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July 25, 2:00 PM ET
Chat with Jamison Hensley

Jamison Hensley (ESPN)
  (2:01 PM)

Thanks for joining our kickoff to training camp chat. I see there are a lot of questions. So, let's start answering some.

Lance (Mansfield, OH) [via mobile]

Three years from now, who is more likely to be the Browns number 1 WR, Greg Little or Josh Gordon?

Jamison Hensley (ESPN)
  (2:02 PM)

That's tough to say since Gordon hasn't caught a pass yet in the NFL. But, based on what I hear, Gordon has the better chance to be the No. 1 wide receiver. Little's skill set seems more suited for a No. 2 receiver.

Ravenous128 (Columbia, MD)

Hey Jamison;While much ado has been made over the Ravens' LB corps sans Suggs, not much has been said about the defensive line and the losses of Brandon McKinney and Cory Redding. Other than Pernell McPhee, who else do you see stepping up to fill the gaps in the rotation? Thanks.

Jamison Hensley (ESPN)
  (2:04 PM)

Look for Art Jones. He would have been a second or third-round pick if he stayed healthy at Syracuse. Jones should take Redding's starting spot. And there should be more concern about the linebackers than the line.

matt (valley view)

Some analyst having the browns at 1or2 wins is absurd. No one can predict what4 starting rookies will do on one side of the ball. Trich, weeden, schwartz, Gordon can change this whole team and no one knows but i bet they have a better record thanlast yr. Which isn't saying much but they made a nice core the last 3 yrs on both sides of the ball.

Jamison Hensley (ESPN)
  (2:05 PM)

And I took a lot of heat for predicting four wins for the Browns. I see them as an improved team. The schedule is the reason why I have them staying at four. I really don't see one win unless there is a rash of injuries.

Jeff (Massillon)

Ready to get the season started!!! AFC North will be as strong as ever this year and again be the best division in football. The only weakness, the Browns, looks to even have what looks like a real offense now, so every team in the division will have 7+ wins, with 3 teams again probably making the playoffs!

Jamison Hensley (ESPN)
  (2:05 PM)

Unlike last season, there is reason to have hope about the Browns offense. But this is a young group. So, everyone has to be patient with the initial results.

Tomax (Cobra Island)

Who will replace Terrell Suggs -- not in terms of pure sacks, but more in terms of applying constant pressure and forcing the ball out quick?

Jamison Hensley (ESPN)
  (2:06 PM)

Ravens are hoping Paul Kruger fills that role. He had a career-high 5.5 sacks last season. But the Ravens need more out of him this year with Suggs sidelined.

Harlan W. Moore (Rutland,VT)

Once again, six members of the Steelers' defense are over age 30 and on the decline. Can this team play great defense again in 2012, or will their lack of total team speed cause trouble?

Jamison Hensley (ESPN)
  (2:07 PM)

I think this defense can still be great. I can't see the top-ranked defense falling out of the top 10 in one season. The problem with older problems is not necessarily slowing down. It's the increased chance of injuries. That's what Pittsburgh has to avoid.

Pittsburgh 737 (Pittsburgh Pennsylvania)

What is your viewpoint on the Steelers contract negotiations with Wallace.Are there negotiations.What is going on.It's kinda a hushed subject in Pittsburgh as usual when it comes to the Steelers and their dealings with players.I put him around the 5 year 42.5 million dollar value.Thats a fair market price for a receiver of his caliber.Can you shed any light on this situation?

Jamison Hensley (ESPN)
  (2:09 PM)

The Wallace deal should get done at some point. I would be surprised if this lasted into the regular season. Don't look at the total value of the deal. What you need to look at is guaranteed money and what the receiver will make in his first two seasons. An offer between $21 and $23 million in the first two years is fair.

Sebastian Bludd (Sidney,Australia)

How will the Browns' run defense improve twith Phil Taylor out for most (if not all) of the season due to a torn pectoral?

