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're getting Gary!
Gary Horton (4:03 PM)
We might as well make a statement about Randy Moss at the beginning of the chat here. It's one of the most bizarre moves I've ever seen. I can see both sides, but this is a team that just doesn't need any more dysfunction and they seem to have something happen every day. Wouldn't it be interesting if Moss ended up back in New England?
Childress cannot possibly keep his job after this season can he?
Gary Horton (4:05 PM)
I think that they have to win the division, which ironically is still a possibility. I don't know how divided the lockerroom is. You can be a good football coach, but if the players loose faith in you, it's tough to keep that continuity going. It's tough because Brad is a friend of mine and he's a good coach.
Gary Horton (4:05 PM)
I will be very interested to see what the fall out is in this situation. For example, did this Moss move have the blessing of ownership or just a move by the coaches?
I don't understand the Moss release. If you give up a 3rd round pick for him you have to ride it out don't you? Is this is for Childress? We sure could use a change around here.
Gary Horton (4:07 PM)
You would certainly think that based ont heir record right now and their lack of depth at WR that they would try to ride this one out. Supposedly Moss was very happy in coming back to Minnesota. Perhaps things went south the last few days that we're not aware of. Maybe this is a message the Childress is trying to send to his team. But I don't know if there needs to be a message sent right now. This team just needs to win.
No way Moss gets passed San Diego on the wavier list, right?
Gary Horton (4:08 PM)
Well, I would tend to agree with you, except there are some people in this league that just don't want to deal with Randy Moss. You may get some big plays, but you're still going to get those plays where effort is questionable and he wants a better contract. One of the reasons that he was traded to Minnesota was that it appeared the Patriots were fed up with him. I could see a lot of teams that need a receiver passing on him because at this stage of the season, they don't want to deal with the financial issues and up and down performance issues.
Jeri (San Diego)
Childress has lost control of his locker room. He wanted the big names, Favre, Moss and has since been out coached by both of them.
Gary Horton (4:10 PM)
Hwat happens is you have very strong veteran players that believe in doing things their own way. I don't think they're as coachable as that staff would like. I think you know that going in, that you're going to have to let these guys do their own thing and just ride it out with him. That's hard to give up that power when you're a head coach. That can create a big struggle.
When do most media types stop calling Dallas a talented team that finds ways to lose and start calling them a bad team that deserves to lose? To me, that time was about three weeks ago.
Gary Horton (4:13 PM)
Well, I think we all probably overrated their talent level and depth. But I will also say that they have a lot of good players, individually. This team finds a way to self destruct almost every week in different areas. I just don't see a team right now that has any sense of urgency. I think they bought into their own hype that they felt their talent was enough to get it done. In this league, you have a lot of teams with character that are going to give you their best shot every week. But I believe now that it's time for the rest of the season to really determine which of these guys should stay and what the roster is going to look like next year. Maybe you even evaluate the QB spot for next year. There's a lot to look at. I think the biggest areas we overrated were the offensive line and secondary. But I also struggle to understand the playcalling on a week to week basis.
Nathan (Coralville, IA)
Does Troy Smith now remain the starter for the San Francisco 49ers, and is that a good or a bad move?
Gary Horton (4:15 PM)
Well, I think the good thing to take from the win on Saturday was the fact that was the philosophy that Mike Singletary wanted all season - run the ball, control the clock, play defense and ask the QB to not make mistakes. They didn't win because of Troy Smith, but they didn't lose because of him either. If they play with the same philosophy in the future weeks like they did, then he will be their QB. He didn't give anything away.
Hi Gary! How did the Packers shutout the Jets on Sunday? Would you mind sharing your thoughts on the game for me? Thanks!
Gary Horton (4:17 PM)
I think it was more the Jets playing lousy than the Packers playing great. Though I did like the creativity of the Green Bay defense, who at times had only 2 lineman on the field, with a lot of LBs and DBs. That gave them athleticism on the field. Mark Sanchez has not played well the last couple of weeks. I think the Packers will struggle down the stretch. But Rodgers gives them a chance every week to be competitive and that defense is really creative in their packages. I would be really concerned if I were a Jets fan, because that was a game they should have won, especially with two weeks to prepare. They remind me a little bit today of one of those things we accuse Dallas of - that they can win just by showing up.
