Mailbag: Pittman's future with Rams

Posted by ESPN.com's Mike Sando

Daryl from Alberta, Canada, writes: I'm curious about your take on Antonio Pittman. With Steven Jackson back, the Rams RB depth is pretty well set, but Pittman has shown flashes of being productive and has a couple nice runs as the starter on Saturday. What's his role going to be and what do you make of his future?

Mike Sando: Jackson is going to get the significant carries if healthy. Pittman carried 38 times in 11 games last season. He did look better against the Ravens on Saturday night. Moving into the season, Brian Leonard will also gets some of the leftover carries.

The feeling on Pittman coming out of college was that he could have used another year of seasoning. Instead, Pittman came out early, fell to the fourth round and didn't earn a roster spot with the Saints.

Pittman has a chance to develop into something more than just a forgotten backup, although that's his role as long as Jackson is a dominant runner.

Will from Boston writes: How much work can the Rams realistically expect Steven Jackson, O.J. Atogwe and Orlando Pace to handle in week one? Seems like they may need to platoon each of them for a game or so.

Mike Sando: I think the goal will be to play those guys as normal. Atogwe might be more of a question mark because he's missed so much time. The other guys should be ready. I would expect Jackson to play extensively as long as he's effective.

Pete from parts unknown writes: Mike, Quick question, I'm a huge Oregon Ducks fan and the story about Cameron Colvin and everything he has gone through makes me an even bigger fan. Is he going to make the 49ers' roster, or anybody's roster? Thanks.

Mike Sando: The 49ers have been impressed by Colvin at times, but they probably won't have a roster spot for him. Arnaz Battle, Isaac Bruce, Bryant Johnson, Josh Morgan and Jason Hill make the team. I'm not sure anyone on the roster has done enough to convince the 49ers to keep six at the position. Ashley Lelie could be a factor if the 49ers do keep that many.

Mike B. from Los Angeles writes: Well, I guess my idea about cutting Charlie Frye to keep an extra reciver went by the wayside last night. He really looked good. Might even be the starter some day. Seneca Wallace once again proved that as a QB, he's a great reciever. Are the Seahawks receivers all pretty good, or just all average? Logan Payne looked to have shaky hands on a couple balls, although one was thrown late and the defender knocked it away. Will he make the team?
Mike Sando: I'm not sure Wallace was expecting to be thrown into the game that late. He was outstanding against the Vikings earlier in preseason.

The Seattle receivers are mostly unproven. I do think Logan Payne will stick around in the NFL one way or another. He plays tough despite the rib injury. That 1-2 punch he took last night did not look good, but Payne popped up. He appears capable of giving the Seahawks some of the things Bobby Engram gives them.

Toby from Granada Hills, Calif., writes: Could Justin Forsett's bad game actually be beneficial to him? With his current buzz he'd probably do a lot better than 6th on the depth chart if he was a FA.
Mike Sando: I don't see how Forsett's performance against the Chargers would help him. Rookies trying to earn roster spots shouldn't fumble the ball or fair-catch punts inside the 10.

Michael from parts unknown writes: Sando, I was curious what your thoughts were on the Seahawks/Chargers game? It seemed to be one of the better played preseason games of the year, and even Tirico and Jaws thanked the teams for that. Do you think that the Chargers and Seahawks represent two of the deeper teams in the league, and this was the reason. Also, come on, a 60-yard PI call with 3 minutes to go, even if the game doesn't count that was bogus, right? I thought Holmgren was going to explode....
Mike Sando: I do think these are two of the deeper teams in the league. San Diego might have the deepest team. The Seahawks have made strides with their depth in recent seasons. I had that exact thought when the score was 10-10 in the third quarter. These are two good teams.

The pass-interference call appeared somewhat less bogus upon review, based on where Kevin Hobbs placed his right hand shortly before the ball arrived. Hobbs wrapped his right hand around the receiver's right shoulder as the ball was arriving. As Ron Jaworski said, the call was a little ticky-tack.

