Chat with Matt Williamson
Welcome to SportsNation! On Wednesday, Scouts Inc.'s Matt Williamson will stop by to chat some NFL.
Williamson has been scouting football players at different levels for six years. Before joining ESPN and Scouts Inc. in 2005, he was both an NFL and college scout for the Cleveland Browns. Before that, he spent three seasons as assistant recruiting coordinator at the University of Pittsburgh and followed J.D. Brookhart from Pitt to the University of Akron, where Williamson was the director of football operations.
Send your questions now and join Williamson Wednesday at noon ET!
Matt Williamson (11:54 AM)
Whats up Folks? Let's get this thing rolling a little early today.
Jon (New England)
Matt, what is the likehood that Randy Moss is with the Patriots next year? It seems Brady has been a better QB with more Welker types than Moss types. Is this up to BB or Brady?
Matt Williamson (11:56 AM)
Oh he has to be back. Welker and Moss feed off one another. Sort of a pick your poison scenario. If you are a defense, do you risk getting hit in the face over and over with stiff jabs or do you defense against the Tyson knockout punch. Having both puts an awful lot of stress on a pass defense.
The Vikings were dominated by the Cardinals on Sunday Night. Don't you think it's a little weird that when the Vikings face the two quality teams on their schedule, the Steelers and the the Cardinals (Green Bay was playing bad when they faced them), they get dominated and Favre looks like "himself". Judging from this, what do you expect when the Vikings take on the Cincinnati Bengals on Sunday?
Matt Williamson (12:01 PM)
Good points. I still believe in Minny, but I must say that the EJ Henderson injury is a very big deal and the Vikes' secondary is ordinary on a good day. If J Allen and that DL doesn't get to opposing QBs, Minny will allow points. But, I also don't think there is any shame in losing to the two Super Bowl reps from a year ago on the road. I give Zona a ton of credit and they schemed up Minny very well, but that game might go differently in Minny-which is where they would play again. As for the Bengals, I don't think this is a good matchup for Cincy at all. The Bengals go as far offensively as the running game can take them and I don't see a big power running game doing much against the Williams Wall. The Bengals have two real weapons on O-their RB and 85. Winfield might be back to do battle with 85 and the running game is going to have a tough go of it. Also, I think the way you exploit the Bengals' D is to force them to play a lot of nickel-which is exactly Minny does to their opponents now with exceptional 3 WR sets along with Schiancoe and Peterson.
True or False, The undefeated Colts are praying they don't see the Chargers in the playoffs this year
Matt Williamson (12:02 PM)
Pray is a strong word, but I would bet that deep down, SD would be the AFC team that they want to see the least. Bad history against them. Still, I would pick the Colts if that game was played today in Indy.
Greg (Denver, CO)
Do you think Gradkowski stands a chance to be the starter in Oakland next season if he plays at least above average over the next four games for Oakland?
Matt Williamson (12:03 PM)
Yes. The big things with Gradkowski is that he sustains offense and doesn't turn the ball over-which is the polar opposite of Russell. There is talent around him and he can distribute the ball well. Will he ever be a high end starter? No, but if he can continue to do those two things, there is a place for him.
Big Ben seems like an easy target in the pocket, standing upright like a frozen otter pop, is it because he is so strong he can shake off would be tacklers??
Matt Williamson (12:06 PM)
What's an otter pop? I am from the Burgh as well-never heard of that. I couldn't disagree more though. He is incredibly strong in both his upper and lower body and can shrug off DLinemen, but he also is very mobile-esp for such a big man. Has a good feel for pressure as well. Of course he takes a lot of sacks still, but that stems from him wanting to hold the ball extra long to make a play for his team.
Curtis G. (Columbus, OH)
Is there any logic or precedent to hiring an offensive coordinator before a GM or possibly a new head coach? (citing the rumors of Charlie Weis to Cleveland)
Matt Williamson (12:08 PM)
Sounds nuts to me....but in this case, it makes more sense than usual (like Zorn). The only reason I say that is the Weis/Quinn connection. By making that decision, you pretty much are assuring the team that Quinn is your guy and then you can begin to find other O players who fit Weis' mold. But...do you really think the next HC is going to be thrilled to have his OC already in place? Undermines him from the start...but this is the Brownies.
