Flag on me for delay of game on the latest NFC West chat. I lost track of time while working on an item sizing up the playoff chances for St. Louis, Seattle and San Francisco. That one is coming to the blog in a bit.
On the chat front, here's the full transcript. Highlights below:
Jerry (Folsom, CA): The Rams would seemingly have very little chance to make any noise in the playoffs if they were to win the division. Just from a team building perspective (not a financial one), would it likely be better to miss the playoffs (get a better 1st round draft pick, easier schedule next year) or make the playoffs (playoff experience, more attractive to free agents)? I am in no way advocating losing, I'm just asking in the abstract. They had better continue to play hard every down.
Mike Sando: It's better for the Rams to earn a playoff berth. Their season would be a smashing success relative to past seasons. The payoff for missing the playoffs isn't significant enough to make it worth their while. It's not like missing the playoffs would deliver a top five pick. The Rams have quite a few young players, notably the quarterback, and getting those guys some playoff seasoning would have value for the organization.
Steve (Berkeley, CA): Mike, I just want too say that unlike my fellow 49er fans who are angry about everything, in the spirit of the holidays I am proud and happy to (more than likely, go Bucs!) control our destiny. Can't ask for much more than that in my opinion. For those bemoaning our weakened draft position should we make the playoffs, maybe you'll regret wishing that if we miss out and stay out for the next several years, which seems pretty likely given the rebuilding we have to do. Go Niners!!!
Mike Sando: I'm not sure how to react to a non-cynical view of the 49ers.
Jeremy (Phoenix, AZ): If you are making the franchise decisions for the Cardinals, what do you consider their top three off season priorities and what order do you place them in? As I currently see it: 1. QB. Draft one with the top 5 pick they are likely to get as well as bring in a veteran such as McNabb or Bulger. 2. Defensive coaching staff. Blow up the defensive coaching staff. Everyone goes, start from scratch. New DC, new positional coaches, new scheme, etc. 3. Linebackers. Let the veterans go. Porter, Haggans, and Hayes. After taking a QB in the first round, focusing on drafting LB's to add to Daryl Washington and possibly O'Brien Schofield. It's time for the Cards to have a young LB core with a bright future. Not veterans on the last stop of their careers. It's getting old, pun intended.
Mike Sando: You are spot on. I think the Cardinals might agree with you when they do their end-of-season evaluations. We could see all those things happen. One key, though, is drafting the right players. The Cardinals would have an emerging young outside linebacker if Cody Brown had panned out.
Brad (Visalia, CA): If the Seahawks were to part ways with Hasselbeck after the season (looking more likely of late), what would you think about the Niners picking him up? I guess the Cardinals would be a good option too. Is he capable of being a bridge to the next QB of the future for the 49ers? I agree with your assessment that Hasselbeck can't quite carry an offense anymore, but would the supporting cast in San Francisco be a significant enough improvement from Seattle's to see Hasselbeck return to form from a few years back?
Mike Sando: It's important for teams to get the best players they can get, whether or not those players are "the answer" long term. The 49ers would be better with Matt Hasselbeck on their team. The Seahawks are better with Hasselbeck than without him. It's all about what other options are out there. The 49ers need to exhaust all avenues when looking for their next quarterback.
We did manage to go the full 60 minutes on this one. Thanks for your patience (assuming you were patient).