Chat with Mike Sando
Welcome to SportsNation! On Thursday, we'll have ESPN.com NFC West blogger Mike Sando stopping by to talk about the latest NFL happenings.
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 now and join Sando on Thursday at noon ET!
Aquaman88 (Wash, DC)
What are odds of rookie Glen Coffee getting playing time with Gore in regular season? Injury to Gore only or some relief work?
Mike Sando (12:00 PM)
Frank Gore is going to be the workhorse back. Coffee will get relatively few carries unless Gore suffers an injury or wears down. The only way I see that changing is if Coffee hits home runs when he's on the field. If he's breaking long runs and clearly providing something Gore is not providing, then it's time to reassess. But the plan is for Gore to carry the offense.
T.J. Duckett (working out...)
Mike, What are your thoughts on the way the Seahawks handled my being released? I think it was weak of Mora to cut me at a time that will make it difficult to join up with another team. Also, where do I go from here? Are you hearing anything about other teams showing interest? Or could this be the end of the DIESEL in the NFL?
Mike Sando (12:02 PM)
The Seahawks made the decision based on what they saw during the first couple preseason games. They couldn't know in advance how those games would go. It's a tough business, but Duckett walked away with more than $4 million for less than 18 months' work. The public sheds no tears.
Penner (Snohomish, WA)
Hey Sando, is it just me or are the "stars" playing more in this season's preseason? Do you think that because of Goodell wanting his 18 game season and only 2 pre season that the players are kind of speaking out and playing in the pre season to give him a reason to lean towards the norm 16 game season
Mike Sando (12:03 PM)
I do not know the league-wide trends, but NFC West teams do not seem to be playing their stars for extended periods. Frank Gore and Steven Jackson aren't getting much work. Each head coach is going to do what he wants regardless of what the league office might think about extending the season.
Sando. Help!! How serious is Boldin's Hammy injury?? I heard it is not the same one he injured late last season can you confirm. Thanks dude
Mike Sando (12:04 PM)
Anquan Boldin has injured both hamstrings over the last couple summers. I've got an item on the blog detailing which ones.
With 2 1st rounders next yr are the 9ers just buying time with Shawn Hill? Sam Bradford and Colt McCoy are going to be ontop of the draft in 2010. 2 first round picks will get one of them. Top 10 D, Top 5 Special teams. Just need an elite QB!Thanks Mike.
Mike Sando (12:05 PM)
Yes, the 49ers are buying some time. They obviously are not entirely sold on Shaun Hill as their long-term quarterback. Otherwise they would have named him the starter earlier.
Nick Andron (Seattle, WA)
Any news about Trufant? Any opinions? Also: what's the deadline to pull him off the PUP list before he has to miss 6 games of the season?
Mike Sando (12:08 PM)
Jim Mora keeps showing guarded optimism on Marcus Trufant's ability to put that back issue behind him. I'm a little skeptical and question whether Trufant will be ready for the opener. He hasn't done anything all camp. The team has until the first week of the regular season to make him active.
has anything changed with Crabtree? IS he going to sign?
Mike Sando (12:09 PM)
Yes, I think Michael Crabtree will sign a contract with the 49ers this season. Sitting out the whole season would make no sense. It would also expose the agent to risk.
Sean (Montclair, NJ)
Hey Mike,Love the blog. I was wondering how you think the NFC West will play out? I think one team gets in playoffs (SF), two are right in the mix (Zona-Seattle) and one in the gutter (StL). Also- maybe you can throw some readers my way? www.ProQuarterbackManifesto.comAlways a pleasure, Sean
Mike Sando (12:11 PM)
For those who do not know Sean, he has done some pretty extensive work in rating quarterbacks. I've read through his 'Manifesto' and found it interesting. I thought heading into the 2008 season that 2009 would be the year when Arizona overtook Seattle in the division. It happened a year earlier and under unanticipated circumstances. I do think the Cardinals have an advantage in terms of continuity. Yes, they've had some staff changes, but their offensive line started 20 games together last season. Their quarterback started 20 games last season. Their receivers have been around a while. They have some veterans on defense.