Williamson - An Otter Pop is a refreshing flavored pop - I understand the KC Chiefs used them during OTAs for hydration. Anyway - a question for you about Brady Quinn - he seems to have textbook slow feet, as if stuck in a vat of dough. Are he and his lineman and receivers all buddies, or is there major discontent in Cleveland? Thanks and good luck!
Matt Williamson (12:10 PM)
I am sure it is very refreshing...but are Otter Pops immobile in the pocket? I would say that Quinn's feet are average. He can be effective as a runner, but his feel for pressure and esp his ability to move within the confines of the pocket needs a lot of work. Guys like Brady and Manning are not fast, but they are exceptional at this skill. As for who is buddies and who isn't in Cleveland-I have no idea. But, I do know that they are playing better than at any point of the season and actually are showing a smidge of respectability.
Around here an otter pop is like a red, white and blue popsicle. Surely you've seen those before.
Matt Williamson (12:12 PM)
I have seen those. Never heard them called that. I still don't understand why they are immobile in the pocket though. By the way...are ice cream men creepy? Now that I am a father, I tend to think so.
Does Tennessee need a DE or a DT? It seems as if the team outside of Nick Harper who is going to be replaced is still the same team as last year if not more dangerous because the QB is a playmaker instead of a caretaker.
Matt Williamson (12:13 PM)
Agreed. I don't know off the top of my head who is up for free agency, but just looking at what they have right now, I don't see a lot of massive weaknesses. They are not young on D though, so an infusion of young talent at each level would make sense for the long haul. So, to me, the DL would be a great place to start. A young first round difference maker surely can make everyone around them better.
Jason (Moon twp)
There seem to be grumblings now that Timmons will never be a run stopper, only an extremely athletic player that can drop back in coverage and blitz effectively. Since Farrior's a little long in the tooth, does this worry you?
Matt Williamson (12:15 PM)
A bit, but in this scheme, Timmons is more of the run and hit player while Farrior is the bigger take on guy...like Levon Kirland. Timmons is more like a Kendrell Bell and I do contend that he is not the best fit for the base 3-4 D at ILB. Said that when he was drafted that he doesn't really fit the scheme at either OLB or ILB. But, he is a big time force in sub packages, is incredibly talented and should only get better. I also doubt that he played at 100% for many snaps this year. But, the overall Steelers LB depth could use some help.
Sir Isaac Lime (Your Freezer)
Actually, we (Otter Pops) are refreshing flavored ice pops that come in delicious flavors like lime, punch, grape, blue raspberry, etc. We are very immobile in the pocket - we are frozen stiff and can't move.
Matt Williamson (12:16 PM)
I see. Much appreciated. There seems to be a difference of opinion as to what exactly an Otter Pop truly is...but I am going with Sir Isaac Lime's interpretation. Well said.
Everybody is saying that the only team that will be defeating the Vikings is the Saints in the NFC Championship Game but wouldn't the Eagles be an unwelcome match-up for them though considering the Eagles always beat the Vikings and their Defenses have always given Brett Favre trouble?
Matt Williamson (12:17 PM)
Zona has to be considered a legit contender as well. I mentioned the EJ Henderson injury and that really worries me for the Vikes' Super Bowl chances. But, we shall see this week how they account for that loss. Don't count out GBay either. Philly is threatening too.
Buckley (San Francisco)
Are you hearing anything about Alex Smith's small hands? When he first played, that was the knock on him. He still seems to have some ball-handling issues - I mean, the guy's hands are so small he can barely grasp a mustard dispenser! Anything on this topic?
Matt Williamson (12:19 PM)
That was a knock on him when he came into the league and I personally think that is one aspect of evaluating prospects that is very important-at all positions. I bet it gives him a tough time all of his career. He is fortunate enough that he does not play in a bad weather area, but handling a frozen or wet ball can be much more difficult with smaller hands. Still, that issue overall will lead to more fumbles.
