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!
Mike Sando (12:48 PM)
Good morning/afternoon. The chat doesn't formally begin for another 10 minutes, but let's get going anyway.
Turner (Boise, ID)
Mike, it seems Seattle is in a tough position of needing a QB but probably too far away from the top of the draft to get Luck or RGIII. And Peyton, while seems like a great fit, is a very expensive option. How do you see this playing out? They may have been cornered into putting all their hopes into one move for a QB.
Mike Sando (12:50 PM)
Yes, they are cornered and could feel forced to do something. I do not see this current leadership group panicking and doing something overly rash, though. Just as a quarterback cannot sensibly throw into triple coverage, the Seahawks cannot pretend a viable option exists where there is none. There is a possibility the team goes through most of the next season with Tarvaris Jackson. I do think Seattle would pursue Peyton Manning if there were a good chance his health would allow it.
Whats good Sando? After my anger subsided over the Kyle Williams debacle, I was wondering what are the 49ers going to do for a return man, keep Ted Ginn Jr. or look elsewhere? Plus, if Williams fumbles the ball on a catch in a game next year with playoff implications, will that be enough to waive him? Thoughts?
Mike Sando (12:54 PM)
Ginn played for $1 million last season after taking a cut in pay right before the season. His contract expires. Re-signing Ginn makes sense to me because he's reliable and has game-breaking ability. The 49ers would still need to consider addressing that position in the draft. They could then reevaluate after the draft, based on whether a receiver they drafted fit the description. One nice thing about Ginn is that he can return both kicks and punts. He can also play receiver if needed.
If Adam Snyder and (hopefully) Chilo Rachal leave via free agency, do the 49ers start Kilgore next year? Or are they not comfortable handing him that spot?
Mike Sando (12:58 PM)
The 49ers have been thinking of Daniel Kilgore as an eventual starter. It could happen in 2012 if he develops during a full offseason in the 49ers' program. The 49ers traded up to get Kilgore in the fifth round. They like his versatility. I'd say Kilgore has a decent shot at joining the rotation this coming season.
Why doesn't Larry Fitzgerald get the credit he deserves as the best WR in the game today? I mean, he has only had one year (since his rookie season) with less than 1,000 yards receiving, yet all you hear about is Andre and Calvin Johnson.
Mike Sando (1:00 PM)
Fitzgerald is the best receiver in the NFL on payday. That means he is getting credit for being the best in the most meaningful way possible. Those other guys are faster, so that sometimes comes into play when evaluating receivers. I think Fitzgerald is sensational. If he is not the best receiver in the league, he is right there at the top.
luke bean (st.louis)
As a Rams fan, I love to watch Tom Brady lose after the NFL gave the Patriots our Super Bowl in 2002. It's justice every time.
Mike Sando (1:03 PM)
Now there is a can of worms we closed some time ago. If the Patriots never win another Super Bowl in the post-Spygate era, I'm sure some will use that as evidence the three Super Bowl victories weren't totally legitimate. But the margins on these games are so slim. What if Adam Vinatieri misses or Wes Welker makes that catch? The results might have been different, but nothing else would have been different.
The 49ers really need an impact receiver. Do you see them in play for any of the potential free agents or do they trust the draft to find one?
Mike Sando (1:04 PM)
The 49ers have been reluctant to upset the pecking order in their locker room by signing players from other teams to massive contracts. It's been a while since they did that. For that reason, I'm a little skeptical about them suddenly adopting that approach right now.
Chris (Anaheim )
It seems Harbaugh is content with Alex Smith at QB after a recent report I read. Is there any chance that he goes back on his word and they make Colin Kaepernick the starter or even sign Peyton Manning (if he is available)?
Mike Sando (1:04 PM)
Seems unlikely in the absence of something changing with Smith.
Kathy (San Antonio)
I think Peyton Manning to the 49ers makes so much sense, yet I keep reading that Harbaugh is fixated on keeping Alex Smith. Why would he not want to get a Hall of Fame QB when the Niners are so stocked with talent at nearly every other position? Harbaugh seems like a guy who wants to be considered in the same sentence as Bill Walsh, yet he will hurt his long-term future as head coach if he sticks with Smith.
Mike Sando (1:07 PM)
Peyton Manning's health is a key variable. The 49ers might not trust his ability to get and stay healthy. The team might feel as though it has a good thing going, and the rewards of adding a diminished, older Manning might not appeal to them coming off a season in which they were really a play or two away from the Super Bowl. It is also possible the 49ers will reevaluate if anything changes with Manning.
Ron LaCroix (Edmonds WA)
Mike, have you heard anything from the Hawks that would tip their hand as to their draft priorities, other than needing to get faster?
Mike Sando (1:11 PM)
We know their philosophy toward players at various positions. I feel confident in saying they will want to upgrade their pass rush in this draft. They will want another big running back.
Should Seahawk and stadium officials really be looking into hosting a cold/wet Seattle Superbowl? The chances seem slim to none. How would Seattle benefit?
Mike Sando (1:12 PM)
The Seahawks are not pursuing a Super Bowl in Seattle at this time. My understanding is that they have filled out the necessary paperwork to keep their name in the hat for down the line.
