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Wednesday, October 8, 2008
Mailbag: Trading for a receiver

By Mike Sando
ESPN.com

Posted by ESPN.com's Mike Sando

Caleb from Seattle writes: I just finished reading that Detroit is willing to listen to offers for Roy Williams. I think is evident that Keary Colbert and Billy McMullen don't have the talent to get it done against a strong defense like the Giants. Should the Seahawks go after Roy since this is Holmgren's last hurrah?

Mike Sando: In theory, yes. In reality, the evidence suggests receivers just don't step into this offense and become productive players right away. Deion Branch and Nate Burleson come to mind. That answers the "should they" part of your question.

As to the "would they" part, consder that Seahawks president Tim Ruskell did move aggressively in acquiring Branch and Burleson. He even sent a conditional pick to Denver for Keary Colbert. So he has proven he'll part with draft choices to acquire receivers.


Adam from San Francisco writes: So after the hard loss against the Patriots what are we looking at here? Are the Niners gonna be the team that looked good, and ends up 4-12 at the end of the season or what? The game was good, just the 3rd quarter hurt us again by not getting on offense. Like to know what you think

Mike Sando: I see the offense struggling with J.T. O'Sullivan finding his way and making mistakes too frequently. I thought the defense might be better. I predicted 5-11 for this team. I could see 6-10 thanks to the unanticipated victory in Seattle.


Greg from Dallas writes: Mike - As a long time Seahawks fan, I can remember blowout losses where I got a sense we were just overmatched or outplayed, but not to the level where we just looked completely disorganized for a game as yesterday showed. Is it time to overhaul the staff completely along with Holmgren's departure after the season? John Marshall, Bruce DeHaven, et al? Thanks Mike, great stuff all year.

Mike Sando: Thanks, Greg. I wouldn't make that decision after five games, but I do expect Jim Mora to make additional changes to the staff heading into next season.


Brett from parts unknown writes: Why should any Seahawk fan be encouraged by the fact that Jim Mora Jr., who cannot coach the secondary into anything resembling a NFL secondary, will supplant the Walrus at the end of this year?

Mike Sando: You would have to watch tape of the secondary playing in 2007, most likely. I would also expect the Seahawks to become more aggressive defensively when Mora is head coach.


Chris from Tallahassee, Fla., writes: Given the horrible record of west-coast teams playing on in the eastern time-zone, why doesn't the league stipulate that those games are exempt from the 1:00PM kickoff time? Does the league acknowledge that the time-zone shift could be a competitive advantage, given what so many coaches, players, and win/loss records say about it?

Mike Sando: League officials wake up in the Eastern time zone. I don't think the issue resonates at the league level the way it would if the time zones were reversed and, say, the Giants kept losing early games.


Robert from the Bronx writes: Can you chart what opposing quarterbacks are doing when the 49ers rush with only four and compare that to when they bring five or more rushers? I'm no football mastermind but doesn't Nolan know dominant defenses play by attacking offenses and not that bend but don't break garbage?

Mike Sando: Sending extra guys against the Patriots did not work out very well, according to what Matt Maiocco found out in breaking down the defense.


Matt from Scottsdale, Ariz., writes: A while ago you linked to an article about a "championship belt" that some of the Cardinals defensive players had made to be awarded to the sack leader after every game. Perhaps next time you are in AZ for a Cardinals game, you could devote a post to it. I'd love to see some pictures of it and hear the players and coaching staff's thoughts on it now that we're into the season.

Mike Sando: I'll be in Arizona for Week 6. I do know the Cardinals' players are pretty secretive when asked about the belt. But we'll see.


Victor from parts unknown writes: Why doesn't San Francisco implement the Wildcat Offense like the Dolphins? I mean they have Marcus Robinson in their backfield. He was a Penn State QB in college and I know he can still throw the ball. Do you know if they have talked about this or not? -Victor

Mike Sando: I'm surprised that wrinkle has worked. Seems gimmicky. Mike Martz's confidence in his system probably isn't going to allow for implementing a new offense.


Dukeshire from Portland, Ore., writes: Mike, How many more blowouts will it take for the Seahawks to fire John Marshall? His defenses are routinely unprepared to compete against even the most one-dimensional teams. I've seen this same game for 3 years, starting with the Bear game in week 4 in '06. Enough. Is he another hand picked Ruskell genius?

Mike Sando: Marshall predates Tim Ruskell in Seattle. I'm not sure about the one-dimensional part this season. Buffalo, San Francisco and the Giants have put up numbers by air and ground alike.

I do not expect a big change during the season. I would expect Jim Mora to make additional changes after the season.


Steve from Bellingham, Wash., writes: "Seattle has the look of a finesse defense with the speed to play well at home and none of the swagger needed to compete with good teams on the road. " This is exactly right and, if I may give myself a shout out, something I have been harping on over in the Usenet group for months. I think they maybe can still stumble and bumble their way to a 9-7-ish division title, but any farther than the divisional round of the playoffs is out of the question with the current group.

Mike Sando: We're all about providing a forum for self-directed shoutouts, so you're good here. I did expect better from the Seattle defense.


Ben from San Jose, Calif., writes: Mike, Do you think the 49ers have a chance at securing a big defensive tackle in the off season? The huge nose tackle has become a staple of successful 3-4 defenses. As it stands, the 49ers need to blitz to create a pass rush but they are then vulnerable to the run without a gargantuan run stuffer in the middle. I think that Kentwan Balmer was a good pick up in last year's draft, but he's definitely not the dominating nose tackle that we need right now. I appreciate your thoughts.

Mike Sando:
Buffalo was able to get Marcus Stroud, but in general those big interior guys are hard to find. The one who hit the market or become available are often high-risk guys. Stroud had an injury history, Shaun Rogers' effort was questioned in Detroit, etc. The 49ers need to figure out what kind of defense they are going to run next season. Mike Nolan's job status could affect that.


Drew from Seattle writes: Love your blog, been reading it for about three months now and during midweek I have something to read, Keep it up. Anyway, I do have a question, how does Brandon Coutu figure on the Seahawks team? Will they keep him for the long term or will they cut him? What will they do with Mare? I strongly think they should NOT cut Coutu, I think he will be a Josh Brown. Thanks.

Mike Sando: Thanks, Drew. The Seahawks have kept Coutu this long. That tells me they'll keep him until they decide to play him. Olindo Mare hasn't missed a field goal. Perhaps the pressure is keeping him on his toes.


Mr. Zero from Alameda, Calif., writes: Mike, it seems like players are getting fined a lot more often by the league these days. Are players able to appeal the fines? I think Smith would be able to make a case for himself on the Boldin hit. Where does the money go from those fines? Does it get donated to charity or does the league use it as income?

Mike Sando: Yes, players can appeal fines. They rarely win on appeal, no surprise given that the league handles the appeals process. The money collected goes to charity.