Chat with Mike Sando
Welcome to SportsNation! On Monday, 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 Monday at 3 p.m. ET!
Mike Sando (3:09 PM)
Ha, I was chatting away in the link set aside for Thursday!
Mike Sando (3:10 PM)
I'll pass along a few of those answers first.
Mike Sando (3:10 PM)
On why the Rams aren't being mentioned as a logical destination for Donovan McNabb: Veteran players can influence where they wind up. McNabb presumably would have other teams higher on his list. The Rams probably wouldn't want to acquire a player opposed to being there. That could be one consideration.
Mike Sando (3:11 PM)
On whether the Cardinals would go after a McNabb type or hand over the offense to Matt Leinart if Kurt Warner retired: My inclination is that they would go with Matt Leinart as the starter for at least one season. They have Leinart under contract at a reasonable rate in 2010. They would not have to worry about his contract until the 2011 season (that is the final year of the deal and that is when the salary jumps significantly). It seems as though the Eagles will stick with McNabb. If McNabb comes available, the Cardinals could certainly do worse. I just think they will be more likely to see what Leinart can do over the course of a full season.
Mike Sando (3:11 PM)
On what the Seahawks' plans for Aaron Curry might be with a new staff this season: The Seahawks' defensive philosophy will largely carry over from last season, but getting a chance to evaluate Curry should help the Seahawks more clearly define his role. I think Seattle got too excited with his talent early. He needs to become a good every-down linebacker and I suspect that is where the focus will be.
Mike Sando (3:13 PM)
Someone else asked about Tim Tebow possibly going in the first round. I referred to the Peter King item predicting the 49ers' Mike Singletary would fall for Tebow at the combine and pressure the organization to draft the QB. There's no question the 49ers would be open to taking a quarterback in this draft. That is an interesting thought and tough to counter because we cannot know what Singletary will think of him.
Colt (Las Vegas, NV)
I think Ken Whisenhunt needs to hang up the play-calling. I can't believe Beanie Wells didn't get any receptions, I don't understand why such great players like Larry Fitzgerald, Early Doucet, Ben Patrick and Steve Breaston aren't being used in the short passing game more. Do you think he's maximizing the playmakers? Is there a chance he will hire a playcaller? Also, if he doesn't, is he just being prideful like Lovie Smith?
Mike Sando (3:15 PM)
Ken Whisenhunt was in an absolute play-calling groove against Green Bay. I think it really threw him off when Jerheme Urban fumbled that ball and the Cardinals fell behind. Also, as predicted, the Saints were probably better equipped than the Packers to cover some of the underneath stuff. This game did not seem to be Whisenhunt's best effort and I said so after the game. They did need to make a stronger effort to run the ball from running personnel. That is also a good way to open up pass plays down the field. Arizona probably had a good plan going into the game. The Cards busted a 70-yarder on the first play and gained 28 yards on their second play. But like I said, things got away from them.
Griffin (Portland, OR)
What is the best option for the 49ers at QB? Stay with Smith, trade for a QB or use the draft to find one?
Mike Sando (3:17 PM)
The 49ers should be proactive in trying to upgrade the quarterback position. See what's out there in free agency and via the trade route. Check out what is there in draft as well. Don't be afraid to draft a quarterback at any point, even the first round. Then, once the team has done its diligence there, reassess and see if starting Alex Smith still seems like the best option. The 49ers do not absolutely have to find another quarterback this offseason. But if they have an opportunity, by all means do it.
Michael (South Carolina)
Being a Clemson fan as well as a 49er fan, is there a good possibility of the 49ers picking C.J. Spiller? I know they need to address the offensive line this offseason, but Spiller is a playmaker, period. He would be great on third down and a special teams stud.
Mike Sando (3:20 PM)
49ers fans should not worry about general manager Scot McCloughan reaching for need early and overlooking the superior talent. Receiver wasn't the 49ers' biggest need in the last draft, but they still took Michael Crabtree. If Spiller is available and the 49ers have him rated as a huge playmaker, I think they could justify pulling the trigger.
Jon Hernandez (Yakima, WA)
Mike, what do you expect the seahawks to address in draft?
