Chat with James Walker
Walker joined ESPN.com in 2008 after three seasons covering the Cleveland Browns for the Columbus Dispatch. He also covered the Cincinnati Bengals and Cleveland Cavaliers at the Dispatch. Walker grew up in Hyattsville, Md., before attending Temple University, graduating in 2001 with a B.A. in communications and mass media. He resides in the Cleveland area.
Send your questions now and join Walker on Tuesday at 11 a.m. ET!
James Walker (11:00 AM)
OK, everyone. It was an interesting first weekend in the NFL/. Let's get into it.
SprungOnSports (Long Island)
What can the Browns gain from their loss to Dallas?
James Walker (11:02 AM)
I'm not sure the Browns can gain much, other than knowing it still has a long way to go to be a contender. Dallas is about as talented a football team there is and the Browns got a measuring stick of where they stand early in the season.
Dante Culpepper (New England)
Come on here is the injury I waited for...I have to be better than Matt Cassel and me and Moss have a pretty good history!!!
James Walker (11:03 AM)
I don't know. You retired last week. Do you want back in now? How do we know you're committed to football.
Bengals Suck and I want them to stop playing and making fools of our city
James Walker (11:04 AM)
Chris, it's just one game. Give them a few more weeks. If Cinci beats Tennessee will you have a change of heart?
Chris (Pittsburgh, PA)
Were the Steelers the most impressive team in Week 1, handling the Texans as easily as they did?
James Walker (11:05 AM)
Absolutely. The Texans are a tough matchup for a lot of teams, but Pittsburgh beat them up pretty easily. There were also some upsets to take note of, but of the favorites, Pittsburgh was the most impressive.
Speaking of it only being one game dont you think that we are jumping to conclusions in crowning the Steelers as the best team now that Brady went down? Seriously they beat the Texans and everyone act as if they beat the someone good.
James Walker (11:06 AM)
No one is giving it to them just yet, Mike. It's only week two. But from what we've seen so far and Tom Brady's injury is certainly a question worth asking.
Adam (Akron, Oh)
What will the Browns need to do to at least have a chance to beat the Steelers?
James Walker (11:07 AM)
They need their big players to make plays. A lot of key guys like Braylon Edwards, Derek Anderson and the entire offensive line didn't play well against Dallas. Cleveland will need all of its part to show up against Pittsburgh.
Mike (Gahanna, OH)
Anything new on the Browns addressing the secondary? Bringing in Ty Law a possiblity?
James Walker (11:08 AM)
It's possible but as of yesterday I hadn't heard anything. The past two weeks they were interested, but I think the team wanted to see what it had.
Nick (The Queen City, OH)
Will Keith Rivers have as big an impact for the Bengals as they're hoping?
James Walker (11:10 AM)
Rivers had a good game with 10 tackles, I believe. The problem is it takes 11 guys to play defense, and Cincinnati doesn't have enough playmakers on that side of the football. So even if Rivers is playing well, it wasn't noticed.
Nick (The Queen City, OH)
Do you see the Bengals making a run at a new contract for TJ after the season? Or will Oucho get all the cash again?
James Walker (11:12 AM)
Another great question. Both players will be 30+, so the Bengals will have a tough decision to make. The team agreed to "review" Chad's contract status, but that's not a promise. It all depends on how things play out this year. But if things continue to go south, both could be gone via free agency or trade.
How about that Ravens young oline. Gaither and Grubbs are going to be awesome.
James Walker (11:13 AM)
With Joe Flacco and the D getting most of the credit, the o-line kind of got lost in the shuffle. But you're right. They were extremely physical against the Bengals. By the second half, you got the sense that it didn't matter who the Ravens put at tailback.
earl columbia sc
just would like to here your comments about Mike Tomlin as he enters his second year as head coach of my beloved Steelers.
James Walker (11:15 AM)
Mike Tomlin is a great fit for that team. The Steelers know how to pick head coaches better than any organization in the NFL.
Brody: (Cleveland - OH)
Hey James, love all the work you do for us AFC North fans! As a die-hard Steelers fan living on W.9th St (in the heart of Browns country and pretty much next to the stadium) am I right to be somewhat worried about this Sunday? Clearly the Browns are not as bad as they showed Sunday and I fear that the Texans are no where near what people made them up to be. I believe we've beaten the Browns 9 times in a row now...we can't beat them everytime, can we?
James Walker (11:17 AM)
The streak is at nine. Pittsburgh is going "one for the other thumb" in that regard. It should be a great game. I'm waiting on the injury news before I make a prediction.
Don (Harrisburg, PA)
The Steelers man-handled the Texans going to vintage Steelers football grinding the run and minimal passing. Is this the formula this season or will it change week-to-week?
James Walker (11:19 AM)
Pittsburgh has the ability now to change week to week, which makes them extremely tough. The Steelers didn't even use all of their weapons like Santonio Holmes and Rashard Mendenhall, because of the flow of the game.
