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 about the AFC East.
When will Miami get rid of the "tough out" label and people realize they are actually a good team? Putting should be 4-1 aside, the schedule is super soft (stl,nyj,indy,buf,sea,jax). 10-6 and playoffs can't be that unfathomable can it?
James Walker (4:03 PM)
I don't think the "tough out" label is a bad one. That means the Dolphins play hard and show up almost every week. Buffalo is not a tough out right now, for example. As far as playoffs, I would hold off on that and enjoy the journey. The Dolphins are growing up before our eyes. But they still will have some growing pains to come.
James, now with SF and Hou out of the way, do the Jets turn things around next week vs and improved Indy squad?
James Walker (4:05 PM)
Good question, LeAnne. A week ago, I would not pick the Jets against most teams. But I saw some good things to build upon without Revis and Holmes. The Jets' playoff chances are still over. But I think they can be competitive against most teams if they play well.
James Walker (4:05 PM)
As far as New York beating the Colts, I haven't thought about the matchup yet. I will make my picks later in the week. I'm 15-2 overall picking AFC East games. So I think I have a great read on these teams.
Rich (New Jersey)
Bills, Dolphins & Jets all 2-3, which one will have the most problems the rest of the season?
James Walker (4:07 PM)
I think they all have their problems but for different reasons. For example, the Bills are healthy but not showing up. The Jets are banged up, and the Dolphins have a rookie QB that's going through a learning curve. It's all about which team is able to minimize their problems the best.
James Walker (4:08 PM)
Correction on the Bills: The o-line is banged up. Otherwise, they're doing ok with injuries.
Is it too early to call Tannehill the SECOND best QB in the division? And the Dolphins the second best team?
James Walker (4:09 PM)
Yes, it is too early. That's why we have the weekly "Sanchez-Fitzpatrick-Tannehill Watch." We will make a firm decision on who's No. 2 at the end of the year.
James, do you see the Dolphins getting a deal done with Reggie Bush to extend him beyond this season?
James Walker (4:12 PM)
The Dolphins have a lot of interesting decisions to make. A lot of contracts are coming off the books, but Miami will have many of its top players as free agents. Bush, Jake Long, Sean Smith, Randy Starks, Brian Hartline...the list is a long one. Miami will have to decide who to keep and who to let go, because all are in line for sizable paydays.
James Walker (4:13 PM)
Of those players, which two or three would you keep? Hmmm. Sounds like a future blog post. The Dolphins can't re-sign everyone.
Matt (Stratford, NJ)
I life right outside of Philly and have been a loyal Bills fan since I was 8 (I turn 30 next month). I have never once waivered in my fandom but am getting close to giving up on the Bills forever. Please give me a reason not too......is there any light at the end of the 13 year tunnell of ineptitude??
James Walker (4:15 PM)
Matt, I always tell fans to stick with their teams. It's just not the same switching and rooting for a winner. The Bills haven't been to the playoffs since 1999. I know it's tough. But the NFL is a league built on the ability to turn things around. There's always a chance.
James, do you see the Dolphins adding some help in the secondary by the trade deadline?
James Walker (4:17 PM)
I don't see many moves happening in the AFC East. I'm sure the Jets will be searching for WRs with Santonio Holmes out. Other than that, I think it will be quiet in the AFC East.
I know you hate me so ill be shocked if you answer this. However, Do you feel that the Bills underperformance on Defense is due to the players or could it be the coaching?
James Walker (4:20 PM)
I don't hate you at all, Iycedout17. Every AFC East blog reader is cool with me. We just debate on sports topics. I blame both. The coaches do not make the proper in-game adjustments and players get too discouraged too easily. I think the Bills are lacking toughness to stay in games against the good teams.
Through the first quarter of the season which AFC east players have surprised you the most with their improvement from previous seasons?
James Walker (4:22 PM)
Reshad Jones and Stevan Ridley.
Do you think the panthers are done this year?
James Walker (4:24 PM)
Teams rarely come back from 1-4, Avery. You can stick a fork in the Panthers in terms of making the playoffs. It doesn't mean they can't compete the rest of the year.
Johnny (Southeastern PA )
James, with all of the changes coming to the Jets organization, do you think they will need to trade up for a franchise QB? Or is it time to Lay Flat for Matt? Or Lay Flatkins for Atkins?
James Walker (4:27 PM)
The Jets are a team built to win now, Johnny. They will not lay flat for anyone. In addition, the Jets are not drafting a QB next year in the first round. They just gave Mark Sanchez a huge extension. They are sticking with him and Tim Tebow for now. No rookie QB in 2013.
