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 (1:02 PM)
Greetings. About to get going here.
Kurt's 5 bowls (Belmont, CA)
Nice article about rookie kickers, In your opinion, how early should the first kicker go in the draft this year?
Mike Sando (1:03 PM)
Thanks. I tend to think last couple rounds, where teams are basically mitigating the risk associated with trying to recruit the guy as an undrafted free agent.
chilly (wasted, po)
Sando! Why do teams get so stressed about drafting guards high? Seems like the easiest position to project - how many first round guards have been busts? Looking back on it, with perfect hindsight, I think Iupati would still have been drafted mid-first in what turned out to be a solid class. In a (seemingly) crappy draft like this, taking Warmack or Cooper in the Top 10 makes sense.
Mike Sando (1:05 PM)
I don't know if teams are stressed about it. They just figure it's easier getting by with lesser players at guard because those players can be protected by the center and tackles. Having a bad tackle is tougher to mask. And if you miss on a guard, you cannot move him to tackle. But if you miss on a tackle, you can try him at guard.
Aaron R. (PA)
Hey Sando, I noticed that on NFL.com they have Tavon Austin going to the Rams in the draft. I personally would like to see the Rams pick him up because of his big play ability but at the same time they already have a group of young WR's who have some potential. What do you think about the Rams drafting him?
Mike Sando (1:07 PM)
I'm a fan of that thinking as well based on what I've seen from Austin. He really appears dynamic. He looks like a difference maker in the return game right away, and probably on offense too.
Kramer (Sac CA)
With all the picks the niners have, I see them moving up just behind the 10th pick if there is someone they really like, maybe Xavier Rhodes or Sheldon Richardson. Thoughts?
Mike Sando (1:09 PM)
I'm expecting the 49ers to try to leverage some of those picks into a 2014 first-round choice. That would really look good as the 49ers try to build for the future while remaining competitive now. They won't have roster spots for all those picks, so why not maximize?
You wrote an article comparing rookie kickers against vet kickers this past year. In the article you mentioned that the niners will most likely go sign a vet kicker. Who is out there to sign?
Mike Sando (1:11 PM)
I listed those players at the bottom of the piece and will list them again now. Phil Dawson, Rob Bironas, Nate Kaeding, Lawrence Tynes, Nick Folk, Josh Brown, Mike Nugent, Jason Hanson, Steven Hauschka, Ryan Longwell, Shayne Graham, Olindo Mare and Nick Novak are projected UFAs.
ESPN New York says 49ers could be a landing spot for Tim Tebow. What say you?
Mike Sando (1:13 PM)
I'm sure that will happen as soon as the Darrelle Revis trade goes through. I'm kidding. The Tebow stuff will make sense to some because the 49ers have an athletic starter. But I haven't heard anything about making a move for Tebow.
Are they Sleeping in Seattle? Have you heard any rumblings about....anything???
Mike Sando (1:17 PM)
They're big on the draft. I could see them filling in with a mid-level free agent somewhere, but I don't see them breaking the bank or resetting their salary structure for a single free agent.
I know Mock drafts are all fun speculation, but is it too much for Todd Mcshay to try to be a little realistic with his? We all know the Cards need a solution at QB. We also know that none of the 2013 QB prospects project as top 10 talent. There's even some who think that the draft lacks any real 1st round QB's. Geno Smith to the Cards at #7 is ridiculous. Especially when you consider Arians prefers pocket passers. There's plenty of top O-Line talent that is also a big need for AZ. Do any of these guys do any real analysis or are they putting these mock's together while they are sitting on the can and posting to Twitter at the same time?
Mike Sando (1:21 PM)
We all probably would have had a similar reaction had he projected Christian Ponder to the Vikings at No. 12 a couple years ago. The point is more that teams value quarterbacks so highly that they'll overdraft them, and history says there is something to this thinking.
Cory (Las Vegas)
Just a thought on a question a read a few seconds ago. Cards at #7 taking QB Geno Smith. I think I read a piece by Bucky Brooks proclaiming Geno was about the same as Sam Bradford skills wise coming out of college. So, if that is true, and the risks of paying huge money are not there like in 2010 when Bradford was #1 overall...then why wouldn't the Cards go for him?
Mike Sando (1:22 PM)
There's no question the salary situation is far more favorable now. The upside far outweighs the downside if the player has the talent to succeed.
Dennis (San Jose)
What do you think Dashon Goldson's Contract will be in the Open Market? Is Seattle interested in him at all?
Mike Sando (1:24 PM)
Seattle would have no interested based on the safeties already on the roster. I could make a case for St. Louis to consider Goldson, but at what price? I don't think Goldson is going to find top safety money, but it's his right to look for it.
Spencer Meloche (Canada)
Could you see the Seahawks drafting Tavon Austin ? I know he is undersized but he is a legitimate Weapon.
