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!
After looking at the recent power rankings, i feel like the seahawks are getting no love. Seattle has a really good team comming into the season so my question is, is seattle a contender this year for the superbowl in the NFC or do they truely belong at the bottom of the pool(22rd)
Mike Sando (12:02 PM)
The Seahawks were 4-12 last season. Three of their most important players -- Hasselbeck, Jones and Kerney -- are older and coming off injury-shortened seasons. Waiting to see how they hold up through training camp seems reasonable. There's plenty of time to move them up if they warrant it.
Steven: (Sioux Falls, South Dakota):
Will Vernon Davis have a more productive season than previous years with Raye as OC?
Mike Sando (12:02 PM)
I think he'll have a more productive season receiving-wise than he did under Mike Martz.
Tim from Sonoma, Ca
Mike, how serious do you think the 49ERS organization is on Mike Vick? Do you see him in a red jersey by the Bay in 2009 or 2010?
Mike Sando (12:03 PM)
I don't sense they are serious about him right now. I think they could consider him if circumstances changed. Right now, though, I'd be a little surprised if they went in that direction.
Is the NFC West going to be (once again) the weakest division in football?
Mike Sando (12:04 PM)
I think the division will be improved.
Hey Sando, THANKS FOR ALL THE GREAT NINER COVERAGE! Now, I've watched every game Alex Smith played under center as a 49er. I know he's had 5 different coordinators and trouble staying healthy but I can honestly say I've only seen him play well in 1 game. The first game of the season in Arizona in 07. Is there something I'm not seeing, because he just dosen't seem like a very capable qb to me. Athletic, but not a very good passer. Your opinion please....
Mike Sando (12:06 PM)
I'm with you to this extent: The 49ers cannot count on Alex Smith. But they're doing the right thing by giving him one more chance. He's been a victim of circumstance as much as anything. What you aren't seeing is what would happen if Smith played, say, two seasons in the same system without getting drilled on every other play.
Paul (Albany, OR)
Can Spags turn the Rams around in two or three years? Is the roster that old that it would take more than that? Thanks.
Mike Sando (12:08 PM)
The roster is no longer that old. The Rams have gone from having the third-oldest roster to having one of the five youngest rosters, all since the coaching change. It's really remarkable. The Lions, conversely, remain one of the older teams in the league even as they rebuild under a new regime. The question is really whether the Rams have gotten young at too great expense to the talent level. I can see both sides of this one.
Jay (North Carolina)
Can you give some clarity on the SF 49ers receiving core? I keep reading that Josh Morgan is an emerging talent, but that he is not going to start because of Crabtree. What's the real story and do you think both will eventually start? What is Morgan's ceiling - as high as Crabtree or a good # 2?
Mike Sando (12:10 PM)
They'll find ways for Josh Morgan to play if he's one of the two or three best receivers on the team. I do think he could be a strong No. 2 receiver. Crabtree would be more gifted physically. I realize both are considered "X" receivers but good coaching staffs find ways to play their best players.
Does the firing of Drew Rosenhaus make the situation between the Cardinals and Anquan any better or are we to believe his demands are the same?
Mike Sando (12:11 PM)
Let's see which agency Anquan Boldin hires. It's a little too early to make judgments. Today is the first day Boldin can hire a new agent (under NFLPA rules).
"Enter The Fourcade" (Montclair, NJ)
Common Sense Alert: The Rams are content with sending out Marc Bulger to be their starter (4-23 in the past two seasons, 14-27 since 2005). My question is: Why would they waste precious starts on Bulger when they?re going to lose anyways? It boggles my mind that they didn?t draft a quarterback early (like Sanchez). You can say all you want about other needs, but you?re not winning without a good quarterback. Now Rams fans have to sit through another 2-3 win season, and hope they draft a quarterback in 2010. Even in that case, they have to wait and see if that rookie is good (when they could have been doing that now!). Rams would be better off starting Boller, and if he can?t turn his career around early, ride out the season with Berlin or Otis (to see if they?re good). Why waste everyone?s time sending out Bulger at this point? With that, Pencil in the Rams for top 4 pick in 2010 draft.
Mike Sando (12:13 PM)
The salary-cap ramifications of releasing Bulger or relegating him to a backup role at the expense of a QB drafted second overall probably would have been prohibitive and a bad trade-off in the Rams' view.