HI buddy, just wondering what you think about Raye so far. I KNOW pre season is just that. BUt you still get an idea of how the coach will call a game.
Mike Sando (12:13 PM)
Jimmy Raye has followed through on running the offense how Mike Singletary wants it run. I think it was essential for the 49ers to better match scheme to personnel. Raye has helped make that happen. As for how he'll call games, it's very tough to say based on preseason. I did like the running play he called on third-and-7 against the Raiders. The 49ers are not a great pass-blocking team. They need to show they'll run it even in some passing situations. Frankly, I've thought Arizona should have done better in that regard.
Hey Mike, whats up? Which free agent offensive lineman do you see Seattle sign if they sigh one?Also, if Nick Reed makes the team, should he be allowed to maybe be in a rotation? Lawrence Jackson hasnt showed a whole lot and I got to think Reed may be on his way to starting if he keeps doing what he is doing?
Mike Sando (12:14 PM)
The free agent offensive lineman would have to be a tackle, based on injury concerns. The Seahawks probably will not make a move until they better understand Walter Jones' prognosis. The team did show some interest in Levi Jones earlier this offseason. He's still out there. The depth at tackle simply is not there, in my view, if Jones cannot play.
Hi Mike - what kind of season do you see Tim Hightower having? He's looked good so far this preseason and played well in last year's playoffs. Is over 1000 yds and double digit TDs a strong possibility?
Mike Sando (12:16 PM)
Yes, Tim Hightower has looked good. But I have to think the coaching staff will figure out what Beanie Wells offers this season, and that Wells will get enough carries to prevent Hightower from enjoying that type of season from a yardage standpoint. Wells has to stay on the field for that to happen and so far he has not shown he can do that. If Wells is not available, yes, I could see Hightower serving in that role. The TD numbers are simply a function of red-zone use. I see no reason for the Cardinals to abandon what has worked down there.
Jerry (Folsom, CA)
Against the Jets, the Rams 1st team D looked good. Against Atlanta , they looked bad. In particular, LB's missed their gaps and nobody could actually make a tackle ever if they were where they were supposed to be. Is this just growing pains since they don't seem to be getting blown off the ball, but rather just making mistakes?
Mike Sando (12:19 PM)
Preseason could be overrated as an indicator for such things, but in the Rams' case, there is some precedent. Remember how horrible they looked in allowing 340 yards rushing to the Titans in the 2008 preseason? I thought at the time that was an indication of horrible depth at linebacker. Teams like the Falcons and Titans are going to run the ball effectively. I think the Rams will continue to struggle against those types of teams once the regular season gets going.
Joey Gladstone (San Francisco,CA)
Does 38-year old Kurt Warner have another huge season in him, or will he revert back to his recent pattern of injuries and ineffectiveness?
Mike Sando (12:21 PM)
The pattern-of-injuries angle is overblown. Kurt Warner has not missed games to injury since the 2005 season. He has not been ineffective since the end of his tenure with the Rams. While not great during his time with the Giants, his passer rating that season was higher than any single-season passer rating Eli Manning has posted. Passer rating itself can be overrated as a measure, but let's not mistakenly suggest Warner has been injured and ineffective more than he has been injured and ineffective.
Josh Morgan had been the buzz of training camp but then seems to have faltered. I know the coaching staff likes him but will he really get opportunity in this type of offense to excel this year?
Mike Sando (12:22 PM)
I think he'll have the opportunity to catch about 50 passes this season. That would be more than double his rookie total.
