Chat with Mike Sando
Sando joined ESPN.com in 2007 after nine seasons covering the Seattle Seahawks for the Tacoma (Wash.) News Tribune. He previously covered Washington State University football and basketball for the Spokane (Wash.) Spokesman-Review. Mike grew up in Northern California before attending Whitworth College, graduating in 1992 with a B.A. in political studies. He lives in the Seattle-Tacoma area with his wife and their two sons.
Send your questions for Mike now and join him in The Show on Thursday at noon ET!
Mike, I realize most teams only think about one season/off-season at a time. However, the 49ers have already traded a pick this year for one next and completely avoided a QB. Would Jason Campbell fit Singeltary's system? I like them as Super Bowl contenders if they make that signing and trade the Carolina pick for Merriman (who will be franchised). What are the odds this happens?
Mike Sando (12:02 PM)
Is Jason Campbell better than Shaun Hill? You might think so, but I doubt Mike Singletary thinks so. He flat-out said Jeff Garcia might not be any better. I don't see the 49ers parting with a draft choice for Jason Campbell when it's unclear how good Campbell might become. That is my feel based on what we've seen the 49ers do so far.
With Walt Harris going down the 49ers have to inquire about Sheldon Brown...do they have anything that can help the Eagles now, or would they offer a 3rd rounder and hope, or give a 2nd which I the the Birds would take.
Mike Sando (12:03 PM)
I don't know why the 49ers would give up a pick for a cornerback when they could pick from a long list of experienced free agents.
I honestly think that if people put their personal, non-football related feelings aside, most logically thinking people would agree that Vick could be a very good asset to the Rams. Think about it, he would inherit: a rebuilt line, promising receivers, Steven Jackson, he could sit behind an aging Bulger to learn how to be a more pocket passer, and a defense that could be a force to be reckoned with. Also, considering the fact that the Dome has had issues filling all the seats, I KNOW Vick would put thousands of fans in the seats every Sunday, as he did with the Falcons. Sure it would take a little soothing over of the fans, but this is Saint Louis that we are talking about. I doubt that it would happen, but I think it would be worth a shot. Thoughts?
Mike Sando (12:04 PM)
The Rams took a very conservative approach to the draft. I don't see them suddenly taking chances. Adding Vick's baggage would put a first-year head coach in jeopardy, I think. This team has first-year coordinators as well.
How well do you think Chris Wells will do in Arizona?
Mike Sando (12:05 PM)
I think he has a good chance to reach 1,000 yards as a rookie based on the touches he figures to get. The injuries are the big variable with him. He's not going to be facing eight-man fronts in that offense, we know that.
Broad Street Brian (Philly)
According to KC Joyner, Sheldon Brown had top 5 corner back Metrics. I doubt the unemployed corners out there are as good. Who would you sign off the street who is better?
Mike Sando (12:07 PM)
I love KC Joyner's work and like him personally, but I'm pretty sure NFL teams use their own evaluations, which might differ. The question teams face isn't the one you posed, in my view. The question is whether the situation in San Francisco is desperate enough to justify trading a draft choice. It could be, but the 49ers should at least look at what's available in free agency. Harris wasn't a world beater. I think they would be OK signing Rod Hood.
Marco, Las Cruces NM
19. 49ers. An officially unsettled quarterback situation is dragging down national perceptions of the 49ers. NFL.com's Pat Kirwan had them 28th. Is that dude Pat serious? 28th? Does he have the Lions and the Rams in the top 10?
Mike Sando (12:09 PM)
These rankings are so subjective. Kirwan does his homework, I have found, so he probably would not be guessing. I do think it's easier to discount the 49ers until they name a quarterback. That is a pretty big variable.
Rich (Bayonne, NJ)
If your the Niners do you sign Bly or Hood?
Mike Sando (12:10 PM)
I am less familiar with Bly. Hood had some struggles at times last season, but I really like what he brings to a locker room and think he could fare well as a second or third corner, and at a reasonable price.
TripleH49, Marin County Calif
With the loss of Walt Harris, are the 49ers closer to going 6 and 10?
Mike Sando (12:10 PM)
Don't get your hopes up.
