Thursday, May 10, 2012
Chat wrap: Beyond bounties, concussions
By Mike Sando
The word "concussion" came up zero times during the most recent NFC West chat. There was one "bounty" question, but I didn't get around to answering it during the chat.
"Do you think Kurt Warner would have come back for another year if he wouldn't have been smashed by the Saints after his interception in Bounty Gate?" Tony from Richmond, Calif., wanted to know.
Warner was headed toward retirement regardless, in my view. The Cardinals might have gotten him to reconsider had they offered a dramatic in crease in pay, but that is purely speculative. Warner was ready for retirement.
Full chat transcript here. Highlights below:
SeniorSwick from Montclair, N.J. asks whether any NFL teams take as many chances as the Seahawks when it comes to creativity, scheme and personnel. He points to the team's decision to convert new draft choice J.R. Sweezy from defense to offense.
Mike Sando: The 49ers converted Bruce Miller from college defensive end to fullback and got good play from him last season. Miller had not played offense since high school. Sweezy, like Miller, was a later-round pick. Teams have greater freedom to experiment with later-round choices. The key is to be creative without over-thinking things. More broadly, the concern in building around specialized or somewhat unique players -- think Red Bryant for Seattle -- is that specialized players can be tough to replace if injured. However, that is where staff flexibility can make up the difference. The Seahawks seem to have a good defensive staff and approach. Another potential concern relative to Sweezy is what the move represents: a clear push by an assistant coach to get a player he liked. Tom Cable also drove the selection of James Carpenter a year ago. Drafting players to fit the staff is important, but we should also watch to see if assistants have too much sway.
Ken from Anaheim, Calif., seeks a heads up on any Rams rookies who might become starters. All the early draft choices should be considered. I focused on undrafted players when putting together an answer.
Mike Sando: Watch the linebackers in general, Ken. That was a position of great need that the Rams didn't address sufficiently in the draft. As a result, the better free-agent linebackers were eager to consider the Rams; those players knew their chances would be better in St. Louis than elsewhere. Derrick Choice from Stephen F. Austin, Alex Hoffman-Ellis from Washington State and Noah Keller from Ohio State were the undrafted free-agent linebackers St. Louis signed recently. Seventh-round pick Aaron Brown is also new to the team.
Brandon Cards Fan from Arizona asks whether the offensive linemen the Cardinals drafted from the fourth through seventh rounds might see the starting rotation or play extensively as rookies.
Mike Sando: Yes, I think fourth-round choice Bobby Massie figures to get some starts at right tackle this season -- either out of necessity or because he wins the job. Jeremy Bridges would be the veteran fallback at right tackle. Moving right guard Adam Snyder into that spot would be another option, but that could weaken two positions. I could see Bridges opening the season as the starter at right tackle, with Massie taking over during the season.
The fun continues. I'm tentatively scheduled to join NFL Live some time after 3:30 p.m. ET for additional thoughts on Ben Roethlisberger's comments regarding the 49ers.