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!
Rob (Glendale, AZ)
Great job on NFC West coverage Mike! I was listening to the local Doug and Wolf show here in Phx and they had Michael Bidwell on there referring to stadium revenue helping to build this team. My question on salary caps where does stadium revenue fit in? And how much could this bridge the gap for the Cardinals to close on contracts with Dansby, Boldin, and others?
Mike Sando (12:02 PM)
Thanks, Rob. Stadium revenue includes money teams pocket. Other league revenues are shared. The extra cash in an owner's pocket affects a team's flexibility in structuring contracts. The salary-cap allotment remains the same, but the team might feel better about providing bonus money up front. This could improve a team's ability to lure free agents.
Chris (Columbia, SC)
The Vikes and Cards seem to match up almost idenctically as far as their records and both defenses. But the Vikings will be going in ready to try and stop Warner (passing) and the Cards will be coming in prepared to stop the run. Which do you see as more important to keep in check and who do you see winning this one?
Mike Sando (12:03 PM)
I lean toward the Cardinals at home. Their run defense has been pretty solid for the most part. I expect Kurt Warner to throw for lots of yards.
Teppy (Greeley, Colorado)
What does Steve Breastons success this year mean for his future and also the future of Q? It worries me as a Cards fan and a huge Boldin fan that because of Breastons success that he almost makes Anquan less valuable even though without Larry and Q i doubt Steve would be having as good of a year, what do u think on the matter? Thanks!
Mike Sando (12:05 PM)
The good thing for the Cardinals is that Boldin remains under contract. The team does not owe him a trade. He only leaves the team on the Cardinals' terms, in other words. His agent can press the issue and make things ugly, but that hasn't been Boldin's style when it matters, during the season. Breaston's emergence gives the team some depth at the position, but Boldin is in another class. He is also the heart of the team. I'd try to find a way to make him happy in Arizona.
RAY gordon reid philadelphia pa 19103
question to miKe SANDO AT 12.10 HI MIKE WILL MIKE SINGLETARY COACH 49;ERS 2009
Mike Sando (12:06 PM)
It's looking that way. I think the owner likes him. Two victories in the final three would make it nearly impossible from a PR standpoint to consider other candidates.
Karlos Dansby (Phoenix)
Should i make the pro bowl? I lead my team in tackles, but I'm not necessarily the best player at my position. I work hard, but should that be enough for me to be a pro bowler?
Mike Sando (12:06 PM)
Yes, in theory. Maybe not in reality. The question becomes: Who do you leave off the team? Urlacher? Willis? Pierce?
Branch had his best game of the year this past week. Does this success carry over to an awful Rams team? Should I start him this week in the playoffs?
Mike Sando (12:08 PM)
I recall Branch having a two-TD game at St. Louis a couple years ago. You might as well go with the hot hand as long as it's not at the expense of someone more consistent. Seneca Wallace looked pretty good and I think he'll probably start again.
Mike, i figure your the guy to ask this with your seattle ties. What was the structure of Lofa Tatupu's recent contract extension? Dansby says he wasnt Calvin Pace type money but thats just unrealistic. MLB's do not make the kinda money taht OLB/DE's do because of sack totals and things like that. I figure Lofa would be a pretty accurate comparison to Dansby.
Mike Sando (12:10 PM)
Tatupu had time remaining on his deal, so that affected his price. Dansby will qualify as a UFA. Tatupu was also a three-time Pro Bowl guy with a Super Bowl on his resume. His cap number this season was only $2.7M and it's $3.5M in 2009 before spiking in 2010.
While i am a big admirer of patrick willis, he has not had nearly as good a year as karlos. Whether its the defense as a whole or a sophomore slump i dont know but if you looking at someone of those 3 to replace karlos with, theres your guy.
Mike Sando (12:12 PM)
You will find some people to argue that one with you. Both have made big-time plays for their teams. Watch Willis' INT return for a TD against Seattle. Dansby had the clutch trifecta (sack, forced fumble, fumble recovery) to set up a touchdown at Carolina. I would not knock Willis from the PB team to make room for Dansby.
Kris Jenkins (New Jersey)
should i be DPOY?
Mike Sando (12:13 PM)
Not if we watch your matchup against Eric Heitmann.
I think S.Hill has earned a shot at being 49ers QB but think they should draft a QB in 2nd or 3rd round.Odds are they will bring in an vet. backup and try to get by.Will whoever gets the coaching job get much imput in tis decision.
