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December 20, 1:00 PM ET
Chat with Mike Sando

Mike Sando
  (1:02 PM)

Hello. About to get rolling here.

Eric (Az)

In your opinion, do you think that if the Cardinals win their last 2 games it will be enough to save Wizs' job? If not who do you think will be the next head coach?

Mike Sando
  (1:05 PM)

Yeah, that could be enough. Beating the Bears and 49ers to end the season on a three-game winning streak could justify staying the course given how well the defense is playing. There have been a lot of injuries for Arizona. Maybe they could tell themselves it's all about getting a quarterback, no matter who is the head coach.

Randy (Ohio)

For the upcoming SEA/SF game, which unit do you feel needs to show up the most as far as OFF/DEF and which team?

Mike Sando
  (1:07 PM)

Seattle's run defense would probably be the first unit on alert. Then I would say Seattle's pass offense, which was terrible against the Seahawks in Week 7. I thought it was interesting to hear Jim Harbaugh point out how dropped passes were the problem for Seattle in that previous game. He actually spoke highly of Russell Wilson's play.

Tom [via mobile]

What do feel is a weakness that teams could exploit when facing the 49ers?

Mike Sando
  (1:09 PM)

Oddly, it could be on special teams. Ted Ginn Jr. has had some issues handling punts. David Akers' long-range kicking has not been good. Even the coverage units have appeared vulnerable at times. Seattle ranks fourth in kickoff return average. The 49ers rank 31st in kickoff return defense, defined as average length of return allowed.

Joker (SD)

Mike when Justin left we were still up 20 was that the major change that allowed NE back in or was it a change in scheme aka the ole prevent defense?

Mike Sando
  (1:10 PM)

I think losing depth on the line was a factor as the number of plays piled up. Smith was not dominating the game or anything, but they needed as many bodies as they could muster for that line. New England was running so many play. I do think there was a fatigue factor.

Alex (WA)

Do you think Colin Kaepernick's success could partially be due to the lack of film available to coaches? If so, do you see any sort of plateau to his stats?

Mike Sando
  (1:12 PM)

I actually thought he plateaued a little bit after the Chicago game as teams took away the deeper throws. He had a lot more success on those throws against New England even though the Patriots had shown dramatic improvement in defending deeper throws recently. So maybe Kaepernick has cleared the first little hurdle along those lines. I'm sure there will be more.

Massimo (NYC)

Do you see the Rams prioritizing the O Line or WR/TE this offseason. We will never know what we have in SB until these areas improve?

Mike Sando
  (1:13 PM)

Yeah, I'd say there is no question the offensive line will be a priority, sad as that is to say given all the resources put into the line over the past 4-5 seasons. They really need to find out if they can trust Scott Wells' body to hold up at center, even. I could see them taking a tackle in the first round even though Jeff Fisher's teams haven't gone that direction very often.

Massimo (NYC)

Is the WR position really so difficult that the Rams cannot get Quick on the field more?

Mike Sando
  (1:15 PM)

Quick played about one-third of the snap against the Vikings. Austin Pettis played 49 percent, Chris Givens played 62 percent, Danny Amendola played 75 percent and Brandon Gibson played 79 percent. I think Amendola has to play if healthy. Givens has to play if healthy. Pettis has earned playing time. Gibson might be a guy I underrate. He did come through against the Bills, but if he is still getting as many snaps next season, I think it might mean the position hasn't improved sufficiently.

Tom (San Mateo) [via mobile]

Mike you seem to have Bay Area and Pacific NW ties. Who are you pulling for in this Sunday's game?

Mike Sando
  (1:16 PM)

I always pull for me. In other words, I want good, compelling stories.

Ravieus (El Paso)

Sando, I need a non homer answer from you with this one. What do you think is harder to accomplish. To go into Foxboro and beat the Pats in December or to go to the clink and beat the Hawks?

Mike Sando
  (1:17 PM)

Seattle is a tougher venue, but venue doesn't matter unless the home team is good enough to make it matter. Seattle might be good enough now to make CenturyLink a tougher place to play relative to New England.

Keith H (Seattle)

May I recommend to the chatters to check out your breakdown of Sunday Night's game with Matt Williamson? It was very well done.

