Mailbag: Moment of truth awaits Cards

Posted by ESPN.com's Mike Sando

Jason from Greeley, Colo., writes: Hey Mike. I know you will be at the Cards game this week. It has been a problem in the past for the Cardinals that Cowboys fans fill up the seats at the statdium. When you are at the game, could you estimate what the percentage of the crowd is so we can know if the Cards are really playing a home game?

My thoughts are that if it is 70/30 for the Cards they win the game, anything less and the Cowboys win. My hope is that with the new stadium, the Cards recent (very recent) success, and their "Protect the Nest" ticket selling strategy for this game, the Cards fans will prevail.

Mike Sando: You've got a deal. My plane landed in Phoenix late Sunday night. I'll be at the stadium early and will be getting a feel for things in the parking lot before heading inside. The Cardinals have so much to gain as an organization from winning this game and filling the stadium with their own fans. Losing a lopsided game while Cowboys fans party in the stands would be a horrible way to head into the bye week.

I'll do my best in providing an accurate crowd composition estimate. Cards fans are probably fearing they'll show up to find a Cowboys star at midfield, but we'll see.

Joe from Davis, Calif., writes: Sando, If you were to make an all-division team, who would be on it?
Mike Sando: Love the question. We ran a preseason version. Let's revisit that list this week based on what we've seen so far. I might need some help, though. For example, Ray Willis would probably be the best right tackle so far and he's not even starting! Nice division.

Tanner from California writes: Hey Mike. I love the blog; I read it every day in class. You answered my question about Leroy Hill's future a couple weeks ago. Thanks! But, now i want to know about Seattle's future at another position, the quarterback position. Hasselbeck's getting towards the age when most quarterbacks start to drop in stats, efficiency, etc. I was wondering if Seneca Wallace or Charlie Frye are in Seattle's plans for the future. Do you think either of them could be leading the starting offense sometime in the future?
Mike Sando: Thanks much, Tanner. I really like the way Seneca Wallace has carried himself when given the chance, to the point that I would include him in any future competition for the job. The team probably needs to draft a player at the position as well. With Wallace, you wonder if his height might prevent him from seeing the field quite as well over the course of a season. Hasselbeck should have a couple more good seasons, though.

Rooster from parts unknown writes: Are the seahawks going to win at least 4 games? They have a 4th string wide receiver playing 1st and matt hasslebeck is hurt and so is Wallace?
Mike Sando: I do think the Seahawks will win at least four games, yes. The fact that someone would ask that question tells us plenty about the current state of the team.

Kurt from Seattle writes: What up Mike! Had some spare time so here are my numbers- Hasselback started 100 games (only 4 this year) averaging 25.46 per game. Dilfer 12 games averaging 23.08. Kitna 27 games averaging 22.22. Wallace 4 games averaging 20.5. Huard 4 games averaging 15.25. Foley 1 game and they scored 14. I need all the extra credit I can get, GO HAWKS !!!!
Mike Sando: Thanks much for doing the legwork. Much appreciated.

Arlan from San Francisco writes: Hi mike thanks for all your hard work on the NFC west. obviously mike nolan is gonna get canned after this year maybe even during the bye week if the niners dont do well, but what I'm wondering is if holmgren is gonna take a parcells like position with the niners is there any chance that they would consult with him in the off season on who the next coach will be since he would have to work with the guy?
Mike Sando: That sounds reasonable in theory but I'm not sure Holmgren would want to commit to anything that early necessarily. I do like your thought process though.

Kelphelper from Anchorage, Alaska, writes: Another question regarding Seahawk receivers. How do you think the situation will look in 2009? Between Engram, Branch, Burleson, Robinson, Colbert, McMillan, Bumpus, Kent, Taylor, Payne and Obomanu, it seems to me that virtually none of them are assured of being on the squad next year. (I would guess Burleson might be the most likely, but he'll also be trying to come back from a major injury.) I would be interested in your take on this, given that you have a good understanding of the contracts. (Also, do you foresee ANY of these guys having the tools to be a legitimate #1 receiver next year? I really don't...)
Mike Sando: There isn't a No. 1 receiver in that group, but I don't think it's essential to have a true No. 1, either. Having the same four or five guys for a full season would help a ton.

