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May 30, 12:00 PM ET
Chat with Matt Williamson

Matt Williamson
  (12:01 PM)

What's shakin' SportsNation?

Marcus (Hawaii)

Do you think moving Chris Wiilliams to LT paves the way for the Bears' line to play much better in 2012?

Matt Williamson
  (12:02 PM)

Not sure on that, but I do think that is more his natural position. And I think he is just flat out better than Webb. So, both OT spots (w Carimi at RT) should be noticeably improved. Of course that is a good thing. But the best thing CHI will be doing is switching from Martz's scheme to a much more OL-Friendly system

Curt (Trappe Md)

Ray Rice has been the Ravens offense for the last 3 years, but dont the Ravens need to be mindful that they dont overpay for a position that seems to be declining in importance?

Matt Williamson
  (12:03 PM)

No question...and Rice has had a TON of touches over that stretch. Soon it will catch up. Like Forte, I think they Franchise him, he eventually signs the tender...and then deal with it again next offseason

Ben (Nugent)

Mdub....How good do you think Aldon Smith could be...whats his ceiling?

Matt Williamson
  (12:04 PM)

D Ware good...which means a HOF stud OLB...Smith has it all. Power, length, explosion, hustle. Total package.

Ben (Ireland)

Are you expecting the Lions to regress this year?!

Matt Williamson
  (12:05 PM)

Not so much. I think their OL play should be a little better, as should their run game. Their weapons are amazing now. But I think they will be in a lot of shootouts

Kelly (Sykesville MD)

I love the Ravens, but I like the Giants. I know the Ravens came close last year and the Giants won it all, but I have a feeling they both can get there this year? Do you agree, if so who wins and why?

Matt Williamson
  (12:07 PM)

Both will be contenders. I see BALT maybe taking a step back though-esp on D. Their OL is worrisome too. I won't pick BALT to win their division. I most likely will pick the Giants to win the NFC East, but Philly has my attention too. NYG's OL really concerns me...but they will surely be a contender

Bill Cutting (The Butcher)

MW, you drinkin' the Randy Moss Kool-Aid yet? Every report from SF is how good he looks... I'll believe it when he's facing a defense

Matt Williamson
  (12:07 PM)

I am with you-and it is easy to look good now. He hasn't played in a while. I imagine he has fresh legs for a player his age.

Scott (Northglenn, CO)

Which high power offense's line would you rather have - Lions or Steelers?

Matt Williamson
  (12:08 PM)

I think Pittsburgh's OL is far superior right now to Detroit's-and the future for the Steelers front five is extremely bright.

Stephen (Idaho)

Regarding the importance of RB's dont you feel guys like Forte/Rice that contribute so much in the passing game are more valuable than ever in today's NFL?

Matt Williamson
  (12:09 PM)

No doubt. Well, actually, let's flip that. I think RBs that don't help in the passing game at all like Benson/Blount are quickly being phased out. It is clearly a job requirement now.

Scott (Boston, MA)

With a relatively favorable out of division schedule, do you think the Redskins can make it to 8-8 this year?

Matt Williamson
  (12:10 PM)

That doesn't sound far fetched. Huge believer in RG3 here and also that Shanny will manufacture a substantial running game. They certainly have receiving options now. The Front 7 is quite strong on D. I will bet UNDER 8 wins, but I guess .500 is probably their ceiling.

jason (new york)

do you think cj spiller will become the starting rb for the bills this year?

Matt Williamson
  (12:12 PM)

No. As good as Spiller looked to finish the season, Fred Jackson looked even better before his injury. Jackson is in the prime of his career and will command the bulk of the touches. I could see situations this year when Spiller lines up wide though to help get him on the field more and aid the WR corps.

Kyle (NY)

Too early to tell, but do you think the Rams will regret sticking with Bradford and not drafting RGIII? (Even though Bradford's contract would have made it difficult to move him.)

