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June 13, 12:00 PM ET
Chat with Matt Williamson

Matt Williamson
  (11:59 AM)

Let's get this rolling!

mike (cambridge)

how good do you think the patriots D can be?

Matt Williamson
  (12:00 PM)

I think it can be improved, esp in the secondary. And I think they can be opportunistic and better the closer to the goal line they get-as they were last year. And in the end, I think it can be good enough to allow NEng's opponents to consistently score fewer points than NEng's O will generate. That equals an awful lot of wins.

nick (middletown, NJ) [via mobile]

If Fitz can knock down his INT total and the D performs like we hope it will, what is a realistic finish for my Bills? 10-6 or better based on their schedule?

Matt Williamson
  (12:02 PM)

Certainly an enticing schedule. I am in agreement with a vastly improved Bills D. The secondary and esp the DL should be very good. Not a huge believer in Fitz ever really cutting down the mistakes though. He is a risk taker-without elite skills to get away with such risk taking. I suppose that Buff could get to 10 wins if everything works out...that is a really ideal situation though. I will pick them for 2nd in the division though.

Blake (Newark NJ)

Eli is probably the ______ best player in the NFL right now. If you have him 15th or higher ( the higher the worse he is), you are crazy.

Matt Williamson
  (12:03 PM)

Doubt Eli would be in my Top 15 overall players. He would be my 4th or 5th QB though, so he prob isn't TOO far outside the Top 15.

rick,tx [via mobile]

No gates on top TE....Why not hes one of the best even when playing injured

Matt Williamson
  (12:04 PM)

Because that article is projecting who will be the best TEs in 2015-not today. Obviously it is a tough article to write/prognosticate, but I can't see Gates being a top guy any more in three years. BTW, I am working on OL now.

Dan (Washington, DC)

I love June, when it's possible for everyone to win 10 games.

Matt Williamson
  (12:05 PM)

Exactly! Everyone is healthy. Every draft pick is going to be great. Optimism abounds.

Scott (SF)

Does Hunter get the most carries of the 49ers' backs this year? Seems to me like they are going more spread and I think he'd be a better fit for that type of a scheme. Gore is good at catching the ball out of the backfield, too, though.

Matt Williamson
  (12:06 PM)

Big fan of Hunter here, but still gotta think Gore gets the most RB touches-at least for as long as he is healthy. Jacobs is the guy in that backfield that I just don't understand.

Ben (Ireland)

I've a feeling the Giants are going to finish 3rd in the NFC east behind the Eagles and the Cowboys...am I insane?

Matt Williamson
  (12:06 PM)

Not insane at all. I will pick Philly to win the NFC East

Zach (CT)

Witten will probably still outproduce a couple of those guys in 2015. Plus he will be a better blocker.

Matt Williamson
  (12:07 PM)

It is possible. Not denying Witten's greatness either. And yes, excellent blocker. But I think he will be 34 in 2015. Tough to play that long at a real high level.

jt (tampa)

Fred Davis pick up where he left off last season? How does he do with new rookie qb?

Matt Williamson
  (12:08 PM)

I expect Davis to be great, esp with RG3. Think Shannon Sharpe.

Bradley (Dublin, CA)

I see in last week's chat that you identified the NFC West as having 3 defenses that classify as high end. Judging by that, it seems that the division is no longer the red headed step child and is rapidly becoming one of the best in football. Do you agree?

Matt Williamson
  (12:08 PM)

On that side of the ball I agree-and I also think STL's D could be much better than many think. But the Os?????

Eric (Chicago) [via mobile]

How much does it effect the Bears that Forte isn't in camp? Can Bush carry the load in your opinion?

Matt Williamson
  (12:09 PM)

I think Bush can carry the load, but I also think Forte will be there for games. Who ever holds out the entire season? As of right now, I don't think Forte not being there is hurting the team badly, but they are installing a new O.

Frank (Chi)

What do you expect to see from the Bears this year? If the defense doesnt age drastically I think they steal the division from GB

Matt Williamson
  (12:10 PM)

That will be tough, but not impossible for sure. You know they will be great on special teams. I think the D takes a small step back, but it still strong. And I think the O will vastly improve if they can keep Cutler upright. The O scheme change will pay off.

