Chat with Mike Sando
Welcome to SportsNation! On Thursday, we'll have ESPN.com NFC West blogger Mike Sando stopping by to talk about the latest NFL happenings.
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 now and join Sando on Thursday at 1 p.m. ET!
Hey Mike. Love your blog and Facebook posts. What do you think the new Seahawks staff will do differently with Aaron Curry, if anything? Lawyer Milloy credits Pete for putting him in the right position to make a name for himself and I'm hoping he does the same for Curry.
Mike Sando (3:02 PM)
Thanks, sir. We've had a lively discussion on Facebook already this morning. The Seahawks' defensive philosophy will largely carry over from last season, but getting a chance to evaluate Curry should help the Seahawks more clearly define his role. I think Seattle got too excited with his talent early. He needs to become a good every-down linebacker and I suspect that is where the focus will be.
Austin (Gilbert, AZ)
If Warner does decide to retire do the Cards go with Leinart or possibly look for outside help? Could they possibly go after Donovan McNabb?
Mike Sando (3:04 PM)
My inclination is that they would go with Matt Leinart as the starter for at least one season. They have Leinart under contract at a reasonable rate in 2010. They would not have to worry about his contract until the 2011 season (that is the final year of the deal and that is when the salary jumps significantly). It seems as though the Eagles will stick with McNabb. If McNabb comes available, the Cardinals could certainly do worse. I just think they will be more likely to see what Leinart can do over the course of a full season.
Hey Mike! I keep hearing about how there's a chance the Eagles may release McNabb might be traded by the Eagles. I hear a bunch of teams involved, but not the Rams. Why not? St. Louis and Philly run the same offense, Spagnuolo spent a lot of time in Philly, and the Rams have good draft picks to offer.
Mike Sando (3:06 PM)
Veteran players can influence where they wind up. McNabb presumably would have other teams higher on his list. The Rams probably wouldn't want to acquire a player opposed to being there. That could be one consideration.
Mike Sando (1:00 PM)
Welcome to the NFC West chat. I'm here and will start firing away in a couple minutes.
Dan (Washington, DC)
Mike, I am a Skins fan wondering what we are getting with the 49ers former O-Line coach in Foerster. Any thoughts?
Mike Sando (1:09 PM)
The 49ers were happy to get Chris Foerster. They considered him an upgrade from George Warhop. But the line had issues, particularly early last season. Chilo Rachal was slow to develop. The line did improve late in the season, but the 49ers were probably OK letting Foerster leave, particularly if they have designs on adding former Seahawks line coach Mike Solari, who worked with 49ers offensive coordinator Jimmy Raye in Kansas City. In short, Foerster has a pretty good reputation. I think the Redskins could do worse, for sure.
With Foerster leaving, who should the 49ers pursue to take over the OL? Is Tom Cable going to get fired, and if so, is he an option?
Mike Sando (1:10 PM)
Hire Mike Solari and do not look back. The Seahawks liked Solari very much but made a change when they had a chance to add Alex Gibbs. Solari is recognized as one of the very best line coaches in the NFL.
Matt Moberg (Venersborg)
Do you think Kurt Warner will retire or come back for one more year?
Mike Sando (1:12 PM)
The more time passes, the more I think he will want to return. Warner is a little different than some guys, but returning is the logical move for so many reasons, including financial ones.
Chris (Danville, Ca)
Mike, would you consider it a good thing that the 49ers are gathering so many people from Kansas City's old coaching staff? I know Marty was successful, but enough to hire his old staff?
Mike Sando (1:14 PM)
Those coaches seem to fit the mentality Mike Singletary wants to have. It's better to hire guys with similar philosophies than to have Mike Martz trying to run Singletary's offense. The Kurt Schottenheimer hiring is curious because he hasn't coached special teams since 1994. But if the 49ers hire Mike Solari, that move stands as a good one on the merits.
