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)
Welcome to the AFC East chat. I just returned home from Dolphins' OTAs. So I'm sure there will be a lot of questions about that. Let's begin.
Zach [via mobile]
How do you think the dolphins looked today overall has a whole team? I know it's otas
James Walker (4:02 PM)
I tend to focus more on individual performances this time of year than the whole team, Zach. There are about 90 players on each team, so about 40 are not going to be Miami Dolphins come September. But one thing I noticed is the team definitely has more talent. I saw more big plays on offense, and more athletic plays on defense than I saw last year. I think that will show on the field this season.
Did one of the veteran conerbacks on Miami's roster from last season look like they had an edge to land the starting corner job opposite of Grimes?
James Walker (4:04 PM)
For what it's worth, Richard Marshall got most of the work with the first team today. Dimitri Patterson was on the second team. But it's only may. Joe Philbin said the competition is "wide open" at CB. I think Grimes, if healthy, is the only sure CB in the starting lineup.
James Walker (4:05 PM)
By the way, Brent Grimes was impressive today. He could be a good addition if he stays healthy.
Candy (Slippery Rock)
Hi James, how do you think this Reshad Jones thing will play out?
James Walker (4:06 PM)
Tough question, Candy, and thanks for consistently visiting the AFC East chat. I hope you read the blog, as well. Jones spoke to the media today and had his poker face on. He said he wanted to just focus on football and refused to discuss the contract. So I'm not sure where his head is right now.
James Walker (4:07 PM)
Jones is in the final year of his contract and wants security. However, Miami just spent a boatload of money on other players and still may have to do something with Randy Starks, who has the franchise tag. I'm not sure there's enough money to go around to both Starks and Jones.
Derrick (Garden City)
Hi James, how do you think the carries will be distributed between Lamar Miller, Daniel Thomas, and Mike Gillislee?
James Walker (4:08 PM)
I expect the starter to get about 200 carries this season. It will probably be Miller. Thomas and Gillislee will fight for the remaining carries. Between the three, I think Miami may have a group that will be better than advertised.
Mike Ho (Hong Kong)
Hello James, what do you think the biggest concern for the Dolphins heading into camp is?
James Walker (4:09 PM)
Mike, I would say LT. Jonathan Martin looked noticeable bigger today, but I'm still not sure he's a franchise left tackle. It's good that Martin is putting the work in the weight room because he needs it. His strength and balance weren't great last year. Martin is one of the biggest keys to Miami being successful this year.
Brandon (Wilkes Barre)
Which running back looked the best today?
James Walker (4:12 PM)
Hard to say in shorts, Brandon. Running back is one of the hardest positions to gauge with no contact. I did watch the passing drills very closely, though, and I was surprised that Daniel Thomas caught the ball pretty well. Miami barely used him in that capacity last season.
Matt Moore (KC, MO)
What are the odds Geno sits a year and watches Sanchez improve the Jets 2014 draft position?
James Walker (4:14 PM)
It's 50-50 at this point, Matt. The Jets supposed four-man race is really down to two now that David Garrard retired. Mark Sanchez and Geno Smith will battle it out and the best QB will win this summer. At the very least, Smith will probably play later in the year or next year.
Brendan (New Jersey)
What was the starting linebacking core for today? Dannell Ellerbe, Philip Wheeler, and Koa Misi?
James Walker (4:15 PM)
You got it, Brendan. That was the first team LBs on defense today. Very athletic group and better in coverage from what I saw today.
Do you think EJ Manuel starts week one?
James Walker (4:17 PM)
EJ Manuel has a lot to learn, Jill. I think he has many of the physical attributes you look for in today's QB. But he wasn't able to always put it together in college. Manuel has to be coached up.
James Walker (4:18 PM)
I would say Kevin Kolb is the favorite right now, in May. But I reserve the right to change my mind if I see rapid strides by Manuel in August.
Frank (Ft.Lauderdale ,FL)
I know this is only OTA's but which side of the ball looked most improved?
James Walker (4:19 PM)
It's just one practice in May, Dolphins fans. So I wouldn't get too excited. But from what I saw the wide receivers looked really impressive compared to last year. Ryan Tannehill connected on several deep throws of 20 yards or more. I barely saw that last year with his WRs.
Brendan (New Jersey)
Who started on the first team today at right guard for the Dolphins first day of OTA's? John Jerry or Lance Louis?
James Walker (4:21 PM)
John Jerry started at RG, but players rotated throughout practice. It's still open. From right to left, the first team O-line was Clabo, Jerry, Pouncey, Incognito, Martin.
Sarah (Tallahassee )
What makes the people in Buffalo think EJ will improve? I mean he didn't improve one bit in the last four years here...
James Walker (4:23 PM)
That's was my point earlier about EJ Manuel not consistently putting it all together in college. I can see why the Bills fell in love with him. He's big, athletic, has a solid arm and high character. However, a player with those traits should consistently dominate in college and Manuel did not. It will be up to the Bills to coach him up and get the best out of him at all times.
Nolis (Bayonne, NJ)
Do yu see the Jets cutting Goodson and going after another rb?
James Walker (4:27 PM)
The Jets say they are going to continue fact-finding before making a decision. If Jets GM John Idzik wants to set a tone in his locker room, this is an opportunity, especially since the team could use Goodson on the field.