Benjamin (Concord)

JPP said he put on another 5 pounds of muscle, which would make him 290 pounds. Is he a better athlete than Mario Williams and Julius Peppers?

Matt Williamson
  (12:12 PM)

Purely athletically, I would put Mario a distant third of those guys. I guess I put JPP over Peppers, but both are very high end DE athletes. Remember...Peppers was the 6th man on his college basketball team...and he went to UNC!

Dan (Boston)

What word makes you smile everytime? TEBOW TEBOW TEBOWWWW

Matt Williamson
  (12:12 PM)

Okee dokee

jt (tampa)

Kenny Britt coming back strong or is injury situation too serious to tell yet?

Matt Williamson
  (12:13 PM)

Too hard to tell yet-plus, I am not at the facility. Very excited to see him in preseason though. He can be fantastic.

Bradley (Dublin, CA)

As a follow up to the NFC West question, in your opinion, is it better to have an elite O or an elite D in today's NFL?

Matt Williamson
  (12:13 PM)

Guess we could compare Pats vs. Niners last year for a jumping off point...and I would pick the O/QB

Benjamin (Concord)

I remember when the Bengals offered the Boys a first rounder for Martellus Bennett. Did the Giants get a steal in FA or is he stealing the Giants money?

Matt Williamson
  (12:15 PM)

Is it true that Bennett put on a ton of weight? If so, that scares me. But if he is the same guy he was been in Dallas, I like the acquisition a lot for NYG-on the cheap. Bennett is a very good blocker and their OTs need some help for sure. Also, Eli has made lesser players at TE look quite good in that O.

jt (tampa)

Green Bay hyping Starks as their answer at rb. Does he have the skills to deliver?

Matt Williamson
  (12:15 PM)

I don't think so. Starks is a backup RB to me. Green might surprise though-certainly has more potential than Starks in the passing game.

Mark (NYC)

If you had to pick 1-coach, and 1-QB to win 1-game ever, who do you pick; past-present, and why? Thanks

Matt Williamson
  (12:17 PM)

Yikes. Hard to go against Montana. Unitas comes to mind as well. Chuck Noll didn't lose too many big games. Walsh? That Lombardi character? Today: I still pick Belichick. And I would prob take Rodgers-he is just the best player in the world.

jt (tampa)

% of touches this year F Jax - Spiller

Matt Williamson
  (12:18 PM)

Expecting F Jax to be the bell cow. He was simply great last year before his injury. Spiller get 33% of the carries, but I also project his role as a receiver (more WR like) to be enhanced. Might line him out wide while F Jax is in the backfield.

Benjamin (Concord)

With Cunningham, Spikes, Mayo, Hightower, Jones and Ninkovich do you think the Pats have the LB core to play 3-4 full time again?

Matt Williamson
  (12:19 PM)

Sure. The OLBs are semi-questionable compared to some of the top 3-4 pairings in the league. Ninkovich is a very good player though. But we know the Pats are not going to do anything full time on D. Will remain VERY multiple and BB wants to be able to game plan week to week with versatile defenders. I do think C Jones will be a star though.

Hanson (DC)

Been reading the Colts will have $40mil+ to spend next year,can they buy a defense for that?

Matt Williamson
  (12:20 PM)

Quite possibly. Might need 7ish starters. They will also pick very high in the draft.

Tony (Richmond, CA)

Does the big deal signed by Gronkowski signal the end of Wes Welker's career in New England after this season? Or at least the possibility of the long term deal he wanted?

Matt Williamson
  (12:21 PM)

That seems likely. Hernandez's contract is up soon too. Has this become Patriots Today? Is Pod Vader producing it?

DJ Jones (Cleveland)

Crank it up Matt........Do you see the Browns trying to bring in any WR after the cuts get started this offseason? I don't want a fossil, but someone with experience.Any Hagar on the speakers today?Thanks

Matt Williamson
  (12:22 PM)

It is cranked up. Run to the Hills is on now...getting after it here. What WR comes to mind though? Can't see Braylon returning. Someone will get cut and CLEV should be buyers at that position to help Weeden's transition. But I just don't know who.

