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!
Buzzmaster (4:01 PM)
Gary is here!
How much do teams factor scheme experience into their free agent signings as compared to physical skill set?
Gary Horton (4:03 PM)
Oooh that's a good question. I think the scheme is more important than a lot of people realize. For example, Tampa Bay has a new coaching staff with Lovie Smith that has a Cover-2 defense. But they have players that were signed to play man to man. It's a totally different concept. It's important that you find guys that fit the scheme that you run.
What are your thoughts on this whole extra point discussion?
Gary Horton (4:04 PM)
To be honest, I don't have any thoughts on it. I know if I were a kicker, I would probably really care. But, rule changes like this, I just don't care about until they change, that's when we'll adjust to them.
Hey Gary, do you think the Dolphins will have a problem getting FA to sign with them because of all their recent troubles?
Gary Horton (4:05 PM)
I think it is an issue. I think people and players are probably at least concerned about the culture of this organization. How they sell it becomes very important. They are working to change the culture, but I think it could hurt them in free agency.
Jordan (South Florida)
What team would be a good fit for Devin Hester? Could he possibly move back to playing DB?
Gary Horton (4:06 PM)
I don't know where he can fit in, but he's still a great return guy. He has tremendous instincts. But in terms of picking the right team, I'm not sure yet. I'm a little alarmed that Chicago let him go, because I thought as a return guy, he was solid a year ago. Maybe he's closer to the end than some of us think.
Ed (Queens Village)
What is Geno Smith potential going forward?
Gary Horton (4:08 PM)
I'm not sure. I change on this. There are times when I think he really has a chance to be a good player. Then there are other times that he makes decisions that really bother me and I don't think he has a great feel for the game. If I was with the Jets, I probably have more concerns that he's the guy to lead us to the promised land than I want to. Having said that, his lack of weapons in the passing game really makes it hard to evaluate him.
Jeff (Tampa, FL)
Do the Patriots take a shot at Vontae Davis or resign Aqib Talib?
Gary Horton (4:09 PM)
I think they have to re-sign Talib. He was really good. He understands their defense. He's their one shut down corner they have. When you go outside and ask a guy to understand a defense he hasn't played before, that's a big adjustment. Talib knows this scheme.
Keith H (Seattle)
Aside from winning a Super Bowl, have the Seahawks become a destination because of Pete Carroll's coaching style?
Gary Horton (4:10 PM)
Absolutely. I think players love his energy. His players believe in him. I think that is probably the most desired destination in the NFL. It's such a positive vibe.
Scott (New Jersey)
Top 5 QB's in the league as of today?
Gary Horton (4:11 PM)
It would probably be Peyton Manning, Tom Brady, Drew Brees and maybe Philip Rivers...I don't know... The QB situation in the NFL is so good right now that we're blessed that we have such good play.
Is this a make or break year for Sam Bradford? Do you feel he can still be a quality starter?
Gary Horton (4:12 PM)
This organization still seems to believe in Bradford, but I think he's got to produce now. He has enough targets around him that there are not a lot of excuses left.
Shortrib (Memphis, TN)
I'm a Cowboys fan and it really bothers me that you see Romo on the golf course all the time and shooting basketballs but at the same time not spending enough time in the film room trying to get better. I know its not all on him though but what do you think?
Gary Horton (4:14 PM)
Let me counter that by saying he's worked with David Cutliffe, who's also worked with Peyton Manning. I think Romo is very focused. He wants to get better. I don't think there is anything to the idea that he's not taking this seriously. He realizes he's the face of this organization. I think that will show in his preparation.
How long till the Ravens return to superbowl form?
Gary Horton (4:16 PM)
I think their defense did a better job than people realized this year. I think the shock was in how bad their offense was. That's what they're looking to fix. They have significant needs. They need to rebuild their offensive line. They need to rebuild their running game. They need a No. 2 WR. But Ozzie Newsome, in my mind, is the best in the business. So, he'll figure it out. I think they were really surprised at how poorly their offense played this year.
If the Packers go looking in free agency, who should they target? Jarius Byrd?
Gary Horton (4:17 PM)
The Packers have some holes they need to fill and it all probably relates to defense. They've tried to fix it for years. They've gone big and physical. They've tried to go athletic. I think the problems mostly are in the DL and in the secondary. They're just not a great matchup group. Offensively, I think they're really good. I used to think their OL was a major problem, but I think they've actually fixed that.
Bears vs Charges superbowl 2015, crazy?
Gary Horton (4:18 PM)
Woah...I don't see it. I think they're both nice teams, but I don't think they're Super Bowl candidates. But I could see if you live in Chicago and spend your winters in San Diego, then it makes sense.
A lot of wrs are talking like they want to play for the Colts(Decker, JJones, Nicks). Do the Colts bite on one of these guys or look elsewhere in FA?(Maybe Jared Allen?!)
Gary Horton (4:19 PM)
I think the Colts absolutely want to sign a No. 2 WR. But I don't think they should overpay. We expect Reggie Wayne to come back, but you don't know how good he'll be. He's also a slot guy. They also need another guy to go with Ty Hilton. Then this could be a dynamic offense.
Any idea where Jared Allen may end up?
Gary Horton (4:20 PM)
I think he's going to try and hook on to a team that he thinks can go to the Super Bowl. I still think he has some sacks left in his career.
Tony (Richmond, CA)
Where do the Cardinals have to improve to overtake the 40ers and/or the Seahawks?
Gary Horton (4:21 PM)
There is on question that it has to be on the OL...and probably with a RB to a lesser extent. But their OL has been horrible. Defensively, they've been solid. Their passing game has been OK. You have a QB that is not very mobile, so he needs protection. Most of the help needs to come on the OL.
Rich (New Jersey)
Hi Gary, the Jets released Antonio Cromartie, will they resign him for a lesser salary, will Anotonio wind ip somewhere else and will the Jets go after Tennessee's Alterraun Verner?
Gary Horton (4:23 PM)
First of all, I think they'll try to re-sign him. I don't think the free agent market will be as lucrative as he thinks. I think their feeling is he'll test the waters and then come back to them. Secondly, the biggest shock I had about this defense last year was their secondary played so poorly, especially since Rex Ryan is such a good defensive coach. It would not surprise me if Cromartie is back in New York at a lesser price.
Aaron (Leesburg, VA)
Every year is a team makes the playoffs after struggling the previous season. What team(s) do you see having that kind of turnaround in 2014?
Gary Horton (4:25 PM)
Without having gotten into free agency starting yet, it's hard to know. However, the really smart teams re-sign their own guys and they look ahead to the guys with future contracts. In my mind, the best teams keep their core group together rather than overspending in the open market. That's the world that we live in now.
I think the NFC North will soon become one of dominate divisions in football. The Bears are a few pieces away from a superbowl, packers are good as long as Rodgers is there, Lions and Vikings both are teams who could surprise, thoughts?
Gary Horton (4:27 PM)
I think Chicago is on an upward trend. I actually think Detroit will get better. Green Bay and Minnesota will maybe stay the same. But, yeah, this is a tough division. It's very physical.
Gary Horton (4:27 PM)
But I think the hottest division right now is the NFC West.
Which New York team has the better chance of success in 2014?
Gary Horton (4:29 PM)
That's a really good question. It could be pretty close, but I'm going with the Giants.
Buzzmaster (4:38 PM)
Thanks for chatting Gary!