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July 11, 12:00 PM ET
Chat with Matt Williamson

Matt Williamson
  (12:03 PM)

Just finished taping the podcast. Great stuff today. We had Andrew Brandt on to talk contracts etc and we really dug into my Off Season Grades articles that went up Monday and Tuesday...Check those out

mike (new jersey)

steelers vs eagles superbowl?

Matt Williamson
  (12:04 PM)

Could be. I haven't made predictions yet, but I am very high on both those squads. I favor NEng over PGH right now slightly in the AFC however, but that opinion could change.

Micheal (Toronto)

Saints had terrible off season so far this year does brees not coming to th training camp affects the team even more.

Matt Williamson
  (12:04 PM)

It surely would. Really, download Football Today in about an hour when it becomes available. We really get into that subject. I tend to think a deal will get done by Monday though.

Fred (Texas)

Hi Matt, with the additions and subtractions from their respective O lines do you see a reversal in production from A Foster and C Johnson?

Matt Williamson
  (12:06 PM)

TENN first: Hutch is still a quality OLineman, but I still see that OL as more or less the same-strong at OT and weak on the interior. I do think CJ has a very good year though-came on strong to finish 2011 and he now has a lot of weaponry around him. As for Foster, I think that OL takes a step back. Not a massive step, but I do like Winston. But HOUS had the best OL in the NFL last year, so even a small step back won't prohibit Foster from a big season.

joe (pittsburgh)

over/under for carolina 8 wins?

Matt Williamson
  (12:07 PM)

OVER...picking the Panthers to win the NFC South-You heard it here first!

Mike (San Diego)

M-Dub...fantasy question for you...gotta make a decisiion on my last keeper...Dez Bryant or Andre Johnson.

Matt Williamson
  (12:08 PM)

I assume you are not talking Dynasty here-rather a keeper for just one season. If so, I take Andre J. He is still great-when healthy.

Bernard (France)

Hi MW, Do you expect Roy Helu to get the majority of Redskins carries or expect another Shannahan Shuffle?

Matt Williamson
  (12:09 PM)

Such an incredibly difficult thing to predict given Shanny's history, but I do think that Helu is the Skins best ball carrier and also is the best fit in that one cut scheme.

Ben (Ireland)

WHo do you have as your leader in sacks for the upcoming season?! I'm going for JPP!

Matt Williamson
  (12:10 PM)

JPP is pretty tough to argue with. I think I am going with him as well. Some great ones out there obviously like Ware and Allen, but I will take JPP

Mike (San Diego)

M-Dub...it is a dynasty league...can keep these guys forever.

Matt Williamson
  (12:10 PM)

Then I prefer Dez to Andre J

Scott (Northglenn, CO)

The other Wiliamson (Bill) put together a list of the top 30 players in the AFC West...and #1 was Peyton Manning...who would be your top player in the divison?

Matt Williamson
  (12:13 PM)

Well, a little tease. Billy Willy is going on vacation next week and I am presently writing an article: Who will be the best AFC West's Best D Player in 2012? You will have to wait for my answer. But as far as ranking Manning-and this goes for the Jaws QB Rankings too-I just think we are all guessing at this point. For example, if Jaws or Bill put Peyton 10th on their list, I would get it. We just don't know right now. So I am cool with #18 being first overall in the AFC West I suppose.

Anthony (Prospect Heights, BK)

The loss of Peters will negate any positive moves made by Philly this off season

Matt Williamson
  (12:14 PM)

Peters is GREAT, but Bell isn't a slouch and I do think they still have a well above average OL overall

Paul (Albany, OR)

I see you did not think of Chris Long as a potential sack leader. With better defensive tackles and hopefully Quinn stepping up on the other side I think he can improve on last year's totals. Am I off base?

Matt Williamson
  (12:14 PM)

Not off base at all. Big Long fan/believer here. Just not quite in the category of the guys I mentioned. Still, that Rams' DL is now young and formidable.