Thanks Sando...Niner question my friend. The 9ers played so much better under Singeltary last season. Im an optimist, I think we'll be very succesful running the football and I feel if we can apply pressure to opposing qbs, we could "possibly" be a top 10 defense. With Shaun Hill under center limiting turnovers I could see us winning 10 games and "maybe" making a wild card spot. Your thoughts?
Mike Sando (12:15 PM)
I think the 49ers also played some easy opponents late in the season and they did not play meaningful games, so the pressure was off. We must take into consideration those things when determining how to project the record in 2009. A 10-win season would be fantastic. I think it's a little bit on the optimistic side.
Justin (Tri-Cities, Wa)
Do you see Deon Butler, the Seahawks 3rd round pick, cracking the starting line up any time this up coming season?
Mike Sando (12:16 PM)
Yes, I would think he would get into the lineup at some point given how many three- and four-receiver personnel groups teams use. Will he be among the top two receivers? It's possible, but other factors could come into play. How healthy are Deion Branch and Nate Burleson? Does Butler hit a rookie wall? What are his duties in the return game?
Paul (Albany, OR)
I guess I would rather see a young roster not winning knowing they can improve with coaching and seasoning versus an aging team not winning knowing they are who they are and only going to get older. At least hope may be on the horizon this way.
Mike Sando (12:17 PM)
If you're going to go young and blow it up, best to do so in Year One. Coaches these days can't afford to be rebuilding in the third year.
tom nj [via mobile]
I am so sick of all the wildcat talk. Hes a wildcat guy. This is a wildcat guy. To me its a new name for an old dog. A gimmick play, not an offense. Am I the wrong guy?
Mike Sando (12:18 PM)
Mike Holmgren, is that you?
Darnell Dockett (payday, USA)
With my buddy Q jumping out of the Drew Rosenhaus train, I'm the only one left waving the 'pay me or trade me' flag. Should I shut up and play?
Mike Sando (12:18 PM)
And your other option would be?
Sando, Who will be the most improved team coming out of the West. Do you believe the Cards will be able to have another miracle season with the competition that they will face just with their division rivals?
Mike Sando (12:20 PM)
The Cardinals and 49ers won enough games last season so that their improvements won't be as dramatic. Seattle won only four games. I see them increasing that total quite a bit. The Rams could more than double their win total. As for another "miracle" season, recent history says bad things happen to Super Bowl losers. I'm not suggesting there's a curse. It's just that those teams often have some problems the next year.
I can't get no love in the NFC West...would you consider doing an ad with me to bring my popularity ratings up?
Mike Sando (12:24 PM)
I do not cross paths with Rosenhaus much and before this week had not spoken to him for a few years. He tends to be very accessible, though. An NFL team executive was busting on me (good-naturedly) the other day for pointing out in our news story that Rosenhaus represents more NFL players than any other agent. He thought that was giving Rosenhaus more credit than he deserved. I guess it depends on one's perspective.
shaun phx [via mobile]
is the cardinals running game going to be like.the one the steelers had a few years back with bettis and parker
Mike Sando (12:25 PM)
That sounds optimistic. This team's personnel still favors the pass to a degree that will demand throwing the ball on first down a fair amount.
Charles (Fort Worth, TX)
Mike, which backup QB in the West will end up getting the most starts this season?
Mike Sando (12:27 PM)
Great question. Wish I knew the answer. Warner and Hasselbeck will not be benched unless injured. Bulger probably has the "best" chance of losing his job on a performance basis. And then if Alex Smith wins the job in San Francisco, history says he won't make it through the season.
Mike (Bakersfield, CA)
SANDO!!!! So i keep hearing that the 9ers played a bunch of meaningless games toward the end of the season. Correct me if im wrong but meaningless or not they won those games. Also NYJ whom we beat we playing to get a playoff spt we beat them, then the next week we played MIA very tough who was a playoff team! and Hill did have a couple game winning drives, i know its not the post season but he has kind of shown that "IT" factor that is so valuable in a QB(unlike ROMO, just had to thw a cowboy under the bus lol). So just be an optimist for a few minutes and give me a prediction on how the 9ers do optimistically speaking?
