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!
Dennis (San Jose)
Mike, Do you think that Eddie DeBartolo's influence with Jed York is part of Scott McCloughan's possible step down as 49er Gm? Eddie was pretty demanding even of Bill Walsh in his quest for a constant winner, and Scott, even though he is a pretty good evaluator of talent in the early rounds, has not been that dynamic and forcefull in his handling of the QB situation and being active in trade situations.
Mike Sando (12:58 PM)
Highly doubtful. It just strikes me has highly unlikely that an NFL team would force out its general manager over philosophical differences a month before the draft. Seems more likely there would be some sort of personal reasons that could include anything from a family crisis to who knows what. Parting with a GM for any other reason would be too disruptive.
Any word on what is going on with Scot McCloughan? Reports out here are saying that he is thinking of stepping down. Who would take over if he is out?
Mike Sando (1:01 PM)
McCloughan's agent went on the record saying his client would not step down. That is the only person I've seen quoted on the record. If there were a change, the team would certainly have to promote from within. McCloughan's brother, Dave, heads up the college scouting department. He could be a candidate to head up the draft. Trent Baalke is player personnel director.
I fear the Rams will draft Ndamukong Suh in round one and reach for a guy like Colt McCoy, Tim Tebow or Tony Pike in round two to appease the fans and media in St. Louis.
Mike Sando (1:04 PM)
Drafting Sam Bradford first overall would actually be the more popular move, I would think. We could see a big gap between where the first two quarterbacks are taken and where the next quarterbacks are taken.
MIKE, could Charlie Whitehurst surprise people when Matt Hasselbeck is done? Or would they regret this and take a long look at Pete Carroll and the GM decison on this and have a short stay here?
Mike Sando (1:06 PM)
I doubt the Seahawks' leadership sees this move as being so dramatic. From their perspective, the drop from 40th to 60th in the draft isn't catastrophic, and the team should know pretty quickly whether Whitehurst is the answer. If not, the team could walk away from the contract pretty easily. At that point, though, I think it would be important for the Seahawks to have another quarterback ready to step in and win games. The only way this decision drags down the current leadership is if Whitehurst bombs out and the Seahawks lose because of it.
Saleem (San Jose)
Mike, couldn't the Hawks have gotten Whitehurst without giving up that 40th pick? Is he even thought of as replacing Matt when his time is up?
Mike Sando (1:09 PM)
The deal Seattle made does put Whitehurst in position to succeed Hasselbeck unless the team winds up drafting Sam Bradford or Jimmy Clausen. What we do not know, yet, is how much Arizona was also pushing to get Whitehurst and how that affected the price. The Chargers must be thrilled, though. They gave up a player who does not figure into their long-term plans.
Justin (Los Angeles)
Do you see the Rams trading their second round pick with how the draft is now set up?
Mike Sando (1:11 PM)
That would make a great deal of sense. The Rams need picks. If they could get their quarterback first overall, then move back for additional picks, I would like the thinking. And you're right in pointing to the way the draft is set up. We've got the first round Thursday and the second round beginning Friday. Teams will regroup, size up their boards and decide whether there's a guy they need to get.
Sando, love the blog. I've got a couple of questions about the Whitehurst deal. Is the sky falling? Do you think we signed Zoltar because we didn't expect Bradford/Clausen at No. 6 or didn't want them? Is there any question that "The Hair" has better tools and mechanics than anybody we could have selected after the first round?
Mike Sando (1:16 PM)
My theory goes like this. The Seahawks saw Whitehurst and Kevin Kolb as the only veteran backups worth pursuing as potential starters via trade. They saw Sam Bradford and Jimmy Clausen as the only potential franchise quarterbacks in this draft. They weren't sure Bradford or Clausen would be there when they picked sixth overall. They probably thought Whitehurst had more "upside" than Derek Anderson. The Cardinals were also interested in Whitehurst over Anderson. Seattle wound up paying a premium for protection at the QB position.
