Chat with Jamison Hensley
Welcome to SportsNation! On Tuesday, ESPN.com AFC North blogger Jamison Hensley stops by to chat.
Hensley joined ESPN.com in 2011 after covering the Ravens for The Baltimore Sun for 11 years. A graduate of the University of Maryland, he lives in the Baltimore area with his wife.
Send your questions now and join Hensley Tuesday at 1 p.m. ET!
Jamison Hensley (ESPN) (1:00 PM)
Thank you everyone for joining the chat. Sorry about changing the day, but I'm happy you all were able to stop by today.
Nick (PA) [via mobile]
Is this year going to be one of the afc north's worse years with the Steelers so slowed with age and injuries, the Ray and Ed-less ravens losing so many players after their SB run, the questions about Weeden. The Bengles (yes, Bengles) may look like the best team in an unusually weak look division?
Jamison Hensley (ESPN) (1:03 PM)
I don't see this as a down year for the division. I believe two playoff teams will come from the AFC North, and three teams have a good shot at winning records. The Browns may surprise some teams depending on Brandon Weeden's growth, Trent Richardson's health and the run defense.
Joe (Wilmington NC)
Do you see Browns TE Jordan Cameron being a difference maker this year? Since the front office decided against signing any big names, it seems like they have faith in his athletic ability in Turner/Chudzinski's system.
Jamison Hensley (ESPN) (1:05 PM)
The Browns hope Cameron will be a difference maker. If not, they're not going to get much production out of the tight end spot. I agree with you that his athleticism seems to fit the profile for Turner and Chudzinski. I project him to catch around 50 passes and catch a handful of touchdown passes.
Isaac (El Monte, CA)
Thanks Jamison For All That You Do! My question regards the wide recicver battle in Baltimore, what does your gut tell you about whos going to win that job, i personally think Deonte Thompson lined up opposite torrey smith would be a lethal duo
Jamison Hensley (ESPN) (1:07 PM)
Deonte Thompson has speed. There's no questioning that. I'm just not sure whether he's polished enough yet. My pecking order still has Tandon Doss above him. I'm hoping to get a better look at the receivers next week at mandatory minicamp.
Bigger impact as a rookie? Eifert or Gio? How would you rank the remaining weaknesses on this Bengal team? MLB or SS?
Jamison Hensley (ESPN) (1:09 PM)
Both Eifert and Bernard should make an impact on the Bengals offense. They are the keys to increasing the amount of big plays for Cincinnati. If I had to choose one, Eifert will make the bigger impact. He'll stand out in the red zone. As far as weaknesses, I would go: SS, C and LB.
Ed (Queens Village)
Last 4 times Steelers miss playoffs they won AFC North the following year. Can they repeat feat this year?
Jamison Hensley (ESPN) (1:11 PM)
Wouldn't rule it out. I just wouldn't predict that happening. For that to happen, Ben Roethlisberger would have to stay healthy, Le'Veon Bell would have to make an immediate impact on the running game and the defense would have to generate more turnovers.
Josh Morford (Cincinnati)
If Andy Dalton Exceeds excpectations this year and their defense remains solid, do you see Cincinnati as a Top Tier team?
Jamison Hensley (ESPN) (1:13 PM)
If Dalton exceeds expectations and the Bengals defense limits the amount of big plays, they would be among the top seven or eight teams in the NFL. Not sure I would say top tier (is that another way of saying elite?) until they win a playoff game. Bengals still have to prove it on the field when it counts the most.
ballhawk reed orlando, fl [via mobile]
Hey Jamison me again... I was just curious on why the ravens weren't interested in Brandon Albert trade.. for one Ozzie is high on getting LT he drafted Ogden and over.. I know money could be an issue, but I'm sure they could work something out and they wanted only a 3rd if I'm not mistaken.. just a thought
Jamison Hensley (ESPN) (1:14 PM)
If you're trading for Albert, you need to sign him to an extension. Before June 1, Ravens only had $1.7 million in salary-cap room and still need to sign two picks. The Ravens were able to sign Bryant McKinnie because he came at a lower price. Not sure if Baltimore could have fit Albert under the cap.
Chris in Boston. [via mobile]
Iam a Pitt. Fan do you think Sean spence will return to football this year ?