Mike Sando (12:28 PM)
My point is that I wouldn't read too much into those games either way.
Mike,If the RAMS stay healty, how far from competing in the NFCwest are they?
Mike Sando (12:28 PM)
Probably 2-3 games in the standings, I would think.
Tim Napa, CA
Who does start at RT for the Niners, I know we brought in Smith but when Adam Snyder was in there he was actually quite productive?
Mike Sando (12:29 PM)
Marvel Smith's health will probably dictate that. I think he starts if he is healthy enough to play.
Ron (Mingo Junction)
Hey Mike. Thanks for adding me on facebook. I was just wondering what you think the ceiling is for Nate Davis? he has a cannon and he's battling the truely mediocre S. Hill and a one armed Alex Smith. Can he be the starter in a year or two?
Mike Sando (12:31 PM)
You're welcome. Facebook does offer another level of interaction, so I encourage people to visit my Facebook page and add me as a friend. I would be absolutely stunned if Nate Davis won the job as a rookie. I would be surprised if the 49ers projected him as the starter in 2010. He would really have to impress.
What kind of stats do you think Housh will put up in Seattle compared to Cinci?
Mike Sando (12:33 PM)
Probably fewer overall catches with a higher yards-per-catch average. I could see 80-85 catches for close to 1,000 yards.
Hey Mike, why is the Cards GM so hesitant to give Boldin and Dockett new contracts? I mean, they both are beasts.
Mike Sando (12:34 PM)
They both have multiple years remaining on their deals. The team already renegotiated both of their contracts.
Do you think we will see a holdout with either Boldin OR Dockett?
Mike Sando (12:35 PM)
I don't think either player will miss regular-season games. Of the two, Boldin might be more likely to consider it, but players generally do not like to miss game checks.
Keith Napa, CA
You play the GM; Plex, Vick, PacMan..Do you bring one of these guys in if you're a GM in the NFC West?
Mike Sando (12:37 PM)
No. Each team in the division features a coach new or relatively new to the job and each coach is trying to establish his way of doing things. I think it's easier for more established teams to take on players with that type of baggage.
Stewie San Francisco
Mike, what do you think about the QB situation in SF? Who in your opinion will win the job?
Mike Sando (12:37 PM)
I think Shaun Hill will emerge as the starter. The situation itself is less than ideal because none of the quarterbacks has done enough to command the starting job outright.
Will the Seahawks be a pass-first team under Mora given their questionable back and wealth of receivers?
Mike Sando (12:38 PM)
I could see that. I know conventional wisdom says Greg Knapp has leaned hard on the run in previous stops as an offensive coordinator. I also know he didn't have an established passing quarterback in those stops. He has one now. That makes a difference.
If Bulger struggles (again) this year even with a "rebuilt" o-line (which always seems to be an excuse people make for him) do the Rams take a QB in the 1st round in '10? (After passing on Cutler, Ryan and Sanchez the past few years)?
Mike Sando (12:39 PM)
Yes, the Rams would have to strongly consider going that route in 2010 if Bulger flops and the team struggles in the standings and at the QB position overall.
Andres Las Vegas
Which team, in your opinion, has the best coaching staff?
Mike Sando (12:40 PM)
The teams with the best quarterbacks tend to have the smartest-looking coaches. Imagine that!
I think it is likely that a new CBA is worked out next year, but say one is not completed and the NFL goes into an uncapped year. What NFC west teams benefit the most? Would Paul Allen be willing to become the Cowboys of the 90's and spend more than any other team?
Mike Sando (12:41 PM)
The Seahawks would be the team best positioned to take that approach based on the wealth of their owner. I do think the NFL and the NFLPA will work out an agreement to avert that situation, though.
Adam (St Louis)
I know Donnie Avery has good straight line speed, but Burton is not all that wonderful and Laurent Robinson may be the best of the bunch (which is not saying much). Can the Rams survive with such green receivers and McMichael who gets hurt?
Mike Sando (12:42 PM)
I'm pretty skeptical about that WR group. The Rams need to become a run-oriented team. If Randy McMichael gets hurt again, it's tough.
In your opinion, can Kurt Warner play another 16 healthy games this year?