Mike Sando (12:14 PM)
I like your thinking. Bring back Hill, draft a guy, consider a veteran if the right one comes available. The next head coach will have a lot to say about the decision, most likely. If it's an offensive coach, his system is going to dictate which type of QB fits best. If Singletary comes back, he'll have opinions on Hill. If Martz comes back, he'll have opinions. ETC.
K-Fed (Britney's old crib)
How do the Cards approach the next few weeks, knowing that they've wrapped up the division? Would you consider limiting Warner's playing time to avoid injury (while getting Leinart some reps in the meantime)?
Mike Sando (12:16 PM)
I would absolutely give Warner the week off in Week 17 if the Cardinals had nothing to gain from the outcome of the game. This could be a tough decision given how precious victories are in Arizona. I wonder if the difference between 9-7 and 10-6 would be enough to influence a decision.
Julius Jones (Seattle)
Who is going to be a bigger bust: me or Branch?
Mike Sando (12:17 PM)
Let's see who the Seahawks draft. All things being equal, I bet Jones figures more prominently into the offense in the post-Holmgren era. And if Jones gets chances, he'll produce enough to avoid being a bust.
Dooley Plano TX
Is Tory holt really lost in bad offense or have his skills eroded this year? What is his contract status with the Rams(yrs and money)
Mike Sando (12:18 PM)
Yes and yes. He is lost in a bad offense and his skills have eroded. His contract runs through the 2009 season. His 2009 salary is $6.65 million. He also gets a roster bonus for $1.25 million. That is a lot of money.
Will James Harrison win defensive MVP? He's a monster on the most dominant Steelers D since the 70s.
Mike Sando (12:19 PM)
Is he better than Troy Polamalu? And does having two DPOY candidates hurt the chances of each guy?
Koren Robinson (Seattle)
Mike, please tell me I have played well enough to merit a roster spot next year! Make Christmas come early for me!
Mike Sando (12:19 PM)
Well, I was looking at your stats yesterday. Good thing you had that 90-yard catch. Without it, you would be averaging about 9 yards a reception. Not good.
Do the cards go for the win in New England to prove they have what it takes to win on the road back east or rest starters as they have already locked up a home playoff game? I go for the win, what's your opinion?
Mike Sando (12:21 PM)
Go for the win and the No. 3 seed in the NFC. I don't think Ken Whisenhunt feels like this team has earned the right to coast. Expect him to keep pushing. A victory in New England would be very good for the Cardinals' psyche.
Luke (Baltimore, MD)
In defense of Koren Robinson, the only receiver who has decent stats is Carlson.
Mike Sando (12:22 PM)
The fullback, Leonard Weaver, is averaging better than 12 yards per reception thanks to the 49ers. But you are right. Robinson would be doing better in a better offense (except for the fact that Seattle never would have signed him if its offense had been functioning at a higher level).
Do you watch the 49ers, Cardinals, Rams, and Seahawks games in their entirety every week?
Mike Sando (12:23 PM)
Yes. I have watched every snap of every team in the division this season, and I have charted offensive personnel use for a couple thousand plays within the division, at least.
The 1998 Playoffs (TX)
Should the Cardinals lose a couple of games to avoid playing Dallas in the first round? and preserve the only good memory of their AZ existence?
Mike Sando (12:24 PM)
Is that you, Mosley?
Randy (St. Paul)
I feel sorry for you after that last post...
Mike Sando (12:24 PM)
No way. Best job a guy could have, and I love it.
Why would a team who hasn't made the playoffs in a decade rest their players? Why should they rest Warner, an MVP candidate, when they will not get a bye? That makes no sense Mike. They need to keep the momentum and sustain a culture of winning. You saying they should rest Warner is ridiculous. You play to win the game!!
Mike Sando (12:25 PM)
I would only rest Warner for the last game if the Cardinals had nothing to gain. I think the rest would do him good.
What is your take on the Star Cap situation? I think that the players should have known better, and the NFL has a approved suppliment list, so the suspentions should hold up. Sure the NFL knew about the Star Caps, but couldn't the players researched the product as well?
Mike Sando (12:26 PM)
I would only take supplements provided by my NFL team if I were a player. The stakes are too high.
Ryan (Buffalo, NY)
Do you think there is a chance the Seahawks let Matt Hassleback go? I think they'd be crazy if they did. If they do, where do you think he'd end up?
