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)
Let's answer some questions on the AFC East.
Ben Katz (Baltimore)
What do you think of the Jet's receiving core this season
James Walker (4:03 PM)
It really comes down to how fast rookie Stephen Hill will develop. The Jets want him to start right away. I think the WR group is average without Hill. Holmes is solid when he wants to play. Kerley is mostly a slot guy. I haven't seen much from Turner in three years. Hill can be the difference in NY's receivers being average or good.
As you know, James, Jake Long is in his final year of his contract, what are the chances of Jake Long staying in Miami? Do you think Jeff Ireland will give him a nice extension or will Long be wearing another uniform next season?
James Walker (4:05 PM)
This is an interesting situation, because it's not a contentious situation. Long is making a lot of money this year. He's not threatening to hold out. The only reason for the Dolphins to do this would be to try to save a few million by doing it now, before other teams have a chance to get him next offseason. I think Cameron Wake will be the final big-money contract in Miami. But I wouldn't be completely shocked.
Do you think Tannehill should start if hes tied with say matt moore in the competition?
James Walker (4:07 PM)
Under no circumstances would I start Ryan Tannehill in Week 1. I don't care if he looks better than Moore and Garrard in practice or the preseason. I think Tannehill has a lot of promise. I really like the tools that I saw from him last week. He can make all the throws, which should be exciting for Dolphins fans. But I'm not sure he's ready for the speed of the game right away. He doesn't have enough experience in college, just 19 starts. Miami would be smart to bring him along slowly.
Matt (Buffalo) [via mobile]
Did the bills fix their defensive secondary or will it continue to be a disadvantage?
James Walker (4:09 PM)
I thought the Bills did a good job. They drafted Stephon Gilmore and Aaron Williams is a developing young player. Wilson and Byrd are play-making safeties. It's key for the youngsters to come together.
Do you see the Dolphins signing any of the free agent wide receivers on the market?
James Walker (4:11 PM)
No, I think the Dolphins are focused on their own players right now. Getting to rookies signed and possible Jake Long are the priorities. The one receiver I can see is Donald Driver if he is released by the Green Bay Packers. I can see a short-term fix there.
Follows James on Twitter (DC)
James, how about some off-the-cuff thoughts on Fred Jackson? Better than Reggie Bush, right?
James Walker (4:12 PM)
Thanks for the follow and the home-town love. Usually, I would answer your question. But I'm saving it for a blog post after the chat. Check the AFC East blog (or Twitter) later this evening.
Andre (Tallahassee, FL)
Jets fans will call for Tebow if:a) Jets start 0-4b) Sanchez performs poorly (even if Jets are winning)
James Walker (4:13 PM)
Jets fans will call for Tebow if the Jets start 0-1 and lose to Buffalo at home in the opener. That's the high-pressure situation they signed up for by getting Tebow.
Andre (Tallahassee, FL)
What happens to Tannehill if Matt Moore plays like Derek Anderson did with the Browns back in 07. Trade..???
James Walker (4:15 PM)
No way. Tannehill is the future at quarterback. Matt Moore has one year left on his contract. He's probably a goner either way. Moore can make money for himself by playing well this season. It will just come somewhere else in 2013.
hotsaucesteve (asheville nc)
Any way the Dolphins can get more o-line help that doesn't involve Wal-Mart greeters from Dallas?
James Walker (4:17 PM)
Hot sauce, what's new? I think Miami's O-line is going to be ok. Jonathan Martin looks like a good pick. RG could be an issue thought.
Do the bills have the best chance of the three new york teams of making the playoffs this year?
James Walker (4:19 PM)
Ummm, you know the New York Giants won the Super Bowl, right? They have the best chance.
Bill Hunter (New York)
Do you think the Jets addressed their defensive needs in the draft? Will the Jets go back to playing top 5 defensive football?
James Walker (4:20 PM)
A lot of people don't realize the Jets were still a top five defense last year. Most don't see it that way, because it had some shaky performances. I think the coverage skills of the safeties remain a concern.
