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!
Is this chat gonna start there Mike?
Mike Sando (12:14 PM)
It helps when I show up. Was just finishing a column. Sorry for the suspense. Let's get going.
why does it seem that the Niners lack interest in Cutler? The 10th pick should be a good starting point and 9er fans are spoiled by stellar QB play...
Mike Sando (12:15 PM)
The 49ers have remained remarkably disciplined this offseason. They appear to be taking a longer-term approach. It's a little surprising and I understand your concerns. As a fan, it's reassuring when your team apperas "aggressive" in its efforts to upgrade. In this case, the 49ers might be unwilling to part with significant draft capital. That would be my educated guess.
Mike, both Singletary and Scot McCloughan have expressed excitement with this year's WR class. Could you see the 9ers going WR in round 1 or 2?
Mike Sando (12:16 PM)
Yes, I could see that. They'll be watching to see if one of the top receivers falls to them, I would think.
anquan boldin (HOME)
Am I getting a new contract? or a new team?
Mike Sando (12:17 PM)
I suspect you'll eventually get a new deal with Arizona. I'm not entirely convinced another team would part with a first-round choice in a trade.
Glenn SC [via mobile]
What's the chances of cutler to tampa deal?
Mike Sando (12:18 PM)
Sounds to me the Redskins could be pot-committed on this one. That is the feeling I get in speaking with sources familiar with the situation in Washington. Once a team turns its back on its current QB, that team needs to make sure it gets its man. McDaniels learned the hard way on Cutler. The Redskins need to get Cutler if they've already shown a willingness to bail on Jason Campbell. Also, the Redskins can offer a QB in return. I think that is important for Denver.
Mike, I understand that you won't *know*, but given your experience with the Seahawks FO, which rookie quarterback does your gut tell you they are higher on and is there a realistic chance they will seriously draft that player @4? Thanks!
Mike Sando (12:20 PM)
I would think Matt Stafford would appeal to them over Mark Sanchez based on his experience level. GM Tim Ruskell's teams haven't taken a QB early since the Bucs drafted Dilfer sixth overall in 1994. Dilfer loves Stafford. That's not a big deal, but in looking at the QBs Ruskell's teams have drafted, Stafford would seem to fit the profile in a few ways.
Is 2 #1s too steep a price for Cutler. Do you think the Broncos will get it for him?
Mike Sando (12:20 PM)
That price seems too steep when every NFL team knows the Broncos need to trade him.
alex smith [via mobile]
Any shot I could be the opening day starter for the niners? I showed a lot of commitment to the team by restructuring didn't I?
Mike Sando (12:20 PM)
Yes. A healthy Alex Smith would have a legitimate shot at the starting job.
What would Washington have to do in order to pick up Culter and do you think it will happen?
Mike Sando (12:21 PM)
If they traded Jason Campbell and the 13th overall pick, the Broncos would emerge with the 12th and 13th choices and plenty of options. That would seemingly make everyone happy, no?
Brian (Issaquah, Wa)
Mike, It seems like no matter who the Hawks draft they will not start next year so the question is who will have the best career, is that fair?
Mike Sando (12:22 PM)
It is fair, and that is one of the rationales for going with the QB. You figure he can make the biggest impact on your franchise long term. I do think Michael Crabtree could play right away, though. He would be a higher-risk choice, but T.J. Houshmandzadeh might be able to bring him along.
Mike, You fall for any of those April Fools jokes?
Mike Sando (12:23 PM)
Not even remotely, I'm proud to say. I can confirm that one of them was not an April fool's joke, though. Looks like the Seahawks will indeed unveil a new twist on their uniforms (an alternate jersey heavy on a neon green).
STL , MO
Mike the Rams look to be drafting an LT in the draft who else are they looking into. And the Chiefs look to be drafting Curry but they have been talking to Miaola from USC. Is this mean they are trying to build there Defense. Can they go another year in the cellar.
Mike Sando (12:26 PM)
The Rams have a predraft visit scheduled with Jeremy Maclin and I do think the team has significant enough WR needs to consider that position, albeit probably after the first round. The Rams have so many needs. They could go OT early and come back to WR, MLB and DT pretty easily.
