Chat with Mike Sando
Sando joined ESPN.com in 2007 after nine seasons covering the Seattle Seahawks for the Tacoma (Wash.) News Tribune. He previously covered Washington State University football and basketball for the Spokane (Wash.) Spokesman-Review. Mike grew up in Northern California before attending Whitworth College, graduating in 1992 with a B.A. in political studies. He lives in the Seattle-Tacoma area with his wife and their two sons.
Send your questions for Mike now and join him in The Show on Thursday at noon ET!
Eric: Bend, OR
Was Seattle's secondary that bad against the 49ers or were the 49ers that good? What's in store for the Seahawks this week against the Rams?
Mike Sando: (11:54 AM)
Not an either/or proposition necessarily. Both were true. Seattle had breakdowns. The 49ers also executed some very nice plays, notably the pass over Josh Wilson. Just a great throw and catch against good coverage. I see the Seahawks beating the Rams this weekend.
Brandon (Ellensburg, WA)
Given the Seahawks slow start and the Cards quick jump to first place, how likely is it that the Seahawks turn the season around and make another run a the division title?
Mike Sando: (11:55 AM)
It's likely they'll make a run, but the margin for error is gone. I don't see anyone running away with the division.
Will (Portland, OR)
Hey Mike, What are your thoughts about the Seahawks latest round of receiver pick ups, Koren Robinson and Keary Colbert? Are these guys good enough to give Hassleback a decent pair of targets apart from the rookie TE John Carlson, or are they little more than stopgaps for a decimated receiving corps?
Mike Sando: (11:56 AM)
Hasselbeck just needs some consistency from the position. Robinson and Colbert are more experienced than the other guys, so I think it helps.
Ryan, The city by the Bay, CA
Sandizzle- Whats the likelihood that the niners beat the lions this sunday, considering the lion's familiarity with mike martz' offense doesn't that put us at a disadvantage?
Mike Sando: (11:56 AM)
I would be surprised if the 49ers lost that game at home. Remember, Martz is familiar with the Lions' personnel, and he has all the incentive to make Detroit look bad for letting him go. I could see Frank Gore having a big game against the team that said Martz didn't run the ball enough.
Paul (Santa Barbara)
The Seahawks D has been ripped for 34 and 33 points in 2 weeks and they have all their starters. Can any of this be blamed on the problems on offense (i.e, is the O giving up the ball so much that D is getting tired from being on the field), or should we start calling for Marshall's head?
Mike Sando: (11:58 AM)
Let's take a look at those numbers. I would blame 21 points allowed in the opener to poor special-teams play by Seattle. The 49ers also had an interception return for a touchdown. So if we ascribe blame properly on those 28 points, we see a Seattle defense that has been a disappointment but not a disaster. A little early to call for Marshall's head, but don't give him a free pass either. The defense must improve.
Pete C Newark De
Hey Mike, how long before people start pulling hamstrings juming off the Jets bandwagon and hitching to the Bills wagon?
Mike Sando: (12:00 PM)
So that's why my hamstring is sore! Count me among those who wanted to see the Bills prove it. I'm always a little skeptical on teams with young or inexperienced QBs, but the Bills look very good so far. The Jets could improve once Brett Favre knows the offense well enough to maximize it, but I like Buffalo's chances this season.
Walter (EHT NJ)
Hey Mike. Do you know of any lineup changes coming this week for St. Louis?Do you see Rosenbloom making any changes to the front office of the Rams in the coming weeks? This team's a mess.
Mike Sando: (12:01 PM)
No known lineup changes. And when you look at the Rams, where do you make changes? This team has the oldest backups in the league on both sides of the ball. Yes, they can play Avery and a couple guys like that. But I'm not seeing great young depth.
Ori (Tel Aviv, Israel)
Hi Mike, First I would like to mention that you are my favorite writer. I'm a Seahawks fan live in Israel and "seahawks insider" was the best way for me to catch up, until you left of course... I want to hear from you about the seahawks WR situation. Do you think Koren Robinson is going to perform well? What about the injured players, one of them have a chance to play high-level football already this season? And what about TE Carlson, can he become good TE for the seahawks for years? Oh, and another one: for your opinion the seahawks still have a decent chance for winning the division? Thanks, Ori, Tel Aviv
Mike Sando: (12:04 PM)
Thanks much. I would have modest expectations for Koren Robinson at this stage. He'll still drop a pass or two every now and then. But he has to be an upgrade over the situation as it stood in Week 2. On the injury front, I expected Deion Branch back sooner. He was cleared to play in the opener but he doesn't feel quite right yet. Mo Morris should be OK once he returns. Carlson already looks like the real deal. I see very good things for him if he avoids serious injuries. On the divisional front, Seattle has no margin for error at this point. Let's see how the Cardinals do on the road these next two weeks.
