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)
I know there are a lot of depressed AFC East fans out there. The season is pretty much over for three teams, but I'm here for you. Let's chat about it.
depressed jet fan (in bed)
1-pls. gimme a reason to still watch this train wreck of a season2- I've never seen a weaker offense3- how can you ignore the fan base's and keep trotting sanchez out there?4- how many JETS really have sanchez's back at this point?
James Walker (4:01 PM)
I know it's tough, depressed Jets fan. New York is getting worse, but that hasn't stopped them trash-talking. That only makes them look more silly. But this is a good time to evaluate young talent and who will remain with the team in 2013. That may be reason enough to watch.
James,nc [via mobile]
Whats up namesake,everybody keeps talking about how bad ne defense is,did anybody learn from last year?
James Walker (4:04 PM)
Hey namesake. One of the biggest shockers of the offseason was New England didn't do anything significant to improve its secondary. They drafted a couple young guys but they're rookies. They signed Steve Gregory, whose ceiling is limited. The Patriots are trying to patch up that mistake with the Aqib Talib trade. So let's see how that works out.
James, how many INTs has Sanchez thrown in the endzone so far? What is Ryan seeing in him, or is it strictly he doesn't want to admit they made a mistake in signing him?
James Walker (4:05 PM)
LeAnne, Sanchez has thrown at least three that I can think of off the top of my head. Those are game killers because of the point swing. Sanchez has a lot of issues and that's just one of them.
Chris Fiegler (Latham,NY)
Why doesn't the Jets Bench Mark Sanchez who has been stinking up the Field & Put Tim Tebow as Quarterback?
James Walker (4:07 PM)
Rex Ryan will tell you Mark Sanchez gives NY the best chance to win. That's pretty depressing if you're a Jets fan, because Sanchez is not putting the Jets in position to win. That means Tim Tebow has looked really, really bad in practice. I think once New York is mathematically eliminated from the playoffs, it will consider a QB change.
Do you think Rex Ryan will be fired?
James Walker (4:09 PM)
Rex Ryan is safe this year, Alex. His first two years have bought him time. But next season is a big one for him. That's why I think it's dangerous that Ryan continues to sink with his quarterback.
Do you think we are going to be seeing a huge game soon from Bush? We haven't seen one in a while, possibly this Thursday?
James Walker (4:11 PM)
Reggie Bush hasn't been the same since his knee injury against the New York Jets. Bush says that's not an issue. But since then, his season has gone downhill. Thursday is the perfect chance for Bush to have a big game. Buffalo is ranked 32nd in run defense. The Bills' defensive line is underachieving and their LBs are getting pushed around.
Tim (Long Island)
If things don't get any better for the Jets over the last 7 games, could their starting QB be someone not on their roster now?
James Walker (4:12 PM)
It would make sense. However, the underlying story is both contracts of Mark Sanchez and Tim Tebow. The Jets are financially invested. Bringing in another QB would mean a lot of money is sitting there on the bench with Sanchez and Tebow. The Jets are tight on the cap as it is. I think they have to choose one of these two players.
James Walker (4:14 PM)
The most likely scenario I can see is New York drafting a developmental QB in the first three rounds and grooming that player for the next year or two. But Mark Sanchez or Tim Tebow would start in 2013, based on how this season ends.
Displaced Pats Fan (Miami, FL)
Did you see Brady during the Bills final drive on Sunday? He couldn't even watch what was going on. Do you think he's become secretly frustrated with how bad the defense is since it falls on him every game to put teams away? Shouldn't 30 points a week be enough? It'd only be natural for him to have some frustration.
James Walker (4:17 PM)
I did notice that, very good observation. Tom Brady would never say anything publicly so you can't say 100 percent. But his body language spoke volumes to me. He knows so much is on his shoulders. The pass defense is awful. The offense scored 37 points and the game still came down to the final drive. Brady has to be asking himself, "What more can I do?"
I like Ryan Tannehill a lot, he's got so much upside. But his lack of touchdowns is a major concern of mine. How much of this is the blame on the offensive game plan, and the players around him? I feel like they are holding him back a bit with the gameplan.
James Walker (4:18 PM)
I think it's more of circumstances as oppose to Ryan Tannehill. Miami doesn't have any playmakers to get into the end zone. Tannehill will be fine and will throw more touchdowns once the front office gets more weapons around him.
Your blog post about the Tennessee game being a trap game for the Dolphins was spot on. That was Literally the worst football game I've seen the Dolphins play ever. Do you think the blame was on the coaches for that, maybe being too focused on their Thursday game?
James Walker (4:21 PM)
I try to warn our community when I see something like that. Usually, fans choose not to listen. But I'm around the Dolphins enough to know when something like this could happen. They are a young team that experienced success for the first time. But it's harder to sustain success. That was a hard lesson for Miami. We get to see how much heart the Dolphins really have over these next four games.
Surprised the Bills are still whining about Spikes two days later while preparing for a Thursday night game?
James Walker (4:24 PM)
I can't say I'm surprise. Fred Jackson is a popular guy in the locker room and a leader. I think Spikes hit a nerve with the team by celebrating. But I think it's time to move on. Buffalo can't play New England again until next year. The focus should be the Dolphins.
Hey James...Nuff Repect from an island Pats fan. I know the Pats are in a better situation than the rest right now but relatively speaking I think we're just as depressed as everyone else. Aside from the Jets Offensive Unit, I think the Pats secondary is by far the worst in the division. Can Talib really make much of a difference?
James Walker (4:26 PM)
Respect, Nicardo. The secondary can't get any worse. Talib is a physical talent, and with good coaching he could make an impact. The thing I like about Talib is he's a good man-to-man defender. New England doesn't have that in its secondary and has to play a lot of loose zone, because the corners can't stick to WRs. I think Talib can open up more options for the defense.
