Thursday, April 5, 2012
Chat wrap: Tough questions on Williams
By Mike Sando
Let's just say the latest NFC West chat was the latest NFC West chat -- about 45 minutes late in starting. My apologies. I lost track of time while reading through Gregg Williams-related pieces and speaking with a range of people about the implications.
There's much to consider.
Sean Pamphilon's engrossing piece (R-rated for language) provided context for the damning video he shot revealing Williams' instructions to injure specific San Francisco 49ers players in specific vulnerable places. One of Williams' former players in New Orleans, Malcolm Jenkins, subsequently suggested Pamphilon had exploited for personal gain the access afforded him through Steve Gleason, the former Saints linebacker suffering from ALS.
Both men make understandable points. What we need, I think, is a fuller and more honest discussion of what goes on inside pro football. We need context.
Jack from Charming, Calif., asked during the chat what I took from Williams' pregame speech.
Mostly, I tried to differentiate the normal pregame stuff -- kill the other guys, knock out the QB, etc. -- from the specific instructions to target specific injuries on specific players (for cash in at least one instance). I think the extent to which Williams reveled in this stuff was largely his undoing. There's a reason players aren't excited about disclosing injuries in a lot of cases. They know opponents will target them.
That's what I said in the chat, anyway. Gaining additional context over time will lead to better informed opinions.
Full chat transcript here. Highlights below:
Yvan from Paris asks whether the St. Louis Rams' interest in wide receivers during free agency suggests they're not sold on drafting Oklahoma State's Justin Blackmon.
Mike Sando: Not necessarily. It means the Rams are weak at the position and want to protect themselves to the greatest degree possible as they head toward the draft. They do not want to be in trouble if Blackmon is not there for them at No. 6, or if there is another player they might value more. Let's say they like Blackmon and love another prospect, but they realize receiver is the bigger need. That is a realistic scenario. Diminishing the need before the draft allows the Rams greater flexibility to draft the best player regardless of position. That is what every team wants.
Tommy from Honolulu asks what I think about suggestions the Seattle Seahawks might draft safety Mark Barron in the first round, then move Kam Chancellor to linebacker.
Mike Sando: I think it sounds unlikely. Chancellor is a Pro Bowl safety. He probably has more value there than he would have at linebacker, unless the coaching staff felt strongly about developing a specific hybrid role for him. In that case, I would be intrigued, but still a little skeptical. Why mess with a good thing? I do think it's easier, in theory, to go from defensive back to linebacker than the other way around, as the Michael Boulware experiment seemed to demonstrate years ago.
The_Jagaroth from Arizona asks about mock drafts suggesting the Cardinals could trade down from the 13th overall pick, select Cordy Glenn and recoup a second-round choice along the way.
Mike Sando: That makes some sense. Teams hate going into a draft without a pick in an early round. The scenario you outlined would make sense if the Cardinals felt as though there wasn't an offensive tackle worth taking at No. 13. In that case, they could go to a Plan B. They could trade back, as you suggested, add a guard and then consider their options, possibly moving Adam Snyder to tackle. I'm skeptical of Snyder projecting at tackle for the long term, but Russ Grimm indicated it could be an option.
Ryan from Irvine, Calif., asks how drafting Stanford tight end Coby Fleener could impact the 49ers' offense.
Mike Sando: Wow, talk about formidable three-tight end personnel groupings. Sounds like overkill to me, but if anyone would embrace newfangled personnel groupings, Jim Harbaugh and Greg Roman would be the ones. Imagine Fleener, Vernon Davis and Delanie Walker on the field with Frank Gore and one wide receiver.
By the way, it looks like our Seahawks logos have been updated to reflect the recent redesign. Check it out above. Those who razzed me for having outdated logos in the seconds following the redesign did have an affect. I emailed proofs of the new logos to editors a few minutes earlier than I otherwise might have done.