Chat with Mike Sando
Welcome to SportsNation! On Friday, 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 Friday at 3 p.m. ET!
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Mike Sando (2:58 PM)
I'm here now, so it's on. At least I turned on auto-update. So here we go.
Boothe (my moms basement) [via mobile]
Which is a more plausible hypothesis: the 49ers approached this draft with an eye on giving Smith more weapons or that they drafted these players to pair with Kap (in the near future) in a more dynamic, high speed, offense ? Or is neither mutually exclusive of the other?
Mike Sando (3:00 PM)
The 49ers were adding to their offense, period. If Alex Smith makes the most of those weapons, good for him. If not, on to the next guy. I'm sure they're thinking in the backs of their minds about a day when Colin Kaepernick, A.J. Jenkins and LaMichael James are on the field together with Vernon Davis, etc. But for now, Alex Smith gets first crack.
If Kolb gets concussed again and misses multiple games given what we have seen recently and the added attention put on brain trauma; he has to at least consider retirement right?
Mike Sando (3:06 PM)
Reasonably, yes, but we have evidence suggesting players will try to keep playing, and teams will keep giving them chances. I wonder if we're headed for a day when players must go through some sort of neurological or medical board to get a license to play in the NFL. Sort of the way boxing requires boxers to get a license. I mean, Brandon Stokley is playing in the NFL after suffering more than 10 significant concussions, by his count.
With the Seahawks addressing their 2 biggest offensive needs: 1) QB 2) 2nd RB, I feel now their biggest offensive need is depth @ tight end. They seem to have a potential logjam @ receiver w/ someone having to go, what about Mike Williams @ TE? I see that as a potential match-up advantage which are everything in the NFL. Your thoughts?
Mike Sando (3:08 PM)
Mike Williams wouldn't offer enough as a blocker. Plus, he is 230 pounds, too light for a tight end, and he has had trouble staying healthy. The team needs to add a real tight end. Visanthe Shiancoe is the most logical candidate by far among veteran free agents. He is 32, but he has not missed games.
I heard none of Flynns balls dropped during practice today...Is that true?
Mike Sando (3:10 PM)
Flynn threw the ball accurately. Receivers were running without defenders around them. I cannot confirm whether all his passes were caught. Did see a couple drops out there. Cannot recall who was throwing the passes. Would not mean much, in my view.
Drew (New Haven, CT)
Which 2nd rounder in the NFC West do you see making the biggest impact this season?
Mike Sando (3:13 PM)
The Rams have so many of them. I'd probably go with Janoris Jenkins, but realistically, there could be multiple starters, including Bobby Wagner in Seattle. The two running backs, LaMichael James and Isaiah Pead, could score some touchdowns and make some flash plays in limited opportunities. Brian Quick is an enigma right now. Lots of potential, raw, might need some time.
Hey Mike, have you heard anything about Rob Housler and what the AZ coaching staff thinks of his development? Do you think he'll play a more prominent role for the Cards in 2012?
Mike Sando (3:16 PM)
Yes, I spoke with Ken Whisenhunt about Housler at training camp last year, and his feeling was that the lockout would make it tougher for Housler in the short term, but that Housler would take off once he had an offseason to get acclimated. The expectation will be for Housler to emerge this season, become more of a factor.
Kyle (St Louis)
Even though the Rams had a good off season, I still feel that they lack the all around talent that most NFL teams have. What can we expect in Coach Fisher's first year?
Mike Sando (3:18 PM)
We should expect better luck with injuries regardless of the coach's identity. Right there, you add a couple victories probably. I'm initially thinking this team gets to 5-6 victories in the first season under Fisher.
The FK (Frisco) [via mobile]
If you had to build a 3-4 or 4-3 defense representing the nfc west who would those eleven players be?
Mike Sando (3:21 PM)
Justin Smith, Calais Campbell, Chris Clemons, Darnell Dockett, Aldon Smith, NaVorro Bowman, Patrick Willis, Kam Chancellor, Earl Thomas, Patrick Peterson, Carlos Rogers. That would be the team off the top of my head. We could make room for James Laurinaitis at the expense of someone.
