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 Walker Tuesday at 4 p.m. ET!
James Walker (4:00 PM)
Good afternoon, everyone. Let's talk about the AFC East
James, any chance that the Titans, Bengals and either Raiders or Broncos lose next weekend so the jets can sneak in, again?
James Walker (4:02 PM)
Rachel, the Jets have been lucky before. But I doubt all of these things fall into place. That is four different things that MUST happen for the Jets to get in, starting with New York needing to win in Miami, which won't be easy. But the Jets had a bunch of chances. They controlled of their own destiny for two straight weeks and continued to lose.
Nick (Cambridge, MA)
Who do the Pats need the most for the playoffs -- Pat Chung or Brandon Spikes?
James Walker (4:04 PM)
Tough question, Nick. I would go Chung, because everyone seems to be able to pass against the Patriots. Chung is athletic and can cover some ground on the back end.
Im not sure how long Marshall has left on his contract but do u think he would be worth trading away if the price is right? What if we could pick up D.Jackson. as a free agent and get some picks back from a Marshall trade?
James Walker (4:05 PM)
I don't think trading Marshall is in the plans, Joshua. That was one of GM Jeff Ireland's biggest free-agent acquisitions. He's not going to do that.
Sean (Richmond, VA)
What are the chances the Dolphins name Matt Moore their QB of the future?
James Walker (4:07 PM)
Of the future? That probably won't happen. Moore does have a shot to be the QB of the present, especially not that Matt Barkley decided to return to USC. I don't think the Dolphins are able to get anyone in the draft they really like at quarterback. Free agency is an option. But that's always more difficult with the type of money being thrown around.
the hooded genius (CT, New England)
Which AFC playoff team is best set up to deal with the NE TE's?
James Walker (4:08 PM)
Probably Pittsburgh. The Steelers have some athletic linebackers like Lawrence Timmons who is big enough and fast enough to keep up with Gronk and Hernandez. Steelers defensive coordinator Dick LeBeau also can use Troy Polamalu in different ways to try to negate the tight ends.
Caleb (Champaign il)
how ya like in the cowboys giants game and why?
James Walker (4:09 PM)
Wrong chat, Caleb. You should check with NFC East blogger Dan Graziano on that one.
For the sake of argument let's say Miami doesn't land a QB in the draft. Luck and RG3 are gone and they don't feel Jones is Top Ten material. Could they take a playmaker like Justin Blackmon and surround Moore with an additional weapons?
James Walker (4:10 PM)
I'm not a big fan of taking WRs so high in the draft, Tom. The Dolphins will have a top-10 pick and they already have Brandon Marshall in the fold.
Tim (Newark, NJ)
James, is it time that the Jets start looking for someone to at least compete with Mark Sanchez for the starting QB job? I haven't seen enough in 3 years for him to convince me that he's our long term answer. Maybe McCelroy can compete with him next offseason? I've felt that if we had better QB play, we wouldn't be in the position we are fighting for our lives for a playoff spot in the last week of the season, not controlling our destiny.
James Walker (4:12 PM)
Interesting question, Tim. I don't think the Jets will give up on Sanchez this year. But New York does need insurance in case he has a bad year and needs to have a stable veteran who can play or a fairly high draft pick the team can develop just in case.
Derek C. (Pittsfield, Massachusetts, United States)
More likely 1st round pick for Buffalo...WR or DE/OLB? Could they consider OT with the recent injuries?
James Walker (4:14 PM)
It depends on who's left on the board. But I would say with a clean slate, Buffalo would go pass-rushing linebacker. This draft also is deep with offensive tackles in the first round. So Buffalo may have to go that route.
Bill B (Foxboro)
Will I take two 1st round picks this yr? If I don't, am I trading up or down?
James Walker (4:16 PM)
History says you trade down. But I think you are well aware of how bad your defense is this year and get some impact first-rounders.
Al (Wausau, WI)
James, belated Merry Christmas! Do you think it would be fair to consider the Patriots as the AFC equibvalent of the Packers (explosive offense, challenges on defense), and that a Packers-Patriots Super Bowl (if it comes to that) could be a high-scoring, offensive-driven game?
