Mailbag: Warner's health a concern

Steve from parts unknown writes: mike, i've really enjoyed your coverage of the NFC West this season. Being a rams fan my whole life, I've seen Warner play a bit and have memories of his problems with his throwing hand due to injuries (thumb & finger). Watching the jet game sunday I saw a few shots of warner looking like he was having problems with his throwing hand. flexing it on the sideline, rubbing it... anything up? thanks.

Mike Sando: Thanks, Steve. Warner was wearing a wrap on his right index finger during the postgame news conference. I was standing within about 2 feet of him and asked him about it. The situation with Anquan Boldin was dominating Warner's thoughts, so he did not give a very good answer. I wasn't going to press the issue, out of respect for the situation. But it's safe to say he wasn't wearing the wrap for cosmetic purposes.

A coach for another team told me he watched the Arizona game and couldn't see how Warner would even be able to practice fully this week, given the pounding he took.

Ken from Bellevue, Wash., writes: Sando, With losses to all NFC West teams that were playing this week, can you do another breakdown of upcoming schedule and what the potential NFC West records might look like in the weeks to come? It looks like the NFC West is up for grabs at this point.
Mike Sando: Good idea. I think Seattle reemerges as the division favorite over the next four to six weeks unless injuries wipe out the receiver position again.

Colin from Binghamton, N.Y. writes: I hear that new papers in Arizona are calling the hit by Jets Eric Smith on Anquan Boldin in the fourth quarter of the game this past Sunday a dirty hit. I have seen many replays of that hit several times and I see nothing dirty about it. It just baffles me that so many good hard hits hard called dirty. Whatever happened to old hard hitting hard nose football?
Mike Sando: Striking another player in the face with the crown of one's helmet doesn't seem like the way to go.

Arthur from parts unknown writes: Jim Haslett didn't think Marc Bulger would be better then Jeff Blake, Aaron Brooks, Jake Delhomme and Billy Joe Tollivar after drafting Bulger in New Orleans. Bulger got released early in training camp. Anyone wonder if Marc Bulger will have a grudge now that the guy head coaching him again??
Mike Sando: Doubt it. Bulger has other things to worry about, such as avoiding the defensive linemen running right at him.

Julian from Frankfurt, German, writes: Hey Mike. You saw the whole terrible performance by the Cards so I have some question. First, Kurt Warner had a terrible day or at least a terrible first half and it's hard to overcome seven TOs, but should a defense be able to not let them score on every turnover? From what I have seen they managed to play even worse than Kurt Warner and while the offense bounced back in the second half, the defense seemed to have given up. I mean you can't allow them to score 56 points including two passing TD's on 4th down. It seems that every TD came to wide, and I mean really wide, open receivers. Can't be blamed only on Berry and Wilson missing the game can it? I think you didn't need to be Brett Favre to throw 6 TDs.
Mike Sando: The Cardinals' defense was brutal. I thought the secondary lost its heart without Adrian Wilson. Yes, I thought the Cardinals missed Bert Berry's pass-rush ability on the outside. But this was worse than anything I would have expected even under those circumstances. It's gut-check time for the Arizona defense.

Dan from Rochester, N.Y., writes: What are you talking about. There was nothing wrong with the play [Eric Smith's hit on Anquan Boldin]. What are you watching or can't you see. Typical press, trying to make something out of nothing.
Mike Sando: The league made a $50,000 fine out of the play. I never even said it was dirty.

Brian from Seattle writes: Hey Mike, Did some research and found that the Hawks are 26-1 since 2004 when holding an opponent under 20pts. Any idea if that is a common record in that situation? Holding a team under 20pts doesn't seem that big of a feat. My post: http://hawkblogger.blogspot.com/2008/09/investigation-holding-opponents-under.html
Mike Sando: Great research, Brian. I looked at every team from 2000 through 2006. Teams that held opponents below 20 points per game won 10 games per season on average. Teams that allowed at least 20 points per game won 6.7 games per season on average.

Turner from Boise, Idaho, writes: Well Mike, the bye week was great for Seattle. They got healthier, and the 49ers and Cardinals lost. Looking forward, how do you see the next few weeks shaking out the leaders of the division, or will this come down to it at the end?
Mike Sando: I give Seattle a decent shot at getting to 4-4 by the midpoint of the season. I think Arizona could be right there as well, but the Seahawks would have the edge over the second half of the season. Not sure if the 49ers can keep pace without a home victory over New England.

Pete from Richmond writes: Jerry Jones was fined 25K for comments about Ed Hochuli's bad call in the SD/DEN game. When/where/what did he say? The story appears to have come out a week after the fine...did they wait to report it on purpose?
Mike Sando: Jones had told reporters two weeks ago that Hochuli was highly criticized and that Hochuli had called more penalties than other referees.

Bernie from Seattle writes: Mike, in a previous Mailbag you said you thought the Seahawks would at least try to re-sign Leroy Hill before next season. It's pretty clear that, in Seattle at least, players seem to step it up in their contract year(s). Just out of curiosity, who will be having a contract year next season for the Seahawks? I'm kinda interested in whom I can look forward to having a strong season next year. It's the bye week, so I'm allowed to think about this stuff, right? :)
Mike Sando: Yes, you are, and thanks for your patience. I'm working my way through the mailbag and realize I didn't get to this one right away.

Current Seattle players scheduled to enter the final year of their deals in 2009 include Chris Spencer, Olindo Mare, Darryl Tapp and Rob Sims.

Scott from Bremerton, Wash., writes: Are the stars align
ing for the Hawks to take control of the West? Work with me here... The Cards and Niners lose, and the Hawks are only half a game out of first. Then, our next two opponents lose players, Burress for NYG, and Harris (and possibly Rogers) for GB. If Seattle can go into New York and beat the Giants, they have to be the favorites to win the West again, right?
Mike Sando: I think Seattle will contend for the division title even with a defeat against the Giants. It's a long season. Seattle will most likely be 1-3 in another week. I think Arizona has a good chance of beating the Bills in Arizona to go 3-2. Two games means little right now given the fact that the Seahawks and Cardinals have not played yet, and both teams have some tough games ahead.

Rio from Bellingham, Wash., writes: With the return of Engram and Branch looming, what's the status of the other receivers? Do you think they're likely to cut a player or two? What're the chances Bumpus stays off the practice squad, continuing to return punts, and spelling Engram when needed?
Mike Sando: We're really talking about Koren Robinson, Michael Bumpus and Courtney Taylor. I think Robinson has to show he can practice and contribute. But I also think he sticks around. Bumps has value on returns and he has outplayed Taylor, so he probably stays. Taylor would seem to be the odd man out.

Of course, the Seahawks have been carrying seven receivers all along, even when Engram and Branch were injured, so it's conceivable for Seattle to continue with its current personnel at the position. Ideally, though, the team would open a roster spot for another position by reducing to no more than six receivers.