Mike Sando
  (1:19 PM)

Thanks. Love talking to Matt Williamson. He was all over Russell Wilson before the season and predicted Wilson would have the best stats of any QB in the division this year. He also said last season that he thought Colin Kaepernick would unseat Alex Smith. He thought it might happen before the 2011 season, but he was always very high on Kaepernick. Matt also went out on a limb and said he thought Seattle might win the NFC West this year. He will probably be wrong on that last one, but it's a close race, at least.

nwdave12 (Tacoma)

Mitch on KJR asked this of Peter King today, curious to hear your take: If you had to choose between Kaep or Wilson for the next 7 - 10 years, who would you rather have and why?

Mike Sando
  (1:21 PM)

I'd take Wilson because I know he's going to outwork everyone he plays. But I would be pretty confident in Kaepernick too. That is not a bad choice. Think Wilson is the safer pick but Kaepernick could be have greater potential based on his physical gifts.

Tom (San Mateo) [via mobile]

Have you noticed the pattern of the 49ers losing every third game this season? It must mean they will lose this Sunday. I hope not!

Mike Sando
  (1:22 PM)

I have noticed it and written about it. Not sure what to make of it. Every Super Bowl winner has had a regular-season winning streak of at least three games. It would be odd for such a good team to stay on that WWL pattern (or WWT as it were), but it doesn't disqualify the 49ers from winning it all. It would just be strange.

Barry Bond (Lake Havasu, AZ.)

Mike, I think Arizona's coach Whisenhunt must go? He is a terrible evaluator of quarterbacks and can not find a replacement for Kurt Warner? It is going on 3 years since Warner left, how long does it take? Plus Whisenhunt has never found a real replacement for offensive coordinator Todd Haley since he left their super bowl year, why?

Mike Sando
  (1:22 PM)

Yeah, they have to get the QB thing right.

EDTGO (IRON THRONE)

Enough of this tipy towing around, I think we all want to know the real question. What every one here wants to see, WILL the Cardinals beat the Bears this weekend. We are talking about 2 juggernauts here.

Mike Sando
  (1:23 PM)

Think it's an interesting matchup between the Cardinals' pass defense and the sometimes inconsistent Jay Cutler. Do think the Bears will score more points, though.

David (NYC)

I'm disputing your claim that Seattle has been a terrible run D since Week 7 since statistics DO lie. Virtually all of the yards (or YPC) that make Seattle a "bad" run D since Week 7 come from the 49ers, Vikings, and Bills. The Vikings and 49ers are the #1 and 2 rushing offenses in the league, and the Bills could run because the Seahawks didn't need to stop the run this weekend. 4 of the 5 other games, the Seahawks have held teams to under 4 YPC. The Seahawks run D hasn't been great, but I feel like your statistic is no different from calling a team a bad passing D after playing... say.. the Saints, Pats, and Broncos over a 4 week period.

Mike Sando
  (1:25 PM)

Yeah, I noticed Seattle is like 22nd in rushing yards allowed since Week 7, which is better than the last-ranked yards per carry average. I have never gotten the feeling the Seahawks were just being ground into mush, but I also think there have been games where the offense has taken the opponent out of running situations. I feel like the threat of the 49ers' run is significant in this matchup and the change in yards per carry highlights the issue.

Craig (Massachusetts)

Are the seahawks pulling the trigger too soon on putting players on IR? They just put Jason Jones on it today.

Mike Sando
  (1:27 PM)

Jason Jones hasn't given them what they wanted to get from him. Maybe it's time for someone else to get a shot. Greg Scruggs? At least Clinton McDonald is available.

Brandon (Pullman, WA)

The last couple of weeks the Seattle offense has looked like a powerhouse, steamrolling the Cards and Bills, will this offensive production carry over into the 9ers game?

Mike Sando
  (1:27 PM)

That would be a big shock. I expect more than the six points Seattle scored against the 49ers last time. I would not be surprised to see Seattle reach the 20s, even. But not expecting a shootout.

SuperBowlRams99 (KY)

What does Bradford need to do in 2013 to get a favorable extension?

Mike Sando
  (1:28 PM)

Bradford needs to be the reason his offense is playing winning football.

Tom (San Mateo) [via mobile]

Why do you think Vernon Davis has disappeared in the passing offense?

Mike Sando
  (1:28 PM)

The name does sound familiar.

