Chat with Tim Graham
Welcome to SportsNation! On Friday, ESPN.com AFC East blogger Tim Graham will drop in to chat about all the latest news from the NFL.
Graham joined ESPN.com in 2008 after covering the Miami Dolphins for the Palm Beach Post. He previously spent eight years at the Buffalo News, where he was an award-winning NHL and boxing writer. The Baldwin-Wallace College grad also has worked for the Las Vegas Sun and Boston Herald.
Send your questions for Graham now and join him on Friday at 3 p.m. ET!
Tim Graham (3:01 PM)
I'm back after a few days in New Orleans for the NFL owners meeting. What's on your minds?
Hi Tim, Do you really believe the rumors out there that Nix is sold on Cam Newton?
Tim Graham (3:03 PM)
I'm prone to believe them because I've been told the same thing from a source who would know, and I highly respect other reporters who have shared similar info (Vic Carucci from NFL.com, for one). But you never can be too sure. A guy who "would" know isn't always accurate.
I voted for Danny Woodhead for the Madden cover over Steve Johnson (and I'm a Bills fan). Make sure to tell him to blame me and not God if he loses.
Tim Graham (3:04 PM)
I doubt Johnson will lose by one vote, so I think you're safe there. Woodhead is a popular player who will draw from the Boston and New York markets.
joe scranton pa [via mobile]
do you think the eagles are making the right choice in goin with vick? kolb has been pretty good it seems foolish to throw away a developing qb like him
Tim Graham (3:06 PM)
You can't argue with how electrifying Michael Vick was last year. So it comes down to stashing an asset on your sideline (with the hope you never need him) or trying to turn him into a different kind of asset you can put on the field. I agree with the move.
Jon (Virginia Beach, VA)
Tim, if the NFL goes to "scabs", how are those players chosen? Is there an open tryout or scouting done on certain players? Are NFL practice squad players allowed to try out or are they "locked out" too?
Tim Graham (3:09 PM)
In a true lockout situation, replacement players can't be used because management is denying work to take place. Some legal analysts seem to think replacement players can be an option if certain courtroom maneuverings take place, but it's all murky. There could come a time when the NFL just opens up its doors for business and tells players to come back with no financial rules. If you want to work, just show up and we can play some games. But I doubt they'd defy their union -- I mean "trade association." It makes my head hurt.
Is Cam Newton going to be ok taking a pay cut going from Auburn to Buffalo?
Tim Graham (3:11 PM)
Did you get that from a USC joke book and just change the names?
At gunpoint, would you rather watch NASCAR or the WNBA?
Tim Graham (3:11 PM)
Depending on the caliber of the bullet, I might take the third option.
Would the Dolphins ever trade draft picks with the Patriots? too much animosity between the organizations? Miami has the 15th pick in the first round, but after the first round, their draft is among the worst in the league.
Tim Graham (3:13 PM)
Doesn't have anything to do with animosity between the organizations, but the fact they are division rivals who play each other twice a year. Trades do happen sometimes (Donovan McNabb to the Redskins, for instance), but they're rare. Also, the Patriots own the 17th pick. I doubt they'll need to move up two spots so badly that they would be willing to give the Dolphins extra draft ammunition.
Dolphins Fan (The US of A)
As a lifelong dolphins fan, should I be rooting for Sanchez to get on the madden cover?
Tim Graham (3:15 PM)
As a lifelong Dolphins fan -- based on the anti-Sanchez comments I see from your fellow loyalists every day -- you shouldn't see any reason to curse him. To most Dolfans, he's already worthless.
Full Ginsburg (Los Angeles)
Chances the Bills end next season with a better record than the Dolphins?
Tim Graham (3:17 PM)
Good question ... Late in the season, the Bills came close to passing the Dolphins in my mind as the No. 3 team in the division. But I have to go with defense here and say the Bills have a 36 percent chance.
Will the NFL be announcing compensation picks soon?
Tim Graham (3:19 PM)
Yes, they will. They usually do it at the owners' meeting, which would have been this week.
Tim Graham (3:20 PM)
Sorry for the delay in answering that ... I thought I saw a report they would be announced next week, but I just did a quick search and couldn't find it. If somebody can track that down, I'll post it here. In the meantime, let's get to some more questions rather than stare at a stalled chat.
Tony (Richmond, CA)
Do you think Jared Odrick will rebound from his leg injury and have a breakout year for the Dolphins?
