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Walker's weekend mailbag

12/25/2009

Let's see what's in our latest weekend mailbag.

Levi Mooter from Bellville, Ohio wants to know if new Cleveland Browns president Mike Holmgren will keep defensive coordinator Rob Ryan.

James Walker: Chances are slim, Levi. The coach that has the best shot to stay on board is head coach Eric Mangini, but even his status is up in the air. One reason it doesn't look good for Ryan is that he runs a 3-4 scheme. Holmgren's teams with the Green Bay Packers and Seattle Seahawks had 4-3 defenses. So there is a natural disconnect there.

Justin from Atlanta, GA writes: If the Browns end up switching to a 4-3 defense, what players on the team do you think will excel in this scheme, and what players do you see having trouble?

Walker: Defensive linemen Shaun Rogers and Corey Williams would benefit the most, Justin. These were always 4-3 players trying to fit in a 3-4 defense. Rogers was so good that it didn't matter, but Williams struggled mightily the past two seasons. A player I think could struggle is linebacker Kamerion Wimbley. Is he a 4-3 defensive end or linebacker? I’m not sure. The Browns wouldn't know right away, either, because he's never played in a 4-3 defense at the pro level.

Rich Deka from Saint Joseph, MO wants a breakdown of Cleveland's 11 draft picks in 2010.

Walker: Rich, the Browns have one draft pick in the first, second and fourth rounds, and two picks in the third, fifth, sixth and seventh rounds.

D from Baltimore wonders if Ravens offensive tackle Michael Oher has a chance at rookie of the year honors.

Walker: Oher is having a great rookie season, but he's probably not the favorite. Often offensive linemen are overlooked for awards because their performance is not as easy to gauge. It's easier to look at the stats and production of someone like Minnesota Vikings receiver Percy Harvin or Green Bay Packers linebacker Clay Matthews Jr. and give them the edge. Oher's play has been just as good. But his numbers won’t stand out to voters.

Kevin from Baltimore is curious about the Ravens' playoff chances if they lose to the Steelers Sunday.

Walker: It depends on the results of other games, Kevin. For the most part the Ravens (8-6) would be in decent shape with tiebreakers over teams like the Steelers (7-7) and Denver Broncos (8-6). But a team Ravens fans really need to watch is the Jacksonville Jaguars (7-7). They have important tiebreakers that could knock Baltimore or someone else out of the wild card.

Mike from Columbus, Ohio is stunned Troy Polamalu was voted for the Pro Bowl after playing just five games.

Walker: Polamalu won the fan voting, Mike, which mostly is a popularity contest. Coaches and players still need to turn in their ballots for next week. Those votes usually are more rational and based on this year's performance.

Chris from Ohio wants to know if the Cincinnati Bengals' 3-5 record outside the AFC North is a concern.

Walker: I'm not overly concerned for the Bengals. Two losses were to the Oakland Raiders (5-9) and Houston Texans (7-7), where the Bengals lost focus. Another two defeats were very close games against the Broncos and San Diego Chargers. If the Bengals meet those two teams again, I'm sure they would like their chances.

Gar Volp from Cincinnati writes: JW, nice work on calling the Chargers-Bengals score at 27-24. Next week, could you go ahead and pick Cincinnati to win?

Walker: Wow! This is a first for the AFC North blog. I couldn't pick a Bengals game correctly at the beginning of the season. Now “Bengaldom” wants me to pick Cincinnati for good luck? I have picked four in a row, so maybe you’re right, Gar. Here is your wish. Merry Christmas, and enjoy the division title.