I admit, I have more faith in Matt Leinart than the average Cards fan, but that is not the reason I say this. I cringe at the thought of Donovan McNabb on the Cards. The Cards receivers, as per Kent Somers' article today, feel as though leinart is inaccurate. Wait until they see Donovan tossing the ball at their feet. Kurt is/was one of the most accurate qbs in the history of the NFL. Going from him to anyone is going to be difficult.
Mike Sando (1:18 PM)
Matt Leinart threw high quite a bit when taking over for Warner this season. That tells me he needs to settle down and get more comfortable. McNabb is not as accurate as Warner, but he does some other things very well. He makes plays, and that matters.
Louis (San Diego)
Mike Singletary didn't exactly give Alex Smith a ringing endorsement. Do you believe Smith will be the QB next season?
Mike Sando (1:20 PM)
Alex Smith is the most likely starting candidate by default right now. The 49ers have shown in the past they will not sign a quarterback just to sign one. They passed on Jeff Garcia last offseason because they thought he wasn't going to be better than Shaun Hill at this stage. Unless the 49ers can find a clear upgrade, which could be tough, Smith looks like the starter.
Yuri (San Francisco)
Mike - I realize that Peter Kings comment about Tebow was conjecture, but do you really think that the 49ers would even consider drafting a QB with serious questions marks about his transition into the Pros because he played in the EXACT SAME system as Alex Smith under Urban Meyer?
Mike Sando (1:22 PM)
I think it was a fun thought from Peter King, not a report. And I think general manager Scot McCloughan would be the voice of reason if Mike Singletary did indeed fall for a prospect with serious question marks.
Gabe (Las Vegas, NV)
What's up Mike? Hope everything is well in Tacoma. Vegas is getting some Seattle weather right now! Love connecting with hawks fans on facebook. Anyways, what do you think the hawks will do with Mike Teel? Have you seen him practice, and what do you think of him as the future? If Hasselbeck can rebound this year and stay healthy throughout, how many years do you think he has left in his tank? In my opinion, Seneca doesn't have the mentality to be a starter in this league. Or maybe he does, but just hasn't been given the time and enough reps. It always seems to me when he gets a chance, it always takes 2-3 games for him to perform decent. Do you think Homlgren will pick up Seneca? Thanks
Mike Sando (1:26 PM)
Hi Gabe. I can always tell the most passionate fans because they tend to have relatively high hopes for third-string quarterbacks, whereas the casual fans don't think about rosters in that much depth. Teel looked like a bit of a gamer in the preseason. He still needs to be the third guy at this point and that is where he has the best chance at sticking. He'll have to prove it to the new staff, though. Seneca Wallace became a pretty good backup in the Holmgren offense. I think it would be tough for most backup quarterbacks to suddenly learn a new offense after all those years. The backups don't get the reps. Wallace could indeed have more value if reunited with Holmgren, but the Seahawks need a backup QB too.
Travis (Gilbert, AZ)
What are the chances that the Cardinals resign Dansby? What are their chances of trading Boldin? How much change do you think will happen with the Cardinals this offseason?
Mike Sando (1:30 PM)
The Karlos Dansby question is a tough one. The Cardinals need him. They would not be able to replace him adequately. But the franchise tag value would be close to prohibitive and it's quite possible someone would overpay (relative to what Arizona might want to invest) in free agency. Convincing Dansby to do a long-term deal would really help the Cardinals. I go back and forth on what to do with Anquan Boldin. It all comes down to what someone would trade for him. I suspect it wouldn't be a high choice. I also think keeping Boldin for another year might be the right move if Kurt Warner returns.
In your opinion, if Kurt Warner retires will the Cards go with Matt Lienart as their starting QB, draft one or sign a free agent?
Mike Sando (1:30 PM)
I suspect they would go with Matt Leinart for one year and consider those other options as well. Leinart's contract is palatable until 2011, when his salary jumps dramatically.
