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!
Do you know how long it would take a team to implement a new offense and a new defense once the impasse ends with the lockout? For example if the lockout lasted until one month before the season would start; would that give teams with a new defensive coordinator or new offensive coordinater enough time to be even competitive at the start of the season. If there isn't enough time would that put a giant asterisk on this season?
Mike Sando (1:01 PM)
I spoke with Ken Whisenhunt about this at the NFL owners meeting last month. He said they would typically have a five-day installment period during minicamps, and they would then repeat this during organized team activities, and again when training camp began. Having less time to prepare would mean installing less of the offense or defense, which would force teams to take a simpler approach early in the season and possibly add stuff along the way. As Whisenhunt said: "The biggest thing you have to be prepared to do is cut things back. You will have to develop more slowly with some of these players."
Andrew (It's 60's in Minnesota!)
Sandoooooo! Where do the 49ers go if and when Franklin leaves? Does Jean-Francios take over? Or Ray McDonald? Or do they convert Justin Smith to the DT position?
Mike Sando (1:04 PM)
The 49ers will presumably address that position in the draft. They might then need to consider someone in free agency as well. Aubrayo Franklin is an important part of that defensive line, but so far the team hasn't been eager to pay huge money to him. We need to figure out what the current staff thinks about him, and what it wants from its nose tackle specifically. I do not see the team moving Justin Smith. Ricky Jean-Francois got some reps there and presumably would again.
Chris (San Francisco)
I have heard that the Cardinals don't like a QB that much to pick No. 5 overall. Having said that, do you think they would really pass on Blaine Gabbert or Cam Newton if they were there?
Mike Sando (1:06 PM)
My sense is that they would not take Cam Newton, who would be seen as more of a boom-bust player and too risky for that fifth slot. Taking Gabbert would come as less of a surprise, but I tend to think it'll depend upon who else is available there. My guess is that Von Miller would jump out as someone whose value/need ratio holds up.
Jeff (Cedar Rapids, IA)
Good day Mike. Everyone seems fixated on the Rams drafting a WR and, honestly, I don't see it. Sure, if A.J. Green or Julio Jones falls, that makes sense but realistically that's not going to happen. Both Kiper and McShay have the Rams taking a receiver in the secnd round but logically it doesn't make much sense to me to add another No. 2 guy. Would a WR in the second round be a huge improvement over a healthy Donnie Avery, Danario Alexander or Brandon Gibson? I think that second-round pick would be so much more valuable in getting an outside linebacker, safety or guard. Just wondering your thoughts on that second-round pick. Thanks!
Mike Sando (1:13 PM)
Your take and my take line up nicely. The last 10 receivers taken in the second round were Arrelious Benn, Golden Tate, Brian Robiskie, Mohamed Massaquoi, Avery, Devin Thomas, Jordy Nelson, James Hardy, Eddie Royal and Jerome Simpson. There have been some good ones over the years -- DeSean Jackson, Greg Jennings, Vincent Jackson, Anquan Boldin -- but I agree that a rookie receiver tends to make less impact. We have seen NFC West teams find good linebackers in the second round. Daryl Washington looks promising for Arizona, while Karlos Dansby worked out well as a second-rounder previously. James Laurinaitis is working out well for the Rams. Lofa Tatupu went to three Pro Bowls for Seattle.
Matt (Lady Lake, FL)
If the courts rule that the owners must end the lock out, does that mean players can then meet with the coaches or does it simply mean they are allowed to use the facilities?
Mike Sando (1:15 PM)
The NFL would appeal and request a stay to continue the lockout pending the appeal. If a stay were granted, the lockout would continue. If a stay were not granted, I would expect business to open and players to have access to team facilities. I do not know for sure what would happen, though.
Matt (Lady Lake, FL)
Mike, if there is no CBA in place, but the league is forced to start operating under the 2010 rules before the draft, can players be traded for 2011 picks?
Mike Sando (1:16 PM)
I think they could.
Jeff (Bellevue, WA)
If you take stock in what McShay and Kiper believe, it appears to be rather likely that Jake Locker will stay in Seattle. Should that happen, I would think that would be one of the best scenarios for Matt Hasselbeck because that would increase the pressure on Seattle to bring him back. They would need a smart, veteran West Coast QB to teach alongside Darrell Bevell. Thoughts?
