Mailbag: 2-0 before 4-0 for Cardinals

September, 13, 2008
9/13/08
11:01
AM ET

Posted by ESPN.com's Mike Sando

Chris from Denver writes: Mike, looking at the Cardinals' schedule, it sets up perfectly for them to leave the month of September 4-0. They will beat Fish on Sunday. Washington will not be formidable and the Jets at home is quite winnable. What do you think? Have you changed your mind on 8-8 year? I'm saying 9-7 or 10-6.

Mike Sando: Remember, that Jets game is a road game for the Cardinals. The team will stay on the East Coast between the Redskins and Jets games. I think 3-1 sets up more realistically than 4-0. And I still think the second half of the schedule presents challenges. I'm not coming off 8-8 just yet, but neither would I discount your optimism.

Let's say the Cardinals start 3-1. They then return home for potentially tough games against Buffalo and Dallas, followed by a trip to Carolina.


Myles from Louisiana writes: Assuming your prediction about [Seahawks rookie kicker Brandon] Coutu being valued enough to waive player(s) who had a chance to contribute now (i.e. the Colts new punt/kick returner). If [veteran kicker Olindo] Mare doesn't miss any kicks he should make AND continues to be the one competent member of special teams, how can the front office send him packing for the rook? It doesn't seem possible to be in more urgent need of roster spots now and they haven't made a move, is there a chance this continues a ways into the season? And if so is that a failing of the front office?

Mike Sando: For the record, I wasn't saying I agreed with the rationale behind the Seahawks' decision to keep two kickers. I sought to explain the reasoning. The question you raise is a very good one. I think they'll have to release Coutu at some point, particularly if the injuries continue to mount, although carrying Coutu becomes easier once Deion Branch and Bobby Engram return. At that point, the Seahawks could cut back their numbers at receiver and have an easier time carrying an extra kicker.


Matt from Scottsdale writes: Hey Sando, I was just watching College Football Live (while waiting for NFL Live) and saw the Big 12 blogger make an on set appearance. Will you be making any on camera appearances anytime soon? If so, be sure to give us a heads up so we can tune in.

Mike Sando: Will do. I've done quite a few of them as part of the regular Insider segments.


Kevin from San Diego writes: Sando - Appreciate your blog, keep up the great work. Regarding Seattle personnel moves, why don't the hawks let Jordan Kent in the game? He had the best pre-season among any of the young receiver corp and he gets put on the practice squad? Logan Payne is overrated and Courtney Taylor doesn't seem to have a clue out there. Burleson goes down then we cut Forsett? Who the hell are Sammy Parker and Billy McMullen? Why do we have two kickers? Is Coutu catching balls too? Where's the reset button when you need it???!!! Again, you have the coolest blog on the block. Thanks.

Mike Sando: Thanks, Kevin. None of the young receivers did much in the opener. Courtney Taylor dropped the ball on the first play and Matt Hasselbeck couldn't find him a couple plays later. I'm not sure I could make a strong case for Jordan Kent based on what happened in the opener. The team thought Kent was out of his depth a little. Logan Payne has a little more versatility, but that doesn't mean he's a good player at any of those positions.

We need to be a little careful in not acting as though Justin Forsett was a big-time contributor. People fell in love with him during the preseason, but was he going to help this team on Sundays? I would not assume that he would. The situation at receiver is going to be a problem with or without Kent on the active roster, with or without Forsett on the active roster, with or without Coutu and Mare on the roster. The Seahawks need Engram back more than anything. They need Branch back.


Bernie from Seattle writes: Hey Mike. Disregarding all of the stuff going wrong on the other side of the ball, there's been a lot of talk this season about the Seahawks defense being much better this year given the continuity among the starters. They seemed to do fairly well on the road against Buffalo, but I'm curious what you think about their potential. Do you think they're a top 10 or even top 5 defense, or have the makings to be? Or do you think they are still missing the personnel and attitude to take it to that level this year? As they say, defense wins games.

Mike Sando: I haven't seen enough to think this is a top five defense. I think it could be close to a top 10 defense once Rocky Bernard gets back into the flow. He is a difference maker inside.


Richard from New York writes: Mike, thanks for your helpful explanation of my question regarding waivers. I think it's super neat how you take the time to actually answer everybody's questions. Anyway, one quick follow-up question &

My understanding is that the Seahawks waived Forsett with the intent of signing him to the practice squad once he cleared waivers. Presumably, this was because they could not move him directly to the practice squad without waiving him first. What is the rationale behind not allowing teams to move players directly from the 53-man to their practice squad (and simultaneously waiving a player from the practice squad to make room)? Do you think the current system is fair?

Mike Sando: Thanks, Richard. I like the questions because they keep me sharp and I learn things along the way. You are correct about teams not being able to move players between the active roster and the lower-paying practice squad without first subjecting the players to waivers. The waiver system gives bad teams first crack at released players. The system allows any team to claim a waived player. However, if multiple teams claim a player, the claiming team with the worst record prevails. The system is consistent with how the NFL sets up its draft. I would consider the system fair from that standpoint.


