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. I hope everyone is having a good summer. Let's chat about the AFC East.
Who is the best running back in the division this season? Im thinking F jackson.
James Walker (4:02 PM)
I would rank Fred Jackson ahead of the rest, LeAnne. But Jackson is a bit of a wild card, because he's coming off a season-ending leg injury. No one knows for sure how well Jackson will respond. Not even Jackson. But Buffalo feels his health checked out fine.
Carl (Orlando, FL)
Who would win in a fist fight....the Miami Dolphins or the NY Jets?
James Walker (4:03 PM)
If I covered boxing or MMA, maybe that would matter. But I haven't really thought about it. I care more about which team would win in a football game.
John Ford (Greenwood, MS)
Hey james I was thinking is the new york jets defense still a top 5 defense?
James Walker (4:05 PM)
A lot of people fail to remember that the Jets were a top-five defense last year. They didn't play like it at times. But NY was put in a lot of bad positions by its offense and I think that wore on this group. There's no reason to think this defense isn't capable of matching what it did last year. I think the Jets are better defensively in some areas, especially it's pass rush.
Andrew (Buffalo ny)
If Wayne hunter starts week 1 will we be hearing tenor chants at halftime?
James Walker (4:07 PM)
The Wayne Hunter-Mario Williams matchup in Week 1 would worry me a lot if I'm the Jets. They better have a RB or a TE helping at all times or things could get ugly for QB Mark Sanchez.
Chris (Largo, Fl)
We all talk about how Miami has the deepest QB chart in the league. No doubt, it is a good list of guys. But what about Chicago. Cutler and Campbell are great, so is there any competition there as to whether the Bears have the deepest QB depth chart?
James Walker (4:10 PM)
Miami is deep because it's all three strings. The Dolphins are one of the few teams that are actually three deep at quarterback. Matt Moore had a career year in 2012. David Garrard is a former Pro Bowler and Ryan Tannehill is the No. 8 overall pick. I don't know if either guy is a franchise quarterback. But Miami has most teams beat in terms of depth.
Matthew (KC, MO)
I'm not familiar with the inner workings of the West Coast Offense.. how many receivers are the Dolphins expecting to have on the field on average? 2? 3?
James Walker (4:12 PM)
Every West Coast scheme is a little different. But the system Mike Sherman ran and also Joe Philbin in Green Bay usually has three receivers or two WRs and a split out/athletic TE (JerMichael Finley). I expect to see a lot of that and not much of a fullback.
How do you think the Bills match up against the rest of the division?
James Walker (4:15 PM)
That's a tough one, Doug. Buffalo has struggled big time against the AFC East. The Bills were 1-5 last year and were swept by the Dolphins and Jets. I think this is the biggest hurdle the Bills have to taking the next step. On paper, they can make a playoff push. But they have to grow up on the field.
Brad (Wellsboro, pa)
Alright James the big debate as of late, if it comes down to the Bills and Jets for the final wildcard spot, who would you predict to get it?
James Walker (4:16 PM)
Not ready to make my prediction just yet. Let me watch the training camps and preseason. Then I will be ready.
James Walker (4:16 PM)
I will say three teams from the AFC East are not getting in. Just one or two.
Mike (Buffalo NY)
Who starts at cornerback WEEK ONE for Buffalo?
James Walker (4:17 PM)
I like Stephon Gilmore and Aaron Williams. Both are young, athletic and have fresh legs. But I wouldn't count out Terrence McGee, either. McGee or Williams will start opposite Gilmore.
Dale Jennings Vincennes, IN [via mobile]
WE all know Gronk is the best TE in the league but where do you rank Hernandez among other TE in the league?
James Walker (4:19 PM)
We don't all know, because the players ranked Jimmy Graham ahead of Gronkowski. But I would put Hernandez in my top five. He's very athletic. He just needs to work on his overall game and consistency.
How about pats? Do you see them winning AFC or buffalo/jets would challenge them?
James Walker (4:20 PM)
I still think there is still a significant gap between the Patriots and the rest of the AFC East. It's safe to say the Pats will take it. But they have to stay healthy this summer before I make a stern prediction.
We haven't heard a lot about how Miami's TEs have been doing. Are they showing signs of being a dual threat? Similar to the Boston TE Party.
James Walker (4:22 PM)
People got real excited when Michael Egnew compared himself to Rob Gronkowski and Jimmy Graham. But I have yet to see that from him. He's a rookie and needs some time to grow. "Gronk," Aaron Hernandez and Graham didn't develop until their second year in the league.
do u think the phins will be over 500 this yr
James Walker (4:23 PM)
I don't see the Dolphins finishing with at least nine wins. That would be a surprise.
James Walker (ESPN)
This is you from the future. Just wanna congratulate you for being the first from ESPN to say the Bills will make the playoffs. Way to go. The did make the playoffs and actually beat the Patriots before they lost in the AFC Championship game. Once again, Congrats.
James Walker (4:25 PM)
Interesting. I didn't know I could travel to the future. And why would I give a congrats to myself? Who did they lose to in the AFC title game? Baltimore? Houston? Denver?
