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May 7, 12:26 PM ET
Chat with Mike Sando

Joe (N.J.)

Hey Sando, love the blog! My question is why dosen't Shaun Hill get any respect? With the addition of Glen Coffee, now we have a 2 back power running game. Crabtree could be the WR we've been lacking, and the defense is much improved! Isn't Shaun Hill the type of QB to run the type of offense Singeltary wants to run?

Mike Sando
  (12:03 PM)

Hill has started only 10 games for the 49ers, spread across multiple seasons. He doesn't dazzle with his arm. Hill does seem to be the type of quarterback to run a Singletary offense, but the team wasn't going to give up on Alex Smith, either. That's why the 49ers didn't promise the job to Hill, further diminishing the respect factor.

Anthony (Bowling Green KY)

With the nniners depth at WR and new rookie Crabttree how much playing time do you see Jones Morgan and Hill getiing?

Mike Sando
  (12:04 PM)

I see sporadic playing time for whichever one doesn't emerge among the top three. The 49ers are not going to be a three- and four-receiver team most of the time.

Ryan (Denver)

Sando- do you play Madden? Do you beleive in the Madden curse? Has there every been a team with duel curses on it like AZ has this year with both the Madden and SB losers curses? All this must mean good news for Seahawks fans right?

Mike Sando
  (12:06 PM)

I first played Madden 92. I now own Madden09 for the PS3, but I have not played it much. My wife and I like Tiger Woods 09, so we play that one regularly. She wants to play Madden some, too, but we haven't dived into that one yet. I do not believe in the Madden curse, but the video game people do seem to have a knack for catching players at their peaks, no?

Alex (Ca) [via mobile]

if you had the second round pick for the rams, would you have taken maualuga instead of lauranitis?

Mike Sando
  (12:07 PM)

Yes, but that might be why I'm not a general manager. The Rams like what Laurinaitis offers in terms of leadership and fundamentally sound play. I wouldn't criticize the move given that so many other NFL teams also passed RM.

Jason (Greeley, CO)

Hey Sando, how much more do you think the Cards will run the ball this season? Do you think the O-Line will able to handle the load in order to run the ball more effectively?

Mike Sando
  (12:10 PM)

I think we'll see fewer instances of the Cardinals passing on 10 or 15 consecutive plays. I remember them passing on 27 consecutive plays against the Panthers, or something like that, even though Arizona was leading or close to the lead much of the way. The passing game is going to remain the strength of that offense, but a more concerted effort to run the ball can only help.

Mike (S.F.)

Hey Sando, why don't the Niners go get Julius Peppers from Carolina? We got plenty of cap room and future draft picks. With him and Parys Harylson rushing opposing QBs and Patrick Willis taking care of the middle of the field, we could have a very good defense don't you think?

Mike Sando
  (12:11 PM)

Is it a given that Peppers would fit what the 49ers are looking for in terms of the 3-4 scheme and in terms of the Singletary mentality? If you're going to give up a first-round pick and enough cash to single out Peppers as the defensive cornerstone, you'd better be sure the fit is perfect all the way around. I'm not sure it is.

Scott (new orleans, La)

I think every body gives Warner to much Credit, what has he ever done with out TWO great WR?

Mike Sando
  (12:13 PM)

I think that's an oversimplified look at what Warner does. Warner gets the ball out quickly and accurately. When he doesn't get it out quickly, he stands in the pocket and delivers the ball accurately even when he's going to get drilled. Having great receivers helps, no question, but Warner helps make them great, too.

Dominique Byrd (formely southern Cali)

Mike, the Cardinals signed me even though they've got 14 tight ends on the roster already. Are they just throwing mud against the wall hoping that something sticks or do they have a secret 5 tight end formation that they're working on?

Mike Sando
  (12:13 PM)

I'm going with the mud-throwing theory on this one.

Frank (El Paso, TX)

How serious are the Niners looking into Nate Davis as the quarterback of the future?

Mike Sando
  (12:14 PM)

As seriously as any team that selects a later-round quarterback without having an established long-term starter. They'll try to develop him, but they will not rush him onto the field.

Dan Harrisburg, PA

Any prediction on Deon Butler's 2009 season?