Matt Williamson
  (12:13 PM)

RG3 very well could have the superior career, but I am still a very big believer in Bradford. They need to stick with a system though and let him mature in that scheme. He really had no chance for success in 2011 with his supporting cast.

TRIS (SF)

Can the Niners reach 13-3 again this year?

Matt Williamson
  (12:14 PM)

That is prob their ceiling for the regular season. I can't see a D drop off, although they might not be quite as impressive with their overall turnover margin. But they are great on special teams and the O should certainly be more explosive.

Ben (ireland)

agree on Aldon Smith...absolute beast!! Given the choice of him and Von Miller going forward who would you take and why?!

Matt Williamson
  (12:14 PM)

Very very tough call, but I would go with Miller. Just think that he is further along as an every down player.

TRIS (SF)

If the Hawks go 7-9 again, will Carroll lose his job?

Matt Williamson
  (12:16 PM)

I don't think so. I think he is building something there and I see noticable-albeit slow-improvement. Also, I guess it would depend as to how SEA got to 7-9. Were they riddled with injuries? Were they competitive in all/most of their losses? Did they develop R Wilson? So hard to say

Gobizzle (DC)

saw a lot of people saying justin blackmon may never be an elite wideout but he has a high floor...do you believe this also and if so what type of player would you compare him to?

Matt Williamson
  (12:17 PM)

I do agree with that. He just doesn't have the movement skills of guys like Calvin J/Andre J/AJ Green. Boldin is an obvious comparison. Crabtree is similar-Crabtree is also a better player than he is often given credit for. Blackmon does sorta remind me of TO-but TO was amazing in his day.

shanezzy (utah)

MW, will the falcons defense be better this year with 3 shut down corners and they could compete with spread offenses like the saints and packers to where they were gettin torched......

Matt Williamson
  (12:18 PM)

Not sure those three are shutdown CBs, esp Robinson, but it will sure help against today's top passing attacks. Huge step in the right direction. I also think Weatherspoon will be a beast.

Steve (NYC)

Do you expect Jones and Hightower to contribute immediately to NE's defense or will they be eased in gradually?

Matt Williamson
  (12:20 PM)

Would think Jones will make an immediate contribution on throwing downs rushing the passer at a minimum. Hightower is very NFL ready, but not sure they have a custom made starting spot available for him right now. But I do think both play plenty in Week 1 and during the rest of the season.

Dan (Washington, DC)

What's kicking on the iPod? I bet I have the same song on mine

Matt Williamson
  (12:20 PM)

No music today. There is a Fix It guy here working. Didn't want to blast him out. Fixing stuff around the the house isn't my bag.

Brandon (Phoenix, AZ)

How high do you put the Chiefs seconday? Flowers/Routt/Lewis/Berry/Arenas is a pretty damn good five.

Matt Williamson
  (12:21 PM)

I agree. Berry will soon be the best safety in football. Top 10 conservatively. An improved pass rush (Houston continuing to step up) certainly will help a lot.

Gobizzle (DC)

All this talk of Mike Jenkins and trades...he was undoubtedly the best CB on the Cowboys last year...is he not going to even be in competition for a starting CB spot?

Matt Williamson
  (12:23 PM)

Well, he makes a lot of money, would be 3rd on the depth chart and Scandrick is a pretty good 3rd CB already. I think his contract is up after the season and he wants out-I imagine they want to get something for him now in return.

shanezzy (utah)

MW, how good could the chiefs offense be with the additions of hillis,boss and players that were hurt comin back moeaki,charles.........

Matt Williamson
  (12:24 PM)

The whole team is vastly improved. The OL should now be a strength with Winston. Their additions, including injuries, are as strong as any team's in the NFL going into this season.

Tim Tebow (New York)

Will people scream for me to start on week 1?

Matt Williamson
  (12:24 PM)

Doubt it, but after a few losses they will

Steve (NY)

What is your opinion of the organizational changes that are underway in Oakland?

