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 (1:00 PM)
Greetings. About to get going here.
Bailey, Camarillo CA [via mobile]
I keep reading articles about how the 49ers defensive line is subject due to injury and age, however I personally believe the secondary is the niners most glaring need. Rogers is past his prime and losing Goldson takes an edge way from the niners right at the heart of the defense. What upcoming rookie corner or safety do you think could make an immediate impact?
Mike Sando (1:02 PM)
I don't think the 49ers' secondary is great, but upgrading the defensive line would be my priority -- both philosophically and in the 49ers' case. Glenn Dorsey is a short-term experiment. Justin Smith is up there in years. Isaac Sopoaga and Ricky Jean Francois are gone.
Josh (Boston, MA)
Has there been any progress on the Seahawks' remaining free agents: Alan Branch, Leroy Hill, or Steve Hauschka?
Mike Sando (1:08 PM)
Alan Branch fired his agent and isn't going to get the $4 million to $5 million per season he probably wanted. He'll take less somewhere and the question in some cases is whether pride prevents that from happening with the most recent team. Hill is out of the picture. At kicker, I could see them drafting someone.
Mike Sando (1:08 PM)
Hold on a sec. Got a phone call.
I just saw some news on Flynn, there are teams that might be interested...I think the Hawks should only deal him for the right draft pick...however, do you think the seahawks might look for a option type backup in this draft, if they deal Flynn?
Mike Sando (1:11 PM)
The Seahawks don't see Wilson as an option-type quarterback, so I don't see them trying to draft an option-type quarterback. On Flynn, it sounds like Oakland is a real option there. Stay tuned.
Zippy (West Albuquerque)
Mike, what would your response be to someone who says Percy Harvin is an unacceptable risk based on the fact he's never had 1000 yards receiving in any single season?
Mike Sando (1:12 PM)
I would say those people need to understand the game a little better. Harvin's contributions go beyond receiving yardage. Also, wait til he has a good quarterback.
Gary (Sacramento, CA)
With the current Cardinal's QBs, is there really any hope that Drew Stanton could accually turn out to be a quality starter? Or is the best I can hope for just another stop gap?
Mike Sando (1:16 PM)
OK, off the phone now. Sorry about that. I'd be cautiously optimistic if I were you. The things that kept Stanton off the field in the past were largely beyond his control. Detroit was a mess. The Lions then drafted Matthew Stafford. The Jets were a mess. They acquired Tim Tebow days after getting Stanton. The Colts drafted Andrew Luck, putting up another road block for Stanton. Bruce Arians is a bit invested in Stanton. That investment should give Stanton his best shot yet. I see the Cardinals in the position Seattle was in a couple years ago. The Seahawks added Tarvaris Jackson and Charlie Whitehurst. They tried that for a bit, then hit on Russell Wilson. I'm not comparing Stanton to Whitehurst or Jackson, but the idea is the same. You bring in guys and try to find the right one.
Marcellus Wallace (Indo China)
What do you think the chances are that the NFCW has 3 teams in the playoffs?
Mike Sando (1:17 PM)
I think a lot depends on the young skill players in St. Louis. They hold the key for the Rams in 2013. We really don't know how good those guys are going to be. It's an exciting year of discovery from that standpoint. Also, let's see who the Rams pick in this draft. They have the two first-round picks and should emerge a better team.
Spencer Meloche (Windsor, Canada)
What kind of Compensation do you see the Seahawks getting if they move Flynn? Which team is the front-runner? The Bills, Jags or Raiders ?
Mike Sando (1:19 PM)
My guess would be the Raiders as most likely. The thing is, Oakland doesn't have a second-round choice or a fifth-round choice. The Raiders are in rebuild mode. Yes, they need a quarterback, but they also need the draft picks. So maybe this is a situation where the teams trade picks within a round, and maybe Seattle gets something in the future as well.
Mike, when (not if) Percy decides to quit on the team in a year or two, will the Seahawks wind up regretting their decision? Getting the Vikings cast offs hasn't exactly turned out in their favor recently (Rice, if healthy can be effective but that's a moot point because he'll never be healthy).
