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!
Rams fan (St Louis)
What do you think the Rams should do with Alex Barron? Who do you think the Rams should take first overall: Suh, Clausen or Bradford (assuming he's healthy)?
Mike Sando (1:01 PM)
Probably Suh, based on what I have heard about the prospects. The QB is the main need, but if the value does not seem to be there, go in another direction and find a veteran to get you by. That is what the other 1-15 teams of the free agency era did. San Diego got Doug Flutie. Carolina got Rodney Peete. The Jets stuck with Neil O'Donnell. The Dolphins got Chad Pennington. None took quarterbacks in the first round (though the Chargers got Drew Brees at the top of the second).
I'd like to see Seattle use their early draft picks on the O line and a RB. This would allow the team to draft a QB next year in to an offense that should be fairly settled and should provide the basis of the offense for the long term. Hasselbeck is good enough for another year but the defense may suffer in the short term. How feasible is this?
Mike Sando (1:04 PM)
Sounds logical even though it's hard not to strongly consider a quarterback when you've got two No. 1 picks. I'm not convinced they'll address the offensive line that early, just because that hasn't always been the Alex Gibbs way. The defense will be as good as its pass rush, probably. Getting a playmaker on offense does seem like a must for Seattle. By the way, hope you're OK with me changing cees to esses in offense and defense.
Sam (St Louis)
Would you keep Pat Shurmur if you were in charge of the Rams? Many are divided. He had an awful QB and a WR corps decimated by injuries. Jackson did well, but Jackson is Jackson and would get his yards if he didn't even have an OL on the field.
Mike Sando (1:06 PM)
I would absolutely, positively keep Pat Shurmur as offensive coordinator in 2010. He had no skill players on the outside (Donnie Avery wasn't healthy enough). Shurmur has been known as a guy sharp enough to one day be considered as a potential head coach. Let's see how the offense develops over the next couple seasons.
Ruben (Highland, Ca)
Mike,Thanks for taking my question. There have been a few reports in the last week or so regarding the sale of the Rams. What, if any, information do you have regarding the timing of the sale? Do you believe, if a sale does go through before the draft, it will be a positive or negative effect on the team?
Mike Sando (1:08 PM)
This is a tough market for selling an NFL franchise and the Rams' owners, while not under pressure to sell immediately, probably need to take the first good deal that comes along. It sounds like they have a decent offer to consider. I don't see how the timing of a sale relative to the draft would affect the organization.
chris (mason city, il)
Hey Mike, love the blog. What would the Rams have to give up to get Michael Vick? Then, for example, let's say they do get Vick and draft Suh. What, in your opinion, are the remaining top needs for the Rams?
Mike Sando (1:11 PM)
Thanks, Chris. I don't know what the Eagles could get for Michael Vick, but the Rams have enough ammo in the draft to work out something if they decide to go in that direction. If they were to land Vick and Ndamukong Suh, I think they could still use help at WR, DE, LB, TE and OT, for starters.
Dave W. (Ukiah, Ca)
Mike, First, let me thank you in advance for all of the time you are about to put in on the draft for all of us draft junkies out here...we really appreciate the hard work. Now...Is there any chance the 49ers take the tackle they badly need with pick #13 and then OG Mike Iupati with the other 1st rd pick? They have a very underrated center in Eric Heitman and Staley at tackle. If they can add someone like Trent Williams or Anthony Davis to bookend with Staley and then add Iupati at guard to go with an improving Chilo Rachal, that could give them a pretty dominant line to run behind for the next 5-8 years. Iupati should be there and some might consider him a reach at 16 or 17 but think of the possibilities of that line. If Iron Mike wants to smash the ball at will....that would seem to be the ticket. It would also give Alex Smith a mountain of flesh to hide behind on passing downs witch should make him a better QB. Your thoughts?
Mike Sando (1:14 PM)
Thanks, Dave. While the 49ers could stand to bolster their line, taking two linemen in the first round, including a guard, seems like overkill. Some of this could hinge on what the organization thinks Mike Solari can do with some of the younger players such as Rachal. The more likely scenario might be for the 49ers to use one of their first-round choices on an offensive lineman. The other first-rounder can be used for whichever player happens to fall into their laps, if it happens. I wouldn't necessarily rule out a quarterback in there somewhere as well.
