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Posted by ESPN.com's Mike Sando
Thanks to those who dropped by the weeky chat at noon ET. A few highlights, one pertaining to each team in the division:
Full chat transcript here.
Tyler from Phoenix wrote: Break down the Cards-Panthers game. What chances do the Redbirds have?
Mike Sando: I think they have an outside chance. The Panthers should be rested and ready after two weeks. The Cardinals should be competitive if they remain as disciplined on defense as they were against the Falcons. Can they do that against the Panthers on the road? You should feel better about their chances after watching them against Atlanta. I think they also need to remember Edgerrin James and the run game. That is a fascinating part of this matchup. Carolina loaded up against the run when the teams played in Week 8. Warner nearly beat them. If the Panthers follow that formula, I'm not sure the Arizona passing game is sharp enough to avoid mistakes.
Adam from NYC wrote: What do you think of Gil Haskell as the OC with the niners?
Mike Sando: I think he would like that job. He has always wanted to call plays. But if the 49ers wanted to head in that direction, they could have hired him by now. I know Gil personally and know what he did well in Seattle. He had a great rapport with players and he did a good job leading team meetings and putting together the game plan. Holmgren called the plays, however, and that made it tougher for Haskell to get the type of promotion he might have otherwise received.
Sarah from Denver wrote: How long will a Rams' rebuilding phase take? I'm not at all optimistic. The D is still a mess, the O-line stinks, Bulger looks like he might be on his way out, etc... Dimitroff and Parcells have given some Rams fans false hope, IMO.
Mike Sando: Who will they hire as head coach? Will ownership arm GM Billy Devaney with the resources he needs to remake the roster? Those are key variables. The Rams need to overhaul their offensive line and strengthen the middle of their defense. They also need to change the culture. Can those things be done in one offseason? Yes, the Dolphins showed they can be done. But you are right in saying the Rams can't just assume they'll make the same sort of turnaround. They could still get to the 8-8 range, though.
Jim from Oregon writes: Every year the debate begin regarding the draft and the top picks. Money value versus player (impact) value. I prefer the option of trading down and collecting additional picks. Have you heard anything regarding the Seahawks? I just think there are too many unknowns (Value, Impact, Uncapped salary, etc.) to "risk" a 4th-overall pick if you cna find a trade partner. What are you thoughts being closer to the organization than the fans are?
Mike Sando: Trading down requires finding someone willing to trade up. And if the analysts are right -- this draft is again heavy on offensive tackles, with perhaps less star power at the top -- finding suitable terms for trading back might not be so easy. I think Seattle needs a high-impact player more than a couple of decent ones. If that were the tradeoff, then keep the high pick and find that impact player.