Chat with James Walker
Welcome to SportsNation! On Tuesday, ESPN.com AFC East 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)
Good afternoon, everyone. Let's talk about the AFC East.
Austin (Goddard ks)
James, what do you think the patriots can do to keep up this winning game streak wihout losing to anymore teams?
James Walker (4:02 PM)
It's pretty simple, Austin. New England needs Tom Brady to be Tom Brady every week. We found out in Buffalo what happens when he struggles. That's unfortunate if this sticks the entire season. Brady is one of the greats but no one plays near-perfect for 16+ plus games. The defense has to pick him up at some point. Maybe around midseason the D will get better.
James Walker (4:03 PM)
We've seen little strides here and there from New England's defense. It doesn't have to be top five or top 10. But if it is in the middle of the pack, New England has a great chance to make a Super Bowl run.
Which AFC East team has the best chance of coming home with a W this weekend?
James Walker (4:04 PM)
Hmmm, I would say the Jets at home against Miami. I know Miami has had the Jets number lately. But the Dolphins are starting a backup quarterback (Matt Moore) and this is a must-win for the Jets at home. Buffalo has a tough game at New York and the Cowboys are talented, going against New England.
Is it me or has Fitzpatrick looked extremely mediocre the past two games? He is gonna need to play better to keep this going. Do you agree?
James Walker (4:06 PM)
Teams are watching film and adjusting, Jon. Fitzpatrick did ok, but not great, the last two games. He only had one interception. I noticed he's not taking as many chances downfield. I'm not sure if that's by design or that's what defenses are giving him. Donald Jones' injury also takes away his main deep threat.
Chris Fiegler (Latham,NY)
Did you ever know Raiders Owner Al Davis who Passed Away on October 8 at the Age of 82?
James Walker (4:07 PM)
No, I did not get to interview or meet Al Davis. He made a very strong mark on the NFL and is one of the reasons the league is so popular today.
Wouldn't it make sense for the Phins to revisit the Orton trade now that all three parties are at rock bottom? Orton is still better than Sage or Moore...
James Walker (4:09 PM)
Not at all, Nick. That ship has sailed. The Dolphins already went through their bye week and play the Broncos next week. I don't know why Denver would be interested in helping Miami try to beat them. Orton knows all of Denver's schemes and there's no reason to ship him to Miami before the trade deadline. Denver has enough problems.
James, when did you become an AFC East blogger? Can the Jets turn things around next Monday vs the Dolphins? Also, do you believe it's injuries or bad QB play hurting the Jets so far? Thanks!
James Walker (4:12 PM)
Hey, Rachel. What's new? You were a regular in the AFC North chats. I started full-time in the AFC East in Week 2 of the season. I do think the Jets still have enough talent to turn it around. But the time is now. Lose Monday and it's a wrap for this group. If I was to point out the biggest reason the Jets are losing, I would say the offensive line.
Dr. H. Doofenshmirtz (Tri-State Area)
Do the Bills have enough depth to overcome the loss of Donald Jones?
James Walker (4:14 PM)
Naaman Roosevelt was a preseason stud and actually played pretty well against the Eagles. Expect Brad Smith to get more involved in the offense, as well. The Bills should be fine in the short term. The bigger problem is I don't think Buffalo can get vertical enough with the group it has. It will be a lot of short and intermediate passes.
Kyle (Kenosha )
Hey James I was wondering if you think the Bills can continue there success with allowing 450 yards of offense to opposing teams nearly every game.
James Walker (4:16 PM)
No, this is something that needs to be fixed. The Bills are 3-1 in those games they allowed 450 or more yards. But that could easily go the other way in the second half of the season. Buffalo has made some opportunistic plays to create fumbles, interceptions and touchdowns. But who's to say that will continue? The Bills need to stop teams in between the 20s and force more three-and-outs.
Joe B (Buffalo, NY)
With the recent loss of Donald Jones for up to six weeks, is there any talk of the Bills going to the free agent market to try to fill the void?