James Walker (4:18 PM)
There are a lot of similarities and, yes, I do think the Patriots will reach the Super Bowl. I wrote that last week and a lot of people disagreed. But I think the AFC is weak enough this year for the Patriots to get by with little defense. Packers-Patriots or Saints-Patriots would both be high-scoring games.
If NE is in the Superbowl, who's their opponent, and what's your prediction for the game?
James Walker (4:20 PM)
Hmm, not ready to go that far, Gurari. I've made enough predictions this year. When I said the Patriots would win the AFC East back when they were struggling, I had a lot of tomatoes thrown my way. Same with this Patriots pick for the Super Bowl.
Gronk (the endzone)
Who has the best chance at taking me to the ground 1v1: Troy P., Ray-Ray or Ed Reed?
James Walker (4:22 PM)
Ray Lewis still hits pretty hard Gronk. Reed is the is fastest guy. Troy is in between.
steve ambrose hotsaucesteve (asheville nc)
The Dolphins only hope to get Luck is for him to fall to the Rams. Even so, do the Rams keep him over the oft-injured Bradford?
James Walker (4:23 PM)
The Rams are much more likely to trade the pick than the Colts. That would be good news for a team like Miami, which would be interested in trading up.
Eric B (Rochester, NY)
With so many ways for Buffalo to opt out of the Fitz deal and not owe a thing (the contract language was set up brilliantly in that aspect). Does Buffalo pull the trigger on RG3 if he's there. Or would they consider trading up to land him?
James Walker (4:25 PM)
Don't see it, Eric. Keep in mind, Buffalo paid out a nice signing bonus up front. They want to get some return on that investment. I think the Bills stick with Fitz for at least two more years.
Jets Fan (Raincloud)
I am so sad
James Walker (4:26 PM)
Cheer up Jets fans. You've been to the AFC title game two years in a row. No AFC East fan base can say that in the same span.
matt (miami, fl)
Jimmy, please settle a bet for me. My friend thinks Gruden would love to get back to Florida via the Fins and be remembered as the coach who brought back a "real" QB to them. I think he is nuts, why would Gruden wanna (basically) start all over down here?!
James Walker (4:30 PM)
Matt and Matt's friend, Jon Gruden is not coming to Miami. The job is not attractive enough to get an "A-list" coach. especially if GM Jeff Ireland is still in charge and calling the shots. Gruden, Cowher, etc. would not come out of retirement to take orders from Ireland. Not happening.
Eric Brown (Rochester NY)
If Buffalo were to switch back to a 4-3, and Mr. RG3 is gone. Do you think the team would have to go in the direction of Coples. The guy has Peppers written all over him!
James Walker (4:33 PM)
Coples would be a great pick for the Bills. But I don't think he would be there at No. 10. Buffalo probably will lose next week. So that may help the team move up a slot or two.
JR (Tampa Bay)
James, do you think the pressure will be on Rex Ryan next season assuming he misses the playoffs this year?
James Walker (4:34 PM)
I don't see Ryan in the hot seat. He built up too much equity in his first two years nearly getting the Jets to the Super Bowl. Coaches are allowed to have a bad year. And if 9-7/8-8 is considered a bad year for Ryan, then he will keep his job for a while.
Todd B (Miami)
Any chance I am here next year or do you think mgmt is cleaning house?!
James Walker (4:36 PM)
You won't be the head coach, Todd. But depending on the hire, the defensive staff might stay. I think overall that side of the football is doing a good job.
Jairus Byrd/George Wilson (Orchard Park, NY)
Are we the best safety tandem in the AFCE? Yes or yes?
James Walker (4:38 PM)
Hmmm, you two give up a lot of plays but you also make a lot of plays.
Any thoughts on why the Pats offense has started so slow recently? Even if they do make it past the first round, that could be as much as a deciding factor as their defense if they are up against the steelers or other offensively capable teams.
James Walker (4:40 PM)
It happens, Hollywood Cole. Sometimes you have to give credit to the defense for playing well. I think the Patriots were having trouble adjusting to injuries on the offensive line, too, before they finally got it together in the second half.
bill (vegas) [via mobile]
Should the dolphins trade their 1st rounder for multiple picks. what might they get in return?
