Chat wrap: Sensing optimism on Rams

The first regular-season NFC West chat of 2010 has come and gone. Transcript here. Highlights below:

Todd (Phoenix,AZ): Mike, what's your true gut feeling about our starting QB Derek Anderson? Do you think coach Chris Miller is gonna put the "touch" in D.A.'s touchdowns?

Mike Sando: My gut feeling is that Anderson will have some issues with consistency, but he'll provide some leadership from the position and hit some throws downfield, allowing Larry Fitzgerald to improve his yards per catch from last season. Anderson was in a weird situation in Cleveland where the team needed to look at Brady Quinn. There were some personnel issues as well. Those factors mitigate, to a degree, the shaky numbers Anderson put up following his one strong season. I do not think he will suddenly become a highly accurate quarterback. Guys can practice fundamentals, but it's harder to stick with those fundamentals under pressure.

Justin (San Francisco): Mike, I love your blog and have followed you for more than a decade as a diehard Seahawks fan. I have two questions for you. First, what do you think of the unconventional approach the Seahawks have used with picking up new players a week before the season starts. Second, what are the odds that Hasselbeck is actually able to walk away from this game with no left side of his offensive line going against a very tough, physical 49ers team? Thanks!

Mike Sando: Thanks, Justin. Dumping T.J. Houshmandzadeh despite $7 million in guaranteed salary was unconventional. Most of the other moves involved players along the fringes of the roster. It reflects poorly on the state of the roster. It also shows that the new leadership has the freedom to shake up things. The Seahawks were a bad team the last couple seasons, so changes should be expected. The issues on the offensive line, compounded by Russell Okung's injury, make me think we could see some bad offense early in the season. Unless the line situation changes, Hasselbeck will probably have to deal with injuries again this season.

James (Tel Aviv, Israel ): Hey Sando, love the blog and follow it religiously. As a die-hard Niner fan who is excited for the upcoming season, I have a question about the Niners bringing in Troy Smith. I loved him as a college QB and I thought he could surprise as a pro. Are the Niners looking at him as a possible long-term solution for the QB position? I mean, if Alex struggles, do you see Coach Singletary testing Troy Smith to see what he's got?

Mike Sando: Yeah, the 49ers do hope Troy Smith can give them a fall-back option should Alex Smith struggle. I could certainly see them giving Troy a chance at that point. David Carr is the No. 2, so he would probably get first crack at it, but if Troy Smith shows Singletary something, I could see Singletary letting him play under the circumstances you described. Alex Smith is the undisputed starter right now, however.

Brent (LA): Hey Mike. I'm a Niner fan, but I think the Rams could actually get second in the division fairly easily. They have an easy schedule and things are exciting in St. Louis with Sam Bradford giving the players around him a reason for hope. They have a better O-line than Seattle, arguably the best RB in the division and compared to Arizona a much better QB situation (I'd take Bradford over Derek Anderson any day.) Bradford strikes me as a player who finds whoever is open and doesn't necessarily need a star wideout. If him and Steven Jackson can put up 21 points a game for at least 12 of 16 games, I think they win 6 or 7. Am I crazy?

Mike Sando: Crazy? I would not go that far. The Rams do have an easier home schedule this season, and I think they'll win a few games as a result. I would put third place within the Rams' reach if things fall right for them and Bradford outperforms rookie expectations.

We had more Rams questions than usual during this chat. I'll take that as a sign of renewed hope.