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 discuss all the latest with the AFC East.
Matt (South Florida)
What does Ryan Tannehill need to do in order to call this season a success and give Miami hope for the future?
James Walker (4:01 PM)
Interesting question, Matt. Expectations are in the eye of the beholder. For me, if Tannehill takes his lumps and shows poise and improves, that's a success. If he ends up like Blaine Gabbert and starts looking scared and losing confidence, it will be a dud.
James Walker (4:02 PM)
The Dolphins want to win. So it's probably all about wins and losses to Miami. But I don't care about that. Miami isn't making the playoffs no matter who is at QB. I think Tannehill's development for future seasons is more important.
Tim (Long Island)
How did it take this long for the Jets to realize Wayne Hunter's not that good? Who do you think replaces him at RT?
James Walker (4:04 PM)
Tim, I wish I could answer the Jets' thinking with Wayne Hunter. But I can't. It's mind boggling that they could not see (or didn't want to see) something that was prevalent all last year. I think Hunter is a good character guy and players like him. That has some impact on why the Jets continue to stick with him. But if you can't play, you can't play. The Jets should've found someone else who can. I'm just not sure that player is on the roster.
What do you think/make of Buffalo releasing Shawn Merriman?
James Walker (4:07 PM)
I'm not surprised by it. The Bills have plenty of defensive ends. Last year's starter, Chris Kelsay, is the third DE off the bench. Buffalo saved millions and no longer has to put up with the injury risk. Merriman is no longer the player he once was, so he was expendable.
gump (jet misery)
any solution to the Jet O-line?
James Walker (4:13 PM)
No easy solution, Gump. I think benching Wayne Hunter is the only move they can make. Changing Slauson for Ducasse may not be an upgrade. I think the Jets are kind of stuck with what they have.
where do you have fred jackson on your list of top running backs, in the afc
James Walker (4:15 PM)
Ranking RBs is not something I've done or really care to do. But I think Jackson is around my top 10. Probably somewhere between 9-11.
Scott (Austin, TX)
James, the last time the Dolphins got a new head coach, they unleashed the Wildcat and went from 1-15 to 11-5, winning the division. We probably won't see another huge improvment like that this time around, but 3 or 4 more wins than last year is realistic, no?
James Walker (4:17 PM)
It's easy to point to the Tony Sparano example. But there are a lot more instances of the other way around. I think Miami is in for a tough year. There are a lot of holes on the roster and many changes all around. I'm on record saying I'd be shocked if the Dolphins win more than six games, and I'm sticking to that. I view Miami as a five- or six-win team.
Lawrence Foster (Roswell, NM)
James, how concerned should Bills fans be about the poor play of the defense against a Vikings squad minus Adrian Peterson?
James Walker (4:20 PM)
I would say somewhat concerned. I've learned long ago not to overrate the preseason. But for some reason, it's hard to stick to that this year. I'm sure Buffalo's defense will be better than what it shows. But the Bills need to get rid of the complacency they are showing. They haven't done anything to earn that.
miami fan (Ottawa ON)
WHo do you see stePPing uP at WR for Miami
James Walker (4:22 PM)
It depends on how you define "stepping up." I don't see Miami having any 1,000-yard receiver this year. That would be my definition of stepping up and being a No. 1 WR. Maybe a guy like Bess or Naanee or Hartline can do a little more than their career averages. But I think it's going to be a poor year for the passing game.
Jeremy (columbia, sc)
James, now the Miami has their starter I'm thinkin either Moore or Garrard will be released....Moore doesn't have the experience in this offense and Garrard is hurt. your thoughts?Thanks
James Walker (4:24 PM)
That's been the speculation all along that the loser of the QB battle will be released. But now that both QBs lost to Tannehill, that makes things more murky. Garrard cannot be released right now because he is injured. Moore is an interesting case. If I was Miami, I would put him on the trading block and see if anyone is interested. Maybe another QB gets hurt this summer and drives up the price a bit.
Patrick (Syracuse NY)
Seeing Miami does not have many options at wide receiver, Im a bit confused on how the run game plays into the west coast offense there trying to run. Should we expect to see alot of passing?
James Walker (4:27 PM)
A West Coast offense, by nature, can be about 55-60 percent passing. But Miami is a unique case, because it has to play to its personnel. The Dolphins have depth at RB. They have at least three capable players. Ignoring the tailbacks would be a dumb mistake.
Sports50u.com (Phoenix, AZ)
James, would you rather have New England's 2007 receiving core (Moss, Welker, Stallworth) or 2012 (Welker, Lloyd, Gronk, Hernandez)? I'm taking 2012.
James Walker (4:28 PM)
You have to take the TEs. That has changed the NFL.
Okay, so remember week 6 of the 2011 season when the Jets played the Dolphins? Wayne Hunter basically removed Cameron Wake from the game. Where is THAT right tackle?
James Walker (4:29 PM)
One out of 16 games, Jake. If you or I did our jobs one out of 16 days, we'd be replaced.