Jamison Hensley (ESPN)
  (2:10 PM)

With Taylor out, I don't think the run defense does improve. That's going to be the weak spot again. The outside linebackers have to improve as well.

Daniel (DC)

How Courtney Upshaw failed the conditioning test on his first attempt is beyond me. Do you think he is ready to be an NFL starter? Also, I am expecting a big season from Terrence Cody. Could you provide some insight on his progression?

Jamison Hensley (ESPN)
  (2:11 PM)

Not really surprised about Upshaw. He's a rookie and didn't know what to expect. He passed it the second time, which is encouraging. As far as Cody, I continue to hear good things about him. Ozzie Newsome thinks he will be the breakout player.

Robert Graves (Columbus,OH)

Who will give the Bengals big plays in the run game? Last season, they only managed six runs of 20-plus yards. This is not an area of strength for free-agent acquisition BenJarvus Green-Ellis.

Jamison Hensley (ESPN)
  (2:12 PM)

The big plays will have to come in the passing game. BJGE is an improvement in the red zone. He packs a punch in there. The Bengals will probably add more speed to the backfield in next year's draft.

Alec B (Cleveland, OH)

I hear a lot about Antonio Brown and Mike Wallace. But what about Emmanuel Sanders? We've seen flashes of greatness from him. He's had some misfortune with injuries and such, but I'm fairly certain that he'll get a lot of looks from Big Ben with attention being focused on Wallace and Brown. What's your take on Emmanuel Sanders and your expectations for him?

Jamison Hensley (ESPN)
  (2:13 PM)

If Sanders stays healthy, he can be a dangerous No. 3 receiver. But he's always banged up. Not sure you can totally count on him. That's why the Steelers have Jerricho Cotchery as well.

Michael (Cleveland)

Okay, Tell me now no more pussyfooting around please. Who gets the back up job McCoy or Wallace. Thanks.

Jamison Hensley (ESPN)
  (2:14 PM)

I would give it to McCoy. The Browns will go with Wallace. He seems to be a favorite of Holmgren.

T.J. Taylor (Orange, NJ)

When do you anticipate Mike Wallace being in training camp?

Jamison Hensley (ESPN)
  (2:14 PM)

When he gets a new long-term deal. That should happen before the start of the regular season.

Kyle (Minneapolis)

On Monday you reported what Adam Schefter and a few NFL execs think about Josh Gordon, but I was wondering what you think of him and my Browns using a 2nd round pick on him?

Jamison Hensley (ESPN)
  (2:16 PM)

If the Browns didn't use a second on him, the Colts were ready to use a third-rounder. So, the Browns made the right choice. It's a little high in my estimation, but that's what the Browns had to do.

David (State College)

JH, your rankings, Suggs ahead of Flacco really? If Flacco goes down the season is over, not the case with Suggs out right?

Jamison Hensley (ESPN)
  (2:17 PM)

Yes. But the rankings shouldn't be based on how good the Ravens' backups are. If the Ravens had a decent backup (like Bulger), that wouldn't be the case.

Evan Crawford (Columbus, OH)

Hey, Whats with leaving Browns players Ahtyba Rubin, D'Qwell Jackson, and Jabaal Sheard off the top 25 AFC North Players list? At the very least they're all a whole lot better than Thomas Howard at #25.

Jamison Hensley (ESPN)
  (2:18 PM)

How many players from a four-win team (and a projected four-win team this year) should make the list? I agree that Rubin, Jackson and Sheard are good players. But don't forget the Bengals had the better defense.

Brad (Berkeley, CA)

Hey JH. With the false report of Wallace signing, how do you feel about twitter as a news source? It seems a necessary tool, but ultimately an untrustworthy one, unless you are citing the people directly involved. I guess people are worried about being late on a story so they jump on the first thing said?

Jamison Hensley (ESPN)
  (2:19 PM)

Twitter isn't bad if you trust a select number of sources. But I agree that Twitter has been bad for journalism. Everyone wants to be first, not right, these days.

