Chat with Mike Sando
Welcome to SportsNation! On Thursday, we'll have ESPN.com NFL Insider 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)
It's great to be here watching World Cup and talking NFL with everyone.
Mike P (greater KC metro)
The chiefs cutting B Flowers will be always preached as a cost cutting measure but is there more that we don't know about or am I just reading into this a little bit.
Mike Sando (1:02 PM)
Andy Reid's new coaching staff and the new front office in KC inherited Flowers. More importantly, the new group inherited Flowers' contract. We continually see new NFL leadership regimes moving on from contracts they're not comfortable with, even when the players remain good enough to start. You might recall the Cardinals moving on from several players after Steve Keim and Bruce Arians took over. Kerry Rhodes was one of them. Later, Daryn Colledge was another. I think the Chiefs didn't see the value or the fit for what they wanted to do.
Do you expect Matt Schaub to be the starter for the Raiders at the end of the season?
Mike Sando (1:04 PM)
I tend to think we'll see Derek Carr starting late in the season. My thinking is that the odds are relatively low that Schaub will a) play well enough to keep the job unchallenged AND b) stay healthy. They'll want to take a look at Carr without putting undue pressure on him. I'd play him late in the year unless he was really a long ways off from being ready. They need to learn something about him without ruining him.
Hey Mike, can you explain why Dez Bryant wasn't on the the top 100 players as voted by the players list? That seems pure crazy to me.
Mike Sando (1:08 PM)
Yeah, I would consider it a quirk of the Pro Football Focus grading. I really think PFF provides a helpful tool. I am a paid subscriber who values what they do. In this case, it's helpful for me to know that there were possibly enough inconsistencies in his performance to question whether he's a great player consistently. I would not take their Top 101 list as gospel, nor do I think they intend it to be such. In years past, I recall Earl Thomas ranking down the list at safety, with Kerry Rhodes ranked much higher. Then, Rhodes was quickly out of the league while Thomas was on his way to signing a big-money contract. The grades are what they are: a tool.
Who will lead the Raiders in sacks this year...Woodley, Mack, Tuck, Smith???
Mike Sando (1:09 PM)
Justin Tuck would be my early favorite based on his track record. Let's see how Mack fares in preseason before revisiting.
Bert (St. Paul, MN)
I realize that there is a bit of a "dipstick" factor as well as a fumbling problem, but in watching "highlights" of almost all of this year's drafted running backs, Storm Johnson stands out as a prototypical runner (looks like you think a running back should). What have you heard about him?
Mike Sando (1:12 PM)
One thing I've heard is that he's a bit of an upright runner, which can be concerning on multiple levels, including inviting punishment. But he does have good traits for the position.
Would you say that the West division of both the AFC and the NFC are the toughest of each conference?
Mike Sando (1:16 PM)
That is probably fair. One thing I did this offseason was look at net point differential by division since realignment in 2002. Last season, the NFC West was plus-359, which was the highest by far (AFC South was plus-294 in 2007). The AFC West was plus-249 last season. The NFC South was next at plus-44. That is a huge gap. Denver accounted for a lot of it in the AFC West, but with San Diego and Kansas City reaching the playoffs as well, there was some strength throughout. The AFC West and NFC West face each other in 2014, so that could affect things.
Gray Hairs (Atlanta)
What your take on Zach Mettenberger....with a new coach, Locker still big ?, is Zach a starter next year or even this year. Does he have the talent to be a NFL starter>
Mike Sando (1:18 PM)
My feel is that this will most likely be Jake Locker's final season as the Titans' starter, and that Mettenberger will get some playing time in 2014 as the team plots its course at the position for the longer term. I tend to think the 2015 starter is not on the roster right now. The people I speak with in the league overwhelmingly do not think Locker has what it takes, based on what they've seen from him to this point. Opinions on Mettenberger have not yet formed. I think it's curious when a QB comes to a team with some character questions. I'm intrigued by him but that stuff makes you wonder.
Ed (Queens Village)
Is Mike Pettine making enemies with playbook story?
