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 (4:01 PM)
Let's talk some football.
Was the first play of a botched handoff any cause for concern?
James Walker (4:03 PM)
Thanks for the question, Drew. It's not the way you want to start the season on offense. I will say that. But it's not something I saw in training camp. So I think it's early to say it's a cause for concern.
Ed (Queens Village)
With Sanchez starting preseason opener what percent does he start regular season opener?
James Walker (4:04 PM)
It's still 50-50, Ed. This competition is wide open and the Jets, to their credit, are providing Mark Sanchez and Geno Smith a fair shake. No one is playing favorites in Jets camp and the better QB in the preseason will win.
Candy (Slippery Rock)
Hi James, who will be backing up Lamar Miller when the season starts: Daniel Thomas, Gillislee, or Jonas Gray?
James Walker (4:06 PM)
Good question, Candy. The answer is it's still up in the air. Daniel Thomas started camp at the No. 2 RB and will be provided every opportunity to keep that spot. Keep in mind, Thomas is the most experienced rusher Miami has at the NFL level. Players like Gillislee and Gray will have to take that spot if they want it in the coming weeks. Thomas is the leader in the clubhouse.
Derrick (Garden City)
Any concerns about Mike Wallace's injury and how has he been meshing with Tannehill?
James Walker (4:08 PM)
Not from me. It's going to take time for Wallace and Tannehill to connect the same way Roethlisberger and Wallace did in Pittsburgh. This doesn't happen overnight. Wallace's injury isn't serious. Miami was just protecting its investment in the Hall of Fame game.
Adam (Reston, VA)
Ive seen youself and a lot of the other Dolphins beat writers talk about how great the Dolphins D has looked in practice. While I have no doubt they will have a solid defense, could it be that the Dolphins OLine is that bad and making them look that much better???
James Walker (4:10 PM)
That's definitely a consideration, Adam. That's why there's some value in these preseason games. You get to compare other team's strengths with Miami's strengths. Everyone knows Miami's d-line is its strength and the o-line is not. So it's not a surprise to see Miami's defense winning most of those battles. But how does it compare against other teams? The Dolphins have five preseason games to get a look at that.
Chris (Virginia )
Are we seeing the gradual and painful death of the Pro Bowl? The new draft format seems to be the death rattle.
James Walker (4:12 PM)
I don't like the new idea, but I'm not a big Pro Bowl guy in general. In all seriousness, I would rather see an NFL fastest-man, skills and strongest-man competitions in Hawaii than to see people play football at half-speed.
James Walker (4:14 PM)
Also, would a teammate really play harder against another teammate? Do you think Patriots DT Vince Wilfork is going to rush hard and take a shot at QB Tom Brady because they're on different teams? The intensity may go down even further.
Noah Singer [via mobile]
Could it be a possibility that Dion Jordan is moved to a linebacker position
James Walker (4:15 PM)
Not full-time, Noah. Jordan has a lot of natural ability as a DE. He's athletic enough to stand up, but I wouldn't make the No. 3 overall pick play out of position full-time. Utilize his strengths. Jordan can be really good if he's coached up.
Chris Fiegler (Latham,NY)
Do you think that the Jets Should Start Geno Smith as Quarterback in the Regular Season instead of Mark Sanchez who was Terrible in 2012?
James Walker (4:18 PM)
I've been saying all along that New York should go with Geno Smith. This could be a 4-6 win team this year no matter who is the quarterback. It's best to get Smith the 16 games experience to build on 2014. Sanchez will not be on the team next year. The only reason he's still in NY is because he's owed $8.25 million guaranteed. Once that's paid, the Jets will cut bait on his big contract and go with Smith anyway. If the rookie doesn't play at all, the Jets will be starting over again on offense in 2014.
With the injuries to Ivory and Mike Goodson being a no-show, do you see Bilal Powell getting the lion's share of the carries for the Jets this season?
James Walker (4:20 PM)
Bilal Powell has been consistent, and you have to like that from the position. I don't view him as a 20-25 carry RB. But he may have to carry the load if Ivory can't stay healthy.
Fernando Bakonyi (Brazil)
What is the backup plan in case J. Martin gets hurt or does not execute well at LT? John Jerry?
James Walker (4:22 PM)
Right now the Dolphins are still trying to figure that out. As you saw Sunday, it's probably not Dallas Thomas. I don't think Nate Garner is particularly strong there, either. Jerry has some size to play tackle. But it's hard to count on him due to his weight.
Tommy (Carol City, Fl)
Bumphis looked pretty good sunday , think he has a chance to make roster?
James Walker (4:24 PM)
Yes, Tommy. The No. 4, No. 5 and No. 6 receiver spots are wide open. It can really be anyone filling those roles. Bumphis has been a player who's consistently done well in training camp. If he keeps this up in the preseason, the Dolphins will keep him as a backup.
Mark (Ballston Spa, NY)
Is it too early to panic on Miami's Left Tackle situation?
James Walker (4:24 PM)
Yes, too early for panic. But it's not too early to have questions.
Dolphins seem to me to be better (on paper) than last year but I'm starting to get the feeling this is gonna be a rough start till they gel, what do you think?
James Walker (4:27 PM)
I think Miami's season pretty much will be decided in the first five games. It's a brutal schedule that includes @CLE, @Indy, ATL, @NO and Baltimore. We will pretty much know if the Dolphins are pretenders or contenders after this slate. If Miami starts 1-4 or 0-5, its playoff hopes are over. If the Dolphins are 3-2 or 4-1, that should prove they're a good team.
