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September 26, 12:00 PM ET
Chat with Matt Williamson

Matt Williamson
  (12:00 PM)

Let's get rolling!

Shane (Robins Air Force Base, GA)

M-Dub, do you think it's beyond reason that at some point the owners walk away from the NFLRA and just hire/train new refs for the 2013 season? What do you think would be the breaking point for that to happen?

Matt Williamson
  (12:01 PM)

I can't say I really know-not a labor guy here. But...since you asked...the Football Today Podcast was just released for today and they went into the details heavy today. Download it!

CC (Atlanta)

Falcons look tough. Can we stop with all the "they aren't legit til they win a playoff gm" nonsense. If that were true Peyton and Elway never would've won one. Each season is different... and ATL looks like the class of the NFC.

Matt Williamson
  (12:03 PM)

ATL does look legit thus far. And if I were doing a Power Rankings, they would only be behind HOUS in the NFL. But I also think there are questions with the Falcons and I am not sold that they will dominate the rest of the season. Great start no doubt.

Scott (Chicago)

Are there legit concerns about Cam Newton? His numbers vs winning times are not good and it's rumored he's talking with a "mind coach".

Matt Williamson
  (12:04 PM)

I have heard that. Odd. But he has been extremely up and down this year. In fact, he really dropped off towards the end of last year. I think that team is lacking identity in many ways-and that has to hurt him. They should be a ball control team with a fantastic running game and some deep shots off play action-like BALT used to be. Instead, every week is different in terms of game planning.

Lucio (Houston)

If you were an offensive coordinator how would you atatck the Houston defense?

Matt Williamson
  (12:06 PM)

That isn't easy at all. If you spread them out, they still have the pass rush and DB corps to handle it. I guess I would try to overpower them with a heavy rushing attack. And then try to keep them off balance by varying the play calls. Tough D though!

Aggie (TX)

Why has Aaron Rodgers looked so mediocre?

Matt Williamson
  (12:06 PM)

Played some great Ds....those guys on the other side of the ball get paid too

Matt Williamson
  (12:07 PM)

I also feel like GB is maybe working too hard to feature C Benson, who is very mediocre

Ruth (Alaska)

Can you get this thing to auto update? I have to keep refreshing!

Matt Williamson
  (12:07 PM)

Hmmm....not my department, but maybe since I posted it it will get done for you guys

Brian (Cimbolic)

You don't seem impressed by Kelechi Osemele? Why? He's stepped in VERY nicely at RT. I have to say both he and Oher seem to be doing suprisingly more than serviceable jobs as the Ravens' tackles.

Matt Williamson
  (12:08 PM)

He has done well. I think when I do my Rookie Report with O Linemen, I want to see consistency from week to week. More OL will be on the list as the season goes along-usually how it works. Osemele played well this week though. I prob should have made him a Honorable Mention...in fact, will email my editors now!

Leon King (SE.GA)

why did it take so long for McCarthy to switch to the run against SEA's pass rush? I mean, maybe after the first 4-5 sacks or so...

Matt Williamson
  (12:10 PM)

It wasn't that they switched to the run, but more like it was that they brought more blocking types on the field in the form of FBs and blocking TEs to help. I agree though....it should not have taken to go into half time to come up with that approach!

Ben (Denver)

Watt or Von Miller, who do you take and why?

Matt Williamson
  (12:11 PM)

Miller was my preseason prediction for DMVP this year-and I would take him. But I will say that Watt is so far having the better season and is prob in the Top 2 or 3 right now for that honor. Miller is just the better pass rusher-his skills are harder to find than Watt's.

Billy (Eastchester, NY)

Hey, Matt. AFC East question for you: who do you like better, Jared Odrick or Mo Wilkerson?

Matt Williamson
  (12:11 PM)

Wilkerson...and I think he has been superb this year. Coming into his own.

Scott (Northglenn, CO)

Every time I see Doug Martin run he runs extremely hard for a man of his stature..but not great results...vision issue or blocking issue?

