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Saturday, August 7, 2010
Walker's weekend mailbag

By James Walker
ESPN.com

Let's see what's in the weekend mailbag.

Ryan Davidson from Los Angeles writes: With the Washington Redskins releasing quarterback Colt Brennan, is there any chance the Cleveland Browns take a look at him?

James Walker: The Browns feel pretty comfortable with what they have, Ryan. But in the event of a major injury or a complete debacle, I will throw out a name to consider who might generate some interest: Tyler Thigpen. He's battling for the third quarterback job with the Miami Dolphins, but has good starting experience. So if there is a major quarterback injury this preseason in Cleveland or anywhere else, keep an eye out for Thigpen to be one of the first names to possibly come up in trade talks around the league.


Steve from Somerset, Ky., writes: How do you like the chances of the Cincinnati Bengals going 4-1 or 5-0 headed into bye week? They’re playing at Patriots, Ravens, at Panthers, at Browns, Buccaneers.

Walker: I'm not going down that road again, Steve. I already have some Pittsburgh Steelers fans upset that I wrote that they won't go 4-0 without quarterback Ben Roethlisberger. So I'm just going to let things play out and stay away from the wide-ranging predictions.


Scott Sensenig from Myrtle Beach, S.C., writes: How is Jerome Simpson looking so far in training camp this year?

Walker: In my visit to Bengals camp, Simpson made some really nice catches, Scott. But I’ve seen that before with him in practice, so it’s not a surprise. This is his third year in the NFL and it's really time for him to become more than a “practice player.” Simpson will need a good preseason to make Cincinnati’s roster this year, because the competition at receiver is intense.


Tom from Elkridge, Md., writes: What are the possibilities of Darrelle Revis coming to the Baltimore Ravens if he can't get his contract from the New York Jets?

Walker: Zero. No chance. Nada. You know these teams play in Week 1, correct?


Chris from Cleveland writes: Will my man Tom Zbikowski get a shot at the Ravens' starting safety position while they wait on Ed Reed?

Walker:I like Zbikowski and thought he filled in well when Reed was injured last season. But the Ravens also signed Ken Hamlin for a reason. I thought something was up, because Hamlin is more of a free safety than strong safety. Then news of Reed's major hip surgery was released and it all made sense. It should be a good competition.


Jason M. from Knoxville, Tenn., writes:Walker, it's been forever since I've sent in a question to you! How have you been? Which Steelers rookie will have the biggest impact this year?

Walker: I've been great, Jason. Thanks for asking. Maurkice Pouncey is the safest bet. He's a first-round pick and the only projected starter out of this year’s draft class. I think linebacker Jason Worilds will contribute on special teams and receiver Emmanuel Sanders will have to wait his turn to get on the field and contribute.


Mo from Chantilly, Va., writes: I really like Charlie Batch and was wondering what the chances were of the Steelers keeping all four quarterbacks throughout the season and how it could work?

Walker: Not good, Mo. There's really no reason to have four quarterbacks on a 53-man roster. It rarely happens. I don't see Pittsburgh letting go of a young talent like Dennis Dixon, and Byron Leftwich like is the starter for the first month. So it looks like Batch will eventually be the odd man out.

Complaint department

Here are the latest comments and complaints in our AFC North inbox.

Segatman from Australia writes: I think Pittsburgh likes the way that you are keeping them under wraps. They have a solid spread across the board in terms of talent, but honestly the one thing that is being lost here is the receiving corps. Do you genuinely think that the first month without the quarterback is more of a worry than having a laughable receiving corps for the rest of the season?

Alex from Baltimore writes:Why would Roger Goodell allow for a shortening of Roethlisberger's suspension? Of course he would act anyway needed to get back into his job earlier. He should have had a set suspension and then seen how Roethlisberger acts to determine if more should be given, not less.

Paul from St. Paul, Minn., writes:The reason why everybody's talking about the Bengals is because everybody knows this isn't the same Bengals team that we've seen in the past. They're deeper, more talented, more poised, and hungrier than I ever remember them. This team not only wants to win, but expects to win and has the experience and talent to make it happen.

Glenn from Orlando writes:I enjoy the fact that the Bengals are finally getting some attention, even though they have not done anything major in the NFL since I was in about fifth grade. Anyway, I don't see there being any change in Cinci at all. WOW, they went out and got T.O. Big deal. The combination of Ochocinco and T.O. will never compare to what Cinci had when their receivers were Chad Johnson and TJ Houshmandzadah. At this point T.O, Chad and Carson better hope that their offense can even come close to what Pittsburgh did last year and what the Ravens will be capable of this year. I'm a diehard Steelers fan. But until the Bengals can do something in the postseason they will continue to be the BUNGLES in my eyes.

Derek from D.C. writes:If the Bengals think that by sweeping the AFC North last year and adding weapons for this season they can easily reclaim the division title, then they are in for a reality check. The Steelers are healthy again and the Ravens are more consistent. Cinci goes back to the basement where they belong.

Tom from Indianapolis writes: In my opinion the Ravens defense will miss Ed Reed and Domonique Foxworth a lot more than the Steelers will miss Ben Roethlisberger. Why are those key players being out not getting as much attention as the quarterback of the Steelers? I mean, besides the fact that he is a quarterback?

Chris from Annapolis, Md., writes: I would sooner see the Ravens lose every game this season than see them bring back penalty-flag-Frank Walker. Lardarius Webb and Fabian Washington will be playing on Week 1 with Chris Carr as the nickel, mark my words. We don't need him.

Kovacs from Santa Monica writes: Please explain to me why the Browns are behind three teams that they beat (KC, Oakland and Jacksonville) at the end of last year in the preseason power rankings. You honestly think any of those teams improved more than the Browns?