Mike Sando (1:22 PM)
Yeah, they would regret the deal if Harvin were to quit on them. I wondered too how the deal might look if, say, Darrell Bevell took a head coaching job next offseason. Bevell's ties to Harvin provided a link that made Seattle feel better about making the trade. Russell Wilson is the key to this deal, in my view. Wilson is the one who can make sure the team gets the best from Harvin. He appears special in that way and as long as he continues playing at a high level, he'll be a credible leader and able to maximize Harvin, in my view.
Chex Norris (San Diego)
How early can you see the 49ers drafting a TE this year?
Mike Sando (1:23 PM)
As early as the first round, really. I'm expecting the team to draft one in the first three rounds. That is easy for me to say because the 49ers have five total picks in that round, and tight end is an obvious position of need if you think the team must replace Delanie Walker from the outside.
LaVallee (Phoenix, AZ)
What are the chances that Arizona selects a defensive player with their first pick in the draft? I would think their top 3 would be Jockel, Fischer, then Wommack. Then get a QB in the scond
Mike Sando (1:24 PM)
I'd say the Cardinals will be most likely to draft an offensive player. There should be enough highly rated ones available for the team to justify taking one at No. 7. If I were the Cardinals, though, I'd be inclined to consider moving back and adding picks.
Carlos (( Orange ,Ca))
gm mike, now that the rams picked up Jake Long, what are the odds they draft a receiver or free safety or maybe an outside linebacker with those two first round picks..
Mike Sando (1:27 PM)
I'm leaning toward offense when thinking about those first couple picks. Receiver and running back could make some sense and really give Sam Bradford a deep stock of young talent to work with. I just think the Rams are in terrific position to make a value selection, even if it's for defense. But it's a huge upset if they go defense with both first-rounders. Still think they'll want to help out Bradford with both of those picks and at least one of them for sure.
Chas (Yorba Linda, CA)
Hey Mike, Thanks for doing these chats. My question is this: Based on how the NFL is now a mostly passing game because of rule changes to open up the game and the fact that the top teams typically have two, good, athletic safeties that can cover, do you think the rams should be targeting within the first 4 picks, two potential starting safeties? It seems that was their weakest defensive position last year forcing a lot of off coverage. I'm I totally off-base?
Mike Sando (1:30 PM)
This is supposedly a good draft for safeties. I do think targeting a starter would make sense for the Rams. Re-signing Quintin Mikell could help, too. For reference, consider that teams drafted 16 safeties in 2012. Teams drafted those players in these slots: 7, 29, 48, 73, 79, 130, 133, 135, 180, 181, 187, 190, 192, 197, 216 and 242. The Rams pick in these slots: 16, 22, 46, 78, 113, 149, 184 and 222. I'd think the Rams would find a safety in the first three rounds.
OleSagginSeahawk (30 miles West of Seattle.)
Carson Palmer to the Cards?
Mike Sando (1:33 PM)
It's interesting watching the parties send out signals through the media. There was a Yahoo report today suggesting Palmer mostly wants to play for a winner, even if it means taking a backup job. The Cardinals were 5-11 last season. They haven't had a winning record since 2009. Palmer probably wouldn't perceive the Cardinals to be winners. But we also don't know to what degree these reports reflect simply how people feel right now, in the heat of the moment. There is time. I think adding Palmer to a mid-level deal would be a no-brainer for Arizona when it comes to helping the team in 2012. However, if Bruce Arians really thinks Drew Stanton has a chance, what is gained by taking him off the field and replacing him with a relatively mediocre alternative with no long-term upside?
If you're the Cardinals do you boost your o-line this year and then maybe tank for Johnny football?
Mike Sando (1:35 PM)
Draft a tackle to start this year. Welcome back Levi Brown to the lineup. See if one of the young tackles from last season (Nate Potter, Bobby Massie) can play guard. Play one of them at guard, allowing Adam Snyder to serve as the backup for multiple positions. That could be one plan.
Supes (Everett, WA)
Do you think this is Tate's last year in Seattle?