Mike Sando
  (12:16 PM)

After seeing his speed in practice, I will not be surprised if he finishes the 2009 season with the Seahawks' longest reception. But if the other guys are healthy -- a big 'if' in some cases -- they'll likely get more opportunities. Check back in training camp on this one.

Steve (S.F.)

Hey Sando, BIG NINER FAN! I love the Crabtree pick, but, I like the Glen Coffee pick even better! Singeltary wants to run a power running game, and this guy was 2nd in the country to Knowshon Moreno in rushing yards. Do you see him getting plenty of carries and the Niners running a "Steeler like offense" POWER RUNNING?

Mike Sando
  (12:19 PM)

I love the pick for what it might do to Frank Gore. Gore is already a physical, punishing runner and a much tougher tackle than you'd ever guess just looking at his size. I think the Coffee addition will help keep Gore fresh and give Gore even more incentive to run with a vengeance. Taking a running back that early suggests the 49ers plan to play him (although the Seahawks did not play Maurice Morris much after drafting him in the second round).

cgolden: (Fort Worth, TX)

Mike, what kind of payday do you think Dansby has in store next year? Will he be able to get significantly more than Bart Scott did this year?

Mike Sando
  (12:20 PM)

I do not necessarily see him getting a monstrous deal unless he enjoys a monstrous season. But he'll still come out fine, particularly after pocketing franchise money for a couple of seasons.

Drew (Buffalo)

The general concensus is that the left tackle position is the most important and hardest to find great players. While it seems it's easier to find right tackles. Wouldn't it make sense for teams to target left-handed quarterbacks?

Mike Sando
  (12:21 PM)

No. It's harder to find 320-pound men nimble enough to pass protect. Pass protection would become more valuable in a right tackle if a team landed a left-handed quarterback. And those players are still going to be hard to find.

Shane (Los Angeles, CA)

I actually dont mind if the Cards dont sign Dansby to a long term contract this year...every interview Ive seen or heard with the guy leads me to believe he is going to the highest bidder (which is fine). I think he will play better this year under a franshise tag than a long term contract.

Mike Sando
  (12:22 PM)

That makes sense. Some players are like that. Dansby might be one of them. I certainly wouldn't overpay for him. He is good, but not great.

cgolden: (Fort Worth, TX)

Mike, what do you think of the co-coordinator thing that we're doing in AZ? Can that kind of thing work or is this just a one year band aid?

Mike Sando
  (12:24 PM)

It'll work because Ken Whisenhunt will be calling the plays. Ideally, I see Whisenhunt handing off duties to whichever person he thinks is ready for the role. Grimm could handle it, for sure, but he also has great value coaching the line. Calling plays would make it tougher to coach the line.

Sacramento, california [via mobile]

I am the biggest cardinal fan in california and was wondering do you think we can win the nfc west again and who will be the impact rookie of the division. Wells, smith, curry or crabtree, im going with wells.

Mike Sando
  (12:27 PM)

The biggest question I have about the Cardinals is whether they can go through another season with so few injuries to key players. Experience tells me those things even out, and life will be harder for the Cardinals this season. I tentatively picked them to win the division when we broke down schedules a few weeks back. But I can still be swayed.

Keith (Dallas, TX)

Throw a 49er fan living in Dallas some love...As a realist, I'd be content with a 9-7 season and very happy with 10-7 (especially if Carolina tanks) but what's your projection for SF in 2009?

Mike Sando
  (12:28 PM)

I have them in that 8-8 range again, but that is a little bit of a cop-out prediction. I just have a hard time going out on a limb with a team that hasn't named its starting quarterback.

cgolden: (Fort Worth, TX)

Mike, how closely will the Cardinals defense come to resembling a 'true 3-4'?

Mike Sando
  (12:29 PM)

More closely this season than last, but life becomes interesting if some of the team's older OLB types suffer from injuries.

Mo (Atlanta)

It seems like the Hawks are flying a bit under the radar (no pun intended). They did have a nice offseason thus far, but I'm worried about the health of their o-line and Kearney. Any insight? Thanks!!

Mike Sando
  (12:32 PM)

The Seahawks have helped themselves enough this offseason to make me think they can again contend for the division title. I think they'll be more of a passing team than initially anticipated. The health of the offensive line should concern you. I tend to think the defense will improve some even without a healthy Kerney, based on the scheme changes and the team's ability to add size to the front seven.