SuperBowlRams99 (KY)

If Adrian Peterson gets the MVP award this season, the Rams will have played games in 2012 against the 3 previous MVPs: Rodgers, Brady, and AP. What does it say about the Rams that they could very well end going .500 with that kind of schedule?

Mike Sando
  (1:30 PM)

The Rams' winning record in the division is most telling to me. I think it shows the coaching staff really focused in on those games. The Rams won the coaching battles in the division most of the time. They beat Seattle without scoring an offensive touchdown. They beat the 49ers once and really should have beaten them twice. Fake punts showed up to benefit St. Louis.

Massimo (NYC)

I worry that the Rams are overspending on extensions to average/good players like Long & JL while the 49ers are extending true studs like Willis

Mike Sando
  (1:30 PM)

I had that thought on James Laurinaitis. Not really a dominant player, but a good one. They are good, solid players who are very good players at their best.

timstantonx (costa mesa, ca)

lets say the 49ers win this sunday. does alex smith play against the cards?

Mike Sando
  (1:31 PM)

I'm thinking they want reps for Colin Kaepernick and they want to keep the gas pedal down.

Shane (Robins Air Force Base, GA)

Sando, I realize the Cardinals won't bring Kolb back at his current price tag, however, unless they have a quarterback in the draft as the highest on their board when their pick comes up, I am loathe to have them not take an offensive lineman. IMO, Kolb showed much better pocket presence this year, despite the fact he knew he was going to get clobbered. This draft has good depth in offensive lineman and there are a few guys that will be available in free agency. What's your take on a team that is obviously already looking ahead to 2013?

Mike Sando
  (1:34 PM)

Yeah, you raise a good point. Just because Kolb might be average doesn't justify going with someone worse than average. The points above replacement metric comes to mind here. ESPN shows Kolb as 11.2 points above a replacement quarterback in six games. Even Mark Sanchez is a zero-point-zero in this category. That means if you have to go with a replacement-level quarterback -- not a good backup, but a guy who should not be starting under any circumstances -- you are likely to get Sanchez-level play. John Skelton is the only guy this season who is listed as less than replacement level. He is minus-13.2 points. Definitely worse than Kolb. By the way, Kolb came out as below average, but so do a lot of "name" players such as Joe Flacco, Carson Palmer, Philip Rivers and Michael Vick.

Joker (SD)

Mike has Jim Harbaugh seemed calmer in his pressers to you? I think he has been very conscious of his condition recently.

Mike Sando
  (1:37 PM)

I had not thought of it in those terms. Will pay attention.

EDTGO (IRON THRONE)

Sando: Smith to Jets for Mangold.How can we make it happen? is it even a possibility.

Mike Sando
  (1:37 PM)

Now that would be pretty fantastic based on what I think I know about Mangold.

Ser4ph1m (NorCal)

If the Hawks fail to have a good showing against the run on Sunday, how likely is it that there will/should be some staff changes on that side of the ball in the off-season?

Mike Sando
  (1:38 PM)

Well, they need defensive line help anyway. Maybe they upgrade from Alan Branch or at least add to that mix. Maybe re-sign Jason Jones for less but develop Greg Scruggs and draft someone.

TheLordHumongo (AZ)

What do you see happening with Steven Jackson in 2013! Does he stay a Ram for life?

Mike Sando
  (1:39 PM)

My guess would be that Steven Jackson does not play for the Rams at his current price of $7 million.

Hawaiian (7-9 Superbowlsville)

Seattle has both OROY and DROY, True or False?

Mike Sando
  (1:39 PM)

Lavonte David might be more deserving than Bobby Wagner on defense among the linebackers. Russell Wilson needs a strong finish.

Justin (Monterey, CA)

Do you see the 49ers throwing another DUD this week? Why is it every 3rd game they come out lackaidasical, and completely predictable...mainly on the offensive side of the ball?

Mike Sando
  (1:40 PM)

Just think it is coincidence that they lost or tied the third game after winning two.

kunta kinte (Wyoming)

Better defense, 49ers or seahawks at home?

Mike Sando
  (1:41 PM)

49ers on any planet, but if Justin Smith is out, my opinion could change.

