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 Walker Tuesday at 4 p.m. ET!
James Walker (4:00 PM)
Good afternoon, everyone. Welcome to the AFC East chat.
Daniel (NYC) [via mobile]
You've called the Bills your sleeper, but you haven't said what that means. Are you predicting a playoff spot? We have to know what to give you credit for...
James Walker (4:02 PM)
Good question, Daniel. As you know, I have called the Bills my 2012 sleeper. However, I'm holding out on season predictions. That is why I haven't deemed the Bills a playoff team just yet. But I do anticipate Buffalo making a sizable jump from last year. I just need to watch training camp and the preseason before I make my playoff picks.
Nick (Middletown, NJ) [via mobile]
Dan Graziano is thinking about stealing your 'Homer of the Week' idea. How do you feel about that?
James Walker (4:04 PM)
I think it's pretty cool, Nick. Recently, I took Dan's idea to add a video chat to the AFC East blog. We share ideas at ESPN.com. Good ideas are always valuable when running a blog year-round.
IF the jets were to trade revis (big if) what could they possibly get in return?
James Walker (4:06 PM)
The Jets are not trading Darrelle Revis. He's the best CB in football. There's no way to get equal value, especially this late in the offseason. New York has little chance of making the playoff without Revis on the roster.
Do you have a favorite in the Miami QB race?
James Walker (4:08 PM)
The preseason will determine the winner. However, from the several Dolphins' practices I've seen, Garrard was the better quarterback. The media was only allowed to see select practices. So maybe Moore outperformed Garrard on those days. But I don't think it was a coincidence that the four or so times I was there, Garrard stood out most.
Which is the most-likely scenario to hope for as a Dolphins fan: Ochocino looking more like his former self, 4-3 transition providing an improved defense, or David Garrard winning the quarterback competition and being a solid starter for this season?
James Walker (4:10 PM)
Good question, Kevin. Thank you for taking the time. I would say the 4-3 defense has the best chance to be successful this year. It's an easier transition than changing to a 3-4 scheme. And I think Miami has the right personnel to make the switch. The only concerns I have about Miami's defense are the safeties. The Dolphins gave up a lot of big passing plays in 2011.
Do people realize that 3 of Mark Sanchez's main weapons heading into 2011 are out of work? 2 retired(LT, mason) and one can't find a job(Plax). Does anyone factor this in when evaluating his 2011 season? Listening to fans and the media you would think mark was Dave Brown or jamarcus Russell, he did help 2 teams get to AFC Championship games. Why are so many giving up on him?
James Walker (4:12 PM)
People haven't completely given up on Mark Sanchez. Jets fans are just tired of waiting. Sanchez is going into his fourth season. Most believe he is what he is at this point -- and that's an average quarterback. Maybe Sanchez makes a solid step forward in his fourth year. But I don't think his ceiling is much higher than what we've already seen.
Are the Pats going to sign Andre Carter? That guy was tearing it up before he got injured. I hear he is pretty much healed from his quad injury... why the delay in signing him?
James Walker (4:14 PM)
The Patriots spent the entire offseason adding pass rushers in free agency and the draft. That doesn't completely rule out Carter. But he's more of a luxury than a need. Carter still has to prove he is 100-percent healthy from his quad injury before the Patriots sign him. It may take an injury or two around the league for Carter to find his next opportunity.
Jacob (Akron, OH)
Any advice on what to expect as a Buffalo Bills fan sitting in the Dogpound at Week 3?
James Walker (4:16 PM)
I covered the Browns for several years in Cleveland, and the Dawgpound can get a little rowdy. However, as long as you're not being too wild, I think you will be ok. Cleveland is not the upper deck in Philadelphia, where opposing fans have to fear for their safety. You may get some verbal barbs, though.
I like the Bills DL but am I crazy to think they are overrated a bit? Mario has 2 double digit sack season in 6 years- he's not bruce Smith and mark Anderson was essentially let go by a Pats team that needs pass rushers. What do you think about the Bills pass rush? I think it will be better but I don't think it will be as good as some think.