Kevin (San Jose)

Hi Jamison, before your break I asked you why H&H drafted Mitchell Schwartz when so many others were on the board. You said because we needed a RT not a LT. But Miami drafted Jonathan Martin presumably to play RT and not to challenge Jake Long for LT. So is it really that difficult to transition from LT to RT, and did either Miami or Cleveland select unwisely in your opinion?

Jamison Hensley (ESPN)
  (2:20 PM)

Schwartz is a smart guy, so I don't see much of a transition. And his style of play is better suited for the right side. From the people who I talk to, Schwartz is solid and Martin is a little overrated.

Corey (Steeler HQ)

Jamison are you a Steeler fan yet?

Jamison Hensley (ESPN)
  (2:22 PM)

No. What happened to people saying I was a Ravens homer? My job is to analyze the teams in this division. I guess people on the blog like to analyze me. I got the better end of that deal.

Greg (Mansfield, Ohio)

Can the Browns go 9-7 and get a wild card?

Jamison Hensley (ESPN)
  (2:22 PM)

That's a more realistic question for next year.

Sean (New York)

Hey JH..any word on Steinbach and what his options are?

Jamison Hensley (ESPN)
  (2:23 PM)

Ravens didn't sign him, but I wouldn't take him off their radar completely. He reportedly has more visits scheduled. The back still seems to be an issue.

The Divine Cleveland Browns Fan__Black Stallion (Cleveland,OH)

Mr.Hensley, how in the world do you leave off the almighty MLB for the Cleveland Browns,D'Qwell Jackson, from the top 25 players in the AFCN list ......I need an explanation!

Jamison Hensley (ESPN)
  (2:25 PM)

Hard for me to put the leading tackler on the 30th-ranked run defense on the list. He's also a liability in pass coverage. Don't get me wrong. Jackson is a solid linebacker. There are other players in this division who are better.

Rob (Rchmond, VA)

Given that kickers in the past (such as Norwood and Anderson) often have a drop in performance following critical postseason missed FGs, how do you think Billy Cundiff's season will play out this year, and if it goes poorly, how do you think the Harbaugh and the front office will react?

Jamison Hensley (ESPN)
  (2:26 PM)

Tough to predict how Cundiff will play this season. If you look at his career, the Pro Bowl season was the anomaly. If Cundiff struggles, the Ravens will have to look at other options. But the history with Norwood and Anderson is pretty telling.

Jeremie Proctor (Ohio)

Can Josh Gordon and Brandon Weeden have a season similar to Dalton and Green last year?

Jamison Hensley (ESPN)
  (2:27 PM)

Don't put Gordon in the same category as Green just yet. Gordon hasn't played since 2010. Remember the rust on Greg Little after sitting out a season?

Jeremie Proctor (Ohio)

Do you see the Browns coming away from the 2012 Draft with 4 new opening day starters on offense?

Jamison Hensley (ESPN)
  (2:28 PM)

Three are definite: Weeden, Richardson and Schwartz. Gordon would be the fourth. He has to beat out Mohamed Massaquoi.

Anthony (New York)

Jay Gruden has been very telling regarding the WR's he likes (Tate, Binns, and Whalen). With Shipley and Baby Hawk in the mix where does that leave Sanu and Jones? Could Jones really be the odd man out?

Jamison Hensley (ESPN)
  (2:29 PM)

Shipley and Hawkins are battling for that slot receiver job. Jones didn't stand out to me when I attended minicamp, but I hear he was impressive during the spring. Jones stays around, whether it's on the 53-man roster or practice squad.

Josh (Ohio)

Jamison, after reading your comments regarding the Bengals offseason, how do you feel about the Bengals being power ranked #16? I understand their schedule is more difficult but with the majority of their moves appearing to be improvements I can see them atleast having a winning season.

Jamison Hensley (ESPN)
  (2:31 PM)

The 16th ranking is a tad low. But I can understand why people are undervaluing the Bengals. They went 0-7 against playoff teams last season. That sticks in people's minds.