Karyn (NJ)

I've been seeing analysts predict the Giants to finish 3rd in their division behind Dallas and Philly. Do you agree and why?

Matt Williamson
  (12:15 PM)

I will most likely go: 1. PHIL 2. NYG 3. DAL 4. WASH...my worries with NYG is their OL and running game for the most part.

Scott (Northglenn, CO)

With hindsight being 20/20...Eagles should have kept Ryan Harris..don't you think he'd be an upgrade on Bell?

Matt Williamson
  (12:16 PM)

I prefer Bell. Harris is a pure RT-and can be a good one, but I don't want him on the left side.

tim (ny)

Matt Stafford at #14 on Jaws rankings? I used to like jaws but he is a hack.

Matt Williamson
  (12:17 PM)

He certainly isn't a hack. Guys like Stafford and Newton are real hard to rank for me (& I am guessing for Jaws too) because they can easily get into that Top 5 level, but they just don't yet have the body of work. I would rank Stafford higher than 14 myself, but I see why he would put him there. Also, if you watch that segment it isn't like Jaws is cutting on the guy-almost all praise. Oh by the way...making lists-and I have done a TON-is brutal work.

jt (tampa)

Do you see Cam regressing much if at all?

Matt Williamson
  (12:19 PM)

He sure fell off as the season went along, but I think as a passer, Cam is legit for sure. Needs to take fewer risks with the football and that should come with a full offseason of work. I like his weapons though more now and I think CAR will have the best running game in the NFL next year. Doesn't all have to be on Newton's shoulders when times get tough for the youngster. He's a stud though.

Al (Wausau, WI)

Matt, true or false: The Vikings' defense will finish in the Top 5 in 2012 in sacks.

Matt Williamson
  (12:20 PM)

FALSE. I know they had high sack totals last year, but I think that is a bit misleading. Here is why: Their Run D was pretty good, but their coverage players/DBs were simply awful. So everyone should throw against Minny-and the division they play in compounded that. Now, will that change in 2012? Maybe not, but I do think there will be more balance. We all know Allen is a great pass rusher, but I will say Robison is someone people need to recognize as well.

Bertha (Boston)

Should we expect on encore from Victor Cruz or was last season flukey?

Matt Williamson
  (12:21 PM)

Semi Flukey. Good player. I don't think he falls off the map. But he just had SO many long plays, that I doubt that can keep up, esp as a run after the catch player. Also, he isn't sneaking up on anyone in 2012.

John (Austin, TX)

Matt, What are your thoughts on the Bills D being a top defense?

Matt Williamson
  (12:23 PM)

I was asked on Twitter yesterday (@WilliamsonNFL) if there were any Ds that I am not high on right now. He was joking with me, but I will confess, I am really high on a LOT of Ds this year, including the Bills. I don't see big weaknesses with it right now and I think having a stabilizing coaching force in Wanny is a real good thing. Last year, they just didn't have a real identity on that side of the ball.

Matt Williamson
  (12:23 PM)

Podcast just posted: http://espn.go.com/espnradio/play?id=8156894

joe (nyc)

how do you see martellus bennet working out in NY this year? He's only on a one year contract so the motivation issue should be handled but can he learn the O and have an impact in the passing game and not just be a 6th OL?

Matt Williamson
  (12:25 PM)

I loved that pick up, but I will say that his reported weight worries me. But if he comes to camp in shape, I think he is an obvious TE upgrade for NYG, both as a blocker and receiver. He won't be a featured member of that O, but still an upgrade. I also like Robinson down the road at TE for them.

Jamall (Queens NY )

Who will do Power Rankings this year, you or Ross???

Matt Williamson
  (12:26 PM)

I think Ross will. I have done them before-can't say I missed that job last year while he handled it!

Ted (Medford MA )

Do you see any defense in 2012 making a Houston Texan like transition from poor to great?

