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 (4:01 PM)
Gary Horton (4:02 PM)
As I watched Peyton Manning on Sunday night, this is becoming a scary Denver team. We know how good he is, but now the rest of the offense is catching up to him. When they are on the same page, I don't know how you stop them.
Gary Horton (4:04 PM)
I also thought that Sunday marked the real end to several teams' seasons that certainly had big aspirations over the summer. The Jets, Eagles, Chargers. Those are the teams right off the top that you think could be done.
How big a momentum swing in the NFC East was that Dez Bryant hand out of bounds?
Gary Horton (4:09 PM)
Oh I think it was a huge play, both in terms of the standings and also in terms of the mental attitude in the division. It looks like Philadelphia and Washington are probably out of the picture, so a win by the Cowboys would have gotten them back in to the race, and I think more importantly, given them some much needed confidence. Now, you have the same old Giants at 6-2, poised to make a run. They play with the confidence that serves them well down the stretch. I think the Cowboys lack that confidence. I am amazed at the number of ways they find to lose a game. You can not turn the ball over that many times and figure to win the game.
Why is everyone focusing on what Philly DIDN'T do instead of what the Falcons DID do? Most "experts" picked Philly to win the game and get untracked. Atlanta dominates and barely a mention of anything other than "Philly's in disarray".
Gary Horton (4:11 PM)
I think a lot of people got hung up on the fact that Andy Reid has such a great record coming out of the bye. I think a lot of people were not convinced that Atlanta was not as complete a team as they looked yesterday. I am in total agreement with you - Philadelphia was not horrible, Atlanta is just that good. Their coaches are calling a terrific game plan on both sides of the ball. How about Matt Ryan completing 9 of 10 screen passes? Talk about great play calling. They also run the ball and play great defense. Offensively the Falcons will be elite the entire year, but defensively, they have to continue to be very creative in their schemes, because I don't think they are quite as talented on that side of the ball.
Rich (New Jersey)
Hi Gary, Of the Chargers, Eagles and Jets which one has the most problems after 8 weeks of the season?
Gary Horton (4:14 PM)
I think it's probably the Jets, because I don't know if they can fix their problems. The Chargers are still in a division that they can maybe get back into, although I was shocked at how flat they were. I am beginning to question the character of this team. I think Philadelphia still has a lot of playmakers. While I don't think they'll make the playoffs, like last year, they'll make a run at the end and at least be respectable. When I look at the Jets, I don't see how they can win at QB. Their run game is not a factor and they don't have an explosive playmaker on either side of the ball. I don't think that gets fixed.
Tony (Richmond, CA)
Which AFC West coaches' seat is the hottest, Crennel or Turner? Do you think any head coaches will be fired within the next 2-3 weeks?
Gary Horton (4:16 PM)
I don't think so because I don't think either staff has a coach that would really be a strong head coaching candidate. I think in the case of the Chargers, as bad as they are playing, and as I said I don't know if they have the fight to come back, they're still technically in this race. I don't think they'd make any knee-jerk reactions, especially with Norv being a long time coach. KC could, but what are they going to do, they're so far out of it. I think there's a good chance of changes at the end of the season, but they're just so far back right now. What may be surprising about these two teams is when these changes come, they could be wide spread and include the GMs also. For that reason, it's tough to make those changes now.
Who are your rookies of the year midseason?
Gary Horton (4:18 PM)
I think you have to go back and forth between RGIII and Andrew Luck. That's probably a debate that will go until the end of the season because they are both playing at a high level. You can not go wrong with either guy. On defense, I really like Luke Kuechly at MLB on Carolina. He looks really naturally and he's such a fundamentally strong player.
Derrin (Plano, TX)
Is Dez Bryant on the verge of being a lost cause, and major bust?
Gary Horton (4:20 PM)
That's a great question, because he teases you just enough with big plays to get really excited. There are times to me when he looks like a franchise receiver, but then he will have drops and periods of inconsistency that baffle you. his skill set may be as good as anybody in the league. But I think the combination of his off the field issues could be a real problem if this inconsistency continues. Eventually they may say it's just not worth it. But I'd like to see the season play out, because potentially, he could give them so much production.
Michael (Cincinnati) [via mobile]
Does it really matter what Andy Reid does at QB? Todd Bowles first game was their worst defensive effort to date. Do you think Reid has lost the team?
Gary Horton (4:22 PM)
What disappointed me about the defense was the fact that they promised a more aggressive approach and yet at the end of the day, it was the same old thing, rush four, drop 7 and Matt Ryan had all day to throw the football. They only had two sacks and two QB hits on Ryan. I think that will likely change this week on Monday Night football. They will empty out the kitchen sink and roll the dice and try to stir things up. That might be a mandate from Andy Reid.
Gary Horton (4:24 PM)
As far as QBs, the only thing that going to Nick Fowles does is put the ball in the hands of LeSean McCoy more and makes it his offense, with more 3 and 5 step drops. But I don't think it's time to give up on Vick. He was not the reason they lost on Sunday. He didn't make enough big plays, but at least he didn't make the turnovers he has in the past. It's important to keep in mind that once you bench Vick, it's probably impossible to go back to him at any point in the season other than due to injury.
What do you think of how the Bears won yesterday? Are they among the elites?
Gary Horton (4:27 PM)
Their defense bailed them out. But they concern me a little bit on offense, in terms of inconsistency. It looks to me like Cutler looks too much to Brandon Marshall and defenses know it. I also am really concerned how their offensive line suffers in pass protection. They look like a team that almost has to play a perfect defensive team each week, at least if it's a good team, to be competitive. I'm afraid the offense could hurt them come the playoffs.
GH,If San Diego loses Thursday, can we expect Norv to be gone? The choke job in New Orleans followed by the epic collapse to Denver and back to back losses to 1-6 teams would surely add up to this.
Gary Horton (4:29 PM)
I know what you're saying, but as I mentioned earlier, I don't know there's a guy sitting there on that staff that you would put into that position. I think that if they make changes, the GM will probably go with him and I think he expects to. The reason I think he will maybe last through the season is because I think they think they can still fight their way back into the playoffs. Hypothetically, they do have the players to get it done, but I just don't see any fight in this team. They looked like they were mailing it in yesterday. I just don't get it.
David (Waxahachie, TX)
Do you think that Gabbert showed yesterday that he can be a franchise QB?
Gary Horton (4:31 PM)
I thought he played much better than he did in the past. I thought he played more comfortable and not like a deer in headlights like he has. You're right as he gets more comfortable with his receivers and gets on the same page, this passing game has a chance to be decent. But I don't feel good enough about him myself yet to be comfortable that they are OK at QB in the future. Yesterday was a step in the right direction.
Gary Horton (4:32 PM)
If you're not in the Northeast, count your blessings, because here in Connecticut Hurricane Sandy is the real deal and it's not even close to being over. It will be fun to watch a game tonight in Arizona. For three hours, you don't even have to think about the hurricane.