Ricky (The Huards, WA)

Do you think that the seahawks will pursue T Levi Jones even with their 2 starters named? They have made a decent splash in free agency and definitely made some moves this year. Realistic?

Mike Sando
  (12:33 PM)

The Seahawks would not pursue him as a starter, I can tell you that. I've been skeptical about their interest level but am checking on that.

Lou (Wallingford)

What is your feeling abou the potential reaction from 49ers fans if Alex Smith were to win the starting job? I know I would be very frustrated if he won the job, but I'm curious to know what others are feeling.

Mike Sando
  (12:34 PM)

That would depend largely on whether he won the job decisively during camp. If there's a feeling Smith got the benefit of the doubt in a close race, I think it's a tougher sell.

Eric (Santa Clara, CA)

Do you really think there's any QB competition with the Niners? Isn't it just McCloughlan trying to hang onto a shred of hope that he didn't blow it with Smith? I'm thinking the whole team knows Hill's the guy.

Mike Sando
  (12:36 PM)

Yes, I think there is competition, but Smith probably needs to be more convincing than Hill to emerge with the job. From a practical standpoint, the 49ers arguably needed to promise Smith at least a chance to compete. That probably helped them in negotiations to reduce Smith's salary.

Cyrus (San Francisco, CA)

I had asked a few weeks ago if the Niners would take a late round developmental QB, and you, rightfully, said it was unlikely because they just signed Huard and are already carrying 3 QB's. With Nate Davis there, do they drop somebody or go with 4 all year?

Mike Sando
  (12:37 PM)

They could put Davis on the practice squad depending upon what he shows in the exhibition season.

cgolden: (Fort Worth, TX)

Outside of the obvious battle at tight end, what other position battles will there be at Cardinals camp?

Mike Sando
  (12:40 PM)

Keep an eye on Cody Brown, the second-round choice. There's no rush to force him into the lineup, but it's a bonus if he makes a push for playing time right away. I think they could stand to get younger in the front seven. Early Doucet will try to push Jerheme Urban for the fourth WR spot. Deuce Lutui probably can't take anything for granted even though the Cardinals value continuity on the offensive line. This is a big offseason for Gabe Watson as well.

ken (ohio)

is this a strictly nfc west chat?

Mike Sando
  (12:41 PM)

Yes.

Bryan M (Mesa, Az)

cgolden i thin db will be a battle t cards camp

Mike Sando
  (12:41 PM)

The starters would appear to be set, though.

Chris (MD)

Thoughts on the Niners new unis? And would you go w/ a Crabtree or Willis jersey if you had to buy one?

Mike Sando
  (12:42 PM)

I like what I've seen of them (limited photos). Go with Willis for what it represents: fearsomeness, quiet fury and all that good stuff. Your testosterone levels are sure to rise.

Ryan (Denver)

How is L. Jackson looking so far in camp? Are the new coaches getting more out of him as promised?

Mike Sando
  (12:44 PM)

The coaches liked his effort level. They have pushed him to be more active. I watched tight end John Carlson turn him and plant him on the ground on one play, but one play does not make a camp or certainly an offseason. Jackson has the ability to emerge as a good player this season. I think he'll certainly be better.

mike, nm [via mobile]

Wife is a huge 49ers fan, she asks, what are you predictions on crabtree's rookie season sucess under mike s? He might have some so called ego issues, should we be worried he might turn into a TO?

Mike Sando
  (12:46 PM)

I know some teams weren't thrilled by what they saw from Crabtree, specifically the image Crabtree projected. But I've also heard good things about his work ethic. I don't think he'll become another diva type as long as Mike Singletary and Jerry Sullivan get to him early.

Daniel (st. louis mo)

What do you think the Rams starting O-line will look like on opening day?

Mike Sando
  (12:47 PM)

Jason Smith and Alex Barron as the tackles (not sure which side yet). Richie Incognito and Jacob Bell as the guards. Jason Brown as the center. It almost has to be that way.

Frank (El Paso, TX)

Out of the four teams in the NFC West, who do you think has the best Linebacker Core?