Matt Williamson
  (12:27 PM)

They certainly were not poor last year, but SEA could have a Top 3 D. How about STL? Highly doubt that they have to put 93 CBs on IR this year. Good young nucleus on D. Finnegan is a great addition.

Tony (Richmond, CA)

Which quarterback will lead his team to the championship caliber year fans have been clamoring for and finally meet the lofty expectations that have surrounded their organizations for the past several seasons? Phillip Rivers or Tony Romo?

Matt Williamson
  (12:28 PM)

I was going to say Michael Vick. I am quite high on Romo and esp Rivers, but would be shocked if either hoisted Lombardi this year. But I would bet on DAL over SD.

Val (Las Vegas)

Given the recent praises of Moss by Harbaugh, and others, is he a top 5 wr going into the season? Or too much concern about commitment to give any serious weight to?

Matt Williamson
  (12:29 PM)

I can't put him in the Top 5! He is capable I suppose still, but wow-he hasn't done a thing in a while. I need to see more than a few press clippings to totally buy in. But excited to see him in the preseason for sure.

jt (tampa)

Does Dez turn the Hype into reality this season as a true top 10 elite WR?

Matt Williamson
  (12:29 PM)

I tend to think so. Risky. Consistency is a problem for sure. But I think a more regimented off season could really pay off for Bryant.

Scott (Northglenn, CO)

Did you scout Josh Gordon from Baylor? Where would you take him in a Supp. draft? His measureables are pretty impressive...

Matt Williamson
  (12:30 PM)

I don't know a ton about him, but have talked to some people that I trust about him and he is certainly big and fast. Good ball skills. I am guessing he is a 3rd rounder in the Supp Draft.

Tony (Richmond, CA)

Do you anticipate a monster season from DeSean Jackson in 2012 now that the Eagles have put more money his pocket?

Matt Williamson
  (12:31 PM)

I expect quite a few big plays, but I expect the Monster Season from Maclin.

Brad (Beverly, Ma)

Comeback player of the year Ochicinco?

Matt Williamson
  (12:31 PM)

No. How about that Manning guy in Denver?

John (Wisc)

What rookie's do you see having great fantasy numbers this year?

Matt Williamson
  (12:32 PM)

Not very high on this rookie class to be honest, esp for fantasy. Richardson will get a ton of touches though and is certainly a big time talent. The WRs don't excite me.

Derrin (Plano, TX)

Will Jarret Crick prove to be a steal for the Texans in the fourth round and help anchor the defensive line for the next 7-10 years?

Matt Williamson
  (12:33 PM)

I can buy that. Great backup for Watt now. Smith is an underrated player though at the other DE spot, particularly as a pass rusher on throwing downs. So Crick will have to maximize the minimal snaps he gets for now. But I did like the pick/fit quite a bit.

tim (ny)

matt ryan, matt schaub, joe flacco and cutler all ahead of stafford? Please tell me what GM on earth would take one of those guys ahead stafford. I know you agree that he should be ranked higher, idk what Jaws is thinking.

Matt Williamson
  (12:34 PM)

If I am building a team and considering age, the only guy I take over Stafford is Rodgers. But that isn't the basis of Jaws' project. Scroll back to early in the chat when I discuss this.

Karyn (NJ)

Is Peyton Manning adjusting well to Denver's system?

Matt Williamson
  (12:35 PM)

The real question is: Are the Broncos adjusting well to Peyton Manning's system? I dunno...we shall see in a few weeks

Blueman (Indy)

Does Austin Collie fiy in the new Colts offense? Seems if they go 2 TEs more often than not Fleener will be in the slot,can Collie be effective outside?

Matt Williamson
  (12:36 PM)

Arians likes to use a lot of 2 TE sets for sure. But he also likes smaller quick WRs types. Collie could maybe fill the A Brown role in Indy to some degree, but I would say he is going to be used less Welker-like now.

Derrin (Plano, TX)

Who will replace Wimbley's pass rush for the Raiders this season?