Matt Williamson
  (12:13 PM)

True, he has not been super productive. He isn't a special back in terms of speed or elusiveness, but he is strong in all facets of the position. I still think teams do not fear TB's passing game-and Freeman was horrible this past week. But Martin also is still learning what it takes at this level. The production will come before long I imagine.

Zak (Detroit)

Are the reports true that the NFL and NFLRA came to an agreement?

Matt Williamson
  (12:14 PM)

Not sure-been busy hosting this chat! But I sure hope so!

Matt (NYC)

Are the Jets toast without Revis?

Matt Williamson
  (12:15 PM)

Yup. Surprised how poorly that D has played-thought it would be amongst the very best this year. No pass rushers. And now, I think teams will really try to spread them out and attack that secondary. Plus, the O stinks.

joe (pittsburgh)

how much will polamalu and harrison impact the defnse?

Matt Williamson
  (12:15 PM)

Quite a bit. Two of the best players in the league regardless of position. Will Harrison be the same guy though? No one on this D really stepped up in their absence.

Dan (Washington, DC)

How did the Redskins defense get SO bad?!

Matt Williamson
  (12:17 PM)

Well, I think the secondary was always pretty poor. But now, they suffered those two major Front 7 injuries and they just don't have enough. Losing Orakpo is giant since Jenkins is not a bad replacement for Carriker.

Squall (Balamb Garden)

Cardinals - genuinely good start (10-6) or deceptively good start (6-10)?

Matt Williamson
  (12:18 PM)

Very well coached. Exceptional D. Kolb playing the best he has in a Cards uniform. But they are not going to average a lot of points scored per game. I see them as a 9-7 or 10-6 type of team that is real tough to play against, but still has a huge problem with their OL

Dan (DC)

Will the Pats right the ship this week in Buff?

Matt Williamson
  (12:18 PM)

No doubt

Falco (Miami)

What do the Dolphins do with Jake Long at the end of the season? Make him the highest paid linemen in the league (a lot of money!), trade him, or just let him go?

Matt Williamson
  (12:19 PM)

I love Long, but I think the key with him is what the team doctors say. He battled all sorts of injuries last year. If they are not concerned about his long term durability, break the bank for him.

Aggie (TX)

With the way Vick is playing, are you still sticking with your Eagles pick for the East?

Matt Williamson
  (12:20 PM)

It is certainly a worry! The turnovers are just brutal. I do think Philly has one of the Top 5 Ds though. But for some reason they are not featuring McCoy, which is mind blowing. As for the rest of the division, NYG isn't going away. I would prob pick them now if I had to do it again. I am not sold on Dallas and Wash is not a contender.

Reggie (Canada, EH!)

Jake Long is no Joe Thomas, that is for sure.

Matt Williamson
  (12:21 PM)

Thomas is more one dimensional-pure pass blocker. Long does it all. I actually prefer Long when both players are right.

Jon (Norwalk, CT)

I know most people want to talk about the officials coming off of MNF, but what did you think of Wilson's performance? I'm a big fan and think he's doing well with what he has, but the Seahawks don't have a line or any WR's. Is it even possible for him to open up the offense more?

Matt Williamson
  (12:22 PM)

Read my Rookie Report that was just posted-features Wilson. Overall, I am a fan. He was far from great in that game however.

B (NC)

Best WR duo in the league? Jones/White or Cruz/Nicks? Any other duo even come close?

Matt Williamson
  (12:23 PM)

Nelson/Jennings is strong. Dez/Austin too. I really like Wallace/Brown. But I give it to ATL's WR as the top duo.

jt (tampa)

I don't think Troy or Harrison have much gas left in the tank. Pitt defense is not elite.

Matt Williamson
  (12:23 PM)

Can't say I can argue that, but I do think having them in there will sure help

Fred (Alabama)

Do you see 20+ touches as an every week thing for LeShoure going foward and if so what do you see as his end of the year stats?

Matt Williamson
  (12:25 PM)

I think you have to feed him. Can't be as one dimensional as DET has been of late. And I think we see more production along the lines of this past week, but I also don't love TENN's D

Corey (D.C.)

How close is Seattle's DEF to the 49er DEF?

