 PM)

I agree with that for sure. Guys like Simpson and Rudolf could surprise, and I think they will. I am high on Ponder, but he did have some real ups and downs as a rookie-jury is still out. But overall, yes, I think Minny is now heading in the right direction.

Dr. H. Doofenshmirtz (Tri-State Area)

Have the Patriots done enough to shore up their defense? If they turn out to be a top 15 unit, I don't know how anybody could beat them...

Matt Williamson
  (12:35 PM)

Do a search-I wrote that exact article a few weeks ago. I don't think their D is all that much improved, but it almost has to be better. It doesn't have to be great though, as I think the O is improved (which is amazing) with the addition of Lloyd.

Adam (Jersey)

Want to give us your way-too-early OROY and DROY projections?

Matt Williamson
  (12:37 PM)

Honestly have not given it much thought, so these will most likely change. Gotta say Richardson though as OROY-going to get SO many touches and an elite talent. How about M Kendricks for DROY? Big fan here. David in TBay comes to mind too.

Mitchell (NYC)

Who do you think will be the Giants starting MLB and can Keith Rivers still become the player everyone thought he would be 4 years ago?

Matt Williamson
  (12:37 PM)

Expecting Rivers to emerge here. And I think he will be the starter in the middle between Kiwi and Boley. Is he an every down LB? Probably not though, but he could develop into that.

Blueman (Indy)

At what point is a coach in trouble when the team plays better than year before but still doesn't win much?Since Shanny has be in DC the team has improved but is still a last place team.I know they have put all their marbles in on RG3 and this year he will have the usual rookie struggles but if this team doesn't get out of last place how long can he keep his job?

Matt Williamson
  (12:39 PM)

Oh I would imagine that his seat is warming up fast. But that had to contribute to the massive trade to get RG3. If RG3 works out, Shanny will be safe. If not, the next coaching staff will have to deal with the lack of draft picks going forward!

Smeagol (fishing)

What is your take on the Bears' Alshon Jeffery? Guy seems to really divide experts/analysts.

Matt Williamson
  (12:40 PM)

Well, he found a real good home. Cutler will throw to covered receivers and allows his WRs to really go up and get it. While Jeffrey doesn't separate well, he does do that well. CHI also really needed to add size at WR.

David (New Jersey)

New York press is saying the Giants want Rivers outside. Look for Mark Herzlich to be the Mike.

Matt Williamson
  (12:40 PM)

Guess that could happen. Move Kiwi to DE then? Boley's job has to be safe.

Paul (Denver)

Over/under (30) on Cutler's TD passes this year with a vastly improved receiving corp?

Matt Williamson
  (12:41 PM)

Totally new O-a more Cutler Friendly O actually. But I also think they run a higher % of the time this season. And while the new scheme should greatly help the protection, I still have massive worries about this OL. Cutler is going to get hit a lot. I will go with the UNDER on 30 TDs, but not much under.

huzaifa (kcmo)

WHY ARNT YOU ANSWERING MY QUESTIONS?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!

Matt Williamson
  (12:42 PM)

Throwing a tantrum is no way to get your questions posted now Huzaifa....I think it is best if we put you in Time Out for a bit now

tim (ny)

Matt Stafford or Jay Cutler?

Matt Williamson
  (12:43 PM)

Very high on both, but Stafford. Special

Derek (Milwaukee)

M-Dub, which defense improves more THIS year, the Packers or the Patriots? Which do you like more for the long haul?

Matt Williamson
  (12:43 PM)

Would say GB's improves more. Pass D was their real issue and they did address that problem at every level.

Steve (Bristol)

I understand that rookies have their learning curve and struggles, but as a Skins fan, am I to expect this year's QB production to be as bad as last year's Grossman/Beck project? Plus, they rely SO much on the run game. Thoughts?

Matt Williamson
  (12:44 PM)

I think RG3 is an immediate upgrade at QB, even as a rookie. And for the long term, he is the true answer. But I am not expecting a Newton-like rookie season.

Scott (Northglenn, CO)

Michael Bush and Carimi will help that offense in GL situations too...love Forte but he's not excellent near the end zone...

Matt Williamson
  (12:44 PM)

Can't argue that

David (New Jersey)

How good could Tebow be as a tight end?

Matt Williamson
  (12:45 PM)

Can he catch? That is important. Many people love to project athletic QBs to WR or in this case, TE. But I am not talking the ability to catch in practice. I mean snap your head and hands around a catch an NFL fast ball that isn't on target with a DB all over you....consistently

Brandon (Phoenix, AZ)

Favorite Stones song? Did you see Mick Jagger on SNL at all? Was pretty good I thought.

Matt Williamson
  (12:46 PM)

I didn't, but heard it was quite good. I guess I would go with Sympathy for the Devil. Gimmie Shelter and Paint it Black are so strong too. LONG list

Scott (Northglenn, CO)

When did the Bengals become smart? Love their last 2 drafts...rather have Dalton or Locker?

