Chat with James Walker
Welcome to SportsNation! On Tuesday, ESPN.com AFC North blogger James Walker will stop by to chat about the NFL and what to expect from your team.
Walker joined ESPN.com in 2008 after three seasons covering the Cleveland Browns for the Columbus Dispatch.
Send your questions now and join James Tuesday at 4 p.m. ET!
James Walker (4:00 PM)
There's always plenty to talk about in the AFC North. So let's get started.
What's up jw. What's the chances that Fabian Washington and Webb are ready for the opener?
James Walker (4:02 PM)
It appears Washington may have a better chance than Webb, because I believe Washington's injury gave him a few weeks head start if I remember the dates correctly. The last I heard on Webb is that he's running now, which is a good sign. But knee injuries are always tricky. It would help the Ravens if at least one of these two were ready by Week 1.
Is Jermaine Gresham a week 1 starter? I don't see a lot of other options...
James Walker (4:04 PM)
Chase Coffman is the other option, and choosing between the two, Gresham should have the edge. He's more polished, IMO. I really think he will be a good player. The only question is how the knee reacts after sitting out all of last season.
Chris Fiegler (Latham,NY)
Will Colt McCoy play in a game at all as the Quarterback for the Cleveland Browns in 2010?
James Walker (4:05 PM)
Mike Holmgren doesn't want it to happen. Eric Mangini says you can't rule it out. So there is a little butting of heads there. It will take Jake Delhomme and Seneca Wallace to both play poorly. And although that's not beyond the realm of possibility, I would favor McCoy not playing next year and learning from the sidelines.
Jim Brandt (Grandforks ND)
Love the Blog James, lately much of the stories I am reading about the Steelers, besides Big Ben, is how suspect their receiving unit is. Personally I am less concerned about that and more about the age the defensive line and our great but aging middle linebacker, am I missing something here?
James Walker (4:09 PM)
I think the WR unit took a couple of hits in trading Santonio Holmes and losing Limas Sweed. Their depth is not all that great. They really need Hines Ward to continue to play at a high level and for Mike Wallace to step his game up a couple notches. I think both are possible but certainly not 100-percent promised next season.
Austin (Tampa, FL)
If Jake Delhomme finds something left in the tank, isn't it possible the Browns can avoid last place in the division? The schedule is easier than last year and with Pittsburgh's injury/suspension issues and the Bengals fallout at the end of last season, only the Ravens seem like a lock to sweep the Browns.
James Walker (4:11 PM)
It's really going to be an uphill climb, Austin. The Browns will need great QB play from a QB who was far from great last year in Delhomme. On top of that, the Ravens and Bengals made roster upgrades and the Steelers (usually) have Cleveland's number. It's too early to make any predictions, but you get the point.
Ammar (Austin, Tx.)
With so many receivers on the Bengal's roster, who do you see coming out as the starters? and who will be cut by the season starts?
James Walker (4:14 PM)
It's pretty clear that Chad Ochocinco and Antonio Bryant are the starters. There is no controversy there. As far as cuts, I'm having a hard time seeing Jerome Simpson making the team. Matt Jones is on the bubble. But I haven't seen him play in two years, so I need to see more. Quan Cosby also is a possibility if Jordan Shipley takes his job returning punts. That would make Cosby expendable.
what up JW. If the Browns don't add another WR, what do you think the chances are that Carlton Mitchell can become a starter this season
James Walker (4:16 PM)
A starter? That's a lot of pressure for a sixth-round pick, Blake. So far I've heard good things about Mitchell and on Cleveland's team, he certainly has a chance to make the roster. But I wouldn't label him a fav to win a starting job.
jimmy (las vegas)
James, Any word on jeff reeds contract getting extended? Crazy guy but is clutch when the games is on the line.
James Walker (4:17 PM)
Right now Reed has the franchise tag, and the two sides will continue to negotiate up until the deadline.
Between Watson, Alex Smith, Robert Royal, and Evan Moore (who played great at the end of the season), how do we get all these guys on the field?
James Walker (4:19 PM)
You don't. Don't expect the Browns to run any four-TE sets. I anticipate three will make the 53-man roster. The fourth is there to protect from injury.
Alex Cox (Latham,NY)
When will we see the Pittsburgh Steelers face the Giants?
James Walker (4:20 PM)
Saturday, Aug. 21 in the preseason, Alex.
Blake (Abilene, TX)
James, It seems as if the Browns are retracting their Colt wont play in 2010 comments. By no means am I saying he is going to be the starter or even the back up. I just find it enteresting that after they have had him in practice and commented on how accurate he is that they have said "never say never".
James Walker (4:23 PM)
That's just how Eric Mangini is sometimes. He doesn't like to rule anything out, which isn't a bad quality. Mike Holmgren, in his mind, believes Colt McCoy should sit. But he's not coaching the team. I think deep down Mangini would prefer not to play a rookie QB either, but what happens if Delhomme and Wallace really play poorly?
I find it funny that most experts predict Pittsburgh will not make the playoffs, considering their team is not much different from the previous super bowl winning squad.
James Walker (4:26 PM)
People are making playoff picks already? I must have missed it. Probably not a good idea anyway.
Tim (Akron, Ohio)
After the draft and free agency, which AFC North team do you think has the best offensive line?
James Walker (4:26 PM)
Kurt R (MN)
James,Can Carson Palmer bounce back given the weapons they have brought in this year? He just didn't seem to be the same player in January that he was in October. Thanks.