Which team is a better fit for Peyton Manning, Seattle or Arizona? Thanks.
Mike Sando (1:13 PM)
I lean toward Arizona because the Cardinals play indoors, they have an offensive coach (Frank Reich) with direct ties to Manning and they have Larry Fitzgerald. But if they pay the $7 million to Kevin Kolb, it would be tough to pay Manning as well. The Seahawks are in better position to add a big-money quarterback because they do not have a big-money incumbent QB.
Blackmon is the best WR in the draft, but is he worth the No. 2 pick overall considering all the Rams' needs? Is he worth drafting over Ryan Kalil?
Mike Sando (1:16 PM)
The analysts I've spoken with say Justin Blackmon is the best receiver in the draft, but not worth taking with the second overall choice. The Rams have every reason to move back from that second spot. Another team seeking a quarterback would seemingly have reason to move into that spot. If the Rams could move back, get Blackmon and add picks, that might be a winning scenario.
my name (wa)
I know the Seahawks will most likely re-sign Marshawn Lynch, and that's a very good thing. But if Trent Richardson were available come the Seahawks' first pick, do they pick him up? That duo in the backfield would be incredible and would open up the passing game that much more. Is there any shot the Hawks can get him?
Mike Sando (1:24 PM)
It's too early to say for sure whether players beyond the top couple quarterbacks will or will not be available at Nos. 11 or 12. The rookie salary structure makes it easier for teams to draft players at positions where they already have money invested. If and when Seattle does a long-term deal with Lynch, the parameters will likely be such that the team will need three good seasons from Lynch to warrant the investment. That could make it tough to justify taking another back in the first round. Perhaps they could move back and add picks. I do think the Seahawks will draft a bigger back at some point, however. They need a second power back on the roster.
Shane (Robins AFB, GA)
Mike, per Mike Jurecki, the Cards would take a $10.5M cap hit if they release Kolb before his March roster bonus. The Cards are sitting around $117M of a projected $124M salary cap. If they cut Levi Brown's $17M as projected, that leaves them at $100M. This would certainly give them room to sign Peyton at this price. While I have my doubts Peyton would come to Arizona, Larry Fitzgerald & a good defense are some selling points to offset a bad O-Line that he would make look better (like Warner did). Assume Arizona lands PM, what other moves do you see the Cards making to bolster a playoff run? Garcon?
Mike Sando (1:27 PM)
We should remember that the salary cap is usually a convenient excuse and not a real impediment for signing players a team really wants to sign. If the Cardinals want to sign Peyton Manning, the salary cap would not prevent them from doing a deal. As for which other moves the team might make, sure, we could see the team adding players familiar with its quarterback.
SEA and Josh Portis. Are they thinking he might be a possible starter? Seattle's best have always been under the radar.
Mike Sando (1:27 PM)
Yes, the Seahawks have considered Portis as a potential starter down the line. Do not see that happening in 2012, though.
Is there any way Trufant is back with the hawks next year. Can you have the highest paid CB be a 3rd/4th stringer.
Mike Sando (1:29 PM)
There is no way Marcus Trufant will return under his current contract. I question whether the team would want him back at a reduced rate, given the emergence of top young talent at the position. Trufant as the nickel corner could have some appeal, though.
Nicholas (Monmouth, OR)
I hate the idea of the Seahawks wasting a top pick on a RB. I don't understand using a pick on a position that sees so little difference between the top players, has a short life span in the NFL, and is 100 percent reliant on the offensive line. Please tell me Pete Carroll feels the same and will power up our defense more, or address QB in the first three rounds.
Mike Sando (1:30 PM)
I do not anticipate the Seahawks drafting a running back in the first round. Lynch showed he is not 100 percent reliant on the offensive line, though. I'll be surprised if the Seahawks do not address their defense in the first few rounds.
Steve B. (Ohio.)
Why are so many people so down on Alex Smith? He has stuck it out through some very bad times with the 49ers with very little help from anybody. His play has not been bad and at times has been very good. I think he's finally getting the support he needs and will only get better from here yet the so called fans are trying to run him out of town in favor of a 36-year-old vet who might not even be able to play.
Mike Sando (1:32 PM)
The fans you are talking about are likely thinking about a healthy, productive Peyton Manning, not the one you described.
Hey Mike, I'm a huge Cards fan and I have been tracking every bit of information that relates to where Peyton Manning may be going next year. If he is released, do I have any reason to think Peyton may take the Kurt Warner route to Arizona, or should I just not even bother. Thank you!
Mike Sando (1:33 PM)
Go ahead and bother. Do not get your hopes up too high. There could be lots of options beyond signing with Arizona. But I see no reason to rule out Arizona.
Tarvaris seems like a "see it throw it" QB who will never throw the receiver "open". Does seattle have enough talent at receiver to succeed with that type of QB?
Mike Sando (1:35 PM)
Greg Cosell, is that you? I kid. Not sure if Greg has said that about Tarvaris, but it sounds like something he would say about a quarterback. To answer your question, let me ask one. What does "succeed" mean? Win three championships? Unlikely. Contend for the NFC West crown? Possible. I see Jackson for what he is: the quarterback til the Seahawks find their next quarterback.
