Mailbag: Cardinals fans emerging
Posted by ESPN.com's Mike Sando
Chuck from Gilbert, Ariz., writes: What do you think about the Cardinals dominating this division for the next 5-6 years like the Seahawks just did? Our team is VERY young and we already have a QB waiting/learning on the bench.
Mike Sando: The Cardinals are in position to make a long-term move within the division. The team needs to keep adding young talent, however. Kurt Warner, Edgerrin James, Chike Okeafor, Bert Berry, Clark Haggans and even Adrian Wilson, who turns 29 next week, aren't going to play forever. Re-signing Karlos Dansby is also important.
For the record, Arizona has the 13th-oldest active roster in the league and the 14th-oldest starters. This includes the 17th-oldest offensive starters and the 12th-oldest defensive starters. The offensive players are 23rd-oldest overall. The defensive players are seventh-oldest overall.
Matt from Scottsdale, Ariz., writes: If (and this is a big if, I know) the Cardinals can find a way to win against Dallas, where does that put them in the power rankings next week? This time last week, Buffalo was ranked No. 4, so that would be two big wins against two supposed top 5 teams in a row. Your thoughts?
Mike Sando: Great question. I would move them into the top 10, most likely.
Avery from Nashville, Tenn., writes: Titans coach Jeff Fisher has had harsh criticism on his last two coaches' shows for the "stat-grabbing" that caused the injury to Boldin. On Tuesday night Fisher was questioned about feeling sympathetic toward Kurt Warner for his contemplated retirement and Fisher again said (he said the same thing the previous week) there is no place in the game for the stat-grabbing that was going on when that game was over and the Cards should have been handing the ball off.
Fisher said if Warner felt so bad about it he shouldn't have put Boldin in that position in a meaningless situation, and then Warner even threw a pass to Fitzgerald on the very next play where Fitzgerald got popped. It seems this aspect of the Boldin situation has not been addressed properly by the media. Thanks.
Mike Sando: I am aware of Fisher's comments in general and have confirmed that what he said was consistent with your presentation of it. That is a reasonable viewpoint. We did address the matter in a column on this blog. I understand the idea of playing hard to the end. I also think it's imperative to point out that Eric Smith violated the rules in the eyes of the league. As such, he bears responsibility for how he strikes a player. I also quoted Mike Holmgren and Bill Belichick as to their thoughts on the matter.
Oz from Ft. Lauderdale, Fla., writes: Mike - What do you think the ceiling is for Arizona's Gabe Watson? Taking what you saw last year and his one game back so far (where he looked real good) does he have the ability to develop into a Ngata or Haynesworth type player or is he more middle tier? The rap on him coming out of college was a lack of desire but if you read quotes from while he was sitting out - it seems he has a fire in his belly now. The physical tools are all there correct?
Mike Sando: I'm sure he's hungry now after sitting out so long. He played about a dozen snaps against the Bills and Clancy Pendergast was happy with what he saw. The desire part is easy to talk about but tougher to sustain. I do not see him becoming a Haynesworth-type player. They are different athletes. But there's no reason he can't be a good starter and an important part of that defense.
Kolbe from Scottsdale, Ariz., writes: Anquan's Revenge a crazy thought -- anquan boldin at safety just for a couple plays a game? He's expressed an interest, even if only teasing with the coaching staff, that he wants to go in and blitz the quarterback. I'd bet he could deal out some damage. Add to that the depth the Cardinals showed last wk. at receiver and how thin they are in the secondary. Has a team ever experimented putting one of their receivers on defense other than on hail marys and onside kicks?
Mike Sando: "Ever" is a long time. I cannot recall a team asking a Pro Bowl receiver to play defense -- except for recently retired Patriots wide receiver Troy Brown. I also think Boldin would have a very hard time making that adjustment. I've seen small linebackers have a hard time making the adjustment to safety. We've seen players have a hard time adjusting even from corner to safety.