James Walker (4:17 PM)
No chatter so far this week. People have mentioned T.O., but that's not happening. The Bills most likely will play this week with the players they have (Naaman Roosevelt, Brad Smith), see if they step up and decide from there.
Al (Wausau, WI)
James, what areas do you feel the Dolphins need to address to start winning more games consistently? By the way, how are you enjoying your AFC East responsibilities?
James Walker (4:19 PM)
Al, the Dolphins have a lot of problems. Maybe they fixed some during the bye week. But the offensive line, running game (minus Daniel Thomas), pass protection and defense overall have been underachieving from what I expected. Now, quarterback may be an issue, depending on how Matt Moore fills in. It's not one thing for this team.
Joe (St. Louis)
James, have you heard anything on what Buffalo Plans to do at receiver? Will David Nelson have to play the outside?
James Walker (4:22 PM)
With the group they have now, Nelson would move outside and Roosevelt goes inside in Nelson's spot. That's how they played the second half, so I don't expect that to change. Nelson told me after the game that was the first time he's played outside since college. So he has some catching up to do.
what team would be hurt more if they lost there starting qb for the year, the bills or the pats?
James Walker (4:23 PM)
That's kind of a trick question. Hoyer and Mallett I think have some potential. But Tom Brady is so good, that I don't think New England could get back to that level without him. So I would say Brady.
Roger (San Diego)
I'm struggling to make sense of the Pats' defense; was their improved showing in Week 5 a function of real progress or the NYJ's offense continuing to play poorly?
James Walker (4:25 PM)
You have to give the Pats' D some credit. But I think what head coach Bill Belichick is doing that is very smart is focusing on running more. New England's running game is doing a lot to keep the defense rested and off the field. The Patriots are still scoring points, just not as fast as they did when Brady was throwing for 500 yards.
Do you think the Dolphins can turn around their season at all to have >= .500 wins?
James Walker (4:27 PM)
I don't see Miami winning eight games this year. There is no evidence from watching the first four games to suggest that. I live in Miami, and from what I hear everyday I don't think Dolphins fans want the team to win eight games, because it hurts their draft stock.
Matt S (716)
What do you think of the Bills possibly making the playoffs and what will they need to do to make this a reality
James Walker (4:29 PM)
Yes, the Bills have a good shot. I think it's going to take at least 10 wins in the AFC. A lot of Bills fans were upset when I mentioned they're in a good spot for the wildcard. But I think that's probably the way things will play out. There's nothing wrong with that.
Do you agree with teams losing on purpose and is that what the dolphins need to do to ensure a chance at Luck? Also your thoughts on the Dolphins rookie RB Daniels
James Walker (4:31 PM)
I don't think any team tanks games. That's not the nature of the NFL. It's more of something for fans to talk about. If Tony Sparano tanks games, he will get fired. If the players on the field tank games, they will get cut. No one in the Dolphins' locker room right now is thinking about Andrew Luck. But most Dolphins fans are.
James Walker (4:32 PM)
It's mostly fun for media and fans to talk about. Because the product is bad on the field.
Surprised NE was able to "ground and pound" the Jets? Very impressive drive at the end to finish the Jets off.
James Walker (4:35 PM)
I don't know if I was surprised, because New England is actually sixth in rushing. The Pats can pound it with the RBs when they want. They just usually put the ball in Brady's hands instead. If anything, I'm surprised the steps backwards for the Jets' defense. It's not the same group it once was through five games.
Hey James, do you think that, had he not been injured, Chad Henne would have had the kind of year that Dolphins fans have been wanting out of him?
James Walker (4:38 PM)
Henne was playing better, but it wasn't enough to win games. That's what really matters for a quarterback. There were some Dolphins fans who would point out that Henne isn't the reason they're 0-4. I would agree to an extend, because I can think of three or four other reasons. But Henne wasn't good enough to carry the team and its flaws. That's what great QBs like Tom Brady and others do.
