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. Let's talk about the AFC North.
Could the bengals win in a game against ohio state?
James Walker (4:02 PM)
What a way to start the chat, James. I hear this question a lot in Ohio when the Bengals are down, and it's really no doubt the Bengals have the advantage. They have 53 NFL players. Ohio State may have about 10 on a given year.
Ryan (Akron )
Will the Browns finish the season with a winning record?
James Walker (4:03 PM)
It's not happening, Ryan. The Browns already have seven losses and would have to run the table. Cleveland hasn't shown enough to believe it can suddenly reel of six straight wins. But that doesn't mean the Browns can't get hot. A reasonable goal for them would be seven wins.
Keith (Jacksonville, Fl)
Why Bruce wont run the ball more with our injured line instead of passing all the time. Why do my steelers cornebacks play so far off receivers/
James Walker (4:05 PM)
I'm giving Bruce Arians a pass the last two weeks. The Steelers didn't give many holes in the NE game and they fell behind big. Running wasn't going to do any good. Against Oakland, Pittsburgh scored 35 points. That is well above the line for an offense, in my opinion.
WHO WILL THE BENGALS DRAFT?
James Walker (4:07 PM)
It's too early to say, Lonnie. There is still a lot of football left in the NFL and college game. Plus, the Bengals need to establish a direction they want to take in the offseason. I feel they need to blow up the team. But if I were to peg a big need with the way the team is currently set up, I would say an elite pass-rusher is the biggest need. But the roster could be overhauled and that can change.
Bowdon Ga [via mobile]
How bout them Cowboys?!?!
James Walker (4:09 PM)
What about them? You can't be happy they're 3-7 and someone else will be playing in their new stadium in Feb., right? Who knows? It could be a rep from the AFC North.
Steve (Albany, NY)
James - Santonio who? Care of Mike Wallace.
James Walker (4:10 PM)
I like both players. The Steelers traded Holmes because of character concerns, but there's no denying he could play football. Wallace has filled in well and hasn't missed a beat.
Do you see Zimmer sticking with the younger guys on the D line for the rest of the season? I would like to see more of Atkins, Dunlap, and a ton more of Johnson. I think Johnson needs to be on the field a lot more than he is right now.
James Walker (4:13 PM)
This is the perfect time to find out what Geno Atkins and Carlos Dunlap can do. The Bengals aren't going anywhere, and many veterans could be shipped out in the offseason. So Cincinnati needs to know which rookies/young players can step up for the team next season and which positions to attack in the draft and free agency.
What is your take on the Big Ben Seymour incident?
James Walker (4:15 PM)
I felt Richard Seymour deserved a one-game suspension. At the very least, the fine could have been higher. Something like that after the whistle is uncalled for.
Is there any chance that anyone from Pittsburgh gets a fine this week?
James Walker (4:17 PM)
James Harrison has a chance. I thought it was a clean play, but it was a hit on the QB and drew a flag. So that always raises the league's antenna. Ryan Clark also was penalized but I don't anticipate him getting fined. It was pretty clear he hit the receiver in the back, not the helmet-to-helmet he was flagged for. It was a missed call by the refs.
justin (portland oregon )
Do you think cleveland should start Colt McCoy for the remainder of the season? Or should Mangini stick with Delhomme/ Wallace?
James Walker (4:18 PM)
Health is now a question, because McCoy has a left ankle sprain. If he's not healthy enough to play, then you have to start one of the veterans. If McCoy is healthy, you keep giving him experience.
Every time I look away I see another Steelers O Lineman injured. Is this the result of bad technique, limited talent, or just bad luck?
James Walker (4:20 PM)
Injuries are hard to quantify, Adam. It's really one of the great mysteries in the NFL. I think, to a certain degree, taking care of your body helps with nagging injuries. But broken bones and torn ligaments, etc. can happen to anybody. It's just a part of the game.
Russell (Charlotte, NC)
Baltimore fan here, wondering if you thought the Ravens will have trouble with the bucs?
James Walker (4:23 PM)
This is an underrated game. I saw the Bucs earlier this year against the Steelers and Pittsburgh beat them up pretty bad. I think Baltimore will try to do the same and be really physical with Tampa at home. The Bucs are a better team now than I saw earlier this year, though.
Chadd (Whitehall, PA)
Do you think both the steelers and ravens make the playoffs?
James Walker (4:24 PM)
Yes, Chadd. I think both get in and both have a shot at the Super Bowl. It would interesting if they don't have to face each other and see how they matchup with other teams.
Mike (New Haven)
Who wins the North and why? Baltimore or Pittsburgh
James Walker (4:25 PM)
I picked Baltimore in training camp, and I don't change predictions in the middle of the season. I think that's weak.
Biggest concern for the Ravens heading into the home stretch is...........
James Walker (4:27 PM)
I'd say cornerback. Maybe keeping everyone happy and productive on offense. But they're in great shape this late in the season.
With Cribbs out, do you think that Stuckey is the Browns best reciever right now?
James Walker (4:28 PM)
I don't know if Josh Cribbs was the team's best receiver. I don't think the Browns have a "best receiver" to be honest. Ben Watson and Evan Moore are TEs. Peyton Hillis is a RB.
Do you think the winner of the afc north will come down to who wins the ravens steelers game in 2 weeks?