Hey Mike...enjoy keeping up with the Niners on the blog...Do the Niners finally just cut Jennings after this year? Seriously, two games and he is out...
Mike Sando: (12:06 PM)
Thanks. The 49ers wouldn't save a ton of money cutting Jennings right now, and they probably need him for depth. But you are right. The guy is always hurt. Hard to see the 49ers depending on him long term.
A national reporter said this about the Cards this week "they aren't a great team, but they don't have any distinct weakness." How true do you think this is? And what do you think are their chances going in to the Dallas game 5-0 with two east coast games(Washington & New York Jets) and then the Bills at home?
Mike Sando: (12:07 PM)
5-0 would surprise me quite a bit. I could see the Cardinals splitting these road games. I like the way Arizona is playing. This team seems to play with purpose and great motivation. I don't see any huge weaknesses but I do want to see how the defense holds up against a physical ground game.
Julian ( Frankfurt, Germany )
Hey Mike, thanks for your coverage and the NFC West and for being one of the few people that show some love for the Cards play so far this season. Given that Kurt Warner keeps up playing like he has been so far, should the Cards consider keeping him for one or two more years or would it be better for the franchise to let him go and stick with Leinart as their future QB?
Mike Sando: (12:08 PM)
Thanks much. I would ride Warner as long as he plays at a high level. Whisenhunt is right in saying the organization hasn't earned the right to wait on any one position. If Leinart develops, great. But if Warner is clearly the better option, stick with him as long as you can.
What do you think of S.Jax in a keeper league? Trade him?
Mike Sando: (12:09 PM)
His value is probably low right now. Might depend on who your No. 2 option would be. I think Jackson will have a good career.
Switch San Francisco
Hey man. Do you think the 49er's can tighten up on the o-line, cut out the errors and make a run for the division?
Mike Sando: (12:10 PM)
Losing at home to the Cardinals will make it tough for a 49ers team without a margin for error. I'm still trying to find more than two or three victories in the first half of the season. Can you find them on the schedule? I had a hard time.
Guest 49er, Bay Area
If the 49ers lose to Detroit, know it's a high if, do the Fire Nolan rumors get louder? I really feel after what he did to Alex Smith and the sham of a QB competition, he needs to go.
Mike Sando: (12:12 PM)
I don't think the calls for Nolan's job can get any louder than you are already making them. Seriously, you're all over him even after a victory at Seattle. Yes, absolutely, things get tougher if the 49ers lose at home to Detroit.
Joseph Smith - UT
Hey Mike, Any word on how the two new receivers for Seattle actually look in practice? I know they're there and practicing but haven't really heard much about their performance (albeit only a short amount of time w/the team). Do you think Robinson can "still be great" or that Keary Colbert-Report can help the Hawks win in week 3?
Mike Sando: (12:14 PM)
No early word other than the fact that Robinson will need time to find his legs. I'm intrigued by the additions and interested in seeing how things pan out. Robinson hasn't played in so long. Will he drop passes? Will he fumble? Will he run his routes properly? Those are the things I want to see early. Love the Colbert Report reference, by the way. In short, I think Robinson and Colbert upgrade the position, which isn't necessarily saying much, but Robinson probably will not be "great".
Andy (duluth, mn)
I cant believe how bad this division is. In the last few years I have said that the cardinals would be a better team, but not because the rest of them were so bad. what do you project the best record will be commin out of this division? I think Seattle and Arizona will be arround .500 and you can forget about a wild card from this division.
Mike Sando: (12:16 PM)
You make sense to me. I had Arizona starting 2-0 on its way to 8-8. I will say, however, that the Cardinals could be better than that if Kurt Warner keeps protecting the football. Life gets tougher if the Cardinals suffer the wrong injury (OT comes to mind). But so far this team is relatively healthy.
Frank (Athens, OH)
Hey Mike, which team has the best shot at ending the season 0-16 and why?
Mike Sando: (12:18 PM)
Miami and St. Louis have looked awful so far from what I have seen. Their defensive secondaries appear capable of giving up big plays at any time, which makes it tough to close out teams in fourth quarters. I still expect those teams to win games this season, but your question did not allow for that.