Brian (Valley Forge, PA )

Welcome back, Jamison! When it comes to the outlook for the Browns this year, to quote the late Gene Siskel, "What do you know for sure?"

Jamison Hensley (ESPN)
  (2:32 PM)

What do I know for sure? The Browns have a lot more talent on offense this year and the run defense is still the big question mark on defense.

Josh (New York)

How do you see Kirkpatrick's injury effecting the Bengals secondary? Will this have a major effect on his development.

Jamison Hensley (ESPN)
  (2:33 PM)

The Kirkpatrick injury will put him behind this year. Look at the Ravens' first-round pick Jimmy Smith. He hurt his ankle in the season opener and it took until late in the season before he found his niche in the defense. Depending on how long Kirkpatrick is out, it could affect his impact as a rookie.

Tim (PA)

If Redman goes "Beast Mode" this year, is Mendenhall on the way out at the end of this season?

Jamison Hensley (ESPN)
  (2:34 PM)

Mendenhall might be on his way out even if Redman isn't "the guy." Next year could be time for the Steelers to get younger at that position.

Jane LLoyd (Wash DC)

What do you expect from Mendenhall this year?

Jamison Hensley (ESPN)
  (2:35 PM)

Not much. ACLs with running backs is tough. Most need a full year to get back to normal. Tearing it in January is a tough break for Mendenhall.

Sean (New York)

Will Reed, Osemele, Mcphee, and Reid be ready to play in the first pre-season game?

Jamison Hensley (ESPN)
  (2:36 PM)

Osemele and McPhee will be ready. Reed and Reid will not.

Tom (Reisterstown, MD)

So am I the only one giving you grief for over-ranking Suggs and Ray Lewis in your top 25?

Jamison Hensley (ESPN)
  (2:37 PM)

Pretty much.

Al (Wausau, WI)

So, Jamison, if the Browns give the backup QB job to Wallace, what do you think may happen to Colt McCoy? Traded to another team? I can't imagine him on the Browns roster as a #3 QB.

Jamison Hensley (ESPN)
  (2:37 PM)

McCoy would likely get released. He will get picked up by someone. Teams are always interested in upgrading backup QB spot.

Rob (Richmond)

Upshaw and his failure to pass the first conditioning test before training camp- what is your take on that situation? One could argue that it's no big deal, since it's only a conditioning test and Upshaw eventually passed his second try, while another view is that it is a bad way to start the season for a guy who is expected to accomplish a great deal in the absence of both of the Ravens' starting OLBs from last year. I'd be interested to hear your take. Thanks.

Jamison Hensley (ESPN)
  (2:38 PM)

Not a big deal. Rookies don't realize how tough this test is going to be. If he had failed a second time, then there would be cause for concern.

Vinnie (ATL)

I don't recall the exact language, but didn't owners put harsher penalties in the new CBA for camp holdouts?

Jamison Hensley (ESPN)
  (2:39 PM)

Yes. I don't have the exact number but the fine can be hefty. If you're talking about the Wallace situation, the Steelers can't fine him. He hasn't signed his RFA tender, so he is not under contract. You can't fine someone who is not under contract.

T-roy (Hollywood )

I'm the biggest Steelers fan in the world but aren't Pittsburgh fans asking too much of their offensive line? Two rookies starting, one second year player and one often injured center? Great job on the blog BTW

Jamison Hensley (ESPN)
  (2:41 PM)

I honestly don't think it is too much. DeCastro would start at guard for most teams. Pouncey has apparently got his ankle straight now. And if Adams flops, the Steelers have their insurance policy in Max Starks. This should be a much-improved group.

Josh (Owings Mills, MD)

From what you know going into training camp, do Raven fans have any reason to believe that Jacoby Jones is going to be better than guys like Housh, Stallworth, or Lee Evans?

Jamison Hensley (ESPN)
  (2:41 PM)

Jones dropped a lot of passes in minicamp. That's been his MO. So, he could fall into that group.

Al (Wausau, WI)

Jamison, do you know if both Bryant McKinnie and Matt Birk plan to be back with the Ravens' starting lineup in 2012?

