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!
Chris McMahan (Lake Elsinore, California)
I heard some where that the Seahawks are going to meet with quarterback Derek Anderson. What do you think about these rumors and would it be a good choice signing Anderson?
Mike Sando (1:01 PM)
Derek Anderson is indeed meeting with the Seahawks. Seattle is revamping its depth at quarterback and considering multiple options. This feels like more of a look-see than hot pursuit at this point.
Fred (Blacksburg, VA)
Enjoy your work, Sando! Do you feel Kolb to the Seahawks has any legs? If not, what kind of fit would you think Brady Quinn would be in Seattle.
Mike Sando (1:03 PM)
Thanks. I doubt the Eagles would part with their quarterback of the future unless they could get great value in return. I also doubt the Seahawks would give up great value for him. It seems more like something fun to talk about than something likely to happen. And I really doubt Seattle would go after Donovan McNabb.
Hey Mike, love your work. Are the Niners working towards an extension for Willis like they did with Staley last year? They are building a strong core and with two first rounders this year, could really make noise in 2011 ... if they can keep the core together.
Mike Sando (1:04 PM)
Patrick Willis isn't going anywhere. The 49ers will do what they have to do to keep him. But the timing for an extension does not appear right. Labor uncertainty is making teams a little more cash-conscious. The 49ers have time to take care of Willis, and I expect them to do so when the labor situation is clearer.
Signing Marshall to a huge contract and losing the 6th pick in the draft sounds like the worst idea of all time. Please tell me the Seahawks are not doing this.
Mike Sando (1:05 PM)
The Seahawks are not doing this. They will not sign Brandon Marshall to an offer sheet. They will not give up the sixth overall choice for him. It would just shock me. They are interested, but only if the price is lower. And that is really the question here. How motivated are the Broncos as sellers?
Ken (Redondo Bch)
Mike, I know the Rams have signed Feeley but do you think they would have looked at Anderson. Thanks
Mike Sando (1:07 PM)
Derek Anderson would not be a great fit for a West Coast offense. The Browns' decision to release Anderson affirms as much; we all know Mike Holmgren wants the Browns to run his version of the WCO. The Rams wanted someone familiar with their offense and someone without expectations to become a long-term starter. It tells me they'll probably be drafting Sam Bradford in the first round.
Derek (The MQT)
The Niners draft last year seemed pretty good last year. I was wondering if you could shed some light on how some of the signees (not the obvious ones like Crabtree and Coffee) might affect how they draft this year. I am really interested in what they think of Boone, given he has had a year. Your blog is great!
Mike Sando (1:10 PM)
Thanks, Derek. Alex Boone seemed to be a fan favorite last year. He is not, to my knowledge, under consideration for a prominent role. Teams generally keep seven offensive linemen active on their 45-man game-day rosters. I don't see Boone being part of that mix. The best-case scenario for a team is to have the sixth or seventh offensive lineman be a swing tackle -- that is, someone with the ability to play either side. They liked Scott McKillop, but it might be a stretch to project him as a starter soon. I think they still need to find Takeo Spikes' long-term replacement.
Who is your early guess to win the division? I saw that Docket posted the niners have to come through Arizona first, but the niners beat the Cardinals both times last season and posted a 5-1 NFC west division record.
Mike Sando (1:12 PM)
The Cardinals and 49ers would be the favorites at this point in the offseason. Both teams have quarterback questions. We still need to see Alex Smith over the course of a full season, so I'm reluctant to anoint the 49ers just yet. You can't just bank on two automatic victories over the Cardinals next season. The 49ers also lost a home game when the league scheduled them to play the Broncos in London. I could see the 49ers winning the division, sure, but they still have quite a bit to prove.
Chad (Denver, CO)
Yesterday you said on the radio that you thought the Cardinals and 49ers were tied for the favorites for the NFC West. Care to defend that statement a little more in depth? The Cards lose a HOF QB, ballhawk in Antrel Rolle and anchor in Karlos Dansby and somehow the 49ers don't leap them with keeping a great core of players?
Mike Sando (1:14 PM)
The Cardinals' personnel losses do open the door for the 49ers to win the division. I'm just not anointing anyone yet. Let's see the 49ers win an important game. They could not beat a horrible, reeling Seahawks team last season in a must-win game for the 49ers. They got crushed at home against Atlanta when a victory might have sent them on their way.
big m (st. louis)
What do you think the Rams should do with the first pick, and/or about their quarterback? Would drafting Suh and getting Vick be a good move?
Mike Sando (1:18 PM)
The market for Michael Vick appears to be quite soft. The Rams have a new owner waiting to take over. I'm not sure adding Vick is something a general manager should do without full backing from ownership. The Rams shouldn't reach for a quarterback, but if they do think Sam Bradford has elite potential, they might have a hard time resisting him. And I would not blame them for addressing that position. The Rams need a plan at the quarterback position and it's looking as though that plan does not include options in free agency beyond A.J. Feeley.