Having traded down from 40 to 60 for Whitehurst, I am wondering what kind of an impact you think that makes on the Seahawks eventually trading for Brandon Marshall. I, for one, don't think they will be sending pick 6 or 14 there, so they must have some idea of how the swapping of second rounders would affect the deal with Denver. Does this ultimately hurt the possibility of a trade, or just make it more likely that it will be a player-pick combo? Thanks. GO HAWKS.
Mike Sando (1:20 PM)
I would think the Seahawks could trade down from 14 and recoup a pick in the front half of the second round, picking up a late first-rounder along the way. That would make sense. Seattle could use the sixth pick for quality, then get some quantity out of the 14th choice. It's more likely someone would trade up to No. 14 than to No. 6, usually. Adding picks that way could put Seattle in better position to swing a deal for Brandon Marshall. I still think it all comes down to two things: 1) How motivated the Broncos might be as sellers; and 2) whether there's a legitimate market for Marshall beyond Seattle. Those factors will determine price. It's premature to say the Broncos would or would not take the 14th, 40th, 60th or any other picks in a trade.
Nick (San Diego)
Hey Mike, I always enjoy your column. What do you think about the new FA vets added to the Rams? Any more on the Willie Parker acquisition? In your eyes, are the Rams a team (young) built for the future?
Mike Sando (1:24 PM)
Thanks, Nick. Hank Fraley should provide better depth inside on the line. Same for Fred Robbins on defense. I agree that the Rams needed to add some seasoning. Neither one of those guys is going to be an impact player. Same for A.J. Feeley. These are veteran role players. Every team needs them, but the Rams need front-line talent. I like some of the things they've done to address their offensive line. Emerging from this draft with a franchise quarterback would signal more clearly that the Rams are set up for the future. They remain in the early stages elsewhere on the roster. As for Willie Parker, he is visiting the Rams and the team does need a backup running back. I'm not sure what he has left. Injuries have been a problem. The move would not be particularly exciting, but Parker is probably a better option than the Samkon Gados and Kenneth Darbys of the world.
Mike, I am a diehard Seahawks fan since 76, but I have not been so concerned as I am now. How many throw away backups can they possibly sign? Are they trying to assure themselves of getting Locker next year? Please make me feel better!
Mike Sando (1:27 PM)
I'm not sure if it makes you feel better knowing the Seahawks gave up more for Matt Hasselbeck than they gave up for Charlie Whitehurst. One difference then was that Mike Holmgren was lending his name to the Hasselbeck move, giving it credence.
I don't understand this trade for Whitehurst. We gave up our third-round pick in 2011 and swapped this year's second-rounder. If we needed a project QB, we could draft one in this years fourth round (Pike).
Mike Sando (1:28 PM)
The Seahawks are saying, by their actions, that Whitehurst has far more potential than Pike or the other second-tier quarterbacks in the 2010 draft.
The niners a very weak on the offensive line, yet they keep letting good role players go. Tony Pashos was good for depth and so is Sims. I just don't get them.
Mike Sando (1:30 PM)
How hard was it to find Barry Sims or Tony Pashos? That might be a question worth asking. I agree, Sims in particular had value last season. But it's possible the 49ers can draft for the line and take their chances with another Pashos-type player coming available. And they could still re-sign Sims.
With the Rams most likely grabbing Sam Bradford, and the couple signings they have done so far, and whoever else they take in the draft, is my prediction of at least a .500 season pure fantasy or do you think it could happen?
Mike Sando (1:32 PM)
Looks like a little bit of fantasy from here, Justine. The Lions were a mess when they took Matthew Stafford. They had a rough year. The Rams are younger now than the Lions were last year, which could be good for their long-term outlook. But I think it's a successful season if the Rams get to 6-10. Getting to 8-8 would be outstanding based on where this team has been.
SprungOnSports (Long Island)
Any word on where Joey Porter will end up? Arizona could really use him.
Mike Sando (1:34 PM)
I don't think the Cardinals are sweating this one too much, and neither is the rest of the league. Someone recently reached out to me and ripped the Cardinals for failing to pay Porter. I noted that 31 other teams had also failed to pay him. Porter has to know his role for his signing to make sense. His salary is going to define that role. I don't blame Arizona and the other NFL teams for proceeding with some caution. All the peripheral things with Porter are easier to handle if he's an elite player. The consensus right now, obviously, is that Porter is no longer an elite player even though he had 9.0 sacks last season.