Do you see the Jets making a trade for either a WR or RB?
James Walker (4:27 PM)
A receiver, yes. I think they will try to find one for the right price. Not a running back.
Jeff Voss (Green Bay, Wisconsin )
I have a few things mostly Andre Johnson, What's up with him, my fantasy team and I could use him. 2nd what do you think the Packers are going to do with Greg Jennings?
James Walker (4:30 PM)
Interesting question, Jeff. Because as I was watching the game last night, I thought that Johnson did not look the same. He is in his 10th year in the NFL and had several injuries the past couple of years. Maybe he's getting old really fast. He was just a top-three receiver a couple of years ago. Or maybe Johnson is just having a down year. But he's certainly not the elite WR we're use to seeing.
The Patriots are starting the easier part of their schedule and Hernandez is back soon, is this where NE puts some distance between themselves and the rest of the division?
James Walker (4:32 PM)
Yes, Ken. I think this is where the Patriots make their move. They are playing their best football of the season and the other teams are inconsistent. I wrote two weeks ago that New England will begin creating distance in October and November. Barring any significant injuries, they will cruise to another AFC East title.
Any chance the Bills step up this week or should I grab Kolb and Stephens-Howlings in my fanstasy leauge ASAP?
James Walker (4:35 PM)
It's impossible to trust the Bills with anything right now, especially on the road. The Bills have the talent to step up and win. But do they have the toughness to bounce back against a physical Arizona team that beat New England and Miami?
The Jets tried every trick play in the book last night and still lost, if this an acknowledgement that they can't beat the good teams with their normal play packages?
James Walker (4:38 PM)
Yes and no, Ted. I think the Jets' coaching staff realize that they did need a spark. How could you blame them after what happened against the 49ers? I can't knock them for it. I thought the onside kick was silly after just getting a big TD. But the Jets were playing to win.
Zach Moseley (Lubbock, TX)
How long do you think it will take any of the other 3 teams to be able to compete with the Patriots?
James Walker (4:41 PM)
I take things year to year, Zach. That is hard enough to forecast. The Bills, Jets and Dolphins are not ready for New England this year. The gap is still there. Check back with that question in 2013.
Jeff (NY, NY)
James, While I generally agree with you that the Jets are not a playoff team, I think its still too early to totally give up on them. We have seen teems re-make themselves after a rough start in the passed.
James Walker (4:44 PM)
One of New York's biggest issues is depth on its roster. The Jets lost their most dynamic player on defense and offense in back-to-back weeks. When I say the Jets are done, I mean they won't make the playoffs. I don't mean they will win three or four games this year. It will probably take 10 to get to the playoffs in the AFC and the Jets won't be one of those teams.
Frank (La Marque,Tx)
Did the Bills make a mistake in giving Ryan Fitzpatrick a large contract? The Bills are 4-11 since Fitzpatrick signed his extension. He's a great backup, but not the answer as the starter.
James Walker (4:48 PM)
I wrote the day Fitzpatrick signed the contract that he still has a lot to prove. I thought the Bills should've waited until the end last season to make a more informed decision. Personally, I think he's too up and down to be a franchise quarterback. But the Bills like him.
Matt Moore (KC, MO)
The AFC really looks like a two horse race? Can any other team push the Pats and Texans?
James Walker (4:51 PM)
The AFC is not a two-horse race. Remember the Baltimore Ravens? They beat the Patriots a few weeks ago head-to-head and also eliminated the Texans from the playoffs last year.
Did you know that Tom Brady's career win percentage number is better than Mark Sanchez's career QB rating? Is Sanchez better than what his stats indicate?
James Walker (4:54 PM)
No, I didn't know that, Darry. I think Sanchez is pretty much what we've seen. He's a QB who can flash when everything is going well. But he can't lift a team by himself like the great/elite QBs.
Sorry I signed on so late this week.
James Walker (4:54 PM)
No problem, Joe. What's good?
James Walker (4:56 PM)
A lot of Dolphins fans talking playoffs in the chat today. Slooooow down. Miami is 2-3. There's a lot of football left to play.
James Walker (4:57 PM)
The Jets and Bills are 2-3 and their fans are not talking playoffs today.
Chris (Amherst, NY)
Tebow, TEbow, TEBow, TEBOw, TEBOW, TEBOW!, TEBOW!!!!!!!
James Walker (4:58 PM)
Not this week, Chris.
James Walker (5:00 PM)
Everyone, thanks again for a fun chat. Remember to check the AFC East blog for constant updates.