Mailbag: Yes, the Cardinals can win it all

Posted by ESPN.com's Mike Sando

Drew from Buffalo writes: Hey Sando, hope you are enjoying yourself in Tampa. I, unfortunately, cannot make it down, other upcoming vacations are taking precedence over my vacation time from work and money. Anyway, I was listening to Rome today and he said that he cannot find anyone "who matters" down there giving the Cardinals a chance to win. Is that just Rome being Rome or is that statement true?

If so, HOW IS THAT POSSIBLE?!?! Maybe I'm biased because I'm a Cardinals fan but it is baffling to me that these "experts" still aren't giving the Cardinals a chance. The Cards have only been held under 20 points 3 times this season. 2 of them were in the last 3 weeks. The Cardinals are going to score. I'm not so sure the Steelers offense is going to be able to keep up. What is the consensus reason for giving the Cardinals no shot? As always, keep up the good work. Thank you and GO CARDS GO! GO CARDS GO!

Mike Sando: I think Rome is on the money with that one. People see no way for the Cardinals to win this game, which means -- of course -- that they must be missing something. I've learned my lesson on that one. The Giants had no chance last season, right? There are no great teams in the NFL. The Cardinals have the potential to beat anyone in the league, particularly in warmer conditions.

Hopper from parts unknown writes: did u see this? best bulletin boardd stuff yet

Mike Sando: If Ken Whisenhunt wasn't a Slate reader prior to this anti-Cardinals screed, he should be. It plays into what Drew from Buffalo is talking about. You have to stay true to what you know and not let the prevailing opinion sway you. The Steelers might very well win this game. But to suggest the Cardinals have no chance is to deny what they've proven during their three playoff victories.

Gabe from St. Louis writes: Here's a question for you. Without giving away what I think, my friend suggested the Rams should sign Michael Vick for obvious reasons concerning his ability to avoid pressure. This would be ruined of course if, say, Vick is still in prison in August (Is he?) What are your thoughts on this?

Mike Sando: Society awards second chances, but NFL teams aren't required to take such blatant risks. I just see no advantage in taking a chance on a career 53.8 percent passer who will be pushing 30 years old if and when the NFL reinstates him. The Rams have enough credibility problems without becoming a halfway house for the NFL's disgraced.

Jonathan from San Francisco writes: Hey Mike, Last year I did an analysis of which Super Bowl team was more likely to be distracted & have someone arrested during Super Bowl week. This year, I'm back, with even more references to strip clubs.

Mike Sando: This is pretty good stuff, Jonathan. And I'm sure some of our Cardinals fans will be relieved to know Arizona has the edge by your standards.

Steve from Reno writes: wow great defense by the Steelers but on some of their hits they seemed to leading with their helmets. someone is going to get seriously hurt.

Mike Sando: Someone such as Willis McGahee, perhaps?

Daniel from Costa Mesa, Calif., writes: Sando, Thanks for your awesome coverage on the NFC West; this is the first place I always check for updates on my Seahawks or any other team in the west. My question is regarding the Seahawks' next course of action following the recent legal troubles that Leroy Hill has gotten himself into.

I know how high of a priority good character is to Tim Ruskell, so it appears less likely now than ever before that Leroy won't find himself with the Seahawks next season. If we do not resign or franchise Hill, what are their options at outside linebacker? I can't help but be intrigued by the trio of Ravens linebackers being unrestricted free agents, especially outside linebackers Bart Scott and Terrell Suggs, but with all of the money the Seahawks have invested in Julian Peterson and Lofa Tatupu, I don't see a big free agent signing happening.

The draft also holds a gem of an outside linebacker in Aaron Curry, but I am a strong believer that the Seahawks should draft Michael Crabtree with their first pick, and drafting Curry would also result in giving another linebacker a huge contract. The Seahawks could avoid the bigger hit to the pocket book if they took a linebacker outside the first round, and one such outside linebacker that could be available when the Seahawks draft in the second round is Clay Matthews from USC. Todd McShay believes that this player is a first round talent (going 23rd overall to the Patriots), while Mel Kiper Jr. doesn't have him going in the first round at all.