Has any GM performed better then Mayhew? Drafting Suh and Best plus trading 5th rounds picks or lower for Houston, Smith, Williams, Sims, and Sheffler...all solid to + starters. Detroit fans are giddy!!!!
Gary Horton (4:18 PM)
I think you should be. I was in a conversation this morning and how we were talking about how no one talks about Detroit and how much we like their young players. Suh looks like he will be a dominating player for years to come. This is a team that plays hard. They believe in what they're doing and they will only get better. That front office is doing an excellent job. They're getting the type of players that the head coach wants.
can the vikings still make the playoffs?
Gary Horton (4:20 PM)
I still think that the NFC North is probably up for grabs. Every team has its flaws. Detroit's not really ready to make a run. Chicago is a fraud, in terms of winning the division. That leaves Green Bay and Minnesota. Green Bay will struggle with no running game. In all honesty, I keep waiting for the light to come on with the Vikings. When I saw them lose yesterday to New England, I thought they just looked like they were done. I might be wrong, because they still have a division to play for, but something just seemed to be missing with this team. It's hard for me to see them going on a run.
Randy (Grove, OK)
Will the Chiefs be able to continue to run the ball at their current pace? If so they should add some digits to the win column as cold weather is on its way.....
Gary Horton (4:22 PM)
How about the game this week, KC and Oakland? Those are two offenses that run the ball really well right now. I really like KC's philosophy on playcalling on offense. They realize the limitations of Matt Cassel, so they don't ask him to do a lot. A lot of the throws he makes are check downs and easy passes. They are so committed to the run that it eats up the clock and keeps the defense fresh. It might not blow teams out, but that run game keeps them in games. As the weather gets worse, that's a formula that works in November and December. It would not surprise me at all to watch them win the division. But watch out for the Raiders and the Chargers, who are putting something together.
How intriguing will be this Houston-Indy matchup tonight, especially since Houston whopped on them earlier this season?
Gary Horton (4:24 PM)
How strange is it to go through almost an entire chat and not mention the Monday night game until now? I think it's a very intriguing matchup and this game is huge for Indy. If they lose to Houston, they're in trouble in the division. But more importantly, it will expose their weaknesses. It could signal the end of what's been a great run. We talk about their flaws all the time, but they've been able to cover them up. Right now, I don't see that margin for error. They desperately need a win tonight.
Jeremy (San Diego)
Do you think the Raiders can continue their momentum this week and beat the Chiefs?
Gary Horton (4:25 PM)
I'll be honest, I didn't see this running success coming so dramatically from the Raiders. They've been very physical the last few weeks. This will be a very interesting game between two teams with similar styles. In my mind it will come down to who can play the best run defense. Not give up the big run plays. Who would have ever thought a month ago that this would be a huge game in the AFC West?
That O Line is a bit shaky in Minnesota?
Gary Horton (4:27 PM)
I think you're right. They get a lot of credit for being one of the better groups in the NFL. But when I've watched them some the last couple of weeks, they're not terrible, but they don't always pick up the blitz. I think they really miss Chester Taylor, who was great in that area. It appears that they miss a couple each week. If I'm not mistaken, the play that Favre was hurt on, it was a physical mistake by Hutchinson. I think they're capable of playing better than they are. But I think they don't have a back that's great in blitz pickup and that hurts.
Alex (Columbus, OH)
What makes Deion Branch so tough to cover when he is playing with the Patriots? He was a non factor when he played for the Seahawks and Matt Hasselback.
Gary Horton (4:29 PM)
I think you have a QB that knows him so well that when you watch film you see Brady releasing the ball before he makes his break, because he knows exactly where he's going to be. It's almost impossible to maintain coverage when the ball is coming out before the WR makes a break. He doesn't have great speed, but that knowledge between these two makes it go.
Gary Horton (4:30 PM)
I think because there are so many storylines in the NFL today that we'll probably not realizing what a big game it is tonight, between two good teams. I would advise forgetting all of the drama in Minnesota, Dallas, etc. and enjoy a really good AFC South battle.