Chat with Scouts Inc.'s Gary Horton
Welcome to SportsNation! On Tuesday, 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 Tuesday at 2 p.m. ET!
Buzzmaster (1:59 PM)
Gary will be here soon to take your questions!
Gary Horton (2:02 PM)
I'm really surprised the divisional round didn't hold up to the hype that we had for it. I thought we were looking at four really competitive games and that just wasn't the case. I think this championship weekend has a chance to be very competitive and you have to love the quarterbacks playing this weekend.
What happened to the Cowboys offensive line? Is there too little talent or they just didn't show up last Sunday?
Gary Horton (2:03 PM)
They've always been a big and physical offensive line, but they're not athletic. They've always struggled against speed and quickness and that's what Minnesota is. They're going to have to make some changes on the edges at OT in the offseason. When they don't pass block, it really hinders their passing game because of max protection schemes.
David (Phoenix, AZ)
Gary, how do you think the Vikings can generate a pass rush against the Saints that can make a difference in the outcome?
Gary Horton (2:05 PM)
Well, on paper, the Vikings Jared Allen is a real mismatch against the Saints' LOT Bushrod. But the Vikings are starting to get pass rush pressure against other guys besides Allen, so the Saints can't just roll their pass protection sets to his side. They've got to be aware of both sides and even inside. I think the Vikings like their pass rush matchups in this game.
Al (Wausau, WI)
Gary, do you think Adrian Peterson and Chester Taylor should be able to run the football effectively against the Saints' defense? If so, is there a decent chance of the Vikings upsetting the Saints on Sunday?
Gary Horton (2:07 PM)
I do, if the Vikings choose to go that route. I don't think the Saints' run defense is particularly effective. Although, they are very active. I don't know what's wrong with AP, but he's just not breaking off big runs. The Saints will be a pretty good job of filling the gaps. At this stage of the season, I think the Vikings consider themselves a pass first, run second offense, no matter what they say. I think this is Brett Favre's game.
J.B. (Dunmore, PA)
Mr. Horton: Did you have a problem with Minnesota's last TD on Sunday? Dallas was calling time outs with under six and a half minutes to play down by 24 points.
Gary Horton (2:08 PM)
No, not really. This is a competitive league and you have a competitive QB. If Dallas doesn't want them to score, then stop them. It's not like they were running a hurry up offense and kicking onsides kicks. I don't think you sit your guys or back off when you're in the divisional round. Everything you do should be pointed toward keeping you fresh for the next game. I don't think it was that big of a deal.
Eddie (St. Louis)
Do you believe that too much was made of the Cowboys playing great football just for their last few games? The win at New Orleans was great but against the Redskins a bad football team and the Eagles on their home field was way to overpraised. If the Cowboys would have played the Eagles at Dallas every game during the season they would have been 16-0, everyone forgets that their last 2 "Great" victories came against the same opponent.
Gary Horton (2:10 PM)
To be honest, I bought into the Cowboys' late resurgence. They were the hottest team in the league coming down the stretch and I loved their variety of offensive weapons. But I think they just happened to hit a very hot Minnesota team and they didn't play their best team. There is still loads of talent on this roster and they will be a strong contender a year from now.
Now that their front office is pretty much in order, what moves do you see the Browns making in the coming weeks?
Gary Horton (2:12 PM)
Their biggest decision is probably going to be to figure out what they do at the QB position. Is Anderson or Quinn the answer or do they start over? They also need a lot of help at WR. They probably need a RB. They have defensive needs, both up front and in the secondary. There is a lot of work to do in the offseason. But the QB decision dwarfs everything else.
Katelyn (Syracuse, NY)
With the Chan Gailey hiring in Buffalo, who are some possible names he might bring with him to his coaching staff? And what direction might he go with the 9th pick in the draft?
Gary Horton (2:14 PM)
I think Chan Gailey is a good football coach. He's a veteran of the NFL. To me, it was a very uninspired hiring. It does nothing to excite the fan base. It will be difficult to put together a staff, because it will be seen as a short term deal. This is a roster that's not very good in a city that's really struggling. There's not just a lot of attractive things, besides their fans, to get excited about. It would have been fun to see them go out of the box on a hire, either a hot college guy or a young NFL assistant.
Do you think the Vikings that played this Sunday will show up next Sunday, being they haven't really had any impressive road victories all year?