Buckley (Troy, MO)
Any potential surprises for the Rams with their 1st pick in the draft? I know that they dare not go against Mel Kiper's Big Board, but they do need a textbook franchise QB, for old times' sake.
Mike Sando (1:33 PM)
The Rams could have used a dartboard to draft for the last 10 years and still finished 1-15 last season, so maybe they should consider the Kiper Big Board from this point out. Claude Wroten, anyone? Seriously, though, what quarterback do you take first overall in this draft?
Buckley (Troy, MO)
Where do the Rams go from here with their QB situation, Sando? I truly hope they aren't looking hard at Jimmy Clausen - he seems to stand upright in the pocket like a household mustard dispenser with the field vision of a dead corpse! And that's in college! Please tell me they are looking somewhere else?
Mike Sando (1:35 PM)
The Rams will probably release Marc Bulger, whose salary becomes prohibitive. They could draft a quarterback, try to trade for a veteran or take their chances in what figures to be another weak free-agent period. There are no surefire solutions for the predicament St. Louis faces at that position. Acquiring a second-tier starter might be the best they can hope for in 2010. The Dolphins fared pretty well that way (Chad Pennington).
Putting some of the bigger names aside for a minute -- Warner, Dansby, Boldin -- what do you think the Cardinals do at FS? I know they drafted Rashard Johnson to be an eventual replacement to Antrel Rolle. Many pundits -- Kiper, McShay, etc. -- praised the pick. Johnson struggled mightily, though, in his rookie season. Not terribly uncommon but really showed very little. Will the Cards try and work something out with Antrel to lower his cap number and extend him or do you believe they will bring in a veteran to compete with Johnson and hope Johnson can get past his rookie struggles? While the lack of outside pass rush hurt the secondary, it's tough to imagine this team having much success if their secondary actually gets worse.
Mike Sando (1:39 PM)
You're talking about a secondary that put half its starters in the Pro Bowl and a third starter (Rolle) as a Pro Bowl alternate. Injuries killed the secondary late in the season. I think the team needs to work out something with Rolle. Johnson didn't show enough to earn anyone's trust at this point. He was a rookie, as you noted, but still, there wasn't much to go on and he wasn't even active when it mattered.
Thanks for the insult Mike! Just because as I sit here and I cannot remember the name of the 49ers third string QB, which I do remember now is Nate Davis, doesn't mean I and others are not passionate fans. Tuning in weekly for this chat about three teams out of the playoffs and one that makes it on a 9-7 record makes you a passionate fan.
Mike Sando (1:40 PM)
The Cardinals were 10-6.
After watching Seattle's D struggle so much last year, is it a surprise that Gus was retained as Coordinator. Was he following Mora's plan on defense or was it his own.
Mike Sando (1:41 PM)
The Seahawks were generally good against the run, but at the expense of a lot of other things. Pete Carroll is going to run the defense. Bradley is an asset to him because he comes from the same coaching tree -- Carroll and Bradley both worked with Monte Kiffin -- and Bradley knows the personnel in Seattle. It is not a surprise in retrospect.
Deric (Twin Falls, ID)
Did you ever notice that pretty much every argument against Carrolls success in the NFL centers around his previous NFL record with out ever going into the details of those years (Curtis Martin and Front Office problems?), and comparisons to recent college coaches that have tried and failed to convert, while never noting that only one of those coaches had previous NFL experience(Patrino at two years, while Carroll has 16 years experience).Just say'n.
Mike Sando (1:43 PM)
Those are valid points that bear mentioning. Thanks for bringing them to the table. Pete Carroll definitely should be better equipped the second time around. He has no excuses. The Seahawks have given him control of the roster. They let him help choose the general manager.
Paul (Albany, OR)
Mike, in looking at QB for the Rams (because I want them to take Suh #1), where do they look to get "that guy"? Do they try round 2 or do they fill the lines in the middle of the draft and then go QB late, with someone like the Central Michigan kid LeFevour or Canfield from Oregon State. They need so much help, why pay a QB big money right now to hinder the rest of your roster development?
