Chat with Jeffri Chadiha
Welcome to SportsNation! On Monday, senior NFL writer Jeffri Chadiha will stop by to chat about his latest story on Alex Smith.
Chadiha, formerly of Sports Illustrated, first attended Wyoming on a full football scholarship before injuries led him to transfer to Michigan after two years. He received a Bachelor of Arts degree in communication from Michigan in 1993 before pursuing a career in journalism. Chadiha is also a frequent contributor to ESPN TV.
Send your questions now and join Chadiha Monday at 3 p.m. ET!
Jeffri Chadiha (3:01 PM)
What's up everybody? I'm hear and ready to roll.
colby ut [via mobile]
That was a great story on alex smith on the loss of his best friend, I live in utah and I had no idea that had happened. My question is do u think his shoulder has fully healed and if so does he have a chance to be the starter and resurect his nfl carreer? I think he is truely lucky to have such a great man in head coach mike singletary
Jeffri Chadiha (3:04 PM)
Yes, I do think his arm his healed. I was at their last mini-camp and he made some impressive throws. There already had been some buzz about him before I got there. I could see why after watching him practice. As for him having a chance at being a starter, I've had some people say that might not happen in San Francisco but it could happen somewhere. My sense -- as you can see in the article -- is that he now understands what it takes to succeed in the NFL. Take care.
How high of a percentage do you think smith has on taking back the starting qb job? And if he does, do you think he will be a better player?
Jeffri Chadiha (3:06 PM)
I really think it's 50-50. I say that because Mike Singletary isn't worried about politics or trying to push a specific offensive scheme. He wants to build his offense around the quarterback's talents and the system will grow as the quarterback becomes more comfortable. So in that sense, both Smith and Shaun Hill are starting off fairly even.
Jeffri, great article, great human touch. I'm wondering if you think this is change in heart or a just a motivation for now? We've all seen great things from people who play with loss (see Brett Farve's 5 TDs) but do you think he can be consistant as a quarterback in the NFL and not let this just be a momentary push?
Jeffri Chadiha (3:08 PM)
I think Smith really has found a great perspective that can help his NFL career. People sometimes underestimate how hard it can be to play football in this league when you come in at age 20. I think his career was progressing before the shoulder problems and the issues with Nolan. Now he has a chance to get back to the place where he's finding his place in the league. He's lucky the 49ers are giving him the chance. Most teams would've moved on by now.
David Sheridan (Miami, FL)
Do you really think Alex Smith can be our franchise QB? I honestly do not think so, even when healthy he lacked the intangibles need to be a success NFL QB. Do not forget spread option QB's do not fair well in this league.
Jeffri Chadiha (3:10 PM)
I think he has a chance. Look the San Diego Chargers were ready to give up on Drew Brees a few years back and then he found his way to an All-Pro level. I'm not saying Alex Smith is going to the Pro Bowl but I do believe we have very little patient with quarterbacks these days. It's the media, the public and their coaches. The guy has had five offensive coordinators in five years. It's hard to find a groove with that much change going on.
Ray A. (San Francisco)
I was curious as to how big an impact Michael Crabtree could have on Alex Smith's career. Any word on some sort of bonding between the two?
Jeffri Chadiha (3:14 PM)
Crabtree wasn't working out with the team when I was in camp earlier this month. He should be ready come training camp but I rarely put my money on rookie receivers making a huge impact. I think it's even harder when you're talking about a big guy like Crabtree with decent speed. The first-year guys who've really been productive -- guys like Eddie Royal and DeSean Jackson last season - usually have the speed and quickness to create instant separation in the league.
Vallejo (Vallejo, cA)
Do you think the 9ers may pursue Michel Vick to shake up the QB competition?
Jeffri Chadiha (3:15 PM)
I think they've pretty much shot that one down. By the way, I see a lot of none-49ers related questions on this chat. I promise that I'll get to some of those once we do some more Alex Smith. I appreciate the participation.
Carlos M (San Fran)
Are you up for the idea for the better looking quarterback during training camp should start for the 49ers? or should they go in with the proven shaun hill? because word in san francisco is he does not practice very well and he deserves to start no matter who performs better preseason
Jeffri Chadiha (3:18 PM)
They obviously think either Smith or Hill can get the job done so I don't see them throwing another horse in that race. As for Hill not practicing well, I've heard that. But I honestly believe the best gauge of a player's ability is what he does against live competition. Over the last couple years, Hill has proven that he can hold up in that regard. Okay, I'm opening it up to whole league now.
Andy (Ann Arbor)
Why would any GM in their right mind sign Vick?
