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 for your questions!
Chris Fiegler (Latham,NY)
What did you think of Super Bowl XLVIII?
Gary Horton (4:03 PM)
I was really surprised that Seattle basically imposed their will versus the Denver offense. They are just so physical and they play so hard that you have to look at them now as a team that's going to be really good for a long time. I thought they made a really good Denver team look ordinary. It was all about physicality and they really seemed to know who they are on offense and defense.
should we have seen this coming? Sure Denver had the explosive offense, but if you look closer at their schedule, they didn't play any elite level defenses like last night?
Gary Horton (4:06 PM)
I didn't see it coming, because I thought Denver's offense was almost unstoppable. I thought their defense had looked so much better the last few weeks. But neither dominated versus Seattle. I think I probably underestimated how complete this Seattle defense is. They have no weaknesses. They have tremendous depth. They really seem to like playing with each other and they have speed and athleticism. I thought before the game that as good as Seattle's defense has looked, they hadn't played a passing game like they'd face against Peyton Manning. Although they probably gave us a little glimpse of the future when they played so well against Drew Brees.
everyone talks about a dynasty, but this team is really young on early contracts. How hard will it be to keep the team intact?
Gary Horton (4:08 PM)
You make a great point. When you win like they did, guys want to get paid. It's so hard in today's salary cap world to keep everything together. A guy like Russell Wilson hardly costs them any money right now. But that's going to change. They will have to be creative with their cap, but I know the players love playing for the Seahawks and Pete Carroll, and that might make a small difference. The one thing this team is really good at is finding hidden gems through free agency, late in the draft or undrafted free agents. That means the guys at the bottom of your roster won't be as highly paid. I think they will continue to concentrate on that so they can pay some of the other guys.
How much do you think the sheer physical aggressiveness of the seahawks defense last night played a factor in their success? Seems like teams that play elite-level defense (rare these days) really hit hard. loved it.
Gary Horton (4:10 PM)
The Broncos have been a finesse team. You're right. Seattle hits hard. They take a lot of pride in punishing other teams. I think we are seeing teams start to think that elite defenses are more important than elite offenses. Keep in mind that Seattle plays San Francisco twice a year, another very physical team.
Harry (Babylon, NY)
Hi Gary - besides the physicality of Seattle's D do they also 1. Play at a faster pace than everyone; 2. Never seem to have anyone give up on a play?
Gary Horton (4:12 PM)
You're exactly right. These guys have great instincts. They really understand. They watch a lot of film and really pick up tendencies and that allows them to close fast, jump routes, etc. When you watch them on film, they have no wasted motion. I think they really get a kick out of making a big hit and there's a lot of pride involved. One other thing is they are really deep. On the DL, they have an excellent rotation that goes 7, 8, 9, deep. That allows them to substitute and stay fresh. That might be part of the reason that this defense plays so fast and hard every down.
Eric (currently Ellensburg, WA on way back to Anchorage, AK) [vi
How would you rate this Seahawks defense compared to '85 Bears?
Gary Horton (4:14 PM)
They haven't done this long enough yet to compare to some of the all-time greats. But they certainly have a chance to get into that conversation. They are elite on all three levels. They have excellent depth. They are athletic with an attitude. There are a lot of similarities to that Bears defense, because they were a bunch of confident guys that knew they could outphysical any team they played.
Harry (Babylon, NY)
How much responsibility falls on Denver's coaching staff - they didn't look like they were ready for Percy Harvin + it seems strange that they didn't factor in crowd noise being a potential challenge?
Gary Horton (4:16 PM)
I wouldn't make it a big deal. I know that the coaches went back and looked at Percy Harvin at Minnesota to get a better feel for the kind of routes he likes to run. You have to remember that Denver has been a bad cover team all season. So what Harvin did to them in the third quarter shouldn't come as a huge shock. Though I don't give the coaches any fault, it looked to me like Denver was almost flat. It didn't look like they were emotionally ready to go at Seattle. That's just an observation.
Michael (Cincinnati) [via mobile]
Can you name a single Denver Bronco who won his matchup last night?
