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!
Rich (New Jersey)
Hi Gary, Eric Mangini hired as consultant to fine weaknesses in opposing defenses. Given his success with the Jets and Browns is this a good move for the 49ers?
Gary Horton (4:05 PM)
I think it's a very astute move by a smart organization. Mangini has a very good defensive mind so he should be good at attacking and exploiting defenses. I do think their defensive coordinator Vic Fangio could be a hot coaching candidate after this season, so Mangini could slide into that role if Fangio leaves. I love that the Niners are always trying to figure out ways to get better and stay ahead of their competition.
Chris Fiegler (Latham,NY)
What NFL Team do you think will be the Best in 2013?
Gary Horton (4:08 PM)
The strength among the league may be out West. I look at Denver, Seattle and San Fran as the three best teams in the NFL and all three should be dynamic on both sides of the ball. The NFC West race between the Seahawks and 49ers will be fun to watch. There are good teams in the east but they are not as elite as the teams on the west. Although the Texans may be up there and with Sean Peyton back, the Saints will be OK. The NFC East teams will beat each other up and Patriots passing game will be in question.
Why is Tebow having so much trouble finding a job? Didn't he have a serviceable stretch with Denver?
Gary Horton (4:10 PM)
I think most coaches feel that it was just a onetime thing and when defenses adjusted to him it took all that away. I know he wants to stay a QB but we haven't seen improvement in this passing game. Everybody pulls for Tebow but they just haven't see the progress. Teams just don't see enough in him to bring him in.
Interesting stat regarding the cowboys I found and wanted your thoughts. The Dallas Cowboys have won only 1 playoff game without a Landry drafted player. I think that speaks to the bad job he has done with the team and also to Landry's greatness . Do you ever think that Jerry Jones will ever hire a strong head coach for the long term while giving them significant personnel control and if so who would be a good fit?
Gary Horton (4:13 PM)
I think that as long as Jerry Jones owns the team he will run the personnel department in his own way. He will pick people he can work with. I don't think he wants a yes man, but he doesn't want to be hands off either. I watched some film on the Cowboys over the past few days and I think they have a chance to be competitive in what looks to me as a NFC East division that won't be as dominate as in year's past.
Michael (Cincinnati) [via mobile]
What do you expect out of the new coaching regime in Cleveland? Seems the Browns have some young pieces if a coach can glue together.
Gary Horton (4:15 PM)
I think the Browns are headed in the right direction. They have a better defense than people realize and they made it even better with the offseason moves they made. Cleveland has a good offensive line and that will allow them to have a good run game. The one part that worries me is the QB position. Having Norv Turner as an offensive coordinator is a great thing. Look for the Browns to do big things this year.
Trevor (Grand Rapids)
How do you get started in the nfl as scout? I love football just curious how it comes about
Gary Horton (4:19 PM)
Most guys either start as an intern or at a low level position for an NFL team. Some come from college coaching background. I came into the NFL after 10 years as college coach and a recruiter. That really helped me prepare for what NFL scouts have to do. Its tough work with all the constant travel, spending all day in a dark film room, writing reports and talking to a lot of college coaches. But it's rewarding when it comes to draft time because you have a years worth of work that is being showcased. Nothing takes the place of watching film and evaluating players.
Has Eric Fisher looke so far in early KC workouts?
Gary Horton (4:21 PM)
I think they will be very happy with Fisher even though he's making the adjustment early in his career to RT. I do think the versatility will help him in the long run. Not only his he a good player, he's a good athlete. KC will love their bookend tackles.
Al (Wausau, WI)
Gary, I think the Chicago Bears are on the verge of becoming a playoff team. However, I still feel there are legitimate concerns about their offensive line. Do you think their offensive line is good enough for the Bears to challenge the Packers in the NFC North?
Gary Horton (4:24 PM)
I think it's the weakness of their team but I also them the coaching staff will use new scheme to cover up the weaknesses. Their new OC Aaron Kromer will help protect Jay Cutler from the inside out. The head coach Marc Trestman will give Cutler plays which will get the ball out of his hands and help reduce the number of sacks. My concern is on defense. They had a good season last year with the number of turnovers they forced but it will be hard to duplicate that with the veterans they have on that side of the ball. This will be an interesting division this year.
Todd (San Luis Obispo)
What are the next steps that you think Jeff Fisher should take in developing the Rams into a team that can contend with Sf and Seattle in the west?
Gary Horton (4:27 PM)
He has to get more consistency out of Sam Bradford. When you watch the Rams on film, you see a lot of improvements. The key will be their new offensive pass weapons that Bradford has to get comfortable with. Bradford has to get the ball out early to protect him from getting hit. I think the Rams are a team that will sneak up on people.
Todd (San Luis Obispo)
Do you think Sam Bradford will ever be able to make the leap to become an elite QB?
Gary Horton (4:28 PM)
I think that this is the year he must take his game to a new level. I just don't know if he quite in the elite group but everything is there. He has the tools, so it might come come down to the players around him. If they play well, Bradford can be good and on the edge of elite.
Dennis (denver co)
Any early predictions for DROY and OROY?
Gary Horton (4:34 PM)
For offense I'll go with E.J. Manuel in Buffalo. I think this will be in a very creative offense and the coaches will put him in a great situation. One guy I also really like is Tavon Austin. I think he has a chance to have a breakout year. On defensive side I like Star Lotulelei from Carolina. I think he will give them something they are missing. There are so many good players but these are my early picks.
Gary Horton (4:35 PM)
Thanks for the questions. I'll be back next Monday for another round of NFL chatter.