Chat with Scouts Inc.'s Gary Horton
Welcome to SportsNation! On Monday, Scouts Inc.'s Gary Horton stops in to talk about the NFL season and other news from around the league.
Horton spent 10 years in the NFL as a scout and another 10 years at the college level as an assistant coach and recruiter. He is the founder and most seasoned member of the Scouts Inc. staff, and his extensive experience at all levels of football make him an excellent talent evaluator.
Send your questions now and join Horton Monday at 4 p.m. ET!
Buzzmaster (4:00 PM)
We're getting Gary right now!
Gary Horton (4:02 PM)
I don't think we have to hype tonight's game. To me, with the exception of Brett Favre's first Monday night game in Minnesota, this is the most exciting night of the year. I think it will be entertaining. But we have new stories developing in the NFL after this weekend, that I think will give us an exciting month of December.
Tim Heiduk (Santa Barbara, California)
Who is the MVP in your perspective right now?
Gary Horton (4:03 PM)
In all honesty, I don't konw how you pick between Drew Brees, Brett Favre and Peyton Manning. I might pick Brett Favre, because at age 40 and the numbers he's put up, not knowing his team. He's so much fun to watch. I think this is the most competitive MVP race in recent memory.
Eric (Marinette, WI)
Who do you think is the NFL Defensive Player of the Year right now? I have to think Charles Woodson is on a short list.
Gary Horton (4:05 PM)
I would say he's certainly in consideration. Right now, he's probably the most dominating corner in the league. He can blitz, he can cover. He can take your most dominating WR out of the game. But I think you make a case for Sharper. Dumerville. I would probably say right now, Jared Allen might be my defensive MVP. And another guy I love, who might not get much attention because of where he plays, is Patrick Willis.
RAY GORDON REID ( JACKSON MISSISSIPPI 39201)
QUESTION TO GARY HORTON AT 4.20 PM HI GARY WHO DOYOUHAVE TONIGHT SAINTS OR PATROITS
Gary Horton (4:07 PM)
I picked the Pats, 34-31. But honestly, it could go either way. There's a lot of sentiment about New Orleans having that same mindset of when they re-opened the Super Dome after Katrina. But I can't get over the fact that Tom Brady and the Patriots have been in these kinds of situations before and they'll get over it. I think Belichick has a very creative gameplan. I think this game comes down to the wire and probably, it sounds very basic, but whoever controls the ball and doesn't turn it over. Even though I picked New England, I think the one thing that bothered me about the pick is the Saints have shown they can win in other ways besides Drew Brees. But I'm not sure the Pats have that kind of versatility if Tom Brady doesn't have a good day.
J.B. (Dunmore, PA)
As a Vikes fan I'm thrilled with the 10-1 record but they have some tough games on the horizon. Can you see them finishing 2-3 over the final five games?
Gary Horton (4:09 PM)
I don't think so. I think they're such a complete team that they'll play up to their level of competition. They're so versatile that they can win in a variety of ways. I think they're the most complete team in the NFL. I don't see them as a team that will go through a slide down the stretch. They might lose a game or two. I think homefield advantage and avoiding playing at New Orleans in the playoffs has to be a big deal to Minnesota. That's why I think they'll be a big tough team down the stretch.
Adam R (Albany)
Gary, the feeling right now is that it'll be Pats-Colts and Viks-Saints in the Conference Championship Games. Do you agree/ disagree and if so, where?
Gary Horton (4:12 PM)
I totally agree on Vikings-Saints. I almost agree on Pats-Colts, but I'd be wary of the Chargers. They can go into Indy and win a playoff game. Right now they look like the No. 2 seed. But keep in mind Indy will rest players down the stretch. If the Chargers had to go to New England, that's a different animal. In that scenario, you would like the Pats to win. But there's a lot of football to be played. That doesn't even take into consideration the Bengals, who are really playing well right now, which further complicates the seeding in the AFC.
I'm a Colts fan, so I was happy about yesterday, but I was wondering: Does the collapse by the Texans signal a coming coaching change? That team just always seems to blow it.
Gary Horton (4:15 PM)
Oh yeah, I think the situation there is very tentative now. I think they think their talent level is better than their production. The way they're losing close games, I think has a lot of people convinced that they're just a teaser team and they haven't progressed in the last year. This was a team that had huge playoff expectations heading into the season. Now, they just look like a .500 team. I think Gary Kubiak is a good coach, but for some reason, they just can't get over the top. I think things will get really tight in Houston, because of those expectations.
Big T (State College, PA)
Do you think Charlie Weiss will find his way into the NFL next year?