Chris (New York, NY
Hey bud, Going into the season, I read a lot about the Cardinals lacking depth. It seems to me that they arguably have more depth than any team in the NFC West-- they have more than 11 guys that can start on D, a solid back-up QB, and a number of guys who could be a 3rd wide-out on many teams. The only area the Cards seem to lack depth is on O-line. Can you comment on what Analysts are thinking? I'm confused. Thanks, -Chris
Mike Sando: (12:19 PM)
I like the Cardinals' depth in the defensive front seven and I wrote about it repeatedly before the season. Agreed on depth at OT and the OL in general. Also not sure about depth in the secondary. Highsmith shows they have someone other than Edge, which is more than we could say a year ago. I thought Seattle had more depth this season, but a lot of that depth is gone. Losing your top six receivers will change things in a hurry.
Jim - State of Confusion
Sandman! Missing you out here in the Great NW. I haven't heard much praise for Julius Jones' game but it looked like he ran pretty well (even though it was against the 9ers!). Is Mo still your #1 when he comes back?
Mike Sando: (12:20 PM)
Thanks. I would stick with Jones as the starter as long as he keeps producing at a high level. Morris played well before the injury.
Mike Holmgren (Seattle)
Is there any way I can come back next year?
Mike Sando: (12:21 PM)
Paul - Flagstaff, AZ
Hey Mike, thank you for doing such a good job with the NFC West. I am a huge Cards fan and I was wondering what are the chances that the Cards can actually win the division this year? And do you think the Cards will resign Boldin to long term contract this year?
Mike Sando: (12:24 PM)
Thanks, Paul. We need more Cards fans on the site, or at least in the comments section. Yes, Arizona can win this division. I think the 2-game jump on Seattle makes things more intriguing. Boldin seems determined to force his way out, but if I'm the Cardinals, I find a way to keep him. Some players want out so they do not have to share the spotlight at a position. I don't know how Boldin feels about that, but he does seem determined to get out.
Jason (Yakima, WA)
One more Mike, if you don't mind. Should I be worried that Mora Jr. is supposed to be our coach next year. The same time his "dream job" of Huskies head coach will most likely be vacant?
Mike Sando: (12:25 PM)
I wouldn't read too much into the "dream job" comment. That was Mora hamming it up with his old buddy from UW. The Seahawks job is the one he wants, and he is under contract.
So, Alex Smith is done as a Niner, JT O'Sullivan is likely a one year guy, so do the Niners try and draft another quarterback in the first round, or do they try to acquire someone through free agency or trade?
Mike Sando: (12:26 PM)
I wouldn't go the first-round route again unless the prospect had succeeded in a pro-style offense and held all the intangibles, a la Manning. Otherwise the risk is just too high. Right now they need to develop O'Sullivan and see if he can be more than a one-year guy.
Do any Assistant Coaches from the NFC West come to mind as guys who could be in line for a Head Coaching job next year? Thx, C
Mike Sando: (12:28 PM)
Todd Haley in Arizona. The Dolphins looked at him last offseason. Mike Singletary in SF comes to mind. Mike Martz has HC experience. Jim Mora is already signed up as a HC next season. If the Rams make a move sooner rather than later, Jim Haslett or Al Saunders could get a look.
Mike Sando: (12:28 PM)
Also, Russ Grimm of the Cardinals has been a HC candidate.
Hey mike what do u think of the buffalo bills starting so far what could be there best season in awhile. how come trent edwards isnt getting the recognition he deserves with the stats he has put up
Mike Sando: (12:29 PM)
Because people such as me have been skeptical about a young QB. Edwards looks good so far. A guy in market such as Buffalo might need to do more than other guys.
Are the Panthers better off facing Ferotte or would Jackson had made a better target?
Mike Sando: (12:30 PM)
Frerotte probably represents a short-term improvement. The Vikings were reluctant to open up their offense with Jackson. Perhaps they become a little more dynamic scheme-wise with Frerotte. That makes the Vikings less predictable, good and bad.
Mike, Now the Gus has taken the helm. Does T-Jack live the life of a back-up for the rest of his career or can he start somewhere else under a different system? Also do the Vikings go forward with John David Booty into the future or draft another QB to work on?
Mike Sando: (12:31 PM)
Jackson starts at the bottom now, or close to it. In other words, no one is going to bring him in and name him the outright starter. He'll have to fight for everything he gets, unless Frerotte struggles badly or is injured.
Mike, the 9ers played Arizona well and actually looked like the better team on the field minus turnovers. They beat the Seahawks and yet you don't see much hope for them? What gives?