James Walker (4:18 PM)
Everything is projection at this point, Chris, because the Bills have yet to take the field. However, individually M. Williams, Darues, K. Williams and Anderson have all done good things. So it's not a stretch to assume they will be a solid group playing on the same team for the first time. I don't think Buffalo has the best DL in the NFL. But the Bills have the potential to be top 3-5.
What are you thought on Welker not signing a new deal?
James Walker (4:21 PM)
Not surprising, Dave. The Patriots have been holding firm on their offer, which is under market value for Welker's production. It's the Patriot way not to budge on contracts. Many feel Welker should have been treated better, but the Patriots have a shrewd way of doing business, and Welker was no exception.
Jennifer Thomas (Florida)
What do you think about Marcus Easley being the #2 WR for Buffalo?
James Walker (4:23 PM)
This is a tough one, Jennifer. Easley has the tools but he's always injured. I don't feel comfortable putting a projection on him until I see production from him on the field. I think Donald Jones has a chance, because of his speed. But Easley physically fits the position better.
Do u think Ridley will have a big year or is he just the best out of what they got?
James Walker (4:26 PM)
I don't anticipate any Patriots RB having a big year for several reasons. First, New England will pass the ball a ton. The Patriots will be passing first to set up the run. Second, New England will go with a committee of players, regardless of who wins the job. Ridley may be the starter, but the starting may only get 15 careers a game. It's hard to put together a 1,000-yard season that way.
Spencer (new york)
Just an A-minus for the Pats offense . . . how can it not be an A. The RB's are a luxury for them, not the focus.
James Walker (4:29 PM)
Well, Spencer, I cited questions at running back and the offense line as reasons not to give them a perfect A. It's a dangerous offense, and one of the best in the NFL. But it's not without any faults. The Patriots could be without their two Pro Bowl guards (Mankins/Waters) to start the season and has the inexperienced Nate Solder replacing Matt Light at left tackle. Plus, who knows what we will see from Ridley, Vereen, Addai, etc. at RB? I think an A- is fair.
Are the Patriots the best team in the entire AFC?
James Walker (4:30 PM)
They should be the preseason favorites, Dave. They are the defending AFC champs, so that has to count for something. But games are won on the field, not on paper.
Gildo (kennett Square PA)
Hey james what your thoughts about Dolphins logo change for next season?
James Walker (4:31 PM)
I think the Dolphins should focus more on improving their personnel than the logo.
#1 & #2 leading recievers for Miami at the end of the year?
James Walker (4:33 PM)
Bess has the most catches. Ochocinco has the most yards.
James, I have seen many Bills season starting very good, but fizzling out after mid-season. Do you think the Bills will have a similar season this year? Starting strong, but injuries soon catching up? Offensively I don't think they match up to the Pats or even the JETS
James Walker (4:35 PM)
The Bills have had that issue in the past. But I think it was a talent and depth question. This is the most talented Bills team they've had in a while, and that should be good enough to sustain over 16 games. Injuries are always the wild card. If key players get hurt, forget everything I just said.
Even though rookies usually have very little impact their 1st season which rookie do you see having the most impact for each team in the AFC EAST this year.Personally I see either martin or egnew having the most impact for my phins this year.
James Walker (4:37 PM)
The Dolphins rookie I've like the most so far is running back Lamar Miller. He will have a chance to carry the ball and make plays in the return game. Martin has struggled at times in camp and Egnew hasn't made many plays. But it's early.
John G. (Charleston, SC)
Prediction time! David Garrard and Matt Moore will both suffer season ending injuries in the preseason. Ryan Tannehill will be the starter Week 1 of the regular season and prove that he was a worthy Top 10 pick by breaking all of Dan "The Man" Marino's records AND go on to win Miami's first superbowl since 1973, all in his first season as the Miami Dolphin's All-Pro, All-Star, Future H.O.F. quarterback... Scratch that prediction and instead make it a Fact that this will happen!