Quinn from Seattle writes: Sando, I have a scenario that could play out here in the great northwest, and I'm hoping you can give some insight. As everybody knows, currently Jim Mora is being groomed by Mike Holmgren for the head coach position for the Seattle Seahawks come next year. But, in the past, Jim Mora, a northwest native, has made the statement that he would love to coach the Washington Huskies more than any other team, and that he would even quit head coaching in the NFL to do it, (He said this while in Atlanta). With Tyrone Willingham on the hotseat to deliver a bowl season, a tough task due to the huskie's EXTREMELY difficult schedule, he could be fired. Where would Jim Mora go, the huskies or the hawks?
Mike Sando: Mora has no real choice in the matter. He's under contract to the Seahawks as head coach beginning in 2009. All things being equal, I think he would take the Seahawks job first. My feeling is that the UW job might be there for him later if he wants it.

Guest 49er from the Bay Area writes: Hi Matt. On a 49er forum, somebody did a break down of our schedule and supposed wins (putting the 49ers at 10 and 6).' I looked it over myself and evaluated our QBs. If JT starts the whole year, I see 3 and 13 for him. If Alex Smith were to start, I'd see possibly 7 and 9. Which one would be the better QB for the 49ers just to settle the argument? Also, Mike Nolan went on Peter King and stirred up some controversy and then went to Lowell Cohn to 'correct himself.
' If a man like Nolan is trying to get himself fired, why doesn't he just do the honorable thing and resign? In 2009, let's say if the 49ers did a major overhaul, do you see both JT and Alex out and the 49ers forced to draft a QB if Shaun Hill and Kyle Wright are the only QBs left? I know it's very early for such a forecast, but can you settle the argument please?
Mike Sando: Matt? I'm guessing you've also run this question past the Matts (Barrows and Maiocco) on the 49ers beat.

I see the 49ers winning more than three games almost no matter who plays quarterback. I would not give Smith the advantage you bestowed, at least under the current scenario. Smith probably needed to work with the starters all offseason, but Mike Nolan wasn't going to put his faith in one player that way. Had the 49ers committed to Smith, yes, I think he might give them a better chance right now. That's tough to say at the moment.

As for head coaches resigning vs. getting fired, remember that money is a factor. A fired coach gets paid.

The QB situation heading into a new season following a shakeup would depend on the new staff. However, it's unlikely Smith would return in 2009 under his current contract.

Randy from DeKalb, Ill., writes: I agree with you all the way on your response regarding O'Sullivan. If he can remain calm in the pocket and make the correct reads, then the 49ers can become a quick favorite in a wide open NFC West. But it all comes down to experience I believe. Like you said, the regular season will be tough on him as the defenses he will face every week will develop specific ways to stop him. And the ability to make professional reads and develop instinct-like NFL quarterback characteristics doesn't develop overnight. However, it helps that O'Sullivan has a strong proven running game behind him and an offensive line that appears to be jelling together. As long as they're healthy, and O'Sullivan develops a starting quarterback mentality, then I think the 49ers have a solid chance at taking the division this year. But as Boomer always says, "That's why they play the game" lol. Any thoughts on how the division is shaping up this year, or is it too early to tell?
Mike Sando: Thanks for the geographic heads up on DeKalb, Ill., as opposed to DeKalb, Ga. To clarify, I didn't project the 49ers as a quick division favorite pending certain variables. I see Seattle at the top, followed by Arizona. I could justify putting the 49ers ahead of the Rams for that third spot, but those teams could swing either way.

Mark from Olympia, Wash., writes: Mike...great work! I can't seem to go more than an hour without checking on what you're writing. Can you provide an update on Deion Branch? I know he's been running on the side of practices, but that doesn't put him in a good position to be ready for the opener. Any inside info on his knee being ready to go Sept 7?
Mike Sando: Thanks for checking back, Mark. Much appreciated.

The early feeling was that Branch would indeed be ready for the opener. I'll stick with that until further notice.

Mike Holmgren has sounded uncertain, but I've heard nothing about a setback. Holmgren always talks about wanting to get a player back on the field for practice the week before the game. My understanding remains the same, that Branch will probably be ready for the opener. There is no "inside" info on how Branch might feel upon returning to practice. The Seahawks aren't sure how the knee will respond at that time.

Edmond from Seattle writes: What do you think of the Seahawks maybe looking into signing Usain Bolt as a WR/KR. That would be really nice he's got the height and ahhh speed.
Mike Sando: Didn't you see Bolt celebrating that early touchdown grab for Seattle last night? That was Nate Burleson with the Bolt-like celebration. Two words for anyone projecting Bolt as an NFL player: Renaldo Nehemiah.