The Seattle Seahawks are the ones preparing for a playoff game this week, but San Francisco 49ers fans are the ones making the most noise in the days before Seattle's wild-card kickoff against New Orleans. Niners fans' concerns about the team's coaching search dominated the latest NFC West chat. Transcript here. Highlights below:
Brad (Visalia, Calif.): Mike, please find a way to end my suffering. How did the Niners blow this Harbaugh deal? Do you think they low-balled him? Sounds like they came in at somewhere between $4.5 and $5M where as Carroll got about $6.5. Do you think if they had come in at the Carroll number that we'd be listening to a press conference right now announcing Harbaugh as HC? I just feel completely betrayed by Jed York.
Mike Sando: You are not the only one. First, it's not over til it's over, so let's not react prematurely. But at this point, I would be quite surprised if the 49ers landed Harbaugh. And if he does get away, your complaints regarding York appear justified. He did say money would be no object, yet all the reports suggest the 49ers came in at a figure well beneath what the Miami Dolphins appear willing to pay. I do not know whether a better offer would have stopped Harbaugh from at least talking to other people, though. He had to know the 49ers would wait for him. What other options were they going to pursue that would trump him? None.
Ben (Portland): Do you think Vince Young is a possibility in Seattle? He seems like a good fit for Bates' offense and I have to think that Young would appreciate Uncle Pete's approach more than Fisher's "My way or the highway".
Mike Sando: A fresh start would serve Young well, and we know Carroll gives fresh starts. The key would be whether the Seahawks or any team could land Young on favorable terms. Young cannot have the power he attempted to wield in Tennessee. He would need to be humbled and grateful for the chance. I question whether he would have that state of mind. He is accustomed to "The Man" status. Let's see how the market responds. I'd applaud a team for signing Young to the right kind of deal. The signing team could not offer too many promises.
Mike Sando: They do have a new owner and they do have a quarterback to build around. They are definitely more likely to make some sort of splash in free agency this offseason than in past offseasons -- provided we have free agency.
Bryan (Houston): What are your thoughts on the Cards coaching and GM situations? Do you see some major changes? Hire a new DC? Will Whiz give up play calling to an OC?
Mike Sando: In a normal year, yes, I think the Cardinals would overhaul the defensive staff. I am a little less sure about that in the current climate. We are seeing some teams make decisions with the bottom line in mind. Marvin Lewis stays in Cincy. Jack Del Rio stays in Jacksonville. Jerry Jones sticks with Jason Garrett. Carolina parts with John Fox (and will hire more cheaply, for sure). The Cardinals will have to think hard about whether to change over their coaching staff. Now, they could always write into contracts lockout clauses protecting themselves against having no football, but that process adds another layer of uncertainty, too.