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 (4:02 PM)
Gary is here!
Gary Horton (4:03 PM)
I thought yesterday may have been the most entertaining Sunday of the year in the NFL. Not only did we have dramatic games, but I love to see the teams at the bottom of the league still playing hard and finding a way to win. I think the playoff run here at the end of the season is going to be very exciting.
Rich (New Jersey)
Matt Dodge will get most of the blame for the punt with 14 seconds left in the blame. But in the last 7:27 who should most of the heat for the lose, the Giants defense for their play or Perry Fewell (defensive coordinator) for his play calling?
Gary Horton (4:05 PM)
I think there's enough blame to go all around. But there were some fluke plays in that game. I thought the onside kick was brilliant. I am not sure I would have had my hands team on the field like everyone talked about. I didn't see it coming. You have a gifted QB on a hot streak. I don't think you can blame the coaches. Their gameplan worked for 3.5 quarters and they looked brilliant. Dodge was told to punt out of bounds and he didn't. But also, that was a fluke return, because when Jackson fumbled it, he should have been buried, but it actually gave him more time to regroup. It was just a lot of bizarre things that happened.
cooper land (escondido)
who's performence was more impressive Rex Grossman, Tim Tebow, or Matt Flynn? thanks
Gary Horton (4:07 PM)
I would probably have to say Matt Flynn, because you're on a national stage. You go into the game without a run game and you have tons of injuries. You certainly play like the QB is not a weak position. I know all about the game management at the end, but I thought for the most part, this looked like a game that wasn't too big for Flynn. The other guys had moments, but I thought with the exception of maybe the last 20 seconds, Flynn looked pretty good out there.
Mark (Long beach)
Are the Jets finally back on track or was this a fluke game helped by Troy P being sidelined?
Gary Horton (4:09 PM)
I think they're somewhat back on track. They won a physical game at a tough place to win. But I hope they don't go back to the bravado that they always seem to have, even though I thought I already saw some of it after the game. It was a gutsy win against a quality opponent, but this is a week to week league. It was an absolute must win for them.
Brian V (Hopkinton MA)
So Gary what do you think about the way the NFL is treating big hits around the league? It seems like all someone need to do is put his head down after catching the ball and he will get another 15 yards because of the way they are treating the helmet to helmet conduct.
Gary Horton (4:10 PM)
To be honest, it's easy to criticize it. I know where you're coming from. I think the players have really learned what they can and can't do. They're tired of getting fined. We're getting less big hits each week. Maybe the officials are overreacting but it may take that for a while for us to get into a real comfort level of what can and can't happen. It just seems to me that every week that goes by we have less and less talk about it. And that's a good thing.
Who wins the Monday Nighter?
Gary Horton (4:12 PM)
Chicago should win, because they're a healthier team and right now they're a better defense. But I honestly don't understand the Bears. Some times they just don't show up. I think Favre is going to try to play, which certainly makes it interesting. But I just don't think the Vikings in this environment can throw the ball well enough to stay competitive. Unless AP has a great game, I think the Bears will win.
how much longer can the eagles live dangerously?
Gary Horton (4:14 PM)
Well, I think we think of them living dangerously yesterday because they were playing a divisional opponent. They could have very easily lost that game by two TDs. Teams just don't get up every week and play their A game. Look at the Patriots last night, they didn't get up for Green Bay. The Giants won 3.5 quarters of their game against the Eagles and if not for a magician at QB, they would have won.
Hey Gary, what do you think of the Jets win?
Gary Horton (4:16 PM)
I thought it was an excellent, character win and a very physical game. There were a lot of things to like. But I was especially impressed at the play calling of OC Brian Schottenheimer. He changed up his formations to confuse the Steelers. He went with a lot of 2 back sets to be physical. And then he used some roll outs out of those formations to attack the edges. I just got the feeling that he did a great job of keeping Pittsburgh off balance.
What can you tell us about Joe Webb?