Matt Williamson
  (12:36 PM)

I really like Houston and Shaugnessy, but I do think this D has a long year and the loss of Wimbley is certainly one reason for that.

Jeff (KCMO)

Dontari Poe - Beast or bust?

Matt Williamson
  (12:37 PM)

Beast...in time. Patience Grasshopper.

jt (tampa)

Who is affected the most by the arrival of Lloyd? Gronk, Hernandez, Welker?

Matt Williamson
  (12:37 PM)

In terms of who will be targeted less now? I think I go with Hernandez.

John (Wisc)

Who do you think will have the bigger impact in year 2, Titus young or Randall Cobb?

Matt Williamson
  (12:38 PM)

I think Cobb is the far superior player, but I expect more playing time for Young, esp if Broyles isn't ready. Not avoiding your question, but if Cobb gets the snaps, he will be a true star.

Scott (Northglenn, CO)

Better season - Jon Baldwin or Greg Little?

Matt Williamson
  (12:39 PM)

Little. Expecting Weeden to stare him down like he did with Blackmon in college. Little came to UNC as a RB, didn't play his senior season and then didn't have a real offseason to prepare for the NFL! He can be great.

Jeff (KCMO)

LT said on NFL Network the other day that San Diego and Denver are the best teams in the AFC West...Is he still sipping the SD kool-aid or is San Diego really better than the Chiefs?

Matt Williamson
  (12:40 PM)

I will pick KC to win the West

Tony (Richmond, CA)

What about Denarius Moore in Year 2? He should have a big year for the Raiders, right?

Matt Williamson
  (12:40 PM)

Agreed. Not a huge Palmer fan here, but wow was he put in a tough situation last season in OAK. The Raiders have WRs though and Moore is the best of the bunch.

Val (Las Vegas)

Tampa was fairly aggressive in the off season and on paper seem improved. If you have Caro winning the South, I am guessing Tampa will be the cellar team. What is your analysis of Bucs? Can V-Jax spur the pass game?

Matt Williamson
  (12:41 PM)

They are better for sure-and I like that they seem to be getting back to basics. But they were awful last season and I can't see a super drastic turnaround. That D still worries me.

jt (tampa)

Do you like Sjaxs backup Pead? I'm hearing good things

Matt Williamson
  (12:42 PM)

Very much so. Hopefully they lighten Jackson's load some-and Pead is a great change of pace. But Pead might actually be a lead back in time. LONG overdue addition.

John (Boston)

To what beat are you bringing your funk today, M-Dub? Ipod on blast?

Matt Williamson
  (12:44 PM)

It is blasting. On shuffle. Rush's Red Barchetta right now. Sometimes I can take or leave Rush, but right now, I am digging it for sure. And...per a chat request, I just downloaded Thin Lizzy's Live and Dangerous....next week, I am doing the chat in PodVader office in Bristol. Hope he can handle my tunes blasting!

tom (philly)

how will "beast mode" do in seattle this year?

Matt Williamson
  (12:45 PM)

That OL isn't all that great-but I guess it wasn't last year either. I hear a lot of people talking about how worried they are that Lynch won't bring it after signing a substantial contract. That seems unfair to me. But I also think he doesn't quite have the season he did a year ago.

Back on Pirates Bandwagon (San Antonio)

What are your thoughts on Redman running behind a two rookies? Does this bode well for the Steeler run game?

Matt Williamson
  (12:46 PM)

Redman is fine. Not super excited about him and I am one of the few that expect PGH to throw more than ever this year. Keep an eye on Dwyer though....

Tony (Richmond, CA)

Is DMC's future in Oakland come into question if he can't stay healthy and doesn't produce? The talent is there without question, however, that's a lot of money to spend each year on someone who isn't consistently in the field.

Matt Williamson
  (12:46 PM)

He ALWAYS produces. But your points are valid concerning his durability. I expect him to post monster numbers...when on the field

Marcus (Pa Raider)

So the Chiefs to win the West, will the Raiders break .500 or finish below 8-8?

