Saturday, March 24, 2012
Walker's weekend mailbag: More Tebow!
By James Walker
The Tim Tebow trade was the biggest news in the AFC East this week. Let's see what's in our division inbox:
Matthew McBride from Va., writes: I'm reading a lot of articles and hearing a lot of buzz about how Tim Tebow will overtake Mark Sanchez for the starting position sometime during the season. Do you actually this this is a possibility at all?
James Walker: It’s not what the Jets are planning, but it’s certainly not out of the realm of possibility. Sanchez is coming off a bad season, and his leash did get shorter with Tebow. He cannot have three bad games in a row, similar to last season, or there will be immense fan pressure. Injury is always a possibility, as well. What if Sanchez gets hurt and the Jets get rolling under Tebow?
TBK from New York, N.Y., writes: Do you think the Jets can also use Tim Tebow as a tight end?
Walker: There’s been talk around the league that tight end or H-back could be a future position for Tebow. But that’s not his immediate future. Tebow will be the No. 2 quarterback, and Wildcat quarterback. Maybe later in his career a position change could be in the works.
John Borgese from Valley Stream, N.Y., writes: Question: If the Jets are in need of a safety with good coverage skills, why not sign a good sized cornerback and convert them to safety?
Walker: It’s not as easy as it sounds, John. There are some great ones, like Hall of Famer Rod Woodson, who make it look seamless. But not just any corner can go back there and feel comfortable. It’s a different mindset and different view of the game. You go from watching your man, your island, to having to patrol the entire field.
Connor from Omaha, Neb., writes: What are your thoughts on Matt Moore possibly being to go to guy all along now that Peyton Manning and Matt Flynn fell through?
Walker: Connor, AFC East blog readers know I’m not a huge Matt Moore guy. But apparently I’m higher on Moore than the Dolphins' front office. They looked into every conceivable opportunity to replace Moore and came up with David Garrard, who will compete with Moore in training camp. I was fine with Manning and Flynn coming in. But when the Dolphins started considering Alex Smith and eventually Garrard, that’s when it become clear the front office doesn’t think enough of Moore to outright give him the job going into the season.
Carl Cassidy from Huntington Beach, Calif., writes: Do you see any possibility of Garrard coming back to his 2009 pro-bowl form this year for the Dolphins?
Walker: It’s highly doubtful, Carl. No one can say for sure, because we haven’t seen Garrard play since 2010. We don’t know what’s left in the tank. But he is 34, and his best years are clearly behind him. It’s way too early to talk about the Pro Bowl. Garrard’s sole focus should be on learning the offense and preparing to beat out Moore.
James from Amsterdam wants to know if this is the best Buffalo Bills offseason of all-time?
Walker: Interesting question, James. It’s still very early. Maybe we should wait until the draft is over. But it is fair to say Mario Williams is the biggest and probably best free-agent signing in Bills history. But we have to wait to see how he performs on the field.
Warren King from Lackawanna, N.Y. writes: Who is more likely to get picked by Buffalo in the draft: Courtney Upshaw or one of those two left tackles?
Walker: In terms of need, Buffalo should get one of the top left tackles. Iowa offensive tackle Riley Reiff could be available at No 10. Quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick needs blind-side protection. The Bills have already done a lot to help the defense.
Bill from Villanova writes: What do you think about the possibility of New England Patriots RFA quarterback Brian Hoyer taking his talents to South Beach?
Walker: The Patriots do not need anymore picks in the first two rounds, Bill. It’s not happening.
Stuart Kelly from Scotland writes: With the Patriots looking stacked on offense, do you think they will focus heavily on defense in the upcoming draft?
Walker: Absolutely, Stuart. The Patriots appear to have a clearly defined offseason game plan. They beefed up their wide receivers, but the draft is where I really see the Patriots making their move defensively. This is a good year for defense in the draft, particularly defensive line and the secondary, which is where New England needs the most help. I think New England will spend at least three of its four picks on defense in the first two rounds.