James Walker (4:28 PM)
There are no more excuses for Palmer if he doesn't play well this year. The Bengals really didn't have anyone reliable other than Chad Ochocinco. Now Palmer has some toys to play with with Antonio Bryant, Ocho, Jermaine Gresham and possibly Jordan Shipley.
bengalbill (makaha hawaii)
james why do people still catagorize the bengals as one year wonders? do you think that is a fair assessment
James Walker (4:30 PM)
I think it's fair unless the Bengals break the streak this year. They haven't had back-to-back winning seasons in 28 years.
Travis (Sioux Falls, SD)
James, What chance do the 2 CB drafted last year have of playing significant time this year for the Steelers?
James Walker (4:32 PM)
It doesn't seem like Pittsburgh trusts Keenan Lewis and Joe Burnett just yet. Trading for Bryant McFadden speaks volumes, and so does instantly putting him on the first team.
Alvin Missouri III (Hagerstown)
Just call me Al. Now should the Ravens give Eron Riley a shoot at becoming their number 4 or 5th WR considering how Justin Harper is developing?
James Walker (4:34 PM)
Ok, Al. Riley and Harper are in tough spots, because the Ravens are very deep at WR this year. I really don't see them keeping around developmental players anymore. So Harper and Riley are definitely on the bubble.
But they did have four straight 8+ win seasons under Marvin. Injuries have been the Bengals' worst enemies, not underperformance (except 2007).
James Walker (4:35 PM)
I will say it again: The Bengals haven't had back-to-back winning seasons in 28 years. Going 8-8 is not a winning season, Pete.
Travis (Sioux Falls, SD)
James, Which rookie LBs do you seeing getting playing time with the Steelers this year?
James Walker (4:38 PM)
I'm pretty sure all three rookie LBs will get a shot at playing time. But most of it will come on special teams.
brian (spencer, indiana)
Hey James, with the Steelers losing parts of their passing game, you expect them to go more run. Mendenhall will get the load, but how do you see Jonathan Dwyer, Moore, and frank summers(if he makes the team) being used?
James Walker (4:39 PM)
Absolutely. The Steelers will not be passing the football for 350 yards every week, especially with Ben Roethlisberger out early. Mendenhall will be asked to carry a lot of the load.
Why do people call the ravens secondary thin? with the great team they have built, they can manage until washington and webb return, and then they will have 3 starters
James Walker (4:41 PM)
Most would say thin for the moment, Yannick. If Fabian Washington and Lardarius Webb are not ready for Week 1, Baltimore will have to start its fourth cornerback. Right now I assume that's Chris Carr.
Joseph (Afghanistan )
Do you think the Browns have the talent after the draft to compete in the AFC North?
James Walker (4:42 PM)
I think they're still behind in the talent department. One draft wasn't going to overcome that.
Is Delhome and Wallace really a step up from Quinn and Anderson? Seems to me they took a step back with those 2.
James Walker (4:43 PM)
Hmmm. I don't know if it was a step backwards. I'm just not sure it was a step forward. Maybe it was a lateral move.
with all the recievers added this year in cincy do you see benson having a small role in the offense this year?
James Walker (4:45 PM)
I don't see his role being greatly reduced, but I do see less carries in Benson's future. That's natural if Carson Palmer is going to throw the ball around more. I also think the Bengals would like to work in Bernard Scott a little more as a change of pace.
Will Colt McCoy go to the slate with power and be the starting qb?
James Walker (4:46 PM)
I don't know what "go to the slate with power" means, Greg. But, no, Colt McCoy won't be a starting QB this year.
is my boy bubba (caldwell) still around. a few wr questions about the bengals, but no mention of him. he made some plays last year for them
James Walker (4:48 PM)
Andre Caldwell is still around. He will compete with Jordan Shipley for the No. 3 WR role. Caldwell needs to be more consistent. He started the season well then wasn't much of a factor late in the year.
Harrison (Crumpton, MD)
Hey James, I love reading your afc north blog. As you know the Steelers O-line has been shaky the last few years. Do you see any of the recent additions of Ramon Foster, Kraig Urbik, Jonathan Scott, or Pouncey breaking into the starting lineup this year?
James Walker (4:50 PM)
Maurkice Pouncey has the best chance. He's looks the part and is a strong prospect. The others are more developmental-type players.
Zach (Washington D.C)
Any word on when or if Reggie Kelly will sign with the Bengals?
James Walker (4:51 PM)
No word on Reggie Kelly right now. The Bengals are looking extremely hard at free-agent cornerbacks and safeties.
Chuck G (Severn)
Do you see any big free agent pick ups left for the AFC North?
James Walker (4:52 PM)
Would "Pacman" Jones count?
Without Ben the first 6 weeks(more likely 4) ,is 3-3 a goal for the Steelers start ?
James Walker (4:53 PM)
The Steelers wouldn't say that's their goal. But I think they would be in decent shape if that was the result.
Rich (Bellevue, WA)
Regarding the Steelers' passing offense: Do you think Bruce Arians will go to the slate with power, or just leave the slate alone?
James Walker (4:54 PM)
I still don't know what that term means. Anyone care to explain?
Not sure about going to the slate with power but can the Ravens keep Cod from going to the plate with power,repeatedly?
James Walker (4:56 PM)
Alright, you all are pretty funny today.
Jeremy (Athens, GA)
Has there been any word on Big Bens evaluation or will they be? Do you think the commish will drop the suspension down to 4 or leave it at 6? Personally i think it should have been more but that is just my opinion.
James Walker (4:58 PM)
Unless there are other new details that emerge or Ben fails to take the proper steps, there's a decent chance his suspension will be reduced to four games.
James Walker (5:00 PM)
Everyone, thanks for your time and for teaching me a new term that I probably won't ever use. Remember to keep checking out the AFC North blog for constant updates.