Jeffri Chadiha (3:20 PM)
Vick still has value until he shows he can't play anymore. I don't believe that he'll ever play quarterback in the NFL again but I do believe that he can be a weapon is he still has the same speed. The league is getting more imaginative on offense. And if a young guy like Pat White can have a shot at making an impact, a guy with a couple Pro Bowls on his resume should get another opportunity as well.
roger (granite bay ca)
Sorry Jeffri I didn't ask my question. How far away do you think the Niners are from having the talent to compete in the playoffs?Thanks
Jeffri Chadiha (3:23 PM)
The 49ers should compete in that division. The Cardinals got hot in the playoffs but they were a 9-7 team during the regular season. The Seahawks will have a healthy Matt Hasselbeck but they're probably an 8- or 9-win team right now. And the Rams don't have much talent or experience. I like what Singletary is doing with that time. The only question is whether his old-school approach will wear thin on the players over time.
Nathan Cheng (Champaign, IL)
Who do you think will take the NFL North this year, and will that team be able to make a run into the playoffs?
Jeffri Chadiha (3:24 PM)
I know it's not going to be Detroit. If Favre ends up in Minnesota -- and there's no reason to doubt that now -- I'd take the Vikings. I don't even think he needs to be 100 percent to be a difference-maker with all the talent he'd have around him.
Gary (Albany, NY)
Do you think the Cardinals will go back to a more balanced running oriented attack or will they just rely on the pass to carry them into the playoffs?
Jeffri Chadiha (3:26 PM)
Arizona will try to balance their offense. That was the major reason behind their postseason success. Plus, Ken Whisenhunt came out of the Steelers and you know he wants to have a strong run game. Beanie Wells should help them tremendously.
Do you think that having the support of the coaching staff for once in his career, albeit under awful circumstances, is going to be a catalyst for this rebuilding process?
Jeffri Chadiha (3:27 PM)
I honestly believe Smith would've pushed for the team to release him if he didn't believe in Singletary. There would be no reason for him to stay there if he didn't feel wanted. So yes, I do believe that kind of support will be an important factor in how he performs this year.
Augie (Newton, NJ)
If you could put Plaxico on any team where he would have the largest impact (outside of the Giants) where would if be and why?
Jeffri Chadiha (3:29 PM)
I'd put him in Chicago. I realize that city is going crazy for Jay Cutler but they have to get him some help at wide receiver. I've never been crazy about Devin Hester at that spot and there's nobody else there that scares you. He also plays well in cold weather.
The 49ers used to be the model franchise, did over spending in th 90's cause this decline or was it something else?
Jeffri Chadiha (3:30 PM)
I think the words you're looking for are Terry and Donahue.
If there is one thing that is consistent in SF lately, it has been the yearly change in offensive coordinators. Can you give me a sense of how Alex has handled that and how both he and Hill are doing with this latest offensive system?
Jeffri Chadiha (3:34 PM)
Alex has taken the approach that it doesn't matter who's calling the plays because he can't control that. He has the kind of personality where he want to know every last detail of what's happening and why things are being done. Now he seems to be more focused on taking a simpler approach. As for Hill, I think he's been successful because he doesn't let changes in coordinators get to him. He doesn't put the same kind of pressure on himself that Smith does.
Liam (Ptown, California)
Do you feel Smith has the respect of his teamates enough where there will not be turmoil in the lockeroom if he beats out hill? Do you think they will be behind him from week 1? Or will he need to prove something?
Jeffri Chadiha (3:36 PM)
I get the feeling he does. One thing Dilfer told me -- that didn't make it into the story - is that most of the players had no idea what was happening when Smith was hurt. I think they know the full story now and Smith has earned respect by not using that stuff as an excuse. In other words, Smith has won back whatever respect he lost by showing his teammates his real character.
Richard Zhang (Naperville, IL)
What do you think about the state of minority coaches in the NFL? It seems to be starting to become more and more of a non-issue, which is great.
Jeffri Chadiha (3:39 PM)
I do agree that it's become a non-issue. Just look at what happened in Tampa. The Bucs fired a coach who won them their only Super Bowl and replaced him with a 32-year-old black guy who'd spent about three days as defensive coordinator. That would've never happened 15 years ago and it probably wouldn't have happened five years ago. That sounds like progress to me.
Jason Chen (Durham, NC)
What do you think about my Panthers, is the Superbowl window all but closed at this point?
Jeffri Chadiha (3:41 PM)
I've always been a big fan of John Fox and I think that team will contend again. They've got a great running game. They've got Steve Smith. They've got Julius Peppers back in the fold this season. They've got the tools as long as their defense plays better for a full season.