Brandon (Phoenix, AZ)

What's up with Bowe? He going to keep holding out for a new contract or just sign the tender? Seems like he's playing hardball with the wrong organization (Pioli, Hunt).

Matt Williamson
  (12:23 PM)

Agreed. Can't see him staying out long. This is the time of the year for holdouts though. They will all be in.

Louie (Tampa, FL)

I feel like this Jets D has the potential to be the best Jets defense in the Rex Ryan era. True or false?

Matt Williamson
  (12:24 PM)

True. More multiple now up front. The middle of the field shouldn't be as available in the passing game. Coples is a big wild card-good or bad. Should be noticeably better than a year ago at least.

jt (tampa)

I appreciate some good 80s stuff and want to give props to a very underated band....DOKKEN. I'm sure you will agree.

Matt Williamson
  (12:25 PM)

BIG 80s guy here for sure, but have to come clean-really haven't been down the Dokken road much here for whatever reason.

Awayne (Indy)

Andrew Luck can now practice,what is the biggest thing to work on in a mini camp,just learning the offense or learning his teammates?

Matt Williamson
  (12:26 PM)

I would say teammates....and coaches

Tim (DC)

Re: the Jets defense. Neither Landry or Bell are cover guys, how exactly do they stop NE's tight ends?

Matt Williamson
  (12:27 PM)

They are not coverage safeties, but I expect to see those guys at LB quite a bit in sub packages. As LBs go, they are MUCH better in coverage than Scott/Harris

Smeagol (fishing)

How does anybody?

Matt Williamson
  (12:28 PM)

That too

Steve (Bristol)

Am I the only one concerned that RG3 said in an interview Grossman has been very helpful in teaching him what to look for on defense? Was that a joke?

Matt Williamson
  (12:29 PM)

Funny...Grossman has been around the league for a while though and seems to have a good handle of Shanny's O...."Do as I say, not as I do"

JR (Virginia)

Will Robert Meachem match Vincent Jackson production this year in SD?

Matt Williamson
  (12:30 PM)

Doubtful, but he will be the effective deep threat that they need in SD. Rivers is a great deep passer. But Norv wants to run the rock heavy with Mathews first and foremost.

jt (tampa)

Davone Bess, what's your take? There aren't many options in Miami I assume he will get lots of targets

Matt Williamson
  (12:31 PM)

Pretty much has to. But Bess isn't going to consistently beat top CB coverage. And he won't be a big play guy. Complementary piece. I also don't expect 85 to do much of anything in MIA

Smeagol (fishing)

Over/under on the number of games before Tim Tebow becomes the Jets' starting quarterback?

Matt Williamson
  (12:32 PM)

5

Corey (D.C.)

A few months ago I asked you if you thought Greg Little could be a top 25 WR, to which you said CLEV would be ecstatic if that happened. Has your opinion changed with the addition of Weeden and the reports that Little is slimmer, faster, and has worked on his hands all offseason?

Matt Williamson
  (12:33 PM)

I don't remember that, but I have been pumping Little quite a bit this offseason. Remember, he came to UNC as a RB! And he didn't play his senior year! And-no mini camps! I bet the lockout hurt a guy like Little much more than the usual rookie.

Brian (MA)

Since everyone is optimistic about their teams at this point, which team has the biggest "boom or bust" range (could win 10 game or could win 4)?

Matt Williamson
  (12:33 PM)

Denver...could win 12...or 4

Frank (NJ)

Who do you like better, Giants wide receivers(assuming Nicks is healthy) or Cowboys receivers?

Matt Williamson
  (12:35 PM)

Not including Witten? NYG's WRs are WAY deeper. I really worry about Dallas' 3rd/4th WRs now. But just the top end guys? I go with Dallas-barely. I would rank them: 1 Nicks 2 Dez (will be fantastic this year) 3 Austin 4 Cruz (not totally buying into Cruz here yet)

Corey (D.C.)

If Bobby Wagner proves to be a legit MLB for Seattle right away, where are the holes on their DEF?

Matt Williamson
  (12:35 PM)

I don't see one, which is why on Twitter (@WilliamsonNFL) yesterday I was saying that I expect the Seahawks to field a Top 3 D in 2012

Eric (Paris, Fr.)

