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 our NFL chat. There's a lot to talk about. So let's get right to it.
Do the Dolphins have any trade bait available on the roster to try one for a upgrade at the TE position?
James Walker (4:02 PM)
The Dolphins have some backups and depth at certain positions such as the defensive line. But the good teams are able to plug gaps with their own depth, as oppose to weakening other positions. The Dolphins should look in-house first.
James Walker (4:03 PM)
Dolphins GM Jeff Ireland drafted TEs three straight years in Dion Sims (2013), Michael Egnew (2012) and Charles Clay (2011). If Ireland and his staff are worth their salt, they should've gotten at least one of these three picks correct. This is a good test for the front office.
Shawn (Jamestown, NY) [via mobile]
Has the recent play of the Bills changed your view.of them possibly having a chance at winning the divison or even going ahead of Miami?
James Walker (4:05 PM)
Not really. I don't value team performance all that much this time of year. I could care less if an NFL team goes 4-0 in the preseason. Usually that means some rookie head coach is showing all his stuff too early for other teams to scout before the regular season.
James Walker (4:06 PM)
My preseason picks are (1) Patriots, (2) Dolphins, (3) Bills, (4) Jets. I have about two weeks to change my mind. But this is firm.
Todd (right here right now)
Does EJ start week 1.
James Walker (4:08 PM)
That will be up to the Bills' coaching staff. But I think it would be very risky to play a rookie who has missed a good portion of the preseason. I'm not a big Kevin Kolb guy. I never viewed him as a franchise QB. But he's getting all the work and developing a rapport with the receivers. To switch that in Week 1 could be risky, especially against a veteran team like the Patriots.
James Walker (4:10 PM)
BTW, I like that Patriots-Bills matchup in Week 1. This is a good chance for Buffalo to make a statement at home. I think the Patriots will get better as the season goes on.
Can Dion Sims fill the void of Dustin Keller? Charles Clay has had flashes during his tenure but he is not the type of guy that you gameplan around. You have said that Sims has been a pleasant surprise during camp, I'm wondering how much of a surprise.
James Walker (4:12 PM)
I like some of the things I've seen from Dion Sims. But I'm not sure it's realistic to put that much on his plate so soon. He joined the team with the reputation as a blocking/second tight end. It may be too fast the thrust the rookie into the Dustin Keller's role before Sims' first regular-season game. I expect Clay to get the first shot.
James Walker (4:13 PM)
The disappointment has been Michael Egnew. He's had more than a year to learn and develop. This would have been a golden opportunity for him to step up if he was ready. Egnew probably makes the team now. But he should've been further along by now.
Jon (houston) [via mobile]
Hey jw, what do you think geno will need to do saturday night vs the giants to win the QB job?
James Walker (4:15 PM)
Geno Smith is behind at this point, and I don't think he will catch up -- at least before Week 1. Smith could not afford an injury and missed preseason game. Unless Smith really lights it up, I think Mark Sanchez starts against Tampa Bay. But Sanchez will be on a short leash all season.
Rich (New Jersey)
Hi Jim, If Tom Brady stays healthy, how many years does he have left and how many Super Bowl trophies will he win?
James Walker (4:18 PM)
Brady says he wants to play until he's 40. So that's four more years if it's up to him. But injuries and health are always a concern. Brady got hit in the knee the other day, for example, and Patriot Nation was really worried. I expect Brady to play this year and next year for sure. But anything beyond that is just guess. As far as Super Bowls, I don't see New England winning it this year. The team isn't as strong as last year's team, which lost in the AFC title game.
james (new york) [via mobile]
Are the back up Lt's for Miami significantly worse than J. Martin? I'm not so sure.
James Walker (4:21 PM)
Jonathan Martin has not had a bad preseason. He's made a few mistakes but overall I would say he's steady. Let's see if that holds in the regular season.
James Walker (4:21 PM)
And you do not want to see Miami's backup offensive tackles. Did you watch QB Matt Moore get sacked four times in last weekend's preseason game?
To be slept on
James Walker (4:23 PM)
Not in Week 1. The Dolphins better be prepared to face a motivated team in Cleveland's home opener.
In lieu of the Dustin Keller injury, there has been some debate about the way the NFL is handling the safety aspect in regards to blows to the head. Ditka, Johnson (Keyshawn), and many others have stated that low hits are more dangerous for a player and that having players aim low is causing more injuries in the short term. What are your thoughts?
James Walker (4:25 PM)
There's no easy answer to this one, Chris. The NFL is taking a hard stance on head injuries and it's understandable. There's no surgery to fix a damaged brain. But defensive players are going to go low now to avoid fines and suspensions. That will result in more leg and knee injuries. I'm not sure there's a 100-percent correct answer.
Do you see the Dolphins Keeping a full back on the final roster?
