Mailbag: Cards in position for third seed?

Posted by ESPN.com's Mike Sando

Jason from Greeley, Colo., writes: What spot in the playoffs do you see the Cards getting? You have said that they will win 10 games. I see the Giants being ahead of them obviously, but could they make a push for the 2nd spot and get a 1st round bye? The North probably won't have anyone that finishes better them, and the South teams can beat up on each other. What are the odds right now that the Cards can grab a first round bye? If they can't, will they be able to grab the 3rd spot?

Mike Sando: Assuming your question doesn't jinx the Cardinals' season, I could see Arizona emerging as the third seed in the NFC, behind the Giants and Panthers. That might mean a rematch with the Redskins, this time in Arizona.

Carolina holds a one-game lead on the Cardinals in the NFC standings, plus the tiebreaker from their victory over Arizona. That means the Cardinals might want to root for Tampa Bay to win the NFC South. The Bucs are already 5-2 in conference games, however. The Cardinals are 3-2 with seven of their remaining eight games against NFC teams.

Rich from Bellevue, Wash., writes: Can you explain a little how the Cardinals' hybrid 3-4/4-3 works? I always thought those two schemes required significantly different kinds of players.
Mike Sando: The Cardinals have versatile personnel. Chike Okeafor can play rush end or outside linebacker. Bert Berry and Travis LaBoy can also rush from the outside. Darnell Dockett can play multiple positions on the line. Versatile personnel gives the Cardinals confidence mixing up their looks.

CW from Hialeah, Fla., writes: Do you think that it would be a smart move for the 49ers to go after DeAngelo Hall and add a great tandem with Nate Clements?
Mike Sando: At the right price, perhaps. In general, though, the 49ers should work on upgrading their pass rush and their speed at the safety position. It's also fair to question whether a player as flamboyant as Hall would fit into what Mike Singletary is trying to establish over the remaining games.

Adam from Sacramento writes: Hey Sandman... with all the uncertainty about the 49ers QB situation, I was wondering about the possibility of them bringing back Jeff Garcia ... he's a more than capable QB for another year or so ... that is if they back to the west coast offense.
Mike Sando: Bringing back Garcia or another veteran in that mold would make sense for 2009. The team will want an established, credible veteran to run the offense for a year or two, most likely. The timing wasn't right earlier this season, but it could be in the future.

Nic from Seattle writes: Mike, I'll start off by saying you are missed up here in the Sea-Tac area. I was wondering if you were watching the Browns v. Broncos game? I just saw B. marshall catch his late TD pass and pull something out of his pants. Looks like Brandon Stokely may have saved him from a penalty and most likely a hefty fine. Any idea what he had planned there? Something to get back at Joey Porter? Keep up the great coverage, hopefully next year the hawks will be back to a team worth reporting on again. Nic
Mike Sando:Thanks, Nic. The NFL Network guys referred to the prop as a pair of gloves. I watched it and paused the image just as Marshall was about to unleash his celebration. Reports have quoted Marshall as saying he was going to wear and hoist a black-and-white glove, Mexico City-style, as a symbol of racial harmony following the presidential election.

Jeremy from Surrey, B.C., writes: I saw your posting that the seahawks are not interested in Deangelo Hall. Why? It seems like that would be a good fit with Mora. Does this have to do with Ruskell's philosophy about "high character"?
Mike Sando: I don't think the Seahawks wanted to add a potentially high-maintenance player to their locker room at a position where they have two first-round choices and a second-round choice.

Dennis from Maryland writes: OK.. I have a good one for ya ... I am in a relatively good situation I have E. Manning and B. Rothlesberger.... have a chance to get S. Hill... should i grab him and if so... which other QB should I drop if i drop one... come on help me out here......SF has a QB favorable schedule!!
Mike Sando: I'm thinking you should hold onto the quarterbacks already on your roster.

Scott from Maryland writes: Yo Sando, do you see the Niners going after Crabtree or Oher in the first round of the draft? Crabtree is a rare talent and we have no right tackle for the team and then going after a safety in the second round that has some speed? Also, is there any possibility that they try to trade for Derek A or sign Hall? I mean Walt is getting up there
Mike Sando: The 49ers' approach in the draft could hinge to a degree on what the next coaching staff needs to run its schemes. It's hard enough projecting potential draft choices in early April, let alone this far out, particularly for a guy who spends his time watching all things NFC West (as opposed to the college game).

Even 49ers general manager Scot McCloughan couldn't honestly answer that question right now. As for Hall, I haven't heard anything linking him to the 49ers.