Hey Sando, I hope i can get an answer from you on this one... All week we've been hearing potential landing spots for Michael Vick, multiple sources say that the 49ers is a possibilty... In reading your reasons why he wont go to San Francisco you stated that the reason is because the organization came right out ,after Singletary said it was a possibilty, and said that the team had no interest in Vick... But technically he IS still under contract with the Atlanta Falcons so wouldn't that be some type of tampering against the 49ers if they came out and said that they were interested? I think Singletary made his first mistake as a rookie head coach by saying it could be a possiblility and the organization realized that and immediately cleaned it up to prevent any type of tampering penalties by saying there was "zero chance" that they would be in the Vick sweepstakes. Your take...
Mike Sando (12:13 PM)
That is possible. I know GM Scot McCloughan is a big talent guy and not so averse to taking chances on players with checkered pasts. But I'm also thinking a team seeking a new stadium might not want to add a lightning rod such as Vick. The dogfighting stuff wouldn't go over well in the Bay Area, less so than in some other places, I would think.
How good does the Lucas signing look now after the Harris injury? Would Lucas top the list of CB FA's if he was still avalible?
Mike Sando (12:13 PM)
I think Lucas would probably top that list because he has a good size-speed combination.
How many wins will the Cardinals have?
Mike Sando (12:14 PM)
I saw them back in that 9-7 range in the projections made on the blog before the draft.
Brett (Coral Gables, Florida)
Mikey, I know it's a nice problem to have and I know neither has proven it yet, but don't you think the 49ers have two emerging stars in Josh Morgan and Michael Crabtree at WR? Throw in Vern Davis and Gore and they have the makings of a pretty nice offense, no?
Mike Sando (12:15 PM)
The word "star" might be a little strong. I think Morgan will play in the NFL for quite a few years, health permitting. He has a terrific approach to the game. He understands concepts. He has talent. I'm curious to see how the playing time breaks down in San Francisco.
"The dogfighting stuff wouldn't go over well in the Bay Area, less so than in some other places, I would think." I heard on the radio today that SF was rated the #1 for best dog city. Not sure if that means it is the best place to own a dog or best place to be a dog. But your on to something.
Mike Sando (12:16 PM)
Extra credit if you find a link to that study.
Brandon (Bellevue, WA)
What do you think is the chances of Warner staying healthy for all 16 games this year? He has done so only 3 times in his career, although he made it to the SB all 3 and has 2 MVPs to show for it.
Mike Sando (12:18 PM)
Not that anyone from the Northwest would be OK with a Cardinals quarterback missing games. I think it's unlikely he starts all 16 games again, but it's good for the division if he does.
Rich (Bayonne, NJ)
You indicated in your reply to a questions that the Niners may go 6-10 without Walt Harris as "Don't get your hopes up". Are you expecting them to have a 4 or 5 win season?
Mike Sando (12:19 PM)
No, I was pointing to the fact that the writer of the question seems to hope for the worst when it comes to the 49ers. It was an off-the-cuff remark and not indicative of my thoughts on the 49ers.
Mike (Bloomfield, Il)
Can Julius Jones be the bell-cow for the Seattle offense or will Duckett be the lead dog? OR is Forsett for real?
Mike Sando (12:22 PM)
Julius Jones almost has to be the main man. I'm curious what would happen if the Seahawks lost him to injury. The depth doesn't seem to be there. Justin Forsett is good enough to earn a roster spot. Not sure I'm ready to say he's good enough to be an every-down back.
Sando, You must get up early to have your blog going for all the east coasters. Well done! Hey, who do you think could be potential RB's that Seattle could pick up after team rosters are set and the innevitable borderline players get cut. I've heard Justin Fargas from Oakland. Any others that you can think of? Also, TJ Housh... on a recent radio interview with Mitch Levy had some pretty inspiring comments about this years team. Do you share his enthusiasm or is a lot of this just hyperbole? p.s. did you see Lebron cramp up last night, just in time to alleviate the responsibility that would fall on him in late game situations? what a boob
Mike Sando (12:24 PM)
Is it possible for a West Coast guy to have an East Coast bias? Ha. I figure getting stuff on the blog early helps everyone. East Coasters can see early in the day, and it's still there for West Coasters later. Plus, my kids are up early anyway. I'm usually in the saddle between 5 and 6 in the morning PT. I'll sniff around on the RB situation. Greg Knapp's familiarity with Raiders players could come into play. I do not know specifically what he thinks of Fargas. On Houshmandzadeh, I suspect it's refreshing for him to be in another organization. The Seahawks are not the Bengals.