Michael yakima wa [via mobile]
Seems like I rarely hear anything on clabo, where does he fit in the mix
James Walker (4:28 PM)
Clabo has quietly done his job in training camp. That's a good thing.
Rich (New Jersey)
Hi Jim, Any idea how much playing time and what position Tim Tebow will see this weekend in the Patriots 1st pre season game?
James Walker (4:29 PM)
The Patriots have been very secretive about their plans for Tim Tebow. But that's how they operate. We probably won't know how much Tebow will play until closer to game time. But as the No. 3 quarterback, he should get at least one quarter of work.
Over/under for Miller: 1000 yds 10 tds
James Walker (4:31 PM)
I don't predict stats, Biggie. Injuries and staying healthy are too much of a wild card. If Miller plays all 16 games and avoids injuries, I think he will have a good year. I like him as a runner.
Manuel (mexico) [via mobile]
Do you think the performance in trainig camp an preseason of aaron williams as a safety, would affect the final aprouch of de front office of the bills in negotiations with J. Byrd ?
James Walker (4:34 PM)
Not at all, Manuel, because there are no additional negotiations with Byrd. The franchise-tag deadline passed last month and that was the last time the team and Byrd could talk contract. The only thing he can do now is play for the one-year tag or not show up. Perhaps both sides could reach an agreement not to tag Byrd again. But that's the only thing left to discuss.
Lincoln (Carol City)
Rank the following WRs based on their camp performance so far: Marvin McNutt, Brian Tyms, Chad Bumphis.
James Walker (4:36 PM)
In practice, McNutt, Bumphis and Tyms. But the preseason will have a lot to do with the decision.
Bobby (Upstate NY)
Why are the Bills dragging they're feet about Byrd? Give him his $ already they have plenty of cap room?
James Walker (4:37 PM)
Bills fans, the team can no longer negotiate with Byrd. That deadline passed in July due to the franchise tag. Buffalo is willing to pay him top-five money for this year. But that's it. Maybe that changes next offseason.
Jamayel (Homestead, FL)
Has Michael Egnew done enough to earn a roster spot? Will he ever be a successful football player?
James Walker (4:40 PM)
Egnew is still on the bubble, Jamayel. He made some plays against Dallas, which is big for him. But Egnew doesn't play special teams and he doesn't block well. He doesn't bring much value to the Dolphins other than being a pass-catching threat. So Egnew has to show that as much as possible to make the 53-man roster.
Do you think starting EJ Manuel Week 1 would be an unwise decision by Buffalo (regardless of necessity)?
James Walker (4:41 PM)
If EJ Manuel is the better quarterback in training camp and the preseason, you play him. But I don't see Manuel beating Tom Brady and the Patriots in his first NFL game.
Nick (Salem, WVirginia)
Now that Miami has tied up Reshad for 4 yrs who's next to get paid? Can't believe Bills are letting Byrd dangle?
James Walker (4:43 PM)
That's it for the Dolphins. But they wrote so many checks this offseason that the team better hope it pans out. The Bills took that approach in 2012 and it didn't work. I think that impacted Buffalo's thinking this year. It's hard to go on a spending spree in consecutive years in the NFL, especially if the results were the same.
Any chance Fins get rid of Ireland if they don't have a winning season or is it on the coaches now?
James Walker (4:46 PM)
This is a big year for GM Jeff Ireland. The owner opened his pockets and allowed Ireland to spend his money. Stephen Ross wants to see results. The coaching staff is only in Year 2 and did well by winning seven games last season. They are fine this year.
I agree with you on Martin but at this point is there anything else Miami can do in FA to back him up if he does'nt perform?
James Walker (4:47 PM)
Left tackles don't grow on trees. The Dolphins had some options this offseason via the draft, trades, etc. and didn't make a move. They are "ride or die" with Jonathan Martin now at LT. You're not going to find a Pro Bowl replacement at this stage.
Tim (Las Vegas)
At what point does qb competition work against your team and actually hamper development on offense?
James Walker (4:49 PM)
It's different for every team, Tim. Some players handle it better than others. The character of your players is being tested, because the players who respond the best to competition succeed. Some do not respond well. We will find out how things work for New York and Buffalo as the season progresses.
Matt (Orlando) [via mobile]
The Dolphins were awful last year on pass defense. Do you see any improvement coming?
James Walker (4:52 PM)
Yes, Matt. I would be shocked if Miami doesn't improve on its 27th ranking this year in pass defense. Brent Grimes has been a terrific addition at cornerback. He changes the dynamics in the secondary already. I think the other corners like Richard Marshall, who is healthy now, Dimitri Patters and the rookies will add more depth than they had last year.
Should the Jets get rid of Sanchez if he has another disappointing season?
James Walker (4:53 PM)
Unless Mark Sanchez makes the Pro Bowl this year, I don't see why the Jets would keep his large contract for another year.
Is Byrd still on the bills if he doesn't sign
James Walker (4:55 PM)
Yes, the Bills still own his rights. Byrd can't sign with another team.
Ryan Tannehill doesn't look like he has taken any steps towards becoming elite as of yet...is it too early to worry?
James Walker (4:57 PM)
Yes, it's too early. The Dolphins have five preseason games. There is plenty of time. Ryan Tannehill also didn't play with his two starting receivers on Sunday.
James Walker (5:00 PM)
Everyone, thanks again for your time. I will be back next week to chat on ESPN SportsNation.
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