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! I wouldn't have said this going into divisional weekend, but coming out of it we have four teams that are the best in the NFL! They are playing at the highest level so we should have some excellent conference championship games on Sunday!
Al (Wausau, WI)
Gary, with the Saints and Packers both losing this past weekend, do you think the mantra "defense wins championships" is holding true this year in the NFL playoffs?
Gary Horton (4:13 PM)
Not really. I still think we are in an era where passing games rule the NFL. What we saw this weekend was if those prolific offenses don't have a great day to cover up for defensive weaknesses, then they are in real trouble. You hope if that happens it is during the regular season, but if it takes place in the regular season you are out.
Rich (Pt. Pleasant, NJ)
The Giants put up 37 points and the 49ers 36 this weekend. Will the NFC Championship Game be a high scoring game with Manning and Smith tossing the ball up and down the field?
Gary Horton (4:15 PM)
For some reason I don't think it will be. Both offenses are playing very well though. In this game, the defenses might actually control the flow of the game. With the Super Bowl on the line, they may play things a little closer to the vest. I could be wrong. It's just a feeling. But I don't see an offensive shootout coming. Both of these defenses are too good to allow that to happen.
Mario NORWALK, CA [via mobile]
What do the BRONCOS have to get to get to the next level?
Gary Horton (4:16 PM)
I think they have got to get Tebow more weapons in the passing game. He needs an athletic, game-changer TE that he can trust. He needs another receiver. They probably also need some help in the secondary. But there are lots of things to like about this team. Can you imagine Tebow if he had a Gronkowski or Graham to dump the ball off to?
Logan Walker (Imlay City Michigan)
Why is it that every thing is about Tim Tebow? He is out of the playoffs and everyone still has Tebow mania. All of his comeback wins were when the team they were playing was bad. He lost to the Patroits and Lions badly and they were the only playoff teams he played.
Gary Horton (4:19 PM)
I just think he is a compelling figure, perhaps for what he stands for off the field, but also his unconventional style of play. We've never seen anything like it before. The Broncos were a great story and he was a part of that. Maybe we made him a bigger part than we should have, but I am really anxious to see what kind of progress he can make in the offseason. He is willing to put in the time, and if he doesn't come back a more polished QB then I think we have to assume the skills aren't there. He is at the point where he has to grow and grow quickly, esp. in his ability to read defenses and go through his progressions. I don't care about the delivery anymore. I just want to see him make progress.
Frank (New Orleans)
Are the Giants really winning in the past several weeks thanks to their defense?
Gary Horton (4:21 PM)
The defense is dramatically improved over the last few weeks. The pass rush has gotten healthy and that protects the back end. They have simplified their coverage schemes and they are not having the mental breakdowns they were having earlier in the season. That allows them to play with confidence. They were very physical vs. the Packers WRs and they disrupted that passing game.
what do u think my cowboys have to do to bounce back next year?
Gary Horton (4:22 PM)
They are still a very talented team with playmakers. Offensively they should be very good next year. But the back end of the defense needs help.
Mark (Beaufort, SC)
Do you think the Panthers will be a contender next year?
Gary Horton (4:24 PM)
In my opinion they are the team to watch this offseason. They are this year's Detroit Lions. I think Cam Newton can take them a long ways. I like the running game and OL. I think if you add a few pieces to the puzzle they can be dangerous. When they learn how to finish games, they will be terrific.
Sean McKenzie (Van Wert, OH)
I keep hearing the Browns should take RG3, but, I completely disagree. I believe they should draft LT Jordan Martin and then move him to RT. Whether its McCoy or Wallace or whomever, it won't make any difference at all, if the right side of our line keeps letting them get knocked on their butt for 4 quaters. You agree?
Gary Horton (4:26 PM)
Conventional wisdome would say drafting a tackle would make lots of sense. But this organization does not trust McCoy as their franchise guy. If that is the case, then I think they have to make a move on a QB and possibly start over. Even if they don't want to. On the other side of your argument, if they draft a tackle and don't have a good QB, it doesn't matter how well he plays. This all comes down to a very tough decision on where they are at QB with McCoy.
Chris Fiegler (Latham,NY)
Who do you think will play in Super Bowl XLVI with the Final Four teams are set?
Gary Horton (4:27 PM)
I think both games could go either way, especially the Giants and 49ers. I probably think at the end of the day it's going to be the Patriots vs. Giants in the Super Bowl. Both teams are hot right now, although I guess you could say that about any of the teams left. Expect Baltimore... I think they were a little lucky to get past the Texans. I don't see how we won't have a great Super Bowl no matter the matchup.
Mark (Perth, Australia)
Hey Gary. Is it too early to resign gronk and hernandez for the pats? the two of them together are unplayable at times and i really think the pats should get in early to avoid an asante samuel type situation. what do you think?
Gary Horton (4:29 PM)
I think it is probably too early to resign them... not sure how much time left on their deals. But I don't see them going anywhere. The Pats will make it a priority when the time is right. The coaches realize how pivitol these guys are to the offense.
Has Eli entered the top 4 QB list? I think his performance puts him above Ben now...
Gary Horton (4:31 PM)
I would agree with you on that. I think you have to go with Brady, Brees and Rodgers as the top 3. But I think Manning is very close to that group. He is also doing it with less weapons than the other three guys. I just love the way he is playing right now.
Matt (Ma) [via mobile]
Do you see Brady getting a fourth in Indianapolis? If not, will his legacy still be one of the greats of all time? Also, what are the possibilities for an '07 rematch between the Giants and the Pats?
Gary Horton (4:33 PM)
If I had to make a guess right now, I would probably say the Patriots could win it all. Assuming their defense doesn't fall apart. I just don't know who can stop this offense.
Gary Horton (4:35 PM)
Thanks for all the great questions! As I studied these four teams today I saw so many storylines. There isn't a bad matchup to be had this weekend or in the Super Bowl. No potential blowouts. We are finishing up one of the best seasons we have had in a long time. Enjoy it! We'll talk again next week!