Eli (Egypt )
Do you think the Fins can win 13 games this year?
James Walker (4:28 PM)
I'm not ready to make predictions until I at least see all four teams in training camp and the preseason. But that number seems high.
Kate (Daytona Beach)
Which team in the east has the most worrisome receiver corps?
James Walker (4:32 PM)
I would probably say the Jets or Patriots are pretty close. New England has a lot of new parts at WR, and not all will establish chemistry. The Jets have a couple players who have produced in New York with Santonio Holmes and Jeremy Kerley. But overall the group is average.
James Walker (4:32 PM)
Of course, it makes a huge difference when Tom Brady is throwing the football vs. Mark Sanchez.
Sharqwan (Atlanta, GA)
JW should B'lo be more concerned with getting Eric Wood an extension or Jarius Byrd? Both are anchors for that team but seems like Byrd might stretch this thing out a bit for more greenbacks
James Walker (4:34 PM)
Definitely Byrd, Sharqwan. He's not happy with the franchise tag and there's always a chance of a holdout in training camp. Wood is under contract and there's no potential for a dispute. And I just think Byrd is a better player.
I want to see the superbowl played outside in some weather! What do you think of this?
James Walker (4:36 PM)
You will get your chance, Carrie. MetLife Stadium in New Jersey will host the Super Bowl in February. The Jets have a chance to be the home team in the big game, but I predict that won't happen.
James Walker (4:37 PM)
See? You're asking for May predictions and I just provided one: The Jets won't play in the Super Bowl at MetLife Stadium in February.
Andrew (New York)
Made it home from work in time for some Chat today! Just caught up. Any under-the-radar surprises (other than Binns) you saw with Miami's OTA's today? A player who you weren't really looking for but caught your eye?
James Walker (4:39 PM)
It's not really under the radar, but I thought LB Philip Wheeler looked pretty good today. He ran really well and covered TEs and slot WRs today. I can see why the Dolphins wanted to get faster at LB with Wheeler and Ellerbe.
A lot of attention for the Bills has been on E.J. My concern as a Bills fan is a new head coach who has never been a head coach in the NFL. What do you see as his biggest challenge moving from college to the pros? Do you think he can handle it?
James Walker (4:41 PM)
The biggest challenge is handling the personalities. These are not college kids. These are rich, NFL players and many of them make more money than the coach. Some college coaches can't adjust to that and quickly lose a locker room. Everything I'm hearing from Marrone so far is he's doing a good job handling NFL players. It's early, so we will see.
Your not a Fantasy football guy - but Better to take Mike Wallace or Stevie Johnson next season ?
James Walker (4:42 PM)
Any TE's standout besides Keller?
James Walker (4:43 PM)
Michael Egnew got more reps than I thought he would. He actually showed a couple signs of life, which is more than he showed all year. I wouldn't say he stood out in practice. But Egnew made a play or two, which is progress for him.
Sturgis vs Carpenter .... will that come down to Pre-season stats or is that Carpenters position to lose
James Walker (4:46 PM)
It's a legit competition, no doubt. Carpenter is the favorite, but his salary also makes him expendable. Sturgis will only make a fraction of Carpenter's salary this year. So if both kickers are equal, I think the rookie will be the favorite.
So since the Pats' receiving corps are so "worrisome" they'll clinch the division around Thanksgiving instead of Halloween?
James Walker (4:47 PM)
A little early trash-talking I see. There is plenty of time for that in the blog, Doug.
Chris (Boston, Ma)
Who will have a better season, Lamar Miller or Mike Goodson?
James Walker (4:49 PM)
Are you serious? We don't even know if Goodson will be with the Jets this year.
Is Jonathan Martin ready to step up and protect Tannehill's blind side?
James Walker (4:51 PM)
I took a close look at Martin, because I wanted to see how much weight he put on in the weight room. Martin did look noticeably bigger. But he had a long way to go, so I'm not sure if that's strong enough against the premiere DEs and OLBs in the NFL.
Has Ridley fully recovered from the hit he took in the playoffs?
James Walker (4:53 PM)
Yes, Stevan Ridley says he's fine. That was a brutal hit by former Baltimore Ravens safety Bernard Pollard. Otherwise, Ridley had a strong year.
What team has the best running back in the AFCE?
James Walker (4:54 PM)
I like Buffalo's tandem of CJ Spiller and Fred Jackson. Chan Gailey just didn't know how to use them properly. Maybe Doug Marrone will learn from those mistakes.
You stated Hartline was catching punts for Miami and has no experience doing so in his previous 4 years. Is the return game an area Miami has overlooked?
James Walker (4:57 PM)
The Dolphins have a solid kickoff returner in Thigpen. They just didn't do anything to address the punt return when the Dolphins let go of Reggie Bush and traded Davone Bess. I'm sure they can find someone to field punts. I'm just not sure why Miami would use a starting WR.
I am a long suffering Jets fan. Will we ever be decent again?
James Walker (4:59 PM)
It won't be this year, Zolty. The Jets are in for a harsh rebuild, so you have to take the punches this year. But NY made it to back-to-back AFC title games in 2009 and 2010. You haven't had it that rough. Bills fans haven't even made the playoffs since 1999. That's having it rough.
James Walker (5:00 PM)
Thank you, everyone, for the great questions. Remember to read the AFC East blog for all the latest updates on the division.