Greetings. About to get going.
Mike what record do you think the Rams will have next year
I think they are good enough to be above .500 but could struggle to finish above 8-8 based on the strength of their division. So, I would go with 8-8 and say there's a decent chance it's going to be close to that. Up-and-coming team in a tough division, with some question marks related to youth and some potential growing pains awaiting, but also with a good defense, improved offensive line, exciting weapons and a quarterback ready to take the next step.
Who do you predict will be the next NFC West coordinator to be hired away as a head coach?
So much of that depends on who is doing the hiring, and who has the connections to those people. Brian Schottenheimer, Darrell Bevell and Greg Roman are three to watch for sure.
For the record, Mike... the NFC West can never be "monotonous" while you're steering the ship. Personalities like Jim Harbaugh and the Seattle CBs also help to keep things interesting. However, imo Browner stepped over the line of "interesting" with his comments, "He's never gonna be out there lined up against me. I wish he would. I'd put my hands around his neck." Do you feel like Browner owes Jim Harbaugh (and the NFL) an apology?
Brandon Browner reportedly made these remarks to KJR radio in Seattle. I have not heard the remarks. I'll give it a listen for context. On the surface, I don't think a line was crossed because Browner was making the remark in the context of activities that would take place on the field, during a game. Saying you'd like to wring a guy's neck would be a generic statement. Was that what Browner was saying? I'll give it a listen.
I see the rams and 49ers battling it out this season for first, I seriously see Seattle falling back with their high expectations, I'm thinking 7-9 for the Seahawks. Any thoughts?
I would not be surprised at all if the Rams finished second in the NFC West this season. However, I think there would probably be something somewhat unpredictable behind it, such as injuries to the 49ers or Seahawks. I don't think high expectations is much more than narrative.
Jim Harbaugh - Do you find it awkward to interview him ?
Sometimes I have found that to be the case. Some subjects get him going. Other times his mind seems to be on other things. Also, I think he can sometimes be a lot better in an offseason setting, when there isn't a game to play.
On the topic of interviews, which NFC West coach is easiest to interview?
Pete Carroll tends to elaborate quite a bit. Bruce Arians is very direct. Jeff Fisher isn't as effusive as Carroll but is a comfortable guy to speak with.
What did you think of Tavon Austin
The Rams' defense had a good day Tuesday. There was no practice Wednesday. Austin really impressed me Thursday. There was one play where I didn't even realize he was open, but all of a sudden this rocket of a pass from Sam Bradford found Austin on what looked like an out route to the left side. It just laser-beamed in there and Austin snatched it cleanly and got out of bounds.
Finish the sentences: 1) The 49ers season is a failure if ______. 2) The Seahawks season is a failure if ______.3) The Rams season is a failure if ______.4) The Cardinals season is a failure if ______.
For the 49ers and Seahawks, it's a failure if they miss the playoffs, or if their young quarterbacks seem to regress. For the Rams, it's a failure if they don't feel good about Sam Bradford (they are ecstatic about him now, really fired up). For the Cardinals, it's a failure if the quarterback situation is not vastly improved.
Sando you have yet to visit SFs camp is this correct?
Correct. I have not been to the Cardinals or 49ers during OTAs or minicamps. I think this was the first offseason I've gone to the Rams before training camp. Seeing them was a priority because they have so many young faces.
When a 9er player get's popped for PED's , Can you write 10 articles about about it? Us Hawk fans are just dieing to rub it in.
If five test positive over the next two seasons, yes, we'll focus on that intently.
Do you see the Niners having any difficulties early on in the season after the SB loss?
I don't think the Super Bowl defeat will affect the team this season.
Sando, more so than other rivalries, it seems as though hawks/niners is more hate based, and less respect based .... agree?
Disagree. I grew up following the AFC West with the Chiefs, Raiders, Chargers, Broncos and Seahawks. Harsh feelings prevailed then too, but there was no internet for those feelings to percolate and intensify. That is a difference now.
Janoris Jenkins just entering his second year and can already be labeled as a 'playmaker' just by the way he plays. Always fast, aggressive in run support, hard hitting, ball skills, and seems to be looking to create turnovers and score. From everything we have heard so far, Alec Ogletree may have all these same skills. If both of those guys become 'playmakers' mixed in with the guys already there, what is the ceiling for this group, and could it be Chicago Bear like? High hopes right?