Matt Williamson
  (12:25 PM)

Neck and neck. 1 and 1A

Doug (Prov, RI)

What do you think of McDaniels' play calling so far? Seems awfully conservative?

Matt Williamson
  (12:25 PM)

It does, but I don't think they trust their OL to protect yet

Rick (Kansas)

Has Droughns officially passed Hillis on the Chiefs RB depth chart?

Matt Williamson
  (12:26 PM)

Seems that way. Hillis really doesn't look good. Injury perhaps?

Ben (Philly)

Mdub, if the Eagles keep winning, but Vick continues to struggle, would you consider making a change to Foles? Or, how many more bad Vick games do you think we need to see before a change is made?

Matt Williamson
  (12:27 PM)

I wouldn't do it now. Also, how ready is Foles in his rookie year without a lot of first team reps? Not sure that is the answer.

Aggie (TX)

Where has the rookie production of N Suh went?

Matt Williamson
  (12:28 PM)

Still a very good player, but even as a rookie, his Run D was a problem. Now, it still is. I am surprised that he isn't rushing the QB quite as effectively, but even the best interior pass rushers don't sustain his rookie year type sack stats.

Yogi (Alaska)

How many teams do you think would rather have Ben Tate over their current RB? (even if they wouldnt necessarily admit it)

Matt Williamson
  (12:29 PM)

Well, I don't think Tate is for every scheme. True zone blocking runner-which fits HOUS perfectly. Not taking anything away from him but it is also MUCH easier to the backup RB rather than the main man.

Craig (Braintree, MA)

What is Ponder doing so much better so far this season?

Matt Williamson
  (12:30 PM)

He has adapted to the speed of the game. Not forcing things nearly as much. Was taking too many risks as a rookie-and he isn't bashful now, but I do think he has a much better grasp of what he can and can't get away with. Also, the Vikes are using Harvin much smarter-and Harvin is a stud.

Blake (Arkansas)

What do you think about TEN? Do you think they will have a batter or worse record than 8-8?

Matt Williamson
  (12:31 PM)

Worse, but not terrible. That running game is a total disaster and I expect Locker to run very hot and cold. The D isn't good enough to bail them out.

Craig (Braintree, MA)

I see the Vikings as being very balanced so far - offense, defense, special teams. How do you see the coaching?

Matt Williamson
  (12:32 PM)

I would say so. This draft class seems to be helping too. Excited to see what impact J Simpson will have also. I do think they have brought Ponder along well and as I mentioned are finally using Harvin correctly

Craig (Braintree, MA)

Does Harvin have a chance at All-pro or other awards this season?

Matt Williamson
  (12:32 PM)

No doubt...he is in that class for sure

pat (florida)

will the steelers finish with more than 11 wins?

Matt Williamson
  (12:33 PM)

At 1-2, I would say there is a better chance that they finish with 10 wins than 12, but I also think this team will make noise and that we have not seem the best from them yet

Devin Brooks (Detroit)

Matt, Do Ryan Grant take Alfred Morris starting spot by week 6?

Matt Williamson
  (12:34 PM)

Highly doubt it. Good fit for sure in Wash's scheme, but we haven't seen anything from this guy in quite a while. Maybe he looks like Superman, but I tend to doubt it.

Boog (PA)

Is Cutler somewhat of a bust?

Matt Williamson
  (12:34 PM)

No, still a Top 10 QB. But he does have his moments, right? His blocking is just terrible though.

Blueman (INDY)

Is the Colts second half woes a matter of being out coached? Halftime adjustments not being made or just not enough talent to close out?

Matt Williamson
  (12:35 PM)

Tend to think it is lack of depth/talent. That roster is still very weak. Hard to compete for 60 mins....esp on D

Scott (Northglenn, CO)

What's stranger to you - BB using Woodhead more than Ridley, or when he used Edelman more than Wes? talent level isn't close in either situation...

Matt Williamson
  (12:36 PM)

I think BB is far and away the best coach in the league, but I also think he overthinks such things at times. Woodhead is better suiting for the Pats passing game over Ridley, but Ridley is an excellent player-can be a big time RB. Would be shocked if NEng doesn't fix that in a hurray as they did with Welker.