Mike Sando (1:20 PM)
Drafting Locker would preclude the team from acquiring a Kevin Kolb and paying Kolb big money over the long term. Keeping Hasselbeck as a veteran mentor would have greater appeal. I'm just not so sure Seattle would feel that pressure to the point that it would compel the team to start guaranteeing money to Hasselbeck on a longer-term deal.
What do you make of Mike Pouncey's tweet that he'd be surprised if he's not taken by the Cowboys? Was hoping the Hawks would have a shot at him with the 25th pick. Has his stock risen that much? If he's off the board, who do you have the Hawks taking in the first round?
Mike Sando (1:22 PM)
I read nothing into what Pouncey tweeted. He does not know what is going to happen. There are too many scenarios with the first 24 choices to say with any credibility which direction Seattle will go with that choice.
Mike (Costa Mesa)
Do you see the Cardinals drafting a running back in either the second or third rounds?
Mike Sando (1:23 PM)
That seems early to me. The team has too many other need areas and too much invested in Beanie Wells. This is a pivotal year for Wells, but I think the Cardinals can make better use of those early choices in 2011.
Do you get the impression that the Seahawks are going to put in a competative bid to keep Hass, or are they intent on going another direction?
Mike Sando (1:25 PM)
I get the impression Seattle is not going to move off its stance significantly.
Dan (San Jose)
Last year at this time I asked if it was out of the question that the 49ers use their two first-round picks on o-linemen. So, for my encore, I will ask if its out of the question that the 49ers go Robert Quinn in the first, take Andy Dalton in the second, Greg McElroy in the sixth or seventh, cut David Carr, [sign] Marc Bulger or sign Matt Hasslebeck and then go all out for Nnamdi Asomugha on the free-agent market? How's that for a plan?
Mike Sando (1:27 PM)
Bravo. I did not think the 49ers would use both first-rounders for the offensive line basically because there were too many other potential scenarios. I like your plan this offseason but question seriously whether the team would break the bank for Asomugha.
Brad (Topeka KS)
Mike, love the blog read it all the time. Do you think it would be wise for the cards to take Blaine Gabbert if available, or o you think John Skelton can handle the work and do well?
Mike Sando (1:30 PM)
As someone who has never scouted Blaine Gabbert or done the homework a general manager would be in position to do, I can only rely on the available scouting reports, and on what I hear from NFL people. Those reports make me think Arizona would be wise to select Gabbert fifth overall.
Mike (kent, wa)
Sando, the draft is always a crap shoot. Analysis galore. Aaron Curry was potential No. 1 overall pick, a steal for the Seahawks at No. 4, a sure-lock dominant player, but he is not producing. Wrong scheme, wrong position, misused or bust?
Mike Sando (1:33 PM)
The biggest limitation for Curry was that he was going to be a strong-side linebacker. I would say he has failed to meet expectations in terms of football instincts. Overall team instability has not helped him, either. It's early to call him a bust, but I would say the first couple years of his career have been a disappointment, and there are serious questions about whether he'll ever be an impact player. But he should be a starter.
I get who the seahawks pick at #25 is based on what's done in front of them. Was looking for your best guess on some of the players that are on their radar who could go around the 25th pick based on the research you've done. But thanks for the copout.
Mike Sando (1:37 PM)
Let's go Mike Pouncey if it's an offensive lineman, Corey Liuget if it is a defensive lineman, and I'm just not sure about the quarterback because I am not yet convinced we know how they'll want to set up the offense.
Mike after looking at the latest mocks from Mel Kiper and Todd McShay, I was very worried that neither of them had the 49ers taking a QB in the first 2 rounds. Now we all know there is no way they can predict trades but do you have any feelings what the 49ers will do to possibly get a QB?
Mike Sando (1:39 PM)
I'm confident they would not trade their first-round choice for Kevin Kolb if that were an option. More options come onto the table if we're talking about 2012 choices, though.
Do you guys think JJ Watt can play DE in the 4-3? And be a good fit with Rams.
Mike Sando (1:42 PM)
I've seen Watt projected mostly for 3-4 defenses or as a left end in a 4-3 defense, or possibly as a three-technique defensive tackle, according to Nolan Nawrocki of Pro Football Weekly, whose annual draft guides contain lots more than controversial comments about Cam Newton, by the way. The Rams are obviously set at left end with Chris Long. Seems to me they could find a way to use a starting-caliber defensive lineman even if the fit were not perfect.
No need to trade for bulger he should be a free agent.
