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 3 p.m. ET!
James Walker (3:00 PM)
Welcome to our latest chat. There's plenty to talk about, so let's begin.
Peter (New Jersey)
What is your take on the next three games for the Dolphins? (@NO,vsBAL,vsBUF)
James Walker (3:02 PM)
Good question, Peter. In the preseason I talked a lot about the first five games and how that should be Miami's focus. The Dolphins have done a terrific job at 3-0. The worst they can finish is 3-2 before the bye, and I think that's very good for Miami. The Dolphins are playing with house money right now. If they beat New Orleans and/or the Ravens, I would consider that a bonus.
Do you think the Miami o line can improve this season or will it need an offseason overhaul?
James Walker (3:03 PM)
ESPN.com readers know I'm not high on Miami's offensive line. I've been pointing this out as a weakness since OTAs, and it still baffles me why the Dolphins didn't do anything significant this offseason to that unit. To some degree the offensive line can play better. But this is an average group, and I think you're going to get average results most weeks.
Rich (New Jersey)
Hi Jim, Dolphins 3-0 start given Miami enough confidence to carry them to an 8-8 or better season with possible playoff berth?
James Walker (3:07 PM)
I think it's a shoe-in Miami can finish at least 8-8. That's probably the floor at this point after a 3-0 start. The key will be reaching their ceiling, which is probably 10 wins and a playoff berth. The Dolphins have potential if things go right for them.
Candy (Slippery Rock)
James, do you think Charles Clay will remain a big part of the Dolphins O for the rest of the season or will Sims start playing more?
James Walker (3:08 PM)
I expect both players to remain in their roles, Candy. Clay is the most experienced and the TE the coaching staff trusts the most. Dion Sims has the most potential as a dual receiving and blocking tight end. But he needs more time to get used to the NFL game.
Adrian Carlsbad Ca [via mobile]
James do you think there will be more emphasis on running the ball this week to try and keep Brees and a wounded Dolphin defense off the field?
James Walker (3:12 PM)
Yes, Adrian. The running game needs to be fixed, and this has been a weakness for the Dolphins. Miami is ranked 28th in rushing, which is not the kind of results the team wants. The Dolphins expected to be a better rushing team, but it's a long team. Fortunately for the Dolphins, quarterback Ryan Tannehill has been ready to step up in the passing game.
Michael (Virginia beach)
do you think the dolphins can keep up this undefeated record? or who do you think they'll fall too?
James Walker (3:13 PM)
I make game-by-game predictions on the Dolphins later in the week, Michael. So stay tuned. I'm 3-0 so far picking games. I know where I'm leaning this week. But I'm going to wait a few more days to get clarity on injuries.
L. Miller gonna hold/take the job especially with his potential in the passing game or RBBC all year long?
James Walker (3:16 PM)
Lamar Miller has been the starting running back for the Dolphins. But when you look at snaps, Miller and Daniel Thomas have been used equally. Each player has different traits and neither really has the hot hand. So Miami's coaches are splitting up the opportunities.
Tannehill pretty legit huh? I'm not saying Marino, but safe to say at this point they finally found a franchise QB? I loved that last drive against the Falcons, showed a lot there. What do you make of his poise?
James Walker (3:17 PM)
Ryan Tannehill is showing more and more each week. I always liked his potential, but I'm starting to see it all come together on the field. The Dolphins haven't had this kind of potential at quarterback since Dan Marino. Barring injury, I expect Tannehill to only get better.
do the dolphins regret letting jake long go? could have used him this year.
James Walker (3:18 PM)
Jake Long's body was breaking down and he wasn't worth the price tag he commanded in free agency. I don't have a problem with Miami not re-signing him from a business standpoint.
Will [via mobile]
Will we start seeing more double tight end sets to protect tannehill or is egbew and sims blocking too weak for this? Sims on the tannehill fumble was pathetic
James Walker (3:20 PM)
The Dolphins need to do more in pass protection, no doubt about it. It's not just the offensive line or tight ends or running backs. Everyone needs to get on the same page.
Will [via mobile]
One of Ireland's most underrated moves... Caleb sturgis. Where would you rank him among kickers in the league?
James Walker (3:21 PM)
Ranking kickers is not something I spend time thinking about during the week, Will. But Sturgis has been money. He hasn't missed a kick yet and most of them have been from 40 yards or more. His kickoffs are also strong. He's a good weapon for the Dolphins.
Do you give the Jets any shot at the playoffs?
James Walker (3:24 PM)
I don't see it, Alex. The Jets beat the Buffalo Bills and Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Those are bottom-feeder teams. Let's see if the Jets can beat some of the good teams on their schedule before predicting the playoffs.
Hello James, I'm sure your tune is changing about the dolphins. They are 3-0 and I don't even think they have looked sharp yet. How good can this team be? I don't think the Pats will be a problem for them.
James Walker (3:25 PM)
The Dolphins and Patriots are the best two teams in the division. However, New England remains the favorite until proven otherwise. I said before the season that Miami's ceiling is 10-6. I still stand by that if most things go well.
jordan fl [via mobile]
where would you rank brent grimes play thus far? also how will he match up against colston this week.