Terry from parts unknown writes: Mike, do we ABSOLUTELY HAVE TO, HAVE TO hear about the Patriots or Cowboys every time we turn on ESPN TV ? I'm so sick SICK of their inane and biased "coverage" they broadcast. They only usually talk about (maybe) 3 or 4 teams, and that is it. I'm close to turning them off for good...

Mike Sando: We'll save a spot for you here at the NFC West blog.


Jake from Germany writes: Sando, All the focus on Seattle is going to the banged up Receiver corps, wouldn't you say the O-Line is the bigger concern? San Francisco got a lot of pressure on Kurt Warner in that game and they play a lot of confusing "games" on the front 7. Should Hawk fans worry a little less about Wallace playing WR and worry more about the possibility of him ending
up at QB with the beating Hasselbeck will likely take this weekend? All that said, I hope Holmgren took notice of the 49ers pass rush and keeps a back or TE in to help with protection...

Mike Sando: You raise a good point. I think the issues are related. I rewatched the Seahawks-Bills game Friday afternoon. Courtney Taylor drops a first-down ball on the first place. Nate Burleson doesn't appear to be where Matt Hasselbeck expected him to be on a near-interception a short time later. Neither of those plays required great protection to execute. They were quick throws.

Everything changes if Seattle's receivers make plays on those balls. Suddenly the Bills are on their heels a little bit, or at least forced to respect the pass. At which point it's easier to mix in running plays against more favorable fronts.

In short, Seattle needs a baseline level of competence at the receiver position to function offensively. I saw enough from line coaches Mike Solari and Mike DeBord this summer to make me think that group will improve over time.


Nick from Vancouver, Wash., writes: Hey Sando, can you please explain to me Seattle's logic with the Forsett release. What was the point in even keeping him on the 53 man roster, then cutting him, for Yvenson Bernard? Don't get me wrong, I liked Yvenson Bernard when he was at Oregon State, but Forsett looked really good and many of my friends thought he could have had a future on the team in a couple years.

Mike Sando: This comes down to keeping one extra kicker. Yes, Seattle is keeping two extra receivers while Bobby Engram and Deion Branch recover from injuries. Yes, Seattle is arguably keeping one extra defensive lineman. But the kickers are the kicker, so to speak. Mike Holmgren has been pretty transparent about how much he values Olindo Mare's touchbacks. And yet the Seahawks clearly think Brandon Coutu can be their long-term kicker. So they keep two kickers and have less flexibility to carry an extra player elsewhere. In the end, Seattle didn't value Forsett enough to keep him around.


Jeff from parts unknown writes: Hi, Mike Why did the Seahawks release Jordon Kent and Justin Forsett? I agree with Mitch in the morning on KJR 950. They should have put the 2nd kicker and the 5th defensive end on waivers first. Kent was the most productive pre-season receiver, the fastest receiver and probably has more upside than the others. He could probably even return punts.

As for forsett. Well with Morris being out a couple games, he would have been a great 3rd down back and could return punts and kickoffs with burelson being out. I don't know what the Hawks are doing. Must be something in the paint at the new facility. Why not sign Joe Horn, a proven veteran wide receiver they could rely on, instead of Mcmullen, who has been out of the league for a year, and Samie Parker. I'd rather see Michael Bumpus start versus any of the new guys and the current healthy receivers. Any insight to why the moves were made? Do you think the 49ers might sneak out one against our depleted Hawks?

Mike Sando: Yes, I do think the 49ers have a shot at winning this game. We simply cannot bank on the Seattle offense performing at a high enough level to ensure consistency. I think the Seattle defense must rise up.

I see no compelling reason to keep two kickers given all the other issues throughout the roster. Keeping two kickers is a luxury few teams can afford. It's easier if your snapper plays another position full time, or if you're carrying only two quarterbacks, or if you can justify keeping only four running backs, etc.

You might get your wish on Bumpus -- not as a starter, but as a member of the rotation. The Seahawks might sign him to the roster today. We shall see.


Cam from Kelowna, B.C., writes: Hey Mike I know its early, and I am a die hard Hawks fan, but I'm also no idiot. Seattle will be in the hunt for their division, but is it safe to say that any real playoff threat is done for Seattle?

Mike Sando: Too early. Let's see if Branch and Engram can save the passing game later in the season.


Jane from Spokane, Wash., writes: Seattle was so foolish to let J. Forsett go!!!! What on earth are they thinkin??? I have tickets to see Seattle play the Patriots in Dec. I think I will sell my tickets as I think they are making a LOT of stupid decisions!!!

Mike Sando: The decision might be unwise, but Forsett was probably going to be among the players named inactive on game days. You probably wouldn't have seen him on the field for that New England game, anyway.

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