Jamison Hensley (ESPN) (1:15 PM)
Odds are certainly against it. I'm not a doctor, but that looked like a devastating injury. You certainly root for someone like him to do it, though.
Benjamin (Scottsdale AZ)
How is James Ihedigbo looking so far in OTA's?
Jamison Hensley (ESPN) (1:15 PM)
I was out at practice Friday and he didn't stand out.
Who ends up having the best D this year...Pitt, Bal, Cin?
Jamison Hensley (ESPN) (1:17 PM)
I really like the way the Bengals are coming together defensively. There are questions like where Burfict/Maualuga will line up and who is starting at SS. But that defensive front is definitely "top tier."
Andrew Z. (Struthers, OH)
What's your level concern with Trent Richardson?
Jamison Hensley (ESPN) (1:18 PM)
Based on the current report, there's no need to push the panic button. If Richardson can come back by the early part of August, he'll have no trouble getting ready for the Sept. 8 opener.
Rants N Ravens (Ravens Nation)
Any word on how guys not at OTAs are doing physically (Ngata, Sizzle, etc.)?
Jamison Hensley (ESPN) (1:19 PM)
Won't know until they report to mandatory camp next week.
Cloud [via mobile]
Why didn't Ryan from Birdland mention Cleveland?
Jamison Hensley (ESPN) (1:20 PM)
Not sure. But I would say Browns are No. 4 in the division in terms of defense. I have questions about their ability to hold up against the run on the edges.
It seems like the Steelers reputation has taken a beating last year. They are no longer is feared with the 5 close loses (3 points or less). If Troy Polamalu and Big Ben can stay healthy for a full season do you think they can get that back or will it take some of the younger players to step up?
Jamison Hensley (ESPN) (1:22 PM)
The key for the Steelers is staying healthy. Because of their limited salary-cap room, Pittsburgh wasn't able to add any experienced depth outside of quarterback and cornerback. I like the front-line players for the Steelers. The backups are questionable.
As a fan I find it saddening to see that Boldin and Pollard will be skipping the White House and ring ceremonies. They may not have parted ways with the Ravens on the best of terms, but can't they put that aside to celebrate the ultimate acheivement with their teammates? Very sad.
Jamison Hensley (ESPN) (1:23 PM)
Who gets extended in Cincy first: Atkins, Green, Johnson, or Dunlap?
Jamison Hensley (ESPN) (1:24 PM)
Based on production, Atkins should be at the head of the list. Based on value, it would be Dunlap. I believe the Bengals can't start talking extension with Green until next year.
What are the chances of Josh Gordon or Greg Little topping 1,000 yards this season?
Jamison Hensley (ESPN) (1:25 PM)
Gordon should surpass 1,000 yards. I have him getting at least 70 catches this year. If he averages over 14 yards per catch, he'll top that 1,000-yard mark.
Where does Dre Kirkpatrick fit in this year, coming off last seasons injury? Will he be a big producer?
Jamison Hensley (ESPN) (1:28 PM)
If Kirkpatrick can stay healthy, he will compete with Terence Newman for a starting job. He should, at the very least, be the nickelback.
Hey Jamison, love the chats. Being as close to the Steelers locker room as you are, do you really think Big Ben and Haley are on the same page, or are they just playing nice for the media?
Jamison Hensley (ESPN) (1:29 PM)
Roethlisberger and Haley are best buddies. It's not the same relationship Roethlisberger had with Bruce Arians. But I don't see much friction between them. They have dinner. I believe they've played golf together. It's fair to say they have differing opinions on how the offense should be run, however.
Do you expect the Ravens to suffer from the same Super Bowl hangover which has plagued each defending champion since the Patriots?
Jamison Hensley (ESPN) (1:31 PM)
This is one positive of changing over the roster so much. By adding so many new starters, the Ravens don't feel like a team that is trying to repeat. I don't expect much of a hangover.
Duron, Columbus [via mobile]
Hello, JH, if you can make it to any Bengals game this year which one us it and why?
Jamison Hensley (ESPN) (1:34 PM)
Excluding the division games, I would like to see Packers at Cincinnati. That's Sept. 22. It's a good test for a defense that is trying to be the most dominant one in the NFL. No better statement than against Aaron Rodgers.