Shady McCoy best RB in the league?! Ashley Fox says so. I'm still starting this convo with AP "All Day". Thoughts?

Matt Williamson
  (12:36 PM)

Peterson (when healthy of course) is the best RB in the NFL. I really don't think it is close. Hall of Famer that we will all tell our grand kids about.

jt (tampa)

AJ Green tailed off a bit at the end of the year. Do you believe in Dalton? Is he good enough to keep AJ up among the elite wrs?

Matt Williamson
  (12:37 PM)

Green will be elite no matter what. I don't totally believe in Dalton-esp as the weather gets bad in the Northeast

Steven (Kingsport)

The guy in 2015, you are going to be saying "crap, I sure wished I had included him" - will be Jared Cook.

Matt Williamson
  (12:38 PM)

Cook was an honorable mention. He might be better than all of them, but just need to see more from him.

Ben (Ireland)

What are you expecting out of Suh this year?!

Matt Williamson
  (12:39 PM)

Suh didn't register the sacks last year like he did as a rookie. He might never again get to those numbers. Just such high sack numbers. But he still consistently is very disruptive. A great player. But to improve, he still needs to work on feeling/understanding the run game. Can get baited and is too often out of position in that area.

Paul (NYC)

Hi Matt, if you had your pick of any team to work for which would it be and why?

Matt Williamson
  (12:41 PM)

The Steelers Bro. Obviously. Pittsburgh guy-love my home town. Grew up worshiping the Black and Gold. Plus, it is a high quality organization that is loyal to its employees.

Smeagol (fishing)

Lions take a step back this year? Do the Saints?

Matt Williamson
  (12:42 PM)

Not seeing it. Lions will be in a ton of shootouts-but they can score a TON of points. And their OL should be better. As for the Saints, hard to guess what the coaching situation will do to the team, but I can't see them going away. Added guys like Bunkley, Lofton & Hawthorne to that Front 7. Should be better on D.

Steve (Bristol)

Do you see Jarvis Jenkins helping that defense out a lot this year? Seems he was playing at a high level before the injury. They sure have a lot of depth in that front 7. Thoughts?

Matt Williamson
  (12:43 PM)

I agree with that and I do think Jenkins is a nice looking young player that fits that scheme well. I like WASH's D, esp in the Front 7. Have some secondary concerns though-and that is a big prob in that division.

Prince (AL)

Thoughts on Isaiah Pead? Ive heard some NFL people suggest he wil be very good, like a poor man's Lesean McCoy?

Matt Williamson
  (12:44 PM)

Not as shifty/elusive as McCoy-but might be faster, esp in that dome. Doubt he is an every down RB though.

Matt Williamson
  (12:44 PM)

And Pead isn't a Jeff Fisher type of bell cow RB...certainly not Eddie George

Scott (Northglenn, CO)

Better player - Brent Grimes or Joe Haden?

Matt Williamson
  (12:45 PM)

Tough one! But I am really high on Haden. He's my pick.

Sally Anne Cavanaugh (Provo, Utah)

Predictions for the NFC East this season seem to be heavily favoring the Eagles and Cowboys, and of course all of the hype with RG3 has a few people even picking the Redskins. Meanwhile, the defending champs have been an afterthought at best. Is the prevailing sentiment in the media that the Giants are an inferior team that just got lucky? Or is everyone just so accustomed to picking the Eagles and Cowboys to win that they do it out of habit?

Matt Williamson
  (12:47 PM)

I really don't know who everyone is picking, but I love the Eagles this year and might pick them to go to the Super Bowl. As for the G Men, that OL/Running Game certainly worries me. But the Giants are not going away. BTW, Put it on the Underhill's bill...

Matt Williamson
  (12:47 PM)

Fletch! Such a fantastic movie. Really made me chuckle. OldsmaBuick

Damion (Pittsburgh)

Matty Dubz -- Look forward to your weekly chat over my lunch break every week!! If it were to come down to it (which it very well may at some point next offseason) and the Steelers were forced to choose between Mike Wallace or Antonio Brown long-term, who do they go with? PS - I think Emmanuel Sanders is set to have a break out year this season

Matt Williamson
  (12:48 PM)

Agreed on Sanders, but playing time might be tough to come by. Cotchery is quite good too. I think they go with Brown over Wallace, but wow, that is a tough call. Real tough. Wouldn't doubt they Franchise Wallace a year from now too.