James Walker (3:28 PM)
Brent Grimes is playing terrific football. One of the things that stood out to me was how little Atlanta threw his way. That is respect. It also means Nolan Carroll must step up his game. There's a big drop off from one cornerback to the other.
What the status of Miami CBs for this week? Things didn't look great vs Atlanta last week. Need to step up vs Drew Brees.
James Walker (3:30 PM)
The Dolphins worked out six defensive backs this week, which is very telling. The Dolphins won't say, but it doesn't appear Dimitri Patterson is healing as fast as the team thought. Nolan Carroll plays hard, but he's not a stud at CB.
mike, orlando [via mobile]
Do you think with Cameron wake will get an extension on his contract? Or do you think jordan and vernon are the pass rushers of the future?
James Walker (3:33 PM)
Cameron Wake just got an extension last year, Mike. He's there for the next few years.
do you only cover the dolphins now? also, why doesn't each team's reporter have chats?
James Walker (3:38 PM)
Yes, Jeremy. I only cover the Dolphins. ESPN.com has expanded to cover all 32 teams to bring the most comprehensive coverage anywhere. I am based in Miami. Check out all the team pages, Jeremy.
michael (virginia beach)
what are thoughts on mike wallace with miami? seeing how he barely did anything this past game
James Walker (3:39 PM)
Mike Wallace had a great Week 2 against the Colts. But he didn't get many targets in Week 1 and Week 3. I think this is more on the coaching staff than anything. It's up to them to find creative ways to get Wallace the football. The Indy game was a good example of that.
Jeremy NC [via mobile]
Offensive line is average at very best. Poor pass protection needs to be blamed on several people but the line REALLY needs help. Are there some free agents available that would upgrade us? If so why are we not moving for them?
James Walker (3:41 PM)
The Dolphins can't sign everybody, Jeremy. This isn't fantasy football. Miami already spent more than $200 million in total value of contracts in free agency. There aren't just big-name guys on the street waiting for the phone to ring.
Greg (via mobile) [via mobile]
So far the Dolphins have dominated the forth quarter. How much do you credit this to Philbins policy of Thursdays off, and do you think other teams will start doing the same if the Dolphins continue to win the late game?
James Walker (3:43 PM)
It has something to do with it, at least that's what players told me. I'm not sure if other teams will copy. Coaches like their routines.
jason miami [via mobile]
When do you think miami is going to take some shots deep with wallace and take advantage of his 4.3 speed?
James Walker (3:45 PM)
This week would be a good time. But the pass protection isn't very good. The offensive line, running backs, etc. are doing enough to allow Mike Wallace to run deep.
Alex (Sanibel, FL)
I know in your early articles you worried about injuries and the dolphins depth and ability to sustain a level of play without key pieces. Well three games in, Wake, Solia, Patterson, Ellerbe and Misi are already injured. How can the Dolphins plug these holes moving forward and how big of a concern should it be?
James Walker (3:47 PM)
I have another post coming up on the topic later today, Alex. It is a big concern, especially playing against the high-powered offense of the Saints. This would be a good week to have all your players healthy.
after 3 games, how has jonathan martin looked at LT relative to your preseason expectatons?
James Walker (3:48 PM)
In relative to my expectations, I think he's been fine. Not great, but also not bad.
Harry (Babylon, NY)
Do you think it will be helpful or hurtful for Miami to play 4 of their last 5 games against divisional opponents?
James Walker (3:52 PM)
I always prefer division games spread out. But Miami may need these games late in the year for tiebreakers, etc. The Dolphins have to play well and win them either way.
Is it possible the RB are making the OL look worse than they are? Have seen MANY missed blocks by the RB's. I like that penalties are not hurting the OL.
James Walker (3:55 PM)
It's both, Tim. Miami's offensive line isn't getting a lot of push on running plays. Personally, I don't think the zone-blocking scheme fits their personnel, especially at guard. But the running backs also aren't running through tackles often. Plenty needs to be fixed. That's why Miami is 28th in rushing.
Alex (Chicago, IL)
Hey James! After the first three games, what or who has surprised you most about this team?
James Walker (3:57 PM)
I think Miami's performances in the second half. The Dolphins are outscoring opponents 41-16 in the third and fourth quarters, which is a big reason why they are 3-0.
Hey James,What did you think about Simms' reaction to catching that go-ahead TD? He seemed very cool and collect like if he had done this 100 times before.
James Walker (3:59 PM)
Dion Sims was cool about it. But in the locker room after the game you could still see he was in awe of the moment. His first NFL catch is a game-winning touchdown. On top of that, it was one-handed. It doesn't get much better than that for a rookie.
James Walker (4:00 PM)
Thanks again for the great questions, everyone. Remember to check out the Dolphins team page on ESPN.com throughout the week for all the latest. You can also talk to me via Twitter @JamesWalkerNFL.