Gary Horton (4:16 PM)
Oh, I don't think there's any question that he could get a job tomorrow as an offensive coordinator in the NFL. That's his strength and he has a good track record. Supposedly there are several teams already interested in hiring him. What I'm interested in is if he wants to step away from the game for a while, as he has the financial security to do so. I think he'll step away for the rest of this season and then get back next fall.
Mr. Horton, will the panthers draft a qb in the draft this off-season? And what will happen to Jake Delhomme considering he has a monster contract?
Gary Horton (4:19 PM)
I have a lot of respect for this organization and John Fox, but I really think they mishandled the offseason. They gave an inconsistent QB Delhomme an extension and had no other backup plan at the position, assuming he would be fine. They made no other big moves in free agency, because they assumed they would have a playoff roster. And finally, they never addressed a complimentary receiver to Steve Smith. I look at the organization and see that critical mistakes were made. Not only does Delhomme cost you salary cap money, but you have to start over in drafting a QB or bringing a new one in. But they have not gotten any better. In a nutshell, this organization vastly overrated where they were.
Katelyn (Syracuse, NY)
T.O. has come alive with Ryan Fitzpatrick throwing the ball and has surprisingly not been a locker room problem. Think Buffalo has a chance at resigning him next year?
Gary Horton (4:20 PM)
I think it will all depend on who the new coach is. If you have a new head coach, he might decide to go young and build witht he feeling that by the time he has a competitive team that TO is way past his prime. Or, he may decide that TO gives them production next year. Keep in mind, we still have 5 games left and TO is in Buffalo in the month of December. Let's see if the lack of a distraction holds up.
Does Jamarcus Russell get one more year in Oakland? If not, the Raiders need to draft a QB ASAP, since they don't have a first-rounder in 2011.
Gary Horton (4:23 PM)
If Russell is done in Oakland, which I don't think he is, they are in huge trouble and it would take 5 years to overcome that mistake. I think they let him sit, let him play at the end of the season and hope they get the Vince Young scenario - he grows up and realizes how important things are and he's a different guy. They have so much money invested in him and such a huge salary cap hit. I think this will be his team leading into next season. But you have to factor in a coaching change. If the Raiders fire Tom Cable and hire an offensive minded coach, you might have the mindset that a new coach will have the challenge to develop Russell. I just don't think they're done with him yet.
Gary, is Percy Harvin a shoo-in for rookie of the year? If not, who else has a chance?
Gary Horton (4:25 PM)
Yeah, right now, you'd have to think he's the strongest candidate. I can't think of a lot of other guys that come to mind and he's such an impact player and so explosive. Brett Favre has really made him better and he's also a big part of a good offense. Some people would make a case for Michael Oher, but you see Harvin's big plays every week. I haven't really studied the offensive rookies. Ask it again next week and I'll watch some film this week.
Gary, Cincinnatti Bengals - Good story or legit contenders for the Super Bowl?
Gary Horton (4:27 PM)
Oh, I think they're a really good team that for some reason, we're not talking about very much. What really impressed me this weekend is they won without Carson Palmer having a big day. I have loved their underrated OL all season. On Sunday, they rushed for 210 yards with a guy nobody knows in Bernard Scott and a guy who's been there a week in Larry Johnson. They pounded the ball 45 times, granted against a lousy Cleveland defense. This team can win in a lot of different areas. They fly to the ball and I think they're really confident right now. That's the biggest change. They think they can beat anybody every week. With Balimore and Pittsburgh fading a little bit, I think they have a chance to have some breathing room down the stretch.
Matt Marciniec (Indiana)
Do you see Dennis Dixon maybe being a starting quarterback in the future somewhere?
Gary Horton (4:29 PM)
I really liked what I saw, but I wouldn't go that far yet. I hadn't really cared about Dennis Dixon since college, but I was really impressed by his arm strength and accuracy. I would have loved to have seen the Pittsburgh coaches open things up for him sooner. I would have liked to have seen them come out throwing and really surprised Baltimore. But they didn't and he was throwing in obvious passing situations. I came away from that game liking him more than I thought I would. Pittsburgh has someone to develop. He needs more play time to know if he's legit or could start.
Gary Horton (4:30 PM)
Obviously, we're excited for the game tonight. I'm surprised we went through our chat with no mention of Vince Young. He's the story until tonight's game. What he did with the 99-yard drive showed me a side of him I hadn't seen before. Looking ahead to this weekend, all of a sudden the Young-Manning matchup is really intriguing. But we can think about that later in the week. Let's sit back and enjoy what I think is the best matchup of the year.