Speaking of April Fool's Day, is the leaked photo of the Lime Green Seahawk's jersey a prank?
Mike Sando (12:27 PM)
I can't vouch for the photo, but I do know the team will have a jersey emphasizing that bright green more prominently.
Lee (Carlisle, Pa) [via mobile]
Hey Mike, why does everyone think the niners desperately need a QB? I saw enough in Shaun Hill last season to know we have a good QB and he's only going to get better! What we need is a to get a great pass rusher through the draft! We need our defense to go to the next level. So that we strike fear in our opponents offenses so they make mistakes and we capitalize off of them, your thoughts?
Mike Sando (12:29 PM)
Some would disagree on the part about him only getting better. Hill played very efficiently for the most part last season. He was good on a situational basis, which is key (third downs, for example). But as we get removed from the regular season, teams tend to look more at potential than results. And when the 49ers look at Hill, I think they see a guy with some physical limitations. They might be comfortable going into the season with him as the starter, but not comfortable enough to rule out other options.
Chris (Broadview Heights, OH)
Do you think Denver might have any interest in Matt Leinart? I just can't envision him being in the Cardinals long-term plans, especially with Whisenhunt giving St. Pierre an "open competition" shot at the #2 QB job.
Mike Sando (12:32 PM)
Leinart did throw a long TD pass to Larry Fitzgerald against Josh McDaniels' Patriots last season. But if you were McDaniels, why would Leinart appeal from afar? Everything we've heard about Matt Cassel -- that the game is his life -- doesn't line up with the knocks on Leinart.
Mark (STL,, MO)
Do you think the Rams previous Draft picks for the Defensive line will come to fruition? And are the Rams going to try and re-sign Pace and Holt for drastically smaller saleries.
Mike Sando (12:33 PM)
I think Chris Long and Adam Carriker will be good players but probably not great ones. Picking second overall can be great some years, not so great other years. I think last year and this year might qualify as the not-so-great years. We aren't seeing obviously dynamic players.
Cyrus (San Francisco, CA)
Is it fair to say that the Niners will be going DL with the 10th pick now? I'm guessing Marvel Smith is a stopgap, they'll draft a pass rusher, or maybe a WR if the top 2 fall, and then pick up an OT to develop in the 2nd/3rd rounds...
Mike Sando (12:35 PM)
I would think an OLB type would make sense. That's probably what you meant by DL -- an outside rusher. I wouldn't bank on it, though. If a more dynamic talent is available at another position, expect the 49ers to explore that option. I think that opens the door to other possibilities.
I'm sure you want to limit the Cutler questions but how about for Bulger and the #2 pick? I assume if Cutler was in the draft, the Rams would at least consider him at #2 and this way they rid themselves of Bulger's contract. I have a feeling that Spagnuolo would never go for it. Is it unreasonable to think Curry goes #2 to the Rams?
Mike Sando (12:38 PM)
I'm not against answering Cutler questions. We're getting lots of them in here, so people are obviously interested in the subject even as a few others -- I hear you, 'rerun' -- complain about saturation. The salary-cap implications of Bulger's contract complicate that type of move. Curry might be another story. I could see him in the mix for the Rams, even though OT is probably the better value and more likely direction.
why arnt teams more agressive when it comes to good players as free agents?
Mike Sando (12:38 PM)
Because free agency offers relatively few good players.
wouldn't you part with a first round pick for Boldin? first round picks are not guarenteed to be successful, and with boldin, you are getting a guarenteed GAMER! dude played with a broken face. IS his behavior during the playoff game keeping teams away?
Mike Sando (12:40 PM)
I don't think his behavior during the playoff game is a problem. Boldin commands respect for the way he plays. He is also a good teammate. It's a pretty strong year for receivers in the draft, supposedly. Boldin has had some injury concerns. He would want a huge contract. And he is not as flashy as some of the receivers who qualify as deep threats, so that might explain some reluctance, if there is any.
Are the Seahawks interested in Ken Lucas?