Mike Sando (3:22 PM)
The offensive line has to be a top priority, but as I have pointed out in the past, Alex Gibbs' teams generally have not drafted linemen in the first round. Having two first-round picks gives Seattle some flexibility. I could see the team going lots of routes on draft day. No offensive or defensive position other than linebacker seems out of play early in the draft. Running back is a big need too.
Kenny (Venersborg, WA)
Who do you think the Rams will draft with the first pick? I say Colt McCoy or Sam Bradford.
Mike Sando (3:24 PM)
Those guys have injury concerns and I don't think there's any consensus yet that either would be worthy of selection that early. Ndamukong Suh looks like the safe projection this far out.
Hello sir! What is your feeling on Matthew Hasslebeck in Seattle. Is he going to be back next year, or will Cleveland come knocking?
Mike Sando (3:26 PM)
My feeling early is that Hasselbeck will be back to fulfill the final year of his contract in Seattle. The Seahawks already watched Mike Holmgren leave for Cleveland. Do they really want to risk seeing Hasselbeck enjoy late-career success there? I am not so sure. Besides, who are the Seahawks going to sign as an immediate replacement. A trade could happen. Mike Holmgren's interest level would influence the potential price.
Shephard Hawk (Roseville, CA)
Mike, the Seahawks have an interesting choice this week when they chose their GM. First, of the remaining candidates what are the strengths of the remaining two or three candidates and their weaknesses? Second, could they hire two of them? One for president and one for GM? Third, who do you think is a no-brainer? Thanks, I look forward to hearing from you.
Mike Sando (3:31 PM)
Floyd Reese looked like the most logical choice from my end for a few reasons. He has lots of experience. He has a history with Pete Carroll. He and Carroll are of similar age. Throw those things together and Reese might have the easiest time working with Carroll. He might also have the profile needed to effectively resist Carroll when the coach needs some steering. The other candidates are younger and might have the potential to surpass Reese. Reese just seems like the safer choice. As for hiring more than one candidate in more than one capacity, sure, that could happen. Just depends on what roles the team envisions for each guy. Reese has experience in cap matters and pro personnel and college personnel and everything right on down to coaching. Omar Khan appears to be more of a cap guy. I perceive John Schneider to be more of a personnel guy.
Bill (St. Paul)
Mike, please tell me the note on Tebow to the 49ers is a joke, what are the odds you give it and what does Peter base that opinion on?
Mike Sando (3:33 PM)
It was not a joke. Peter King wrote that this week. I have no way of knowing how Singletary might react to Tebow.
Mike (Chicago, IL)
What are the chances the Cardinals trade away Boldin for potential draft picks? Thanks
Mike Sando (3:34 PM)
This seems really logical, but possibly not that practical. Boldin is entering the final year of his deal. He is getting older and has struggled with injuries. It's the perfect time to deal him. However, any team acquiring him would have to work out a longer-term contract with him. How many teams would want to give up significant money and significant draft compensation? That is the million-dollar question.
Joe Comeau (Fort Worth, TX)
Hey Mike, I follow you on Facebook and ESON. I really appreciate your fan-friendly approach. How do you think the Cards will and/or should approach the draft? I think they should get a CB and LB in the first two rounds, a QB and OL in the next two, and the final three rounds go for the best defensive player available. Obviously, if a player too good to pass up falls to them, it changes everything.
Mike Sando (3:39 PM)
Thanks, Joe. I enjoy connecting with people and am glad that comes through. As for the Cardinals, I was really struck by their age at outside linebacker. They were trying to slow Aaron Rodgers and Drew Brees with Bertrand Berry, Clark Haggans and Chike Okeafor. Those guys are up there in age. The Cardinals tried to protect themselves some by drafting Cody Brown, but he was pretty raw and then he suffered that very serious wrist injury. One way or another, Arizona needs to get some new blood at linebacker. Remember, too, that Karlos Dansby's future with the team is in some question. The situation at cornerback becomes easier to live with once you're getting more pressure from the OLB spots. I also think this team could use a better pass-protecting offensive tackle for sure.
Griffin (Portland, OR)
Why is it all the Mcnabb rumors here talk about him to the Rams and Seahawks? Wouldn't the 49ers be the best spot for him with the team on the verge of the playoffs?