Rick (Kansas)

Still think the Chiefs win the AFC West?

Matt Williamson
  (12:37 PM)

Not feeling as strong about it! But I am also from from excited about the other teams in the division.

Tarek (NYC)

Troy and Harrison are huge to Pitt defense, last two time Troy missed the game the Raiders scored 30+ Points on them. Troy may be the most important defensive player along with Revis.

Matt Williamson
  (12:39 PM)

Petty sure that Football Outsiders or Pro Football Focus put an article up on ESPN.com yesterday talking about the Steelers D with and without Troy P. I haven't read it yet, but I have a hunch the summary is: Good with Troy. Bad without.

Shane (Robins Air Force Base, GA)

M-Dub, you've been high for a couple years on the Cardinal's defensive front 3 (Calais, Dockett mostly); which do you think was more critical to the Cards defensive maturation, PP playing better at CB, or the emergence of their LB corps?

Matt Williamson
  (12:40 PM)

All the talent is peaking, including the DL. Williams has played better at NT too between those two studs you mentioned. Peterson has a ton to do with it-now a top 3 or 4 CB, and will only climb in those rankings. Washington is a great player. But overall, I think installing a Steelers' like D takes time-and the lockout didn't help. Now, they get it.

Aggie (TX)

Over/Under 5.5 sacks, Bears on Romo?

Matt Williamson
  (12:41 PM)

Good number! Love their DL too and they can really create interior pressure, which is the biggest weakness of Dallas' OL. Hmmm...give me the Over

shanezzy (utah)

MW, is this the year garrett let bennet go to early, and are we seeing a decline in witten or is it lack of concentration and his worry about the spleen injury.....

Matt Williamson
  (12:42 PM)

Witten has drastically declined. Maybe the spleen injury is the cause, but he is also getting old and has a lot of the tread worn off his tires. I praised the Giants for the Bennett signing when it happened-and he was not super expensive. But it has gone even better than I had even imagined.

Mike (Boca Raton)

Would you agree that the steelers biggest weakness on D is the inability to generate a pass rush from their 3 DL (DEs and NT)?

Matt Williamson
  (12:43 PM)

Def a problem. Their DL are not good pass rushers at all. Far cry from some other 3-4 teams that have guys like Campbell, Dockett, Watt, A Smith, J Smith, McDonald, Ratliff, etc

Paul (Albany, OR)

Cutler top ten? Honest? Rodgers, Brady, Brees, Ben, Rivers, Eli, Payton, Stafford, Romo, Ryan to me make the top ten easy. Then I would take Flacco, Schaub, and maybe even Newton or Alex Smith over Cutler. I understand different flavors but I do not see top 10.

Matt Williamson
  (12:45 PM)

Just scanning your list, I don't know if P Manning belongs right now. I prefer Cutler over Schaub, Newton and Smith though. Cutler vs. Flacco is pretty tight. Stafford? Just sayin'

Matt (Steinway)

How can you say Cutler is a top 10 QB? Talent-wise sure, but he has NO ability to perform under pressure. So easily rattled. Can't rely on him. Always has been the case.

Matt Williamson
  (12:46 PM)

Well...who is better? Guy can be great. Don't just judge him off this past week. He was fantastic in 2011.

Jake (Atl)

Stafford had 5000 yds and 41 TDs last year! Cutler has never done anything to show he can put together a season like that.

Matt Williamson
  (12:47 PM)

Oh I know and Stafford would be in my Top 10, but I do think Stafford is a very difficult guy to rank, esp with how he has looked this year. I say that just because if you really look at it, he just hasn't started that many games yet. He is still learning. Closer to guys like Newton/Luck in that way than Rodgers/Brees

Ben (Philly)

People just dont like Cutler. Known to be a jerk, right?

Matt Williamson
  (12:47 PM)

Sounds about right....apparently not the most likable fellow

Tarek (NYC)

Cutler gets rattled because his offensive line lets him get hit more than almost all other Qb's.

Matt Williamson
  (12:48 PM)

It sure does.

Mike (Brooklyn)

MW, thoughts on Jayron Hosley so far? I think he and Prince are NYG's starting CBs by 2014.