The week of the Super Bowl, Larry Fitzgerald was on "Mike
Mike Sando (1:37 PM)
I see no problem because Fitzgerald and a healthy Manning are great players. Leaving the impression you'd be open to playing with one of the all-time great quarterbacks doesn't count as disrespect for two quarterbacks with no real credentials.
Ryan (So Cal)
Who would you like to see as the Rams new GM? All these interviews, all these different guys. I'm feeling overwhelmed here. Can you help me out?
Mike Sando (1:40 PM)
Sure. The Rams are not going to hire a "name" general manager. Jeff Fisher is the big name. The GM they hire will have to work well with Fisher. The Rams' next GM will probably come without much of a track record as the primary decision maker for an NFL team. That will complicate efforts to evaluate him. For that reason, I wouldn't be sitting on the edge of my seat while sweating out which candidate might come out on top.
Andy (Syracuse, NY)
People keep talking about the 49ers resigning Carlos Rogers and using the franchise tag on Goldson. If they have enough space to sign both to longer deals, wouldn't that be the better way to go?
Mike Sando (1:41 PM)
Is there evidence to suggest Dashon Goldson will perform at a high level, year in and year out? That is the question to ask.
Hey Mike, love the blog. Your frequent posts keep me coming back day after day for my Rams info. Coaches and coordinators seem to be lining up to join Jeff Fisher on his staff. In his conference call, McGinnis said that his decision to join Jeff was immediate. Gregg Williams' situation was similar. Schotty joined the staff quickly. Aside from having previous experience on Fisher's staffs, what is it that makes Jeff so appealing to these coaches? Steven Jackson loves the confidence he projects.
Mike Sando (1:46 PM)
Thanks, Josh. I read those comments and actually listened to McGinnis on the conference call. His excitement was definitely palpable. The fact that Williams and McGinnis would jump at the change to reunite with Fisher reflects well on Fisher. Fisher seems to know what is important. He seems to be no-nonsense and without pretense. He seems real. He's not walking around trying to prove to everyone that he's a head coach. This shows up in the confidence Fisher projects. Assistants are also looking for stability, which tends to be elusive in the NFL. Fisher lasted 16-plus seasons as head coach in his last job. That track record is appealing.
Chex Norris (San Diego)
Do you think the 49ers would have beat New England in the Super Bowl? I do.
Mike Sando (1:48 PM)
That type of hypothetical came to mind during the game Sunday. Yeah, I think the 49ers could have won that one. But it was not blatantly obvious. The 49ers could have lost that game, too. They would have been competitive. I'm pretty sure of that.
Since Harbaugh seems "socially indifferent" as you put it towards people outside his team like him or not, do you feel like there could be some hard feelings with him when a player chooses to leave town to go somewhere else.
Mike Sando (1:50 PM)
Not especially. Harbaugh has been a player. He understands -- and has said he understands -- the need for players to look out for their best interests in the market. I don't think Harbaugh would hold anything against a player for taking a better job elsewhere. That is part of the deal.
Matt Kalil seems to be a LT prospect on par with Luck at QB, like as in can't miss. If the Rams can get a pro bowl left tackle, it seems to be a much rarer commodity than a wide receiver like Justin Blackmon. If it's me, I take Kalil with the 2nd pick and address the receivers in the following rounds or free agency.
Mike Sando (1:50 PM)
Yeah, and perhaps they could move Rodger Saffold to another position and have him remain a starter, in that case.
Is Eli Manning better than Peyton? Is he a Hall of Famer?
Mike Sando (1:51 PM)
I'll have to check with Kurt Warner on that one.
Daniel (Hayward Ca)
Do you think Manning can hold up in the NFCW? By far the worst division at protecting the QB.
Mike Sando (1:52 PM)
Manning protects himself to a large degree by getting rid of the football.
Mike, I feel that for the Niners to be a SB contender next year, they have to open their passing offense and improve mightily. For them to do this, I believe they have to sign a good FA WR. I think that drafting one wouldn't help that much because it will take time for that rookie to develop. They need someone who knows how to run routes and get open in the NFL. Bowe is number one on my list. Your thoughts??
Mike Sando (1:58 PM)
Yes, the 49ers could use more talent at wide receiver. However, they were a Super Bowl contender this year without a great WR situation. That does not mean they will be a SB contender next year, but neither would adding a top receiver assure anything. I think Alex Smith will need to become more aggressive to maximize the talent at the position. Bowe would certainly change the dynamics of the position, but would the 49ers get the most out of him ... and Vernon Davis ... and Michael Crabtree?
Of the four NFC West teams, don't you think San Francisco has more big-name UFAs to sign or let leave than the other three teams? Peace out.
Mike Sando (2:00 PM)
In general, yes. But assuming the 49ers re-sign Alex Smith, which seems likely, the most significant free agents in the division might be Calais Campbell (Arizona) and Marshawn Lynch (Seattle), off the top of my head.
Mike Sando (2:00 PM)
Thanks for dropping by this extended NFC West chat. The pleasure was mine.