Oz from Ft. Lauderdale, Fla., writes: Mike, I am a Cardinals fan through and through but I have a Seahawks question. I know Mora was anoited the successor after Holmgren leaves but with the struggles on defense, possibility of a very bad season, and his "dream job" at UW opening up - is it that much of a fait accompli that he will be the Seahawks head man and NOT the head coach at the University of Washington? Wasn't it a huge deal a couple years back when he said as much when he was coaching the Falcons? And more importantly with his track record should the Hawks even be that upset about it if that's what he does choose? Personally, I hope he takes over the team as a Cards fan....
Mike Sando: My understanding is that Mora has a signed contract with the Seahawks, which means he is going nowhere. I also think Mora would rather coach the Seahawks than the Huskies at this point. He made the "dream job" comment to his old UW teammate Hugh Millen. I don't think he ever realized the comment would take on such significance.

Brandon from Ellensburg, Wash., writes: I heard that Josh Wislon will start this week in place of Kelly Jennings. Do you think this is the coaching staff just trying to stir things up or based on Wilson's performance? Wilson seems to be getting beat when he's playing too. What about Kevin Hobbs? I thought he was pushing Jennings for the starting spot during the preseason. Thanks and keep up the good work.
Mike Sando: Thanks. They've been pretty happy with Josh Wilson for the most part. He's been better than Hobbs in their view. Hobbs has flashed talent but Mike Holmgren later made it clear Jennings was never all that close to actually losing his job to Hobbs.

Terry from Seattle writes: Mike, lately there's been much talk about Seattle not being able to win on the East Coast. And the whole time zone change thing from Pacific to Eastern. Well, that didn't much bother the Super Bowl seasons of the Niners, Raiders, and even the '05 Hawks. And, in 2004, we beat the Saints and Tampa BOTH on the road to start the season in fact I believe.So it seems to me it is the players, not the time zone thing. Thoughts ?
Mike Sando: You're onto something. I think it's important to differentiate 10 a.m. PT games from other games played in the Eastern time zone. Seattle's record in the 10 a.m. games was close to .500 in 2006 and 2007. I do think playing at 10 a.m. ET makes things harder, but not that much harder.

Glenn from Sacramento writes: Mike-Why don't the Niners use more screen plays to Gore? It sure would counter blitzing defenses nicely. It also seems that their defense needs to go out and find a huge Nose Tackle. I believe we have adeq
uate DE's but are lacking a Nose Tackle that can start up this defense. Franklin? I don't think so. I think that's what the Niners have been missing and is a key element in having the rest of their expensive defensive players do what they do best in this system. If not, go back to a 4-3...
Mike Sando: What you're saying makes a lot of sense to me. The offense is set up to strike down the field. As for the defense, there's no question a dominant nose tackle would help the 49ers become more legitimate from the 3-4.

Smoke from parts unknown writes: How long will it take the Rams to become contenders again? Their front office may be the worst in football now that Millen is out in Detroit.
Mike Sando: Impossible to say. I would think this team might need until 2010 to get things right, but fortunes turn quickly in the NFL.

Rich from Seattle writes: That excel sheet is so cool. Is there a way I could get these every week for different teams? Love your columns
Mike Sando: Glad you like them. I do maintain them for every team. Generally I'll make them available for teams in the NFC West and their opponents.

Jake from Germany writes: Sando, The team is trotting Wilson out onto the field now to replace Jennings, ok... but where is Babineaux? I know he's the number one backup at Safety also, but isn't he the nickel-back? I realize he isn't the answer starting opposite Trufant, but he has proven to be a very solid nickel corner. Why would Wilson slide inside in the nickel, why not keep Babs in that spot?
Mike Sando: Wilson and Babineaux are both suited for that nickel role. They like Wilson better than Babineaux at this point and that explains the rationale. I'm just not sure how much I would want Kelly Jennings on the field when he's got a broken rib and coming off a stinger/concussion. Bad combination if you ask me.

Scott from Maryland writes: Is there any chance that Dashon Goldson will replace [49ers safety] Mark Roman anytime soon with Roman looking slow in coverage? Also, why does Nolan refuse to play Lawson, a first round pick that has excellent coverage skills?
Mike Sando: I thought Goldson might take the job coming out of camp. Coaches get comfortable with veterans because coaches can generally trust the veterans to play the defense as it's drawn up. As a coach, it's easier to send a veteran onto the field than it is to coach up a younger player. Goldson hasn't exactly flourished when given the chance, either.