What in the world was Romeo Crennel doing kicking a field goal down 28-7 in the 4th qt
James Walker (11:20 AM)
We're all still trying to figure that one out. No one has an answer for that.
as i see it once again, the browns schedule is the toughest by far
James Walker (11:20 AM)
By the numbers, the Steelers have the toughest schedule. But injuries and surprise teams, ect. changes things so much that I wouldn't worry about that right now.
Jay (Burke, VA)
Will Cam Cameron open up the playbook enough were Joe Flacco will be able to advantage of the weak Houston secondary? Thanks.
James Walker (11:22 AM)
As the weeks go on, Joe Flacco should get more and more freedom as long as he improves. Cam Cameron won't let him go crazy right now. They are still learning what he can do.
James where do you guys get your information from? Sometimes I think you guys just make stuff up... For example you said the Browns offensive line and Derek Anderson didn't play well (Edwards did not, thats true). That's just totally false. Anderson was sacked maybe once, Jamal Lewis averaged over 5 yards per carry, and Anderson actually played pretty well. He had about 5 drops, one a sure long touchdown. If you want to say the browns did not play well, at least get it straight. The o-line and anderson were not part of the problem.
James Walker (11:24 AM)
Jay, watch the game more closely. Sacks aren't everything. The o-line was beat by the Dallas front seven. Derek didn't have a lot of time to do what he wanted.
Amy (Gahanna, OH)
Have the Browns said anything about Braylon's drops?
James Walker (11:27 AM)
Braylon felt he only had two drops, although most people saw three or four. There's no reason for the team to comment on it, other than he had a bad game and the Browns hope he plays better next week.
John (Fort Myers, FL)
Can we speculate that the Steelers have the best group of linebackers in the NFL? I'm sick of hearing about how good Baltimore's linebackers are, but I don't think they can hold James Harrison's jock. I think they are better now and will continue to improve as Woodley and Timmons progress.
James Walker (11:28 AM)
Both units are extremely good. I can't think of many better than those two teams.
Justin (Dayton, OH)
I have Ray Rice on my FF team, I was impressed. Will Willis miss a good amount of time so Rice can be a Fantasy Stud for me?
James Walker (11:29 AM)
Willis will be slowly worked in. He dressed Sunday but didn't play. He will probably play this week, although I'm not sure if he will start. Rice is a good player.
brandon (philadelphia, pa)
hey james, i know marvin said he didn't see the bengals going after shaun alexander, but do you think it would be a good idea considering their need for a strong back to pummel at defenses making chris perry more effective? also, what role do you think willie anderson had in the offense's woes? especially the two 4th and short plays where it seemed the ravens were in the huddle.
James Walker (11:31 AM)
The Bengals need to be more physical on offense and in the running game. I'm not sure Alexander is a good fit in that regard. But he is (sort of) a hometown guy. My guess would be no, but we will see.
Any news Stallworth?
James Walker (11:32 AM)
He's having an MRI today on his quad. We will know more on Wednesday.
With the personnel that they have do you think it would help the Browns D to go to a 4-3? I think Rogers and Williams would play better and they may even be able to get pressure on the QB.
James Walker (11:34 AM)
This question has been asked for the past two years. The problem is Phil Savage and Romeo Crennel have spent the past three years drafting and building a team to play the 3-4. Although Rogers and Williams played in a 4-3, it would be a lot of work to change, especially in-season.
Stuart:: (Ellicott City, MD)
How about Cam Cameron in Baltimore? He put a rookie QB at the line of scrimmage early so the young stud could survey the field and the had an off balanced Oline on several plays. Cincy didn't know what hit them!
James Walker (11:35 AM)
Cam Cameron did a great job of coaching to his personel. John Harbaugh has a great staff of Cameron, Rex Ryan and Jerry Rosberg.
Rob Tempe, Az
have your preseason predictions changed in anyway after the first week?
James Walker (11:37 AM)
I picked (1) Steelers, (2) Browns (3) Ravens and (4) Bengals. I'm still feeling good about it.
Now that the NFL has been flipped upside down, where does Big Ben rank against the rest of the elite quarterbacks this season? It seems like the Steelers as a whole aren't getting any publicity over their win...Dallas is getting praised for beating a Browns team mediocre at best.
James Walker (11:39 AM)
I've said all along Ben Roethlisberger will be mentioned in that next group under Brady and P. Manning by season's end. I still hold true to that prediction.
Will J (Portland, OR)
Which team do you feel has the worst performance in week one? Seattle, Washington, Oakland, etc?
James Walker (11:39 AM)
Oakland was pretty bad.
Bo Elleg:: (Westlake, Ca)
Whats the deal with Mr. Ocho Cinco? Is his name now Johnson??