Tim Graham (3:22 PM)
I don't. But the reason isn't because I don't believe in Jared Odrick. The Dolphins' defensive line is set with DEs Randy Starks and Kendall Langford and NT Paul Soliai. Odrick's best shot was when the Dolphins moved Starks to NT, but with Soliai's emergence and the franchise tag, he's the man in the middle.
Mitch (Virginia Beach)
How close do you think the dolphins are to the Jets? Even though the fins are 3-1 the last two years against the Jets, I would argue both games in NY were under very interesting, and unlikely circumstances. Your thought?
Tim Graham (3:23 PM)
The Dolphins are consistent quarterback play away from being a contender in the AFC East. They're close, and if that offense clicks, they can be a playoff team. Their defense is plenty good enough.
Would Sims-Walker help the Dolphins? And is it even possible?
Tim Graham (3:25 PM)
Of course, he would help. But to what degree? I don't think he would provide such an amazing improvement to be worth the money it would cost.
Tim Graham (3:26 PM)
Thanks to folks for looking it up. Compensatory picks apparently will be announced today, according to an Adam Schefter report on Wednesday. I was in communications purgatory all day Wednesday. That's the day I flew back from the owners' meetings and had a long layover in Atlanta. That airport doesn't get along well will cell phones or air cards.
R (in CT)
Tim - glad to see you've awakened from having to interview Belichick for a chat. So if there is going to be a rookie wage scale (which seems like a fait accompli) do you think there will be more trading of the earlier picks this year? Do the Bills trade down? Do the Jets trade up?
Tim Graham (3:29 PM)
Belichick's always a riveting interview. Funny thing about that photo is he rarely smiles like that, and I never take my job too seriously. Maybe we were doing impersonations of each other. ... Rookie wage scale? Chalk it up. Do Bills trade down? I predict no, but if they do, it will be an offer too good to pass up. Jets trade up? They'd love to, but their hands are somewhat tied.
Frank (Mayor's Income, TN)
Worst case scenario - the whole season is lost. I assume the Patriots are in the best position for 2012 because they have a strong front office and the Bills are in the worst because they're young. Do you agree?
Tim Graham (3:32 PM)
Not necessarily. If you're the Patriots, how happy are you that you've wasted a season of Tom Brady in his waning prime? That would be one less kick at the can for him. ... In the end, a year off probably hurts everybody about the same. All the players would come back rusty.
Tim, if we were to play a game of Madden for 1 million dollars, who would be your team of choice? Oh and you wouldn't have a shot of beating me.
Tim Graham (3:34 PM)
Depends on what version. When I was in college, my brother used to find opponents for me to play for money. I would drive anywhere within an hour. I never lost -- random teams. But right around 2001, I stopped playing. My nephews smoke me regularly.
Are you a fan of Chan Gailey, both in terms of coaching and how he interacts with you, the media?
Tim Graham (3:36 PM)
Yes, and yes. I was supportive of the hire when it was made (same with Buddy Nix), although I felt bad for Gailey because the expectations of a star coach had been raised so high with the public courtship of Mike Shanahan, Bill Cowher, Jon Gruden, etc. But he's slowly winning over Bills fans with his blunt approach to the job. He's as genuine as I've come across.
any recent news on who the jets might be targeting in the 1st rd? Im hearing names like reed or sheard but mostly from people who dont know what theyr talking about. Do you have anything more substantial?
Tim Graham (3:38 PM)
I truly believe Rex Ryan when he says (and he has told me this twice) they have no clue who's going to be there at No. 30. He laughs and you can tell he's frustrated with having such a lousy pick because the farther back you go, the more it's out of your control who will be there. They will be looking at defensive linemen first, but who knows if a player they've rated top 20 falls to them?
Clint (Evansville In)
I think with the right pick in the draft, (peterson, miller) I think the bills could maybe contend in the east. what do you think?
Tim Graham (3:40 PM)
Not until they address their offensive line. Imagine how glaring their needs would be at tackle if the Patriots or Jets actually had a pass rush.
Besides QB for the fins would you say (in no particular order) the main issues are RB, OT, and perhaps some Safety help. If so we need to trade back and get back into the second round don't you think?
Tim Graham (3:42 PM)
Not tackle, for me. Center and guard are much bigger needs. But you're correct on the rest. And you make a good point: All those positions can be found later than the 15th pick -- even quarterback because we can assume Cam Newton and Blaine Gabbert will be long off the board by then. What other quarterback would be worth the 15th as opposed to the 20th?