Coaster (California)

Crabtree is a perfect fit for the Jim Harbaugh offense. Should the Niners feel good enough about his progrees to start thinking about an extension for him? With a stronger armed QB in place, his types of routes should be more productive. I can see the team wanting him around for a long time.

Mike Sando
  (1:41 PM)

Yeah, I would consider extending Crabtree. Have not looked at his deal, but in general think he is trending right and the team would want to keep him.

Keith (Seattle, WA)

Will Russell Wilson in the later rounds allow fans to forget about Irvin and Carpenter being drafted too high in the first?

Mike Sando
  (1:42 PM)

Hitting on the QB helps everything. No one talks about the Charlie Whitehurst trade any longer.

SuperBowlRams99 (KY)

If you were Les Snead, do you draft another WR, go after a big name in free agency, or put all your efforts into developing Quick, Givens, and Pettis?

Mike Sando
  (1:44 PM)

Stay away from big names in free agency. Lots of wasted money there, particularly at receiver. Seattle is finally getting return on Sidney Rice but the price and risk were high. I'd want to develop the other guys and of course keep an eye open for talent in the draft. It's tough to count on Danny Amendola staying healthy.

Rob (Augusta, Ga)

Kaepernick is looking at the toughest place to play he has seen yet. He showed some issues handling snaps last week. Do you think this could be a story line come Monday morning? How do you think he handles it?

Mike Sando
  (1:45 PM)

I think weather was the main reason for the bad exchanges last week. Also, Vince Wilfork was a factor. We should probably monitor the weather.

Spencer (Seattle)

Is Unger or Goodwin having the better season at the center position, and in what way?

Mike Sando
  (1:47 PM)

Max Unger. Jonathan Goodwin has two factors really helping him out. Those factors are named Mike Iupati and Alex Boone. Unger moves people around. Goodwin is more apt to wall off guys.

Joker (SD)

Sando is Aldon gonna break the sack record or w(h)att?

Mike Sando
  (1:48 PM)

The Cardinals would seem to be easy marks, but upon closer inspection, Arizona has really reduced the number of sacks allowed. Russell Wilson is not taking many sacks. I think the odds are now against Smith getting the record.

Craig (Massachusetts)

Should the Seahawks do what the niners did and dedicate multiple first round draft picks to secure their offensive line?

Mike Sando
  (1:48 PM)

They already tried that.

Sloppybeast (Traverse City, MI)

Justin Smith has received a lot of attention for his inside "holding" move to clear the lane for Aldon. Is he the only one doing that or he just the best at it so everyone talks about him?

Mike Sando
  (1:49 PM)

I think he's so good already, and that is why people notice. Plus, Aldon Smith can turn just a tiny advantage into a big play. I'd say about half of Smith's sacks have come off those types of combination plays. Aldon Smith's sack totals go down without Justin Smith.

Chris (Sacramento)

Hey Mike, It would be awesome of you to answer my two part question since they haven't been addressed the last 3 chats. My feelings are wounded and your silence cuts deep...Anyway, how do you think the brutal stretch of snaps the Niners D has played the last 5 weeks will affect them, especially since the Seahawks were basically sitting their starters by the 4th quarter the last two games?Second, what are the chances of Russell Wilson breaking Mannings rookie TD record? He needs 6 to take it.

Mike Sando
  (1:52 PM)

Well, hopefully your psyche survives intact. I'll pretend to send you a gift certificate to the finest strip-mall day spa in Tacoma if it makes you feel better. Great point on the 49ers' defense being on the field too much. On top of that, the 49ers rely upon a smaller number of player to play a higher percentage of snaps. This should be a blog item for me separately. I'll be sure to take full credit. As for Wilson getting six touchdown passes over the final two games, that is asking too much.

Tom (San Mateo) [via mobile]

Why has Sapoaga seen limited playing time this year as compared to last year?

Mike Sando
  (1:53 PM)

The 49ers have spent more time in sub packages, I would wager. They have faced Green Bay, New Orleans, Detroit and New England. Not many snaps for a base-defense nose tackle against teams like those.

Mike Sando
  (1:54 PM)

I've got radio here on 710ESPN Seattle at the top of the hour. Gonna go grab a quick bite before it starts. You can <a href="http://mynorthwest.com/streams/streampop_espn.php" target="_blank">listen live</a> if you'd like. Thanks for dropping by the chat this week.