Mike Sando (1:20 PM)
That stuff didn't go over very well. I don't know if it comes down to making enemies, though. It could just reflect the nature of the relationships already. I do not know what was the tone of the comments or whether Pettine was expecting the comments to gain as much traction. He is new to being a head coach and having everything he says parsed.
Hi Mike, over here on the east coast (Redskins territory) we see little of Cardinals on TV - how good is Ellington going to be - all the mags and fantasy writers seem to think he will be a top back with 300+ combined touches and likely to run for 1100-1200 yards with 40-60 receptions
Mike Sando (1:23 PM)
I think Ellington has looked good. The head coach likes him a lot. Ryan Williams and Rashard Mendenhall are out of the picture. I do think this season sets up well for Ellington. Also, the offensive line should continue to improve with Jonathan Cooper returning. They drafted a tight end. They signed a left tackle in free agency. Projecting stats can be tricky but I do think Ellington is in position to have a good year.
Chris Fiegler (Latham,NY)
What NFL Teams will have the Best & the Worst Offense
Mike Sando (1:27 PM)
I'm not expecting much from the Jets' offense this season. We should again expect very good offensive production from the teams with Aaron Rodgers, Peyton Manning, Tom Brady and Drew Brees. Dallas is another team to watch stats-wise as long as Tony Romo is healthy. However, if Dallas' defense is as bad as advertised, the Cowboys could become a one-dimensional offensive team even more than they have been, which could put Romo in harm's way.
Gray Hairs (Atlanta)
Marshall and Jeffery or Julio and Roddy..... Best duo?
Mike Sando (1:28 PM)
Give me Brandon Marshall and Alshon Jeffery. I trust them to be healthier, for one.
Rich (New Jersey)
Hi Mike - Of the twelve teams that made the 2013 playoffs who won't be there in the 2014 playoffs?
Mike Sando (1:31 PM)
Carolina, Cincinnati and Kansas City are three that come to mind for various reasons. All face pretty strong competition from their division rivals. All suffered some key losses this offseason. Carolina lost its left tackle and has some question marks at wide receiver. Cincy lost one of its more talented defensive linemen, a swing tackle and both coordinators, inviting some questions (especially with Mike Zimmer leaving). The Chiefs face a tougher schedule and they have also subtracted some players.
Gray Hairs (Atlanta)
Does Trent Richardson rebound in 2014......I read the Colts OC wants to run more.......What is take on Trent?
Mike Sando (1:33 PM)
I expect his stats to improve but I don't see any reason to expect him to suddenly become a top-flight running back. That's one I'd like to address in some greater detail as the season approaches.
Do you think the Giants have a realistic chance to win the East? Appears that none of the teams got much better in the off season so why not the Giants?
Mike Sando (1:35 PM)
Yes, I do think the Giants have a realistic chance for the reason you stated. There is no dominant team in that division. Philadelphia would be the natural favorite based on what we saw from Nick Foles last season, and based on the defensive limitations in Dallas. The Giants were pretty good on defense last season under tough circumstances. We had the Giants ranking seventh in defensive expected points added. I love EPA because it adjusts for situations, including all the turnovers that put the Giants' opponents in scoring position.
Pete (Beyond Beyond)
Supposedly 5 Seahawks made the Top 100. Kam has already appeared; 3 are being advertised for the next show (11-20); so, who do you think is the Seahawk in the Top 10?
Mike Sando (1:36 PM)
Probably Richard Sherman, but I could make a case for Marshawn Lynch as well.
Flowers visited SF, then signed with SD. Do you think the reason was dysfunction, money or the revenge-story he gave?
Mike Sando (1:38 PM)
Money and opportunity for playing time are usually deciding factors.
Pete (Over the Hills)
How closely are you monitoring police blotters this coming month?
Mike Sando (1:38 PM)
Not as closely as NFL teams are monitoring. They are the ones with the most at stake.
Mike Sando (1:40 PM)
Thanks for dropping by the chat this week. We'll wrap it up a little earlier than usual as the U.S. team heads into the final 10 or so minutes of its World Cup match with Germany.