James (Boston, MA)
What do you think of Leigh Bodden? Something tells me that Bodden and McCourty could be a great duo, but I haven't seen Bodden play in so long. Hoping you could analyze his play a little bit for us. Thanks!
Tim Graham (3:43 PM)
That's an upgrade the Patriots will experience as soon as there's a CBA. Bodden was a fine cornerback in 2009 and went into the offseason as their No. 1. McCourty blossomed into a Pro Bowler in Bodden's spot. Patriots fans should be excited about them being on the field together.
Which is more likelier to happen next season - Jets reach the Super Bowl or the Bills win 6 games
Tim Graham (3:44 PM)
Bills winning six games.
Do you have a link to the Belichick interview? I can't find it on the ESPN page.
Tim Graham (3:45 PM)
R in CT was referring to a "Caption this" photo of Belichick and me at the owners' meeting. The context of the interview as his thoughts on the new kickoff rule, but I can't remember what he was laughing about (and what I was unimpressed by) in this: http://espn.go.com/blog/afceast/post/_/id/27320/caption-this-funny-like-im-a-clown
Tim Graham (3:47 PM)
And here's the story I wrote off that interview: http://espn.go.com/blog/afceast/post/_/id/27244/belichick-weve-got-a-good-kicker-sorry
and tim, ill ask you to take it easy on the Jets pass rush. Im pretty sure David Harris pants'd Fitzpatrick last year.
Tim Graham (3:48 PM)
Their sack numbers are lacking. But in that specific instance, Harris comes up the middle. The Bills' problems are at tackle and with handling edge-rushers. But there are only a couple good ones in the AFC East: Cameron Wake and Calvin Pace. Even though Pace had a down year.
Tim Graham (3:49 PM)
A couple more and then I have to go shovel my lawn.
While I understand that Brady is an amazing QB, with multiple rings, future Hall of Famer, etc...I still cannot put him in the same league with the legends of the game. Am I the only one who thinks that if he hadn't gone to the Pats and been under Belicheck, he would be an average QB at best? Isn't Belicheck the true Hall of Famer and Tom Brady should thank him for making him into an amazing quarterback?
Tim Graham (3:51 PM)
Classic chicken-or-egg debate that I'm sure can't be settled here. I think they both needed each other to be considered great. Mo Lewis made it all happen. ... But whatever the circumstances, Brady has to be considered among the best of all-time. Three championships do that. Besides, I'm sure you can look back on a lot of other legends and find a moment in their careers when it all could have ended before it started. Johnny Unitas and Len Dawson were cut.
Pat (New York)
how would you handle the situation the jets have at cornerback? its easy to say sing nnamdi from oakland but we're not the ones handling the money. keep cromartie? let him go and gamble with wilson? draft another one? sign someone else? i still havn't made up my own mind either.
Tim Graham (3:53 PM)
It will take a miracle for the Jets to land Nnamdi Asomugha. The salary they would have to pay him would torpedo the rest of their roster. The Jets know they've built a strong enough team and will try to re-sign as many of their free agents as they can and then tinker with areas of need. I see them bringing back Antonio Cromartie and giving Kyle Wilson a bigger role.
Nunzio could make the same comparison between Montana/Walsh, Marino/Shula, etc.
Clint (Evansville In)
Does Bruce Smith have anything to do with the Bills the way Kelly and Thomas do?
Tim Graham (3:55 PM)
Jim Kelly and Thurman Thomas don't work in any official capacity with the Bills, but they make appearances because they still live in the area. Bruce Smith lives in Virginia.
Nunzio, this is coming from a Jets fan who hates brady with a passion but the dude is crazy good. Don't you think that bill walsh has something to do with montana's success? As for my question Tim, would you say that the DL or OLB is a bigger need for the jets?
Tim Graham (3:55 PM)
Defensive line, but not by a lot. They need to get younger in both places. D-line needs an overhaul, though.
Dan (Nueva York)
Tim, there's been a lot of talk about the Bills taking either an ILB or QB at the top of round 2, would it shock you if they took the best available OT?
Tim Graham (3:56 PM)
Not at all. I would applaud it. The Bills haven't drafted a tackle higher than the fifth round since 2002.
Oh genie of the magic chat..When will the Dolphins win a super bowl?
Tim Graham (3:57 PM)
Tim Graham (3:57 PM)
Thanks for dropping by, everybody. Have a great weekend.