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, 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 (4:03 PM)
Gary Horton (4:04 PM)
What I took away from yesterday was the big variation in QB play in this league. We see veterans like Brady, Brees, Manning playing at a crazy high level. Then other veterans like Schaub, Eli, Cutler, etc. making mistakes that make no sense. I'm amazed though at how exciting each week is and how close most of the games have been. How many teams that we liked going into the season look like real teasers right now? I'm ready for your questions!
Do you think Chicago is a serious contender this year? Jay Cutler and the offense look much better and the defense is starting to adjust. What do you think?
Gary Horton (4:06 PM)
I did until yesterday. But I'm not sure what I was watching. I thought Cutler had really improved under Tresman. He was playing smarter football and not turning it over. I thought the defense would take care of itself. But yesterday I saw forced throws and slopiness. The Bears aren't good enough to survive that kind of play. I do think they will get it fixd and hopefully it was just a one game aberration. But this did not look like the same offense we saw the first three weeks.
Is there hope for Geno Smith? I know it's early.
Gary Horton (4:08 PM)
I hate to give up on a rookie this early, but I just don't see much to hang my hat on. Obviously he has good arm strength, but I don't think he is remotely close to reading defenses, understanding coverages and making solid decisions. But you do have to mention his surrounding cast is bad. And so many other rookie QBs aren't playing like rookie QBs so it's tough on him all the comparisons.
Jack may (florida)
Dolphins: contenders or PretendersPatriots: Contenders or PretendersSaints: Contenders or pretenders
Gary Horton (4:10 PM)
The Patriots are Saints both definitely contenders. We'll know more about the Dolphins after tonight. I'm not sure they are a complete team right now. By the middle of the season those Patriots receivers will be healthy and they will be really good. With the Saints, we said this new defense didn't have to be great, just good. And they are just that. With that offense, the defense they have is good enough to get it done.
Gary can the Giants make a run for worst team in the league this year?
Gary Horton (4:11 PM)
I want to think there is too much pride there for that to happen and that the coaches wouldn't allow it. But when I watch them on film, I don't know that their problems are fixable. No run game. A poor offensive line. A missing pass rush. And all they seem to have is Eli throwing the deep ball up for grabs and that won't win a lot of games. As long as JAX is still in the league, the Giants are not going to finish at the bottom. I think they will turn it around a little bit, but I don't see any major improvements.
Hello Caveman, what do you see on tapes of Trent Richardson when you watch him - is he ever going to be an elite runner or just a solid runner that benefits from a great QB that he now plays with. I thought he would come over to Colts and set world on fire but so far he is just reprising his performance with Browns - (is it blocking or committment of those teams to run or just simply he is not a runner that will ever be in same company of the top 5 to 10 backs
Gary Horton (4:13 PM)
I think he is going to turn into a really good back because of how they are going to use him. We haven't seen any real explosive plays yet, but they can spread you out with multi-WR sets and when that happens, he really has better run games. If he is used in sub-packages, that is a huge advantage. This staff seems committed to finding offensive balance. Richardson will put up nice numbers. Not AP-like, but solid.
Eagles next five opponents are 2-18 this year. Think they win 4 out of the next 5?
Gary Horton (4:16 PM)
I'm not sure that's as easy a schedule as you think it is. 3 games on the road is still 3 games on the road. They have to figure out their problems and build their confidence. They need to solve problems on both sides of the balls which have been exposed in the first four weeks. I think this can be a very good team with a really interesting scheme, but elite teams, esp. on offense right now, are going to dominate them. There is a lot of work to do. You have to hope Chip Kelly can hold this team together. If the players start to think the system is a gimmick, they are in real trouble.
Can the Bucs salvage anything from this season?
Gary Horton (4:18 PM)
I sure didn't see this falling apart this quickly. I thought they were making a nice transition on defense. I thought a healthy OL would give them a good run game. And I thought Freeman could be productive. But it looks like a team in shambles right now. No explosiveness. Adn I hate to say it but I don't see any real resiliancy. It's hard to know how this lockerroom is going to adjust to what they have done at the QB position. It looks to me like this coaching staff really has its hands full at getting the playres to maintain belief in what they are doing.
Rich (New Jersey)
Hi, Which team is the most disappointing and who'll fair better over the next 12 games, the Giants or Steelers?