Mike Sando
  (12:48 PM)

Patrick Willis is the best linebacker in the division, but I think the Seahawks' trio is probably going to be the best in the NFC West this season.

Ryan (Denver)

I hope your right about Jackson. Going just off what you have seen at camp should Unger be a starter or is he one of the 5 best O linemen on the team?

Mike Sando
  (12:49 PM)

I would probably throw Max Unger into the lineup at center and let him grow into the role. I know they are working him at left guard for now, but if Unger picks up the offense quickly, turn him loose.

Bryan M (Mesa, Az)

who do you think the Cards need to reneg. first Dansby, Dockett, Wilson or Boldin? I think Dansby and Wilson.

Mike Sando
  (12:51 PM)

Wilson, Dansby, Boldin and Dockett, in that order. Wilson is the heart of the defense and everything the Cardinals should want in a player. Dansby is a good player in his prime with an inflated cap number for 2009. Boldin has two years left. Dockett, with three years left, isn't even on the radar.

Plunge (Seattle)

Mike, With the new offensive scheme, how do you see TJ Duckett being used in Seattle. I got the sense Holmgren didn't really care for him in their offense last year.

Mike Sando
  (12:53 PM)

I see Duckett's role expanding to include more carries across situations, as opposed to the short-yardage carries Holmgren gave him. You are right about Holmgren not being fully into the Duckett addition. That was a Ruskell move all the way, with an eye toward the future.

Ricky (puyallup)

With bringing back Ken Lucas (Whom Mora coached against twice a year in the NFC South), does that mean Josh Wilson and Kelly Jennings are going to be phased out in the next couple drafts by bigger guys? They are both undersized (Under 5'10" AND under 190LBS) and struggle against the 2 big recievers in the division in Fitz and Boldin (if he stays). Now with adding Crabtree to the division that could be a 3rd problematic matchup for them. Our age at corner for the starters is 28 for Trufant and 30 for Lucas. I think the other 2 guys will be great against the smaller guys in the slot, but not against big #1 guys. Thoughts?

Mike Sando
  (12:55 PM)

I don't see Wilson getting phased out. Jennings could be the odd man out within the next year, particularly if he continues to battle injuries. I do see the Seahawks continuing to look for more physical corners. Wilson projects very nicely defending the slot. I like his chances there.

Bryan M (Mesa, Az)

I agree Mike, and unless Dockett plays consistanly like he did in the playoffs (5 yds in the offensive backfield) im not sure i would rengotiate his

Mike Sando
  (12:56 PM)

There is absolutely no reason to re-do this deal with that much time remaining. The Cardinals need to be consistent in how they renegotiate deals. Too many players have their hands out right now.

Derek (MO)

This was the worst division by far last year. Why should i think it will be any better?

Mike Sando
  (12:57 PM)

The AFC West was pretty bad too. At least the NFC West put a team in the Super Bowl. Three reasons the division should be better this season: the Rams have some direction and cannot get worse; the 49ers will do a better job using their personnel; and the Seahawks will surely be healthier.

Anthony (Bowling Green KY)

Do you see any NFC west teams trying the wildcat this year?

Mike Sando
  (12:59 PM)

Ken Whisenhunt has shown he'll try that sort of thing. Anquan Boldin can play the role. The Seahawks will b amenable to those things now that Holmgren is gone (Holmgren treated his offensive system as gospel and avoided alterations he considered blasphemous). I'm not sure if the Rams would try something like that.

Scott (new orleans, La)

Will the niners O line be able to hold up for a season? You think we could go after Levi Jones to compete with Marvl Smith?

Mike Sando
  (1:00 PM)

The 49ers do not need two veteran tackles with injury concerns. I see the 49ers starting more than one player at right tackle this season, to answer your question.

Mike Sando
  (1:01 PM)

Our time is up. We've got a trade involving an NFC West team. I'll break it down on <a href="/blogs/nfcwest" target="_blank">the blog</a> shortly. You can also reach out to me through <a href="http://tinyurl.com/dzl9ny" target="_blank">Facebook</a>, <a href="http://twitter.com/espn_nfcwest" target="_blank">Twitter</a> and <a href="http://proxy.espn.go.com/chat/mailbagESPN?event_id=21415" target="_blank">the mailbag</a>.</p> THANKS.