Chat with James Walker
Welcome to SportsNation! On Tuesday, ESPN.com AFC East 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)
What's going on, AFC East fans. Let's get this party started. You have questions?
Peter (Whitestone, New York)
How important are the next 3 road games for the Jets season?, especially with Mangold out.
James Walker (4:02 PM)
They're important because it gives the Jets a measuring stick, Peter. Baltimore and New England are tough games back-to-back. But New York's fast start at 2-0 means none of these games are must-win, especially if the Jets beat Oakland this week. I think they'll be fine.
Hey James, how you liking Miami??? Also, do you think the dolphins will be able to stop Peyton Hillis?
James Walker (4:04 PM)
Thanks for asking, Stephen. I'm loving it here. You cannot beat the weather. Always warm and sunny. Big change from Cleveland. As far as the game, Miami's defense is struggling. But I think the competition (Houston and New England) has a lot to do with it. I expect the Dolphins' D to put on a pretty good performance this week against Hillis, Colt McCoy and Co.
James Walker (4:04 PM)
Miami can and will stack the box a lot more. The Dolphins couldn't do that against New England and Houston.
Hey James, glad to have an AFC East blogger again!!! What is your impression of Henne so far? Do you think this guy is going to have a good season (statistically at least)?
James Walker (4:07 PM)
Thanks, Dan. I'm giving Henne a clean slate. I wrote that last week after the "Monday Night Football" game. Many of the things I was told about Henne hasn't been the case the past two weeks. He's seems more in control, he scrambles when needed and he hasn't thrown a lot of picks. Henne does miss some throws I think he should make, though, especially in the red zone.
Sam (newport news, Virginia)
any ideas of who the Bills could bring in to help out at Wide recieverIf anybody
James Walker (4:08 PM)
Well, they're bringing Naaman Roosevelt from the practice squad. Many felt he should have made the 53-man roster. Now he has his chance. I don't expect any other moves at WR before Sunday's game.
Steve (Belfast New York)
James, what do you expect to see (good and bad) from the Bills playing the Patriots this Sunday? I would like to see an upset, but what Bill's fan wouldn't?
James Walker (4:10 PM)
The Bills are playing with house money, Steve. They're 2-0 and no one expects them to win. I expect a loose bunch. They're having fun out there and Buffalo has the type of offense that might be able to keep up with Tom Brady. I will be at that game this week and I'm looking forward to it.
James Walker (4:11 PM)
For those asking for predictions, I'm staying out of that business this year. I did enough of that in the AFC North and many division fans saw picking games as being bias. So I'm sitting the year out. I may revisit that down the road.
Steve P (Western NY)
I am greatly looking forward to this sunday!I was looking at the Bills and Pats and comparing their offenses and defenses...I'm Thinking this game is going to come down to whichever offense has the ball lastYour thoughts?
James Walker (4:14 PM)
The safe bet is definitely on the shootout, Steve. Sometimes two division opponents can be so familiar with each other that it could surprise and go the other way. But after watching these two teams the past two weeks, I see both offenses having the advantage.
Thomas (New Jersey)
OK so James, miami is 0-2. I think everybody is writing the dolphins off far too early. They have played number 2 patriots and number 5 texans. What are you thoughts?
James Walker (4:16 PM)
I agree it's early and Miami played two of the top teams in the AFC. All fair points. But what I don't like about the Dolphins is their inability to win at home. Will they win six road games this year? You can't count on that every season. They need to play a lot better at home to get back into the race.
TB12 (Foxborough, Mass)
Who steps up for Aaron Hernandez as my #1 target behind Welker?
James Walker (4:17 PM)
Tom, you know this better than anyone: You throw to whoever is open. If Welker is open more, he will get the ball. Same for Branch, Gronkowski, Ochocinco.
Has Chad Henne finally "turned the corner?" After watching both games, I must admit that he looks improved. It could just be the caliber of defenses he has faced though.
James Walker (4:19 PM)
I need to see more. That's a big reason why we have the "Sanchez-Henne-Fitz Watch." I'm learning and evaluating these quarterbacks as the season progresses just as much as you are. I can rank AFC North QBs easily. But this is my first year covering the AFC East. So everyone gets a clean slate.
DONNY OAKSKULL (Toronto, Canada)
I can grab Danny Woodhead in my fantasy pool...worth it this week or no? I have Bradshaw, Mathews & Gore with 2 RB positions.
James Walker (4:22 PM)
I don't play fantasy football, but I would probably pick up Woodhead if it doesn't cost you anything. The Patriots will score a ton of points this year. Plus, I just think Woodhead is a good player.
Jim (St. Paul )
FF Football of course.......What do you think of David Nelosn (Bills WR)?
James Walker (4:23 PM)
Jim, I don't know how Nelson translate in fantasy football. But in real life he's a big target underneath for Ryan Fitzpatrick. He plays a lot of slot and will probably catch a lot of short passes instead of big plays. Take that for what's it's worth.
Can Fitzpatrick be the bills quarterback for the next 5 years and the bills be a playoff contending team?
James Walker (4:25 PM)
Thanks for the question, Morgan. I will give you some advice about me. I only look year-to-year. Projecting things three, four and five years down the road is next to impossible in the NFL. So I don't even go there. I try to keep my eye on what's in front of me and write about it.
Kyle (Lock Haven, PA)
When will Joe McKnight get involved more in the Jets offense? I don't like the way Greene and LT have looked to start and I think it's worth a try.
James Walker (4:27 PM)
Interesting question, Kyle. I've been watching the Jets and here's what I can't figure out: Is it the RBs or the OL? I've seen a lot of defenders hitting guys at the line of scrimmage. But the RBs aren't breaking a lot of tackles, either. I'm still trying to figure out that problem and so are the Jets.