Gary Horton (4:18 PM)
I watched him a little bit. Interestingly, I think they initially thought of him as an athlete, who could be a Tim Tebow Wildcat kind of guy, play some WR, some special teams. I'm not sure anyone thought of him as a pure QB. Now, they have a chance to get a look at him at QB if Favre doesn't play. But I don't think it matters, because I think the Minnesota QB situation is blown up after this season and is totally different next year. I don't think Joe Webb factors into that picture. This is a tough spot for him, because you know he hasn't gotten a lot of snaps.
John C (Highland Mills NY)
Gary,If the Giants miss the playoffs, do you think there will be a head coaching change?Thanks
Gary Horton (4:19 PM)
No, I don't think so, because I think Tom Coughlin is well respected. This is a stable organization and I don't think they like to make a lot of changes. This team hasn't gone into the tank. They're either going to go into the playoffs or miss by one game. I think if you're honest, you'd probably look back at yesterday and say this is a good team that lost a fluke game that kept them out of the playoffs. If they do get into the postseason, they're as dangerous as anybody to go on a run. I think they'll make the playoffs, because they're resiliant and they'll bounce back from this.
Gary, if your the Patriots, which playoff matchup scares you most? Ravens, Steelers, or Jets?. Happy hollidays.
Gary Horton (4:22 PM)
I'm going to go one step farther and say playing Kansas City would bother me the most. I'll tell you why...I really respect their run game. They can be as physical as they need to be and control the clock. They have a QB in Matt Cassel who does not turn the ball over or make mistakes. They have a young defense who flies around. And they have two coordinators who know this Patriots team. I don't think they are as talented as the Pats, but I think it would be interesting to see them come into Foxborough. I think they can handle the Ravens, Steelers and Jets. One other team that could be dangerous if they make the playoffs is San Diego because of Rivers. Having said all that, I would be surprised to see anybody come into Foxborough in January and beat this team. I think they're that good.
JD (Flushiing, MI)
With the lions winning 2 games in a row , 1 a road game, is there light at the end of the tunnel?
Gary Horton (4:23 PM)
I enjoy watching the Lions play each week. They play hard. I especially like their defensive line. I think there are some pieces in place there to really build on. This is a well coached team that is not that far away from being very competitive.
What's the general consensus around the league regarding the Falcons... for real or a fluke?
Gary Horton (4:26 PM)
I think they are absolutely for real, but I know exactly what you are saying. When I watch them each week, they almost lull you to sleep because they are not overly flashy, but they just don't make mistakes and they are probably the most sound team in the NFL. They are very methodical. They are very well coached and they just don't give away games, which probably makes them not a lot of fun to talk about, but the reality is that they are in a position now that they could theoretically not have to get on a plane until they go to the Super Bowl. With them playing at home leading up to the Super Bowl, they'll be a tough team to beat, because they won't do it for you.
Chris Fiegler (Latham,NY)
What do you think of the Bears-Vikings game being played outdoors?
Gary Horton (4:29 PM)
I don't think they had a choice, obviously. It's not an ideal situation. And it's probably a lot more fun for us laying on our couches than it is for the people there. But what I like is it really brings up the fact that if we go to an 18-game schedule, you're looking at a lot more of these games in late December and early January in outdoor conditions. I think that's something that would be a concern for everybody. It's fun to watch one or two snow games, but you don't want to be an NFL fan and the last month of the season being forced to sit in horrible conditions. You know the league isn't going to start earlier, so you're talking the middle of January before the regular season is over. I think the game tonight has brought some attention to that.
Gary Horton (4:31 PM)
If you're an old NFC North fan, then this will be a fun game to watch tonight. While it may not have the meaning this year that it's had in the past, this is still a great rivalry. I'll be interested in two things: 1) do the Bears have the character to put a team away and win a game that they should to clinch the division? 2) Do the Vikings have enough character, that even though they're not going to the postseason, that pride kicks in and they want to remind people of what could have been?