Joe from Pennsylvania writes: Are the Pats really that far ahead of everyone else in the division? They did only beat 1 team with a winning record this past season.
Walker: But every team in the AFC East had a losing record. The Patriots are not only good, but the rest of the division was mediocre. It says just as much about New England’s rivals trying to play catch-up. They have a long way to go. Who’s No. 2? That’s debatable. Right now it looks like the Jets and Bills will battle it out for second place.
Comment and complaint department
Roman Gabriel III from North Carolina writes: James, you are exactly right: It is up to Sanchez. It’s time he earn the confidence the Jets gave him with the extension. But this is the NFL. They also brought Tebow in to develop as a overall QB. Rex Ryan wants competition, and we will see if Sanchez has the mental fortitude and heart to play like his life depends upon it. Because the NFL is about one thing: winning. And Tim Tebow knows how to do that, and he will work his butt off to be the best he can be every time he steps foot in that complex.
Walker: Thanks, Roman. I think we’re going to learn more about Sanchez with this trade than Tebow. We pretty much know who Tebow is. He’s a very hard worker who gets the best out of his abilities. Some of those abilities, such as throwing, are limited. But you know he’s going to bring it every time, and it’s often resulted in winning. Do we really know Sanchez? Do we know if he will be pushed to be a better quarterback? We will see how Sanchez responds.
Jon from Kentucky writes: When is this going to go back to being the AFC East blog rather than the Tim Tebow blog? Eighteen of your last 22 posts have centered around the Jets acquiring the backup quarterback! I like the guy, but this is too much!
Walker: Blame the Jets. Just kidding, Jon. At times, that will just be the nature of the blog when something big happens. Many in our community complained when the Patriots dominated the blog for two weeks after making the Super Bowl. If the Miami Dolphins acquired Peyton Manning, that would have saturated the blog. I know Tebow is a lightning rod. There are a lot of people who like Tebow and dislike Tebow. Either way, it is a big story.
Sean from New York City writes: Why is this sorry team (Miami) has not been the same since new ownership took over. It is bad when you have part or partial owners who are movie stars and signers with no experience in football and putting a team together and even if you don't have the experience at least find the right person to advise and help build a winning team. Mat Flynn was the best option for them and they allowed him to get away, unless they can trade and pay up for RGIII or Andrew Luck. I am so sad for them, I am just glad Jason Taylor is gone.
Chris Richards from Madison, N.C., writes: Miami looks like they haven't got a clue how to run a team as of late. Bill Parcells left because he realized that Ireland, Sparano and Henne were not the answers to getting back to legit championship play. He left them holding the bag and clearly they couldn't hold on to it. Why not get someone within the Miami family come back and help the franchise like Elway did in Denver. Did Stephen Ross create a barrier where all former players won't cross?
Walker: I expected a lot of Dolphins fans to vent this week about what’s going on. But I don’t think you can blame this offseason on Marc Anthony or Fergie, Sean. This is on general manager Jeff Ireland and majority owner Stephen Ross. They mapped out a game plan when the offseason began and it didn't work. Whether you agree or disagree, the Dolphins have a reputation as a team with a questionable leadership. They can dispute it, but I think it showed this offseason when most of their targets turned them down. It shouldn’t be hard to recruit players and coaches to come to Miami. But until the current regime gets over this hump, it will be an issue.
AFC East Homer of the Week
MGuinard10 writes: “The Bills have a legit shot at going 14-2, 13-3 next year. Instant Super Bowl Contenders.”
Walker: GGuinard10, I understand the excitement. The Bills are doing a great job this offseason boosting their team. I voted them higher (No. 16) than our panel in this week's Power Rankings. But let’s hold off on the 13- and 14-win predictions. The Bills still have some catching up to do with New England. But congrats on being our latest "Homer of the Week."
If you have any additional questions, comments or complaints, send them to our AFC East inbox.