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)
Welcome to our latest ESPN.com chat. There is plenty to talk about now that camps and the preseason are in full swing. Let's get it going.
Hi James, lot of hype around Lamar Miller and Chris Ivory as RBs. Which is more likely to rush for 1200 yards and score 10+ TDs and achieve 4.5 YPC
James Walker (4:03 PM)
I would go with Lamar Miller on this one. Miller really has a lot of talent as a pure runner. His only problem is secondary things like pass protection and staying healthy. If Miller can strengthen those weaknesses, he should have a nice year in Miami's offense. The Jets offense has a lot of issues and lacks talent in a lot of areas. I just don't think NY has it together enough for Ivory to have such a monster year at RB.
Austin [via mobile]
If tannehill struggles, say for the first half of the season, is playing matt moore an option?
James Walker (4:05 PM)
Whoa! Way too early for that, Austin. I live in Miami and I'm pretty heavy on Twitter. I'm actually surprised by some of the (over)reaction from Dolphins fans in this preseason. Ryan Tannehill has been up and down in camp/preseason. But he's still a young QB trying to find his way. He needs time.
adam (utica) [via mobile]
Any news on the jarius Byrd situation?
James Walker (4:07 PM)
Byrd is still unhappy about not getting a long-term contract and the deadline has passed. So there's nothing either party can do about it until next year. Byrd has to show up at some point if he wants to play this year. The ball is in his court.
Tom (San Francisco)
You have to admit, Fin's schedule really softens up after their bye. Can't you see fins starting slow then going on a streak? I can see 2-4 then they come together against some lesser teams.
James Walker (4:09 PM)
I'm not sure if I'm going to get into the prediction business this year, Tom. I did really well last year and AFC East readers said it was "too easy. All you do is pick the Patriots every week." So it's just not worth the hassle. I think Miami needs to win two of its first five if it wants to stay in the hunt. A 1-4 or 0-5 start pretty much takes you out of playoff contention right off the bat.
Frank (Ballston Spa, NY)
What are your thoughts on the backup RB battle? I personally think the roster should be Miller, Gray & Gillislee. Gray seems like a way better short yardage/goal line back than Thomas. Let Thomas walk.
James Walker (4:12 PM)
This has been one of the best battles in camp. Lamar Miller will be the starter. But the No. 2 and No. 3 spots are wide open. Personally, I like Gillislee and Gray. But Miami's coaching staff (and front office i.e. Jeff Ireland) isn't ready to give up on Daniel Thomas just yet. Keep in mind he's a former second-round pick, and Ireland doesn't just want to throw that pick away. I'm doing a 53-man roster projection later in the week on the Dolphins. So look for it.
Dion Jordan's shoulder (Davie, FL)
Afternoon James,How serious is my injury? There isn't much information out there, but considering the surgery done on me, would it be prudent to become a little concerned? These Dolphins do have a track record of first round disappointments (John Avery, Yatil Green, etc)
James Walker (4:14 PM)
Dion, it's been fun watching you practice in camp when healthy. I see a lot of talent there. Unfortunately, your coaches are saying very little about your injury. So the media is left in the dark. Shoulders I'm told are not easy to recover from. It takes time, and the Dolphins are willing to wait. They don't need you to become a starter right away.
James, Early indications show that the Bills will be better than what the experts say. They may give a run for their money to the Dolphins and Pats. What do you think?
James Walker (4:16 PM)
Eric, I would caution not to get (over)excited by one preseason game. I encourage all AFC East fans to have some perspective. Don't get too high and don't get too low. The regular season is when it matters.
what are your thoughts on Miami's online. what will miami do if Martin struggles ??
James Walker (4:18 PM)
I still have some questions about Miami's offensive line, Vincent. The RG spot appears to be a problem, and Jonathan Martin must become at least a decent LT for the offense to flourish. I've been saying this for a couple weeks now: It's "ride or die" with Martin this year. There's no one else on the roster with the ability to consistently play LT. Trust me, you do not want to see Dallas Thomas or some of Miami's other backups there.
James, is there any chance that Jeff Tuel could make a run for the starting job? He had a stellar game and is not even getting any first team reps? Why not make it a three man competition?
James Walker (4:20 PM)
As I mentioned earlier, Bills fans, please slow down. The Bills are not going to win the Super Bowl this year after one preseason game and Jeff Tuel is not going to be the starting QB. Please do not overreact from one preseason game. Focus on beating the Patriots in Week 1 of the regular season.
Mike [via mobile]
Will Miami fans panic if they lose in Cleveland wk #1?
James Walker (4:23 PM)
If the Dolphins are a legitimate playoff contender, they beat the lowly Browns on the road. I'm not saying CLE at home is an easy game. But if the Dolphins are as good as they think, they shouldn't leave CLE without a win. There's no such thing as a must-win in Week 1, but this is pretty close. Miami's schedule after the CLE game is brutal.
James mcmanus [via mobile]
What's the possibility of Tannehill becoming a top ten qb? What are you worrie most about him?
James Walker (4:25 PM)
Top 10 may be too optimistic in Year 2. I only take things year to year. Right now, I don't see a top-10 finish for Ryan Tannehill. I think he has a lot of natural skills and is good enough to win this season. Let's see how it all plays out.
Mark (Ballston Spa, NY)
Would you go with the over/under on CJ Spiller hitting 1200 rushing yards again this season?
James Walker (4:25 PM)
Over, barring injuries.
James, I am a little concerned that the Bills are going to get us at a weakend state. Playing in Buffalo is never an easy game for us. I know that we have the best QB/Coach tandem ever, but is there any chance that the Pats start the season 0-1?