James Walker (4:42 PM)
If a quarterback is not available, the Dolphins have to consider it. There is a pretty standard point chart most teams use for trading draft picks. I usually post the chart around draft time. Someone has to remind me to post the chart again this year.
irish (st college)
why are people complaining about brees stop him if you dont want the record broke? correct!! your pros
James Walker (4:43 PM)
I didn't have a problem with what New Orleans did. Get the record over with.
I was beginning to believe Moore might have a shot at QB next year for the fins, but dont "elite" QB's keep going after being up 17-0 at the half. Or was it Nolans game plan after the half. Very confused Dolphin fan...Happy Holidays to you and your family as well!
James Walker (4:46 PM)
Thanks, Jon. I've been saying for weeks in the AFC East blog that Moore is not an elite QB. In this division you need someone who can beat Brady. Moore is top backup and decent starter. But he can't lead you to a Super Bowl. The Dolphins need to find someone who can.
Jon K (WA)
So if none of these coaches are willing to go to Miami because Ireland is there, what is Ross going to do about that? Doesnt make sense to say you want an A list coach and then retain someone who keeps them away.
James Walker (4:49 PM)
I'm not saying every coach won't go to Miami. Just the "A-list" coaches like Cowher and Gruden that everyone is mentioning. The Dolphins will have a lot of assistant coaches at their disposal. They would jump for the chance to be a head coach. The person I would really like for the job is Jeff Fisher. But he's going to get a lot of interest from other teams, and I'm not sure Fisher would choose the Dolphins over openings like San Diego, Kansas City and St. Louis.
Scott (Northglenn, CO)
Has CJ Spiller pretty much played himself into a 50-50 split with Fred, or is he a 3rd down back/WR next year?
James Walker (4:51 PM)
Too early to say, Scott. I think Spiller is actually making Buffalo reconsider its plans with Jackson. The Bills said they would take care of Jackson. But if Spiller can rush for 100 yards and catch well out the backfield, would it make sense for Buffalo to pay two RBs top dollar? Buffalo has a lot more needs to fill. I'm curious to watch this play out.
Jets vs Fins this weekend... who ya got and why, James?
James Walker (4:52 PM)
I'm going to wait and make my prediction later in the week, Matt.
James Walker (4:53 PM)
Be sure to check for it on Thursday.
Andrew (Western, Maryland)
James, why is Tom Brady not getting league wide credit/props/respect as a legit MVP candidate? In the truest sense of the award, I think he is more valuable to the Patriots than Rodgers and Brees are to their respective teams! The makeshift offensive line, the incredibly injured defense, and some spotty all around play really make for a strong case, IMHO.
James Walker (4:54 PM)
Don't get me started on the Brady-for-MVP case, Andrew.
Jim (Orlando, Fl)
Any chance Haley or (forbid) Schotteniemer comes to sunny, south, FLA?
James Walker (4:55 PM)
No and no. Schottenheimer may get an interview.
I was one who questioned the Patriots draft again but in retrospect Nate Solder, Marcus Cannon and Ridley seem to be working out. Ras I Dowling got injured so hard to judge same with Vereen and with the spat of QB injuries the Mallet pick doesnt seem so foolish. How would you assess NE draft with some hindsight of the season?
James Walker (4:57 PM)
I don't like to gauge drafts too much during the first season. I usually give rookies 2-3 years to develop. But you're right, Dan. New England is getting some contributions from its rookies. I liked the Nate Solder pick from Day 1, and that's panning out well.
Chad H (rehab)
where am I suiting up next year?!
James Walker (4:58 PM)
You will get a chance to be a backup for someone next year. But it won't be in Miami. Just get healthy first and give yourself a chance.
David (Ithaca, Ny)
Jake Long....1st round pick (2012) Third round pick (2012) and second round pick (2013) is that enough to move up into the top 3 and draft Luck or RG3???
James Walker (5:00 PM)
RGIII? Absolutely. Andrew Luck? Maybe not. But it depends on the team that has the top pick.
James Walker (5:00 PM)
Everyone, thanks for your time. We will be back here next week.