Mike Sando (1:45 PM)
Salaries for quarterbacks drafted high are indeed lucrative, but they are actually less lucrative relative to what established elite quarterbacks earn in the NFL. For example, the Rams drafted Jason Smith second overall last season and had to make him one of the very highest-paid offensive linemen in the NFL. If they drafted a quarterback early, that quarterback would make more than players drafted at other positions, but not enough to rank among the very highest-paid quarterbacks already in the NFL.
Adam (Medical Lake)
This Mock by kiper has really got me concerned. I understand the logic behind developing less talented lineman when you already have a solid nucleus around them. But we don't! I cannot fathom not taking a lineman with one of the first two picks. Also, isn't C.J. Spiller basically just a little bigger Justin Forsett? Two scatbacks on a team lacking a legitimate every-down back seems a little far fetched to me. Thoughts??
Mike Sando (1:52 PM)
Any running back taken that early should have speed. The Seahawks loved Knowshown Moreno last year and gave some thought to drafting him in the first round, but in the end they felt the speed element needed to be there for a runner taken that early. Spiller has that dynamic and the reports I have read suggest he's more than just a situational scatback, even if he is not projecting as a rugged inside runner. The Seahawks need people to score touchdowns. They also need to build their offensive line. But the elite playmakers can be harder to find later.
Mike, one name I don't hear enough of in the Alex Smith QB controversy is Nate Davis. I keep hearing that the Niners are high on him, and he obviously has played well in preseason. What are you hearing about his shot to be the signal caller next season or in the future?
Mike Sando (1:53 PM)
Zero chance. They like him the way teams like third-string quarterbacks. He's a project.
Mike i dont know what internal button you pushed, but you pushed with that passionate fan comment. I'm a 49ers fan not a Cards so being off one game in their record should not mean i am not passionate. You try being a 49er fan living in PA right between the eagles, Steelers, and Ravens fans, it is brutal, and i have been one since 1989 when i was finally old enough to know what football was.
Mike Sando (1:54 PM)
I'm having fun with you, Adam. The more passionate fans tend to know the rosters better. I was complimenting the other guy, not saying anything about you.
Oh sando, you just killed me. I know you're smart enough to not use the pro bowl as a judge. Adrian Wilson, while one of the most dynamic players in the NFL and my all time favorite cardinal cannot cover anything. See Greg Olsen for non late season/playoff evidence. This unit struggled in pass defense all season long. They showed an inability to stop late game long drives. 49ers week 1, Titans 99 yrd drive. These were before the injuries you speak of set in (although dansby not being out htere against the titans was a factor). DRC is becoming a great cover corner but still cant tackle. A-dub cant cover. Rolle finally came into his own as both a sure tackler and playmaker. Obviously mcfadden was a bust of a move and will doubtfully be around next year. THe sub-package CBs also struggled mightily in coverage though are fantastic in special teams. You can toss around pro bowls if you'd like but that cards secondary was undoubtably the weak point of the team and needs improvement (alongside the pass rush which in it of itself will improve the secondary).
Mike Sando (1:58 PM)
Adrian Wilson is an elite strong safety whose coverage skills have actually improved, even though he still has some bad games in coverage. You don't become one of the few players in NFL history with 20 sacks and 20 picks by being a liability on balance. Eleven players in the NFL had more interceptions than Wilson last season. Only three were safeties. The Cardinals should find a linebacker to run with those tight ends so they can let Wilson do what he does best: affect games at the line of scrimmage.
Appreciate the honesty Mike, got carried away there, buy the way love your work, being on the east coast it is very nice to be able to get updates on my team daily and I can only imagine how much fun it would be to have your job.
Mike Sando (1:59 PM)
You're welcome here anytime, Adam. You just proved you're a passionate fan, too!
Mike Sando (2:00 PM)
Time's up. I'll be posting some more draft-related stuff on the blog soon. Enjoy the rest of your Thursday.