Who do you think is the all time best AFC East QB? It probably comes down to Marino and Brady.
James Walker (4:26 PM)
Tom Brady, Dan Marino and Jim Kelly in that order.
Nelson (New York)
Everyone team has a RB, when will the Jets get one?
James Walker (4:29 PM)
The Jets think they have one in Shonn Greene. I'm not a big Shonn Greene guy, but the Jets think they can give him the ball 300-plus times this year.
James Walker (ESPN)
They lost to the Raiders.
James Walker (4:31 PM)
Oh, interesting. Bills vs. Raiders in the AFC title game? Weird year in the NFL.
If Fred Ex has another year similar to last and is healthy, do you see spiller getting upset about not being the starter even though he is a top 10 pick. I can see him requesting a trade if he is not awarded some additional playing time, I would hate to see buffalo get rid of such promising talent.
James Walker (4:33 PM)
This has been a looming situation in Buffalo. Both players want the ball. Both feel they can help the team and both are right. But Jackson waited his turn and it's his time. Spiller will get more chances down the road. I think the Bills will keep both as long as they can and eventually turn it over to Spiller in a year or two when Jackson gets up there in age.
Do you think the Jets will go after another TE before training camp? After Dustin Keller there is no established blocker or even receiving TE. And if so, what do you think they would be willing to give for one?
James Walker (4:35 PM)
Good question, Jake. That's one of those position the Jets just have to hope and pray there's no injuries. NY doesn't have much cap room this year. The Jets are tied up in a lot of contracts. That's part of the reason they are holding firm on Revis' demands. They can't pay him without cutting key players.
Rich (New Jersey)
Will Chad Ochocinco be much help to the Dolphins in determining who wins the AFC East or get Miami into the playoffs or be a distraction and Miami doesn't get close to .500?
James Walker (4:38 PM)
I don't think Chad Ochocinco helps the win total that much. I just think he brings at least a little bit of a threat back to the passing game. Brandon Marshall had 1,200 yards and 80-plus catches last year and Miami only won six games. I don't see Ochocinco matching that kind of production.
Does Danny Woodhead make the Patriots 53 man roster? He seems to be the only guy with true speed.
James Walker (4:41 PM)
Well, RB Shane Vereen has speed. I would probably say Woodhead is more quick/shifty that a blazer. I can see four RBs making the Patriots, especially since there's no clear-cut starter. Ridley and Vereen for sure, and I think Addai and Woodhead have good shots.
jason (saranac lake,new york)
over/under on sacks for mario williams?
James Walker (4:43 PM)
I think most people in Buffalo will be happy with double digits. He will get a lot of double teams. As long as he makes everyone else on defense better, Buffalo will be fine.
Is Welker traded mid season?
James Walker (4:44 PM)
Alex T (Austin, TX)
When it is sold out - which AFC East stadium is the hardest to play in as an opponent?
James Walker (4:46 PM)
Gillette Stadium is pretty tough, especially late in the year. Part of that is because the Patriots are very good.
Ryan (Koek )
After working with David Lee and being another year in the same system do you think that Ryan Fitzpatrick will have a shot at making the Pro Bowl?
James Walker (4:48 PM)
Whoa! Whoa! Slow down on the Fitzpatrick Pro Bowl talk. Let's just see if he can have a consistent season. He is as streaky as they come.
how is brady better than marino
James Walker (4:50 PM)
I can think of at least three reasons.
andy (new jersey)
James, plain and simple...will the Bills make the post season this year?
James Walker (4:50 PM)
John Clayton and Herm Edwards say yes. I'm waiting until the end of training camp and preseason to make my picks.
Alex (Austin, TX)
Do teams still place an emphasis on special teams during OTA's and Training Camp with the kick off rule severely reducing the number of returns?
James Walker (4:51 PM)
I haven't noticed much change in practices, Alex. The punt is still very important as well as field goal kicking. That's not going away.
Any chance Bush and Thomas each rush for 1k?
James Walker (4:53 PM)
In a West Coast offense? I don't see it.
Ethan (San Diego)
James, hypothetically speaking, if Sanchez is on the Bills, are you still confident they would be a sleeper team? Jaws had them ranked 23rd and 24th respectively. Who do you take?
James Walker (4:55 PM)
I struggle with those kind of questions. I can't wrap my head around Sanchez playing in Buffalo.
Ryan (Rimrock Az)
James, who do you think the second most productive receiver will be for the bills during the upcoming season? i say second most productive because of all the spread type formations the bills run.
James Walker (4:56 PM)
Probably David Nelson in the slot. He does pretty well in that role.
jason (saranac lake,new york)
ANY CHANCE MARCUS EASLEY EMERGES AS THE THREAT WE BEEN WAITING FOR HIM TO BE THIS SEASON?
James Walker (4:57 PM)
Until Easley is healthy, I'm not going to say one way or the other. Potential doesn't mean anything if Easley can't stay on the field.
Who has the bigger year, Brandon Lloyd or Jabar Gaffney?
James Walker (4:58 PM)
James Walker (5:00 PM)
Everyone thanks again for your time. Remember to check out the AFC East blog and follow me on twitter for the latest updates.