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Mailbag: Seahawks' transition stuck in neutral

Posted by ESPN.com's Mike Sando

Deric from Twin Falls, Idaho, writes: I've had it, as a Seahawks fan I'm sick and tired of Mike Holmgren and John Marshall, their play calling consists of the most predictable, lame duck style to ever grace the NFL.

Mike needs to leave now, instead of driving our starters into the ground for the meaningless continuance of the season. At this point I only see mike trying to add to his all-time coaching win total, so instead of resting starters and getting 2nd and 3rd stringers more action he's going to risk the health of our starters for his ego.

Holmgren is why the Seahawks have failed this year, other teams still manage to scrape by with injuries, but Mike can't do it, when you have players out you need to focus on game planning, and all this season has shown is that Mike is washed up. Mike needs to leave now and take that joke of an assistant Marshall with him.

Mike Sando: Not going to happen. I do think the 2-8 record has exposed the downside of this coaching transition. Setting aside all egos and personal concerns, I think the best move for the Seahawks' future right now would be for Jim Mora to at least take control of the defense. Let's see what he has in store. What more can the Seahawks get from these remaining six games by sticking to the status quo?

At the same time, I understand why this might not be practical. Holmgren can't be expected to make that type of move at the expense of a loyal assistant, no matter what Deric from Twin Falls or Mike from ESPN.com might think of the situation.

As for playing starters to pad victory totals, I don't think that's happening at all. Who would you put into the starting lineup? The Courtney Taylors of the world have already played. John Carlson, Lawrence Jackson, Owen Schmitt -- they're all playing and playing extensively.

Mansfield Wrotto? Jamar Adams? Playing those guys isn't going to suddenly set up the team for a successful 2009, in my view.

Note: Based on comments for this mailbag, some might have thought I was agreeing with Deric in suggesting Holmgren should step aside before the end of the season. That was not my intention at all. The intent was to say that installing Mora to run the defense would give fans something to get excited about heading into next season. But, at the same time, that might not be practical for obvious reasons.


Scott from Coeur d'Alene, Idaho, writes: Mike, As a Seahawks fan I'm already looking to next year, but I'm seeing some writers talk about the Seahawks passing the torch to the Cardinals as if the Cardinals will reign the NFC West like the Hawks have the last four years. Do you think that this will happen or will the Seahawks bounce back, play up to their talent next year, and regain control of the division?
Mike Sando: I think the quarterback situations will determine that to a large degree. A healthy Kurt Warner makes the Cardinals the leading contender to win the division in 2009. I don't think Warner will play at this level long enough for Arizona to enjoy a four-year run in the division. But if the Cardinals find another quarterback and develop their offensive line, I very much like what they have going under Ken Whisenhunt.

Seattle always had continuity on its side. That has waned and it will evaporate when the new staff takes over. Seattle will have to reestablish its identity. I expect the division to become more competitive next season. The Seahawks will be better than they are right now. The Cardinals should be strong again. The 49ers should improve. The Rams can't get much worse.


Harold from Columbia, Mo., writes: Sando - the hit on Hasselback - non issue - it looked like he jumped vertically vs. horizontally. I thought Hasselback whined a lot after this game. He made some statements they reported early in the first quarter that he knew everything about the Arizona Cardinals or something to that effect. I thought that was a bit desperate or overconfident.
Karlos Dansby on NFL network said if he can't handle it, then don't play. That was nothing. Trent Edwards has a legitimate complaint. I love how A Dub stalks the line of scrimmage. Late in the game he lined up on the left side and then switched to the right pre snap -- that is when he got another hit on the QB. The defense is getting lost a bit -- but they are playing pretty well. Take away the late pick in the second quarter and the Cards dominated that half.

Mike Sando: The Seahawks have a rivalry on their hands. Mike Holmgren always said a rivalry develops once a team beats its nemesis on the road. That happened Sunday. I expect the Seahawks to pay a little more attention and respect to the Cardinals based on that outcome.

This happened to Seattle a couple years ago when the 49ers swept the Seahawks. Seattle dominated the 49ers the next season.

Arizona is much better than those 49ers teams. I'm not drawing a comparison that way. But I do think the Cardinals have earned the Seahawks' respect. It's a rivalry now and that's good for the division.


Mark from Easley, S.C., writes: Ok, Mike what do you think it is going to take for the Cardinals to beat the Giants? I say they have to stop the running game, and cannot have the turnovers that they had against the Seahawks. Biggest advantage for the Cards is they are playing at home but is that enough?
Mike Sando: I wonder how the Cardinals' offensive line is going to handle Justin Tuck and the Giants' defensive line. The Cardinals will not be able to run the ball, in my view. Kurt Warner's going to have a lot of pressure on him to carry the offense, plus whatever pressure the Giants can put on him.

Arizona is going to need its pass defense to force Eli Manning into mistakes. The Cardinals used two special-teams touchdowns to beat the Cowboys earlier this season. I think they'll need all the points they can get in this game, too.