Why is it the Dolphins get no love in ESPN's Power Rankings? I am not claiming we are the perennial champs, but I certainly feel we deserve more love considering we lost to two teams in the top 5 of the same Power Rankings.
James Walker (4:28 PM)
N8, Miami moved up one spot this week after dropping two straight at home. I think that's a sign of respect for the teams the Dolphins are losing to. If Miami wants to make a significant jump, it has to win games. There's no way around that.
Ed (New York)
What will it take for the Bills to defeat the Patriots this weekend?
James Walker (4:32 PM)
The key player no one seems to talk about outside of Buffalo is RB Fred Jackson. He's leading the NFL in rushing and no one seems to know it. Buffalo gets a lot of pub for its spread, but the team is running the ball really well. I like what I've seen from Ryan Fitzpatrick. But can he out-duel Tom Brady if both QBs throw 40-plus times? Jackson has the ability to keep Tom Brady off the field. I think that's the biggest key.
Thomas (Ironton, OH)
Being the former writer for the AFC North, how do you like the Browns and Phins matchup this weekend. I think it is going to be a lot better game than people realize. I also think the Phins will come out hungry in this game (though I hope they don't)
James Walker (4:35 PM)
It will definitely be interesting, Thomas. Miami plays with a lot of confidence on the road. I can't explain it, but it's almost like this team prefers to be away from home the past couple of years. The Browns have been fortunate to have an easy schedule early and needs to take advantage. They can't lose two in a row at home to start the season. I expect a good game.
I understand the Bills are playing with house money, but people are starting to act like NE are the underdogs. Remember, this is a Bills team that beat what looks like the worst team in the NFL, and another without a high powered offense in Oakland.
James Walker (4:37 PM)
Don't believe everything you hear, Spencer. Any team can win in the NFL, and this game should be exciting. But the Patriots are not underdogs.
zackary hayward (iowa)
Given that Peyton is out, are the Colts and Patriots rivalry non existent this season?
James Walker (4:39 PM)
Yes, I would say so, Zackary. Great games. But Peyton vs. Brady was the main part of it.
asher (new york)
what will it take for rex to let sanchez throw consistently and not be so conservative
James Walker (4:41 PM)
I don't know if that's a fair statement this year. The Jets have been pretty clear that Mark Sanchez will get a lot more opportunities to throw. He threw 44 times against Dallas. I think the big lead against Jacksonville prevented that. But New York's best offensive weapon right now is the passing game. It's not even close.
Do you think the patriots injuries will hinder them in the upcoming weeks?
James Walker (4:42 PM)
Injuries are always an issue, Cam. The Aaron Hernandez's injury should scare Patriots fans. He does a lot for the offense. Even when he doesn't get the ball, he stretches the field for Welker and Gronkowski to get underneath.
Josh Wright (Kent,OH)
James, I gotta say I love the blog so far this season. The 3QB race between Henne, Sanchez, and Fitzpatrick is a great touch. Keep up the great work!
James Walker (4:43 PM)
Thanks, Josh. We're just getting started. I want the AFC East blog to be a place for football fans to be informed and entertained.
Hey James could this be the year where Dustin Keller puts up Gates like numbers?
James Walker (4:45 PM)
Keller has always had the ability and potential. But I don't know if New York's offense calls for that. Gates is a huge peice in San Diego's offense when healthy. Keller is probably the third option, maybe second on some days. That limits opportunities. But maybe last weekend's game will change that.
Going to the Browns Dolphins Game Sunday think its safe to wear my Miami Jersey?
James Walker (4:47 PM)
Hmmm, I think you're ok. Anything other than a Steelers or Ravens jersey and you should be safe.
How bad would it be if Miami loses to Cleveland. panic time?
James Walker (4:49 PM)
I would say Sunday's game for Miami is pretty close to a must-win. I'm not sure if the Dolphins would admit that this week.
Is this the game where the Pat's D comes together and holds a team to 10 points or less?
James Walker (4:51 PM)
Anything is possible. But I don't think this is the game that happens, Al. Both the Pats and Bills should put up points.
kyle wilson looked lost last year. how has the first rounder from 2010 looked to you this year?
James Walker (4:52 PM)
I like what I've seen from Wilson. Through two weeks, he's made some of the biggest strides in the division. That will only help the Jets. They made need someone to step up and start if Revis or Cromartie gets injured.
How should we interpret Bush's reduced role in the Dolphins' last game? I thought the leadership said that Bush was their man?
James Walker (4:53 PM)
Bush is the starter. But the Dolphins want to run between the tackles and, in my opinion, Daniel Thomas is better at that. What Miami needs to do is allow Bush to get outside and use his talents that way. Running him up the middle hasn't worked.
With Roscoe Parrish done for the year, will CJ Spiller play a bigger role in the return game for Buffalo? Or will this role increase for Brad Smith?
James Walker (4:56 PM)
The Bills have some options on their roster. I think Spiller needs to be more involved in some way and Smith was very good returning kicks for the Jets. Unlike past years, Parrish was only returning punts this season. So that return team needs help.
The Jets are winning,but not really dominating in any phase of the game. What do you think is going to be the make or break factor this year? My thought is the Rise or Fall of Sanchez. Either he throws with more consistency or pickups like Mason or Plax are for naught. Your thoughts?
James Walker (4:59 PM)
I think New York eventually has to run the ball well to be successful. I know the NFL is a pass-happy league now. But New York is a team built on defense-first. The Jets won't help the defense by passing 44 times a times. Eventually they're going to have to control the tempo or hold a lead by running well and being more phsyical offensively.
James Walker (5:02 PM)
Everyone, thanks again for your time. We will be back here every Tuesday to chat on the AFC East.