Gary Horton (4:17 PM)
You could probably say that Seattle won every matchup. I don't know of a phase where Denver looked superior. The one thing that I really noticed about the Seahawks is they really push each other a lot to make big plays. The accountability that they have for each other to give it their best shot is really interesting.
Rich (New Jersey)
Hi Gary, There have been 10 different teams in the Super Bowl over the last 5 years, what are the chances either Seattle or Denver will be back next year and Seattle repeating as Super Bowl Champions?
Gary Horton (4:19 PM)
I think the chances of that are excellent. If Peyton continues to play, this is still an outstanding Broncos team that I believe will have a similar year next year. There is no question that Seattle should have the ability to stay really good for quite a while. But you always have to watch out for teams like San Francisco and Carolina. But I think if you ranked the teams today for next season, I would still put Seattle and Denver 1 and 2.
Harry (Babylon, NY)
Will we begin to see teams looking to build/rebuild start following the Seahawks blueprint for acquiring and developing players?
Gary Horton (4:21 PM)
I think everybody will take notice of how that defense was the real story of their success. But when you look at Seattle, they have so many players with a chip on their shoulder because they were ignored in the draft or nobody gave them a chance. Somehow Pete Carroll and the scouting department has a real knack for finding those guys. When you have that many guys with a "me vs. them" attitude, it can add up to guys that really play hard. There is no question that other organizations will look at Seattle as maybe the way to build a team.
What did you notice about how the seahawks used safety Kim Chancellor--in other words, some folks say they use him like a linebacker.
Gary Horton (4:23 PM)
That's an excellent observation. Even though it looks like they play a lot of Cover 2, the reality is that Chancellor is the big hitter of the two and the coaches like to play him closer to the line. They have a lot of confidence that Earl Thomas can handle everything in coverage, which is not really Chancellor's game. He's an enforcer and the coaches play him that way.
What does last night mean about Peyton and how he is viewed? He's clearly a great regular season QB but so far his playoff career has been lacking, and in both the Super Bowls he lost he did not play well. In truth he didn't play truly great in the Super Bowl he won either, but Chicago was even worse.
Gary Horton (4:25 PM)
I'm probably a little bit different, because I don't think that the Super Bowl necessarily defines your career. Often you're only as good as the people around you. I think Peyton has put up such big numbers for so long, with so many different teammates that it makes him one of the greatest of all time. I'm sure he'd like to win another Super Bowl, but he was beaten by the better team last night. When I look at Dan Marino, I feel badly that he never won one, but I don't think that makes him any less of a QB.
Is it me or was that one of the worst games to watch as a fan?when Harvin scored I turned tv off...and I like Seattle.i feel ripped off as a fan. The Big Game turned out to be the Big Waste of Time
Gary Horton (4:27 PM)
I probably look at it a little differently. Even though it wasn't overly competitive, I really enjoyed the way that Seattle played. With the passion that they played. I think if they played next week, Denver would be a lot better. I got more out of the game than I think a lot of people would, because I was fascinated by the fact that they played exactly how they entended to. I appreciate that kind of excellence.
Rich (New Jersey)
Hi, Do you think the NFL will schedule the Denver Broncos at Seattle Seahawks to kickoff the 2014 season?
Gary Horton (4:28 PM)
I would say right now you would certainly think that's a possibility. Both teams look to me that they will pretty much have the same personnel. Seattle could be even better with a healthy Percy Harvin.
do you think Seattle arrived a year or so earlier than the orgranization thought?
Gary Horton (4:30 PM)
I think they knew they were building something special. I think maybe there was a little surprise in how the players all bought into Carroll's philosophy. But the ingredients were all there. A strong run game. Terrific OL. Great defense. They've shown an ability to get past injuries, suspensions, etc. I think they will tell you that they have something special going. But I don't know a lot of people that expected them to be better than San Francisco this quickly.
Gary Horton (4:31 PM)
I have been thinking all day at how lucky the NFL got with the weather that we saw yesterday, because when I got up this morning in New York City, it was snowing heavily and there would have been six inches on the ground when the game kicked off. Not only would that have been an embarrassment for the league, but it would have prevented both of these teams from playing at the level we wanted to see. It was a great week in New York and we saw the best two teams playing. In the end one was left standing and they were clearly the best.