Matt Williamson
  (12:47 PM)

Yeah, it does appear as though the Bengals got smart all of a sudden. Team very much on the rise. Would much rather have Locker.

Dr. H. Doofenshmirtz (Tri-State Area)

Are you rockin' out today? Fill us in!

Matt Williamson
  (12:49 PM)

Took a VERY different approach for me today. Went with Jazz. Very new to jazz, but have guys like John Coltrane and Miles Davis going today....not my usual move

Nick (Golden State 707)

With Rolando Mcclain possibly out for the season, who steps up and plays linebacker for the Oakland Raiders?

Matt Williamson
  (12:50 PM)

McClain has been disappointing since being drafted so high-I don't see this as a massive loss. I actually to pull up a depth chart to see who was next in line. Right now, it is Stupar. Yikes! Maybe move Curry to the middle, but he doesn't read plays very well.

Matt (Houston)

Julio Jones>AJ Green>Dez Bryant...Just sayin'

Matt Williamson
  (12:51 PM)

No way. Green is first of those. Good argument between Jones vs. Bryant though.

Nick (LA)

Who gets most of the carries in the New England backfield? Ridley? I expect big things out of Vereen, too.

Matt Williamson
  (12:51 PM)

Would put my money on Ridley. They want a physical guy to carry the major load, especially with the lead.

Damion (Parts Unknown)

Dr. Douchesnozzle had 4 of his questions answered already!!! Come on Matty Dubz!!

Matt Williamson
  (12:52 PM)

Bro...whining about it won't help. Should I put you in Time Out too? If you weren't from Pittsburgh, I would have already. But...I also don' see any of your questions...only see complaints about not getting your questions answered. That's a warning.

Joe (NY)

Jets have been stockpiling safeties but can any of them cover anyone? Landry and Bell seem the same to me.

Matt Williamson
  (12:54 PM)

Very similar. Here is my take on it. The Jets were very weak covering the middle of the field last year, which is an esp big problem against the Pats. If they use Bell/Landry/D Davis as 2nd level TE Beaters in subpackages, that might work well. Ryan can certainly devise such a thing. Also, Landry's injury history has to be a huge concern, so having a decent backup seems logical.

huzaifa (kcmo)

so um eh... can ask a question now if i can what your afc west predictions

Matt Williamson
  (12:55 PM)

I think you learned your lesson. 1. KC 2. DEN 3. SD 4. OAK....also, it will go up on Thurs or Fri, but I am filling in with the AFC West and we are doing a few paragraphs on each team-Best and Worst Case Scenario for the season. Will turn it in tonight-quite good I must say!

Paul (Albany, OR)

In your opinion is Sam Bradford the correct qb for the Rams. I know you are high on guys like Stafford and Cutler - where do you see Bradford? Thanks

Matt Williamson
  (12:56 PM)

Real high on Bradford. Not as big of an arm as those two, but Bradford can still sling it well enough. Incredibly accurate though. Great touch and timing passer. But here is my HUGE worry: His injury history and playing behind a bad OL. STL needs to get that fixed ASAP

Steve (Bristol)

Redskins pulling out of the basement this year? If not, how many more years do I have to wait!!! Feels like forever!

Matt Williamson
  (12:57 PM)

Skins firmly in the basement of a very good division once again

Damion (Parts Unknown)

I wasn't whining until about 10 minutes ago, haha!! I do have to get back to work but I'll post my main question about big ben 1 more time if you can get to it...Hey Matty D -- I know Big Ben lost his boy Bruce Arians this year but I think Todd Haley is exactly what the offense needed. He's already an elite quarterback, but with Haley on-board, I really feel like there will be more accountability on everyone and Ben will have his talents fully maximized (scary thought!)-- With that being said, why does he still seem turned off by the change. He is being warmer to it now but you can still tell in his demeanor that he isnt thrilled. The WR's seem to love it from their responses, but even if it is new and he's not a huge fan now, isn't it Roethlisberger's duty as the leader of the team to be more supportive in public?

Matt Williamson
  (12:58 PM)

How could I miss that question! Wow. I agree that Haley is a great addition and I expect the Steelers to really throw the ball a lot behind a much improved OL. My guess is that Ben and Arians were tight-they seemed to be for sure. And learning all that new terminology and philosophy can't be fun for anyone, esp since what they did in the past worked.

David (New Jersey)

Since Josh Robinson went in the 3rd round, did his combine help him at all? Seems like being labeled a workout warrior can actually be a negative, like with Bruce Campbell a couple of years before.

Matt Williamson
  (12:59 PM)

Hadn't though of it that way, but I would say that teams are more leery/aware of Workout Warriors than in years past. These kids just are so good now at training for the specific drills. Also, Al Davis wasn't making any draft picks this year.

Matt Williamson
  (1:00 PM)

Okay All, I am out. Great stuff. Drop me a line on Twitter