Matt Williamson
  (12:48 PM)

Could be right. He has played well for sure. Playmaker back there.

Aggie (TX)

Have you noticed the steep drop in Nnamdi's coverage abilities?

Matt Williamson
  (12:49 PM)

Yes. 2nd best CB on the Eagles. Last year, I wrote it off as Philly using him improperly, but now they are playing a lot of press man coverage and he still isn't playing like he did for Raiders.

Jay (Green Bay)

Matt, When do you think the 'Hawks will pull the reigns off of Wilson? Play calling looked very vanilla against GB with a lot of right-sided roll outs only using half of field.

Matt Williamson
  (12:50 PM)

I really stress that in today's Rookie Report. We don't know what he is like at practice and in the QB meeting room, but I feel like Washington is using RG3's skills much better than Seattle is with Wilson.

Lydell (PA)

MW, is it me or is Ike Taylor way overhyped?

Matt Williamson
  (12:51 PM)

I wouldn't say that. Often goes against the opponent's number one WR-that isn't an easy chore. Would say he certainly isn't Revis in that capacity, but still prob a Top 12 CB. Also, the pass rush has been a huge problem.

Letty (Alaska)

The Dolphins need to get back to having a vaunted defense. Where's Surtain, Madison, Marion, Taylor, Thomas, Bowens, etc?!

Matt Williamson
  (12:52 PM)

Well, I think the Front 7 only needs one thing: a pass rusher opposite Wake. But that secondary needs pretty much rebuilt other than Smith.

B (NC)

Is the Giants OL that much better with Beatty at LT, Locklear at RT and Diehl on the bench, or did Andre Brown help to make them look good? Will Bradshaw have as much success as Brown running behind that OL?

Matt Williamson
  (12:52 PM)

Have said for a while that Diehl is a liability, so I do think this is their best possible starting five. But CAR is not the stiffest test.

Sean (MPLS)

Has Kalil been a dissapointment or is his exclusion from the top 10 rookies more a factor of how hard it is to judge o-line over a short sample?

Matt Williamson
  (12:53 PM)

That is part of it. He is an honorable mention this week, although I though Week 3 was his worst outing albeit against Justin and Aldon Smith.

Dan (Washington, DC)

I'd take Luck and Griffin over Cutler too...

Matt Williamson
  (12:54 PM)

In the big picture? Sure. But right this second I cannot say those two are better QBs than Cutler.

Les (Bmore)

Revis out, Nnamdi looking terrible. Who are the top 3 CB's in the league now?

Matt Williamson
  (12:54 PM)

hmmm...off the top of my head I would go with Joseph, Peterson and Haden

Raoul Duke (Between Barstow )

If Rex Ryan grabbed an official by the arm, he would already be suspended. What will BB get?

Matt Williamson
  (12:55 PM)

I know rules are rules, but that seems SO overblown to me. He wasn't being rough with the guy-just wanted to get his attention in a very loud stadium. Something any of us might do to our bud at a loud bar. I honestly hope he doesn't get fined for that.

Falco (Miami)

RG3 is taking a lot of hits, though. Might want to dial that back.

Matt Williamson
  (12:56 PM)

I also VERY much stressed that in my Rookie Report....must dial it back

Les (Bmore)

How far off is Webb from the top 3 CB discussion?

Matt Williamson
  (12:56 PM)

Not far at all

Mason (Lowell IN)

is tim jennings legit, or a lucky 3 games?

Matt Williamson
  (12:57 PM)

Never will maintain those crazy INT numbers-some of which stems from teams being willing to throw at him. But I like everything Jennings brings to the table as a true tough Cover 2 R Barber type CB.

CC (Atlanta)

Falcons D remind you of the Saints Da few years back? Lots turnovers caused but not an elite unit.

Matt Williamson
  (12:58 PM)

Sorta. Can the turnover production continue? It is a fickle thing. But what like most about ATL's D right now is Weatherspoon/Nicholas. Not saying they are Willis/Bowman, but not that far off and being used every down....huge for them

Matt Williamson
  (12:58 PM)

Folks, I am out. Great chat today!