Jose (Corpus Christi)
Lets says we have a Patriots vs. Colts rematch in the playoffs-who wins? (Patriots really should have beaten them if it weren't for a stupid 4th down call)
Matt Williamson (12:20 PM)
Yeah, I remember the game. Gotta think that NEng's stock has dropped noticeably since then as well-but Brady and Belichick are obviously very dangerous in a situation like that. Just gotta think that Manning throws all over them in the dome. I would pick Indy.
ilya (Brooklyn, nY)
Who you got NYG/PHI? And does the winner of that game win the NFC East?
Matt Williamson (12:21 PM)
Give me the Eagles and yes, I think that leads to winning the NFC East. Still not sold on the Giants' secondary and ability to slow down Philly's big play O.
what is Mora's problem with Forsett
Matt Williamson (12:22 PM)
Well, Forsett was battling an injury this past week that he sustained in practice, but I hear ya. This has to be their lead back. Not to mention, I think we all know what they have in J Jones. Let's see what Forsett can do to close out the season.
Have you bloggers thought of having a Blog Off? Maybe face another blogger and answer questions? Williamson vs Williamson
Matt Williamson (12:23 PM)
Well, I am not a blogger. There are 8 of them who each have a division. I am sort of the jack of all trades scout type guy...and I am awfully good at it. Seriously, bring Billy Willy on-will take him down.
what do u think about the sandiego chargers phillip rivers really starting to come tru ur thoutghs
Matt Williamson (12:24 PM)
He's awesome. Elite QB. Great player. In his prime. Fantastic deep passer. Very good feeling for coverages. Intelligent. Competitive. Moves well in the pocket. Good-underrated-arm. Very quick release. Extremely productive. One of the best in the business and very rarely has a down day-comes at you every week.
Sorry, my error. Keep up the good work. Can Pitt go to the slate and make the playoffs?
Matt Williamson (12:26 PM)
You got it Brother. I actually think they can. Don't take this Clev game for granted either right now. But after that, 43 should be back. All winnable games. Could actually catch fire at the right time heading into the playoffs. Could just be the homer in me saying this. Please tell me that you attend the Big 33.
Kevin (Pats season ticket holder in the 'Burgh)
Toby Gerhart -- good second round pick for the Pats in April ?
Matt Williamson (12:27 PM)
Could be. With the exception of their Maroney pick, they really haven't dedicated heavy resources to that position. My hunch is that Gerhart will not last that long either. Plus, NEng's needs are very defined to me-1. Pass Rushers. 2. More CB help. 3. A #3 WR.
Kevin, put down the glue. Isn't Gerhart a top 5 pick in the first round?
Matt Williamson (12:28 PM)
I doubt that high...glue reference there. Anyways, I don't claim to yet be on top of all the prospects yet for this draft, but to me, I doubt that he is an early first round type of RB. Those guys are rare. Think LT or Peterson. He isn't in that class as an NFL prospect.
do you think bruce gradkowski is better than jamarcus russell?
Matt Williamson (12:28 PM)
It isn't even close
Are both wade philips and Romo done in big D if they lose 3 of their last 4 remaining games and don't make the playoffs this year?
Matt Williamson (12:30 PM)
I would say that Philips is. Not Romo. You can't just go out and replace a QB like him now a days. Let's say that you decide that he isn't your guy...who do you propose they get? Could mortgage the future and move up to get a 1st round QB...but then you put the team in rebuilding mode and who is to say that the guy you got was any better than Romo, who remains very productive.
49ers 1st 3 picks next year - OL, OL, OLB? Or do they mix in a safety/CB or QB? I feel like they are a few OL and pass rushers away from being a 10 win team.
Matt Williamson (12:31 PM)
I like your thinking. Would love to see that D with one stud pass rushing OLB. If that guy was there in the first round, I would pounce, even though the OL is the overall bigger need. Then, add two or three OLinemen (maybe in free agency as well) to create competition, add depth and secure a starting spot or two. I like.
Can the Broncos keep it close this week against the Colts to maybe steal one at the end
Matt Williamson (12:33 PM)
I think they keep it close. Well rounded football team that should be solid in all phases. Plus, I really like Denver's secondary-should be very competitive with the Colts' passing game in that regard. Indy doesn't seem to blow anyone out either...but in the end, of course, they get the W. Could see the same this week.