Mike Sando: (12:33 PM)
The success they have enjoyed does not appear sustainable given the sacks allowed. And then the schedule doesn't do the 49ers favors early in the season. Those factors come to mind for me. Sacks and turnovers matter a great deal. We cannot just discount them as non-factors, in my view.
David Fairborn, OH
I don't know Mike, the Bengals have a hot shot of going 0-16. Maybe 2-14, tops. God awful.
Mike Sando: (12:34 PM)
Good call. I haven't seen them yet, so that could explain the omission.
Why arent my questions being asked? This guy from Chattanooga's ? got dislplayed and he's talkin about the damn Buffalo Bills !!!!!! What gives?
Mike Sando: (12:35 PM)
I hear you, Fred!
Steve (Long Beach, CA)
Not sure I'm posting correctly... Do you like SD's defense vs. Jets or SF's defense vs. Lions? SD's defense is giving up waaay too much IMO. I didn't realize how much they miss Merriman.
Mike Sando: (12:36 PM)
What a tough question. I would hate to spoil your weekend by picking the wrong one. Take the 49ers just because you would regret going with the Chargers based on what you have seen.
Travis (Elk River MN)
What do you think is Brad Childress' next option if Gus Frerotte doesn't win games?
Mike Sando: (12:37 PM)
In that case, I would question his ability to remain employed past this season.
Does Gore have a chance to reach 200 in this game against the Lions or is the Lions interior DL's failure the last two games a fluke and can our DL recover and beat the Lions' OL? Will JTO continue to impress in your opinion?
Mike Sando: (12:38 PM)
I like your thinking. Gore is a little banged up but something tells me Martz would love to rack up rushing numbers against the team that said he didn't run the ball enough. I also think Martz will try to reduce the sack numbers.
Mike, your thoughts on the niners going with a nickel vs the receiver-less hawks? Manny lawson didn't play a single down. I get excited about them but then i remember how Nolan will cost them at least 2 victories. Thanks
Mike Sando: (12:38 PM)
Check out my blog for a detailed discussion on that. Coming up this afternoon.
Paul (Albany, OR)
Hope is departing at warp speed for us Rams fans. I would like Linehan to depart just as quickly as our hope has, but Haslett's defense nor Saunders' offense leads me to believe either should be the long term head coach. Could the chin be interested? Marty S.?
Mike Sando: (12:39 PM)
The organizational instability might make it tough to lure a top-flight candidate with a proven track record. Cowher could pick just about any job once he decides to return. Why would he pick an aging team that might be sold at some point soon?
most people have dismissed the eagles in the tough nfc east-do you feel this team is a playoff squad this year?
Mike Sando: (12:40 PM)
I was the only ESPN.commer to pick the Eagles for the Super Bowl in our season preview. This strikes me as a very good team.
Ryan (Boulder, CO)
Considering the events of the off season and Kurt Warner's performance thus far, it seems to be a safe bet that he will be the starting QB for the Cards for the foreseeable future. Does this seal Lienart's status as a bust or does he still have a chance to redeem himself?
Mike Sando: (12:42 PM)
He still has a chance to redeem himself because he's a young player and another team will give him a shot even if the situation in Arizona does not work out.
Mike Sando, NW (Fred)
Hi it's me Mike Sando , Im a NW guy so Seahawks all the way ... 49ers schedule will cause them to lose 10 games, the Cardinals are good and will the division bcuz they beat a great SF team and a great MIA team last week ... The rams are horrible but better than the 9ers ... Obviously i dont like the 9ers, can u tell ... okay anymore non NFC West questions??
Mike Sando: (12:43 PM)
Pretty funny, Fred. Just my honest opinion. I don't see the 49ers as a 9-7 team. They could prove me wrong.
Ron (Reno, NV)
I believe the Niners are an improved team, but they have a tough schedule and I don't see them improving their record this year. Because of that, Nolan will be fired. If Holmgren is hired as the GM who will he look to for the Head Coaching job?
Mike Sando: (12:45 PM)
I would think Holmgren would rather have a VP role a la Parcells. That would allow for a McCloughan type to serve as the functioning GM (Holmgren and McCloughan were together in Seattle and Green Bay). As for a head coach? Haven't given it any thought.
Steve (Long Beach, CA)
Who is the next breakout team? Teams like Oakland that are 40 guys away from being legit, obviously, aren't a consideration... Which teams are .500 ballclubs and just a few drafts away from divisional playoff contention in your opinion? I think the 9'ers are 6-7 guys away from the playoffs.
