Thanks to those who kept the latest NFC West chat moving quickly. The hour always seems to fly past. Transcript here. Highlights below:
Nate (Vancouver, WA): As a Seahawk fan I am excited about what Pete Carroll and John Schneider is doing is Seattle. At first I was nervous about getting a college coach, but he seems to have a finger on the pulse of this team. Do you see the Hawks as being competitive and reclaiming the NFCW?
Mike Sando: I see the Seahawks becoming competitive again, yes. The team had a promising offseason and it was likely Seattle would improve on its 2009 record anyway. The changes seem mostly positive. There's still a long ways to go, but this division lacks an established dominant team, so you have to think Seattle has an outside chance at competing for the division title. I still think the 49ers or Cardinals are more likely to prevail in 2010.
Jack (Phx, AZ): Can you see the Cards still making an attempt to sign Marc Bulger? I still think he would be better than Matt Leinart and Derek Anderson.
Mike Sando: Everything is right except the timing, and you know what they say about timing. It can be everything. If the Rams had released Bulger earlier, sure, the Cardinals would have been in better position to go that direction. It's a little tough at this point, particularly if Bulger wants to come in with a chance to challenge for playing time.
Ruben (Highland, Ca): Mike, thanks for taking my question. At what point do you think the Rams need to make a decision to get Sam Bradford ready to start the season? Obviously, the more reps he gets, the more chance he will have to succeed in 2010. Will it be OTA's, mini-camp or middle of training camp? I would hope if they have any thoughts of him playing early in 2010, they give him as many first-team reps as possible, beginning May 18.
Mike Sando: The postdraft camp sounded encouraging. The Rams should give Bradford as many reps as they can. The decision they make about starting him should hinge on how good Bradford looks in preseason and how well the offensive line is meshing. It's important Bradford has enough support to make progress. He needs experience, but not bad experience, in other words. I'm with you in thinking Bradford should get every chance this offseason, even if the team ultimately decides to let him watch a few games.
Christopher (Lake Elsinore, California): What do the 49ers have to do in order to win their divsion.
Mike Sando: Get even stronger at home and find a way to win three road games. The Patriots were the only division champion with a losing record on the road. If 9-7 is good enough to win the NFC West, then the 49ers can get there by matching their 2009 home record (6-2) and winning a third road game. They were close last season. The loss at Minnesota obviously hurt them badly.
Another question asked which players would lead the NFC West in a few key statistical categories. Sounds like something we could break out separately.