James Walker (4:26 PM)
At first that was a question. But now I think it's Evan Rodriguez or Jorvorskie Lane make the roster. Charles Clay will be spending a lot of time now at tight end to try to fill in for the loss of Dustin Keller.
Is it just me or is Samuda going to get Tannehill killed?
James Walker (4:28 PM)
Josh Samuda needs to work on his pass blocking. His run blocking is actually solid. John Jerry will get back in the mix at RG soon now that he's getting healthy. Samuda would be the backup G/C once Jerry is 100 percent.
Wittkopp ( allentown ,pa ) [via mobile]
Have the Bills Done enough to convince teams their changing their culture?
James Walker (4:30 PM)
The only way to do that is to have a winning season and make the playoffs. Until then, most on the outside will view it as the same old Bills, who have the NFL's longest streak of missing the playoffs.
I feel like we havent seen a whole lot of the dolphins first team defense. In your mind, is that strictly because of backups needing to come in and compete, or do you think it could also be that the coaches already can gauge what these guys can do
James Walker (4:32 PM)
You're right. The coaching staff has limited the snaps on defense, especially last week. My theory is there's a lot of depth on that side of the ball and the coaches want to see the backups, especially in the secondary and defensive line. Many of those players are fighting for roster spots.
Why cant Miami get going on offense until the 3rd or 4th series? They will never challenge NE if they cant get off to a faster start.
James Walker (4:35 PM)
That's been a point of emphasis the past week or so. Dolphins head coach Joe Philbin is not happy about it. One reason I think is due to Miami playing on the road in all three preseason games. Let's see if the offense is able to get going early at home on Saturday.
James Walker (4:36 PM)
I stopped reading when you listed the Jets at No. 2.
Dolphins already miss reggie bush...
James Walker (4:38 PM)
I don't agree with that. Miami's running backs have done pretty well in limited time.
Hi James!, Is there any chance that Miami signs another LT? Dallas Thomas and J. Martin have struggled a lot! Thanks and greetings from Mexico!
James Walker (4:39 PM)
Thanks for the love from Mexico. I was recently told by some reporters from Mexico that the Dallas Cowboys, Pittsburgh Steelers and Miami Dolphins have some of the biggest followings there. I think Miami is happy at LT as long as Martin stays healthy. He's not elite, but he's been decent so far. If Martin gets injured, Miami is in trouble.
Joey Kirkland (NE)
What's your opinion on Brady's performance this past Friday with his new offensive weapons?
James Walker (4:41 PM)
Tom Brady looks good, as usual. Brady's performance is the last thing I'm worried about. He must stay healthy and his young weapons need to stay ready.
should tim tebow be # 2 on the qb deth chart
James Walker (4:46 PM)
Tebow is not a better QB than Ryan Mallet, Spencer. If Tebow makes the roster, it will be due to his versatility.
Would you agree that Dee Miliner has been pretty underwhelming so far?
James Walker (4:47 PM)
I thought I would see more from Milliner so far. But he is a rookie and CB is a difficult position to play. The tough thing for Milliner is he's replacing Darrelle Revis. So there's already certain expectations on him that he probably can't match.
With as scary as Miami's OL has looked, i think id like to see Sims out there more if he is the better blocker, what do u think?
James Walker (4:51 PM)
Interesting point. Sims is the best blocking TE Miami has, even when Dustin Keller was healthy. But the Dolphins want more receptions from that position, which is why they signed Keller in free agency. We saw what the passing offense looked like with Anthony Fasano at TE last year. It wasn't dynamic. Sims needs to improve as a receiving TE.
Which Patriot is more likely to pick up the slack in the short and intermediate passing game - Amendola or Sudfeld?
James Walker (4:53 PM)
Amendola. If he stays healthy Amendola can have a big year.
Hi James, how would you rate the B Grimes acquisition... some say it was a steal, other are skeptical because of the type of injury he's coming back from. How would you rate his play and does his skill set translate to the Dolfin's scheme?
James Walker (4:55 PM)
From what I've seen, it could be the biggest steal the Dolphins made this offseason. Grimes has looked solid, but he must stay healthy. That's the key.
Malik (Los Angeles)
If the JEts finish under 500 is Rex Ryan gone?
James Walker (4:57 PM)
It's no secret this is a big year for Rex Ryan. He hasn't had a winning season the past two years. The Jets aren't going to put a magic number on it. But a third straight season without the playoffs or a winning record won't be a good sign.
Is there a real neck to neck running back race for the starting position in Miami?
James Walker (5:00 PM)
I don't see it, J. Miami says it's an open competition. But the hope is that Lamar Miller gets to Week 1 healthy. I don't like that the Dolphins are "babying" Miller with just nine preseason carries in three games. Maybe he gets more work on Saturday.
James Walker (5:00 PM)
Thank you everyone for the great question. Remember to read the AFC East blog and follow me on Twitter @JamesWalkerNFL.