Saturday, June 29, 2013
AFC East mailbag: Dolphins' receivers
By James Walker
Let's take a peek in the AFC East mailbag and answer some questions.
Marcus B from Arlington, VA, writes: I know it's ridiculously early for making roster predictions. But what are your initial thoughts about which Miami Dolphins WRs make the roster besides Mike Wallace, Brian Hartline and Brandon Gibson?
James Walker: The Dolphins aren’t even close to making that decision a month before training camp, Marcus. But let’s examine for entertainment. I expect the Dolphins to keep at least five receivers, possibly six for special teams’ purposes. As you mentioned, Wallace, Hartline and Gibson are locks. That leaves at least two spots open. Based on what I saw on organized team activities and minicamp, Armon Binns and Rishard Matthews would be my picks for those two spots. But the Dolphins do not have to make that decision today. Someone can always step up in training camp and preseason, which carries more weight with Miami’s coaching staff.
Kevin from State College, PA writes: Stop hating on the Patriots. Every article you write about them drips with your personal bias against them. You’re supposed to be neutral since you cover the whole division.
Walker: It’s always funny to hear the case for me being a “homer” or a “hater.” The past two regular seasons, many AFC East blog readers called me a Patriots’ homer because I praised how well the team was doing. They made it to the Super Bowl and AFC title game in back-to-back years, and the coverage reflected that. Now, things are going downhill this offseason and I point it out, and Patriots fans call me a hater. The truth is I have no ties or personal bias with any of these teams. If an AFC East team is doing well, good things will be written. If an AFC East team isn’t doing well, the coverage will be the opposite. It’s pretty simple.
JR from Tampa Bay writes: James, what's your take on the fact Mark Sanchez is holding off Geno Smith for now?
Walker: Thanks for the question, JR. My take on the Jets quarterback competition is it’s been pretty lukewarm so far. Sanchez is ahead mostly due to experience, which should be the case. But Smith has more natural talent and a higher ceiling, and at some point he will overtake Sanchez for the starting job. The question is will it happen in Week 1, Week 8 or next season? It’s really depending on Smith’s development and his ability to adjust to the speed of the NFL game.
Bryan Weber from Elma, NY, writes: What you think the future looks like for the Buffalo Bills right now? I don't expect them to make the playoffs this year (I still have hope though), but I believe they have the right pieces in place to be a playoff contender in 2-3 years. Thoughts?
Walker: Bryan, it is always hard for me to look ahead 2-3 years. Too many things change with rosters, drafts, free agency and hirings and firings. For example, could you have predicted Doug Marrone would be Buffalo’s head coach and quarterback EJ Manuel would be drafted in the first round three years ago? I take things year-to-year, and for this season Buffalo does not look like a playoff team. It’s a young group with some talented pieces that I like. But it always comes down to the quarterback. Can Kevin Kolb or Manuel be consistent enough to lead the Bills to the playoffs? I expect Buffalo to be competitive, but on the outside looking in for the postseason again this year.