Chat with James Walker
Welcome to SportsNation! On Tuesday, ESPN.com AFC North blogger James Walker will stop by to chat about the NFL and what to expect from your team.
Walker joined ESPN.com in 2008 after three seasons covering the Cleveland Browns for the Columbus Dispatch.
Send your questions now and join James Tuesday at 4 p.m. ET!
James Walker (4:00 PM)
Hello everyone. It should be a fun week in the AFC North with training camps getting underway. Let's get to your questions.
Have any 1st round picks from any team signed today?
James Walker (4:02 PM)
Marcus, no first-rounders signed as of 4 p.m. Tuesday. The Bengals recently signed third-rounder Chase Coffman.
what are the position battles you are most looking forward to seeing for each of the afc north teams?
James Walker (4:04 PM)
I'm with everyone else, who wants to see Cleveland's quarterback situation finally settled between Brady Quinn and Derek Anderson. They're both different QBs. I've covered the Browns since 2005 and there has always been some questions at that position. Last year wasn't a competition, per se, but Anderson was still looking over his shoulder after every mistake. Now the team will finally decide its best player moving forward.
Brett (San Antonio, TX)
Fantasy Question here...Any RB on the Bengals roster other than Cedric Benson worth a look in a deep dynasty league?
James Walker (4:06 PM)
No. Cincinnati could struggle running the football this season with an offensive line in transition, particularly against the division. I would even say drafting Benson early is a risk.
Justin B (Bengaltown)
How important is it for an Offensive lineman to get in on time vs other positions, namely Andre Smith for my Bengals and Oher for the Ravens.
James Walker (4:08 PM)
That's debatable, Justin B. It's probably more up to the readiness of the individual player than the position. The biggest problem for o-linemen is getting in playing shape when you're carrying 300-plus pounds around all year.
Joe (Niagara falls)
The bengals released their trainning camp depth chart today. They have Roy Williams listed as the Sarting SS. any thoughts?
James Walker (4:11 PM)
Although I haven't seen the new depth chart today, I'm taking your word for it, Joe. It's not a surprise. Most coaches would give the veteran the nod at the start of camp and force the young player (Chinedum Ndukwe) to beat Williams out. We will see what happens in the next 4-6 weeks.
ben (westminster, md)
will michael oher's holdout hurt his chances of starting opening day, especially with 5 year veteran Adam Terry competing for the same position?
James Walker (4:13 PM)
It's too early. So far Oher has missed one day. The fact that he's worked with the starters most of the offseason makes me think the team won't hold too much against him unless things get out of hand.
Coreen (Davis, CA)
earlier today you mentioned that you thought the AFC North had "little national fanfare," I was wondering what you meant by that?
James Walker (4:16 PM)
What I mean is the division, as a whole, doesn't get a lot of national attention unless two teams are playing in the AFC title game and it forces the media's hand. The Steelers may be the exception but they had to earn it by consistently winning and staying in the title hunt year after year. The Ravens, Browns and Bengals are not even close compared to the fanfare teams like Dallas and New England get. And Dallas hasn't won a playoff game since 1996.
J.W I think Steelers should sign FWP first bc need a1-2 punch in the running games.Miller Reed BIG Snack sign these GUY PLEASSSSSE
James Walker (4:17 PM)
Don't beg me, C.J. I don't make the decisions; I just write about them.
what team has the best group of LBs?
James Walker (4:18 PM)
Pittsburgh has the best starting linebackers in the division and the NFL, Baer.
Any word (at all!??!) on Andre Smith and the Bengals signing him?
James Walker (4:21 PM)
Things are very quiet on the Smith front. I talked to someone about this over the weekend, and that person felt there is a good chance this could go deep into training camp.
Blips McGee (Pittsburgh - City of Champions)
You think Jamal Lewis has any gas left in the tank for a bounceback season after squeaking over 1000 yards last year?
James Walker (4:23 PM)
That's a tough one to answer. Jamal didn't run very much in offseason practices so I didn't get a good enough look to see where he is at this point. I will have more of an answer after training camp.
Michael (Oxford, U.K.)
Which veteran receiver pickup will have a greater role for the Browns, Furrey or Patten?
James Walker (4:24 PM)
Probably Patten initially, from what I've seen so far. He knows Eric Mangini and the system.
John Johnson (Columbus)
Better chance of winning week 1 ... Cincy vs Denver or Cleveland vs Minny?
James Walker (4:27 PM)
Between the AFC North teams? Cincinnati. The Browns are awful in home openers. Look it up.
Which training camp will you be at this weekend when teams check in?