Mike Sando (1:39 PM)
I think the Seahawks will have choices to make after the 2013 season. They have already paid Percy Harvin and Sidney Rice. A year from now, they will be far enough along in Rice's contract to reassess where he stands relative to where Golden Tate and others stand. So, if Tate breaks through with a monster season, I could see the Seahawks considering making the break from Rice to keep Tate. I do not see the team paying big money to Tate, Rice and Harvin at the same time, however.
Daniel Johnson (Olympia, Wa)
Cliff Avril or Bruce Irvin playing LB next year? Why else would they have three Leo ends for one spot....
Mike Sando (1:41 PM)
Yeah, we've discussed the team's plans to give Avril a look at strong-side linebacker in some situations. The reason they have three Leo types is because one of them, Chris Clemons, is coming off ACL surgery and might not be ready for the season. The team needed to protect itself. Avril was young and relatively affordable. Also, the team needed to upgrade its pass rush. Avril presumably does that.
what do you think the chance are that st.louis will draft a running back like marcus lattimore to replace steven jackson? they have the same running styles and are comparable in size.
Mike Sando (1:41 PM)
Jeff Fisher does want a bigger power back in addition to what the Rams have at the position right now. I think they'll draft one but I do not know which one would top their list.
Can you think of a WR whose talent in the prime of his career has been wasted more by awful QB situations more tan Fitzgerald?
Mike Sando (1:44 PM)
On the other hand, Larry Fitzgerald caught the go-ahead touchdown pass in the final two minutes of a Super Bowl to cap a tremendous postseason. How many great receivers can say they've done that? Calvin Johnson, Andre Johnson, Cris Carter, Steve Largent, Tim Brown and a lot of other prolific receivers never got that chance. Were their careers wasted?
Are the Seahawks done adding weapons on offense?
Mike Sando (1:45 PM)
I think so.
Ben (Tempe, AZ)
I know the Niners are looking at back up options at QB, does Vince Young make sense? If not who?
Mike Sando (1:46 PM)
Young has not been very stable. I would not want to add him to that QB meeting room. I'd rather go with a young guy from the draft.
Andrew(Baltimore) [via mobile]
Lots of people are really down on Sam Bradford, is there any chance that he lives up to expectations?
Mike Sando (1:49 PM)
That depends upon the expectations. Bradford made progress last season. I think he needs to take a big step forward this year for the Rams to feel good about where things are headed. To answer your question directly, yes, I think there's a chance Bradford reaches expectations. However, I'm not shoving my chips into the center of the table to bet on it happening. I feel like I've got a decent straight draw but I'm afraid two other teams in the division have flush draws.
Aaron (New Mexico)
Any thought to the rams bringing in a veteran WR...such as a B. LLoyd?
Mike Sando (1:51 PM)
I see them going young at the skill positions for the most part.
Scott B (Rochester, NY)
There are a lot of rumors around that SF will do a lot of moving in the draft and move back for more picks next year...I understand that to a point, but i also feel that there are a number of holes they need to fill with quality cheap prospects now, and not roll the dice...agree/disagree?
Mike Sando (1:51 PM)
The 49ers have enough ammo to do both. They have extra picks in the second through fifth rounds.
Why is losing to Russel Wilson in training camp a knock on Matt Flynn? He lost to an excellent, possibly top 10 QB!
Mike Sando (1:53 PM)
It's not a knock on Flynn. The knock on Flynn is that he is unproven.
Brawley Darbon (Edwardsville, IL)
Vaccaro, Tavon Austin, Chance Warmack. IF all of these guys are available in the 1st round for the St. Louis Rams who should they pick?
Mike Sando (1:54 PM)
I'd probably be a sucker for the game-changing talent. Tavon Austin would probably appeal based on my very limited "scouting" of the players. I don't study the players enough to know, but from what I've seen and heard about the prospects, Austin has some appeal in relation to the Rams' needs.
do you see the Hawks standing pat with the WR corps? will Charly M and Kearse remain on active roster consdiering Butler is gone?
Mike Sando (1:56 PM)
In a perfect world, I think the Seahawks would draft a receiver who sticks on the 53. They cannot take Sidney Rice and Golden Tate for granted longer term. They face some contract-related decisions on those players in the future. It's always best making those decisions in the absence of need. If the Seahawks could draft a promising receiver this year, they would have options.