James Walker (4:30 PM)
That's a very good chance, Jon. There's only a few games left and the loser will be playing catch-up. Particularly if the Ravens win, because they definitely have the tiebreaker. It will be like taking a two-game lead in the AFC North in December.
James, Will Imploding The Bengals really make a difference? Do you feel its Really Carson Palmer, or more the Offensive Cordinator's Play calling?
James Walker (4:33 PM)
Mike, the reason it's time to blow up the Bengals is because it's a team-wide failure. It's the coaching, it's the quarterback, offense, defense, etc. There is no portion of this team that played very well this year. So this is not a quick fix. You can't add one thing to this team and expect them to compete for a championship in 2011. So it's time to start from scratch and build a new foundation.
Is Robiskie officially a draft bust? If so wheb can we expect him to be finally cut.
James Walker (4:35 PM)
I have a rule where I don't label anyone a draft bust after their rookie year. The NFL is too difficult a league. So I'm waiting until the end of Brian Robiskie's second season, but he's heading in that direction.
James, Knowing the Bengals, what are the chances Marvin Lewis is not resigned and Mike Brown Hires Within the coaching staff? Is it wishful thinking that Mr Brown will spend some money for a Gruden or Cowher?
James Walker (4:36 PM)
I would be very surprised if Lewis returns in 2011. I'm hearing there are no current negotiations going on, so unless something changes in the next few weeks, he will be a coaching free agent after the season. As far as hires, don't expect a huge name like Jon Gruden or Bill Cowher. Those two will have more attrictive suitors with a better football setup in place.
Why don't the Steelers or Browns have Cheerleaders?
James Walker (4:37 PM)
I don't know the exact reason, but it has something to do with tradition.
Do you think the bengals will keep cedric benson next year? Hes having a horrible season.
James Walker (4:38 PM)
There's a good chance Cedric Benson plays somewhere else next year also, which goes in line with what I said about blowing this team up. Benson isn't happy with his role in Cincinnati this year and he's not playing very well.
Patrick (Cleveland OH)
Bengals choke v the Bills. Will they win another game?
James Walker (4:40 PM)
I make my predictions week-to-week, and this week I'm picking the Jets over the Bengals. If you want long-term projections, Terrell Owens says the Bengals can be 2-14 with the way they're playing. So you can listen to him.
jerome simpson is a bust
James Walker (4:42 PM)
Simpson has had more than two years to prove himself. So, yes, he would be a draft bust in the AFC North.
Andrew (Chapel Hill)
Best upcoming FA in the AFCN?
James Walker (4:42 PM)
Haloti Ngata. But there are a lot of good ones.
James Walker (4:43 PM)
LaMarr Woodley and Johnathan Joseph are two others.
Chadd (Whitehall, PA)
Do you think Hines Ward will make Hall of Fame when he retires?
James Walker (4:44 PM)
Yes. I don't have a vote but Ward is expected to get in. He holds many of the Steelers' receiving records and is well-respected among NFL writers for his toughness, Super Bowls and run blocking at the WR position.
James, you think that one of the wild cards would go to the North this year or would one go to the East and the other to the south?
James Walker (4:46 PM)
I predicted in the preseason that one goes to the AFCN and one goes to the AFCE. I'm sticking with that.
Cedric Benson is having a horrible season because Marvin Lewis turned the Bengals into a passing team instead of keeping them a running team. He not getting nearly as many chances like he did last year.
James Walker (4:47 PM)
That is definitely a valid point, Veronica. Benson has been out of rhythm all season, and when they try to run him now he's fumbling and stumbling.
who stays carson or cinco?
James Walker (4:50 PM)
If the Bengals choose between the two, they would probably pick Carson Palmer. He has several years left on his deal. Chad Ochocinco's contract is up but has a team option for one more year.
Could the Steelers resign Jeff Reed? If we do would we have to pay him two salaries because of the waiver rules?
James Walker (4:53 PM)
Not happening, Adam. The Steelers cut him for a reason.
Do you think M. Holmgren will keep Eric Mangini next year? I think Mangini has done a great job and needs more time to finish what he has started.
James Walker (4:55 PM)
This decision is still to be determined. Mangini still has six more games to prove himself to Holmgren. Mangini needs to start winning fast, because right now 3-7 doesn't look good.
What exactly was Brett Keisel injury? 5 weeks seems like a long time to sit out for a hamstring injury. If he plays this week, can we expect him to play at 80%? 90%?
James Walker (4:57 PM)
Hamstrings are tricky, Chip. They get better but it's easy to re-injure. It looks like Keisel is improving and I think there's a good chance he plays this week.
Chris Fiegler (Latham,NY)
Who do you think is the best all-time Quarterback in the AFC North Since You Covered the AFC North?
James Walker (4:58 PM)
Ben Roethlisberger. He's the only QB in the division with championships.
If the bengals get the #1 pick, do they take Luck?
James Walker (5:00 PM)
It depends on what they want to do with Carson Palmer. I don't see the Bengals having both on the same roster next year. Palmer is a $100-plus million QB and the No. 1 pick will make somewhere around $75-$85 million. The Bengals don't spend that kind of money and won't have enough to sign anyone else.
James Walker (5:00 PM)
Thanks for the great questions, everyone. Remember to check out the AFC North blog and AFC North Twitter for constant updates.