Jamison Hensley (ESPN)
  (2:42 PM)

Barring an injury or a few late-night runs to McDonalds, McKinnie and Birk will be starters for the Ravens.

Tim (PA)

Here is a bold prediction... Steelers O-Line stays healthy this year!

Jamison Hensley (ESPN)
  (2:43 PM)

That is bold considering the history. But getting younger helps as well.

Tom (Reisterstown, MD)

You've got a guy with a bum Achilles who will miss half the season at least, a 37 year old 2-down LB, and a 34 year old safety who can't tackle in your top 15 players. I think your homer status is in full effect.

Jamison Hensley (ESPN)
  (2:44 PM)

Then, can you please talk to the people who are calling me a Steelers fan? Everyone needs to get their story straight. It gets really confusing at times.

Tony (Richmond, CA)

Will Flacco get a deal done soon or will the Ravens make him a lame duck and wait until the end of the 2012-13 season?

Jamison Hensley (ESPN)
  (2:44 PM)

Let me put it in these AFC North terms: there's a better chance that Wallace gets a new deal before the start of the regular season than Flacco.

Sponge Bob Square Pants (Pineapple Under The Sea)

Hey JH. Big Ravens fan here. What do you expect from Jimmy Smith. Are his mental problems done?

Jamison Hensley (ESPN)
  (2:46 PM)

I'm on record with saying Jimmy Smith will end being the Ravens top corner by next season.


How is Kindle progressing? Have you heard anything new?

Jamison Hensley (ESPN)
  (2:46 PM)

Nothing new. The next step for him is standing out in the preseason games.

Jim (Wheeling, WV)

First division game of the season- Monday Night Football, Bengals at Ravens. Who do you think will win this one?

Jamison Hensley (ESPN)
  (2:47 PM)

Check back to the blog in a month. I will have it posted in Friday Forecast.

Boondock1957 (York, PA)

Any concerns about the overall age of the Ravens O-Line with the average age being 157 years old?

Jamison Hensley (ESPN)
  (2:48 PM)

Ravens have a history of preferring experienced linemen. But they have plenty of young linemen like KO, Gradkowski and Reid ready to step in next season.

Josh (New York)

Which of the two do believe is more likely to have a breakout season? Carlos Dunlap or Jermaine Gresham?

Jamison Hensley (ESPN)
  (2:49 PM)

Both could have one. I'm a bigger fan of Dunlap. He has great potential.

Ryan (Kent, Ohio)

Who wins the role of #2 running back for the Browns: Montario Hardesty or Brandon Jackson? They both have shown flashes. BJ has a better history but Hardesty was highly coveted out of college.

Jamison Hensley (ESPN)
  (2:50 PM)

I see Hardesty winning that battle. Of course, the key for him is staying healthy.


So while ranking players you account for the supporting cast? that seems like unit rankings, not individual rankings. Why fault certain Browns players because their teammates aren't very good?

Jamison Hensley (ESPN)
  (2:51 PM)

Read what I wrote again. It might make more sense.

Alex (OH)

Are you worried about the inexperience for the Bengals no. 2 receiver? I am.

Jamison Hensley (ESPN)
  (2:52 PM)

You would be less worried if you saw Brandon Tate this spring. I'm not saying this is how I would have handled the No. 2 spot. But if Tate and Sanu stay on track, this spot shouldn't be a problem. If both struggle, then everyone will say the Bengals should have brought in more experience.

Don (Youngstown)

It was just tweeted that Greg Lloyd has signed a 2 year contract with the Steelers. Wait, nevermind!

Jamison Hensley (ESPN)
  (2:53 PM)

You got a laugh out of me on that one.

Jamison Hensley (ESPN)
  (2:55 PM)

Thanks everyone for a great chat. I believe I will be in Cleveland next week at this time for Browns camp. So, I will have to see if this time works for the chat. We might have to adjust the time and/or day. I will keep you posted. Hope everyone has a great week.