James Walker (4:29 PM)
I'm starting in Georgetown, Ky. with the Cincinnati Bengals. They have a lot of position battles that I wanted to see right away to get a sense for where its heading.
SprungOnSports (Long Island)
Who do you think locks up the 2nd receiver slot in Cincy behind Chad Johnson?
James Walker (4:30 PM)
It's pretty clear that Laveranues Coles is the No. 2 receiver. If he isn't, with the amount the Bengals are paying him this year, it would be a huge disappointment.
YAY JW!!! I'll be there Saturday. Look for me --- I'll be in the orange and black!
James Walker (4:31 PM)
You'd be much easier to spot if you wore purple and black. How about it?
Any news on the contract situation of the Brown's greatest offensive threat, Phil Dawson?
James Walker (4:35 PM)
I have received no indication that Phil Dawson will get a new contract this year. To my knowledge, the Browns are at least willing to talk/listen to Josh Cribbs and D'Qwell Jackson. I don't think they're at that point with Dawson.
Matt Taylor (Ashland, OH)
Are the browns any closer to signing 2nd round WRs?
James Walker (4:36 PM)
Mohamed Massaquoi is in just recently. Brian Robiskie is not.
what is your opinion of eron riley? do you think he's a potential stud?
James Walker (4:38 PM)
If Riley makes the team this year, it would be a victory for him.
Zach (Baltimore MD)
Are the Ravens just being careful with willis? I don't understand how he can be complimented on the shape he is in and then placed on the PUP list
James Walker (4:40 PM)
It's more of a precautionary thing at this point. He had his knee scoped and the Ravens want to be safe early on in the dog days of camp.
What do the think of L.Sweed chances of taking the 3wr position with the Steelers?
James Walker (4:41 PM)
Very good. It's harder in the NFL to get open than catch the ball. He has the hard part down already.
Do you think the Bengals' defense can/will crack the Top 10 this year?
James Walker (4:43 PM)
If they can get to the quarterback this year, maybe. Otherwise, they have no shot to be a top 10 unit.
Any chance the Steelers use Dennis Dixon in some kind of wild cat formation this year?
James Walker (4:45 PM)
He's going to have to beat Charlie Batch out for the backup job to be active on gamedays. If he's the No. 3 QB, by rule Pittsburgh can't put Dixon on the field without keeping Ben Roethlisberger out the game.
Shane B (Lancaster)
Does Beau Bell of the Cleveland Browns have the potential to become the bone crushing starter they (Savage/Crennel) had invisioned of him?
James Walker (4:47 PM)
I've never been sold on Beau Bell, especially not as much as the old regime was. He's not athletic enough for my liking and I have yet to see the big hits everyone was talking about in college. This is a big summer for him.
James, how do you see Ziggy Hood's role evolving this year barring injuries.. do you see him getting significant time on the DL rotation or getting more spot action in the short yardage package?
James Walker (4:49 PM)
He's going to create his own role based on his play. I think he has the potential to be the fourth defensive lineman as a rookie and play maybe 10 or so snaps a game in different positions. If someone in front of him gets hurt, he will need to step it up more.
James,You gonna try out for WR with the Ravens this year?
James Walker (4:52 PM)
I played cornerback in high school. So I wouldn't do too well.
David (Kittanning, PA)
What kind of year do you expect out of Rashard Mendenhall in the Steelers backfield?
James Walker (4:53 PM)
David, we're going to look into that and some other players tomorrow. So check out the AFC North blog.
James, who do you see taking the ravens #2 receiver position? Also, didnt they sign veteran receiver Kelley Washington earlier in the year? Did he retire suddenly as well, or just fall off the map?
James Walker (4:56 PM)
As it stands right now, Demetrius Williams is the favorite. He has some tools, he just cannot stay healthy. Washington has always been a support guy that plays hard on special teams.
Hey James, would you go with c.j spiller or lewis as your startin tailback. (maybe spiller could be the next slaton). just a thought.
James Walker (4:58 PM)
That is a lot of projecting, Shanard. You're assuming the Browns are going to have a high pick in the 2010 draft, Spiller is going to have a monster year in college, and Lewis is going to falter. I don't like to look that far ahead.
How has Bruce Davis been looking. It seems like he hasn't done much the Steelers drafted him.
James Walker (5:00 PM)
Bruce Davis has looked better this offseason and the Steelers may need him this year for depth. He was pretty good at rushing the passer in college. So if that's all he does well this year, that would be a good contribution.
James Walker (5:02 PM)
Everyone, thanks again for your time. Don't forget to check out the AFC North blog for daily updates. If you see me in Georgetown this weekend, say hello.