Matt Williamson
  (12:26 PM)

It is a massive undertaking, but I was very impressed with what this front office was able do with very limited resources this offseason. Al Davis and the Packers scouted players VERY differently. No way does Davis draft a guy like Criner for example. It will take a while-which worries me at QB in particular-but I think OAK has the right people for this job now.

Rob (San Antonio)

Realisticly how far can a team go with an average qb aka Chiefs, Cardinals?

Matt Williamson
  (12:26 PM)

About as far as SF did last year or the Jets did with Sanchez at times during his short career...but everything else needs to go almost perfect.

pete (SF)

what is your take on the whole Alex Smith vs Cam Newton incident?? Wins are more important than stats, but look at Cam's pouting last year...obviously winning was important to him too.

Matt Williamson
  (12:27 PM)

I honestly don't know anything about a Smith vs. Newton incident...but they are not even close as players. I would WAY rather have Newton.

AJ (Oakland)

It seems the "experts" are writing off the Raiders this season with all the front office changes. If Macfadden can play a whole season, Palmer can return to form, and the defense can atleast be average, couldn't the Raiders make the playoffs?

Matt Williamson
  (12:29 PM)

That is a lot of big Ifs. Possible I suppose. I did the Dream/Nightmare scenarios for the AFC West and had the Raiders Dream situation as 9-7. Go check it out...after this chat: http://espn.go.com/blog/nflnation/tag/_/name/afc-scenarios-2012

Ryan (MO)

Do you think that both Charles and Hillis will get 1000 yard seasons this year?

Matt Williamson
  (12:30 PM)

That seems extreme. McCluster will also get a carry or three. Hillis and Charles both have to be considered durability risks now too. Not saying it can't happen, but I bet it doesn't.

Dennis (Chicago)

which team in your opinion improved the most this offseason?

Matt Williamson
  (12:31 PM)

KC is certainly in that conversation. Same with Philly (on D). The Bengals added a lot all over their roster. Certainly TB is much more talented.

seth (orlando )

will the browns trade Colt McCoy

Matt Williamson
  (12:32 PM)

I bet Weeden wins the starting job very soon and Wallace is a fine #2. So I bet Colt goes, but what kind of price can he really command right now? 5th round pick? Maybe you just keep him around

NINER GNOME (SF)

Tony Romo over or under 30 tds this year?

Matt Williamson
  (12:33 PM)

Will go with the OVER. Their interior OL worries me a lot-and Romo will take more than his share of hits. But he has some big time weapons-but little depth in terms of pass catchers. 32 TDs...Romo is just very productive.

jt (tampa)

Victor Cruz gonna regress but how much?

Matt Williamson
  (12:35 PM)

I like Cruz, but I have a tough time believing he will crank out the huge plays at such a high rate. So I will say he will be about 85% as productive as he was last year. I also think NYG wants to run the ball a higher % than last year.

seth (orlando )

will the vikings have a good season this year.

Matt Williamson
  (12:36 PM)

Their O is really starting to grow on me, esp if/when Peterson is back to 100%. I think they let up a lot of points though and that secondary could be in for a long season. Overall though, I see improvement in 2012, but a last place finish. Another strong off season could go a long way. But hopefully they find out that Ponder is the answer at QB, which I think he is.

AJ (Oakland)

Let people cal me crazy, but I would take Rivers over Eli any day. How many superbowls would Eli have won in SD under Turner? ZERO. Rivers is much more consistent. People forget that before this past season Eli threw close to 30 INTS. Go RIVERS!!!

Matt Williamson
  (12:38 PM)

Huge Rivers guy here too. And I thought Rivers over Eli was also a very easy decision...before last season. Eli was fantastic last year-put that team totally on his shoulders. Bad running game and OL. Eli was a total stud. Meanwhile, Rivers simply had a very poor year by his standards. Maybe I change my mind again in a year-and I am still very high on Rivers-but Eli has to be ahead of him today.

seth (orlando )

who will be the mvp this season?