Gary Horton (4:21 PM)
I'm probably more disappointed in the Giants, because I thought they had good offensive weapons and I thought we would see a return of the pass rush. I worried about the Steelers because of their OL issues, an aging defense and a group of receivers that didn't really scare anyone and have had trouble seperating. Having said that, you have to great veteran QBs and neither one of them will quit. They will do everything in their power to turn things around. Maybe the Steelers have a little bit of a chance because their backs are getting healthy and they may be able to run a little bit. Something the Giants can't do.
I tried to lead you to water on the Browns/Bengals game. This makes two in a row for the Browns over their in state rivals. When can we simply say talent doesn't beat a more physical football team consistently?
Gary Horton (4:24 PM)
I'll be the first to admit I have been shocked at how well the Browns have played the last two weeks. It was more because of off the field stuff. And so many questions at QB. Going into the season I liked this Browns OL. I thought this was a very much improved defense. I thought the receivers had a chance to really break out. This isn't a team without players. But the fact they are playing so well has to excite the Cleveland fans. Can you imagine if Hoyer was good enough to allow them to go a different direction in the draft other than QB? They would get competitive really quickly. And you are right to never underestimate the character of a team and their ability to win games they aren't supposed to win.
What do you expect to see in Miami Saints game tonight. Miami has impressed me alot this season but Brees and the Saints thrive on Monday night usually.
Gary Horton (4:25 PM)
I think we'll see a good offense with Brees. I want to see if they can establish the run. I want to see if Tannehill can handle the Saints defense that will be very aggressive. I think Miami will take some chances. They just can't turn the ball over in the process. It's going to be an hostile environment.
Gary, what's your thoughts on Matt Schaub? Is he holding the Texans back?
Gary Horton (4:27 PM)
I don't think they have any other option. He is a veteran QB who has been really good for them. Now is not the time to start shaking things up. I was absolutely shocked with the INT he threw to Sherman. Veteran QBs should not make that throw. I'm just starting to think this is a talented team that can't finish. Seattle had no business being in that game late. It should have been not only a win, but a comfortable win for Houston.
Harry (Babylon, NY)
Gary - has Detroit shown enough so far to make you think they will stay in the playoff picture this season?
Gary Horton (4:29 PM)
We always love their offense. The biggest improvement is the running game with Bush. We knew he would be a good weapon in the passing game, outside runs, etc. But what I loved against the Bears was most of his yards were between the tackles. He was very physical. If he can do that on a consistent basis, it will give them balance and open up the play action. Their defensive line, esp. inside, has bee impressive as well. If I was a Detroit fan yesterday, I would feel really good, not just about the win, but about how they won.
Jordan (Casper, Wy)
I have heard a lot of people calling for Dalton's head in Cincy. While Sunday did nothing to help his case I still don't see why everyone is so down on him. Which quarterbacks would you rather have? Flacco? Eli? Schaub? Even Russell Wilson was 12/23 for 120 yards, though ESPN found the time to show the only 4 highlights of the entire game he had, which were all scrambles.
Gary Horton (4:31 PM)
I think they are because he has no many weapons. When he came in he had Green and that was about it. Now he has Green, two TE pass catchers, a great all-purpose back, a developing No. 2 ... so the expectation levels are high. He is also playing with a great defense that should be great. There is a tendency to call this team an under-achiever. The blame is going to do to Dalton, even though it is not all his fault. There just aren't many excuses with this team.
Harry (Babylon, NY)
How much of Andy Reid's familiarity with the NFC East contributed to the Chiefs great start and can they keep it up?
Gary Horton (4:32 PM)
I hadn't even thought about that, but it probably has something to do with it. He certainly knows those teams. But his Chiefs team is so different from the Eagles. He has adopted his philosophy with this team. He knows he has a good defense and run game so he's OK playing it close to the vest and minimizing mistakes. That is how the Chiefs are going to win. He has been the best coach of the first four weeks.
Gary Horton (4:38 PM)
Thanks for all the great questions! At the beginning of the season none of us probabyl thought this MNF matchup would feature two undefeated teams. And two teams we are still trying to learn about. It should be a really fun watch to see where they are at. Enjoy the game and we'll talk next week!