Mike Sando (3:43 PM)
Yes, the 49ers would be a more logical landing spot for him if the Eagles really were serious about trading or parting with him. McNabb is older and he has been in one system a long time. The 49ers are seeking more continuity. Those are things to consider as well. I'm not convinced Philadelphia should get rid of McNabb, though. You are right on this: The 49ers are closer to the playoffs than the Seahawks or Rams. McNabb will value such things if he does wind up looking for a new home.
Jarrell (SF CA)
The Saints' offensive line has been underrated all season, doing a great job keeping Brees from getting sacked. But the Vikes' defensive line may be the best they've seen this year. What do you think are keys to this and which side (and team) do you think comes out the winner?
Mike Sando (3:45 PM)
The Vikings' defensive line was much better against the Cowboys than it was when I saw Minnesota lose at Arizona. The whole key to me is how Brett Favre and the Vikings handle the crowd noise and overall atmosphere at the Superdome. I tend to favor the Saints based on what I saw Saturday.
Seahwaks, have 20 needs what is coming up in the FA market in the secondary the Seahawks maybe able to move to the Northwest, guess same could be said for the line, O and D, the RB, and WR. But the secondary is just awful.
Mike Sando (3:46 PM)
The secondary will always look much worse when the opposing quarterback doesn't have to worry about getting sacked or pressured. The Seahawks need to rebuild their offensive line. They need playmakers at running back and receiver. They need a pass rush. They do need help in the secondary as well.
Ken (Redondo Bch)
Are the Rams going to re-sign Alex Barron?
Mike Sando (3:48 PM)
They need to upgrade that position, but the labor situation raises an interesting scenario. Barron reverts to being a restricted free agent if there is no labor deal. In that case, the Rams could always take a one-year flier on him by tendering him to a level that would return draft compensation if another team wanted to sign him.
Mike, do the Seahawks do the sensible thing and trade out of the 6th spot and try to pick up more picks?
Mike Sando (3:48 PM)
Good in theory, not always so good in practice. Trading down requires finding someone wanting to trade up.
Craig G. (Fairfield, California)
Hey Mike, who do you see bouncing back faster, the Seahawks or Rams?
Mike Sando (3:49 PM)
The 2010 Rams should double, triple or even quadruple their victory total from 2009. The Seahawks will not do that.
What is the salary cap situation for the upcoming FA period looking like? Is this the year the salary cap will likely be MIA? (I'm curious if the Seahawks can clean house and truly rebuild in the draft AND FA without cap penalty worries.)
Mike Sando (3:51 PM)
I don't think the Seahawks are in a great situation from a cap standpoint, at least relative to the situations in San Francisco and St. Louis. Still, cap room hasn't been a huge problem for teams. There was a lot of unused room out there last season. The Seahawks can save millions by doing something with Walter Jones' deal.
Shane (Los Angeles, CA)
Sand-O: Take it to the bank: Boldin and Dansby will be gone next year. As much as I like Boldin and wish he was a Card next year, he isnt part of the long term plan for the Cards. With Dansby, he has earned his paycheck but the Bildwills won't (and they shouldn't) pay him the max contract he is seeking. Every interview I heard with Dansby leads me to believe he is looking to get paid. As a Cards fan, I wish him well, but don't think he will be a Card next year.
Mike Sando (3:53 PM)
What you say makes sense. Losing Dansby really would hurt, though, given the overall situation at linebacker. I'm not sure there is a good solution there.
Mike (Costa Mesa)
Mike: Brian St. Pierre is a Whisenhunt favorite from when he was with the Steelers (if you'll remember, St. Pierre was given a chance to win the #2 spot during the preseason but injuries made that experiment moot). What do you think the chances would be of him getting a legitimate shot as the Cards' starting QB next year should Warner decide to hang them up?
Mike Sando (3:54 PM)
Ken Whisenhunt likes competition. He likes making players earn their jobs. He even made Warner earn the starting job. I could definitely see Whisenhunt letting Leinart and St. Pierre compete for the job if Warner were to retire.
michael (san pedro, ca)
Why didn't you answer my question about the Niners signing Kurt Schottenheimer? Is it a good choice? Or should they have gone with someone else?
Mike Sando (3:58 PM)
I did not see your question. As for rating special-teams coaches, that is not something I have done. It is true that Schottenheimer is the choice to replace Al Everest.
Mike Sando (3:59 PM)
Thanks for dropping by the NFC West chat. I'll have another one Thursday.