Hi Mike. As an interested Lions fan, say Sam Bradford's arm falls off during his pro day. Do the Rams draft Suh or McCoy, or are have they decided on taking a QB, so they look to Clausen? Thanks.
Mike Sando (1:21 PM)
That really depends upon whether it's his throwing arm. Seriously, there's no way the Rams can invest the first overall choice in Sam Bradford if they have serious concerns about his ability to throw the ball. The best-case scenario for the Rams would be for Bradford to impress them in every way. I do not think the Rams have made a decision. Why would they? But they've set up themselves to draft Bradford if he checks out OK.
I thought the Rams would get a big name receiver this year. I guess I'm gonna have to deal with Donnie Avery again.
Mike Sando (1:22 PM)
Avery will probably get hurt at some point, so he might not be out there all the time. I really like what he offers when healthy. Those last two words are the hard part for him. The 2010 draft is supposedly strong for receivers. Laurent Robinson was impressive early last season, but injuries are a concern with him as well. The Rams should have a third receiver from a group including Keenan Burton and Brandon Gibson, with Danny Amendola showing enough on returns to probably stick around as the fourth or fifth receiver.
If the Seahawks end up picking up a QB prior to draft, do you think that takes them out of the running for picking up one in the first round.
Mike Sando (1:25 PM)
That would depend largely upon the money committed to a backup. Generally a legitimate backup quarterback can get $2 million to $3 million a year. If the Seahawks pay someone north of $3 million, that could tip us off a little bit. But if you're sitting there at No. 6 and a supposedly elite QB prospect is there unexpectedly, then you take him anyway.
Sando, miss you here in Seattle. Do you think the Broncos would trade Brandon Marshall plus the 11th pick to the Seahawks for the 6th pick? Would the Seahawks still be able to find a valuable pick at the 11th spot?
Mike Sando (1:27 PM)
That seems highly doubtful to me. My understanding is that the Broncos have had some cash issues. They have laid off employees. They have been paying millions to Mike Shanahan for not coaching. I'm not sure they would want to move into the sixth overall spot from a financial standpoint. That could be a deterrent. As for sitting there at No. 11, sure, the Seahawks could get good value there.
Mike (Oakland, CA)
The Carr signing seems indicative of Singletary's lack of being completely won over with existing options. Or put another way, he's ok with the date he brought, but only until something better comes along. Correct or am I overanalyzing a simple backup QB signing?
Mike Sando (1:28 PM)
You are 100 percent correct, in my view. The 49ers are committed to Alex Smith until they are not.
Mike, I just looked at your opinions on the latest mock draft by Mel Kiper. At 17, he has the 49ers taking the guard Mike Iupati. You are a little critical of this as he may not be a great fit at tackle. Wouldn't the 49ers be much better off taking tackle Bryan Baluga with that pick if available? He went later to I think Green BZay in Mel's latest mock.
Mike Sando (1:31 PM)
We're seeing inconsistent valuations for some tackles and Baluga in particular. Todd McShay had Bulaga going to Seattle at No. 6. Kiper had Baluga going to Green Bay at No. 23. That is a huge gap. Yes, I do think the 49ers should consider taking someone projecting at tackle.
Although the Hawks have glaring needs on Offense, do you think that the Hawks would take Berry if he is there at 6?
Mike Sando (1:34 PM)
Yes, I could see the Seahawks taking Eric Berry in that spot. Seems to me the teams picking first through fifth will help Seattle make decisions. Seattle should be in position to select the highest-rated player at one or two positions. It could be a tackle. It could be Berry. One way or another, though, they should be able to take a high-rated player.
What kind of numbers do you think Crabtree will put up?
Mike Sando (1:38 PM)
Michael Crabtree was unusually consistent in his production as a rookie. He caught between three and six passes every game he played. He caught four or five passes in seven of the 11 games he played. He never had a breakout game and that was a little surprising. But I see him catching 4-5 passes per game for 16 games, with a shot at catching 80 passes.
What do you think about the Cardinals (maybe) signing Larry Foote and Joey Porter?
Mike Sando (1:40 PM)
Those signings would help. Foote played well last season. He was in the wrong scheme. The Cardinals' scheme would suit him better. There are questions about what Porter has left. Signing him at a reasonable price would make sense because then Porter would know his role.
Hey Sando. Local AZ radio people have been talking about Foote and Porter signing with the Cards. Is this possible with the Final 8 rule? How many FA are the Cards currently able to sign?
Mike Sando (1:41 PM)
Foote is an unrestricted free agent, so the Final Eight rule would apply to him. Losing Karlos Dansby in free agency would make signing Foote pretty straightforward. Porter is in a different category because the Dolphins released him.