Prince (AL)

Fisher also took CJ in rd 1, who is nothing like Eddie George either.

Matt Williamson
  (12:49 PM)

Good point! Pead does have some similarities to CJ-not that fast, but same type of RB

Jalky (Dodgeville MI)

Put it on the Underhill's tab. And what kind of impact do you see Nick Perry having in GB? Will he be enough to free Clay?

Matt Williamson
  (12:50 PM)

Worthy will help too in a Jenkins-like role. Perry should be able to draw some of the attention away from Clay, at least on passing downs. Might not be an every down player.

Larry (Pasco, WA)

If this is a QB league, why are you picking the Chiefs to win the AFC West with Cassel, when Rivers and Manning are in that division?

Matt Williamson
  (12:52 PM)

Well, that does go against what I normally do. But I think KC's supporting cast is much better than those two teams. I think they are stacked. Again, Denver could be great-or really struggle.

Matt Williamson
  (12:53 PM)

Teenager: Are you a cop?Fletch: As far as you know.Teenager: Are you gonna take me to jail for car theft?Fletch: Why? Did you steal the car?Teenager: I sure did.Fletch: Well, I'm not even sure that's a crime anymore. There've been a lot of changes in the law.

Smeagol (fishing)

Manning came out and said he still wasn't 100%. Cause for concern, or for optimism, considering he's looked good so far?

Matt Williamson
  (12:53 PM)

Sounds concerning to me....

Dan (LA)

All this love for the Iggles from you, does this mean you expect Vick to stay relatively healthy and Kafka to be a capable injury replacement?

Matt Williamson
  (12:54 PM)

That is certainly a HUGE concern, but the two things that I really like about Philly over last year are: 1. Vick has the entire offseason to work with Reid and hone his skills. 2. The D! Front 7 might be one of the best. Pass rush will be awesome. And I think they have a better handle now on how to use Nnamdi.

Corey (D.C.)

In a perfect world Santonio Holmes would have been cut right after his tantrum. Agree or disagree? I mean, the guy couldnt make it through ONE practice, after last years debacle? What a joke.

Matt Williamson
  (12:56 PM)

That does sound rather terrible. But...he can play. Be can really play. However, there was prob a reason that Pittsburgh gave him away for nothing...

Scott (Northglenn, CO)

Ok...best D-Line in the league - Eagles or Giants?

Matt Williamson
  (12:57 PM)

Man, that is tough, but give me Philly now. So deep. Crazy athletic.

Matt Williamson
  (12:57 PM)

Fletch: You using the whole fist, Doc?

Matt Williamson
  (12:57 PM)

Cracking myself up over here

Joe (NY)

No Keller on the top TE list? Kinda surprising, given that he's arguably top 10 right now, and has gotten better every year.

Matt Williamson
  (12:58 PM)

Yeah, he was my toughest decision. As I was writing that article, I had him as an Honorable Mention, then off, then on.

Matt Williamson
  (12:58 PM)

Fletch: I'm John.Gail Stanwyk: Ohhhh, John.[they laugh]Gail Stanwyk: John who?Fletch: John Cock... tos... ton.Gail Stanwyk: That's a beautiful name.Fletch: Well, it's Scotch/Romanian.Gail Stanwyk: That's an odd combination.Fletch: Yeah, well, so were my parents.

Paul (Indy)

Looks like you are a big Fletch fan....Other than that what are your favorite movies?

Matt Williamson
  (12:59 PM)

Godfather I & II are far and away my favs

Rick (Boston, Ma)

Another big year for Cam Newton?

Matt Williamson
  (1:00 PM)

Huge year for Cam. Might not have as many rushing TDs, but I think CAR's O will be fantastic this year. Might be the best running game in the NFL. Improved OL. Cam is legit for sure.

Matt Williamson
  (1:00 PM)

Folks, I am out. Great stuff. Stop back next week. But I will leave you with this: Madeline: I'm sorry, who are you again?Fletch: I'm Frieda's boss.Madeline: Who's Frieda?Fletch: My secretary.