James Walker (4:27 PM)
Some of it depends on whether you're playing Gronk. But, yes, this is a key Week 1 matchup in the AFC East. Buffalo has a chance to make a statement at home with a new coach a new QB and a new defense. The Patriots are the mountain everyone has to climb in the AFC East and Buffalo gets the first shot. Week 1 is a good opportunity to catch the Patriots.
Carl Cassidy (Irvine, Ca)
Hey James,Once again, great work already this season. I heard mention that Tannehill is creating pressure that isn't really there when dropping back to pass. Do you see this happening and if so is it a lack of faith in his O-line?
James Walker (4:31 PM)
Hmmm, I don't know if that's a fair statement. Tannehill certainly did a lot of running around last week against Jacksonville, but in most cases I thought the pressure was there and justifiable. The pass blocking hasn't been good. Maybe this will result in "happy feet" for Tannehill but I think it's too premature to say it's happened already.
Mike [via mobile]
That answer right there is why Miami will struggle at Cleveland. Tannehill will be under siege
James Walker (4:32 PM)
Rattling Ryan Tannehill and beating up Miami's o-line is probably the best way for the Browns to beat Miami in Week 1.
Jordan (Casper, Wy)
Do you see Mario Williams coming close to justifying that contract this year?
James Walker (4:34 PM)
Jordan, what's up in your part of town? A $100 million contract is a lot of money. He would pretty much have to be a top-five defender every year to justify that kind of money. Buffalo overpaid for Williams, but that's not his fault. He's still a good player -- just not a $100-million player.
Lowly Browns? More like a nice sleeper team Browns.
James Walker (4:36 PM)
I hate to rain on your optimism, Jack. But AFC North has three teams with playoff potential this year. The Browns are not one of them. They won't be able to consistently win in the AFC North to contend.
James, what are your thoughts on the CB situation in Miami? Do you think that the loser of Marshall/Patterson get cut to make room for Will Davis on the field or can you see Davis and Taylor serving as 4-5 CBs in year 1?
James Walker (4:38 PM)
It's too early to say, Jose. But it's definitely worth keeping an eye on. If you take money out of the equation, Marshall and Patterson would both be safe. But their salaries this year are high for the position, and Miami could go younger and go cheap with rookies like Davis and/or Taylor in sub packages. We will see.
Jason (Columbia, SC)
James, you've covered the division long enough that you should have an opinion on this: which AFC East team has the best pre-game/tailgating atmosphere?
James Walker (4:40 PM)
Interesting question, Jason. I've been to every AFCE stadium many times, and from what I've seen Buffalo has the best pre-game tailgating.
Hey JW, do you think the jets QB battle will be decided this week vs jacksonville or next week against the giants??
James Walker (4:43 PM)
Probably after the dress rehearsal in Week 3 of the preseason, Mike. The Jets need as much film as they can to make this decision. I think the reason Geno Smith is practicing with a tweaked ankle right now is because he knows these next two weeks are vital if he wants to play in Week 1. Smith can't miss time right now.
James, could the rookie receivers for the Patriots make a bigger splash than people think?
James Walker (4:45 PM)
As long as Tom Brady is the quarterback, the Patriots offense can be dangerous, Brendan. Brady will make these young WRs look better than they are. I saw some really good throws by Brady the other night that were right on the money. The TD pass to RB Shane Vereen...only a handful of QBs can make.
Sam (Phoenix, AZ)
What are your thoughts on Goodwin after seeing his potential on pre-season week 1?
James Walker (4:47 PM)
I really like this pick by the Bills. I actually did a nice, in-depth profile on Goodwin after the draft. You should look it up. Goodwin has world-class speed and that's something you can't teach. He's also determined to prove he can do more than just run in a straight line.
James, who is your pick to win the AFC East this year?
James Walker (4:48 PM)
My pre-training camp pick was the New England Patriots to win the AFC East. I will make my final regular-season pick soon after all the preseason games and make sure there's no major injuries.
Since the beginning of training camp and pre-season, in your opinion has the gap between the Patriots and Dolphins increased or decreased?
James Walker (4:50 PM)
It's too early to say after one preseason game for NE and two preseason games for MIA.
Any chance the Fins try to go after Albert from KC to help the line if the struggles continue?
James Walker (4:51 PM)
That ship sailed a while ago, Jake. The Dolphins had a chance to make a move at LT and didn't want to trade a draft pick and hand out another big contract extension.
Brandon Fields (Miami)
I've been Top 2 in the AFC in "Net Punting Avg". What's a guy got to do to get a Pro Bowl nod?
James Walker (4:53 PM)
Your team has to win more for specialists to get recognized, Brandon. Will the Dolphins make the playoffs?
What do you think of Wes Welker's comments about Bill Belichick and how he feels much freer in Denver?
James Walker (4:54 PM)
I wasn't surprised at all. Everyone knows Belichick runs an extremely tight ship in New England. He doesn't want his players saying much of anything to the media. Belichick also doesn't say much. That's part of the "Patriot Way." Welker has personality, but he rarely got to show it. Now he can relax a little.
Harry (Babylon, NY)
Hi James - does the Jets defensive front 7 have a chance to be the best in the division?
James Walker (4:57 PM)
There are some young pieces that need to show up consistently. But Rex Ryan, for all his flaws, can coach defense. I'm not worried about that side of the ball for the Jets. The defensive should be competitive.
James Walker (5:00 PM)
Everyone, thanks again for your questions. Remember to check out the AFC East blog and find me on Twitter @JamesWalkerNFL.
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