Chat with Gary Horton
Welcome to SportsNation! On Monday, ESPN's NFL "Caveman" -- and Insider -- 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, breaking 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!
Gary Horton (4:06 PM)
Hello! I think we saw the best four teams play over the weekend and both games could have gone either way, although I was surprised at how Denver handled New England. The Seahawks and 49ers game went exactly as everyone expected. Now we have a great Super Bowl matchup to look forward to.
Aaron (Leesburg, VA)
How much did Sherman's outburst cost him both on and off the field? It's unfortunate that perhaps the defensive play of they year is being overshadowed by what transpired afterward. I think he was okay until the postgame interview with Erin Andrews. Your thoughts?
Gary Horton (4:07 PM)
I think it definitely hurts his image. What's really a shame is that he is a very intelligent guy. He is very calculating in everything he says. I love him as a player, but it just looks like a lot of what he does is all about drawing attention to himself. He's so good he could just let his play speak for itself.
Tony (Richmond, CA)
Are you buying the Welker play as dirty? Or just bitterness on the part of Belichick?
Gary Horton (4:09 PM)
I don't think Welker intended to hurt Talib. But I think it was a typical rub play which both teams use. In fact, that has become a really tough play for officials to call because we see so many crossing routes where one guy is trying to basically screen off or rub out a defender. I don't think Welker was an intended receiver, but he was basically running into the defender to free up his teammate. I don't think the injury was intentional. This is something the rules committee will have to look at closely in the offseason.
Mike Shanahan, his reputation is ruined correct? He failed in L.A., won in Denver on the Backs of Elway and Davis, and was a disaster in D.C., he'll never coach in the NFL again.
Gary Horton (4:11 PM)
I don't think it is totally ruined. He has a good reputation as an offensive mind. I think a lot of people realize that Washington just didn't have the talent to take the next step. He's a very strong minded head coach and I think he will absolutely be a head coach in the league again if he wants it.
Frank (Minneapolis) [via mobile]
Gary, what are your thoughts on Mike Zimmer finally being hired as a head coach and his hire of Norv Turner for offensive coordinator? Will this make Adrian happy?
Gary Horton (4:13 PM)
He certainly should be. His head coach will demand discipline from the entire team and attention to detail. Turner is a brilliant offensive coach. I'm sure he will do an excellent job of creating positive plays for AP.
The front office of the Browns seems to be enamored with Johnny Manziel. Does Manziel have the arm strength to throw in our December Lake Erie winds?
Gary Horton (4:15 PM)
I think it is so early in the process right now that it is hard to tell. As he goes through all of the pre-draft testing there will likely be some questions about his arm strength. But I think his biggest roadblock right now could be his size. You just don't see many guys like him playing at that position and as much as he got hit at A&M, that will only increase in the NFL. There are legitimate questions about his ability to take the pounding week in and week out. Having said that, his ability to create big plays is phenomenal and intrigues a lot of teams. To me, the draft process that he will go through between now and May is probably a lot more critical than most prospects.
Jamie (Columbus ohio)
Do you think the Cowboys can fix there defense problems through the draft and free agency? Or should they get rid of the d/c and start there?
Gary Horton (4:17 PM)
Injuries were a huge factor this season. They were forced to play with guys that shouldn't have been on the field. I also think a lot of these players were drafted for a different defensive system than what they played. I think a lot of guys were uncomfortable in the cover 2. They need to look at that, whether their personnel matched their scheme.
Which team that didn't make it to the playoffs this year has the best shot to win the Super Bowl next year?
Gary Horton (4:19 PM)
I really liked the Cardinals. They were playing so well at the end of the season and their defense is terrific. They were winning in a tough division. I would have liked to see them in the playoffs and go up against some of these teams. As I think deeper though, the Bears are another team that has outstanding offensive personnel. They were so dynamic for a big chunk of the season. They are going to get better quickly.
Harry (Babylon) [via mobile]
Hi Gary - what adjustments does Manning and the Bronco's o need to make in order to combat the physicality of Seattes D?
Gary Horton (4:22 PM)
We'll see Denver use a lot of motion and bunch formations to give his receivers more room when the ball is snapped. We know Seattle's goal is to jam them and disrupt the timing of the passing game. That is something that will have to be watched closely. Everything Peyton does is timing-oriented. If you throw that off it can negatively impact the offense.
Anthony Powell (Boynton Beach, FL)
Gary can the Patriots get back to the AFC Championship Game for a Fourth Straight Year in 2014 with a Healthy Vince Wilfork and Rob Gronkowski?
Gary Horton (4:23 PM)
You certainly would think they could get back to the game. We know how well coached they are and even though they suffered major injuries this year, you are right, they will have some of the key pieces back next year. The talent level we saw at Denver will be much improved a year from now.
Gary Horton (4:24 PM)
This is a team that is not going to fade away as long as Belichick and Brady are around. In my opinion, Belichick did his best job this year based on keeping this team elite with all the problems they had.
Gary, how long until you think another QB will beat Manning's passing TD's record and passing yards?
Gary Horton (4:25 PM)
Who knows in today's NFL. Teams are throwing the ball so much. It's hard to imagine anyone beating it soon though. Denver's passing game is very complex, Peyton just makes it look easy.
Jamie (Columbus ohio)
Is Dez Bryant elite at his position?
Gary Horton (4:26 PM)
Yes, he is elite. He's big, fast and competitive. While I don't always like what seems to be his mood swings, to me he is one of those guys that can take over a game when he needs to.
Any reason the media went so overboard on Payton's shortcoming's last week when Brady hasn't won a big game in 9 years and his offense in there final loss of the year starting in 2006 has scored 13,14,14,21,17,13 and 16 points in those 7 losses?
Gary Horton (4:29 PM)
I think we overreact to a lot of these stories. With only two games on championship weekend, there isn't enough to write about. So we go back and talk about stuff like that. I know a lot of people think you have to judge a guy like Manning or Brady on Super Bowls, but I don't. I think a football player is a football player. Marino never won a Super Bowl but it doesn't diminish his legacy in my mind. We make too much out of it. Enjoy Peyton's year at age 38 coming back from his medical issues as maybe one of the best stories we have seen in the NFL in years instead of worrying about whether he wins the final game.
Michael (Cincinnati) [via mobile]
You just touched on the key to the Superbowl: can Seattle mug the Denver WR's? Will the NFL allow it?
Gary Horton (4:31 PM)
I think that is a huge thing to watch early. I'm sure it is something they are discussing right now. They don't want the game to get out of hand. On Sunday they seemed to officiate in the spirit of letting them play and being more physical. It seemed to me the DBs were getting away with too much. Seattle will surely test the waters. I think it will be important for the officials to take charge early.
If the packers don't get to the big game next year, should they fire McCarthy?
Gary Horton (4:33 PM)
I don't think that will be the case. There might be some unrest if they don't have a great year, but this is a very stable and conservative team. They are comfortable with him as the head coach. They are not a team that makes knee-jerk decisions. I think it would take a couple of years of real underachievement to force them to even contemplate a move.
Gary Horton (4:35 PM)
I've been watching film for the last few days now as we get ready to take our telestrations to NY for the shows. The styles these two teams play will make for a very entertaining game. I have thought for awhile that Seattle is a little more talented because of their depth and physicality, but the more film I watch on Denver and the groove they are in offensively, and now it seems like the defense is catching up as well. So I think I'm liking the Broncos a little better right now. But this should be a Super Bowl to remember. Thanks for all the questions and we'll talk again next week!