Hyman (Rochester, NY)
Hey Mike,Love the Blog. There has been a lot of excitement out of Seattle's training camp about adding some bulk to the D-Line and the potential of Colin Cole and Cory Redding. Should this excitement be tempered due to them going against a below average O-line in camp? Denver seemed to handle them no problem last week. Is this due to Denver's O-line strength or the vanilla play calling on D for the pre-season? Without a pass rush, this team has zero chance
Mike Sando (12:24 PM)
Thanks for the support. Patrick Kerney and even Darryl Tapp are key variables for this defense. Tapp has shown more than Kerney to this point, but part of me thinks Kerney is just trying to get through the preseason healthy. We should know early in the season whether those players can provide the necessary pass rush to elevate the defense. I would not necessarily read much into the Denver game. I suspect the Broncos were trying to prop up Kyle Orton after a shaky peformance the previous week. They might have game-planned a little more than usual.
Paul Kuharsky (AFC South)
I just wanted to stop by and urge you all to show up for the best chat of any of the NFL chats, today at 3pm Eastern!
Mike Sando (12:25 PM)
Paul Kuharsky works for us now? Wow. Haha. Seriously, check out Paul later in the day. Back to our regularly scheduled programming.
oz (ft lauderdale, FL)
Mike I know you don't do fantasy but this is NFC WEST related so I figured I 'd try. Who do you see having the better season as a WR? Donnie Avery (who i read went participated in practice yesterday) or the aftermentioned Josh Morgan who has been tearing up camp?
Mike Sando (12:27 PM)
Wait, Oz, I am doing fantasy this year and you are invited to participate. We've had more than 500 people sign up in the last 24 hours or so. I think Donnie Avery has a better shot at finishing with more receptions, simply because the 49ers probably have more established options at the position (Isaac Bruce).
Is it me or is the West starting to shape up to be a better division than previously thought? Hasselbeck is playing darn good thus far and of course Zona returns most everyone coming off a deep playoff run. SF is much improved as well which now makes it seem like it will be a legit 3-way race for the Division.
Mike Sando (12:28 PM)
The NFC West race should tighten up this season. I do not think it will be a top division, though.
Richard (Greensboro, NC)
What do you think of fantasy possibilities of the Seattle offense? How will Hasselback and Jones produce?
Mike Sando (12:30 PM)
Matt Hasselbeck could be a good value if you can get him a little later. There's a risk, but also a pretty good chance at a strong reward. I think they'll throw the ball quite a bit. They also could be set up to throw more in the red zone. John Carlson and T.J. Houshmandzadeh provide some good options down there. It's the opposite of the situation Seattle faced when the offense ran through Shaun Alexander. I always thought Hasselbeck could have had an extra 10 touchdowns per season if Alexander hadn't been money in the bank down there near the goal line. As for Julius Jones, I'd be careful. Can you trust him to hold onto the football and hold off Edgerrin James for a full season? Not so sure.
So far in the preseason Seattle has again giving up the big play on defense and can not run the ball on offense but has still won...can the team still win in the regualr season with that recipe?
Mike Sando (12:31 PM)
I know you said Josh Morgan would catch approx 50 passes. Care to predict his yardage and TD total?
Mike Sando (12:32 PM)
Morgan averaged 16.0 yards per reception last season, but the 49ers were running a different offense with more seven-step drops. I would think his yards per catch would come down into the 13-14 range. This stuff is impossible to predict accurately, but if we're in the right ballpark here, you could multiply 50 times 13.5 and get a yardage estimate. Not sure on touchdowns.
Why is so little attention being given to the Seahawks depth and talent at the front 7 and at offensive skill positions. Behind Kerney, Mebane, Cole, and Redding, they have Tapp and LoJack on the bench and they would start on most teams. With 4 good recievers, and John Carlson at TE, there's going to be too many people to spread the ball!
Mike Sando (12:33 PM)
Lawrence Jackson would not start for most teams. Sometimes I wonder if he would get his old job back at USC. He needs to show more, and Jim Mora said as much on the radio the other day.