Gary Horton (2:15 PM)
Oh, I think they'll be ready to play this week. It's good that weather won't be a factor. They're certainly used to a noisy, indoor environment. So, I don't think that will be an issue. They're just a mature team and they know what's at stake. I don't expect them to not be ready.
lifelongvikesfan (New Jersey)
It's been a lifetime since my beloved Vikes have made it to a Super Bowl, our last four NFC Championship games resulted in losses. How do we beat the Saints at home and do we?
Gary Horton (2:17 PM)
I think Brett Favre needs to have a hot day and I think the Vikings defense by pressuring Drew Brees. They need to get in his face, alter his throwing windows and throw off the timing of that offense, which isn't easy to do. These are two smart offenses and it could likely come down to which QB does not make a critical mistake and instead takes care of the ball.
Do you think that with some obvious weaknesses in the o-line (jermon bushrod) should the saints be worried about have Jared Allen & co. hunting down brees? And with the awesome performance that the healthy saints defense put on do you think that they will be able to bottle up the Favre/Rice chemistry and bottling up AP?
Gary Horton (2:19 PM)
I think the answers are yes and yes. I think the Saints biggest concern is that to get the Vikings blocked, they're going to have to commit more guys than they want to, which hurts the effectiveness of their spread passing game. When you go to max protection schemes, you protect your QB, but it gives the defense an easier time in converage. I think the Saints will go with different looks to confuse the Vikings. And remember, this Minnesota offensive line did not play well down the stretch. They are somewhat vulnerable to aggressive defenses.
Steven (Linlithgow, Scotland)
Which of the 3 blowouts this weekend was most surprising to you?
Gary Horton (2:21 PM)
I would have to say Minnesota over Dallas was the biggest surprise to me. I thought the Cowboys were hot. I thought they matched up well against the Vikings. I thought they were playing with great confidence. But they picked a bad time for a flat game. Unlike a lot of people, I thought they were maybe the hottest team in the playoffs heading into divisional weekend.
Scott (Houma La)
If Drew Brees wins the SB this year will he earn the street cred to be named with P Manning T Brady and B Favre or do you think he already has attained this tag already? Was R Bush inspired or is he for real now Look out league!
Gary Horton (2:22 PM)
I think you need a championship to get to that status. But I don't think there's any question that Brees is perceived as a guy who can put together great numbers every week. I think this is the most sophisticated pass offense in the league, or at least right up there with the Colts. You don't see Brees have that many bad days. Part of that is Sean Payton's play calling and the intelligence of Brees. But I think when you play in the NFL, you don't get to that elite level unless you have a championship.
what chance do the jets have of winning the superbowl?
Gary Horton (2:24 PM)
Of the four teams left, they're probably the team that is perceived to be on the outside looking in. But I think we have found out that when you can run the football and play defense, you can stay in games against better opponents. That discribes the Jets. They just don't go away. They play with ridiculous confidence. If you let them stay in the game, you're going to be in trouble in the end. I don't think they're nearly explosive as the other three teams left, but they are capable of dictating the pace of the game and slowing things down.
What is LaDainian Tomlinson's future with the SD Chargers?
Gary Horton (2:27 PM)
Well, I live in San Diego in the offseason and I know he is revered in that city. There is a lot of sentiment to keeping him. I also know that he is not the same player that he was. The saddest thing is that he knows it. If he can look in the mirror and admit that he's now possibly a role player and not the dominating guy that he was, there's a chance he could stay with the Chargers in a reduced role with a reduced salary. But there is also a lot of pride there. I don't think he will get lucrative offers with big financial ramifications from other teams. That makes me think that he could be closer to accepting the terms of San Diego than we might think. But I think most fans think he's played his last game as a Charger.
How much would the Jets being in the Super Bowl negatively affect the ratings?
Gary Horton (2:28 PM)
Oh, I don't think the Jets would have any negative rating. You're talking about the New York market. You're talking about a Cinderella team, with a quotable coach. They'd be lining up against a great QB in Brees or Favre. Any time you have the New York market in your back pocket, your ratings are going to be pretty good.
Gary Horton (2:28 PM)
I don't think there is a bad ratings matchup left.
Gary Horton (2:30 PM)
I think these are two very intriguing games, because the NFC matchup between Minnesota and New Orleans is a dream game between clearly the two best teams in the NFC. And you have to love the Cinderella effect of the Jets at Indy. There's a lot to like this weekend. I don't think we can have a bad Super Bowl, no matter who makes it.
Buzzmaster (2:30 PM)
Thanks for chatting Gary!