You mentioned previously that the Cards may be best served trading back. Many of the talking heads seem to speculate that it will be tough to do so this year. I think it may be even tougher for the Cards, since some of the guys who teams may want, may also be needs for the Cards (if Fisher or Geno drop to them) where might they trade down to?
Mike Sando (1:57 PM)
Yeah, that could be the case. It's tough to know where you'll trade down to because it hinges entirely upon which players are available, and which teams want those players enough to make a move. We cannot know those things.
Craig (Nashua, NH)
Does Kam Chancellor get an extension this off season?
Mike Sando (1:59 PM)
The Seahawks are talking to him about one but I am a little skeptical. Seems to me that would be a tough negotiation where Chancellor could rightfully expect huge money while the team could rightfully question whether the value is there. After all, the Seahawks found Chancellor in the fifth round. They also found Richard Sherman in the fifth round. Maybe they can find the next Chancellor, too.
The blog's biggest HOMER (Seattle)
Howdy, MikeI am gonna ask you another Flynn question here...but I'm going the long way about it. At least close to 1 mil of the 3.5 mil savings (for trading Flynn) would have to go towards a new backup. My question is - Why on earth would we move a very good backup QB from a SB contender team just to save 2.5 mil (or less) when we're already under the cap? Would a 3rd (best case scenario imo) rounder and that small savings really be worth downgrading the position?
Mike Sando (2:01 PM)
Some of that depends upon how much under the cap the Seahawks are going to be when they look to sign draft choices and leave some wiggle room for injuries. It might make sense for them to pick up a couple million in room, plus a pick, when everyone knows Flynn will be gone next year anyway.
I?ve heard more than once that WRs take 3 years to figure out the NFL. Since Crabtree didn?t really produce until last year (3rd year); after needing Moss/Manningham to come on the team to draw attention away from him?after not being able to get open against the Giants in the NFL Championship game the year before?and after not being able to stay healthy during pre-season in year?s past?should he cool it with his criticisms of Alex Smith? Alex has more class than Crabtree can ever dream of.
Mike Sando (2:02 PM)
Crabtree said he thought Colin Kaepernick trusted him more than Alex Smith trusted him. That seemed pretty apparent anyway. I didn't see Crabtree taking a huge shot at Smith with those comments.
Uncle Barney (The Swamp)
Are you and Clayton going to denounce yourselves from the Power Rankings since you are both SeaHomers?
Mike Sando (2:03 PM)
Recuse would be the word you were looking for there.
You said you do some limited "scouting..." Who would you take in round 1 for each team, say best case scenario? do you have a personal pet so to speak for the West teams?
Mike Sando (2:04 PM)
I was making fun of myself with the use of the word scouting. I've seen highlights, basically. In no way have I formed my own opinions about the college prospects based on study.
Percys 12th (Lake Wa)
Can you please explain to these SeaHomers that the Seahawks aren't even the class of their division, let alone their conference? AND that SB Contenders actually GET TO THE GAME before spewing all that hyperbole?
Mike Sando (2:05 PM)
Not that anyone is bothered or threatened by such talk, just to be clear.
Craig (Nashua, NH)
Not signing a defensive [tackle] means the seahawks are confident with Jaye Howard or they are going to move Red Bryant into that spot?
Mike Sando (2:07 PM)
It is pretty clear they want to give Greg Scruggs and Jaye Howard a chance to emerge. I see Michael Bennett filling some of the DT void, but you're right about still needing a veteran interior player. Tony McDonald is one guy the Seahawks are checking out. He could be the guy.
CJ Spillman is a young vet with good athleticism that the 49ers liked enough to include in goal-line packages. Dahl is a young vet with a lot of starting experience. Remind me again why SF needs to take a safety high? What's one of this draft's safeties going to bring that they don't already have?
Mike Sando (2:08 PM)
Yeah, we need to open our minds to the idea that the 49ers could like their existing players. It's still reasonable to think they'll use one of their many draft choices to further improve their options.
Mike Sando (2:09 PM)
Thanks for dropping by the chat this week. See you on the blog.