Quarterback questions carried the latest NFC West chat Thursday. Transcript here. Highlights below:
Jack (Deer Park): Could this week be Matt Hasselbeck's last start as a Seahawk if he performs poorly? If not when do you think Pete Carroll will pull the trigger on him?
Mike Sando: Yeah, that thought is in the back of my mind heading to Chicago this week. The offense hasn't done much of anything for a while. Hasselbeck's problems were the No. 1 issue in that road defeat to Denver. Here is the deal: They need to find out more about Charlie Whitehurst at some point this season, but if they think Hasselbeck is significantly better than Whitehurst right now, it's tough to make a change when the division race is so close. I do think the clock is ticking.
David (Seattle): Would an Alex Smith benching (which would imply an 0-6 start) for David Carr signal that the 49ers have thrown in the towel for the season? Do you think benching is a real possibility? Seems like it'd be a shame because Smith is really having at least 1-2 phenomenal drives a game.
Mike Sando: Alex Smith needs to have more impressive drives when games are in the balance, such as when the 49ers trailed the Eagles 17-10. It's less meaningful to suddenly play well when you're down 24-10, especially when the quarterback's turnover was the difference between 17-10 and 24-10. Switching quarterbacks would be a desperation move that would signal giving up on Smith more than giving up on the season. The 49ers clearly do not want to go that route.
Mike (Costa Mesa): The Cardinals have been exceeding expectations consistently since Ken Whisenhunt took over the team. Although they have, admittedly, performed extremely poorly at times, they have also performed over and above expectations in big games. What is it going to take for the Cardinals to start getting a little respect. After five weeks, they are in first place and yet supposed NFL "experts" are picking the 0-5 49ers to win the division. After the 2008 season, Cris Collinsworth also said famously that the Cardinals were "the worst playoff team in the history of the NFL", and we know how that came out.
Mike Sando: There's no comparison between the Cardinals with Kurt Warner and the Cardinals without Kurt Warner. The current team doesn't deserve the same level of respect. This team is 3-2 because Sebastian Janikowski missed from 32 yards, because Steve Breaston chased down the Rams' Clifton Ryan near the goal line and because Arizona became the second team in NFL history to score 30-plus points without a passing or rushing touchdown. Those victories count. A couple of them simply haven't fallen into the "sustainable" category (meaning we didn't emerge from those victories thinking Arizona had hit stride). Let's see how things play out. I do think the road to 8-8 or even 9-7 can be fairly smooth for this team. Just depends on Max Hall.
ADAM (FT JACKSON, SC): Hello Mike. Just have two questions: 1) Where and who do you see the Rams picking in the draft if you had to guess? 2) Do you think that the Rams should stick with the West coast offense past this year? Is it really the right system for Sam Bradford? Thanks for taking the time to answer my questions.
Mike Sando: Thanks, Adam. I see the Rams picking among the top seven or eight choices overall. This should put them in position to consider a playmaker of some sorts -- wide receiver, pass-rusher, etc. The team has already invested in its offensive line, so that would be a position to avoid early. Offense-wise, I think the Rams should keep the current scheme as long as the current staff is in place. Bradford does throw accurately and on time. This is a timing offense. The fit seems pretty good. Also, Bradford moves well outside the pocket. His offensive coordinator, Pat Shurmur, ran this offense with the Eagles when Donovan McNabb was quarterback. Bradford is not a runner the way McNabb could be, but he does throw effectively on the move.
Thanks to those who kept the chat rolling. Good questions this week.