Chat with 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 (4:01 PM)
We've got Gary!
Gary Horton (4:04 PM)
Every week, I continue to be almost shocked at how poorly supposedly elit teams can play and how good bad teams can play. I came to the conclusion today, and I might be wrong, that good teams that used to wonder about where they would be seeded in the playoffs now have a mindset that the only way they can get there is to win their division. Many of them have already wasted those wild card opportunities. I think you have the mindset of somehow winning the division and regroup in the playoffs.
Gary,since nobody is talking about the skins in the nfc playoff race,what say you?Thanks!!
Gary Horton (4:06 PM)
I think they're one of those teams that's solid and I think they're getting better each week, but I don't think they can maintain any kind of consistency. Although, having said that, we never thought for Dallas and Philly to struggle this much. They look like an 8-8 team right now that will look good one week and lousy the next.
Having watched the Packers Vikings game last night I was thrilled with the play of the Packers offensive line, which has struggled at times this year. Is this a turn around game, or is it just an average line holding off and under achieving Vikings pass rush?
Gary Horton (4:07 PM)
Well, I think part of the problems of the Vikings is that they are so beat up in the secondary that they don't have the ability to blitz a lot, so almost all of their pressure has to come from the front four. Green Bay did a nice job of blocking those guys. To me, Jared Allen is not playing great right now. Aaron Rodgers is using movement and getting the ball out quicker. I would feel good about the way the OL is playing. I really like the rookie Bryan Bulaga. I think he'll be an excellent player.
GaryWhat is K. Kolb's trade value. A second round pick?Thanks
Gary Horton (4:09 PM)
I don't think there's any way that you think about trading him right now. You have two good young QBs. Both are capable of playing well. But I don't think you have enough information about Vick or Kolb to make a long term decision. I would keep both through the season and make a decision in the offseason. Vick is totally capable of going out next week and not playing well. I think Reid is doing exactly what he thinks he should - play the guy with a hot hand.
Gary Horton (4:10 PM)
I do know this. With an offensive line that has struggled because of injuries, Vick certainly gives you a better chance to avoid those weaknesses than Kolb does, because of his mobility.
Ryan (San Diego)
Could one of those teams you are talking about be the Chargers? I really cant believe two of the fumbles they had yesterday. Really pathetic
Gary Horton (4:11 PM)
They're absolutely who I'm talking about. As bad as they're playing, they're still in a winnable division. The thing about them, and it's kind of the same in Dallas and Cincinnati, they make stupid mental mistakes. That is just a lack of discipline or something that just makes no sense to me. The Chargers lost a very winnable game yesterday. I just don't understand how professional athletes making that kind of money can make those kinds of mistakes.
Ryan (Germantown, MD)
Hey Gary, what do you expect to see out of tonights game?
Gary Horton (4:13 PM)
I'm really torn because part of me says Dallas has enough pride and certainly talent to say that enough is enough and to go out and play a solid football game. I think the Giants are a good team, but I'm not sure they're quite as good as they're playing. Dallas has better players, but I just don't know that they will play with that consistency. I think a lot of it has to do with a gameplan, where they show offensive balance, where they run the football, etc. The one thing I do know is that the Giants are very clear on their keys for success and they won't deviate from it. Having said that, I would pick the Cowboys to win.
Kevin (Boston, MA)
Gary, does Norv survive that debacle from yesterday? They picked every way possible to lost that game and at some point lack of discipline has to fall at the coaches feet.
Gary Horton (4:15 PM)
Well, the problem is that it's easy to think about replacing the coach, but who do you replace him with? I don't know if there's a guy on that staff right now that's a better option. Whether you like it or not, Turner is an excellent offensive coach. But in fairness to his coaching staff, I don't believe the talent level is as good as it's been, at least in terms of depth in recent years. It seems like not too long ago, Merriman was coming off the edge, along with 3, 4, 5, WRs plus a TE on offense. Right now, it doesn't seem like they have the same depth.
Gary Horton (4:17 PM)
One interesting fact, this Chargers team, when they put their 53-man roster together at the end of the pre-season, 28 of those guys were defensive players and 23 were offensive players. The reason being, that an offensive oriented team had more defensive players they thought having more defensive players would help their special teams. And now they have one of the worst special teams in the NFL.