Chris (Broadview Heights, OH)
Word is that Warner's coming out with his retirement decision on Friday. IF he does retire, do you have any faith in Matt Leinart to lead the Cardinals to a 3rd straight NFC West title? The team is built to contend now and I'd hate to start a rebuild project.
Mike Sando (1:16 PM)
Leinart is a tough sell based on what we've seen from him. The Cardinals gave him every chance to win the job heading into the 2008 season. The decision to go with Warner was a no-brainer in part because Leinart didn't look great. The reality is that Leinart's contract remains relatively cheap for one more season. I would expect the Cardinals to use that season to find out for sure what they've got in Leinart.
Do you think that San Francisco would be the favorite to win the division if Kurt Warner does indeed retire?
Mike Sando (1:18 PM)
Based on what I saw from Matt Leinart last season, yes, the 49ers might be the favorite. I do think it's premature to write off Leinart entirely, though. Give him a full offseason as the starter and let him string together a few games. Let's also see what happens with Alex Smith, should Smith remain the starter for the 49ers.
Linc (Connell, Wa)
Hey Sando. Based on our contracts and potential fa's and such, would an uncapped season be a good or bad thing for my Seahawks?
Mike Sando (1:19 PM)
An uncapped year would probably help the Seahawks because their owner has lots of money and the team has racked up some unsightly cap charges in free agency.
Mike, with all the talk of Warner retiring, people are again disparaging Leinart. Leinart had a better rookie season than Sanchez did, who is getting a lot of credit this year. Leinart, when he has time to practice with the first team, is not that bad. His high throws can be attributed to not be settled into the starter position... but it's because he hasn't been the starter since being injured! He should be able to fit into the system and still lead a very good Cardinals team to a good record.
Mike Sando (1:20 PM)
That might be true. It's probably a little optimistic. I do agree that the Cardinals need to take a longer look at Leinart if Warner retires.
Should the 49ers consider trading one of their first round pick for Donovan McNabb? He would immediately upgrade their offense and help Vernon Davis and Michael Crabtree's progression. I know that the line could use some help but having an all pro at quarterback could only help reduce the sack totals that the offensive line gave up. or am I way off
Mike Sando (1:22 PM)
That price tag sounds high.
Mike, love your work! So if Warner retires tomorrow as expected, who becomes the best QB in the West? Even if Hasselbeck stays, I think you could argue A. Smith is the best, barring something unforeseen. Your thoughts?
Mike Sando (1:26 PM)
It's a tossup or advantage to Alex Smith because Matt Hasselbeck hasn't been able to stay healthy. You give Hasselbeck some credit for what he has done over time. You give Alex Smith some credit for finishing last season with 18 touchdowns and 12 interceptions, but you also temper that some by noting that he did not start a full season. The bottom line becomes simply that there isn't a great quarterback situation in the NFC West if Kurt Warner retires Friday.
Shouldn't the Seahawks trade away all their old pieces and just start over?
Mike Sando (1:28 PM)
Those old pieces carry high price tags in terms of salary. No one would trade for those guys.
Please tell me the Seahawks won't take Clausen with one of their first two picks. They need defensive help, don't you agree?
Mike Sando (1:29 PM)
They need their next quarterback, too. Seattle could draft early at most positions and still address a need.
Are the 49ers going to let their outstanding defensive tackle walk via free agency?
Mike Sando (1:30 PM)
No way. Aubrayo Franklin is a critical part of the 49ers' 3-4 defense. Expect the team to keep him.
Chad (Denver, CO)
Do you think it would be beneficial to get some more veterans who have been to the playoffs before who can still play in the lineup for the 49ers? Looking at all the close games they lost possibly could be avoided in the future with someone giving the shot of confidence in the team
Mike Sando (1:31 PM)
Sure, those types of players can help. Other teams generally do not part with those types of players, though. Mostly the 49ers need consistent play from the quarterback position and an identity they can rely upon in critical situations.
cory louther (Pueblo Colorado)
With all the concusions warner has had and considering his age do you feel that coming back would be a foolish choice.
