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!
Gary Horton (4:11 PM)
Hello! Sorry for the late start!
Gary Horton (4:12 PM)
We are so fortunate to get to watch the NFL on a weekly basis. The competitive balance and the number of games won late has continued to amaze me. I can't remember a season with so many great storylines. I've ever heard about some team doing really well in Denver. I'm ready for your questions!
Do you expect a tight game in Denver next week? The Broncos play NE well when they come here...
Gary Horton (4:14 PM)
Like everything else with Denver this year, I'm confused. I believe in them more each week, but I also look at it objectively and think if the Patriots have a solid offensive day they are going to put up at least 28 or 30 points and I just don't think Denver can compete with that. I love the way the defense is playing and everything else about them, I just don't know that they can hold Brady to 1 or 2 TDs. I still don't think they are equipped to score a lot of points each week.
Shu (The ATL)
Gary, why does Romo get blamed for December losses even when he plays well? It's being reported that Miles Austin lost the ball in the lights...are the Cowboys under a curse?
Gary Horton (4:15 PM)
I watched Romo again today on film. He played a great game. He was accurate, made good decisions, didn't turn the ball over. But for some reason this team just doesn't finish well. So many times, right or wrong, that falls on the QB. No way an elite team with a lead that late in the game should lose it. We've seen it before from the Cowboys. They just aren't finishing.
What do you make of this Houston team with it's current personel? No Mario, no Schaub, no problem? They keep beating whoever is in front of them, but can they do it in the playoffs against this big boys: Bmore, NE, Pitt, NYJ?
Gary Horton (4:17 PM)
I think they have a terrific system on both sides of the ball. Because it is so well defined they can just plug guys in. For example, TJ Yates looks like he has been in this offense for years. It's so well defined with play action, bootlegs and roll outs that he can slip in easily. I have a lot of respect for the coaching in Houston.
Dr. H. Doofenshmirtz (Tri-State Area)
Which guy gets hired first--Del Rio, Haley, or Sporano?
Gary Horton (4:18 PM)
Del Rio. There is probably a feeling he had less to work with in JAX than the other guys. It was probably a bit of a surprise Haley was let go. He's not controversial and I don't think that he did anything to hurt his reputation.
Haven't we seen this before? Isn't Tebow just a good game manager on a team thats buying in to the whole philosophy?
Gary Horton (4:21 PM)
I think he can be more than a game manager. I see improvement in his throwing. He is a terrific runner. He may be the most competitive guy to ever play the position. When I think of game managers, I just don't see him. I see guys with less skills that just try to avoid big mistakes. That's not Tebow. He's going to push the envelope on every play.
Which AFC team do you think matches up best with Green Bay?
Gary Horton (4:23 PM)
Probably the Ravens. They can slow down the game and run the ball and play opportunistic defense. Weather is probably less of a factor when they are playing than a lot of other teams. The most entertaining AFC matchup would be New England. Both defenses give up a lot of yards, both offenses are terrific and that could be a "whoever has the ball last wins" type game.
Cody (North Dakota)
What are your thoughts on Urlacher calling Tebow "a good running back"? I am a bit surprised with those comments myself.
Gary Horton (4:24 PM)
There are a lot of defensive players in the league that probably feel that way. That Tebow is really more of a RB than a QB. He is very frustrating to play against because as a defensive player you feel comfortable that you can defend him, but at the end of the game you are in the loss column. A lot of guys don't like that.
What on EARTH happened to Tampa Bay? Werent we saying last year that they were the next big up and comer?
Gary Horton (4:26 PM)
Yes we were. They are terrible right now. Their defense has regressed a lot. I thought they were getting better vs. the run but obviously I was wrong. The other thing is that Josh Freeman has really regressed. He makes bad decisions and I don't see any improvement there. If I'm the Bucs, I'm concerned about whether we have the nucleus to carry forward or if a lot of these guys are hitting a wall they can't recover from.
Hello Gary:Do you feel the changing of the game to protect the stars from "football hits" is altering the nature of the game in a negative way? I mean it is professional football after all, I agree with safety but it's a violent sport by nature, that is part of it's popularity. Your comments please.
Gary Horton (4:28 PM)
I think the game needs to protect its stars. It's not always going to be perfect. But we know if marquee players, esp. QBs, are out, the overall game suffers. We can be macho all day, and talk about toughness, but this game needs its stars every Sunday. To be honest, I'm all for whatever that requires.I do think it is very confusing to defensive players in terms of what is acceptable and what is not. On the Harrison hit, I went back and forth on it ... at times I thought it was illegal and then other times I thought he couldn't stop himself. It can be very confusing.
Which feat is more impressive to you: Rob Gronkowski breaking the TE single season TD record, or Jimmy Graham being the first TE to have a thousand yard season?
Gary Horton (4:30 PM)
Good question. They are both equally impressive. What continues to amaze me about Gronkowski is the fact defenses never try to slow him at the line of scrimmage. Time after time he gets a free release. When he has a full head of steam on a seem route, that is easy pickings for Brady. From Graham's standpoint, I love the way he is used in the Saints offense. They move him all over to get the matchup they want and I haven't seen a TE in a long time be so successful when he can get the right one-on-one.
After yesterday's call against London Fletcher, the NFL should probably just go ahead an give Tom Brady a bright yellow no contact practice jersey, no?
Gary Horton (4:32 PM)
Personally I think that is an easy way to react. I agree that sometimes they are going to over-call penalties, but I can live with that if I know Brady is going to play a whole season. He's just out there playing. Not his fault what the official calls. As I said, this is the greatest game in the world, but it's not that way if your glamour players are hurt.
Is Terrell Suggs the DPOY?
Gary Horton (4:34 PM)
Today I was watching a couple guys ... Suggs is certainly in the conversation. Almost unblockable right now and maybe the best defensive motor. I also looked at Jared Allen and you can say the same things about him. A guy behind those two is Jason Pierre Paul of the Giants. Some of these guys are just having monster seasons. And Charles Woodson? How do you not at least mention him? Or Von Miller? We are really blessed right now to have so many dynamic pass rushers in the league.
Do you see anything the Giants can do to improve their secondary by the playoffs?
Gary Horton (4:36 PM)
I think the success on pass defense is directly connected to the pass rush. If their front four can get to the QB without a lot of help, which means limiting blitzing, I think they have a chance to play seven man cover schemes and hold up OK. But if they have to blitz and put their guys on islands, they are in big trouble. I do not like the Giants in conventional or man to man schemes.
Can the league just admit that they can't get the personal foul calls right on the field at game speed? Can't they come up with a system where an official in the booth can make the call after looking at reviews and apply the penalty on the next drive. Some of these calls really make the refs look bad, but I can't really blame them, things just happen too fast to make accurate calls.
Gary Horton (4:39 PM)
You might be on to something. But you couldn't apply it on the next drive. You would have to stop the game and do it immediately and everyone is fearful of slowing the game down. The face mask on Joe Webb yesterday had a huge impact on the outcome of that game. I don't know why someone in the booth couldn't have caught it, alerted the officials and made the call. For the most part, the officials do a great job getting it right. My guess is it is good enough now that people don't want to risk slowing down the game.
Gary Horton (4:41 PM)
Thanks for all the great questions! This is now the real crunch time and I love this week because we have a game tonight, Thursday, Saturday and Sunday. As I said at the beginning of the chat, I've never seen so many great storylines in a NFL season. Look forward to chatting again next week, same time, same place!