Mike Sando: (12:47 PM)
I would think the 49ers could use one more good defensive lineman and more consistent OL play. And of course we need to find out about the QB. Much of my skepticism on the 49ers stemmed from the unknown nature of the QB situation. That doesn't meant the skepticism will prove warranted. It's just logical for me to hold back on a team when we don't know about the QB.
I'm not really crazy, Mike ... just givin you a hard time ... I'm glad u got a good laugh out of it this morning... keep up the good work ... man, is it Sunday yet? have a good one Mike! Go Niners!!!
Mike Sando: (12:48 PM)
Any time, Fred. I enjoy the banter and don't take it too seriously.
EJ (Manhattan Beach)
Mike, love the blog! My Cardinals are 2-0 so I technically, I should have nothing negative to say about it... BUT, some of the small "issues" are still very noticeable. How can a MVP QB run on to the field to start a game and get a delay of game penalty? Are the Cardinals really (and finally) a contender, or will these little "issues" cost them a playoff run?
Mike Sando: (12:49 PM)
I noticed those same things! How about the opening kickoff out of bounds? What was that? Josh Brown nearly did it for the Rams at one point too. The nice thing for you, the long-suffering Cards fan, is that those little things used to be the least of your worries. It's a great sign that those things are bothering you. It means the other things -- like QB play, coaching and the like -- are in better shape.
Do you see Indy improving their mediocre play any time soon, especially considering Sanders is gone?
Mike Sando: (12:51 PM)
Not really. Peyton Manning gives them a shot, but Marvin Harrison is winding down and the offensive line has been hit with injuries. At least the Jags are struggling too. Indy will need to get healthy and make a run. Once this team gets into the playoffs, Manning can give them a chance. But we're not going to be looking at one of those 13-3 seasons.
Ryan (Phoenix, AZ)
Mike, call me stunned in disbelief but it is possible for the 49ers to actually have a winning record sometime this season (2-1 with a W against the Lions) and can they keep it up for the rest of the year?
Mike Sando: (12:51 PM)
Yes, I think the 49ers will be 1-2. They were 2-0 last season, correct? I think an 8-8 finish would be a good effort for this team, particularly if the offense continues to excite.
How much longer does Millen have before he gets the axe in D-Town
Mike Sando: (12:52 PM)
No longer than 10 or 15 more years, probably.
Sean San Francisco, CA
Do you see the 9ers playing the 5 DB set that we saw against Seattle against the succesful pass game the Lions have? Also, one of the strengths of Manny Lawson as an OLB are that he is quick and can drop into coverage. Yet, he did not play on defense against Seattle. Why wouldn't the niners want him on the field to also create a pass threat as well as being able to cover?
Mike Sando: (12:56 PM)
I have not studied the Lions to know how they will use their personnel in this game. ... Look, the 49ers would never use that type of scheme if it meant keeping Patrick Willis off the field. Their decision to leave Lawson on the sideline against the Seahawks is revealing.
Brandon (Ellensburg, WA)
Josh Brown thinks that the fans will be split 50-50 in regards to his return to Seattle. I think most Seahawks fans are upset about his comments after signing with the Rams and expect most to let him know it. How do you think the fans will respond to his return to Qwest?
Mike Sando: (12:56 PM)
I think they'll boo him.
Mike where do the Vikings see themselves going with Visanthe Shiancoe, seems like every time they throw his way he is either dropping passes or fumbling the ball, possibly cost us the game on sunday....thoughts?
Mike Sando: (12:56 PM)
Kevin Seifert is your man for that question.
Chris (Spokane, WA)
I know that we are in the NFC Weak, I mean West, but can we get some decent commentators? I mean Johnston clearly favored the 9ers in the way he called the plays and don't get me started on the Goose. The other guy kept calling Julian Peterson, Julius Peterson. I can understand the confusion but can that at least try to be nuetral?
Mike Sando: (12:58 PM)
Hold on a minute. Niners fans were convinced Moose Johnston was on Seattle's side. I listened to the game without a rooting interest and had no trouble with the announcing. I pay attention to how crews recognize personnel. Seattle went empty in the red zone and Sam Rosen correctly noted that the RB and TE were on the field, rather than incorrectly calling it a five-receiver package. That's the type of stuff I look for.
Mike Nolan, SF
To answer Sean's question I am genius that never made a bad play call or draft selection. Never question me again!
Mike Sando: (12:59 PM)
On that note, I'm heading back to the NFC West blog. THANKS FOR DROPPING BY.