Thursday, August 21, 2008
Mailbag: Crying over spilled wine
By Mike Sando
Posted by ESPN.com's Mike Sando
David from Scottsdale, Ariz., writes: Mike: regarding Anquan Boldin's latest. This is classic Drew Rosenhaus. Why do we even pay attention anymore?
Mike Sando: Reporters get paid to pay attention. Contract disputes are never fun to cover. They can run a beat reporter's life 20 hours a day. I'll share a true story. My wife and I were dating while I was a Seahawks beat reporter and Joey Galloway's contract dispute was in full swing. I was finally finished writing my story at about 10 p.m. My wife and I sat down and were about to have a glass of wine. The phone rings. Galloway was firing his agent. The night was only beginning. The glass of wine spilled on the carpet. It's an upset we ever got married.
Jared in Bend, Ore., writes: I may be crazy, but I still believe that Alex Smith will be the starter for SF. Nolan may be coaching for his job, but Mcloughan has stated repeatedly that he is in on the decision. If Smith doesn't start, doesn't that put [GM Scot] Mcloughan on the hook, too?
Mike Sando: I like your thinking. I'm just not sure it's going to come out that way. Most general managers would indeed like to give the high draft choice every opportunity. If you're going to go with Smith, though, shouldn't he be getting the reps?
Chad from parts unknown writes: Sando- I keep reading about a bunch of WR's who are either looking to get traded or released (Boldin, Horn, Parker). Wouldn't it make sense for Seattle to try to pick up one of these guys? There's almost nothing certain in the Hawks receiving core right now, why not?
Mike Sando: The last time I checked in on the Eric Parker front, his toe was going to need considerable time to heal. Joe Horn reportedly wants to play for the Cowboys or Eagles. I feel confident saying the Cardinals aren't trading Boldin to the Seahawks. Seattle could have Branch for the first game and Engram shortly thereafter. Also, the Seahawks would be on the hook for any veteran's full season salary if that player were on their roster for the regular-season opener.
Kevin from San Diego writes: Sando - Now that ATL released Horn, why are the Seahawks rumored to be one of the suitors for his services? Personally, I'd rather see which of our youngsters would pan out than sign a 36 yr old receiver. Also, your thoughts on which receivers are in and who's out. I like Bumpus, not too sure about Logan Payne. Good hands but I don't think he can separate from any CB in the league. Once again, thanks for all your work, keep it up...
Mike Sando: I think the Seahawks agree with you. They haven't made a move for a veteran.
Jake from Portland writes: Hey Sando, I'm here to say two things that you may be getting sick of by now: first, your coverage in this NFC West blog is irreplaceable, I'm so glad I discovered it. Second (it's about the 49er QB competition, I'm sorry), what are the chances of Smith being the starter when I'm sitting in Candlestick Park on Sept. 7? I know "Nolan needs to win now" and everything but still... Also, could you see this as possibly a good situation for Alex Smith if JTO does get the nod? It would give Smith the chance to be the benchwarmer that he should have been in his first couple seasons. I feel that if he learns this offense and Martz stays here next year, Smith could have a great '09 season. I've heard so many things about Smith needing to completely understand a system to be effective, and this could be a great chance to learn it while not getting all kinds of criticism as a subpar starter this year. What are your thoughts? Do the 49ers have the patience to hold onto Smith a little longer? Thanks so much for keeping us up to date in the up-and-coming NFC West.
Mike Sando: You're welcome. I've wondered the same thing about Alex Smith. Perhaps he goes into the season with no pressure, quietly learns the offense and then takes over when the chips are down, leading the offense to good things. It's not all that far-fetched. I certainly wouldn't bet on O'Sullivan keeping the job for a full season. First-year starters tend to struggle along the way (though O'Sullivan is not a rookie). Right now it feels like there's a 90 percent chance O'Sullivan will start the opener. I hold out the 10 percent because I do think enough people have votes in this thing to potentially produce a surprise. In the end, it's tough to fathom the team making a decision that doesn't suit offensive coordinator Mike Martz.
