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 (4:12 PM)
We've got Gary!
Gary Horton (4:13 PM)
Wild Card weekend was certainly entertaining. I think it shows us that, for the most part, if you can run the ball and play defense, you have a chance to advance. We now have what is clearly the best football weekend of the year and what in my mind are some epic games. Each has its own storyline. I think we're in for a real treat.
Jared (Phoenix, AZ)
How do you see Philip Rivers performing against the Jets relentless blitz packages? He's been phenomenal at beating the blitz this year---see Baltimore game.
Gary Horton (4:14 PM)
He's a key to the game, but I think the size of the San Diego recievers has to concern the Jets. These guys are all 6-5, they all elevate and Revis can only take one of them out of the game. Rivers reads the blitz well and I think it will take a perfect pressure package by the Jets to stop this passing game of San Diego.
Chris Fiegler (Latham,NY)
Do you think that USC head coach Pete Carroll going to coach the Seattle Seahawks is a great move or do you think it is a terrible move?
Gary Horton (4:16 PM)
I think it's a great move for Seattle, bad move for USC. I think Pete's a terrific coach, great motivator and a guy that really recognizes talent. He knows what he wants. I hate to see him leave the college game, because he's so good with kids, but I think he'll be terrific at Seattle.
James (Bklyn ( New York ))
How far can the Cowboys go in the playoffs ? one and done or Super Bowl.......
Gary Horton (4:17 PM)
I don't think there's any question that they're a Super Bowl contender. Even though they have a tough matchup this week at Minnesota. I think they are now playing with confidence. I don't think they fear anybody and I don't think there's any environment that they can go into and not be effective.
Richard (West Virginia)
Do the saints have anyone that can cover Larry Fitzgerald he should have a great game against the saints
Gary Horton (4:19 PM)
I'm concerned about the Saints' overall defense down the stretch. I think some of it has to do with the pass rush that's not up to par and that exposes the back end. You can't jam Fitzgerald and you can't really double him because they can use bunch formations to spread the field. I think in this game both of these defenses are worried about their sub packages, because of the offense's ability to take you deeper than your personnel will allow you to go.
SprungOnSports (Long Island)
What loser from this week's playoff games is in the worst shape going into next season?
Gary Horton (4:21 PM)
I think the Patriots may be in the toughest spot. I think Cincinnati, Philadelphia, Green Bay have a lot of playmakers and a lot of youth. A lot of their problems are fixable. I'm not sure the Pats can turn this around in one offseason. I think we saw that this year they were a patchwork group with more holes than we'd like to admit. Belichick is a master at retooling his roster, but age and contracts are a big problem now and I'm not sure they can fill their holes. They may not be gone for long, but I'm not sure they will be a dominant team next year.
Pat ((New England))
Say it aint so Gary! Is our Dynasty finally over? We didn't look like we belonged on the same field as the Ravens this weekend? Wes's injury did not have any barring on that whopping I am sure of that.
Gary Horton (4:24 PM)
I think if the dynasty is not over, it's certainly the biggest challenge we've seen in the Bill Belichick era. They still have playmakers, but you can't lose as many playmakers as they have through age or free agency and still be an elite team. I'll be honest, I was shocked that they were manhandled by the Ravens as much as we saw. That's got to be a real uncomfortable feeling if you're a Pats fan. Having said that, Bill Belichick is a master talent evaluator. They always have multiple picks and they will retool this roster. I think their problem is they can't fix all of their problems in one offseason. If I were a Pats fan, I would probably look at the team we just saw and maybe they achieved more than they should have and it's a tribute to really good coaching. I think the rest of the division will probably get closer to them.
SprungOnSports (Long Island)
What team impressed you the most over the weekend and why?
Gary Horton (4:27 PM)
Probably Baltimore and the Jets. I think they stayed absolutely true to their identity, which is run the football, play great defense and don't put everything on your QB. To me, we saw two perfect game plans with teams that know exactly who they are and never deviated from that. When you have that kind of committment to what you do best, you have got a chance to advance in the playoffs even when you may not be the best team. I thought that the coaches, especially on offense with the Jets and Ravens did a fabulous game plan.
are the cardinals defence good enough to stop drew brees and the saints?
Gary Horton (4:29 PM)
Probably not, but I've seen enough of this defense over the last two years to feel like any given Sunday, even though it sounds corny, that they can play over their heads. They're an unorthodox group who takes chances and it seems like they're either really good or really bad. The defense I saw absolutely stopped Minnesota a month ago could have played with any offense that night. But I've also seen them when they weren't very good. Last year, their playoff run had a lot to do with their defense getting hot. I think they have a puncher's chance this week to come up with a gameplan against a Saints team who didn't look very good the last few weeks.
Richard (West Virginia)
bigger game next weekend Miles Austin or Sydney Rice
Gary Horton (4:31 PM)
Boy, that's an interesting question. Excellent question. I might say Miles Austin, because I think Romo really has a lot of trust in him and they can really be effective on slants. I'm not wild about the Vikings' pass defense right now. I don't know that they have a shutdown corner that can take Austin out of the game.
Tim (El Cajon, CA)
Gary, I hear a lot of talk about the bye being good and bad but I think the way the Chargers and Vikings handled it, it will be good for them. They played starters in week 17 and then had a week off. It should be like just having a regular bye week in the middle of the season and that seems to work out for teams pretty as far as winning coming off the bye. Not so sure about the Colts and Saints taking that much time off, but we will have to see with them i guess. What do you think?
Gary Horton (4:34 PM)
I couldn't agree more. I do not like at all the way the Colts and Saints go into this week. We're talking about almost a month between meaningful games. I just don't think you can turn it on and off in the playoffs. I'm starting to think that maybe the bye week is not a positive. It seems like the wildcard teams are so battle tested that they're ready to play every week and they're in the practice groove, even though it may hurt them health wise. I think the key for the teams that have a bye is how they practice. If they practice hard and physical a couple of days this week, with the first offense against the first defense, then I think it gives them a chance to be ready on the weekend. If they're going through the motions in shorts, etc. then I think it's easy to get off to a slow start. In my opinion, that's where the elite teams sometimes lose games. It takes time to make adjustments and then it's too late. All four of these teams that advanced, they're battle tested and they just went through a weekend of a lot of pressure and that bodes well. You have the whole offseason to rest.
Jeff (NY, NY)
Do you think that the Jets will be able to control the clock against the Chargers in an attempt to shorten the game?
Gary Horton (4:39 PM)
I think that's their game plan. Obviously they would like to convert on third down and run the football, which is a weakness of the Chargers. The inside run defense of the Chargers is not a strength. If Sanchez manages the game with safe throws, they can control the clock a little bit. But it's a little misleading, because the Chargers, like the Colts are such a fast strike offense and don't need a lot of plays to score. The Jets can take 10 plays to drive and score and the Chargers can take three. I know their gameplan will try to be slow it down and limit the chances of the Chargers.
Gary Horton (4:39 PM)
I think that will be the same gameplan of Baltimore's against the Colts.
Gary Horton (4:40 PM)
If you don't like the games this weekend, then you're not a football fan. It doesn't get any better than this. I think we're looking at four games where no one has a clear cut edge. I think any one of these eight teams would represent themselves well in the Super Bowl. As we said at the beginning, this is the best weekend of football in the NFL. It can't come quick enough.