Mike from Oak Harbor, Wash., writes: I can see why the O is not performing... Injuries... but what I don't understand is why the D is under performing, unless there on the field to long cause the O is not sustaining drives? Is there conflict on the coaching staff?
Mike Sando: I do think the offensive issues are exposing the defense. I also think the defense just isn't playing as well. That includes the best players on the defense. Lofa Tatupu has been banged up and less effective. Rocky Bernard is not having the kind of season I might have expected from him entering a contract year. Deon Grant has not been as consistent at safety. Kelly Jennings has been hurt and targeted a little more.
Octavio from Los Angeles writes: How are you doing, Mike? First of all, I like reading your daily blogs on the NFC West. You are doing a great job! Keep up the good work! I would like to know your thoughts on how you see the 49ers as a franchise right now. Do you see them as a rebuilding team with high expectations or do you see them as a team that will go nowhere like the Lions or Raiders. Thanks!
Mike Sando: Thanks, Octavio. Much appreciated. I see the 49ers as a franchise still trying to find its way. They are better off than the Lions or Raiders, no question, but not a model franchise by any means. It's tough to recover from whiffing on a No. 1 overall draft choice. Some of the other high picks, from Vernon Davis to Manny Lawson, are not producing to expected levels.
Every NFL team needs strong and stable leadership from a credible head coach. Mike Nolan's record was 16-32 heading into this season. He is coaching for his job. It's not an ideal situation by any means.
Cam from Kelowna, B.C., writes: Hey Mike I've submitted a few questions and have yet to hear from you. Show me some love. A
few questions... 1) What is the likelihood that the Seahawks go after Roy Williams? And the likelihood they actually acquire him? 2) What is the deal with Kelly Jennings? The guy's new nickname will be "toast" soon. Jennings allowed Lee Evans, Dominic Hixon and Isaac Bruce all go for 100+ on him. Could we see Hobbs, Babs or Wilson get some more action? 3) What's the deal with the Seahawks? Is this a lost season? What's it gonna take to get them back on track? Hope to hear from you!
Mike Sando: No sweat, Cam. I do not recall reading a mailbag item from you previously, but I'm happy to answer your questions to the best of my abilities.
I've heard nothing specific to make me think Seattle is going to make a move for Roy Williams, but Tim Ruskell's history suggests he's not afraid to sacrifice draft choices for receivers. Deion Branch cost a first-round choice. Nate Burleson cost a third-round choice. Keary Colbert could cost a later choice. I just question how quickly a receiver might produce after stepping into this system cold.
Kelly Jennings is feeling the effects of having a Pro Bowl corner on the other side. He's got a target on his chest and life is tough for him right now. The rib injury he suffered can't be helping, either. And then the pass rush hasn't been as good.
Yes, this is looking like a lost season for Seattle. You just can't ignore what is happening and expect things to suddenly be different. Losing the San Francisco game at home could haunt this team.
Jeff from Victorville, Calif., writes: Hey Mike, Iv'e been a 49ERS fan for a long time now. I have heard a couple of times now that the GIANTS 44-6 victory over the Seahawks this last weekend was their largest margin of victory in 36 years. My question to you is why would that be the case when I remember (unfortunately) the 49ERS losing to them back in the mid 80's 49-3?
Mike Sando: I remember that game too. The Giants' Jim Burt knocked out Joe Montana with a brutal hit. That would have been a playoff game after the 1986 season. And therein lies the answer to your question. The league differentiates regular-season records from playoff records.
LevDog from parts unknown writes: I know I asked this already, but it wasnt answered.. What are the chances of Roy Williams coming to the 49ers? You know the lions wont keep both WR in the offseason.. Also Roy LOOOOVES Martz, and Martz should still be with the niners I hope... IF not the offseason, what about a trade before the 14th?
Mike Sando: Who is going to be on the 49ers' coaching staff next season? That is the question I would ask as an organization before moving on a player for the reasons you stated. On the surface, that type of move makes sense.