Mike Sando (1:25 PM)
Undersized doesn't seem to be a problem for the Seahawks when they see a player with ability. That move would make a lot of sense if Austin were available. Will he be available that late?
ancientage530 (Lake Tahoe)
C'mon Sando, admit it. Trent Baalke is a genious for pulling off the Alex Smith trade. They have to be the winners in that deal. Right???
Mike Sando (1:27 PM)
Yeah, it might make Baalke an early favorite for executive of the year. I would blame the Chiefs more than I would credit the 49ers, though. The Chiefs seem to be acting a little impatiently under Andy Reid. I know John Dorsey is the GM, but let's be real. Reid is driving the big decisions right now. There was no reason for the Chiefs to rush into an Alex Smith deal. The price was only going down. I do not think there were teams stacked up eager to pay what the Chiefs agreed to pay. Looks to me like Reid, as a veteran coach, just wanted the player. Same thing with Dwayne Bowe. Just pay him so the veteran coach can have his guy right now, without stress or worry. The Chiefs might come out just fine. Perhaps they are just being decisive. It looks a little impulsive to me and the 49ers were the beneficiaries of that. Good for them.
Akbar (Lubbock TX)
Hey Sando, who has the best defense in the division next year?
Mike Sando (1:29 PM)
Let's see how free agency and the draft play out. I think all four could be in the top third of the league by meaningful measures such as EPA.
Will the 49ers get any type of draft pick compensation next year if they lose both D. Walker and Goldson via FA?
Mike Sando (1:30 PM)
They probably would. However, that would depend on what types of free agents the 49ers added this offseason. The compensatory picks reflect gaps between what teams add and lose in unrestricted free agency. I would not expect San Francisco to spend big in free agency. So, if Delanie Walker and Dashon Goldson played extensively after signing lucrative deals with other teams, yes, the 49ers would be in good shape for compensation.
Are the 49ers in on Revis? Sounds like the Jets want way too much? What is your take Sando. Giving away too much for him is 4th grade 101.
Mike Sando (1:33 PM)
I do not think and have never thought the 49ers would be willing to compensate the Jets and Revis sufficiently to get a deal done. My take is that the Jets and Revis are trying to get something going, and that members of the Jets have probably been quoted as anonymous sources in stories suggesting the 49ers had serious interest, in an effort to influence the market.
Kurt's 5 bowls (Belmont, CA)
Mike, don't you want the Rams to move to LA? Would beat those 4 hour flights to St. Louis?
Mike Sando (1:34 PM)
I would like all four teams to move within five miles of my house. That would be best for me.
Jason (Rochester, NY)
How about we actually see what the Niners got in the Smith trade before declaring their guy Exec of the year?
Mike Sando (1:36 PM)
Nothing has been declared. I was also initially skeptical about what the 49ers actually were going to receive in return, because the price seemed too high. Everything I've heard subsequently suggests the price is indeed that high. If that is the case, Baalke and the 49ers look good.
Sando: Now that the Coaching Staff for NFC West teams are set, any take on philosophical changes on offense/defense for each?
Mike Sando (1:39 PM)
Yeah, I'm interested in seeing how Bruce Arians' affinity for a downfield passing game shows itself in Arizona this first season. Will the Cardinals have the quarterback, offensive line and running game to make that work? Or will they take far too many sacks and quarterback hits while waiting for stuff to develop down the field? Also, I'm very interested in seeing how the Arizona defense takes shape in the post-Ray Horton era. That defense was generally very good last season. Now there's a new coordinator sure to make tweaks. Finally, I'm interested in seeing whether the defensive coordinator change in Seattle leads to additional blitzing or changes to how the team plays late in games. Those would be my primary interests scheme-wise for 2013.
What are your thoughts on the signing of the BB player for the Hawks? If we "stole" him before he had a chance to take part in a pro-day we must have seen something pretty remarkable I would think.
Mike Sando (1:40 PM)
I'll withhold judgment on it simply because Seattle might just be taking a flier on someone. Teams get excited about upside -- think Ricardo Lockette -- and sometimes the player runs his course in a place anyway.
Sando, you're awesome. Your articles during the offseason is really helping with the lack of football going on till the 12th and draft day. What do you think about SF picking up Phil Dawson now that Akers is out?
Mike Sando (1:42 PM)
Buttering up the chat host, eh? That will never work. Or did it work already? Actually, I like the question. I tend to think the 49ers can no longer realistically afford to set aside significant cap resources for their kicker. Andy Lee is a tremendous punter. He's got a $4 million cap number this year. David Akers was at $3.5 million. Maybe the 49ers would be better off going with a lower-priced kicker this next season.
Mike, if you had to choose whether the Seahawks might move up or trade down in round one, which do you think would be more beneficial?