Mike Sando (12:43 PM)
Yes, they have some interest in him. It would probably be on their terms, meaning not a lucrative deal. And they would not guarantee a starting job for him. But I think they like him enough to sign him if he can't find a great deal elsewhere. There's an immediate comfort level with him because of his history with the organization and, more importantly, his recent history with new Seahawks secondary coach Tim Lewis.
thanks Mike, great response. I hear you about the flashiness, he is not really a #1, i just think he is definately someone i would want on my team, especially with all the WR flops over the years...
Mike Sando (12:44 PM)
Totally agree. I have high respect for Boldin. He is absolutely a gamer, as you described. It's unfortunate when emotions get involved and contract disputes turn personal, but Boldin is a major asset.
John StL, MO
Rams win-loss prediction, and NFC West Champion prediction?
Mike Sando (12:46 PM)
It's early but I'll bite. Let's go with 7-9 for the Rams in Steve Spagnuolo's first season. Let's go with 8-8 for Seattle and San Francisco, and another 9-7 for the Cardinals. I was thinking about this yesterday and that was my feel based on what we know at this point.
David Dayton, Ohio [via mobile]
Mike, Does Leonard Weaver have the skills to be the eagles short yardage back? I dont know much about him .
Mike Sando (12:48 PM)
Yes, he is a good runner as long as he doesn't try to do too much. He's very eager to get lots of carries and make an impact. Short-yardage running is sometimes about taking what is there. So I would qualify my answer that way. I really like some of the things Weaver can do. He has gotten a little ahead of himself lately in some of the things he has said publicly, but he can be a good player.
Ian (Winnipeg Canada)
With Karney coming in as a hammer fullback that Jackson has never had. How well do you see him doing this year? Possibly a top 5 in rushing yards?
Mike Sando (12:49 PM)
I think he'll surpass 1,200 yards this season. His health will determine how far past that point he goes. That is my feel on him. Terrific player.
Do you see the hawks going after a safety in the second round?? if not what do you thing they'll be after??
Mike Sando (12:50 PM)
Tim Ruskell's teams have generally targeted safeties in the third, fourth and sixth rounds. They have taken six defensive backs between the 82nd and 117th choices since 1992 and all were safeties. Something to keep in mind. I do think they will draft a safety.
Christopher Phoenix, AZ
Sando, Love your work! Wondering what the Cardinals should do in the draft. Seems like they need a TE, OL depth, pass rusher/youth at OLB and a workhorse RB. what do they do to get thsoe needs answered?
Mike Sando (12:52 PM)
Thanks. Get the running back. That should be the top priority. It's tough to know what will be there at No. 31, but I think they have to hope a running back is worth the value. And then I think they look for an OLB type. TE would be next, but only if the value is right. They should not reach for one, particularly if the OL value is higher at that point.
Marvel Smith, Moran Norris and draft a 2nd RB, How good do you think the SF rushing attack can be?
Mike Sando (12:53 PM)
Good enough for Frank Gore to challenge for a Pro Bowl berth. The 49ers will be committed to the run. They just need their quarterback to function efficiently off play-action. If that happens, I like their ground game.
Mike, Isn't Haralson and Lawson the outside pass rusher that San Fran is looking for? Wouldn't WR and OL be the top priority? Thanks.
Mike Sando (12:55 PM)
We still have questions on Manny Lawson. If he is that guy, the 49ers are in much better shape from a pass-rush standpoint. I think the 49ers have enough flexibility early to go BPA within reason.
Is Whisenhunt going to get a contract extension?
Mike Sando (12:57 PM)
Wouldn't it be funny if he hired Drew Rosenhaus and threatened to skip voluntary minicamps? OK, if you're a Cardinals fan, that wouldn't be funny. It would be great theater, though.
Cyrus (San Francisco, CA)
What was Kentwan Balmer brought in for? By that I mean what is his role on defense. He was a college DT who still needed work, who's now playing DE in a 3-4 but doesn't really have pass rushing skills...
Mike Sando (12:58 PM)
It was a very curious pick to me. The DE in a 3-4 is not a marquee guy usually. I still do not get it. Of course, the 49ers weren't as committed to the 3-4 for the long term when they drafted him.
Sando, you just said the 9ers can go BPA "within reason". What is the exception?
Mike Sando (12:59 PM)
If the BPA is at a position where there just isn't a need at all, then consider other options. I might be referring to ILB or TE off the top of my head.