Matt Williamson
  (12:39 PM)

Tom Brady and Aaron Rodgers come to mind...boring, I know

Blueman (Indy)

Is there one team right now that makes you scratch your head and say "I really can't tellif this team is 6-10 or a 10 this year"?

Matt Williamson
  (12:39 PM)

Denver immediately pops into my mind on that. Their season could go fantastic-or terrible.

Ryan (MO)

Can KC bet out Denver to win the AFC West?

Matt Williamson
  (12:40 PM)

Not a Cassel fan here, but I will pick the Chiefs in the AFC West

Tim Duncan (San Antonio, TX)

The Thunder called me boring too...

Matt Williamson
  (12:40 PM)

Boring isn't the worst thing in the world...esp when you are great

seth (orlando )

who is better rg3 or luck?

Matt Williamson
  (12:40 PM)

Right this second? Luck

AJ (Oakland)

Is it fair to say as Cassel goes, KC goes? It seems they are a QB away from being spectacular.

Matt Williamson
  (12:42 PM)

I very much think the are a QB away from being spectacular, but I don't think that "As Cassel goes, KC goes"...they are so strong in almost every other area that they will massage the QB position and win in spite of him. Of course he has to play well, but he pretty much is what he is-and they know it.

Gobizzle (DC)

Morris Claiborne or Patrick Peterson or Tyron Mathieu....strictly speaking in terms as a CB

Matt Williamson
  (12:43 PM)

Peterson. He came on huge to finish up last season and the Zona D took massive steps forward as a result. I think Peterson will be considered a Top 5 CB by all by season's end...and that is conservative.

Scott (Northglenn, CO)

For what it's worth on the Von Miller vs. Aldon Smith comparisons...Pro Football Focus had Von as their highest-rated defensive player for the year...

Matt Williamson
  (12:44 PM)

If you go back, I did a Rookie Report every Wednesday during the season. I eventually broke down and gave Smith my DROY, but that was only because Miller's play fell off to finish the season after his thumb surgery. But I took all kinds of heat for having Miller 1st overall (ahead of Newton too) almost the entire season. Love him. Can be a Hall of Famer.

AJ (Oakland)

Isn't Von Miller too one-dimensional? It seems he is just a pass rusher, not the complete package like say a Mariom Williams or Ware.

Matt Williamson
  (12:45 PM)

Ware is amazing. But Miller is much more than a pass rusher. In their base 4-3 D, he actually plays pretty much on the 2nd level as a SLB. Good in coverage. Plays the run well. Great in pursuit...but an animal off the edge.

Kurtis (Houston, TX)

Assuming both are healthy, who has the better season; Cutler or Schaub?

Matt Williamson
  (12:46 PM)

Cutler. Better weapons. Less of a running game to rely on. More ability. Schaub does have much better protection though.

Neal (Bel Air, MD)

Who will have the biggest impact between Poe in KC, Cox in Philly, and Brockers in SL?

Matt Williamson
  (12:47 PM)

Immediate impact? Cox-easily. Poe and Brockers are projects to me. Cox can rush the passer right now and should be lined up with Jenkins, Babin and Cole on throwing downs, which makes me say WOW. Cox also can be a heavy base DE on early downs too.

Brett (Ottawa)

Matt, You've been leading the AJ Green fantasy bandwagon so far. Do you see Dalton holding him back at all? Seems like guys like Shipley or Gresham might be better suited to a Dalton led offense. Obviously Green is still a beast but you've been saying #2 WR in the NFL numbers!

Matt Williamson
  (12:48 PM)

Yeah, I have Green slightly over Fitzgerald as my F #2 WR-huge fan obviously. I do think Dalton holds him back some, esp as a long ball receiver. I also think Gresham has a huge year. But Dalton will still look to Green a TON, esp near the end zone. He can be uncoverable.

Clay (Charlotte)

Would you keep Beason in the middle or move him to the outside to make room for Kuechly?

Matt Williamson
  (12:50 PM)

Would move Beason to WLB. Great problem to have. But I know Beason can play on the outside. I don't know for sure that LK can.