RAY GORDON REID ( ALBANY NY 12207)
QUEESTION TO JFEERI CHADIHA AT 3.50PM HI JEFFRI WHICH ONE OF THE GIANTS RECEIVERS COULD STEP UP
Jeffri Chadiha (3:44 PM)
I like Steve Smith because he's a good route-runner with dependable hands. I also think Mario Manningham could be a sleeper. He was turning heads in mini-camp with his acrobatic catches and he's had a year to learn the offense. My guess is that there will three guys catching 50 to 60 passes in that offense instead of one feature receiver with 80 or 90 receptions.
Jason Chen (Durham, NC)
I recently drove to St Louis to see my wife, and saw that the energy for the Rams is prevalent throughout the city. Do you see a bounceback year for them, the return of the Best Show on Turf?
Jeffri Chadiha (3:46 PM)
I will say this for the Rams: I like Steve Spagnuolo as their new coach. I spent about 30 minutes talking to him last month and he really has the kind of focus and charisma that NFL coaches need these days. He reminded me a lot of Atlanta's Mike Smith when I first met him. Now I'm not saying the Rams are about to go 11-5. But I think they can go places with Spagnuolo in charge.
With Brady coming back and the secondary being completely re-shuffled, among other offseason moves, do you see the Patriots returning to the record breaking form they displayed 2 years ago?
Jeffri Chadiha (3:48 PM)
I don't see them getting back to that 2007 level again. That's a once-in-a-lifetime season and I'd bet the Patriots would admit that as well (maybe not Randy Moss). But with Brady healthy, they'll be dangerous. He's the best quarterback in the game. Period.
Any thoughts on Tony Gonzalez's impact on the Falcons this next season? Do you see Ryan out-preforming his rookie campaign?
Jeffri Chadiha (3:50 PM)
It should be interesting with Gonzalez. Mike Mularkey isn't known for using the tight end a ton in his offense but I also know Gonzalez will make life easier on Ryan. Tony still takes great care of himself and he probably has two more good years in him. My guess is that he'll catch about 60 balls in that system. That won't be kind of production he had in Kansas City but he also has more talent around him on offense now.
Koz (Phoenix, AZ)
How big of an impact does Maclin have this year? You mentioned rookie receivers have trouble contributing unless they have some high end speed, which Maclin has. However, he seems to be a similar player to Jackson, so how does he fit in when Andy Reid probably wants a possession receiver opposite of D-Jack?
Jeffri Chadiha (3:53 PM)
I remember talking to the Eagles coaches about DeSean Jackson last year and they were really surprised by his ability to move out of the slot and line up wide. I think you'll see him in that position more often this season, with Maclin in the slot. I honestly see the Eagles preparing to show the NFL their own version of a spread offense. If Westbrook can get healthy, that's a lot of multi-dimensional weapons on the same offense.
Tony (Chicago, IL)
Jeffri, Jerry Angelo of the Bears said he thinks the QB makes the WR, not vice versa, and expects Cutler to take guys like Hester to the next level? Do you believe this is true not just about Cutler and Hester but the general idea all together?
Jeffri Chadiha (3:57 PM)
I don't ever see Devin Hester being an elite receiver in this league -- or even a reliable one. He's a great talent. But if he could've been a great receiver, he would've made that happen before he ever got to the NFL. And I'd argue that nearly every great quarterback has benefitted from having talented receivers on their offense. I give you Brady and Moss, Manning and Harrison/Wayne, McNabb and Terrell Owens. Steve McNair is really the only recent quarterback that I can remember doing a lot with with ordinary talent.
The Bengals made a lot of seemingly good moves this offseason,but they are still going to be 3rd best team in the division.Will 8-8 be enough for Marvin Lewis to keep his job or will the front office get frustrated and start to look for a new direction?
Jeffri Chadiha (3:59 PM)
Marvin has done something no other coach in Cincinnati has done since 1990, which is get that franchise to the playoffs. That accomplishment alone will keep him around at least couple more years, regardless of how the team performs. I've got one more answer to give and then I've got to run.
MIKE, BURQUE,NM [via mobile]
Hey jeff, great story. I hope to see this kid have a great chance to start and compete this year.I know the media and fans have blasted him since he was drafted, do you really think he can turn it around and prove the critics wrong by being a great "system qb"?
Jeffri Chadiha (4:00 PM)
Yes. Alex Smith will one day be a productive starter in the NFL. If it doesn't happen in San Francisco this year, it will happen somewhere down the road. He's learned a lot from what he's gone through. Now he just needs to go apply it. Thanks for chatting everybody. I'm out.