Jay Jay (Bay Area, Ca)
We don't care about all that dog fighting b.s....We're more worried about the people getting killed than the dogs...the reality is that the 49ers like most teams in the league are old school and haven't warmed up to the idea of having a black qb...it's crazy because the BAY is the most diverse place in the world!
Mike Sando (12:26 PM)
On the other hand, Niners GM Scot McCloughan was with the Seahawks in a prominent scouting role when the team drafted Seneca Wallace.
Ken (Scottsdale, AZ)
One of your readers, Rick (Charleston, WV), is constantly worrying and emailing me about the lack of action by the Cards front office on contract extensions for Wilson and Dansby. Can you please reassure him that Rod Graves will get things done?
Mike Sando (12:27 PM)
I'd be quite surprised if the Cardinals failed to reach agreement with Wilson and mildly surprised if the Cardinals reached agreement with Dansby.
San Fran ranks 8th on this list of cities for Dogs. http://www.menshealth.com/dogs/
Mike Sando (12:28 PM)
Great work, Sean. Here is the link in clickable form. http://www.menshealth.com/dogs/
Rookie of the Year in the NFC West is...
Mike Sando (12:29 PM)
I'll go out on a limb with Beanie Wells, figure he'll be most likely to get the touches and the stats.
the Niners just drafted Nate Davis
Mike Sando (12:30 PM)
That is a fact.
Jeffrey (Bend, Oregon)
Mike , how is the rehab going with all of the Seahawk recievers? How many ACL's did they go through?
Mike Sando (12:31 PM)
Nate Burleson looks good from what I have seen. Branch should be OK. He had a clean-up procedure. You don't have to worry about Branch rushing back before he feels right. We know that.
Jay Jay (Bay Area, Ca)
And they knew he'd never be anything more than a backup...what round did they draft Senaca? What round did they just draft the young guy Davis? Come on Sando, I'm not implying that they are racist/prejudice, I'm saying that people have their old school ways and until they open up a little then it'll be like that. Maybe now that the younger York along with McCloughan is running the team they'll be more open minded to trying different things that they wouldn't have done say 3-4 years ago
Mike Sando (12:35 PM)
It's a legit issue, no question. I've gotten to know Warren Moon some over the years. He wasn't even drafted. Ridiculous. Looking at that 2003 draft, the Seahawks took Wallace in the fourth round, 110th overall. He was definitely going to be a backup (although Matt Hasselbeck was a sixth-rounder in Green Bay). Wallace was the seventh of 13 QBs drafted in 2003: Carson Palmer, Byron Leftwich, Kyle Boller, Rex Grossman, Dave Ragone, Chris Simms, Wallace, Brian St. Pierre, Drew Henson, Brooks Bollinger, Kliff Kingsbury, Gibran Hamdan and Ken Dorsey.
Jeffrey (Bend, Oregon)
Rookie of the year?? Aaron Curry
Mike Sando (12:36 PM)
Also a good choice, but it's tougher to generate stats from that position and I'm pretty sure the Cardinals will be better on offense than the Seahawks will be on defense.
Alex (Scottsdale AZ)
Are Whiz and Grimm really high on Sendelin or did they just feels Wells was better value at that spot than a Center?
Mike Sando (12:37 PM)
They were high enough on Sendlein to make the interior OL a secondary priority. I do think they would have been tempted to draft Max Unger if he had made it to them late in the second round.
sando i think you made two mistakes. i dont think beanie get 1000 yards. every run for beanie is 1 less pass attempr for warner. i also dont believe the cards run block that well. you also believe the nfc west has improved over the off season. last year the cards mailed in games after they had a playoff position locked up, and moral was hurt badly when edge fumbeled away the #1 seading in the carolina game. if the west is better we will be pushed, we wont take games off. look for 11 or 12 wins. the cards have improved records every year under whiz, and last year we let games we already had won slip away.
