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 (4:02 PM)
We've got Gary!
Gary Horton (4:03 PM)
I think tonight's Monday night game is a lot more attractive than we thought it might have been a month ago. I'm anxious to see if the Bears are for real or if they're a mirage. We know a lot more about the Packers. They're closer to being an elite team.
john f (new york)
gary,huge colt fan.do you think this colt defense can get better?they give up way to much yardage.
Gary Horton (4:05 PM)
I noticed yesterday that they gave up a lot of yardage between the 20s. But I did like the way they played red zone defense. They went to more man-to-man schemes and tightened things up. I think it's important to understand that this is a defense that needs to play from ahead where they can attack the QB and stay in a pass rush mode. When they get into a slugfest, they're in big trouble. I don't think they'll be an elite group, but they'll be good enough to get by if their offense stays as good as it is.
Jayson Miller (Pittsburgh,PA)
So the Pittsburgh Steelers advance to 3-0 for the start of the 2010 season with their dominating defense..will they finish with a undefeated record the way their playing now?
Gary Horton (4:07 PM)
I think they're an elite team, but right now, without a lot of production from the QB position, the margin of error is not big. Very few teams can win by playing great defense and running the football. They can get it done without big numbers from the passing game. I studied their defense last week and I don't think I've been more impressed with how unselfish and how precise they are. The way they're winning now is fun to watch.
Gary Horton (4:07 PM)
I have quietly been wondering what Big Ben's return does to this team. It's hard to say that it's a negative. Right now the team chemistry is awesome.
Gary, icing the kicker with a TO - bush league or no?
Gary Horton (4:08 PM)
I personally don't like to see it. It seems a little high school-ish, although I understand it. I just think it sort of messes with the flow of the game. It just doesn't seem like a professional move. I think it will be addressed in the offseason by the rule committee.
Ryan Edens (Saint Paul, MN)
The Jets pass defense looked shaky at best yesterday, is Revis's absence really the cause for this? Or this a sign of things to come, even when Revis returns?
Gary Horton (4:10 PM)
First of all, they would prefer to play mostly man-to-man schemes. But without Revis, they don't have a true great nickel package against 3-WR sets. I think a bigger problem right now is their pass rush is not dominating yet. When that doesn't happen, you force your CBs to hold their coverages too long and they can be exposed. This is a good defense and when Revis comes back, their nickel package will be very effective. But I think they lack that dominant pass rusher.
Whats your take on Austin Collie?Is he that good,or is it Peyton can make me look good?
Gary Horton (4:12 PM)
You certainly begin to wonder over the years when these receivers come and go without great hoopla and all of a sudden they have excellent production with Manning. In this offense, they know if they get to a certain spot that Manning wants them to, they're going to get the ball. He is so good at recognizing matchups, he will find the right guy. Sometimes, I just think you have to be as intelligent as talented to play in this offense.
With a certain loss ahead, do you still see the Bears being a wildcard team?
Gary Horton (4:13 PM)
No, because I think there are still a lot of flaws there. I think they're better and I like the chemistry that seems to have developed between Mike Martz and Jay Cutler, but I don't know yet if this is a team that can play with consistency week in and week out. However with the Minnesota Vikings struggling, they have a better shot than maybe they did a couple of weeks ago. But I still look at the Bears at an 8-8 kind of team.
So... Carson Palmer. Is he really this bad, or is some of the blame on the WR's and a timing issue? Can it be corrected before they hit the real meat on their schedule?
Gary Horton (4:15 PM)
You certainly think that it can be corrected. Carson does have two new receivers in TO and TE Jermaine Gresham and Shipley. But these guys have had significant time together. I'm in agreement with you, this just doesn't look like a cohesive pass offense. I don't know of great excuses right now.
Nathan (Coralville, IA)
Are the Cowboys back on track? Aren't the two losses, to some degree, explainable? Redskins--subpar game, bad luck. Bears--close loss to a good team. Maybe it's all just football, and the Cowboys were never really that bad?
Gary Horton (4:17 PM)
I don't think that there's any question that this team needed a win after playing so poorly. I thought I saw more offensive balance. They physically imposed their will against a solid Houston team. I think they'll be fine, but I think they started to realize that they can't just show up and win. The only thing that will stop them from being an elite team is if they don't play with a sense of urgency each week.
Brian (Fishers, IN)
So are my Chiefs a legit playoff contender? Seems to me they have at least a shot in a very weak division.