Ted (RI)

How tough will it be for the Pats to hang onto both Gronk and Hernandez after next year? Seems like a lot of cap space for one position. Gronk stays and Hernandez goes?

Matt Williamson
  (12:51 PM)

Are they both free agents after this season? Assuming that they are and that is why you asked, the bottom line is that Gronk can't go anywhere. Give him the farm (assuming his back issues are not still a problem, which is why he fell in the draft). But he is a once in a generation TE. Hernandez is replaceable. Gronk isn't.

Dr. H. Doofenshmirtz (Tri-State Area)

Why not trade Hernandez now?

Matt Williamson
  (12:52 PM)

Because they are trying to win the Super Bowl this year.

Ryan (MO)

How do you feel about Devon Wylie in KC?

Matt Williamson
  (12:53 PM)

Pure slot guy, but faster than most slot WRs without compromising quickness. Was very shocked that he was drafted as late as he was.

Ted (RI)

Sorry, both have rookie deals that expire next year.

Matt Williamson
  (12:53 PM)

Makes sense. Could see both staying-and Welker on the way out.

Chanedese Tyler (suttons bay,michigan)

Deshean Jackson will have a comeback year to help the Eagles.

Matt Williamson
  (12:53 PM)

I agree, but I also think that it is Maclin who is on the verge of stardom

seth (orlando )

who is the best QB in new york

Matt Williamson
  (12:54 PM)

Seriously?

CC (Atlanta)

Peter Konz the starting LG or C in Atlanta this year? If LG and McClure stays at C, the line should be better. LT still a question but they have a bunch of bodies to compete. Other 4 OL spots would be solid.

Matt Williamson
  (12:55 PM)

Yeah, you leave McClure at OC for this year at least. He is still playing well. ATL really lucked out that Konz fell into their lap. Exactly what they need: Starting OG who will eventually captain the OL at OC

Josh (Seattle, WA)

What does Seattle have to get out of Bruce Irvin to consider that pick a "success?"

Matt Williamson
  (12:55 PM)

Frightened QBs and Os that change their blocking scheme when he is on the field...certainly possible right off the bat

MANNY (New York)

Good afternoon Matt, do you see the Colts finishing with the worst record next year and if so, do you think they can pull off a trade just like the Rams did the Redskins and what team do you see as a trading partner?

Matt Williamson
  (12:56 PM)

Yes...and Yes...but I have no idea who the partner will be. A QB Starved team

Matt (MPLS)

With the Vikes in a rebuilding mode, would it make sense to trade a Jared Allen, while he is in his prime and healthy?

Matt Williamson
  (12:57 PM)

I could see that-if the price was right. Would want a bounty of draft picks, but a contender might make that move. Could free up a lot of cap space to spend next offseason.

Scott (Northglenn, CO)

Who comes back and has a huge year - Jamaal Charles, Chris Johnson or DMC?

Matt Williamson
  (12:58 PM)

If I had to rank how productive those three would be in 2012, I would go: 1. McF 2. Johnson 3. Charles

Matt (MPLS)

Either of the Arkansas WR's the Vikes drafted have a shot at being good?

Matt Williamson
  (12:59 PM)

Yes, Wright is a guy that should have gone much higher. Actually, search for an article KC Joyner did about Wright-you will love it. But here is a sleeper prediction for you: J Simpson has a huge year for Minny (after suspension).

Scott (Northglenn, CO)

Sean Witherspoon was apparently upset at the NFL network's 100 top Player List..is he better than Beason or Vilma? I'd say he's in the top 200 list...

Matt Williamson
  (1:00 PM)

I have not been impressed with that list, but Weatherspoon is certainly a Top 100 player right now...and WAY better than Vilma

Matt Williamson
  (1:00 PM)

Alrighty, that is a wrap. Stop back next week. We will do again. Great stuff and drop me a line on Twitter @WilliamsonNFL to continue chatting.