Andrew (Ft. Lauderdale)
Do you think the dolphins have any chance at making the playoffs with their schedule next season?
James Walker (4:21 PM)
Dolphins fans don't like me when I say it's a rebuilding year and Miami don't make the playoffs. But I'm just keeping it real. The Dolphins are not a playoff team this year. They are trying to build for the long haul.
The Bills offensive line remains almost identical to last year, outside of picking up Cordy Glenn and Mike Asper in this year's draft. What is your overall opinion of the Bills O-line unit going into this season?
James Walker (4:23 PM)
Bills O-line is solid. If Glenn can step up at left tackle, it will be great. The Bills have a good mix of solid run blockers and great pass protectors. But things kind of came apart when center Eric Wood went down last year.
Index Pythonicus (Boston MA)
Patriots or Jets - which backfield is worse? Patriots or Jets - who has less pass-rush?
James Walker (4:24 PM)
Check out the AFC East blog after this chat and I will have a post on running backs in the division.
Charles (New York)
Do you see the Jets or the Bills making the playoffs as a wild card, inferring that New England retains their division title?
James Walker (4:25 PM)
Both teams have a chance. I think the Patriots are pretty safe to the win the AFC East, barring any significant injuries.
Tim (Long Island)
James, is Jim Leonhard not coming back to the Jets and if so, who can they pick up to improve the safety position? I can't imagine Eric Smith still starting...
James Walker (4:27 PM)
That ship has sailed for now, Tim. Jim Leonhard is still recovering from season-ending knee surgery. The Jets don't have time to wait. It looks like it's Landry and Smith for 2012.
Do you think that the Dolphins' 2nd WR's can step up this season, and if so, who do you think will have the biggest season?
James Walker (4:28 PM)
I'm worried about all the Dolphins' receivers. Will the No. 1 receiver step up in his role? I have some concerns.
James Walker (4:30 PM)
For all the criticism Miami fans had about Brandon Marshall, his personality, dropped balls, etc. One thing that never gets mentioned is Marshall took a ton of coverage away from the Brain Hartlines of the world. Let's see how much Hartline gets open against the No. 1 CB (Revis?) or double coverage. Let's see how much Bess is swarmed in the slot with Marshall not on the field.
Chris Fiegler (Latham,NY)
Which AFC East team do you think will do the Best This Season with all the Draft Picks?
James Walker (4:33 PM)
I avoid grading draft picks from this year, Chris. I know it's popular, but it's pretty much a useless thing. That's why I'm doing a series this week on grading drafts three years later. I thought the four teams did a nice job plugging holes. But the key will be did each team pick the right player.
Wayne Hunter (Florham Park, NJ)
Am I seriously still starting? I have to block Mario Williams? WHAT IS GOING ON?!?!
James Walker (4:34 PM)
If you scared, say you're scared, Wayne. Just kidding. Don't be so surprised. Act like you've been there before.
James, what do you think of Alex Tanney (Trick shot QB-Pretty impressive) and his chances of making the Bills roster?
James Walker (4:36 PM)
If players were trash cans and goal posts, Tanney would be pretty good.
James Walker (4:37 PM)
Just kidding. Let's see him throw to moving targets with 300-pound linemen putting their helmets in his chest. Then we will see how good he is.
James Walker (4:39 PM)
I enjoyed the videos though. My guess is it's the equivalent of a guy in the basketball gym who can make free throws backwards and with his eyes closed but can't play in the NBA.
Trash Can (Lunch Room)
Put me in coach! I can play #2 WR!
James Walker (4:41 PM)
Not enough speed, trash can. The Bills need someone who can get deep in that spot.