Mike Sando (12:38 PM)
You might be right. Here was my thinking: Ken Whisenhunt will take over play calling from Todd Haley, with Russ Grimm assuming a more prominent role in the thinking. Also, you don't take a running back in the first round unless you plan on using him, right?
Evan Johnson (SLC, Utah)
Great blog Mike, keep it coming. With the depth for the 9ers WR position Brandon Jones was signed to a decent contract but I have him no higher than fourth on the depth chart behind Bruce, Morgan, Crabtree and Hill in that order. Was that a wasted singning now that Crabtree fell? Or are the niners now very happy about their depth?
Mike Sando (12:39 PM)
Very happy about their depth. These are the types of "problems" teams want to have. They'll need that depth at some point. Bank on it.
Armen (Winter Park, FL)
I think the Rams' O line may surprise many this year. Alex Barron (when he remembers the snap count) is better than most realize. Jason Brown is a monster. Jason Smith is a beast. Richie Incognito (when he plays under control) is a road grader. Jacob Bell needs to bounce back, but has been very good in the past. If that line comes together, Steven Jackson will have a HUGE year. Agree?
Mike Sando (12:41 PM)
A Rams comment/question, finally. Always refreshing. Were you the one who pointed this out to me on the blog Wednesday? You got me thinking. I'm not sure I value the backups as much as you might. How much do you value John Greco and Adam Goldberg? I like Goldberg as a backup who can step in and get you through a few games. Not sure about the long haul, though.
I know the 49ers are expected to emphasize the run more this season, but wouldn't they be better off trying to spread teams out by getting their 3 best WRs on the field at most times?
Mike Sando (12:43 PM)
Let's get a feel for their ability to pass protect. I could see them going 3WR with Vernon Davis having the option to help in protection. That would leave only one back on the field. Hmmm.
Kevin (Newtown, PA)
Mike - do the Seahawks need a more reliable backup to Hasselbeck, in case he has another injury-prone year?
Mike Sando (12:44 PM)
I don't think so. Seneca Wallace put up very good numbers last season even though he couldn't move well for a stretch after suffering that calf injury. I tend to like what Wallace offers. The challenge now is getting comfortable in a new system and being ready when the starter is going to get all the meaningful reps once the season starts.
jlee1998dtj (Sequim WA)
Hey Mike. First, I have to question why you have the 49ers ahead of the Hawks in your rankings? We have had arguably the best off season and we have dominated this division the past several years(minus last years fluke). I understand your questioning of Matt's health, but who do the Niners have? Most teams fate in the NFL is in fact that their QB is healthy. Second, how do you rate the off season we have had. You pick us to be 7-9. That is not much better than last year? Did Ruskell do enough to get us over the hump? Also, any news on the possible trade of Branch for Thomas Jones? Do you think that would help us knowing the fact that the Jones brothers are prima donnas and they would have to share the load which neither one likes to do? Love your stuff,Sando!! Keep up the good work!!!
Mike Sando (12:47 PM)
I'm being conservative until I have a better feel for how Matt Hasselbeck, Walter Jones and Patrick Kerney will hold up. It's all positive talk right now, but I'll wait before making the judgment. The 7-9 projection I made was based on the schedule. It did not take into account what happened in the draft. My projection for the Seahawks stands to improve as the season draws nearer, assuming early trends hold.
Sean (Montclair, NJ)
Please point out that the Rams didn't even attempt to find a solution at quarterback this offseason. Instead they are sticking with a guy who's 4-23 the past two seasons, and 14-37 since 2005. Again, why ignore such a glaring hole at your most important position? P.S. Thanks for reading my book!
Mike Sando (12:48 PM)
The salary cap pretty much tied their hands on this one. Bulger's on the books for big money. Trading or cutting him would have wrought tremendous cap pain. I think the Rams had too many other needs to make that move right now, given the costs. Bulger has a one-year period to prove he belongs, I think.
