Chat with Tim Graham
Welcome to SportsNation! On Friday, ESPN.com AFC East blogger Tim Graham will drop in to chat about all the latest news from the NFL.
Graham joined ESPN.com in 2008 after covering the Miami Dolphins for the Palm Beach Post. He previously spent eight years at the Buffalo News, where he was an award-winning NHL and boxing writer. The Baldwin-Wallace College grad also has worked for the Las Vegas Sun and Boston Herald.
Send your questions for Graham now and join him on Friday at 3 p.m. ET!
Tim Graham (3:09 PM)
Hello, everybody. Sorry for the delay. We had some technical issues that prevented me from logging in. We should be fine now.
Tim Graham (3:09 PM)
Thanks for your patience.
Anna (Buffalo NY)
Do you think there is a chance that Buffalo re-signs Whitner still (especially with the Atogwe contract in place)? also, did you ever get the feeling that Whitner was not well liked in the locker room?
Tim Graham (3:10 PM)
There certainly is a chance he re-signs, but it will be up to him to lower his salary demands. I never got a sense in the Bills' locker room that Whitner is disliked.
I know you don't like to comment about the draft but in your opinion who will go off the board first Gabbert or Newton.
Tim Graham (3:12 PM)
I don't think that has been decided yet, Joe. The most significant workout for each player is yet to come when they hold their pro days. Teams also will get (more or less) comfortable with each player's personality and character when they go through the vetting process. There's still time for stocks to rise and fall.
Jud (Utica, NY)
Your feel on extending the talks a full week?
Tim Graham (3:13 PM)
Excellent news. It doesn't mean there will be an agreement in place any time soon, but it's encouraging that the sides are speaking. Nothing bad can come from an extension.
Do you think the Pats really started something with the 2-TE schemes this year? Is it going to be like the Dolphins Wildcat where 1/2 the NFL all came up with their own variations for at least a time?
Tim Graham (3:15 PM)
I spoke to Bills coach Chan Gailey about that last week, and he didn't feel it would turn into a trend. The major reason is that it's difficult for a team to acquire multiple tight ends who can do what Alge Crumpler, Rob Gronkowski and Aaron Hernandez do. Then again, Gailey also stressed Hernandez really isn't a tight end anyway.
What qaurterback, whether it be via draft or free agency, would fit best and make the most immediate impact for the Dolphins?
Tim Graham (3:18 PM)
Nobody in the draft is an immediate fit. Nobody in this year's class is ready to show up and be an upgrade over Chad Henne right away. As for which veteran would be the best fit, it's difficult to say because we don't know much about new offensive coordinator Brian Daboll's intentions. All we know is that Henne described it as the Patriots with a dash of Jets -- whatever that means.
Sean O'Brien (Buffalo)
Do you think the Bills brass is sold on Fitzpatrick as their QB and how do you think he will do this year with a year under his belt, stevie, lee, and roscoe healthy, as well as some more continuity on the o-line.
Tim Graham (3:20 PM)
The Bills are comfortable with Ryan Fitzpatrick if that's who they head into the season with. But they also know he's not a franchise quarterback. Buddy Nix told me last week his definition of a franchise quarterback is a guy you can win with for 10 years. I doubt the Bills envision Fitzpatrick as their quarterback when he's 38. ... I foresee more of the same from Fitzpatrick in 2011. Responsible, above average play.
Hey Tim always a good read on these AFC east blogs. Any early predictions on the 2011 AFC east standings?
Tim Graham (3:21 PM)
Thanks for the kind words, Jon. It's difficult to give predictions with so many personnel questions out there. Free agency, the draft, arrivals, departures ... But for the sake of discussion, I'll go Jets, Patriots, Dolphins, Bills. I think the first two spots and the last two spots could be interchangeable.
Mickey (Rochester, NY)
Tim, the Bills rush defense was the worst in the NFL. So, does it matter who plays QB for them if their opponents can just run over them? Don't they need to go defensive front seven with the first pick?
Tim Graham (3:23 PM)
Defensive linemen are deep in the draft this year, and the Bills have the second pick of the second round. They could grab a quarterback early and still get help later. There are all sorts of strategies they can follow.
Rex Ryan (East Rutherford)
I guarantee this will be a good chat
Tim Graham (3:23 PM)
Your batting average remains .000 when it comes to guarantees.
Chad Henne (via mobile)
What blogger, whether it be via draft or free agency would fit best and make the most immediate impact for the ESPN AFC East?
Tim Graham (3:24 PM)
Now there's an interesting question ... Big shoes to fill. I'm going to miss Matt Mosley.
Any whispers of the Bills looking at Carson Palmer?
Tim Graham (3:25 PM)
Not that I've heard.
Mark (Spring Valley)
Hey Tim, Will ducasse replace woody or are the jets looking elsewhere?
