Chat with Gary Horton
Welcome to SportsNation! On Monday, Scouts Inc.'s Gary Horton stops in to talk about the upcoming 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)
Gary Horton from Scouts Inc is here to take your questions! He'll be embarking on his driving trip from San Diego to Bristol, Conn. on Wednesday for the duration of the NFL season!
Gary Horton (4:02 PM)
It's great to get back into the football season. The Week 1 preseason games were not very meaningful, but these next two weeks are very important for the guys trying to make the roster. The last preseason game, coaches don't put a lot of importance on that game. They just try to get through it healthy.
What should we expect from Kolb in his first full year?
Gary Horton (4:03 PM)
I think Kolb is going to be surprisingly good. I watched some of the game over the weekend. His arm strength is outstanding. He seems to have a good command of the offense. This is now his team. He has the best group of targets that the Eagles have had in years. I think he will really put up big numbers. Better than most people think.
Scooter, minny [via mobile]
What do vikings do with qb positon next year?
Gary Horton (4:06 PM)
Well, it wouldn't shock me that if Favre plays this year and stays healthy that he could play another year. I know that's a big if. But I think the key for the Vikings is to know earlier whether he's going to play or not. If he does not play this fall, think of all the guys, veterans, that they didn't get into the mix for. Guys like Donovan McNabb, Jason Campbell. If he comes back, it's no big deal. I think they'll like Tavaris Jackson better than we think. It wouldn't surprise me for them to go with Jackson and Rosenfels without Favre. But, having said that, this is a veteran team that knows that their window won't stay open forever. They're going to be inclined to make rash moves to get to that Super Bowl.
Shane (Los Angeles, CA)
Mr. Horton, do you see a break out year for Beanie Wells (barring injury of course)?
Gary Horton (4:08 PM)
Well, I love his explosiveness and big play capability. He is now playing in an offense in Arizona that wants to run the ball a lot more than they have in the past. He also has a running mate in Tim Hightower who can share carries with him. I think he's at a good weight. If he stays focused and consistent, I think he could have a big year. But if you are thinking in terms of fantasy, remember that he and Hightower will split carries, even though they will run the ball a little bit more.
Gary, I know preseason really isn't anything to get too excited about, but as a former scout, what kind of things did you look for during the preseason? Also, are you in favor of shortening from four games to two?
Gary Horton (4:10 PM)
The preseason really helps you get a better feel for the back end of your roster. It lets you know what to expect from certain ballplayers. You look for individual effort. You look for guys that just had a knack for making plays. I think you look for are players making mistakes mentally or physically? I am in favor of taking the preseason down from four games to two games, because 1) the fans could care less about 4 or 2 games and 2) the offseason is so organized now with OTAs that much of the work is done before training camp. I think it makes a lot of sense to practice for a couple of weeks to get your timing down and then start the season.
Matt (Grand Rapids)
Do us Lion fans FINALLY have something to smile about?? Seems like young talent they are stock piling is legit. Are 8 wins possible this year??
Gary Horton (4:12 PM)
Well, I don't know if you can get that far, but I think building around your QB Stafford is a real positive sign. I will say this: it may now show up in wins, but this organization has a plan. They believe in what they are doing and they are doing a nice job of acquiring players. The problem is that this is a pretty good division that they're in. There are no gimme games. I think we'll see improvement, but it may be a little slower than you would like.
Hey Gary, what do you think about Josh Freeman? Looked pretty good in the slop on Saturday night. Do you think he is better than Stafford and Sanchez, the two QB's taken in front of him?
Gary Horton (4:14 PM)
He is an excellent young athlete. He has a big arm. He will get better each season. It's hard to play QB consistently in this league on a weekly basis. I'm not wild about his weapons or the guys around him. I don't think the Bucs are heading for a very good season. But I think we will see some intriguing things from him and there is hope for the future.
How long do you give Curtis Painter until you say he just doesn't have it? He was awful yesterday, and it was against 2nd/3rd teamers.
Gary Horton (4:15 PM)
I think that the Colts are probably looking long and hard about trying to find another QB. I agree with you. It's one thing to play poorly a year ago, but if you're a guy that knows all of your playing time will come in the first two games of the preseason and to play that poorly is cause for concern. I have never felt that the Colts have any chance to win if Peyton Manning went down. Despite his durability, I think they have the worst backup QB situation in the NFL. I think they may feel it's time to remedy that.