Mike Sando (12:28 PM)
Only if his back prevented him from playing at a high level. Otherwise I agree with you. Keep him. If he left, I wonder if Mike Holmgren would show up in San Francisco with Hasselbeck under center. Do you think Seattle would like to see that twice a year?
The Hawks made Sean Locklear the highest paid RT, but he's been average at best. Will he bounce back in 2009 or was giving him that big deal a mistake.
Mike Sando (12:30 PM)
They signed him to that deal in part because they thought they might need him at left tackle. He is not the prototype right tackle. His deal contains escalators paying him more if he gets half the snaps on the left side. I think his versatility increased his value. The injury he suffered early this season seemed to affect his play for a while. Having so many problems on the line, at receiver and at quarterback also hurt. A little more stability around him would probably help Locklear.
Mike (Greeley, Colorado)
Mike where do u see the cardinals going in the draft next year? I think re-vamping the o-line is a good option and that includes the tight end. Are there any other positions you see fitting?
Mike Sando (12:32 PM)
I would definitely draft an offensive lineman early. I would target tight end. I would consider another cornerback. I would consider a running back, too, if a difference-making back fell to them unexpectedly in the first round.
Robert (Glendale, AZ)
Everytime Eric Green is in the line up I cringe hoping he isnt in one on one coverage. Seeing how they like to throw Dbacks in offensive packages why not Boldin in on pass protection plays?
Mike Sando (12:33 PM)
I think Green's days in Arizona are numbered. He's been inactive recently. I would not put Boldin on defense. He is too valuable as a receiver.
Mike how much of a project is Vernon Gholston for the Jets? When do you think we will see him making an impact if ever?
Mike Sando (12:34 PM)
I thought he would be an impact player right away, based on having a defensive head coach. I gave too much credit to the Jets on that one. They'll have to reassess his role and figure out how they can use him.
I want to comment on the cowboys post if i can please. Its not that I dont have full confidence in my team and believe they can beat the boy's again it is about the crowd atmosphere. This the cardinals first home playoff game SINCE 1947. FOr people like me who have followed this team in az for 20 years this is an incredible and amazing experience. To have that stadium half full with fans for the visiting team would be a disservice to the experience. It wouldnt ruin the experience fully, and beating the boys again, nothing would be sweeter, but i want to walk into that building and have it buzzing with 60k cardinal fans all united to see something we have never seen before.
Mike Sando (12:35 PM)
That is a good point. Do you think Arizona fans would sell their tickets to playoff game? That would hurt.
PiersMorgan4949, Bay Area California
Should the 49ers fire GM McCloughan and hire Holmgren in that role?
Mike Sando (12:37 PM)
If they hired Holmgren in an executive, they should keep McCloughan to do the scouting work. They worked together in Seattle and have a great deal of respect for one another.
The point of not resting Warner the last week, is WINNING THE GAME AND HAVING MOMENTUM is what they have to gain. Agree?
Mike Sando (12:38 PM)
Possibly, but if you rest the QB, you are acknowledging bigger plans, and therefore minimizing the impact of a potential defeat. It's a good debate to have, and I'm not convinced I have the right answer, but a rested Warner would help the Cardinals.
Roger from Arkansas
With the playoffs coming up and teams coming after Warner,Should the cards give Lienert a few reps the last few games?
Mike Sando (12:39 PM)
They are giving him reps in practice, moreso than other teams. That should suffice unless it's in the last game with nothing at stake from a playoff-positioning standpoint, in my view.
Nick T (NY)
Sando what position do you see the niners drafting at with there first pick?
Mike Sando (12:40 PM)
I think they should draft the best available offensive lineman, preferably a tackle. If they could be strong at both tackle spots and center, they could cover for weaknesses at guard more readily.
Matt (San Fran)
I've read that Rachal hasn't progressed nearly as fast as the 49ers had hoped. Why do they continually blow their oline picks? Staley, Smiley, Baas, and Rachal were all drafted no later than the early 2nd and none has worked out.
Mike Sando (12:42 PM)
I wouldn't call him a blown pick after a few games. He's been good enough to win with and the scheme is not asking him to pass protect for long stretches. The 49ers haven't had the best line coaching -- their opinion, as reflected in the firing of George Warhop -- and that can make a difference.
joe_cool585 (Davis, CA)
You mentioned in your most recent mailbag that the 49ers ought to better their roster through the Draft as they've spent significantly through Free Agency over the past couple years. That said, do you think the 49ers would be better served trading down in particular rounds to gain more late choices or seek to take the highest value pick wherever they land in a particular round?