Cassius (North Dakota)
There's been a lot of debate on your facebook page related to the importance of someone like Brandon Marshall when rebuilding a team vs the risk that's involved with him. In your opinion, what are the most important pieces (and therefore the ones that should be addressed first) of a successful team? Thanks.
Mike Sando (1:45 PM)
The ownership/management/coaching situation needs to be unified and stable. A team needs strong veteran leadership. Quarterback and both lines should be priorities. Those are the places I would start when building a team. Seattle thinks it has the ownership/management/coaching part solved. The quarterback situation is dicey for the long term. Both lines have issues. Signing Brandon Marshall should not be the top priority. The key for Seattle or any rebuilding team would be to acquire him without sacrificing the ability to build those other areas. That means not giving up a first-round choice for him. That means making sure the team has strong enough leadership -- starting with ownership and management -- to deal with a potentially disruptive presence. And then it's important for the organization to protect itself against known risks such as a possible suspension if Marshall runs into trouble again.
big o (san francisco)
What are your thoughts on the niners opting for Taylor Mays at 17 and do you think he has good enough lateral movement and change of pace to be a safety. Also, it is not an area of need but taking Dez Bryant could prove a scary combo with Crabtree for years to come.
Mike Sando (1:47 PM)
I'm not a scout and have not studied Taylor Mays. It's an intriguing possibility because Mays is so athletic. But it's important not to take a flier on someone in the first round just because the player has measurables. The value could be better at another position.
Mike I totally agree with you that the 49ers need a tackle preferably in the 1st round but if someone slips like say Joe Haden and the 49ers have to choose between Haden and say Trent Williams what way do they go? I would have to think that Haden would be higher on their board but the do need the Tackle.
Mike Sando (1:48 PM)
Now that is an interesting dilemma. Depends on the gap between the players in terms of how highly the 49ers have them rated. Based on what I have heard about the players, Haden could be the better value. I would expect the 49ers to recognize this and make the right value call.
Shane (Los Angeles, CA)
Sand-O: A lot of Card fans are worried about the upcoming season with the severe personnel losses Az has endured. However, I think when you look at the franchise's gameplan for the long term, they are going to keep the Cards relevant. As a whole, the losses of Warner/Dansby/Rolle/Boldin hurt, but individually I think they were all the correct moves, not overpaying and getting some compensation for a player they were going to lose next year. Also, as you have pointed out, the Cardinals are one of the best drafting teams over the last five years. I have faith in the Cards management to fill the holes. Thoughts?
Mike Sando (1:51 PM)
The question I have raised is whether the Cardinals are asking too much from their personnel department. Replacing one or two guys a year seems like a reasonable expectation. Replacing a longer list of players becomes tougher. I do think the personnel losses can be overrated if we're not careful. They already have Steve Breaston and Early Doucet in place to cover for Boldin. They've already added Kerry Rhodes to replace Antrel Rolle, meaning they will not have to roll the dice on Rashad Johnson or another young safety. They couldn't really control the situation with Kurt Warner, so that is a separate issue.
djaguanino113 (san bernardino, ca)
Hi Mike, great stuff here as always, I'm a huge Rams fans here and I was just wondering, in your opinion, what needs to happen here in the draft, that could possibly help the Rams out immediately to start to win some games. And what about the free-agent market, are there any realistic options out there for the Rams that would help make a sudden impact. Obviously playoffs are a ways away, but at least a season with more then one win can't be too far away...hopefully.
Mike Sando (1:56 PM)
Thanks, DJ. Best-case scenario for the Rams would be to get the franchise quarterback in the first round, an immediate defensive contributor in the second round, a promising receiver in the third round and maybe offensive line help in the fourth and/or fifth rounds. It's harder than I'm making it sound, but that would set up the team nicely. In terms of available UFAs, there aren't great options. They could use a backup running back and Brian Westbrook is out there, but I'm not sure signing him would be a great move.
Joe (California )
How much of a loss is Jerheme Urban to the Cards??
Mike Sando (1:57 PM)
None if the Cardinals weren't going to play him. And they made it clear last season they were moving on with Early Doucet. That move probably hurt the Cardinals in the short term, but Doucet has more potential and he has justified the move so far.
Travis (Gilbert, AZ)
Do you think Greg Toler will start the season as the CB opposite DRC? McFadden has struggled and Toler was starting to show his talent at the end of the season when he got a chance.
Mike Sando (1:58 PM)
Ken Whisenhunt seems to mention Greg Toler every 4-5 minutes. I'm taking that as a strong indication that Toler will be starting for the team in the not-too-distant future.
Mike are the 49ers going to do anything in free agency?? I mean signing Carr is something but not much, bringing in a possible starter would make a lot of fans happy, say Darren Sharper, they need a safety and he has at least a year or two left in the tank. Thanks
Mike Sando (1:59 PM)
How much money would it take to sign Darren Sharper and would he want to play for the 49ers? Those could be questions worth asking.