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Posted by ESPN.com's Mike Sando
Dan from Lafayette, Calif., writes: Mike, last year the 49ers were the sexy pick to win the division or gain a Wild Card spot. They flopped mainly because of horrible QB play which resulted in no offensive production and a dead-tired defense. This year, with the team being improved on both sides of the ball and with some competent QB play from O'Sullivan, why can't the 49ers pull off 8 wins? If anything, they're a better team now than they were last year when they were the trendy pick.
Mike Sando: I wouldn't assume J.T. O'Sullivan will provide competent quarterback play. He might, but we have no evidence of that, unless you're going to rely upon a couple of preseason games against vanilla defenses. The 49ers turned to O'Sullivan almost by default after Alex Smith and Shaun Hill failed to seize the job. Again, he might become a very good quarterback. I just would not assume that.
Dan from parts unknown writes: Hi Mike, this is an extremely premature question, but after watching the Huskies get creamed by Oregon last week, this scenario could happen. If at the end of the season, Ty Willingham gets fired and the UW offered the job to Mora, his "dream job" as he stated, It brings up several questions. Does Mora even have an option or is a binding contract set. Did the Hawks, or are they even allowed, put any protective clauses in the offer? I'm sure all parties knew about Willingham's job instability. I'm also sure none of the involved parties would respond to this line of questioning. I just wondered if you had any factual information that if Willingham was fired and Mora was offered the job, COULD he refuse the Seahawks job and take it?
Mike Sando: I haven't seen Mora's contract, but I think the Seahawks wouldn't hire him without assurances he would indeed fulfill the contract. My take would be that Mora would probably rather have the Seahawks job than the UW job, anyway. He has unfinished business in the NFL and a better shot at winning in the short term.
Mike Sando: The rankings were subjective. We had eight people ranking four teams apiece. We tried to apply similar standards, but eight people are not going to produce one standard. It's more of a fun thing than something fans should take personally. The Cardinals, like every team, have some great fans. I personally exclude the great ones from this type of ranking.
Mike Sando: I'm assuming you're talking about the Thursday chat. It's likely we received Bills-related questions in advance of the Seahawks-Bills game Sunday.
Mike Sando: I see no evidence of that yet. Perhaps he'll have to wait until a team suffers a serious injury at the position.
Mike Sando: The Cardinals have pretty good depth in the defensive front seven, but the nose-tackle situation is problematic with Gabe Watson and Alan Branch hurting. The depth on the offensive line isn't a problem unless the Cardinals lose a player to injury. I think the 49ers' offense could have some success if Mike Martz commits to the running game.
Mike Sando: Sorry for getting to this after the Ravens signed Anderson. I don't think Seattle would trade Ray Willis for three Willie Andersons, given Anderson's age and the way Willis played most of the preseason. Willis has a future in the league. Anderson would be a stopgap at this point in his career. He has given so much. Not sure how much his body has left to give. Perhaps escaping Cincinnati will give him new life.
Mike Sando: My philosophy is to raise the level of conversation and to ignore those unwilling to do so.
Mike Sando: Yes, I do believe this is the case, and I believe it's the case emphatically with San Francisco. Alex Smith's career would surely be on a different course had he stuck with Norv Turner or another competent coordinator for the long term.
Mike Sando: Thanks, Peaboy. Much appreciated. Seattle's depth provides a bit of a luxury. For example, the Seahawks figure the dropoff from Locklear to Willis at right tackle is not dramatic. Locklear is a better technician. Willis looks like more of a slugger.