Can Denver keep all three of Orton/Marshall/Dumerville this offseason?
Matt Williamson (12:34 PM)
I think DJ Williams is up as well...seems unlikely
Tim (Saginaw, MI)
I think GB is starting to look like the team no one will want to see in the playoffs. Your thoughts?
Matt Williamson (12:35 PM)
Agreed. Their massive flaw-protection-looks to have been improved a great deal. The D is playing great. They have a stud QB and passing game. Have enough on the ground. I do think that Balt is somewhat overrated and not an upper echelon team, but what GBay did to them was very impressive.
Does Matt Moore stand a chance against the Patriots this week?
Matt Williamson (12:35 PM)
Sure. He has a very good OL and the Pats' pass defense is a nightmare right now. Would like to see Fox let Moore sling it a bit. Would be great film to evaluate in the off season.
Would you be willing to trade up to the #1 to take Suh? Is he that good?
Matt Williamson (12:37 PM)
From what I have seen as a somewhat casual-but extremely interested-viewer, he is awesome. Big time difference maker and I would be shocked if there is a prospect in this upcoming draft who I liked better after I am done with my evaluations. If I were in charge of the Rams for example, he would be extremely hard to pass up.
Bubba (New Orleans)
I read your not a blogger, what do you cover? NFL in general? You seem to be more knowledgable than some of these writers.
Matt Williamson (12:38 PM)
They are more reporters/writers and are extremely dialed in to their respective divisions. I am in charge of the entire league and am a scout by trade. So, we sort of work together and complement one another quite well. I really like working with those guys and helping out with evaluations of players, etc. Just different skill sets...scouting term there.
Who wins a draft tiebreaker if the Rams, Browns, and Bucs all end up with 1 win?
Matt Williamson (12:39 PM)
I don't know off the top of my head and I can't do the research while I chat...anyone know?
Bubba (New Orleans)
Can the Saints win the championship?
Matt Williamson (12:39 PM)
No question. I am not sure what their big weakness is. Maybe playoff experience is that weakness. But overall, they are awfully impressive.
Brandon (Bellevue, WA)
"You seem to be more knowledgable than some of these writers." Coming from a man named 'Bubba.' Don't get too excited by the compliment, Matt.
Matt Williamson (12:40 PM)
Bubba Gump knows what is up. And honestly, I am not more knowledgeable, just a different specialty.
its based on opponent winning percentage so off top of my head Rams, Bucs Browns
Matt Williamson (12:41 PM)
It is based off winning percentage-which isn't set yet...but not looking for an answer off the top of your head Benjamin. Take this project seriously please! lol
Chad (Las Vegas)
The Saints 2 QB's have playoff experience. Brees has some and Sharper has a ton.
Matt Williamson (12:42 PM)
Yeah, but...if looking at weaknesses, I see that as a problem. Under the bright lights on a very big stage, they just haven't shown that they are able (or unable) to deliver. We shall see...but I like their chances and playing against them in that dome is such a difficult chore.
MattYou were pretty rough on the Packs move to a 3-4. How is the decision looking now?
Matt Williamson (12:43 PM)
I was brutal on it and am willing to say that I was wrong. One of the best Ds in the league. Very well coached. Excellent players. Still...deep down, I feel like they could have been just as successful sticking with their 4-3 and utilizing guys like Kampman better.
Clay (Charlotte )
Any remaining ties are broken by what is known as "strength of schedule." A team's opponents' combined records are calculated to find this figure, with teams that had a lower strength of schedule getting a higher pick in the NFL draft.
Matt Williamson (12:44 PM)
That is fine work. But..doesn't answer the question.
There was a lot of discussion when Andy Reid referred to McNabb as a future Hall of Famer. What do you think of his prospects?
Matt Williamson (12:46 PM)
My immediate thought-which I believe is key when talking the HOF-is No. Never got his team over the hump. Numbers are inflated due to the high % of pass plays that Reid calls. I never have felt that McNabb was in the top 4 or 5 players at his position...very close, but not elite amongst his peers of his era.
Is Joe Montana the best QB ever?