Do you see any potential surprise veterans being released by any of the AFC teams? (Now that you don't see Merriman as a shock)
James Walker (4:30 PM)
The Patriots released DE Jonathan Fanene today. That was a bit of a surprise. But the emergence of rookie DE Chandler Jones made Fanene expendable. I think Jones is ready to contribute right away.
Should Bills fans be concerned with Fitz mediocre play so far in preseason?
James Walker (4:33 PM)
I'm not worried as much about Ryan Fitzpatrick and I am the defense. I don't have super high expectations for "Fitz." I expected the defense to be much better than what it's showed.
Does Rex Ryan have to worry about his job if he misses the playoffs again?
James Walker (4:34 PM)
Rex Ryan is not in the hot seat this year. He went to back-to-back AFC title games. Ryan is allowed to have one bad year.
When should Bills fans start buying Superbowl tix
James Walker (4:35 PM)
Ummm, maybe I should put that in a poll and let our AFC East readers decide.
Do you think Vereen might overtake Ridley as NE's primary back given his better receiving skills and New England's propensity to keep the same personnel grouping on the field for an extended period?
James Walker (4:37 PM)
I expect both players to be pretty closely tied anyway. The difference is one player will start and one will come off the bench. But the Patriots are known to ride the hot hand, whoever that may be on a given week.
SuperWeaz (essexville, mich)
Is Ftizpatrick capable of of 64% comp, 30 tds and 14 int's... numbers that could keep them in more games
James Walker (4:39 PM)
I don't see it, Super Weaz. The number that stands out the most is 14 INTs. That would be very good for Fitzpatrick. He is a gunslinger at heart who likes to take chances. Fitz led the NFL in picks last year. If he has just 14 picks and plays 16 games, the Bills probably make the playoffs.
Why are people getting all bent about the preseason? If you're going to overvalue the preseason games, at least wait until after the third one.
James Walker (4:41 PM)
That's a fair point, Xander. I've covered the NFL for almost a decade (since 2003) and try to keep things in perspective. But when you see Wayne Hunter being spun around like a top four times in one half, it's hard to ignore it and think it won't happen in the regular season.
Scott (Austin, TX)
I've heard rumors of new Dolphins logo/uniforms as early as next year... Stick with the classic or time for change?
James Walker (4:43 PM)
I'm not a big uniform guy, and it's probably because I'm not a fan of any team. I'm not concerned about whether the team can play. I will leave it to the fans to care about color schemes.
Kevin (Newburgh, NY)
Do you think it is possible for both Spiller and Jackson to have 1,000 yards each on the ground? If not how about both of them having 1,000 all purpose yards each?
James Walker (4:44 PM)
I don't see it. Buffalo and Fitzpatrick like to throw the football way too much. If anything, I think the RBs will get too few carries.
Why do you hate the Dolphins so much? Give them some love.
James Walker (4:47 PM)
I don't hate the Dolphins. I don't love the Patriots. I'm just giving my honest assessment of where these teams stand. The Patriots are very good so most of my blogs are going to be about how good they are. The Dolphins are not very good, so most of my blogs are going to be why they struggle. It's pretty simple.
Whats up with Michael Egnew? Miami needs some serious receiving help and Fasano did not look too good versus Carolina.
James Walker (4:49 PM)
Something isn't right with Egnew. I can't put a finger on it. But he just doesn't look like he wants it. Egnew has talent. There's a reason why he was drafted in the third round. But until he wants to be good, it's not going to happen for him. He's young so maybe he comes around.
now that ryan tannehill has offically been dubbed as MIA starting quarterback, what is your prediction for miami this upcoming season? any chance at a wild card
James Walker (4:53 PM)
As I said earlier, I don't see the Dolphins winning more than six games this year, and Tannehill starting doesn't change that. If anything, the Dolphins may win fewer games because it has to handle Tannehill's rookie mistakes and growing pains they would've have with Moore or Garrard. But I think it's the right idea for the long-term.
Do you think the Jets can go 12-4, looking at that schedule?
James Walker (4:53 PM)
I don't see the Jets going 12-4, no.
James Walker (4:55 PM)
I'm getting a lot of prediction questions today. I was actually debating whether I should do predictions at all this year. Last year I did game-by-game but I was thinking of taking the year off. Now that I have you ear, is that something you want in the blog? Send your suggestion on that in our AFC East blog inbox.
Jason (Fleming Island, FL)
Reggie Bush all purpose yards over/under 1500?
James Walker (4:58 PM)
Under. Miami has no WR threat this year to keep defenses honest. Opponents will stack the line against Bush and see if Tannehill and those WRs can beat them.
John (N. Augusta, SC)
Do the Bills have the right stuff this year to beat the Patriots again like last year?
James Walker (4:59 PM)
The Bills won't win the division this year. But avoiding a sweep against New England again would be a major victory. That is important to compete for a wild card spot.
James Walker (5:00 PM)
Everyone, thanks again for the time. Remember to chack out the AFC East blog for all the latest updates.