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!
Buzzmaster (4:06 PM)
Actually, false alarm folks. We're still trying to track down Gary. Hang in there.
Buzzmaster (4:11 PM)
Gary is here!
Gary Horton (4:12 PM)
This is always a fun chat, as I'm on the road. This is a hands free chat. I left San Diego this morning and now I'm headed across the country to Bristol, CT. I'm looking forward to it.
Are you surprised that certain players are still looking for work?
Gary Horton (4:14 PM)
There was so much time to prepare for free agency that I think teams knew what they needed. I don't think now there's many guys out there that they want to sign, except in the case of injuries. The guys without jobs now may have to wait until the preseason unfolds. I think we'll have to keep in mind what we've been saying all along and that's with the condensed preseason, there is just not a lot of time to get guys ready.
Adam (San Diego)
Hey Gary, The Redskins won Superbowls in 82 and 87...both after work-stoppages. So I can safely order my plane tickets to Indy now, right?
Gary Horton (4:16 PM)
Well, I would order those tickets to Indy, but not to see the Redskins. I know that's a nice little nugget, but I've watched this team on film and I don't think they're very good right now. They have holes at key positions. They have a tremendous amount of work to do to be competitive.
Gary Horton (4:16 PM)
They're farther away from being a good team than people realize.
What's up with BB stockpiling Defense Lineman?
Gary Horton (4:18 PM)
The one thing that surprised us about their draft is they didn't really address their pass rush weaknesses. Now, we know why, they did it in free agency. I think we're going to see more 4-3 fronts this fall to accomodate their guys. Remember that Belichick is a master at finding what a player does best and asking him to do that for 15-20 snaps a game. He can use a lot of defensive linemen in a lot of different ways. I think it's just brilliant how they've added that piece to the mix the last couple of weeks.
Gary, would you trust Darren McFadden as the #1rb on your fantasy team this season?
Gary Horton (4:20 PM)
Wow...He's certainly close to being a No. 1 guy. I know they will commit to the run game. He has speed and the ability to catch. Will he stay healthy for an entire season is my biggest question. I really like the Raiders run game. My other question would be would he share carries with the other guys, which might be good for his health, but not necessarily great for his stats.
After the Eagles, who do you think are the big winners in the draft/free agency?
Gary Horton (4:21 PM)
I think you have to look at New England with signing marquee players. They're the type of organization that can handle those players. I think Arizona was very smart in getting Kevin Kolb. That one acquisition makes them a contender in the weak NFC West. And I think the Jets did a nice job, even though they were more quiet than they usually are.
Gary, do you see Josh Freeman and Legarette Blount having another great season in TB?
Gary Horton (4:22 PM)
I think they are really good football players, especially Freeman. I think he will take his game to the next level. They will commit to the run game, which will make Blount a productive guy. I really like this Bucs team. Their defensive line is going to be an exciting unit to watch. They are really headed in the right direction.
How do you think Brady and Ochocinco will play together this year? Have you seen them in action yet?
Gary Horton (4:24 PM)
Oh, I think it will be an excellent relationship, because Ochocinco knows who the man is in New England. He will respect Brady. He realizes that he can have great production if he keeps his mouth shut. I think players understand the Patriots way. I believe that Ochocinco will be a model citizen and he and Brady will post big numbers. Let's not forget that there are a lot of other potential targets in that passing game. So, Ochocinco is going to get a lot of single matchups.
Alright, Roy Williams had some great seasons under Martz, he'll be playing the same Z position Torry Holt played with the Rams so with that said over/under 1000 yds 8td's for Roy Williams? Thanks!
Gary Horton (4:26 PM)
Well, if he has a chance to revive his career, it's with Martz. The key to Martz' passing game is the deep in route at about 15 yards. Williams is capable of running it. I believe that Martz will make him a more disciplined guy. Now the only question is will Cutler get him the ball? I would think that he has a lot to prove and he's in the perfect place to prove it.
EO3 (Bay Area, California)
Do you think Terrell Owens will land with a team this seasonEO3Bay Area
Gary Horton (4:27 PM)
I think he will, but I think it will be a waiting game until someone gets hurt in the preseason. He keeps himself in great shape. I believe someone will call him. To be honest, I'm surprised that he's not with somebody right now, despite his history. He can still contribute in the passing game. I will be surprised if he's not on a roster by opening day.
How can a stadium have the kind of field turf issues the Bears currently have? Is it time for the NFL to step in before someone gets hurt? They would be safer to play on Lake Shore Drive during rush hour than that cow pasture they call a field.
Gary Horton (4:29 PM)
That's an interesting question. I remember during their playoff game that field looked almost unplayable. I think you'll see, now that we have a labor agreement, that the NFL will get involved with playing surfaces, stadiums, etc. I think we'll see a more active NFL in terms of looking at the safety of players. I think they'll take a long look at the field in Chicago.
Do NFL scouting departments have employees dedicated to the CFL, Canadian colleges and generally anything related north? Or is that more of an afterthought, just added on to whoevers duties? With that any Canadian players you've noticed or had a shot at the NFL ----- Seahawk fan, Brandon Browner!
Gary Horton (4:31 PM)
Almost every scouting department has a scout that monitors the CFL. Sometimes they'll even have a couple of guys, especially since they start training camp before the NFL teams do. Most scouting departments even have guys assigned to the Arena League to see if anyone merits a look there. Usually it comes down to the personnel department, but every team in the league has a tracker for all of the other leagues. They will watch film and get reports. Sometimes they get reports from outside sources, but you can bet they know who can play and who can't.
washburn (North Carolina)
Do you think Tenesee trading for Hassleback was a good move or a bad one?
Gary Horton (4:33 PM)
I think it was a great move for Tennessee, because Hasselbeck can give you a quality couple of years. I can't for the life of me figure out why Seattle let him go, unless they tried to and he refused. I think this is an excellent situation for Jake Locker to learn for a year or two, which is what Hasselbeck has left. However, I don't think they're a good team, so this isn't a move that makes them a contender.
How much playing time do you think starters, or starting caliber players will get in the pre-season, more, less, or about the same?
Gary Horton (4:35 PM)
I think the dramatic difference will be that they will play more to get game ready. I know some teams are getting together in scrimmages in the preseason, which helps with the tempo. In past years, a starter would only play in the third preseason game, with limited work in the first and second game and no action in the fourth game. Now, I think you'll see them play at least a half in games one and two, three quarters in game three and maybe a half in game four. It will be very important to see game speed and the tempo.
Gary Horton (4:35 PM)
I think the guys that it will hurt is those backups and rookies, because they won't get the looks in the preseason games they usually get. The teams that will be successful will be the teams that evaluate well in practice.
Do u believe norv turner and the chargers can win the super bowl? Do you believe they have the best offense in the afc?
Gary Horton (4:37 PM)
I don't know they have the best offense in the AFC, because I don't trust their running game. I will say this that I think Phillip Rivers may fly under the radar more than any QB in the NFL. He has a revolving door with his receivers, and yet whoever goes out on the field, he gets the ball to them with huge numbers. As long as he plays at his current level, they have a chance to run the table in January. But I would feel better about them if they had a better running game.
Gary Horton (4:38 PM)
Next week, we'll do our chat again from the road. That will probably be somewhere on the East Coast. But it will be fun to have a week of preseason games under our belts. It seems amazing at how much has happened in the last two weeks.