Damian Marcrum (Seattle)
What do you see in the future for Portis (QB), do you think Seattle will retain 4 QB's?
Mike Sando (3:22 PM)
Thinking three quarterbacks, with Portis on the practice squad. But if Russell Wilson catches on quickly, I wonder what might happen with Tarvaris Jackson.
I really like your idea about licensing an NFL player to play much like they do in boxing.
Mike Sando (3:25 PM)
Thanks. That would remove the decision from players and teams, who are obviously biased. Now, licensing boards bring their own bureaucracies and drawbacks, I am sure. But I envision a day when neurological testing becomes predictive enough to tell a guy to call it a career. The more information we have, the better it is for everyone.
Drew (New Haven CT)
Sando, do you see the NFL existing 50 years from now? I can't imagine how football in its current form can persist, especially as more and more damning scientific evidence and personal tragedies emerge. What kind of parent in his/her right mind would allow their children to play football? Will the only people who play football be poor people who do not see a better career alternative? Then it starts feeling like the rich watching the poor destroy themselves for entertainment.
Mike Sando (3:28 PM)
Whoa, I wouldn't go quite that far in suggesting football will not exist as a sport. The NFL is different from Pop Warner in terms of the violence of the game. My oldest son plays tackle football and I've thought quite a bit about the concussion issue. If he suffered one, would I let him continue playing? "No" is the logical answer there.
The Niners appear to have drafted and brought in players through free agency that will help them at the WR position. Given that; how likely is it that the Niners offense will be looking to air it out a bit more this season? Do you think that Alex Smith's INT total goes up if they do?
Mike Sando (3:31 PM)
That is probably going to become an overrated storyline. I think it's something to consider, but once the games start, the coaching staff will play to win. And if the coaches think playing conservatively on offense gives the 49ers their best shot at winning, that will be the approach. I do not think the 49ers are suddenly going to become the 1981 San Diego Chargers.
Out of the following Rams' receivers, Smith, Gibson, Pettis, Salas, Amendola, Givens, Quick, and Alexander, who do you see making the final roster at this point?
Mike Sando (3:36 PM)
We need to know whether Steve Smith is going to be healthy. A scout for an NFL team told me he though the Rams would cut a receiver who would catch on with another team. Brian Quick makes it as a second-round choice. Danny Amendola makes it as a slot receiver. I suspect Greg Salas makes it. Givens has a decent shot as a fourth-round pick. We haven't even mentioned Brandon Gibson, Austin Pettis or Danario Alexander. My feel is that injuries will make some of the decisions for the Rams. Smith and Alexander are two players to watch on that front. Can they hold up OK?
It's seem that the Rams reached for Quick, do you think is the best choice for a WR1 ?
Mike Sando (3:37 PM)
There was no consensus on how to rate the receivers this year. I think that reflects negatively on the class as a whole. The Rams loved their workout with Quick, so they felt good about the selection. The fact that Quick has No. 1-receiver size (6-3, 220 or so) makes me like the selection a little more.
Cards Fan (AZ)
Do you get the feeling the cards drafted Lindley more as a QB of the future in a few years or as a guy to sit a few years and get enough value to trade down the road?
Mike Sando (3:38 PM)
They have no idea because they do not know whether Kevin Kolb and/or John Skelton will develop into a starter. Right now, it's another young guy to work with.
What is your view on the Arizona Cardinals' defense? I believe they have the ability to be a top 10 defense. The line has three studs (Dockett, Williams and Campbell), the the LB corps is young, but has potential, especially with Daryl Washington manning the middle and Schofield and Acho making progress. The saftey postion is set with Adub and Rhodes, and the CB position is very young, but full of playmakers leading them with Patrick Peterson and company. So my main question is, how far do you think this defense can take the cards? Do you think they are still young or ready to make noise?
Mike Sando (3:42 PM)
Really like how the defense finished last season. Holding Tony Romo and the Cowboys to 13 point was impressive. However, I do think the schedule will serve up a couple wakeup calls this season. That schedule could make it tougher for the Cardinals to finish among the 10 top teams in fewest yards allowed.