If Leroy Hill is not franchised or given a new deal, what are the odds of a player like Matthews would be picked up outside of the first round of the draft?

Mike Sando: First, thanks for the support. It's appreciated. The statement Tim Ruskell released about Leroy Hill's arrest seemed pretty tortured. Indeed, these things really bother Ruskell. They are also a fact of life in the NFL and society in general. If pro sports teams ruled out every marijuana smoker from their ranks, I suspect we might be watching eight-man football games. Perhaps Hill's incident allows the Seahawks to re-sign him at a reduced rate.

Any linebacker taken fourth overall would presumably have to possess lots of pass-rush potential. I think your scenario -- finding one after the first round -- makes sense. That was Ruskell's modus operandi when he drafted Hill and Lofa Tatupu back in 2005, and it makes sense.

Tyler from Phoenix writes: hey sando, is there any way you could touch on kurt warner's awards he is up for this week, and maybe provide a link of the site to vote for him up. that would be awesome. thanks and keep up the good work. GO CARDS

Mike Sando: I did not immediately see links to such voting.

Brandon from Bellevue, Wash., writes: Have you ever wandered over to the Message boards for the Hawks, Cards, Rams, or 9ers? It is pretty interesting stuff. If you are ever looking for some article fodder it is a good place to get ideas from fans. I know you already are pretty busy but a lot of the people who post there do so a bunch and some seem to be pretty intelligent (surprising, I know).

For instance, on the Rams board they are having this discussion on the idea of best player available for the draft or filling a need. They bring up a lot of good points. I thought it was pretty interesting how many of them are worried about passing on Crabtree and then having to see him twice a year in Hawks colors. Anyway, if you get time you should have
a look. It could even be a weekly or every other week addition-Best Message Board strand w/ your comments. Just a thought.

Mike Sando: The sheer volume of material forces me to make choices in what I read consistently, but I'm never surprised to see intelligent analysis in such places. And I do need to monitor those conversations more closely.

I've learned so much from those who have read and contributed to the blogs I have maintained. I can trace my interest in Excel-based breakdowns in part to what I learned from a regular contributor to the old Seahawks blog I maintained.

Mike from Washington, D.C., writes: Mike, Big fan of the way you cover the NFC West. Makes it easy for those of us stuck on the East coast to follow our teams on the West coast.

2 questions/comments for you today.

1. Regarding the Eagles vs. Steelers defense argument. Clearly the Eagles defense had allowed fewer TDs. However, the playoff TDs by the chargers came when the game was pretty well in hand. The only team that visibly got the best of the Steelers were the Titans. Contrast this to the Eagles playing win or die football during this same period, is this a fair comparison?

2. Why is Russ Grimm not being discussed for Offensive Coordinator positions? I'd love to see the niners grab him. He built the Steeler line that won them the super bowl and in 2 years have the cardinals line playing extraordinary. Doesn't this seem like a logical choice if Singletary is thinking of going run heavy?

Mike Sando: Grimm is the Cardinals' assistant head coach. That takes him out of the running for coordinator positions. Also, I think people view him as more of an authoritative head coach than game-day schemer. Perhaps that is unfair.

As for the Eagles-Steelers comparisons, they might not be completely even or fair, but I do think they are relevant enough to at least consider.

Paul from Phoenix writes: Sando, can you bring me back a t-shirt?

Mike Sando: What size?

Bob from the Dominican Republic writes: A fan wrote about a history lesson of the Cardinals. I would love to see that on your blog. I became a Cardinal fan in '73-74 because I felt that Jim Hart was a good role model (today I root for the Cards due to Kurt Warner's fine Christian testimony). I have memories--one of when the Cards almost won the '84 Eastern Division, but just missed on a Neil O'Donoghue 50 yard field goal attempt against the Redskins--that just missed. Please keep up the good work on your blog. I really enjoy it.

Mike Sando: Please provide a link to the history you referenced. I did not immediately see it. Thanks.