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 (4:00 PM)
We've got Gary!
Gary Horton (4:05 PM)
I arrived in Fort Worth yesterday. This is a tremendous area that ESPN has gotten for this week. We're in Fort Worth and a lot of the people are in Dallas and the city has really reached out to us. We're in the downtown area called Sundance Square. It's terrific and our crowds are off the charts. It's like no other Super Bowl that I've ever been to in terms of potential fan involvement during the week. I think we'll all be able to enjoy the atmosphere more with fans that are really proud of their city and will support us.
with pouncey out for super bowl, how much effect does it have on the pass protection and rushing game
Gary Horton (4:08 PM)
Pouncey is excellent, not only as an athlete, but also their ability to change blocking schemes. However Legursky is a guy we've studied on film the last few days and he's better than you think. He will be OK and the moment will not be too big for him. Where he could have problems, however, is with BJ Raji on the inside. If he's doing well, then look for Clay Matthews to run more inside blitzes, especially if Legursky doesn't see it coming as well as Pouncey did.
lucas. newhope pa [via mobile]
Do you think arron rodgers will beat the stellers defense
Gary Horton (4:10 PM)
I don't think it's going to be with the run game, because no one runs on the Steelers well. I think their passing game is so effective and his ability to spread out the Steelers defense, he could be very effective. I know they have an effective pass rush, but Rodgers also has a terrific slant game. If he gets that going against that secondary, the ball comes out before the blitz gets there and now it comes down to yards after catch for the receivers. I think that a field indoors where elements are not involved really favors this fast paced offense of Green Bay.
Nathan (Coralville, IA)
Heard anything about where Jeff Fisher is going?
Gary Horton (4:12 PM)
I think the absolute right move is to take a year off, catch on things you haven't done for 25 years. As we have found out, your legend grows the more you are away from the game. I think he will be as hot as anybody at the end of next season. I have no idea why he would take a coordinator's job as some have suggested, just to keep working. This is not a guy who has been out of work for a long time, so a vacation is due. He would be outstanding on TV for a season.
Gary Horton (4:13 PM)
What I find funny is had this happened two or three weeks ago, it could have greatly altered some hires that were made. Do you think that Jason Garrett feels pretty good right now in Dallas? Or how about John Fox in Denver? Both places that you would think would have really gone after Fisher. Just a thought.
gary the pro bowl was boring until the kid ran around the field
Gary Horton (4:16 PM)
Joey, we've been searching for a Pro Bowl question so I could vent. I've always moderately enjoyed the Pro Bowl and the setting. The players always didn't start out fast in the game but they got their competitiveness in the second half and it turned out for some good product. Yesterday, I think it was embarrassing for the product. Not only were the two Super Bowl teams not there, but the tackling was atrocious. It looked like a 7 on 7 drill. I don't know how we can sell it as a game. I think the NFL really needs to look at it. If I'm a fan, I don't find it very watchable, with the exception of some big names. Maybe it needs to go to a skills contest. Maybe the games should be a 7 v. 7 passing game. I do know this, if you're a good running back in this league, playing in the Pro Bowl will definitely help you with your stats.
Suburban Rhythm (Pittsburgh)
Can you talk about the matchup of the Steelers seconday vs the Packers WR? I think a guy like Ike Taylor doesn't get enough praise for his play. He rarely catches the ball, so his INT numbers are terrible, but he's a solid cover guy who I think can hang with G Jennings.
Gary Horton (4:19 PM)
I think they're good as a group and they have a star in Polamalu. But they do not match up well in man situations. Ike Taylor is a good veteran CB, but he's most effective in blitz. I think we may see some Cover 3 schemes with Ryan Clark playing center field and the CBs off, to try to keep those Packers plays in front of them. That allows Polamalu to play all over the field. There is no way that Pittsburgh can line up in man coverages in these 4 and 5 man sets. They just don't go deep enough in these sub packages. It will be a bend and don't break philosophies. But the key, in my mind, for the Steelers, will be don't allow a lot of yards after the catch.
Gary Horton (4:20 PM)
One big question I have is I have watched a lot of film in the last week and I am surprised by the fact that Aaron Rodgers is very effective in his play action packages without a good run game. I'm not sure why, but it works.
tom (green bay)
whos more of a threat to the steelers, woodson, clay matthews, or bj raji
Gary Horton (4:25 PM)
That's a great question. I think a problem that Pittsburgh could have in this game, because of Pouncey's injury is Raji really making it tough for Legursky. That could create Matthews being able to loop inside more often on inside blitzes than he usually does. He will expect more space in the A gap. And Woodson could line up in the slot more which could open up more space there as well with them trying to slide someone out to block him.
do you like what shurmur is doing for the browns?
Gary Horton (4:25 PM)
I don't really have an opinion either way. I don't know him. On paper, it doesn't look dynamic, but I also have a lot of faith in Mike Holmgren. For now, I defer to him and his judgement.
Suburban Rhythm (Pittsburgh)
Should we expect to see Woodson matched up on Ward, and Williams on Wallace?
Gary Horton (4:27 PM)
I think they'll change it up a little bit. I know they trust Williams in any one on one situation. The one they're most concerned about is Wallace because of his speed. I would think Williams on Wallace would be a matchup that Pittsburgh would like. I think they could play some games with Ward with Woodson in coverage or up close and then coming on the blitz and bumping him with a linebacker. But I think, much like Polamalu, Green Bay is best when Woodson is moving around and you have no idea if he's in coverage or blitzing.
From a familiarity standpoint, wouldn't Ben have more of an advantage over Rodgers in being able to diagnose the blitz packages and coverages coming his way? Alot is being made of the defensive schemes being so alike, but Roethlisberger has practiced against this same defense for 6 years now hasn't he?
Gary Horton (4:30 PM)
On paper, you might say yes, but remember that Rodgers faces one of the most creative blitz packages in the league also. The one that Dom Capers runs is much more exotic. You might only have two guys with their hands in the dirt. Pittsburgh is more creative with their blitzes, but they usually come out of the 3-4 front, so you know where they're coming from. I also think it's important to remember that Rodgers is a legendary preparation guy. He reads his progressions well and is good before the snap. Big Ben is more of a reactionary QB. He snaps the ball and lets the things happen and creates. I think both will be prepared for what they see.
Gary Horton (4:31 PM)
I think the people of Fort Worth have been outstanding. This has the feel of being a very special week, not only because I think this is the best matchup we've seen in years with two great organizations, but I also feel it's the right place and right time to have the Super Bowl. Texans should be really proud of what they're about to put on.
Gary Horton (4:32 PM)
Next week, when we chat after the game, we'll do it from my car, which will be pointed to San Diego. So, no negative questions. All good.