Damian Marcrum (Seattle)
Do you see the added preseason game as a blessing or a curse for the AZ Cardinals?
Mike Sando (3:43 PM)
Blessing. They have multiple quarterbacks needing the work. They have a new receiver needing to get acclimated. The offense could use the work, in my view, and the coaching staff could use the time to fully evaluate the quarterbacks.
Per pass attempt the 9ers and Hawks offensive lines gave up the same amount of sacks as the Cardinals and that with the Cardinals having the most attempts at 550.The 9ers offensive line had to face the least amount of pass attempts which in return seen fewer blitzes and still gave up as many sacks per attempt.So why is it the Cardinals line is always questioned for it's play when in reality all the offensive lines in the west are bad.
Mike Sando (3:45 PM)
The combination of the Cardinals' situation at tackle and their quarterbacks' lack of feel for the pocket raise questions. I think the fact that Arizona keeps coming back with Levi Brown, year after year, invites criticism.
Angela (Ball High School)
What will Jason Licht job title be with the Cardinals and why would he leave a perennial winner with the Patriots to come to a team thats rebuilding?
Mike Sando (3:46 PM)
Player personnel director. Licht interviewed with the Chicago Bears as well. Sometimes a person has to seek an opportunity elsewhere for the best chance at advancement. It could be that Licht had reached that point in his career with New England.
Josh (Mesa, AZ)
Hey Mike, I am wondering whether you know why Massie fell to the Cardinals in the 4th round. Is there an injury some new information out about him?
Mike Sando (3:49 PM)
Teams seemed to perceive him as a right tackle. Right tackles have less value than left tackles, as a general rule. By my count, Massie was the fourth right tackle taken. Others went with the 37th, 42nd and 91st overall choices. There were not right tackles flying off the board early. I counted nine overall: Mitchell Schwartz, Jonathan Martin, Lamar Holmes, Massie, Zebrie Sanders, Dennis Kelly, Justin Anderson and Andrew Datko.
Hey Mike,I see on the blog most people have handed the division to the 49ers and many believe the second place team will be Seattle. My question is why everyone seems to be discounting the other 2 teams in the division? The Cardinals made a strong push late last season and the Rams went 8-8 with less talent a couple of years ago. To me the division race would be much more wide open than most believe.
Mike Sando (3:51 PM)
The 49ers get the benefit of the doubt coming off a 13-3 season. They should be favored. The negative impression Kevin Kolb left last season drags down perceptions of Arizona. Seattle has not driven Matt Flynn off the lot, so to speak, so his value remains high at this time. The hope associated with Flynn outweighs the impression Kolb left.
Given that Riley Reiff, Melvin Ingram and Michael Floyd were all available when the Cardinals went on the clock for pick #13; would you have picked the same player that they did or went in another direction? What about the other teams in the division?
Mike Sando (3:54 PM)
Well, I had given Floyd to the Rams when Reiff was available in our Blogger Mock. That is the direction I would have gone under these circumstances and based on my limited knowledge of the prospects.
Saluki (Lexington, KY)
Odds that Russell Wilson starts at QB for Hawks Game 1 in Arizona??
Mike Sando (3:55 PM)
Slim. Matt Flynn the favorite.
Nick (North Hollywood)
Can you foresee a problem occurring with the 49ers offensive players complaining about the number of touches each is receiving.
Mike Sando (3:57 PM)
Yes, I could see Michael Crabtree or Randy Moss making public their concerns about such a thing. That is not a stretch at all.
Germayne (Saint Louis)
How do you think Sam Bradford is going to fare this year with a full offseason and new targets at receiver?
Mike Sando (3:57 PM)
I suspect his career will stabilize some and he'll be a little closer to his rookie year, production wise.
Mike Sando (3:58 PM)
Thanks for dropping by the chat. I'm still at Seahawks HQ and have some traffic to beat on a Friday afternoon. Wish me luck, and thanks again.