Ian (Phoenix, AZ)
Do you see the Miami secondary as an issue going forward? They seemed to play well up until the Indy game. Now Sean Smith, Jimmy Wilson, etc are just plain getting beat.
James Walker (4:28 PM)
Miami's secondary has been an issue all year. The difference is Sean Smith and Rashad Jones were playing solid in the first half of the year. Now that those two are struggling, the entire secondary looks bad.
Nick (Boston, MA)
a lot of people criticizes you for having a NE bias. do you want to set the record straight?
James Walker (4:33 PM)
I think it's pretty comical, Nick. I write what I see. My job is to explain why AFC East teams are winning and losing. The reason the Patriots get mostly good stories is because they mostly win. If the Bills or Jets or Dolphins won as much as New England, they would get the same coverage.
James Walker (4:34 PM)
Likewise if New England was as bad as Buffalo, the Patriots would get that coverage. It's about what happens on the field. That dictates the stories I write. Pretty simple, if you ask me. But fans get riled up about it.
I dont see how you can claim the dolphins season to be over?? explain how they couldn't make a push for a wild card?
James Walker (4:36 PM)
I'm trying to keep Dolphins fans ahead of the curve, Chad. But you all won't listen. Miami blew its shot the last two weeks. The Dolphins have a brutal schedule coming up and there's no way they win enough games to get into the playoffs. It's a wrap.
Alex (Kenmore, NY)
If Fitz lays an egg on Thursday can we finally bench him and put TJAX in?
James Walker (4:37 PM)
Bills fans are just as erratic as Fitzpatrick is on gamedays. He just had one of his best games against the reigning AFC champs, and you can't wait to bench him? Fitzpatrick is not the long-term solution, but he doesn't deserve to be benched.
James Walker (4:38 PM)
My biggest complaint about Fitzpatrick is you know another multi-interception game is coming. You just don't know when. He's too streaky. Too hot and cold.
I admire Rex's loyalty to Sanchez, but do you think it could eventually cost him his job?
James Walker (4:40 PM)
For the first time, Rex Ryan is walking that line, AJ. Mark Sanchez, in my opinion, is a lost cause. He is what he is at this point and the arrow is not pointing up. If the Jets keep losing this year and potentially into next year, Ryan has to make a decision whether he wants to save his job or sink with his QB.
Is it fair to say Stephen Hill and Coples have been big disappointments?
James Walker (4:42 PM)
They are rookies. I never completely write someone off after one year. It's not easy playing in the NFL. It usually takes a couple years before they land on my "Bust Watch" list.
Antonio (Miami, FL)
Care to comment on another poor showing from Dolphins fans at Sun Life Stadium again on Sunday? It's terrible, that team gets no home field advantage, and ZERO support which is a shame because they are playing hard. Is it time for Stephen Ross to not buy up the tickets one week and induce a blackout to wake up the fans?
James Walker (4:45 PM)
I'm new to Miami, but I've learned a lot over the past year. South Florida fans are tough. There's too many options and too many transplants to have a lot of die-hards in the stadium on Sunday. The Dolphins will have to win a lot of games to get fans in the stadium. That won't happen this year. It has to be gradual.
Brian (Secaucus, NJ)
Is Mark Sanchez Matt Leinart 2.0?
James Walker (4:46 PM)
Mark Sanchez is better than Matt Leinart. He's just not a franchise quarterback.
who has the best uniforms in the AFCE?
James Walker (4:47 PM)
I never really thought about that. To each's own. What do you think?
mike va [via mobile]
could the fact that tim tebow is there be causing sanchez to crack under pressure?not to ention no viable recievers and a average running game.the entire offense is in shambles and a def minded coach just cant correct all of that can he?
James Walker (4:49 PM)
Mike, if you read the blog regularly you know that I'm done with excuses for Mark Sanchez. I said at the beginning of the season that this is a no-excuse year. I've heard them all his first three years and I'm tuning out excuses in Year 4. I don't want to hear about Tebow's presence or no WRs. Last year it was Brian Schottenheimer and bad chemistry. This was time for Sanchez to produce and he's not doing it.
Can you pinpoint where the Jets went wrong? Two years ago they almost made the SB!!!
James Walker (4:51 PM)
The main reasons are the defense got older and the offense never turned the corner. The Jets can't win 17-14 games anymore. Darrelle Revis is hurt and many veteran defenders lost a step.
Will the Pats go 6-0 in the division?
James Walker (4:52 PM)
Very good chance of it. But I'm making my picks game-to-game. New England still has to travel to NY and Miami. Road division games are always challenging.
Brendan (New Jersey)
A lot of people say "get rid of Reggie Bush." I think he's a versatile player and is a good check-down for Ryan Tannehill. What do you think?
James Walker (4:54 PM)
Reggie Bush will be a free agent next year, and I don't think he returns. The coaching staff is already giving carries to other players and benching Bush when he makes a mistake. I don't see Miami spending big bucks to keep him next year.
Striaght Cash Homie (West Virginia)
T or F: Ridley will win the AFC East rushing title.
James Walker (4:56 PM)
True. C.J. Spiller will go back to six or nine carries a game when Fred Jackson gets healthy.
Who has the edge for thursday nights game?
James Walker (4:57 PM)
Stay tuned on Thursday when I make my AFC East picks. I'm doing stellar this year.
Straight Cash Homie (Downtown)
What would be the first thing you would fix if you were the Bills GM
James Walker (4:59 PM)
I would probably get a franchise quarterback. Ryan Fitzpatrick is too streaky and inconsistent to build a playoff team around.
James Walker (5:00 PM)
Everyone, thanks again for the fun chat. I know the division is on a down year. But hang in there and keep reading the AFC East blog.