Chat with Gary Horton
Welcome to SportsNation! On Monday, ESPN's NFL "Caveman" himself, Gary Horton, stops in to talk some football and other news from around the league.
Horton, from Scouts Inc., works year-round on ESPN's NFL-related shows, including NFL32, where he breaks down film, earning him his Caveman nickname.
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 (4:03 PM)
Gary is here!
Danny C (NY)
Do you think Shonn Greene can find success as an every-down back this season?
Gary Horton (4:05 PM)
If he doesn't, I think they're in big trouble. Their biggest goal this year is to run the ball more effectively and they did not do that year a year ago. This is his run game and they are going to attempt to run the ball a lot. If he is not having success, it's not because he's not getting the carries. This is a huge training camp for him.
Ben Housewright (Gray,TN)
Do you think the steelers will sign Mike Wallace to a deal?
Gary Horton (4:07 PM)
Yes I do. But it's a little tricky. He's a great vertical playmaker and they can not afford to lose him. But Antonio Brown is also a quality guy too. It's tough to pay those two guys that they want and deserve.
Gary Horton (4:07 PM)
The Steelers can not afford to let Wallace get away, but they also need a happy Wallace.
Anthony Caba (Miami, Florida)
Hey Gary, who do you think is the Dolphins best option at quarterback, Matt Moore, David Gerrard, or Ryan Tannehill?
Gary Horton (4:08 PM)
I think Tannehill is probably the only rookie that won't be in the mix. He'll be treated as rookies used to be, holding a clipboard. I don't think Moore or Gerrard are franchise QBs, but they're solid veterans. They know how to run the offense which will probably revolve around Reggie Bush. I do kind of like Matt Moore. But I've been told it's a very tight race.
Who will start at QB opening weekend for Seattle?
Gary Horton (4:10 PM)
Oh I don't think there's any question it will be Matt Flynn. They paid a lot to get him. I will say this about Pete Carrol. More than any coach he loves competition at every position. I really believe that he'll let all three of his QBs compete in training camp. He will not hand the job to any of them. But I think at the end of the day it will be Flynn.
Do you expect the Packers Defense to improve dramatically this year?
Gary Horton (4:13 PM)
Well, when you spend your first six draft picks on defensive players, you see as an organization the need to upgrade. I think they will be better. They are still very confusing to me on defense. For all of the big plays they give up, they also make a lot of plays and create turnovers. I think it comes down to the DL playing with more consistency. They need Perry to emerge as a bookend pass rusher to Clay Matthews. I think they must be more consistent at the CB position with Charles Woodson probably playing a lot more inside. I've heard that the coaches have also really put an emphasis on better tackling, which they thought was really a problem a year ago. This doesn't have to be a great defense for Green Bay to win. If they're in the middle of the pack, with their offense, that's good enough.
Would you shorten the preseason?
Gary Horton (4:14 PM)
No, I think the preseason is pretty solid. The four games have a purpose. You have a lot of players to evaluate. I like that training camps are shorter, because players are in shape year round. That used to be a big problem. But with so many young players to look at, you need those four games. I don't have a problem with it.
Lions or Bears, who you like better?
Gary Horton (4:16 PM)
I like Detroit. They're too filthy on offense. They can make big plays in the passing game. If their defensive line plays with more consistency, they will cover up for any other issues. I think the success of the Lions will be based on the success of their running game. If they can get some offensive balance and force teams to play in base packages rather than sub packages because they don't respect the run game then I think they can be good.
Don (Berkeley, CA)
Caveman, does Nnamdi Asmougha return to Pro Bowl form this year?
Gary Horton (4:17 PM)
I think he'll play a lot better because they have a clearer idea of how they want to play their secondary. A year ago in their new wide 9 concept, they played zone and even inside. Those are things that aren't his strengths. The Eagles have tight press corners that love to turn and run with the WRs. That's when they're at their best. I think you'll see more of that. When you add an even better pass rush, that helps out your secondary in terms of coverage and big plays.
Derrin (Plano, TX)
Should Texans fans be concerned about Andre Johnson's recurring injury problems?
Gary Horton (4:19 PM)
That was my first thought this morning when I read it. It doesn't appear to be a big deal and I'm not sure if he needs every practice in training camp. But you start to wonder when a guy has a history of pulling muscles. At his position, will he start to miss more games? That's always a concern, but I don't know what we can do about it.
Matt (Stratford, NJ)
What do you expect out of Cam Newton this year? It would be pretty tough to exceed what he did last year and expectations are now through the roof.
Gary Horton (4:20 PM)
I think he's still an excellent QB. He has a really solid surrounding cast. Given a full offseason, he'll actually be better mentally. But I just don't know if he can fill out the numbers he did a year ago. In my opinion he can be a better QB this season, but not as flashy and as many big plays. I've studied Carolina the last few weeks and I really like them. I think they have playoffs written all over them. They are really a solid football team. They may be the most improved in the NFL this season.
Kris G (The Purple Tundra)
I worry about the interior of the Vikings' front seven. MLB is a big ? as is DT beyond Kevin Williams. Is there any light for us Purple People Eaters or should we just expect the D to bleed purple every Sunday?
Gary Horton (4:22 PM)
Well, I'm afraid you might be on the right track. Jared Allen still produces at a high level, but you're right there are holes all over that defense. It is really surprising to me to see how good this unit was a couple of years ago and how they've really gone down hill. The Vikings defense is a perfect example of the window finally closing. Their only hope is for AP to be healthy, have a dominating run game to keep the defense off the field and give them ball control, but I don't know if that's asking too much.
What do you expect out of Brandon Weeden this year? He's certainly not going to be given the luxury of taking notes and charting plays for a few seasons.
Gary Horton (4:24 PM)
No, I think obviously he'll start. I think he has maturity and composure on his side. He has not run this offense on the college level, which concerns me. He will get a lot of work in the preseason. The one advantage he might have is RB Trent Richardson can take some things off his plate. If this is a good run game, it will help Weeden. He does not have enough weapons in the passing game and that concerns me.
Rich (New Jersey)
What is the wide nine defense and how many teams will be using it in 2013?
Gary Horton (4:25 PM)
I don't think it's really a trend. It's a unique defense. It fits Philadelphia, especially now that they have a quality MLB in Ryan. It's an interesting concept and I think the players like playing it. But I don't think it's a league wide trend.
If Cassel has an average season, do you think their is enough talent surrounding him to where the Chiefs can win the division?
Gary Horton (4:26 PM)
I think it will all come down to the health of their running game. By nature they want to pound the ball and control the clock and not make their QB win the game for them. I do like their defense. The AFC West is very competitive. Any of those four teams can win the division. I agree with you that Cassel doesn't have to be great, but he has to play with consistency and not create any turnovers.
you could argue last year was Matt Stafford's first year in the league. Your thoughts on Matt and where you see him in 5-10 years in terms of stats/championships ???
Gary Horton (4:28 PM)
I think the sky is the limit. Keep in mind he's having this great production with basically one great WR. This isn't a team loaded on the perimeter. However, in fairness to Stafford, with no run game a year ago, those numbers are probably inflated. He got a lot of production in the short passing game to his TE, so things could be a little deceiving. He's a star and he will continue to put up big numbers.
Gary Horton (4:28 PM)
And he's doing a lot of it without a running game, which means without playaction.
Gary Horton (4:29 PM)
When we chat next Monday, it will be before the first preseason game. I think we're all glad that football is here.