Matt Williamson (12:47 PM)
Love him, but give me Elway for my money. Less around Elway. Quick-name me the three amigos. Exactly. Don't discount Brady and/or Manning to claim that title though. Only 36 here, but Unitas must be mentioned in this conversation every time as well.
As of a few weeks ago, McNabb was #1 All-time in attempts-to-INT ration. 5 NFC Title games, and 1 superbowl appearance. I think he is just short right now, but he deserves consideration.
Matt Williamson (12:47 PM)
Absolutely. And he does have more football in him. Very strong organization. Could get that elusive ring.
Ryan (San Diego)
How do you not say the Saints defense is their weakness? They are ranked right with the Chargers and they catch a ton of heat. Also, they made the redskins and Campbell look like Manning and the Colts
Matt Williamson (12:49 PM)
Well, the secondary should get much healthier and when fully healthy, I think they have the best secondary in all of football. Ellis is now back and the run D has been better as a result. Is their D overall great? No, but it is very well coached and extremely opportunistic...which is big problem considering how many points their O generates and forces their opponents to throw.
how bout Warner for H.O.F?
Matt Williamson (12:50 PM)
My initial thoughts for him is Yes. Superb in the big games. Tremendous lifetime stats, but also benefited a great deal from the O play calling. Not a slam dunk, but I think last year's run gets him in. Plus, he isn't done yet and Zona looks very strong.
Matt (New Jersey)
Hey Matt, I know Eli loves Steve Smith, and for good reason, but do you see in the next few years Hakeem Nicks emerging as the No. 1, or is he destined to be an Anquan Boldin type?
Matt Williamson (12:51 PM)
Boldin would be a one on most teams, although I do think he is more of the ideal #2. I don't throw the term
J.B. (Dunmore, PA)
Are the Vikings going to regret not resigning Sharper?
Matt Williamson (12:52 PM)
I am sure they already do. Guy is superb. He might be a HOFamer, as we were on that topic.
Tim (Saginaw, MI)
Speaking of the skins, a missed short fg ruins a HUGE win. I'm not a kicker, but you gotta make a FG like that!
Matt Williamson (12:52 PM)
Oh yeah! You GOTTA make that. Wash has had problems at that position for a while now. Might be time to pony up and either draft a guy reasonably high or sign a solid vet who is proven.
Do you think warner's story would make a good movie?
Matt Williamson (12:53 PM)
Hmmm...he seems like a great guy. Actually too great of a guy. Outside of the stocking shelves to stud QB angle, it might be a bit too boring.
Weiss and Cutler a good fit
Matt Williamson (12:55 PM)
Maybe. I really think Martz would be a terrible fit there, but Weis makes some sense. Maybe he reels Cutler in a bit. Instills some more discipline in his play. Knows how to scheme.
Katelyn (Syracuse, NY)
Where is Vick playing next season? And is he starting?
Matt Williamson (12:56 PM)
I don't see anything from him to think he should be starting, but if I am Philly, I am shopping him heavy. If you get a 3rd round pick out of him-and surely someone might bite-then the whole experiment was well worth it.
If you were NO, what would you do with Reggie Bush when his contract is up?
Matt Williamson (12:57 PM)
I wouldn't pay him a fortune, but I think he needs NOrls and in a way, they need him more than any other team in the league. He is very good for them in his ability to create personnel mismatches. He doesn't have to even touch the ball a ton to make things favorable for either the run or passing game. Need an innovative and aggressive play caller like they have in NOrls.
Tim (Saginaw, MI)
Is Cutler's biggest problem that he tries to do too much? Maybe like a young Favre...although he has a long way to go to be another Favre.
Matt Williamson (12:59 PM)
Yes. Has incredible confidence in his own vast abilities and thinks he can do it all. His supporting cast is a mess now, and he presses even more. Now, it has gotten worse, because that confidence is now gone and he worries a ton about getting hit and throwing INTs. But-he is very savable and I contend that he will be an excellent QB in this league. I would like to see him grow up a bit though.
Matt Williamson (12:59 PM)
Folks, I am out. Great chat today. Really enjoyed it. Stop back next week.