Mike Sando (12:43 PM)
He made 20 starts last season, counting playoffs. I don't know how he made it through last season given the punishment he took in quite a few games. Predicting injuries is tough to do, but if I had to wager all my belongings on this subject, I'd rather have the side saying he'll start fewer than 16 games during the regular season. It's tough to hold up for a full season.
How much will Bryant McFadden and a new coordinator help the Cardinals defense? What happened to them in the Bowl was embarrassing. Please give me hope!
Mike Sando (12:46 PM)
I'm a little torn on the Cardinals' defense. They lost one of their best young linemen in Antonio Smith. They have some older guys in other spots, particularly in the front seven. I would say injuries in the front seven are a key variable for the Cardinals -- again. They made it through last season pretty well. I like the McFadden addition and think their secondary should be strong.
Based on the Power Rankings the Seahawks will end up with the 8th overall and 11th overall. It seems like a good QB class next year. I know it's early, but what's your best guess on who would make sense for the Hawks in those spots?
Mike Sando (12:47 PM)
I hadn't looked at the power rankings as a tool for predicting draft order. I like it. If that happens, yes, I think the Seahawks would strongly consider taking a quarterback with one of the choices. They might be less apt to do so if Hasselbeck starts all 16 games and has a huge season, though.
Do you think the 49ers did enough in free agency and the draft. Seems to me they made the "no brainer" pick with Crabtree. But, they were quiet in the free agency market. If you were the GM, what would you have done differently Sando? KEEP UP THE GREAT WORK!
Mike Sando (12:49 PM)
The 49ers were remarkably disciplined this offseason given how badly the team has performed in recent seasons. I figured they would strike more boldly in free agency, particularly with Jed York taking over as president. I think a lot of bad money gets spent in free agency and the 49ers deserve credit for not getting too excited about it this offseason. At the same time, I think they could have been more aggressive in solving the situation at right tackle. That was one area I might have considered addressing in free agency, whether through a mid-level signing (Ray Willis) or something more enterprising.
Brian (Seattle, Wa)
Mike, Holmgren returns to the Seahawks as GM, will it happen?
Mike Sando (12:52 PM)
I will not be surprised if Holmgren returns to the Seahawks -- not in the immediate future, but at some point down the line -- as GM or VP or VP emeritus or whatever.
Charles (Fort Worth, TX)
Rumors are circulating that Boldin hired Condon as his agent. What do you know about him and his negotiating tactics?
Mike Sando (12:55 PM)
Tom Condon keeps a much lower profile than Rosenhaus. He is very calculating and has a stronger mastery of the CBA than most agents, in my view. He helped write the CBA, after all. He isn't afraid to manipulate the system (as he did in using poison pills to get Steve Hutchinson out of Seattle). The expectation is indeed that Condon and his group will replace Rosenhaus. I have held off reporting it as fact because things change quickly in the agent game, but that has been the expectation from the beginning.
Chad (Las Vegas)
Less apt IF Hasselbeck starts all 16 and has a huge season??? Hasselbeck could have the greatest season ever and the Seahawks still should draft a QB for their future.
Mike Sando (12:56 PM)
That is a fair point.
Thoughts on the Bly signing? Think he could be an upgrade over Harris?
Mike Sando (12:57 PM)
Sure, he could be an upgrade from a pure coverage standpoint. Corner play often depends to a degree on things such as scheme and pass rush. Bly has a better chance with the 49ers in 2009 than he did with the Broncos in 2008.
Michel (Halifax, NS)
I noticed that you ranked the Niners at 19th, clearly since you watch the NFC West and see there capabilities. I think that if Shaun Hill can perform we can give the Cardinals at a shot for the division, do you agree?
Mike Sando (12:58 PM)
Yes, I do think the 49ers can contend in the division if Shaun Hill plays well. They play the Cardinals tough every year anyway.
Eric (Lake Stevens WA)
Will the Seahawks see more production from DE Lawrence Jackson this year? Will he have a sophmore break-out or do you see him as a first round mistake?
Mike Sando (12:59 PM)
Yes, I do expect more from Jackson this year. The new staff is breathing fire in his direction.
Mike Sando (1:00 PM)
Thanks for dropping by the chat this week. See you on the blog and on Facebook (see link earlier in this chat).