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Monday, October 20, 2008
Mailbag: Tough times for Seahawks, 49ers

By Mike Sando
ESPN.com

Posted by ESPN.com's Mike Sando

Matt from Scottsdale, Ariz., writes: Sando, Great work on the blog! Keep it up! I was watching the hawks game Sunday night when Andrea Kramer said she was talking to Jim Mora and he said players would ask him what the practice schedule would be like next year. I found it odd since we are only 7 weeks into the season. Is this a case of the Seahawks looking to next season when they should have been playing/focusing on this season? I was disappointed to hear this. Also, and chance Steve Vallos gets back in at Center? Thanks.

Mike Sando: I think it's probably a case of players bantering with Mora a little bit. But the broader point is a potentially significant one. All the little things Seattle was dealing with in the background this season have the potential to become bigger issues as the team continues to fail. That's one thing I said from the beginning. The whole Holmgren-Ruskell-Mora thing wasn't a big deal if the team won. Losing puts strain on even the most conventional relationships. Should be an interesting final 10 games.

I would put Steve Vallos in the lineup at center right away. Chris Spencer just doesn't seem to have a great feel for the game. He's missed so much practice time. The botched snap was only one part of his struggles. Did you see him one a couple of those screen plays?


Donovan from Independence, Mo., writes: Please answer me this, why is J.T. O'Sullivan still taking meaningful snaps in San Francisco?

Mike Sando: He was the quarterback by default this season, in my view. Alex Smith and Shaun Hill failed to win the job. O'Sullivan was better during the preseason.

My thought entering 2008 was that the organization needed to emerge from this season feeling good about the quarterback position. That cannot happen with Jamie Martin taking snaps. Perhaps it can happen with Hill getting a shot. I'm skeptical about any of these quarterbacks becoming "The Man" in San Francisco.

I might be inclined to give O'Sullivan one more shot, at home against the Seahawks. If he plays well, perhaps the team can build on it coming out of the bye. If he bombs, then you have two weeks to get the next guy ready.


Rob from Sacramento writes: Sando - As someone who's been neutral on Nolan's future with the 49ers (and as much as I'm sure you just looooove answering all the questions on this topic) I've just got to wonder, do you think that the success that the Rams & Raiders have had since making their coaching changes could affect the decision making process for the 49ers brass when they decide what to do during the bye week next week? After all, if switching to Haslett and Cable helped those two so much, perhaps a switch to Martz/Singletary/Manusky could help to refocus the 49ers.

Mike Sando: The Rams' players talked about how the combination of the bye week and a coaching change helped them pull together and focus. If the 49ers lose to the Seahawks, you might get your wish.


Ryan from Greeley, Colo., writes: So, first off, just want to say what an ALCS, most intense sporting event I've watched in a long time. Second, with this new birth of the Rams, you think the Cardinals will finally get some competition in the NFC West? I'm thrilled beyond words at where they're at, but a little competition can bring out the best in a team. I personally don't think the Rams can do it, but what do I know?

Mike Sando: "ALCS" presumably stands for After Linehan Comes Success. Wait, someone tells me there's baseball going on? Got it. As for the second part of your note, I do think the Rams can give the Cardinals something to think about. Arizona can no longer take for granted its visit to St. Louis. In the bigger picture, I still think the Cardinals are the team to beat in the division.


John from Seattle writes: Do you think the Seahawks can squeeze out even one more win this season? The way things are going, I don't see them getting that either.

Mike Sando: Nothing I have seen in recent weeks suggests the Seahawks will win another game, ever, but things change quickly in the NFL. Right now, the Seahawks will be lucky to reach 4-12.