Jimmy Smith is coming in Leaner than ever... you think he will do what revis did in his 3rd year? Dominate... first 2 were jokes , plagued with injuries
Jamison Hensley (ESPN) (1:36 PM)
Becoming Revis? The Ravens would be happy if Smith could become a reliable starter in this league. He has to shake the "soft" label for that to happen.
Mike H (Cincinnati)
How many games until Rey M loses the starting middle linebacker job in Cincinnati? I'm still perplexed they even resigned him. I feel like he's been a bum since he came to Cincinnati.
Jamison Hensley (ESPN) (1:38 PM)
I wouldn't call Maualuga a "bum." He certainly has had his ups and downs. I would put him in the disappointment category. Like I've said before, Maualuga will play much better than he did last year, when he seemed distracted by the contract year.
why do u hate JIMMY SMITH so much ?
Jamison Hensley (ESPN) (1:39 PM)
I don't hate any player. I'm not sure why you would be enamored with a guy who has made five starts in two seasons. Even when he was healthy last season, the Ravens went with Graham over Smith after Webb went down.
Which offensive rookie do you think will make the highest impact for his team this year?
Jamison Hensley (ESPN) (1:40 PM)
Le'Veon Bell for the Steelers. He may be the only rookie starting on offense in the AFC North this year.
Josh (New York)
Hey J! Thanks for all the work you do. Sorry to ask another Rey M. Question. A lot of people are wondering about why Bengals re-signed him. Could it be because Andre was holding out? Needs at that time were RB, SS, LB, OT. By resigning Rey M. they put a patch on a draft need? RB, SS, OT. If Andre resigned before Rey M. I think Bengals let him walk? Thoughts? (Sorry for long question)
Jamison Hensley (ESPN) (1:42 PM)
Marvin Lewis is a big supporter of Maualuga, and he knows linebackers. I'm not saying he'll be a Pro Bowl player, but he's better than what Pro Football Focus had him rated. Remember when Lewis made Maualuga a captain last year. That told me that Lewis believed in him. That's why he was re-signed.
Andrew Z. (Struthers, OH)
Better rookie year: Mingo or J. Jones?
Jamison Hensley (ESPN) (1:43 PM)
Jones. Don't be surprised if he gets nine or 10 sacks this year.
Bojo (Portland OR)
How many touches do you think Gio gets this year? and when do you expect him to surpass BGE for the starting job?
Jamison Hensley (ESPN) (1:44 PM)
My guess is Bernard gets eight to 10 touches per game. The Bengals will stick with BGE as the starter this year. Next year, then it's a battle for the starting job.
Jeff P (Virginia!)
Early division standings prediction?
Jamison Hensley (ESPN) (1:45 PM)
I believe the bloggers will make them in August.
Todd (New Jersey)
I understand that Big Ben should be entering the prime of his career. However, with all the hits he takes do you think the Steelers should start drafting QBs for the future? Assuming of course that Landry Jones doesnt impress the coaching staff.
Jamison Hensley (ESPN) (1:47 PM)
Roethlisberger has at least four more great years left in him. He just turned 31 in March. Yes, he's taken a lot of hits. But that means he won't be playing in his late 30s like Peyton.
Brett (Chico, CA)
With Heath Miller's status very questionable for the start of the season, the Steelers brought Matt Spaeth back. Spaeth has been relegated to blocking tight end while his college days showed excellent hands. What's the chance that Haley recognizes these skills and develops the vet into a viable offensive threat?
Jamison Hensley (ESPN) (1:48 PM)
I honestly don't see much receiving production coming from Spaeth. It just hasn't surfaced at all during his time with the Steelers and Bears. If he had that type of talent, a team would have used him more as a receiver. That's why the Steelers need Heath Miller to be there for the season opener.
Rants N Ravens (Ravens Nation)
Based on your own experiences with all four groups, which AFC North team has the most obnoxious fan base? Be honest.
Jamison Hensley (ESPN) (1:50 PM)
Honestly, I wouldn't put that label on one group. The fan base I feel the most for are the Browns. They just can't catch a break. Their team moved and has since won two Super Bowls. The owner that was supposed to turn things around is now being investigated by the FBI. It just never ends. For a passionate fan base, they do deserve better.
Jamison Hensley (ESPN) (1:51 PM)
Thanks for all of the good questions. I'm going to be doing my AFC North tour of minicamps next week. So, there is a chance that the chat could be moved again. Stay tuned.