Rick (Charleston, WV)
Hey Mike, don't know if you saw, but Darnell Dockett is tweeting that he is ready to drop some exciting news that he will celebrate "to the highest point EVER." Now, granted, Nine-Oh has a tendency to put on the clown shoes from time to time, but do you think this could have anything to do with Joey Porter and/or a contract extension for himself?
Mike Sando (1:37 PM)
I saw that, too, and am intrigued. Dockett probably would not have a handle on personnel moves the Cardinals might be making. He could know whether a new contract is forthcoming, obviously. He's just a tough guy to take too seriously on Twitter because he does like to joke around.
Billy (Bay Area)
Do you think David Carr will see playing time if Alex Smith has any kind of regression?
Mike Sando (1:38 PM)
Brian (Los Angeles)
Any news on the 49ers / Leon Washington front? Depending on his rehab progress, I have to assume his 2nd round tender is very appealing to the 49er brass, no?
Mike Sando (1:39 PM)
I've heard nothing suggesting the 49ers would make that move.
Hi Mike, really appreciate and enjoy your work but I have to say I'm very disappointed that ESPN has made no mention of the McCloughan bombshell that broke last night. Is there a lack of new/reliable information or what? Any chance I can get you to speculate about what might have happened behind closed doors (to make this move at this time of year, clearly SOMETHING happened).
Mike Sando (1:43 PM)
I linked to two items on that subject and posted the item early Thursday morning. The initial report said Scot McCloughan was "considering" stepping down. Subsequent reports have McCloughan's agent saying McCloughan will not step down. There is something going on here, obviously, but what?
Mackay (Pleasant Grove, UT)
Sandman, One secret need will be WR for Arizona. What round to you anticipate them drafting a WR. Also, why haven't the cardinals addressed the CB situation. They do need to improve there right?
Mike Sando (1:47 PM)
Wide receiver is not much of a need for the Cardinals. Larry Fitzgerald's contract runs through the 2011 season (2012 is a voidable year). The deal includes a provision preventing Arizona from naming him its franchise or transition player. The Cardinals will need to address that deal next season, probably, but I don't see a huge need right now. At cornerback, the Cardinals appear high on Greg Toler to step up and become more of a player.
Jim (Los Angeles)
I know that FA kickers don't create a lot of excitement, but any word on whether Cards plan to bring back Rackers or will they start from square one with one of the other available journeymen?
Mike Sando (1:47 PM)
They could take him back, sure, but at what price? I don't think he's a guy they absolutely, positively need to bring back. It's not like teams are lining up to sign him right now. They could look at other kickers and then make a decision.
Ken (Redondo bch)
Do you think the Rams might be signing too many back up players and not enough starters?
Mike Sando (1:49 PM)
Yes, but it's not like there are a ton of starters out there lining up outside Rams headquarters, begging to sign with the team. This was a weak group of free agents based on rules preventing more than 200 players from hitting the market.
Thomas (Spokane go ZAGS)
Sando love your work, One of the Niners' first picks in the draft will obviously go to picking a tackle, but what are they going to do about that hideous secondary? Thanks 49ers 4ever.
Mike Sando (1:55 PM)
Shawntae Spencer and Dashon Goldson look like good young players in that secondary. The 49ers need to figure out whether Nate Clements still can play at a starting level. I think they need to draft a cornerback and consider drafting a safety or signing a veteran. Veteran safeties can sometimes get by on instincts and experience. Michael Lewis could, too, but the concussion issues are troubling.
Mike, what are your thoughts on the Cards situation at RT? With Levi Brown moving the left side, who will emerge as the starter opposite him?
Mike Sando (1:58 PM)
Herman Johnson showed good promise at right tackle last summer, including in exhibition games. But I'm not sure they would want him protecting Matt Leinart's blind side. Johnson could be a candidate. Jeremy Bridges' re-signing helps. I think they could stand to draft a tackle, personally.
Mike Sando (1:58 PM)
Thanks for dropping by the NFC West chat this week.