Richie from Culver City, Calif., writes: Hi Mike, Big fan of your blog. I check it every day and appreciate the in-depth coverage from a national source. Question -- Would it be possible for you to post depth charts of the NFC West teams? This is purely for fantasy football purposes, but I think it is something readers could be interested in. With so many changes from year-to-year, it is hard to keep up sometimes. Thanks!
Mike Sando: Yes, I like the idea. I'll post depth charts at some point soon.
Nick from Redmond, Wash., writes: Could the Seahawks possibly acquire Joe Horn?
Mike Sando: I'm not hearing anything along those lines at this time.
Tom from Bellevue, Wash., writes: We have seen a lot of discussion about whether TJ Duckett is going to make the 53 man roster. Tim Ruskell obviously likes him which is why he was signed with $4 million guaranteed. Holmgren has said from the beginning he needs to figure out how to use him. So who makes the final decision on roster cut down, Holmgren or Ruskell?
Mike Sando: Ruskell makes the final decision but Holmgren's opinion matters. I'm sure there will be some differences of opinion on certain players and some give and take.
Jeff from "windy" Vero Beach, Fla., writes: Hi Mike, Thanks for all the great NFC West coverage. The fans of the NFCW team I follow are in a great frenzy about roster spots. You touched a little on how the final cuts and Practice Squad assignments work, but do you compile any data on how common it is for teams to claim a player that another team is trying to place on their PS?
Mike Sando: The Seahawks were the only team to sign a player from Seattle's practice squad to an active roster last season. The Falcons signed Harvey Dahl from the 49ers' practice squad last season. I do not recall another 2007 instance of a non-NFC West team signing a practice-squad player from an NFC West roster.
Matt from Seattle writes: I read your last mail bag about the Weak nfc west, that's all we hear in Seattle is how bad a division it is. Well was the NFC west really that bad last year? Look at the standings, NFC West Seahawks 10-6 Arizona 8-8 SF 5-11 STL 3-13 Wins by non winner 16 Compare that to: AFC East NE 16-0 Buffalo 7-9 Jets 4-12 Miami 1-15 Wins by non winner 12 Nobody ever brings up the weak schedule argument for NE how about the NFC South TB 9-7 Carolina 7-9 NO 7-9 ATL 4-12 Wins by non winner 18 AFC West SD 11-5 Denver 7-9 OAK 4-12 KC 4-12 wins by non winner 15 So Out of those 4 divisions Arizona had the best year out of non wi
nners- and the bottom of the nfc west was no worse then the bottom of the others.
Mike Sando: Something to consider: Seattle is 14-4 against NFC West teams and 18-12 against non-divisional opponents in regular-season games over the last three seasons.
Jared from Bend, Ore., doubles up: Sando, living outside of the City it's great to get constant updates on the 49ers--thanks for your work. My question for you is this: Since Nolan has further discredited himself in his handling of the QB situation (if it's O'Sullivan, just say so), what are the odds the Niners make a coaching change mid-season? If so, the obvious candidates are in-house. In this case, wouldn't Singletary make the most sense as the other two candidates are coordinators and a mid-season coordinator change could be devastating? Thanks!
Mike Sando: The odds would be pretty high if the team struggled through the first half of the season. I wouldn't rule out a coordinator getting the job even though what you said makes some sense in theory. They would probably want to go with the candidate they feel best about, and that could be a coordinator. Mike Martz has the higher profile, but Greg Manusky should not be discounted.
R.J. from Seattle writes: Sando, with the recent injury to Engram, Branch being on the shelf for a couple weeks into the season most likely, and the lack of not only depth at WR but experience, what could be stopping the Hawks from trying to get a WR like Chad Johnson who is obviously a disgruntled employee of the Bengals. It's Holmgren's last year, he might as well fight for a move to be made that could ultimately put the Hawks over the top again in the NFC. I mean we (Seattle Seahawk fans) have never had a chance to see Matt with a sure handed bonified star reciever as his number one option. I could see a move like this only helping the Hawks passing and running game.