Gary Horton (4:19 PM)
Well, I think it's way too early to pronounce them a playoff contender. I also think they have been very impressive early in the season. I've talked to a couple of scouts and they said what surprised them the most was the overall speed of Kansas City. You don't realize how many playmakers they have until you see them in person. These guys are playing hard. They don't take a lot of chances with their QB. They have a good running game. They are young, so mistakes will come, but they are developing confidence. And you're right, they're in a division where nobody will run away with.
Do you see the Vikings being able to bounce back from a slow start even though the schedule looks tough? Can they do this with the run game alone?
Gary Horton (4:20 PM)
I don't think they can do it week in, week out. I think they can win some games with a great AP, but eventually they're going to have to have balance. Brett Favre is going to have to trust his receivers. I think the bye comes at the right time, but it might take this team a month to really get their timing down and I wonder if they'll be in too big a hole at that time. Their margin for error is not very big.
Waverunner (New Jersey )
Will my beloved Giants right the ship? If so, how?
Gary Horton (4:22 PM)
I think the Giants could be in a little trouble right now. Tom Coughlin is a disciplinarian type coach. Yet, this is not a very disciplined team. They make mental mistakes and they look like a team that's almost ready to implode. They're not dominating any particular area and I just don't see where the big positive changes are coming from.
Austin (Colorado Springs)
Why is everyone bashing Reid for deciding to place Vick as the starting QB? This team can actually win this division and be a serious contender for the postseason and be dangerous in the postseason also. With Kolb they probably would have been an 8-8 football team.
Gary Horton (4:23 PM)
I don't think anybody's criticizing Andy now. I think he made a decision on a guy reaction and how his team was playing. While I also think they still really like Kevin Kolb and he could eventually be the starting QB at some point. I think right now, Reid is going with the guy with the hot hand. I don't think it's necessarily bad Kevin Kolb that brought this on, it's good Michael Vick.
THEREALRAYGORDON REID ( ARKON OHIO 44308)
QUESTIONTO GARY H0RTON AT 4.20 PM HI GARY WH YOU DOHAVE FORNIGHT DA BEARS OR PACKERS
Gary Horton (4:25 PM)
I like the Packers. I think they have too many weapons on offense. I think they can go deeper in their offensive packages than the Bears can in their sub packages. But I also think that Chicago will play hard. This may come down to who has the best pass rush and which defense can make the QB the most uncomfortable. I don't think the Packers have told us anything to show that they're not a good team yet.
Bueller Buffalo NY [via mobile]
Who should the Bills take with the first overall pick in the 2011 draft
Gary Horton (4:26 PM)
I like their secondary. CJ Spiller is the real deal. Their problem is they don't have enough playmakers and they don't have a trigger guy. This team needs a QB to build around. They're just spinning their wheels. I think they're playing a little better than people are giving them credit for. They gave New England a legit fight on Sunday.
Andrew (Atwater, Ca) [via mobile]
Only three games into the season but who would have thought Heyward-Bey would be better than Crabtree?
Gary Horton (4:28 PM)
That's an excellent point. With all of Heyward-Bey's drops, I wondered if he would ever become consistent. And when I watched Crabtree, it almost looks like he's disinterested. And I wonder about the chemistry with Alex Smith and his receivers.
Mike (Boca Raton)
Is Charlie Batch good enough to get the Steelers past the Ravens?
Gary Horton (4:29 PM)
Based on what I'm seeing on film, the answer is yes, because they don't need a lot of big plays from the QB position, they just don't need a lot of mistakes. I don't even think Joe Flacco is a shootout kind of QB. I love the way that the Steelers are playing right now. Based on their ability to create turnovers, you'd almost have to say that they can win this way.
Gary Horton (4:29 PM)
By the way, Charlie Batch is a better football player than maybe people give him credit for.
Nathan (Coralville, IA)
Something is wrong with the Chargers, which is weird because their defense is actually playing better than I thought they would. Can this team get it right? Is it simply their hold-outs, or is it something deeper than that?
Gary Horton (4:31 PM)
Well, certainly it's partially a hold out problem. They don't have a dominating WR like Jackson for Rivers to go to. They've been horrible on special teams, even though they addressed this on the make up of their final roster of 53 players. They've given up three TDs already in their kicking game. They remind me of what I see every year from the Chargers. They are so-so early in the season, they cruise through the middle of the season and late in the year, they get a sense of urgency and start playing well. That teases us until the playoffs. Something is missing with this team.
Gary Horton (4:32 PM)
I think we're fortunate to have a really entertaining, good ol' black and blue game on Monday night in Chicago, even though neither one of these teams are black and blue. They're more finesse passing teams. But it should be an entertaining game.