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 4:30 p.m. ET!
Buzzmaster (4:28 PM)
Gary Horton will be here in a couple of minutes to chat Super Bowl!
Gary Horton (4:31 PM)
I had my car in Connecticut, so I'm driving from Miami back to San Diego. It's been a great season and a terrific Super Bowl.
Was last nights Super Bowl win by the Saints a dominant performance or was it decided on a few big plays?
Gary Horton (4:33 PM)
Well, I think it was typical Saints. They started slow, made adjustments. I thought it was a brilliant gameplan by Sean Payton. They created one terrific turnover, which has always been the case. Neither one of these defenses are great. I thought the Colts did not do a great job of doing open field tackling when the Saints went to a check down game, especially in passing. I think the real key to the game was limiting the Colts' offensive possessions.
J.B. (Dunmore, PA)
Mr.Horton: Where would you rank Peyton Manning among the all-time QBs in terms of ability in the post-season?
Gary Horton (4:35 PM)
That's a tough question to answer, although I get it. I think he's brilliant on a week-to-week basis. His preparation is probably like no other in the history of the league and he can put up huge numbers. But the reality is that he's a .500 playoff QB. I'm afraid that as brilliant as he is, people will always say that he didn't win enough in the postseason, if this thing stays the same. For myself, I look at his work on a whole and think he's a great QB. I'm probably not as tough on the postseason as a lot of people.
Gary Horton (4:35 PM)
But, to be at the top, you need to win 3 or 4 Super Bowls. That's just a fact of life.
Bryson W. (Georgia)
Where you suprised about the Saints winning the Super Bowl?
Gary Horton (4:36 PM)
Yes, I was. I did not think that they could stop the Colts offense and I did not think they could limit Peyton's offensive possession. I also thought the speed of the Colts' defense would be something that the Saints would struggle against. But it was one of those game plans that everything called worked. Usually it is Peyton adjusting, but in this case it was the Saints making all of the right adjustments. They were the better team on Sunday. But I was surprised.
Dave (W.Jefferson, Ohio)
Peyton Manning- Fourth QRT, Didnt come across to me as a HOF QB. Some say the interception wasnt all his fault. He almost threw one on the two previous plays. He calls time out ,realizes it was a mistake, tried to take it back. It was almost comical. Five minutes left and he acted like there was a minute. A choke ??
Gary Horton (4:38 PM)
I don't think it was one of his best, but before we criticize him, remember how many times his career has been marked by the two-minute drill and his ability to move his offense at the end of the game. I don't think it was a choke job. I think the Saints did a surprising job of confusing the Saints with coverages. For a guy that is so dialed in with what a defense is doing, he did not look comfortable in his recognition. I also think his receivers did him no favors in a couple of drops and the routes. But I give the Saints credit.
Was it petyon or reggies fault for that interception. Some people are sayin reggie ran he rout bad and other people say peyton should have not thrown the ball
Gary Horton (4:40 PM)
This is a timing offense. In my opinion, more of it rests on Reggie Wayne than on Peyton. This team is so good on the slant route and usually it's precise and low risk. The receiver runs inside of the DB and there is no chance to intercept it. It looked to me like Reggie didn't finish the route and yet Peyton threw it to the spot where he thought he would be. On this type of route, the QB and receiver need to be on the same page, because you get the ball out before the cuts made. I think Peyton thought he had an absolute perfect window to throw into.
Will the Saints return next year and be a powerhouse?
Gary Horton (4:42 PM)
I think on the good side, there is a lot of youth on this team. You have a young, dynamic QB. But they also have a lot of potential free agents and guys that couldleave. I haven't studied it, but I've heard as many as 29 guys could have contract issues. That seems like a lot to me, but there are a lot of decisions that need to be made in the offseason. But remember, as good as the Saints were, this was not a good defense statistically. They also got by with many of their tough games at home. I think they're a good team and with Drew Brees, they'll always have a chance. But they have a tough offseason ahead trying to keep this roster together.
What did you think of the onsides? One of the gutsiest decisions?
Gary Horton (4:44 PM)
The thing I loved about it was it was pre-determined. Sean Payton knew he wanted to do it, they practiced it and they planned it ahead of time. It's a perfect example of his gutsy playcalling. He knew possessions were at a premium and by doing the kick, he took a possession away from Indy and added one to New Orleans. That was a huge issue. To me, instead of patting Payton on the back for making the call, I think we should look at how well it was executed. The Saints had practice time on it and it wasn't a fluke play. That goes to good coaching as much as guts.