Mike Sando (1:43 PM)
Thank you. I updated the previous question to reflect that.
Excuse my ignorance, but could you explain that stance regarding Hass?
Mike Sando (1:44 PM)
The Seahawks' stance on Matt Hasselbeck appears to be that they'll do a deal that reflects his status as the starter in 2011, but not necessarily beyond.
Mike, in your opinion what is the problem with Jacob Bell? We paid a lot for him, he is in the prime of his career age-wise, why is he such a liability at guard. Is he too finesse?
Mike Sando (1:45 PM)
I don't see Jacob Bell as a big liability. He's had some injury concerns, specifically with concussions.
Shane (Los Angeles, CA)
Sando, if the Cards do get Von Miller, the LB corps, which was the Achilles heel of the defense last year, should be much better with O'Brien Schofield and Daryl Washington. Depth concerns aside, shouldn't the Cards' starting defense fare much better next year? Of course, having a QB that doesn't put your defense in bad positions all year long will help also!
Mike Sando (1:48 PM)
I expect improvement. Injuries to Darnell Dockett and Adrian Wilson were also factors. The Cardinals are optimistic on Schofield and Davis. Their optimism on young players in the past held up in a couple instances, notably with Calais Campbell after the team let Antonio Smith leave in free agency.
Chris (Columbia, SC)
After all this draft talk seems like it's been narrowed to Julio Jones, (in which I believe he will not be available), Corey Liuget, and Aldon Smith. I love Aldon Smith but I think Liuget makes so much sense. DT is a strong need and learning/ partnering with Freddie Robbins will make a force in the middle. How do you think this tandem will help out the defense specifically the end rushers Long, Hall, and Selvie?
Mike Sando (1:49 PM)
It's amazing to me that James Hall fared as well at defensive end as he did last season. Adding another strong player inside would help, but sometime we expect too much from rookies. The Cardinals like Dan Williams, but they didn't get much from him early in the season. I do like the idea of a young defensive tackle coming in and working alongside Fred Robbins, though.
Mike, if you were the GM of the 49ers, how far would you consider trading up in the second to get the guy you covet?
Mike Sando (1:51 PM)
I'd be very, very skeptical about trading up to draft a quarterback in the second round or even the late first round. The track record is poor for teams that have gone that route.
Golden Tate was an electrifying pick in the 2nd round last year, great consolation for trading back in that round and not getting a shot at Colt McCoy. A full season later and I think quite a few people have cooled on him. Given the lockout, are we looking at 2012 before he maybe breaks through on all that potential?
Mike Sando (1:53 PM)
That is one real downside to this lockout for Seattle. Tate needed polish. I still think he can fare better just by staying healthy. He made a couple plays in games last season before getting hurt.
Please comment on my analysis of the QB situation in the draft. It seems to me that Arizona is in a perfect situation to take a DEF player like Von Miller at #5, then sitting back and waiting for a QB like Ponder or Dalton in early rd 2 (trading up slightly if need be). Seattle needs to take a QB at #25 if they want to because they will all be gone by their 2nd pick. SF wont take a QB at #7, and surely all will be gone by their 2nd round pick. Based on this, and not to mention Tennessee, Washington, Buffalo, Minnesota, and Carolina will all have taken QBs with either their 1st or 2nd picks, it seems to me the one team left out in the cold is the 49ers. Does this make them the most likely to trade for Kolb?
Mike Sando (1:55 PM)
I like the way you have thought through things, but it all comes down to whether the 49ers would value Kolb enough to part with a high pick for him. I do not see them making that trade with their first-rounder this year, should trades for veteran players even be permissible. Would the Eagles take a high second-rounder for him? Not so sure that would make a great deal of sense for them.
Shane (Los Angeles, CA)
No one is talking about Blaine Gabbert the same way they talked about Sam Bradford last year. I doubt there is an elite QB in this draft and I hope the Cardinals don't waste any picks on another developmental QB. Every Super Bowl QB over the last decade was drafted 33rd or higher with the exception of Tom Brady, and I just don't see any QBs worth picks that high this year.
Mike Sando (1:59 PM)
My sense is that Arizona agrees with you. I'm assuming your note about Super Bowl quarterbacks means Super Bowl winning quarterbacks. Kurt Warner was not drafted, and he went to a Super Bowl. Matt Hasselbeck was a late-round pick, and he went.
Mike Sando (2:01 PM)
Thanks for dropping by the NFC West chat. My pleasure!
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