Collin from Syracuse writes: I have read that the 49ers are not as improved under Singletary as we the fans think and not to get our hopes up for wins in the near future. Do you agree with this? I think they can compete with anyone left on the schedule and maybe manage 6 wins in this season maybe 7 with the rams, jets (west coast), and redskins (rest for playoffs) game being wins.
Mike Sando: The point would be not to read too much into beating the Rams. I do like the approach San Francisco is taking offensively. The defense remains a mystery at times. Realistically, I see one or two more victories the rest of the way. Possibly at home against the Jets, but do not bet on it. And then the Rams game in St. Louis. The 49ers could always rise up and win more. They do play with heart and want-to (something they showed under Mike N
olan, too). But four of the final six are on the road, and the Redskins could need that game in Week 17.


Joey from St. Louis writes: So when do the Rams realize that Bulger isn't going to cut it? Imagine this scenario -- The Rams trade Marc Bulger to the 49ers to reunite him with Mike Martz (the only coordinator he did good under) and then the Rams use their high draft pick to pick up Sam Bradford. Bradford with our young receivers and a healthy Steven Jackson, our offense is no longer anemic. What do you think?
Mike Sando: Sounds good in theory, but trading Bulger would carry significant salary-cap ramifications for the Rams. Also, what are the odds of Mike Martz staying under the next head coach?


Ken from Bellevue writes: Mike, With this latest loss, the season is over for the Seahawks. So what do they do now? Rest starters and get the young kids some experience? Try not to win anymore games in order to get a high draft pick? A team that isnt playing for anything for the rest of the season, what do they do? It's not a familiar situation for the Hawks to be over the last several years but now their sad reality.
Mike Sando: Mike Holmgren said it pretty well when noting that there aren't diamonds in the rough at this point. Young players are already playing, from John Carlson to Lawrence Jackson to Josh Wilson to Kelly Jennings, etc.

Next season cannot come soon enough. Holmgren's presence for the remainder of the season becomes a hindrance to moving forward. We're probably not going to see Mora take over the defense, and that would really be the one thing people might get excited about down the stretch.


Clu from Phoenix writes: Ok, if Adrian gets fined and suspended for the giants game what would that say about the nfl in your opinion. Has it become a "panzy league". And what about Kareem Mckenzie? Didn't he get arrested for DWI? I know he played this week, doesn't that deserve a suspension. thanks and good luck
Mike Sando: The league doesn't want Adrian Wilson or anyone else knocking out quarterbacks with shot at head level. In this case, I think a suspension would be excessive. It would be a reaction to Wilson's history, not a reaction to this hit. And that would be unfortunate for the Cardinals. McKenzie's arrest was very recent. The league generally doesn't deal with these situations in the moment.


Cam from Kelowna, B.C., writes: Hey Mike After a tough loss to the Cardinals at Qwest Field, the Seahawks playoff hopes are officially over (unless Arizona loses out and Seattle wins out, but let's not get silly). In his usual postgame press conference, Mike Holmgren said that the team will be "re-examining their goals". What do you think these new goals will look like? And what as far as personnel changes could we see?
Mike Sando: I do not expect significant personnel changes. There are 53 players on the roster. Three are specialists. Injuries will prevent a few from playing at any given time. Most of the young guys are playing. The new goals differ from the old goals in that the new goals do not include playoffs or a division title. The other things include possibly becoming a spoiler, playing for jobs, etc.


Anonymous from parts unknown writes: I notice a lot of "nouveau riche" bandwagon Cardinals fans have hit the blog now that it looks like they'll win the division. Anywhere they can go to get lessons in how not to behave like cavemen?
Mike Sando: Stay here. We'll show 'em.


Mike from Tacoma writes: Mike, after the Cards interception at the end of the game the player went to his knees. I don't have it recorded, but I'd swear he got back up, without a knee down, before he was touched and then he tossed the ball aside. Tell me, wasn't that a fumble??
Mike Sando: No. I just watched the play on video (Sando on Demand?). Koren Robinson clearly touched him down on the play.


Pete from Richmond writes: Ok, heard Mortenson on NFL Countdown tell Boomer that Knapp *will* be calling the plays for Mora next year. So, is this a rumor that just won't die (to the point where it's being promoted as fact on a national syndicate) or is it more like a done deal that they just don't want to admit to yet?
Mike Sando: I would call Greg Knapp the leading candidate based on what I've heard from people close to the situation. I would not call it a done deal. I'm also interested in seeing how Mora handles the defensive staff. If he brings in his own people, as expected, I would keep an eye on Jim Haslett. The Rams wanted to bring back Haslett if the team won six of its final 12 games. That isn't going to happen. When you talk about high-profile defensive coaches with knowledge of the division, Haslett's name makes some sense.


Mike from parts unknown writes: Hi Mike. Love the blog. I was wondering if you have any records or statistics of the last time a team was blown out by 40+ points in a regular season game and how that team's season turned out. Thanks a lot.
Mike Sando: Thanks, Mike. The Patriots beat the Redskins by 45 and the Bills by 46 last season. Washington went to the playoffs. Those would be two recent instances.


K.C. from Wenatchee, Wash., writes: Hey Sando, I'm not sure if anyone else has noticed this or if it's even a change at all, but I love the team logos in the "Around the NFC West" pieces now. It makes it a lot easier to follow and to get to the teams we're interested about. Thanks for thinking about us readers.
Mike Sando: We aim to please. Glad you noticed.