Wednesday, July 3, 2013
AFC East mailbag: Facebook and comments
By James Walker
Let's take a peek in the AFC East mailbag to answer some questions and concerns.
FinsCanada writes: Long time participant on the AFC East blog. I know it's not you, but feed it up the chain that the new Facebook requirement on July 17th means I'm out.
James Walker: FinsCanada, I want to first say thank you for being a loyal reader. I hope that you continue to check out ESPN.com for NFL coverage even if you choose to no longer participate in the comments section. There are a lot of complaints this week from our community about the eventual change to Facebook. Yes, you will need an account to make comments, which is geared towards accountability. To help better understand the system, I recommend checking out these frequently asked questions.
Tommy from Paris, France, writes: Does Aaron Hernandez' arrest and subsequent release mean that the Patriots will pursuit Brandon Lloyd? If not what are the Patriots going to do to fill the voids?
Walker: New England’s decision was made completely independent of Lloyd, Tommy. Hernandez forced the Patriots’ hand. There were no prior plans to cut the tight end until he was arrested and charged for murder and five additional gun charges. Unless Lloyd is willing to accept a cheap, bargain-basement contract, I don’t see a reunion. The Patriots didn’t want to pay him several months ago, so that hasn’t changed.
Richard from Miami writes: How is Jonathan Martin fitting into his role at the left tackle position?
Walker: Richard, it’s hard to fully assess Martin’s progress in organized team activities and minicamp. There is little or no contact in these practices. Therefore, the offensive line doesn’t do much to really grade their performance. However, I do like the fact that Martin is noticeably bigger and put more work in the weight room this year. Strength was his biggest weakness, and he’s trying to change that. But it’s too early to say how good Martin will be at left tackle this year until the Dolphins put the pads on.
Dave from Waipahu, HI, writes: Is CJ Spiller a top-five running back in the league this year?
Walker: Well, according to the NFL Network, Spiller is not even one of the league’s top-100 players. Obviously, fellow players don’t view Spiller as elite. I think Spiller is great, but consistency and longevity is what earns respect in the NFL. Spiller produced with limited opportunities last year. He will be the lead guy all year in 2013. I’m not ready to say he’s in the top five until Spiller can prove it over multiple seasons. But Spiller can definitely have a Pro Bowl season if he stays healthy.
Felipe from Brooklyn, NY writes: Hey, James. Do you see the Jets pulling off a 2010 Carolina Panthers season which lands them the 1st overall pick in next year’s draft?
Walker: I noticed there are a lot of people who feel the Jets will be the worst team in the NFL this year. I agree New York will struggle. The Jets are in a rebuilding year and have major questions at quarterback. However, Rex Ryan is a top-notch defensive coach. If he can get at least one side of the ball playing well, the Jets can win a few games -- at least enough to avoid the No. 1 overall pick in 2014.