I wouldn't make a Chicago Bears comparison other than to acknowledge Jeff Fisher's history with those great Bears defenses. I do think Ogletree adds speed to an extent that could allow the Rams to play more aggressively, as reflected by how much man coverage they can play. The ceiling is high for a group featuring Chris Long, Michael Brockers, Robert Quinn, James Laurinaitis, Ogletree, Cortland Finnegan and Jenkins.
Your thoughts on the Niners bringing in Collie for a visit?
Might as well know what is out there. Maybe they can touch base with him again in the future to chart his progress.
Don't you think Bruce Arians was the most underrated Head Coaching candidate this year? I mean he was COACH OF THE YEAR. Why didn't more teams try to sign him?
Yes, very underrated. We easily forget how well he did that job. He also called the plays. That is the big concern, potentially. Calling plays and being a first-time head coach. Arians has done that. That should be comforting for Arizona.
Which player on the rams is bound for a breakout?
Could be Sam Bradford. The Rams think he will have that kind of season.
I read that Gore will be the only starting RB in football this year over 30 at the start of the season....Do the 49ers limit him at all to keep him through the whole season, assuming a healthy Hunter and James?
Yeah, I think they'll be smart with him. But he will still be the primary back and go over 1,000 yards most likely.
Over Under on Bradford 4000 yrds passing, 30 plus td's???
Under 30 TDs, probably. Could be above 4,000 yards though.
Do you see any of the Seahawks rookies having an impact this season?
Jesse Williams has a good shot to start at defensive tackle. Luke Willson has a good shot to be the second tight end. Chris Harper has a chance to factor in the receiving rotation.
Sando, you're up here in Seattle quite a bit. As a 49er fan I listen to both Seattle and SF sports talk during the day and the Seattle media seems much more obsessed with comparing the Hawks and the Niners (coaches, quarterbacks, etc) than the SF media is in comparing the 49ers and the Seahawks. Why do you think that is?
I don't know if that is true. In general, though, the 49ers are the standard in the NFC West. Everyone else is trying to catch them. That includes the Seahawks. The hunter sometimes is more aware of the hunted than the hunted is of the hunter, if that makes sense.
A lot of people like to think that Keapernick will be injury prone with his playing style. While I think he protects himself well even if he were to go down I think the 49ers are well set at Backup. I never thought Colt McCoy was that bad in Cleveland he just lacked Talent around him. (Think early Alex Smith. Point being I think if Keap goes Down Harbaugh and that Team will make McCoy look like a Pro-Bowler. What do you think.
Colin Kaepernick is a big, sturdy guy who has proven he can rush for 4,000 yards in college and come out OK. He does need to be smart with his running and I expect him to become smarter, more aware, etc., as he gains NFL experience. He does not take a ton of sacks. I don't see him as being at heightened risk for injury. There would be a significant, season-altering drop if they had to play McCoy instead. That is my opinion based on how those players have played, their talents, etc. Now, having said that, San Francisco does a good job with its personnel. The 49ers would adjust and have a plan. But I think they would have a hard time remaining a top team over time with McCoy as the QB.
Do you think the Rams will lead the NFCW and the NFL in sacks again this year?
Think they'll be top five. One key could be having leads a little more frequently. That could force teams into additional passing situations, at least in theory. Their pass rush is good and should improve with Alec Ogletree there and Michael Brockers healthy all season (they hope). Quintin Mikell did a nice job getting pressure from the secondary at times. They could miss that. But the strength of the pass rush should remain high. Re-signing William Hayes helped on that front too.
Last year the 49ers didn't spend much time in their base 3-4 D. Hence they pretty much don't have a nose tackle this year. Do teams now go to more base sets to try to hurt them with the run?
That would be an interesting thing to look at. My expectation would be that teams do what they do, especially on offense. Defenses react more. Offenses play what they play. The 49ers faced quite a few pass-oriented teams last season.