Steve (Issaquah, Wa)
Mike, I read an article saying the Hawks were interested in a top running back...besides Wells and Moreno who would they be targeting?
Mike Sando (1:01 PM)
I do not know because no one in the organization has shared that information -- big shocker -- but I do think they'll strongly consider one in the first two rounds.
Nico Puyallup, Wa
Mike, more and more it is looking like both QB's will be on the board when we pick at 4 and Curry will not. What are the chances of the Hawks picking Stafford and if so what happens with Seneca?? Position change or do we see a trade on the horizon??
Mike Sando (1:02 PM)
A trade would probably make sense in that situation. I would still think Michael Crabtree would be an option at No. 4.
John Stl, MO (again)
Coach Spags seems to be a pretty private guy and therefore I haven't heard him speak publically much. Aside from his work in Philly and New York I don't know much about him. My question is what is perception of him as a person (quite, tough, charasmatic) and could you compare him to ole' Scott Linehan. Thanks
Mike Sando (1:05 PM)
Spagnuolo strikes me as more comfortable than Linehan ever was, and that is not all Linehan's fault. The organization is in a better place now that the front office has some more definition. Spagnuolo knows the organization has his back. Linehan probably couldn't feel as strongly that way. He didn't have a clearly defined GM in his corner. I've been very impressed with Spagnuolo in my limited dealings with him, which amounted to a few conversations with him at the league meetings. The first thing you notice about him in person is that he's not physically imposing. When you speak with him, you notice that he can clearly articulate his vision for the team. I came away more impressed than I had been from afar.
Hey Mike, did Spags hire a defensive coordinator or will he be calling the defense?
Mike Sando (1:08 PM)
He hired Panthers LB coach and former Seahawks DB coach Ken Flajole as defensive coordinator. Spagnuolo also suggested he would lean heavily on Flajole. Spagnuolo believes the head coach must be in charge of the big picture on game day. I'm not sure if that means Flajole will call the defense all the time, but it sounds like Spagnuolo will lean on him.
Steve (Issaquah, Wa)
Just curious, how many questions do you have in the queue from Steiny from NYC?
Mike Sando (1:08 PM)
He usually hits me with eight or 10 early in the queue. We're going overtime today after I showed up late.
Jeremy (New Orleans)
Rams Fan, you guys got yourself a catch w/Karney. Not only is he a helleva gamer and person. He was released on the eve of his wedding and took it like a champ. Even went on the radio that night and gave his respects to the city and the Saints. You are going to enjoy the Hammer that is Karney!
Mike Sando (1:09 PM)
Rams fans will love to hear that. My enduring image of Karney stems from a preseason game years ago. He absolutely flattened Andre Dyson and injured him. Karney is huge. He's like having a miniature guard in the backfield.
Nico Puyallup, Wa
I read a mock draft that was interesting in theory about the seahawks trading down. Based on point value of the #4 pick we should get two mid first picks... Not likely but what do you think about the hawks making a deal for a mid first and maybe a couple second or some kind of package that works??
Mike Sando (1:10 PM)
That only happens if someone is absolutely sold on a quarterback. I think most teams would rather have the 12th pick than the fourth pick this year.
Mike, love your chats, but the talk of the niners taking BPA and the questioning of the Balmer pick seem to be contradictory. Assuming he was a BPA pick, aren't there way too many scenarios when that's just not a good idea? I just don't understand why you wouldn't draft for need when it's so arbitrary who the "best" player out there is.
Mike Sando (1:12 PM)
I think you go BPA within reason. And a 3-4 DE might test the theory. You hope the BPA and need line up a little better. Perhaps Balmer emerges as a long-time starter. He was a late-round pick. But if Demetric Evans starts over him, I have questions.
Thanks for taking all these questions. Dashon Goldson is the new starter at FS, do you think Reggie Smith could be the future starter for the 9ers there or at SS?
Mike Sando (1:13 PM)
You're welcome. The 49ers are indeed moving Reggie Smith to safety. They feel like Michael Lewis is fine for another year, and then they will likely reassess.
Mike Sando (1:16 PM)
Thanks for dropping by today and sticking around past the hour-long window. Glad you waited for me. Let's do it again soon. See you on the blog.