Paul (Albany, OR)
Was the past regime of the Rams not adequate in talent evalation in your opinion? You question the depth of the O-line, we know they have only one solid qb, they just traded the backup rb in Brian Leonard, few like many if any of the wrs - do you see the pattern here? And we have not even addressed defense? Thanks
Mike Sando (12:49 PM)
The Rams missed on too many middle-round picks (third round and later). That's where a team needs to find some offensive linemen. The Rams' scouting department was understaffed previously.
Sean (TR NJ)
When leftwich was out there I was thinking 9ers should pick him up if not to start than a solid insurance policy do you think that is a deal that should have been done. With his arm and those receivers you can't stuff the box then that run offense would have been scary.
Mike Sando (12:51 PM)
Byron Leftwich has started two games in the last two seasons and eight in the last three. Is that enough to make a strong play for him at the expense of Shaun Hill? Leftwich has reached 60 percent completions once in his career. I see why the 49ers held off.
Mike, with the Harris injury, who do you think is the more probable addition-Bly or McAlister? I personally would like McAlister, but there are decent options out there.
Mike Sando (12:52 PM)
Bly's name is the only one I've heard in terms of making a visit. The list of available CBs was better than I would have expected, at least on paper. Rod Hood seems to have something left. McAlister's knee issues limited him over the last couple years.
Nathan (A Cardinals fan lost in Iowa)
Mike, do you think that the Cardinals have done enough to address pass rush? I believe that their lack of a pass rush is what hurt their secondary last year. I love what they have done with DB position in the off season and would go out on a line and say they have one of the best secondaries in the league, but you still need a pass rush or any starting QB given time will find a receiver. Are my concerns legitimate?
Mike Sando (12:54 PM)
I do think the Cardinals' pass rush needs help. I also realize the team needed to find a starting running back in the draft and the value seemed pretty good for Beanie Wells. The 49ers were in a similar situation. They needed pass-rush help but didn't see the value.
Paul (Albany, OR)
Follow up question if you may. You state the Rams scouting department was previously understaffed - How can a team expect to win or even compete if it does not have the proper talent on the field? That is like McDonalds not having enough hamburgers in the freezer to sell each day. Not right for the fans.
Mike Sando (12:54 PM)
The team did not even have a pro personnel director until this offseason.
Matt (Scottsdale, AZ)
Mike, assuming Boldin stays, would the Niners be wise to sign Hood because he may "know" their tendencies or is an average corner not going to gain much gaining pro bowl receivers.
Mike Sando (12:55 PM)
Hood would be more familiar with those guys and what those guys do not like. It's still tough. I'd say it would help a little but not significantly.
Hey Mike, Put on your GM hat for a second if ya would please. If you could take any one player from the NFC West to build a team around, who would it be and why? Is there a small group of players you'd consider or does one stand out above all others as "the cornerstone" of your new franchise? Thanks buddy!
Mike Sando (12:57 PM)
I like the question. Larry Fitzgerald would be my man. Then I would want to add Patrick Willis, Steven Jackson and maybe Brandon Mebane, if we were taking one player from each team and trying to build a nucleus. I might want Adrian Wilson and Marcus Trufant in my secondary. Eric Heitmann at center. Joe Staley as one of the tackles. Lofa Tatupu and Aaron Curry ... this is fun.
Rob (Sunnyvale, CA)
With all this talk of the 49ers going to a run-oriented offense, how well do you think the offensive line can create holes for their backs, especially with opposing teams stacking 8 in the box against the run? Marvel Smith is known as a great run blocker, but he has health issues, Joe Staley is probably a better pass blocker, and while their guards are decent, nobody really stands out as a big, powerful force (Chilo Rachel maybe has that potential, but isn't there yet).
Mike Sando (12:59 PM)
So much of running the ball is just committing to it and developing that mentality. I think the 49ers will commit to it as long as their defense doesn't implode. It's tough to run the ball when you're behind, but the 49ers should be a good running team.
Evan Johnson (SLC, Utah)
Thanks Mr Sando have a good one. See you next time.
Mike Sando (1:01 PM)
Sounds like a plan. Please do look me up on my Facebook page as well. THANKS!