Mike Sando: The Seahawks probably aren't interested in adding a disgruntled, high-maintenance player. That hasn't been their style.
Steve from Bellingham, Wash., writes: I'd like to comment on the Cardinals' quarterback controversy. As a Seahawk fan I can't root hard enough for Warner to be named the starter. The man is a machine -- turnover machine, that is. In four games he has played as a Cardinal against the Seahawks he has ten turnovers and the Seahawks have won all four games by an average margin of 18 points. And no, I'm not "concern trolling."
Mike Sando: The Seahawks have also been able to hit Warner and hurt him over the years. Warner used to hold the ball in an attempt to make plays. I remember someone -- perhaps Chike Okeafor, when he was with Seattle -- absolutely drilling Warner in the midsection when Warner held the ball too long.
CS from Washington, D.C., writes: Re Montana, "He bounced back from a career-threatening knee injury to enjoy several productive seasons in his 30s." Knee injury? I recall back surgery earlier in his career; wasn't that more threatening? I thought most of the damage he did post-knee injury was with the Chiefs.
Mike Sando: I'll assume you are referring to something posed in a question. It's possible that slipped through. I also remember the back injuries. Remember that Jim Burt hit? Ouch.
Dave from parts unknown writes: I don't get the Niners or Nolan's decision making about the QB situation... It's clear from comments made by Urban Meyer (Smith's college coach) that Smith needs to completely understand a system to be successful. Therefore, why not give Smith all the reps in pre-season? It's clear it is a lost season with JT O'Sullivan...He'll throw some TDs but he'll throw a lot of interceptions...If you play Smith there's hope and maybe the light will go off...If not, the season is no more lost than if Sullivan is the starter...When do you think Nolan will get fired given his weak handling of the QB situation?
Mike Sando: Nolan's won-loss record will determine how much slack he gets for perceived or real mishandlings of the quarterback situation.
Jim from New Albany, Ind., writes: Hey Mike, I wonder if you've watched the film from the 49ers' two preseason games, and could give your impression of O'Sullivan and Smith? It seems that O'SUllivan, for all his knowledge and practice with the ones, he's not demonstrably better than Smith. So far with him getting more game reps, O'Sullivan has produced 14 points whereas Smith has produced 13. Are the 49ers making a mistake going with O'Sullivan?
Mike Sando: Going with O'Sullivan probably makes sense at this point given the extra reps he has received. In retrospect, I probably would have gone with Smith from the start of camp, trying to give him the best chance at succeeding. That is easy to say. My job isn't depending on the 49ers' won-lost record (thankfully).
Allan from Seattle writes: Love the Hawk coverage! I was less than happy and somewhat surprised to see that Seattle has no MNF games this year (outside of preseason.) For a team that's made the playoff's 5 years in a row this seems a bit disrespectful. I know the Hawks don't have the major market label like some teams but Cleveland at Buffalo and San Fran vs. Arizona? Cleveland gets 3 MNF games and didn't make the playoffs. Week 14 has TB at Carolina over the Pats (whom only have 1 MNF game) at Qwest. What does Seattle have to do to gain more respect and 1 or more MNF games?
Mike Sando: I'm not sure if it's about respect so much as it's about national interest, star power and perceptions. Also, some of the Seahawks' recent Monday night games have been sleepers. 24-0 over the 49ers last season. 16-0 over Oakland the season before (offset by a 34-24 victory over the Packers). In 2005, it was 42-0 over the Eagles.
Danny from Sheboygan, Wis., writes: Do you think Josh Morgan will have a shot at being the #3 WR behind Bruce and Johnson? He has looked pretty good thus far.
Mike Sando: I think Morgan has a good shot at that third receiving position. Bryant Johnson's hamstring injury is a key variable. Those types of injuries can linger and recur. We still don't know how well Isaac Bruce will hold up.