Dc9ersfan (Washington, DC)
In your estimation is the pass rush in SF same better or worse? I've seen nothing in the two preseason games to say that it's improved. Maybe we shouldve drafted the end from FSU instead of letting Carolina get dibs
Mike Sando (12:35 PM)
I need to reevaluate the pass rush through the first two preseason games. The team has picked off quite a few passes. Generally that does not happen without some pressure. My gut tells me the pass rush is not dramatically improved. We certainly are not seeing the two primary guys, Parys Haralson and Manny Lawson, tearing it up. But it is something I want to evaluate a little more closely.
Who is your sleeper/surprise to make the 49ers roster, and who is your sleeper/surprise not to make the 49ers roster?
Mike Sando (12:37 PM)
People seem to overrate Dominique Zeigler and lump him into the group when talking about all this newfound depth at receiver. I do not think he is a lock for a roster spot. I also think the 49ers will consider their options at fullback. They could be a team that monitors the waiver wire and then makes a move. As for someone making the team surprisingly, no name is jumping out at me.
Chris (Broadview Heights, OH)
Has Matt Leinart been officially named the #2 QB in Arizona? We don't get those games here (and I don't have NFL Network or any other satelite) but just looking at the box scores, it appears Leinart ran away with that....to at least keep his career on life support.
Mike Sando (12:38 PM)
Matt Leinart is a prohibitive favorite for the No. 2 job, in my view. I base that on performance in preseason games, Brian St. Pierre's current injury status and the strides Leinart has made (according to Ken Whisenhunt).
Dan Brunell (Olympia, WA)
It appears that the Seahawks have a log-jam at Defensive end. With needs in other areas, would it be wise for the seahawks to show Darryl Tapp or Lawerence Jackson for some o-line help?
Mike Sando (12:40 PM)
Without taking into consideration potential salary-cap issues, the team could use another offensive tackle more than it could use Lawrence Jackson. I would not give up on Darryl Tapp so quickly, though. His pass-rush ability might be needed.
Jerry (Folsom, CA)
What are the chances the Rams pick up a D-lineman via a trade? Do they have too little to offer that they just need to look for castoffs? I'm not looking for Justin Tuck, but they need someone.
Mike Sando (12:41 PM)
The Rams have shown they're willing to make trades. I also think they could use help on the defensive line. It's probably more likely for them to scan the waiver wire once cuts are made. Their 2-14 record last season would give them strong waiver priority.
tomwit nj [via mobile]
Any chance former Rutgers QB makes the Seahawk roster. I thought he was a top 5 QB in the draft. A real bargain.
Mike Sando (12:42 PM)
I fully expect Mike Teel to earn a roster spot in Seattle. Keeping Jeff Rowe over Teel would not make sense. Teel is getting the reps. Seneca Wallace has some experience in the No. 2 role. To me, the top three quarterbacks in Seattle appear set.
What about Beanie Wells? Is he healthy yet? I picked him for my fantasy team and does he look good?
Mike Sando (12:44 PM)
Beanie Wells is healthy again. He hasn't been healthy enough to show anything to this point. The Cardinals are eager to get him on the field and see what he offers. Drafting him for fantasy was a high-risk move with the potential to be high-reward. Stick with him and see if you can collect the payoff.
Matt (Four Corners NM)
With both Smith and Hill both having injuries are the 49ers in trouble at qb more so now?
Mike Sando (12:45 PM)
There's no indication Shaun Hill's situation will bother him for an extended period. Damon Huard does appear more valuable right now, though.
oz (ft lauderdale, FL)
Based solely on preseason results (which can be unreliable)is it safe to say the Cardinals have one of the better pass rushs in the NFC West? Or at the very least is better then originally thought? I mean so far Bill Davis has managed to keep the team more disciplined AND bring the guys all us Cards fans are dying for on the blitz (Dansby and Wilson)....I mean I like Kearney and Hill but so far it looks like the switch to Davis has been a good one.