Shane (Los Angeles, CA)
Mr. Horton, do you think the Jets should consider trading Revis? With 3 capable CBs (Antonio Cromartie, Dwight Lowery and Kyle Wilson), while they might lack depth, they seem well enough off to rid themselves of a headache and get something back in return.
Gary Horton (4:18 PM)
No, I don't think you can even consider that. He is a great player, the best at his position in the NFL. You don't let guys like that go. He allows that defense a lot of flexibility in how they blitz and how they cover. In today's NFL passing game, you can never have enough corners. I think it would be devastating to the players on that team. I think it's just a matter of time before they get something done. I would not even consider trading him.
Hi Gary. I am a huge Niner fan but Alex Smith drives me crazy. I can't for the life of me understand how the Niners feel comfortable with him under center because he gives me ulcers. Can you give me any insight on how Smith has been looking and if there is any reason to ditch the Tums on Sundays?
Gary Horton (4:19 PM)
I think they like him better and he's actually playing a little better than you think. They finally feel he has a good command of this offense. Keep in mind that the 49ers want to run the football and play physical. They are not going to be an offense that throws on every down like they did for a few weeks a year ago. They are going to pound the ball with Frank Gore and that should give Alex Smith some outside throwing lanes.
Gary Horton (4:20 PM)
They're not going to throw the ball every down. But I'm a little bit like you in that I didn't believe in him for a while. But he's grown on me in a positive way, but he's obviously grown on you in a negative way.
Anthony (Hartford, CT)
Hi Gary. Do you think the Giants have a shot at making the playoffs this year?
Gary Horton (4:23 PM)
They have a shot, because they still have a lot of good players. The team we saw at the end of the 2009 season just fell apart. I like their receivers. I like their backs. They're healthy and tough. But their OL seems to have digressed and their DL should be the best part of this team, but it's not. They're also not a great team in coverage. The problem is that they're in a very competitive division and the NFC overall has a lot of good teams. If you think about it, you have Dallas and Philly in the East. One of those will be a wild card. You have Minnesota and Green Bay in the North, one of those will be a wild card. In the South, you have New Orleans and Atlanta. And in the West, you have San Francisco and Arizona. If you look at the wild card teams, you could have half a dozen teams playing for a couple of spots. I think the Giants are a good team, but I just don't know if they'll be the team we're used to seeing over the years.
Ben (Baton Rouge, LA)
Gary, I think Jay Cutler will do well this year working with Martz, you agree? But shouldn't he get to throw more than twice in the first preseason game?
Gary Horton (4:25 PM)
I think they really want to see what they have in the running game. I think he'll have plenty of chances to show his ability to throw the ball. I know the coaches and Cutler really like their WR core, much better than people outside of the organization. But I think a significant part of this offense will be that the Bears have two backs in Forte and Chester Taylor both catch the ball extremely well out of the backfield. They both could have 50 catches each. That gives Martz some flexibility. If they run the ball well, they can get some good matchups and he is the king of finding matchups. The key is for Cutler to absolutely believe in what they are doing and do a beter job of preparing himself than in the past. Martz will not accept anything less. Everything so far says that this will be a really good relationship.
Al (Wausau, WI)
Gary, do you feel there may be an NFL lockout in 2011? How likely do you think it may be?
Gary Horton (4:27 PM)
I'm like everybody else. I hope that it doesn't happen. I think that it is absolutely ludicris that we mess around with the fans and the game this way as successful as we are. Both sides have really dug in their positions. I think a lot of people underestimate how smart the players are on the issues at hand. Because of that, it's going to be tough to get a deal. What bothers me is that nothing is happening. There doesn't seem to be a sense of urgency and I'm just afraid that we'll sneak up on a deadline and both sides will stare each other down. I don't think that either side will blink. This would be a terrible situation for everyone involved. I think the chances of a lockout are probably pretty good.
Gary Horton (4:29 PM)
I can never remember a time in the past where players in any sport were advised to put money away and save it in the event of a lockout. That's happening in the NFL. That in itself is not a great sign.
Gary Horton (4:30 PM)
I think tonight's Monday night game between the Giants and the Jets could be very entertaining for an early preseason game, because it's a new stadium. I think there are a lot of egos involved on both sides in this one. I think the intensity level will be much higher than it is for a normal preseason game.
Buzzmaster (4:31 PM)
Thanks for chatting Gary!