Jake Kingdollar (KY)
You say things came apart when Eric Wood went down but despite a constantly revovling O-line Ftiz was one of the least sacked QB's in the NFL. Explain "fell apart" please
James Walker (4:43 PM)
A lot of people use that's stat, and there is something to be said for it. But do you know how many times Fitz threw picks by rushing the ball out? The guy wasn't sacked a lot, but he was hit plenty. His ribs didn't break over the course of the year by themselves. Fitz was throwing quick a lot, because he had to. A lot of them were picked off in the second half of the season. You have to look deeper than that stat.
Hi James,You honestly don't believe any of Miami's receivers are legit? If you had to pick one to break away from the pack, which would it be?
James Walker (4:46 PM)
Don't get it confused. Miami's WRs are not good in the positions that they are in. Hartline was ok as a No. 2. Not great, but ok. Bess is a good slot guy. I like him at No. 3. But making Hartline you're No. 1 to face Darrelle Revis twice a year? C'mon, that's unfair. Bess is not catching 60 passes as the No. 2 receiver when teams are keying on him and at times double-teaming. That's all.
James Walker (4:47 PM)
I just think Miami needs to have roles that work for Hartline and Bess. Asking too much could make them look worse than they are.
Ben (New York)
James, do you think demorrio davis could be used to help cover tight ends in the jets defense? mike pettine basically called him a "glorified strong safety" and hinted that he would be used in a coverage role.
James Walker (4:48 PM)
I need to see more of Davis. I know the Jets think he's Ray Lewis and all, but I have to see it for myself. Let's not get ahead of ourselves.
What about leaving Bess in the slot and put Gates at the other spot. His speed could certialy take the top off the D.
James Walker (4:50 PM)
Yes, you can keep Bess in the slot. But is Gates a starting NFL receiver? You're going to make him the No. 2 with Hartline? That's tough.
James Walker (4:51 PM)
Either way you cut it, Miami just doesn't have enough personnel. The Dolphins need someone. It doesn't even have to be a vintage No. 1. I think if Donald Driver came over, that could work. Driver is not a No. 1. But he's a starter who could help Hartline fit in better and keep Bess in the slot. Everyone just need to fit their roles better.
hotsaucesteve (asheville nc)
I agree the Dolphins are rebuilding, but how many years? Personally, I think one more strong draft from Ireland puts them in the playoff hunt into December.
James Walker (4:53 PM)
I only look year to year in the NFL. I think it's impossible to say three years down the road this team or that team will be better. The league isn't built that way. But the Dolphins won't contend in 2012. Let's see what happens when next year arrives.
Jeff (NY, NY)
At least the Jets have Holmes, Keller as their #2 option with Kerley in the slot and a developing "starting" WR.
James Walker (4:55 PM)
The Jets are ok. They have a No. 1 receiver in Holmes, when he wants to play. That's harder to find than a No. 2.
Tom Brady (behind the couch)
So now that my buddy Matt's announced his retirement, do you think Nate's going to be able to protect my blind side? Is there enough insurance? Giselle's worried.
James Walker (4:56 PM)
Tom, you will be fine. You can come from behind the coach now. Solder is a good player, and he got his feet wet last year. I think he's going to be a solid player for a while.
Sean (webster) [via mobile]
Who would be better fitzpatrick or vince young for the bills?
James Walker (4:58 PM)
No question Fitzpatrick. This offense in many ways was tailored for him. A lot of read and react players. Young could fit in some ways, but I don't think he's starter material anymore.
Jordan (Casper, Wy)
Hey James, do you miss the AFC North crazy homers?
James Walker (5:02 PM)
Jordan, what's up? You guys in the AFC North were hilarious, very cool peeps. But living in Miami is 10 times better than living in Cleveland. So the switch is a big upgrade.
Nick (Boston, MA)
could you see gaffney out producing lloyd next year?
James Walker (5:03 PM)
I don't see it, Nick. Lloyd is going to make a lot of big plays. His yards per catch should be pretty high. Even if he catches 10 fewer passes, I think Lloyd will have more yards and touchdowns.
James Walker (5:04 PM)
Everyone thanks again for the questions. Have a good day.