James Walker (4:37 PM)
Homer of the Week?
corners (Bath, Maine)
why do people underestimate the dolphins defense? They have a lot of depth and id argue a better front line than the bills do...proven front line
James Walker (4:38 PM)
I don't think the Dolphins' D is underrated. If anything, they are a bit overrated.
How long will we see Tebow starting for the Jets. I cannot imagine Sanchise lasting long with his up and down track record.
James Walker (4:41 PM)
Most are projecting the first half of the season. New York has a tough first five games, and if Sanchez survives that, he will probably make it through the entire year.
Do you see the bills offense returning to the same form it had in the first half of the 2011 season?
James Walker (4:42 PM)
A lot depends on Fred Jackson. Buffalo was at its best when Jackson was healthy and running the ball. Opponents did catch up to Buffalo's offense to some degree later in the season. But injuries had a lot to do with it.
Mark (Ballston Spa, NY)
Any idea when you are going to be at the AFC East training camps this year?
James Walker (4:44 PM)
Yes. I am starting in Miami because it's home and the Dolphins are on Hard Knocks. From there, I'm going to Buffalo, New York and finally the Patriots. I'm not sure yet about what preseason games I will cover, but I'm sure I will be doing Miami's two home games.
James Walker (4:45 PM)
BTW, it's not official, but I'm pretty sure I'm cover Bills at Jets in Week 1. Big division game to kick off the season.
Hi James. Do you see Tannehill projecting to be a "better" QB sitting on the bench this year for Miami?
James Walker (4:49 PM)
Playing always makes you better. But Tannehill won't have that luxury after the preseason. He has two veterans behind him. I don't see him on the field until late in the season if things go poorly.
Ryan T. (Miami)
Will i be the one that steers Miami to its first superbowl since the Shula days?
James Walker (4:50 PM)
Well, Ryan, you first have to get up to speed on the NFL game. From what I've seen, you have a ways to go in that area. I think the 19 career starts in college really showed in offseason workouts. Training camp and the preseason will be big learning tools. It's baby steps at this stage.
how can you say miami D is overratted when you projecte bills D to be top 3- 5 before theyve even taken the field. oh and Miami already played in the 4-3 last year, a hybrid D a lot like this year
James Walker (4:52 PM)
I mentioned the Bills' DL to be top 3-5, not the entire defense. As far as Miami, they get credit as thought they were a top-5 unit last year and they were ranked No. 15. I like Miami's defense, but it gets too much credit.
Brandon (Lockport, NY)
Any thoughts on the league-wide rash of NFL player arrests and accusations?
James Walker (4:55 PM)
This is the slow time of year when players have nothing to do. Coaches around the league are nervous right now, because they can't wait to get them all back in the facility and back to work without incident.
Do you think the Pats made a mistake by not locking up welker to a contract before July 16?
James Walker (4:57 PM)
I understand New England's thought process. Welker is 31 and they didn't want to sign him to a long-term extension. It's a shrewd business move, but for all that Welker has done for the Patriots, you would think they would've been more open about an extension.
I have been hearing how Jeff Ireland has been vindicated with Dez Bryant's latest arrest. Don't you think the same can be said about Buddy Nix and Marshawn Lynch? Gosh, what horrible wastes of talent on bad decisions.
James Walker (5:00 PM)
Character does play a huge role in the NFL. That is why teams do so much homework on it before the draft. Roger Goodell rules with an iron fist, and if a player is in trouble too often, he won't be on the field. Talent doesn't matter when you can't play. No one can deny Bryant and Lynch's skills on the field. But issues off the field make you question if it's worth the hassle.
James Walker (5:01 PM)
Thank you everyone for the great questions. Remember to check the AFC East blog throughout the day for constant updates. See you next week!