The latest NFC West chat is in books. Transcript here. Highlights below:
tom page (bellevue, wa): You predicted a regular season record of 6-10 for the Seahawks. The recent losing skid has been fueled by injuries, but many of those players are coming back. Seems like you are underestimating the impact of the Seahawks getting healthy.
Mike Sando: That is possible. I have perhaps been conditioned to err on the glass-half-empty side when it comes to Seattle and injuries. Can you blame me? Why assume Russell Okung will suddenly stay healthy when he's had two high-ankle sprains in a two-month career? The offense hasn't done much of anything all season, with the exception of a quarter here or there. The defense has run out of players lately. Red Bryant's loss appears to be a big deal. I could see Seattle outperforming my estimate, but the outlook is a bit shaky.
Sam (St Louis): I'm shocked at the lack of respect you give to the Rams. It seems like whenever you're talking about division winner predictions, it always the Seahawks or Cardinals at the have winning the division. Like most everyone else, you had the 49ers winning the division in the pre-season. The Rams are getting better every week unlike our other NFCW opponents. We are the only team who hasn't been riding a roller coaster of good-to-awful games all year long. Not to mention that we are the only team with a franchise QB. Look at your first mailbag question today, you do not even mention the Rams! So my question is this: What is it going to take for you to respect the Rams' chances as a team that can win this division?
Mike Sando: We agree on the Rams. I just think the Rams have a tougher schedule and I'm a little reluctant to assume they'll start winning road games. The projections made at midseason had the Rams finishing 7-9 and in second place, but they could certainly win the division. My 8-8 projection on the Cardinals was all about their ridiculously easy (on paper) schedule. I do not trust the Cardinals to win games they're supposed to win. The Rams have certainly been more consistent.
Pete (Walnut Creek, CA): Mike, am I the only person in the world who thinks that Singletary is getting a bit of a raw deal? He did a good job last year in a horrible situation. His crucial mistake was rolling with Alex and Raye for "continuity" reasons but had he not, wouldn't everyone have been up in arms about the constant rebuilding process? So their offense has been bad mainly due to those two and now a conservative Mike Johnson... and yet they still could easily be 5-3 with wins over the Saints, Falcons, and Panthers. I know they are what their record says they are", but still it's not like this is all on Singletary is it? I feel the media blowing little odd soundbites way out of proportion makes him look far worse than he probably is behind closed doors.
Mike Sando: Mike Singletary is ultimately responsible for how the team handles critical situations -- in the big picture (who starts at QB) and in the moment(say, whether to go for it on fourth down against Seattle in Week 1). Singletary's handling of situations makes him vulnerable to legitimate criticism, in my view. And yet the team certainly could have a 5-3 record if a couple breaks had gone the 49ers' way. He might not be any better of a coach, though.
David (Sacramento): I used to like your columns and chats, but lately you are fielding too many questions and comments about Matt Leinart. He is in the AFC South now, so have some respect for your column on the NFC WEST. Why are you caught up in defending your views on Leinart? Why are you allowing others to run your columns? Why don't you just ignore the Leinart questions? He is in Houston and a reserve QB so leave it at a rest. Sorry to be so blunt, maybe its just cause I hate USC, but I dont think he deserves all this talk because he will never be anything in this league.
Mike Sando: You are the first person to bring up Matt Leinart to me or on the blog since last week. No plans to revisit the subject anytime soon.
Blog regular RedRumRBS complained that I was choosing questions from "the same three dudes" over and over. What's on your mind, RedRum? Fire away.