James Walker (4:38 PM)
If the Dolphins believe Andrew Luck is special, they have to take him. We already know what Chad Henne is.
Do you agree that the roughing passer calls have been atrocious and wildly inconsistent this year? Why doesn't the league allow them to be subject to review on instant replay or take over full responsibility for enforcing the rule through fines since the officials seem incapable of doing so on the field?
James Walker (4:41 PM)
This call has always been inconsistent, but it appears to be getting worse. I've seen love taps get flagged and other QBs get hit low or pushed to the ground and nothing happens. It's one of those calls that the league is cracking down on but there's still not enough clarity.
Dr. H. Doofenshmirtz (Tri-State Area)
Is Shonn Greene just not as good as the Jets hoped, or has the line play just fallen off that much?
James Walker (4:44 PM)
It's a combination of the two. Greene, I thought, would be more dynamic. He doesn't break a lot of tackles. And that's a problem, because he doesn't get much blocking up front. So guys are all over him when he gets the ball.
Who do you have to resign if you are Buddy Nix?
James Walker (4:45 PM)
I think it's pretty easy that you keep this team together. Steve Johnson, Fred Jackson and Ryan Fitzpatrick are all good players who can grow together. They all want to be there. There's no reason to let them go.
What you think about Leodis McKelvin? You watched two Bills games at the Ralph, what is your impressions on him?
James Walker (4:47 PM)
He makes a few plays, but I'd like to see him be more consistent. The first-round label, fair or not, will stick with him. So McKelvin has to live up to that.
Dr. H. Doofenshmirtz (Tri-State Area)
If the Dolphins can't get Luck, will they go after one of the other QB's?
James Walker (4:48 PM)
I think Landry Jones would be possible for Miami. Chad Henne is a free agent after the season. If the Dolphins hire a new coach, I doubt that could would want a QB from the previous regime.
Frank (Mayor's Income, TN)
You said that the Bills are still looking for a signature road win. If they were somehow to blow out a playoff team from last year by 34 while that team was at full strength, would that count?
James Walker (4:51 PM)
Are you saying the win over KC was a signature win for Buffalo, Frank? I disagree.
James are u startin' Hillis over McCoy or FJackson this wk? thx!
James Walker (4:52 PM)
I would play Fred Jackson. He's getting the ball in the running and passing game.
Do you really think Sparano makes it through the entire season if it continues in this freefall, or do they just let Nolan (I assume) finish it out?
James Walker (4:54 PM)
Dolphins ownership has been pretty strong in their backing of Sparano. But that can change if they continue to lose. Miami chose not to give the quick hook. But it's really going to be a week-to-week thing the rest of the season unless the Dolphins go on a winning streak.
Hey James,I commented two weeks ago about the bills realing off 3 straight victories to be 6-0 before their bye. (Stupid Bengals) But man, i sure hope this doesnt turn out like two years ago. Do you think the bills maintain this good play, and what are the odds of a 10 win season? GO BILLS!
James Walker (4:56 PM)
I would stop those comparisons. This team has leadership and stability at quarterback. You can't stress that enough. The Bills could lose this week to the Giants. But I would be surprised if they completely fall off the map and finish 7-9.
steve ambrose (asheville nc)
Is there any decent replacement for Colombo? Or is it up to D. Thomas to create a running game?
James Walker (4:58 PM)
The Dolphins spent a lot of money on that offensive line. I think they have what they have at this point. Daniel Thomas is better between the tackles and that's what Miami wants to do, no matter who's in the game. So a healthy Thomas is good news for the Dolphins.
Fantasy question, Santonio Holmes or Brandon Marshall this week?
James Walker (4:59 PM)
Santonio Holmes. Brandon Marshall is playing on the road with a backup quarterback making his first start this season.
James Walker (5:00 PM)
Everyone, thanks again for your time. Remember to check out the AFC East blog for the latest updates on the division.
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