Tim Graham (3:27 PM)
That's an option the Jets will explore. I'm sure they'd love for that transition to take place, but Vladimir Ducasse has been uninspiring. They better have some help lined up, or else Wayne Hunter will have to suffice.
david castle (buffalo)
do u think the bills will make a play for any of the top qbs on the market kolb,palmer or mcnabb
Tim Graham (3:29 PM)
I'd be surprised. They like Fitzpatrick. They don't love him, but they're not going to trade draft assets for somebody else's backup/castoff. Buddy Nix has stated repeatedly he prefers to build through the draft.
So Tim, how is the alpaca?
Tim Graham (3:30 PM)
He's doing great. He loves the warmer weather.
Josh (San Jose)
Hey Tim, thanks for the chat. Why weren't the Dolphins punished by the league for violating the rules regarding coaches meeting with players? If it's a violation, shouldn't there be some form of punishment, even if that's a fine for the coach?
Tim Graham (3:32 PM)
The NFL's stance on this matter is a head-scratcher to me. The league went out of its way to warn teams not to hold meetings with players because it was against the current CBA. That indicated the league felt this was an important issue. But then the league chooses not to enforce violations. The teams that were punished were the ones that followed the rules. I don't get it.
JR (Tampa Bay)
I have a CBA-related question: I heard the packers made 9 million bucks profit last year, which isn't that much. Do you know how much the AFC owners actually make from their franchises? If the owners aren't making much money as it is, I don't see how they'd give up any more.
Tim Graham (3:34 PM)
The Packers are unique as a community-owned franchise. Those are the only financial books we get to see. Nobody truly knows how much the other teams make. Same with other sports. That's why it was such a huge story last year when the Pirates' and Marlins' records were leaked.
Do you see any chance Chad Henne will come out and suprise everyone next year and look like a franchise QB?
Tim Graham (3:36 PM)
I'm not expecting it, but there's a chance he can find a comfort zone with two new voices in coordinator Brian Daboll and quarterbacks coach Karl Dorrell. Some fresh ideas can't hurt, but my general take is that we've already gotten a pretty good idea what Henne is all about.
steven w (port orange,fl)
what do people see in fitzpatrick? hes terrible he cant throw a short pass to save his life. he should have been benched weeks 12-16.
Tim Graham (3:38 PM)
He's an overachiever who gave Bills fans hope last year. As Gailey describes him, he's an intelligent quarterback who understands the plays he's supposed to make, avoids dumb mistakes like third-down sacks and has a little swashbuckler in him. But he does have accuracy issues, and the swashbuckler throws some bad interceptions. On a team with so many holes, I can understand how Fitzpatrick looks adequate.
I've heard rumors about Ochocinco wanting to play for his favorite team the Dolphins. Is there any truth to that or do you believe this is Chad being Chad
Tim Graham (3:39 PM)
Chad Ochocinco wants to play for several teams not named the Bengals. Since the season ended, he has publicly said he wants to play for the Patriots and for the Jets. Might as well add the Dolphins to his list.
Chris (Annapolis MD)
How many questions have you gotten today, and how often do questions you receive in the inbox inspire blog posts?
Tim Graham (3:41 PM)
Today is slower than usual because it's March, everybody is sick of the CBA already and I had problems getting the chat started on time. As for the mailbag inspiring blog posts, that happens rarely. Readers generally just want to unleash an anonymous stream of profanities at me there.
JR (Tampa Bay)
What happens to Madden Football if we lose an NFL season?
Tim Graham (3:42 PM)
I read an article a few weeks ago that said there will be Madden 12 no matter what.
Which helps the Bills more this season, the new turf or the new uniforms?
Tim Graham (3:42 PM)
The new uniforms will make them faster and stronger.
What are the chances Jets retain both Holmes and Edwards?
Tim Graham (3:43 PM)
Ralph (Miami, Fl.)
I keep seeing Mark Ingram on just about every mock draft going to the Dolphins at 15, as much as I think he's gonna be really good don't you think that the way the NFL is played today with all the throwing of the football there is no runningback today that can be the main reason a team can win a superbowl?
Tim Graham (3:45 PM)
Running backs have become interchangeable in recent years. That's why so many undrafted backs have prominent roles: Arian Foster, Fred Jackson, BenJarvus Green-Ellis, Danny Woodhead ... But the Dolphins need at least one good running back, and both Ricky Williams and Ronnie Brown are free agents.
kyle (south bend)
do you like sarcasm?
Tim Graham (3:46 PM)
The Chat Queen (Toronto)
Tim is the king of sarcasm, he makes me laugh non-stop!!!
Tim Graham (3:46 PM)
Then you must be the queen of sarcasm.
Charlie Sheen (LA)
This chat is all about WINNING
Which AFC East city has the best food? Also which one has the best game day experience?
Tim Graham (3:48 PM)
Tough to pick against New York City when it comes to restaurants. As for tailgating, it's Buffalo all the way.
Jay Cutler (Chicago)
This chat annoys me
Floyd (Erie, PA)
Spiller... breakout, or burnout?