I know this superbowl just ended but do you have a prediction for next years contenders?
Gary Horton (4:46 PM)
You are aggressive. I think if Brett Favre comes back, Minnesota will be terrific. I think Dallas will be terrific. New Orleans will be a solid team. Those are all in the NFC. In the AFC, Baltimore will always be a tough out. Pittsburgh will make a return. The Jets will get better. If I was to make a Super Bowl guess a year from now (and at this point, it's a total guess) I would say Indianapolis-Dallas. If that happens, we could have another great story on our hands with Dallas playing the Super Bowl at home.
Katelyn (Syracuse, NY)
Thoughts on Manning not sticking around to congratulate the Saints at the end of the game? Maybe he had his reasons, but it look a lot like pouting.
Gary Horton (4:48 PM)
A lot of times, in those situations, it's hard to get to guys, because there is so much celebration. I happen to think that he's such a sportsman that he didn't want to steal the moment. I think he has great respect for them. I don't think he was pouting. He probably wanted them to let them have their moment. It's not like him to be like that. A lot of times, there's a lot of celebrating for the other team and it's uncomfortable to stick around to congratulate other people.
Who has the better chance to win it next year saints or colts ?
Gary Horton (4:50 PM)
I think the Colts are probably better situated. I think Peyton will have another great year and they have less questions on free agency. They have a nice mix of youth and experience. If the Saints can retain everybody, they can be outstanding, but they have more contract issues to deal with than Indy. This is a very tough offseason for New Orleans than most people think.
Do you think Caldwell is a good coach as the team expected or was a championship team was handed to him
Gary Horton (4:51 PM)
Well, I think he's a good football coach, but I also had the realization that he inherited a team that wasn't broken and maybe one of his best attributes is to let his guys play. He has the trust of the lockerroom and much like Tony Dungy, he's a low key guy. There is so much leadership on that team, starting with Manning, that you just need to teach them and let them play. I think he's fine and is the type of coach that fits in well with Indy.
Al (Wausau, WI)
Gary, do you feel the Packers could be contenders in the NFC North in 2010? If not, what do you feel could keep them from being there?
Gary Horton (4:53 PM)
Yeah, you know what, when we were talking about Super Bowl teams, I forgot about the Packers. I think their defense can be OK, though I'm worried about their age in the secondary. And they have some age in their OL. They have a good defensive system. If they have a good offseason, absolutely, they can contend in the NFC North, especially if Favre doesn't come back. I love Aaron Rodgers. We are seeing how important homefield advantage is in the playoffs.
That was a huge win for the Saints. Do you expect them to win the Super Bowl again in the next five years?
Gary Horton (4:55 PM)
I think they always have a chance because of Drew Brees. He's the key to it all. They have a terrific OL and quality WRs. They'll be able to put up a lot of points on a weekly basis. I also happen to like their defensive philosophy even though they don't have the personnel to make it fit. I threw out the 29 free agents, but I haven't studied it yet. I was just told that they have some very serious questions they have to answer. For example, it starts with Reggie Bush. Do they pay him and keep him? Do they let him go? Look at Darren Sharper? There are some really good players with legit question marks that they'll have to deal with. They'll always have a good offense and be able to outscore people.
Evan Raskin (New York, NY)
What shouldn't go unnoticed is that Saints kicker Garrett Hartley tested positive for steroids at the beginning of the season. He was suspended for the first four games. Since a steroid user--a cheater--kicked three field goals in the super bowl plus the game winner in the NFC... Championship game, does that mean the Saints' Super Bowl victory is tainted?
Gary Horton (4:56 PM)
I don't think so, becaus he paid his debt. He was caught. He was punished and he came back under the rules of the NFL. You have to accept those rules and say that it was fair. I don't think it was an issue.
For a supposedly classy guy Dungy really came off sounding like a jerk with his ridiculous predictions and all. Thoughts?
Gary Horton (4:58 PM)
I think Tony Dungy always speaks from the heart. I think he legitimately thought the Colts were a better football team. What I think is impressive is in his work as an ex-coach is he doesn't hold back at all. It probably looks like he's a homer, but he honestly thinks that the Colts were the better team. I think it's hard for Dungy to come off as not classy but I get what you're saying.
Gary Horton (4:59 PM)
The Super Bowl is over now, but in today's NFL, that means you start getting ready for the draft. It's a never ending process. For a lot of us, it's a year round job and that makes it interesting. Even though it's been a great season, there are a lot of challenges for these teams. With the cap situation, there will be a lot of headlines. It will not be a quiet offseason.