Mailbag: 'Please tell me what world you live in'
Posted by ESPN.com's Mike Sando
Sean from Philadelphia writes: Quick question for you ... how do you not have a single Eagle in the Top 25 [for the decade] when they have been one of the top three franchises in the past decade and have been littered with Pro Bowlers? Your list is the most standard and uneducated attempt at ranking the best players of the decade. My 6-year-old son could have made the same list by looking at Madden 2006. Then please tell me what world you live in because Torry Holt is the definition of 'product of the system'.
Mike Sando: I live in the world where Torry Holt opened this decade by posting eight consecutive seasons with at least 1,188 yards receiving. Holt made far too many spectacular plays downfield to fall into the "system player" category. The Eagles under Andy Reid have been a "system" team offensively, perhaps at the expense of some individuals.
Brian Westbrook arguably should be in the Top 25. His rushing stats weren't spectacular, but he was an outstanding player during the decade. I would have been fine with Donovan McNabb in the Top 25. And certainly Brian Dawkins would be a worthy choice.We didn't enter into the project with any quota to make sure each team, even the good ones, were represented. Terrell Owens made the list in part for the contributions he made for the Eagles during their lone Super Bowl season [of the decade].
The bottom line was that any Top 25 list was going to slight quite a few good players. There are probably 40 players worthy of being on that list. Your 6-year-old and my 7-year-old would probably list Westbrook, Dawkins and McNabb among them.
Brent from Amarillo, Texas, writes: Sando, great to have you back blogging!! I had a question for you in regards to you saying Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie being the breakout player in the division this year. I think he will have a big year, but I think that Josh Morgan will have a breakout year. He was slowed by staph infection last year and from what I hear is catching everything possible in OTAs. Do you think that Morgan will have a breakout year and be the No. 1 receiver for the niners?
Mike Sando: Thanks, Brent. I like Morgan's chances. Rodgers-Cromartie was the safer pick. Morgan is somewhat reliant on his as-yet-unnamed and largely unproven quarterback. He'll be learning a new system. He'll face more competition for playing time this season because the 49ers have more depth at receiver. None of us should be surprised if Morgan breaks out. I like his approach to the game. He seems to have a good understanding of the game and what it takes to succeed.
Bernardo from Brewster, Wash., writes: Do you think that Shaun Alexander might be on another team this season and if so, what would be the outcome for that team's offense?
Mike Sando: Alexander is probably finished. The Seahawks do not want him. The Redskins gave him a look, but they did not stick with him. Those teams have coaches or front-office people who know Alexander well. If those teams are not interested, how many other teams are going to be interested?
The market for 32-year-old running backs [Alexander is 32 next month) isn't very strong, particuarly when they do not offer anything on special teams.
Ted from Pearl City, Hawaii, writes: Mike, is Karlos Dansby really a franchise Player? To me, he could be, but the way the Cards play him, he is not. He basically is a sideline-to-sideline linebacker who stops the run and can drop into coverage.
Mike Sando: Dansby is a franchise player by definition, in that the Cardinals used the franchise tag on him. It's tough to call him a franchise player in the traditional sense of the word given that he has never been to a Pro Bowl -- despite being worthy for consideration -- and he probably is not one of the three or four most important players on his team.
Lou from Wallingford, Wash., writes: After reading your piece about Jerry Rice, I wonder why the 49ers don't just name Shaun Hill the starter now? Nothing prevents them from changing during the season if it proves to be the wrong choice. So, what's stopping them?
Mike Sando: The 49ers promised Alex Smith a chance to compete for the starting job as part of the pay cut he took this offseason. Turning around and handing the job to Hill without a competition would seem disingenuous.