James Walker (11:40 AM)
His name is still Chad Ocho Cinco. There is a holdup with the NFL and Reebok over the jerseys because they would have to pull a lot of "C. Johnson" jerseys off the shelves.
Wish I was going against Duane Brown every week.
James Walker (11:42 AM)
I'm looking forward to seeing you and Joe Thomas. Good matchup
Stallworth MRI?? I thought he just pulled it slightly in warmups, could it be serious?
James Walker (11:43 AM)
Don't know yet, Chad. We have to wait until Wednesday.
MacKenzie Crawford::( St. Paul)
what are the chances Matt Cassel is the next Tom Brady?
James Walker (11:44 AM)
Braylon Edwards is incredibly over-rated.
James Walker (11:45 AM)
He had one bad game. Every great player has games they want to forget about.
Kelly O (Atlanta, GA)
Is it possible that Ocho Cinco could end up with legal issues from Reebok or the NFL due to existing contracts about the name change? I don't think ur an attorney but I was curious if you've heard any inside news....I would love to see him forced to change back his name.
James Walker (11:46 AM)
I'm checking into it. It's possible he will have to keep Johnson on his jersey for quite a while. It doesn't mean he will change his name again.
Palmer was terrible on Sunday. Do you think he rebounds this week or do I need to start Cutler on my fantasy team?
James Walker (11:47 AM)
Go with the hot player in Cutler. Tennessee was blown out last year and that defense will have a chip on their shoulder.
When will the Bengals come out of the basement of the NFL and have a winning season? Will I ever see my team in the playoffs?
James Walker (11:49 AM)
I don't see the Bengals finishing with a winning record.
Was Willie Parker's performance a one-week-deal? Or will he continue his excellent running?
James Walker (11:50 AM)
Parker told me back in May that his leg was fine. People are finally starting to believe him now. He led the league in rushing before his injury last year. I'm not sure why so many people wrote him off.
Are the Eagles NFC East challengers or did they play a real bad team in the Rams?
James Walker (11:52 AM)
The Eagles are certainly challengers, as long as McNabb stays healthy. That's been the problem more than anything the past couple of seasons.
Ryrur ( Texas)
Are the Steelers that good or are the Texans just that bad?
James Walker (11:53 AM)
The Steelers are a very good football team. The Texans are probably a little better than what they showed.
I know it is 2 weeks away, but do you see the Eagles Steelers game as a good measuring stick as to wher eboth teams stand? Also, how do you see the outcome?
James Walker (11:53 AM)
Both teams have good "measuring sticks" in this week's games, don't you think?
Will Chad "Ocho Cinco" have another offseason outbust if the Bengals don't finish with a winning season?
James Walker (11:55 AM)
It's a safe bet that Chad Ocho Cinco will not be happy if the team has another losing season. The Bengals need to win to keep him happy.
Don't you think that Reebok would be able to sell 4 times as many Ocho Cinco jerseys as they would Johnson jerseys?
James Walker (11:56 AM)
But Reebok already paid a lot of money to produce "C. Johnson" jerseys that would be obsolete. So they would be in the red and there's no promise how much Ocho Cinco jerseys would sell. It would be a big business risk on their part.
Chris (Broadview Heights, OH)
Why are the Browns so reluctant to add veteran talent when needed? Joe Horn and Ty Law are unemployed yet the Browns can't work out one-year deals for these guys?
James Walker (11:58 AM)
In a perfect world, the Browns wouldn't mind adding these two. But money is always an issue. Cleveland says it's at it's "budget" after a busy offseason. But they are under the cap, so if the team wants to get better it probably has to go beyond the budget.
Robert Strong, Hendersonville, NC
James With Cinci running game struggling like they did, why did they let Rudi go for nothing?
James Walker (11:59 AM)
The team felt Chris Perry was the better running back in training camp. Rudi was hurt, but he was due more than $3 million this season and the Bengals didn't want to pay that to player they felt would be second string.
Is it fair to compare Aaron rodgers to Brett Farve?
James Walker (12:00 PM)
Is it fair? No. Is it natural to do so? Yes.
dan - Cleveland
What do you see happening Sunday night in the Browns vs Steelers game? Prediction?
James Walker (12:01 PM)
I'm waiting on injury news to come in for this week. Check in Friday for predictions.
How likely is it that Indy starts out 0-3 before their bye week? They played like a HS JV team on Sunday
James Walker (12:02 PM)
I'm not worried about Indy. P. Manning and the Colts will be fine.
Do you think that the Browns will come out with something to prove on Sunday against the Steelers? Romeo better push this team and not play so soft. This city is counting on it!
James Walker (12:03 PM)
No doubt, the Steelers will get the Browns best shot Sunday night. It will be a great game.
James Walker (12:04 PM)
OK, everyone. Thanks again for your time and all the great questions. Don't forget to check in with the AFC North blog and all the blogs in general this week.