Posted by ESPN.com's Mike Sando
David in Scottsdale writes: Mike: your occasional Seattle-centric-ness shows on upcoming stars-- Leroy Hill: 58 solo tackles, 3 forced fumbles, 3 sacks, 0 ints Karlos Dansby: 77 solo tackles, 4 forced fumbles, 3.5 sacks and 3 ints Both played in 14 games. Who had the better year last year?
Mike Sando: No question, I am more familiar with Seattle than the other teams in the division. I covered the Seahawks for nine seasons. I'm working hard to learn the other teams as well. That is one of the reasons I maintain such detailed rosters for every team in the league. I've found you can't know a team without really understanding the team at that level. I'm also striving for balance on the blog. Please keep me on my toes.
As for the Hill vs. Dansby debate, the tackle numbers are tough to evaluate. Ask Rick Gosselin. Who tracks them? Using what standard?
Leroy Hill's success in playoff games separates him from Dansby. That is not entirely Dansby's fault, of course. He hasn't had the same opportunities. I do know scouts around the league. I'll ask them to differentiate between the two. Would you rather have Dansby? Or do you just think I went with Hill because I covered the Seahawks?
I did consult with a scout based on the East Coast prior to settling on Hill. This scout was responsible for scouting teams in this division and he heartily endorsed Hill's selection as an up-and-coming player.
Glenn from Seattle writes: I'm an old TNT reader of yours and big fan! It's so great to see you back in action on the NFC West. Just in case you didn't see this, fieldgulls.com has posted a rebuttal of your column on the Seahawks and 5 vs. 4 receivers last year. Keep up the great work, as always!
Mike Sando: Thanks, Glenn. I did see John Morgan's rebuttal. Good stuff. He pointed out differences in yardage. I went with points and would be the first to say correlation does not equal causation. Actually, I would not be the first to say that. One of the commenters on the original item brought it up.
Nineraguan from San Diego writes: Sando, buddy. What's with the outpouring of optimism for Arizona? You have them beating the 9ers twice when you predict the Cardinals' record. But my hapless 9ers beat them twice last year. What did Arizona do in the offseason that was so great that they're a better team now than they were then?
Mike Sando: My thought this week was that the timing of this matchup might help the Cardinals. The 49ers are breaking in a new quarterback with a new offense. Kurt Warner is healthy and the Cardinals should be better in their second year under Ken Whisenhunt. In the end, the uncertainty surrounding the 49ers' quarterback is probably the decisive factor for me right now.
Scott from New York writes: The Niners swept the Cards last year and go into this seasons with an even better roster, much better receivers, and much better offense by anyone's rankings. Why would they not beat the Cards at home in the opener? Sure JT is an unknown, but he has looked better than average in the pre-season. Is he suddenly going to look bad for no reason? I think you are greatly underestimating this 49ers team. They have 6 pro bowlers starting on defense.
Mike Sando: You might be correct. I won't be surprised if the 49ers win this game. I picked the Cardinals for a variety of reasons. I think their defense can confuse quarterbacks unaccustomed to playing against it. And we simply don't know enough about J.T. O'Sullivan. I do agree that the 49ers' offense will be much improved this season, but inconsistency appears likely given the newness of the system.
Chris from Arizona writes: on your NFC West Blog you didnt do a prediction for the Cardinals this season. You did, however, put the same Seahawks prediction twice. Odd.
Mike Sando: The blogging software took us on a bit of an adventure Wednesday. The Cardinals predictions actually ran first -- on Aug. 28 -- and I tried to run an adapted version of them with the others Wednesday morning. Only later did I realize the Seahawks' predictions ran twice. You're right, that was odd.