Mike Sando (12:46 PM)
Having one of the top pass rushes in the NFC West isn't a big deal. Based on that criteria, though, the Cardinals should have one of the two best in the division. Adrian Wilson is a very good blitzer. Darnell Dockett can get up the field. Calais Campbell has flashed some pass-rush ability in the preseason.
Hey Mike. With all the talk this week regarding whether Joe Nedney will try and hit the Cowboys scoreboard, what do you think of adding a high-kick competition for punters at the probowl (Simliar to the moto-cross high jump)? It seems as though the best way to eliminate out of date regulations is to constantly test players abilitites.
Mike Sando (12:48 PM)
Punters could be susceptible to injuries competing in that sort of thing. Would you want Peyton Manning or Tom Brady competing in a longest-throw competition? I think not.
mike mi [via mobile]
do you avoid lions questions if you do i dont blame you
Mike Sando (12:48 PM)
As the NFC West blogger, yes, I tend to avoid Lions questions.
Do you think Tavaris Jackson would do a good job in SF if he were to go there?
Mike Sando (12:48 PM)
Mike Sando (12:48 PM)
Ken (Scottsdale, AZ)
Should we make much of Herman Johnson's performance so far this pre-season? It has been against 2nd and 3rd teamers.
Mike Sando (12:50 PM)
Yes, you should make something of it. Here's a guy who looked like a long-term project when he reported to the team for minicamps. Now he suddenly looks like a guy who could go into a game in a relief role. That is major progress. I could see potential right away watching him during pass-rush drills. He had a very strong initial punch and had success directing pass rushers past the pocket. You're right about him playing against second- and third-teamers. That is relevant to an extent. But overall, Johnson has shown promise as a right tackle, and that is all the Cardinals could have asked from him.
Jerry (Folsom, CA)
Laurent Robinson SO FAR in preseason seems like a legitimate starter. Am I missing something? Hard to imagine he just magically gained starter level skills, but it kinda seems that way. thoughts?
Mike Sando (12:52 PM)
Laurent Robinson was a third-round pick in Atlanta, so presumably he had some ability. Ability alone gets a player nothing in the NFL. Robinson had to show some maturity and willingness to play through injuries. He seems to have done that so far. I think Rams fans should be cautiously optimistic on this one. Robinson has certainly validated in preseason what he showed at training camp.
So with what you said above about Duckett, do you think his NFL career is over...or do you think some teams are going to give him a shot? If so, which teams?
Mike Sando (12:53 PM)
'Over' is a strong word. Someone could give him a shot at a roster spot or consider him for a situational role. But no team is likely to give him a significant role in its offense.
Hi Mike thanks for your time. I have gore and grant as starters. Willie, Graham, Wells, McCoy and Bradshaw Benched.I really like Glen Coffee and I am thinking about picking him up. Who do I drop, or do I just sit and wait to see what happens?
Mike Sando (12:55 PM)
The 49ers also like Glen Coffee, but not enough to give him significant carries at Frank Gore's expense. If you are in a keeper league, sure, Coffee could be a guy to look at longer term. But I do not think he'll put up big numbers as a rookie unless Gore suffers an injury.
Shane (Los Angeles, CA)
Sando, am I off-base thinking the Cardinals' defense is looking like a top-10 defense right now? I know the Cards O is the side everyone talks about, but so far, the first string Defense has impressed me this pre-season.
Mike Sando (12:57 PM)
It's premature to think the Cardinals can get to that level. They allowed 426 points and 36 TD passes last season. This defense -- and this team -- needs to show some consistency over months before we buy into dramatic improvement.
Liam (Pleasanton, California)
If the Niners draft a QB high next year, is Jimmy Raye gone?
Mike Sando (12:57 PM)
The 49ers need continuity on that offensive staff. Switching coordinators again would not facilitate that.
Mike Sando (12:59 PM)
Thanks for dropping by the chat today!