Matt Williamson
  (12:47 PM)

Well below

Jeff (KCMO)

Who will get more touches this year : Charles or Hillis?

Matt Williamson
  (12:48 PM)

Gotta be Charles, unless he just isn't right. Real tough for me to eval injuries, but if Charles is close to where he was, you gotta feed that guy. I bet Dabol loves Hillis though.

Jeff (Nashville)

Bears or Lions? Both getting so much hype. Do both make the playoffs?

Matt Williamson
  (12:49 PM)

Pretty confident that I will pick GB first in that division and Minny last, but torn on those two in the middle and with NFC Wild Cards as well right now. Leaning towards Chicago 2nd and could see DET taking a baby step backwards after a tumultuous offseason. Young team and not sure where DET is better now than from a year ago.

Scott (Northglenn, CO)

DeMarco Murray...1200 yds, 40 rec, 8 TDs too optimistic?

Matt Williamson
  (12:50 PM)

Not sold on Murray. Ran through some monster holes and I don't like his change of direction or durability. Am I nuts to say that Felix might actually be the better player?

jt (tampa)

Any gas left in Gore's tank?

Matt Williamson
  (12:51 PM)

He isn't running on fumes just yet, but that is right around the corner. Has had a ton of lower body injuries going back to his days at The U.

Stephen ((Bakersfield ca.))

How many games will Chiefs win?

Matt Williamson
  (12:51 PM)

10

John (Wisc)

What is your thoughts of Mohomad Sanu with the Bengals? With Green on the other side attracting alot of attention he could put up some really good numbers?

Matt Williamson
  (12:52 PM)

Could be Housh-like. I actually think it will be Gresham that benefits most this year though. Sanu isn't a game breaker, but he is solid and should do well. Jones can't be overlooked either though.

jt (tampa)

You buying Fred Davis as a top TE in 2012?

Matt Williamson
  (12:52 PM)

No question

Blueman (Indy)

Is the AFC W the most interesting division in the NFL? Not the best but 3 teams that could end up anywhere between 6-10 and 11-5?

Matt Williamson
  (12:54 PM)

I will buy that. Well, all the divisions are certainly interesting, but I could see the AFC West getting the widest variety of predictions for first place.

Jeff (Nashville)

Why did GB keep Driver? Cobb is ready. They have two young guys, Gurley and Borrel, that will be tough to keep on the practice squad. What am I missing? Would they trade James Jones/would anyone want James Jones?

Matt Williamson
  (12:55 PM)

Surprised me a bit too-but I don't know exactly what they have invested in Driver. But man, I want Cobb on the field!

Michelle (Oklahoma)

I know you are going for age with the Stafford, but in 2012 Cutler or Stafford?

Matt Williamson
  (12:55 PM)

Cutler is vastly underrated. Big fan here and have been for some time, but give me Stafford-and I am not just talking stats/yardage.

Scott (Dallas)

How much fun will Haley have with Rainey? I think he'll have a ton of fun moving him into certain situations.

Matt Williamson
  (12:56 PM)

You would think, but those guys are not as easy to incorporate into an O as you would think and Haley didn't exactly turn McCluster into a star in KC.

josh(buff) [via mobile]

Who wins the nfc west

Matt Williamson
  (12:56 PM)

SF is really strong. Bringing back the league's best D totally intact. Great on special teams. More explosive on O.

Michelle (Oklahoma)

Any reason why Stafford?

Matt Williamson
  (12:58 PM)

I just think he is knocking on the door of superstardom. Total package. Great weapons.

jt (tampa)

Better stats in 2012, Aj Green or Julio?

Matt Williamson
  (12:58 PM)

I clearly prefer Green as a player, but that isn't what you asked. I still go with Green though....just too special.

Matt Williamson
  (12:58 PM)

Folks, I gotta roll. Fantastic chat as always. See you next week.