As a Riaders fan, i've been consistently let down by the Raiders following a big win. however, beating a team by 45 shows some talent to say the least. Any chance the Raiders finally put it all together
Gary Horton (4:19 PM)
I think the Raiders are probably a little better than people give them credit for. It might just be my opinion, but I thought yesterday was more of a bad thing about Denver than good about the Raiders. However, this is probably how they are going to win, running the football. If I were Oakland, I'd feel great about how I punched a division opponent in the mouth. If I were the Broncos, I would be shocked at how bad my run defense was and how bad my tackling was. In all honesty, a game like this almost challenges your manhood. If you're the Broncos, you got embarrassed. The way in which you did is bothersome.
The Falcons looked like a different offense yesterday, actually throwing deep. I loved the 43-yarder to White on 3rd and 1.What took so long for them to open it up?
Gary Horton (4:21 PM)
They may feel that their formula is run the football and don't take a lot of chances. I think they're starting to realize that the Ryan-White combo can produce a lot of plays. I'm with you, I have wondered in recent weeks why they haven't gone deep more to open up the run game. This could be a sign of things to come.
What's the deal with my 49ers? Is it a talent issue or poor coaching?
Gary Horton (4:22 PM)
I think it's probably a combination of both. My problem is, and I'm a huge Mike Singletary fan, I don't know how much this team believes in him. I don't know that they don't. I think they're unstable at the QB position. They have some offensive line questions. Michael Crabtree and Alex Smith aren't on the same page and some of their defensive stars aren't having their best years. I don't know how far they'll go if they don't get more stability at the QB position.
Richard (Point Pleasant, NJ)
At what point do the Vikings start someone other than Brett Favre. It seems he has lost his touch this year.
Gary Horton (4:25 PM)
That's the big question this week. In my opinion, Brad Childress was not a happy camper last night. I think that will become a huge story as the week unfolds, in terms of that relationship with him and Favre. I think that Childress is probably upset because he is not controlling this offense right now, or doesn't seem like he is controlling this offense right now. He has a QB who is not playing under the parameters of this offense. It's a tough spot, because I don't think Childress can replace Favre, even though it might not surprise me that it's something he might like to do. The only way I can see that changing is if Favre says he's so beat up that he wants to sit one out. It would have to be totally his decision. I might be off base, but I have felt the last few weeks that if they continue to lose that Favre might just say to put him on injured reserve to end his season and his career. Part of me says he won't do that because he's too much of a fighter, but what does he have left to prove?
Gary Horton (4:26 PM)
Having said all that, we were close last night to seeing another vintage Brett Favre comeback. I was riveted to the TV, because just having him in the game gives you the possibility. So, I don't think he's as washed up as a lot of people do.
Giants or Cowboys tonight
Gary Horton (4:27 PM)
I think the Cowboys tonight. I think there's too much talent and hopefully too much pride to allow this thing to extend any longer. In my mind, they're the superior team and now they have to prove it.
Have you ever seen such a disparity in talent between the conferences? 8 of the top 10 teams are in the AFC and an NFC team does not even belong in the discussion until at least 7 in my opinion, including Atlanta.
Gary Horton (4:28 PM)
I absolutely agree with you. I don't have a great answer, but I don't know if I've ever seen as many mediocre teams as there are in the NFC. I suppose in a sense it's good for fans, because your team can be lowsy and you still have a chance in December to win the division.
Can the Steelers succeed without A. Smith in the line up?
Gary Horton (4:30 PM)
I think he's a much bigger deal than the average fan realizes. This guy is the ultimate 3-4 DE because he's so good versus the run. He does a great job of freeing up his LBs. He plays the most thankless position on defense and the average fan would not know who he is. He's a key part of their defense. He will absolutely be missed.
Gary Horton (4:31 PM)
I think we're very fortunate again to get another good Monday night game. We may not always like the matchups we see on weekends, but every week there's some compelling games. I think we're getting to the point right now where teams are faced with fighting for their playoff lives and hopefully that sense of urgency kicks in and we'll see some better football.
Buzzmaster (4:31 PM)