@Sando, why did you feel the need to overplay the PED suspensions? You realize that 1 of those players wasn't on the team when he tested positive, another had just signed to the practice squad, not like he was a big part of the team, Moffitt had a prescription that simply wasn't registered with the league, honestly Browner and Irvin are the only big time guys that popped legitimately and Sherm if you count his overturned test. ... why did you handle the situation like a common Tabloid reporter? How about the fact that there's other teams with 4 or 5 suspensions themselves and you acted like the Seahawks were alone... and besides all that, you didn't even mention the fact that NFL Network recently interviewed a player anonymously that said as many as 15 players per team are using HGH which isn't even tested.. you acted like a Fox news reporter throughout this PED thing Sando, ... yup... Fair and balanced...
Have to disagree with you there. The practice-squad player wasn't part of the equation. I produced a chart showing all the PED violations over the past couple years. We had the numbers for all teams. The details relating to John Moffitt's situation were part of the coverage. Also mentioned that Richard Sherman prevailed on appeal.
What does it say if the Rams so called had this advantage that Harbaugh didn't pick up on it immediately? Shouldn't such a simple trick be picked up on after even afew series? Nevermind the fact that he was arrogant enough to use the gunner as an extra rusher TWICE in a single game, also throw in that the Rams sniffed it out the first time? What does it say that after afew weeks to think about the first game that they made the same exact mistakes in the second? Harbaugh really needed Crag Dahl and Eric Mangini to come in and tell him about this?
Nah, this strikes me as one of those things that gets blown out of proportion simply because we knew about it. How many other times are we completely unaware of little things that teams spotted or thought they spotted? The Rams out played the 49ers during that 16-13 victory and that is why they won. They outplayed them most of the way through that 24-24 tie too.
Kaep had a "breakout" season last year and that was not a full season. Does he take the league by storm with a full season as the starter?
I think there's a good chance, but we need to see it over a longer period.
Mike - Which QB has a better shot at regressing in your opinion? Russell Wilson or Colin Kaepernick?
There's a little less certainty with Kaepernick in part because he has played less.
If Marshawn Lynch faces any suspension for his looming DUI case, do you think Christine Michael could step in and fill that role? Or at the least, fill Turbin's current role?
Robert Turbin would be up first. He's looking really good and would be the guy.
After the thumping the Seahawks layed on WhinnyNiners, and the Rams having their number, do you see them falling all the way to 3rd this season?
The 49ers finished first last season after losing badly to the Seahawks and struggling against the Rams.
Sando, From what you've seen so far, What team has improved the most this offseason?
Would have to go with the Cardinals. They were so bad by the end of last season. Just getting healthier, adding to the offensive line, upgrading at quarterback -- those things will help.
I'm not sure why I don't think the backend of the Rams D is going to be an issue whatsoever this year. I can understand why you have worries though. Stewart, Mcdonald, and a couple undrafted FA's in year 2. Guess we will have to wait and see?
Well, they have a formidable pass-rush and look to be strong at corner, so that helps.
Well you've talked about McCoy, now T Jack coming back to Seattle, how do you feel about the Hawks chances if there's an injury with Wilson? Could they still contend?
Just posted a big item looking into that. <a href="http://espn.go.com/blog/nfcwest/post/_/id/102306/what-happens-if-seahawks-need-backup-qb" target="_blank" >Check it out</a>.
TJACK IS BACK! Would he be your number 2?
Mike, do you think there's a scenario where the hawks keep both tjack and Quinn?
Very doubtful as long as Russell Wilson is available. Update: The team released QB Jerrod Johnson after signing Tarvaris Jackson.
In your opinion, which TE will be number two in Seattle
Hey sando, with niners cap room so little think they can afford to add some more FA?
I think cap room is overrated. They don't want to add higher-priced FAs, but they could if they wanted to. They could create room.
what do you think of the Rams tight ends
Jared Cook looks like a tough matchup, but he also dropped some passes while I was there, at least on Thursday. Lance Kendricks has not been practicing. I think that combination is a good one because Cook is so fast and Kendricks is a pretty good all-around tight end. Liked his blocking at times last season, and he can catch it too (had an 80-yard touchdown reception).
Hey Sando, big fan from Toronto! I just wanted to ask what impressed you the most about this years Rams team while at their OTA's?
Their resounding confidence in Sam Bradford was tough to miss.
Thanks for dropping by the NFC West chat this week!