Tim Graham (3:49 PM)
Neither, Floyd. I expect improvement, for sure. But Fred Jackson will remain the feature back.
Will (Cambridge, MA)
Are you going to do weekly chats during the off-season, or will they occur on a whim?
Tim Graham (3:51 PM)
I'll try to maintain the chat schedule as much as I can. It mostly will depend on how much we have to talk about. If the labor standoff drags on, then it could get tough.
do u think the jets will take a wide receiver in the draft since right now Braylon Edwards and Holmes and Brad Smith may become free agents and just the lack of wrs on their roster?
Tim Graham (3:53 PM)
My prediction is either Santonio Holmes or Braylon Edwards leaves via free agency, but that's not necessarily a bad thing. Dustin Keller was phenomenal during Holmes' four game suspension then disappeared when Holmes returned. I think Holmes or Edwards opposite Cotchery with Keller at tight end would comprise a solid group.
So another extension was made with the labor deal. So what do you think they will finally do?
Tim Graham (3:54 PM)
I still predict a lockout.
The Chat Queen (Toronto)
You seem to really like Keller these days... Who do you think is the best tight end in the AFC east?
Tim Graham (3:56 PM)
Not these days. I've always thought he was a big weapon. ... When used, Keller is the most talented tight end in the AFC East. But the most consistent threat is Rob Gronkowski because of the way he's used.
"but my general take is that we've already gotten a pretty good idea what Henne is all about" I know that Chad Henne isn't Drew Brees, but many people probably said the same about him.
Tim Graham (4:00 PM)
You're probably right, but that doesn't mean I'm wrong. Henne had weapons he should have won with last year: Brandon Marshall, one of the better slot receivers in Davone Bess, two capable running backs who stayed healthy, maybe the best left tackle in the NFL ... Brees had LaDainian Tomlinson and David Boston.
dave (new orleans)
was gholston really that terrible? might he be able to catch on somewhere else, even as a situational player?
Tim Graham (4:01 PM)
Vernon Gholston was terrible relative to his draft position and paycheck. But he's a serviceable player. He will be on a roster next year.
Gary (Watertown, NY)
Did you ever notice Chan Gailey is the king of vests?
Tim Graham (4:02 PM)
Rex Ryan and Jim Tressel come to mind before Chan Gailey.
Tim Graham (4:03 PM)
A few more and then it's time to start the weekend.
jim fraham (charleston, sc)
whats your alcoholic beverage of choice?
Tim Graham (4:04 PM)
All depends on the mood. Draft beer over bottle, gin and tonic, tequila neat.
Tim Graham (4:04 PM)
And I'm a big malbec fan.
Do you think any team will win or come close to the super bowl next year? Who and why?
Tim Graham (4:05 PM)
No, I actually see the NFL canceling the Super Bowl after determining around Week 12 that no team will win it.
So WHY was Gholston a bust? Not as talented as originally thought? Didn't work hard? Wrong position or team?
Tim Graham (4:08 PM)
The Jets insist he was a hard worker. His inability to make an impact wasn't because of attitude or being a slacker. He just wasn't good enough to live up to the projections from his one great season at Ohio State and didn't play like his combine numbers suggested he could.
Scott (New York City)
Hey Tim, always enjoy reading your blog. What do you think is the most important position for the Jets to fill with their first pick? Personally I would like it to be a pass rusher, but after reading Mel Kiper's prediction Rahim Moore at safety sounds like a great pick. With teams like the patriots that torched the Jets with their tight ends it seems like the most appropriate choice for them. Any thoughts?
Tim Graham (4:11 PM)
Unless the Jets trade up, they're in the classic "best available player" situation. They're slotted for 30th, and with so many free agents, their roster can have little holes all over the place. They do need an offensive lineman (either guard to replace Matt Slauson or right tackle to replace Damien Woody) and they'll be on the lookout for defensive linemen and safeties.
Who do you think the Jets will go after whenever free agency starts? Lets say they get a deal done and it occurs before the draft, besides re-signing the obvious Holmes, Edwards, maybe Cromartie do you think there is anyone they may surprise us with?
Tim Graham (4:13 PM)
They might not have much salary-cap room to do much more than re-sign their guys and their draft choices. But I think Nnamdi Asomugha remains an intriguing possibility.
Tim, what is your opinion on the Pats WR plans... draft one high, draft a diamond-in-the-rough late, trade for a FA (CBS depending), or just see what they have in Tate and Price?
Tim Graham (4:15 PM)
The Patriots haven't had much luck drafted receivers under Bill Belichick, but they do like Tate and Price. Deion Branch, Wes Welker and Julian Edelman will be back. Then you have Rob Gronkowski and Aaron Hernandez ... I don't see receiver as a critical need, but with so many draft picks, they'll probably take one.
Tim Graham (4:16 PM)
I need to call it a chat, folks. Thanks for dropping. Have a great weekend.