Mike Sando (1:35 PM)
Kurt Warner overcame the injury issues that bothered him late during his Rams tenure. He almost never missed games to injury while with the Cardinals. I can see both sides. Why not walk away on your own terms? Why walk away when you're still on top of your game?
Jerry (Laredo, TX)
Mel Kiper has the 49ers taking an OT and S (Earl Thomas) with their two 1st rounders, wouldnt a OT and DE like Dunlap make more sense or is Safety a big need for them.
Mike Sando (1:37 PM)
The 49ers need to identify a replacement for Michael Lewis at strong safety. I wouldn't take one early unless the player in question were a force from sideline to sideline. This team has Pro Bowl-caliber players in the front seven (Justin Smith, Aubrayo Franklin, Patrick Willis). Dashon Goldson showed good things in his first season starting at free safety. Lewis had three concussions. It's time for the 49ers to plan for the future at that position and upgrade if possible. That doesn't necessarily mean using a first-round pick on a safety, but it could include such a move.
Scott (Bay Area)
Can you explain the Transition Tag and why don't teams use them more often?
Mike Sando (1:39 PM)
Do some Googling on "Steve Hutchinson" and "poison pills" and you should find some good resources.
Cassius (North Dakota)
Hey Mike, what are your thoughts on Reggie Bush to Seattle? Do you see him as a guy that could be an every down back? He sure looked like it against Arizona. As far as drafting a QB is concerned, I really don't think there's value in the first round. I think we have a shot at getting a good DE at 6 ( or Berry if he slips) and maybe Spiller at 14. Jarrett Brown would be a ton of Value at QB in the 4th round. Your thoughts?
Mike Sando (1:42 PM)
It's important for Seattle not to overvalue Reggie Bush based on a strong postseason or Pete Carroll's familiarity with him. How much should a team invest in a running back who has had microfracture knee surgery? It's a fair question.
Sando, any chance Warner doesn't retire? I'd love to see him play one more year as long as the Cards can stay competitive. Whatdayathink.
Mike Sando (1:48 PM)
Tough to envision Kurt Warner calling a news conference to announce nothing has changed. The news conference held last year was more about the new deal he was signing in Arizona. I suppose there's a chance Warner will simply use the occasion to discuss his desire to keep playing, but it seems unlikely. I also think the timing of this news conference -- less than two weeks after the Cardinals' season ended -- suggests retirement as the more likely option. Warner is probably still sore and tired after a long season.
Mike Sando (1:55 PM)
The Cardinals just sent out a news release confirming Kurt Warner's news conference as beginning Friday at 1 p.m. Arizona time.
Mike Sando (1:57 PM)
The Cardinals did not say what the news conference was about, but I think we all know.
Are the Rams going to let Atogwe walk, and is there any chance the Niners get him?
Mike Sando (2:00 PM)
The Rams probably will not pay elite money to Oshiomogho Atogwe. They will not pretend he is Ed Reed or Troy Polamalu, in other words. And I don't think they would consider franchising him again. So, yes, Atogwe could find his way on to the market. The 49ers could be a fit because of Atogwe's relationship with Mike Singletary's daughter, but it seems to me as though San Francisco really needs a strong safety.
Tim Ruskell (Retirement)
Why did you have to bring the transition tag up ...
Mike Sando (2:01 PM)
Sorry I didn't get to you sooner. I was reading through the text messages Jim Mora said you sent to him.
Eric (Dayton, OH)
What are the chances the Rams move if the team is sold? I would hate to see them leave St. Louis.
Mike Sando (2:01 PM)
The chances would seem pretty good down the line, even if the Rams' lease agreement keeps them in town for a while.
ken (Redondo Bch)
Taylor Mays has not player well in Senior Bowl practices covering receivers, could his draft value dropped.
Mike Sando (2:04 PM)
Sure, a rough Senior Bowl can affect a player's stock. As I recall, Rey Maualuga didn't meet expectations at the Senior Bowl last year. He was drafted later than anticipated. It's tough to know if the Senior Bowl had anything to do with that, but it didn't help.
Mike Sando (2:04 PM)
Thanks for dropping by the chat. See you on the blog.