Mike Sando (1:44 PM)
That depends entirely on which players are available. In theory, though, the Seahawks already have a ton of picks. So that could make it easier to move up for a special guy. On the other hand, this personnel department has done a good job leverage later picks into early contributors. So the more picks Seattle has to use, the more "hits" the team will have on low-cost starters. That approach has worked well.
OleSagginSeahawk (30 miles west of Seattle)
Since new "DC" Quinn was from Florida, I'm guessing he would an inside track on some of that regions talent pool. Advantage over other NFCW teams scouts ?
Mike Sando (1:47 PM)
Can't hurt to have someone very familiar with an area known for college talent. Specifically, Quinn might have a feel for how some of those players would translate to the NFL. On the other hand, Jim Harbaugh would have had the best feel for Doug Baldwin and Richard Sherman, but he did not go out of his way to land those players (for reasons that might be more related to opportunity than his familiarity).
Piggyback Doug (San Jose, CA)
49ers special teams took a dip in 2012. Is it fair to expect an improvement given the large number of late-round picks in this year's draft?
Mike Sando (1:48 PM)
Sometimes the number of veteran players a team uses on special teams can be a key variable. Losing Delanie Walker could further weaken those units, for example.
EDTGO (THE IRON THRONE)
Speaking of Changes. This will be the 3rd Year were JH/Roman & Fangio will be together. Does this give the 9ers already a bit of an edge compared to the other teams given the changes around their coaching staff?
Mike Sando (1:49 PM)
Yes, that helps.
What's the real opinion of Kevin Kolb by NFL insiders? Is he frail and injury prone, or is he viewed as a decent QB who's been unlucky and lacks a good O-line?
Mike Sando (1:52 PM)
Probably more the latter. I know in anticipating a potential Kolb trade that personnel people I spoke with in March 2011 thought Kolb had some promise, but they did not think he was worth huge money. They were more of the mind that Kolb would be worth, say, what Matt Flynn wound up getting from Seattle last season: decent money, but not so much that the team's cap situation suffered greatly. Now, in the Cardinals' defense, they were desperate for quarterback help and Kolb was seen as the best option on the market.
With Steven Jacksons contract being voided, who do you see as the likely destinations? I'm thinking contenders like ATL or GB?
Mike Sando (1:52 PM)
Yeah, and maybe we throw in Denver, too. The Packers would not pay significant money for Jackson. I'm pretty sure of that.
Somebody mentioned something about Steven Jackson getting out of his contract earlier. I can't find anything about that, any inside info?
Mike Sando (1:53 PM)
Jackson actually voided the deal a while back. Might have been last week. Doesn't really matter until March 12, when he can sign elsewhere. But it's good for the Rams' cap situation.
Rob (Augusta, Ga)
Ok...another try at a Rams question....how do the Rams fill the Amendola void?
Mike Sando (1:54 PM)
If Danny Amendola leaves, they fill the void by continuing to develop Chris Givens, who showed he could do more than go deep, and by continuing to feed Lance Kendricks. And then the Rams would also presumably draft a receiver as well. Oh, and developing Austin Pettis further could help.
Do you think the Hawks could pick up Delanie Walker for a reasonable price? He seems to be one of the more athletic tight ends available, who is effective but didn't put up gawdy numbers in SF.
Mike Sando (1:55 PM)
If the price is low, why not just re-sign with the 49rs if you are Delanie Walker?
With all these OL players being released recently, should the Cards start collecting bodies? Wasn't their OL a lot better late?
Mike Sando (1:58 PM)
The Cardinals should draft for the offensive line and then churn the roster for younger prospects the way St. Louis and Seattle have done. Seattle found a starting right tackle that way. The Rams got through last season that way, picking up Joe Barksdale and Shelley Smith, for example. If I'm a Cardinals fan, I'd like to see evidence the coaching staff is willing to churn for offensive linemen, continually working talent through the roster in an attempt to find upgrades, even incrementally. For example, last season, guys like D'Anthony Batiste were never going to get better. Why not try the next guy?
The Cardinals are close to competing. They will have Kolb healthy and a new system. Combine that with a top 10 pick and they'll be competitive again. I can see them competing with Seattle. Both might win 7 to 9 games
Mike Sando (1:59 PM)
The Seahawks should win more than 7-9 games this season. The Cardinals were likely going to be better than last season even if they didn't change their coaching staff. They had an unusually bad run of injuries.
Thanks to the Cards for pushing KC into a deal for Smith. The Cards just did the 9ers a favor by getting back at Reid for the Kolb and HC incidents!
Mike Sando (2:00 PM)
I don't think the Cardinals would help the 49ers to spite the Chiefs.
What are your thoughts on the rams young cb tandem (Jenkins and Johnson). Ceiling?
Mike Sando (2:00 PM)
Really like these two. Jenkins has flair to his game. He can become a Pro Bowl cornerback with more disciplined play.
Mike Sando (2:07 PM)
Guess I forgot to say thanks for dropping by the chat, which ended atop the hour. Have a good one!