Mike Sando (12:43 PM)
I wouldn't get in the habit of trading down. They need the best players they can get at this point.
Hey Mike, Seattle played a great game overall against the Pats last week. Only Welker had a great game. Is that a sign that the Seahawks are on the way up or that the Pats are just not that great this year?
Mike Sando (12:45 PM)
It was a sign that the Seahawks played hard and showed a lot of fight, and the Patriots aren't very good on defense thanks to all the injuries. Seattle probably feels better about itself heading into the final couple games, but I wouldn't read much into that New England game in projecting past this season.
Mike from AZ is assuming the Cowboys will make the playoffs. Isn't that a pretty big Assumption?
Mike Sando (12:46 PM)
Ouch. Any team that loses to the Rams should stay home in the playoffs. That goes for you, too, Redskins. I'm kidding there, but do you think the Cowboys would like to have that St. Louis game back?
Edgerrin James (The U)
Mike, I should be starting. Look at the stats. Other than TDs, I was the much better RB. That's not evening bring up my blocking skills. You know how good the RBs from the U block for their QB!
Mike Sando (12:47 PM)
The stats are on your side, but you said it best when you described the change in the context of different offensive priorities. The Cardinals want to be a passing team and the other guys might fit better as receivers out of the backfield.
Hey Mike, Do you think the 49ers will give Singletary a full year to see what he can do, or will the Yorks try and go after a different coach such as Brian Billick or Mike Homgren?
Mike Sando (12:50 PM)
The Yorks -- Jed in particular -- seem to like Singletary. They put him in this role, after all. I think that bodes well for him as long as the 49ers win some games, which they are doing.
Jim (Tucson Arizona)
Sir Sando, it seems to me the Cardinals have unusually good receivers. And they have a lot of them! As sad as it would be to see any of these receivers go, how badly would it hurt the Cards offense to trade Breaston for a proven, high-caliber tight end? I think Urban would be a great third receiver, and Doucet has high potential as the fourth. A good all-around tight end would help the run game, make the offense less predictable, and still be available to catch the football.
Mike Sando (12:51 PM)
I would rather trade a pick or use a pick for a tight end. It doesn't have to be an either-or thing. Having Doucet as insurance is intriguing, but I would rather see him develop as the fourth before asking him to be the third.
Dan - San Jose
Do you really feel that o-line is the 49ers biggest need? Their guys there are still developing, and have been playing better recently. The 49ers haven't had a pass rush in years, and if they stick with the 3-4, they need a true zero-gap nose tackle. That being said...how about Everett Brown or Terrence Cody?
Mike Sando (12:52 PM)
I hesitate on drafting for defense without knowing what style of defense the 49ers want to play. And I do think the RT spot is potentially problematic. That is my thinking there.
AlaskaHawk (Sitka, AK)
Can you give me a quick breakdown on Ray Willis (Seahawks)? I've noticed his play in a couple games. Do you think he's ready to be a fulltime starter or do we look for tackle in the draft again?
Mike Sando (12:55 PM)
I'm not convinced on him as a starter. Right tackle is where he needs to be if he's going to start. The experience he's gotten qualifies him for a spot on the team, but I would not go into the 2009 season thinking of him as a for-sure starter.
Eric (Sioux City)
This will be a good year to get a TE in the draft. Pettigrew and Coffman may both be available in the 2nd.
Mike Sando (12:57 PM)
The Rams, Seahawks and 49ers are pretty much set at the position. That's at least three teams drafting ahead of the Cardinals without a need at the position.
Is Orlando Pace done? He can't stay healthy and is huge cap hit.The Rams are going nowhere next year(probably next 2 years).By the time they get competitive he will be retired so why not cut him lose at the end of the year.
Mike Sando (12:59 PM)
I would rather have Pace for 10 games than the unknown for 16. That is not necessarily a place I would target. The line is weaker without Pace. Yes, the Rams should rebuild the line. But Pace actually played more games this year than he did in recent seasons.
Billy (Youngstown, Ohio)
Mike, let's be honest now, is that picture of you really old or do you really look that young?!
Mike Sando (1:00 PM)
It's within the last three years. I'm 38 and, like everyone, older than ever. Looks like our chat time is up. See everyone next week, and back on the NFC West blog. THANKS.