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 1 p.m. ET!
Mike Sando (1:42 PM)
Looks like someone got distracted with this Gregg Williams stuff. Guilty. Chat begins late.
Mike Sando (1:44 PM)
I was engrossed in Sean Pamphilon's first-hand accounting of his experiences documenting various aspects of the Saints' season.
I have been hearing a lot about Matt Flynn's arm strength or lack thereof. Where does he rate amongst the other 32 starting QB's. Is he in the middle or near the back?
Mike Sando (1:46 PM)
The Seahawks seemed to have some of those questions as well. They felt good about what they were getting once they put him through a workout. I think arm strength helps, but isn't the end-all. Quarterbacks must be able to anticipate and throw accordingly. I think that aspect is critical for quarterbacks with less than stellar arm strength.
It's a given that Torry Holt has played at a Hall of Fame level during his career, but was he productive enough over a long enough period of time to have a good chance at making it in on his career and stats alone? Right now it looks like it depends as much on Cris Carter getting as anything because it'd be hard to make an argument that one was clearly more deserving than the other to get in.
Mike Sando (1:48 PM)
Not sure I follow the part about his "career and stats alone" as factors. The quality of Holt's career and his role on historic offenses that played in Super Bowls will help his cause. I do not think Holt as an automatic Hall of Famer, but I think the voters will be increasingly impressed by his credentials as they learn more about him. Same goes for Aeneas Williams, I think.
Since David Hawthorne signed with the Saints, are the Hawks into re-signing Leroy Hill or maybe pick up someone via draft?
Mike Sando (1:50 PM)
I would anticipate both of those things happening.
Jack (Charming, CA)
What did you take from Gregg Williams pregame speech??
Mike Sando (1:53 PM)
Mostly, I tried to differentiate the normal pregame stuff -- kill the other guys, knock out the QB, etc -- from the specific instructions to target specific injuries on specific players (for cash in at least one instance). I think the extent to which Williams reveled in this stuff was largely his undoing. There's a reason players aren't excited about disclosing injuries in a lot of cases. They know opponents will target them.
Can you see 3 NFCW teams in the playoffs this year?
Mike Sando (1:53 PM)
Not a chance. Two would be max, in my view.
Travis M (Tucson)
The jersey was already too small for Justin Smith! Now what's he going to look like?!
Mike Sando (1:54 PM)
At least Justin Smith is cut. I was wondering what these new jerseys would mean for guys with huge guts -- not just on the field, but in the stands. Can you imagine how these authentic jerseys are going to look on Joe Twelve Pack?
Sando since you were so late (46minutes) was there some breaking news you needed to share with us?
Mike Sando (1:55 PM)
No, I was just reading that Sean Pamphilon piece. Also got sidetracked with a lengthy phone call, going over some ideas for stories and projects with a co-worker. Just lost track of time.
After the reports of the audio of Williams "pep talk" were released today, counting what the Giants had to say about targeting Kyle Williams...anything to read into here knowing how Kyle's post season went?
Mike Sando (1:56 PM)
I never saw any evidence of the Saints targeting Kyle Williams illegally.
What do you think is the future of Mike Wallace? Is he going to be a Steeler for just one more year, sign a big deal, or be on another team this coming season?
Mike Sando (1:57 PM)
You posted this question at least 100 times. That tactic doesn't work. It actually slows down the process.
What's your take on the Seahawks new unis?
Mike Sando (1:58 PM)
I like the look generally and have no trouble with the Seahawks mixing it up, taking chances, etc. They do not have a 50-year history of wearing the same iconic uniforms.
Yvan (Paris (France))
The Rams are trying to add another WR in free agency, is that a sign that the Rams don't want Blackmon ?
Mike Sando (2:01 PM)
Not necessarily. It means the Rams are weak at the position and want to protect themselves to the greatest degree possible as they head toward the draft. They do not want to be in trouble if Blackmon is not there for them at No. 6, or if there is another player they might value more. Let's say they like Blackmon and love another prospect, but they realize receiver is the bigger need. That is a realistic scenario. Diminishing the need before the draft allows the Rams greater flexibility to draft the best player regardless of position. That is what every team wants.
Hey Mike. Just wondering your thoughts on the rumors of the Hawks drafting Barron and moving Bam Bam Kam Chancellor to OLB? You think he could still play at a Pro Bowl level there? Thanks, man.
Mike Sando (2:06 PM)
I think it sounds unlikely. Chancellor is a Pro Bowl safety. He probably has more value there than he would have at linebacker, unless the coaching staff felt strongly about developing a specific hybrid role for him. In that case, I would be intrigued, but still a little skeptical. Why mess with a good thing? I do think it's easier, in theory, to go from defensive back to linebacker than the other way around, as the Michael Boulware experiment seemed to demonstrate years ago.
How are the Cardinals going to sign their draft picks? Will there be more restructuring and cuts before they can be signed?
Mike Sando (2:06 PM)
Yeah, I would think the Cardinals would restructure contracts as needed.
I have seen some new mock drafts that have the Cardinals trading down and selecting Cordy Glenn -- possibly securing a second-round pick in the process. Thoughts?
Mike Sando (2:09 PM)
That makes some sense. Teams hate going into a draft without a pick in an early round. The scenario you outlined would make sense if the Cardinals felt as though there wasn't an offensive tackle worth taking at No. 13. In that case, they could go to a Plan B. They could trade back, as you suggested, add a guard and then consider their options, possibly moving Adam Snyder to tackle. I'm skeptical of Snyder projecting at tackle for the long term, but Russ Grimm indicated it could be an option.
Mr. Sando, the Cards' offensive line is a glaring need and they barely have enough guys signed to fill in a starting lineup, let alone backups. Do you see that as a sign that they will heavily invest in O-Line throughout the draft ... maybe picking up 3-4 guys?
Mike Sando (2:12 PM)
I'd put the over-under at 2.5 offensive linemen for the Cardinals in this draft, hedging only because the team does not have a second-round pick. The Cardinals have the fourth-oldest offensive linemen under contract right now (the 49ers have the youngest, by the way). Arizona needs to draft linemen and develop younger backups, at the very least. The team has ignored the position in the draft for too long. I do think this is the year they correct that.
Mike, I know the 49ers changed their unis to a more "classic" look when Singletary took over. Do you think the 49ers will go with a more modern look once their five years requirement passes? I love the idea of Nike bringing black back into the equation!
Mike Sando (2:14 PM)
Jed York has a strong affinity for the 49ers' glory days. Fans obviously do, too. For that reason, I think York will want the 49ers to have uniforms honoring the team's greatest years. I have wondered in the back of my mind whether the timing for a change could be right as the team celebrates a new era by moving into a new stadium.
How could an addition like Coby Fleener affect the 49ers offense?
Mike Sando (2:18 PM)
Wow, talk about formidable three-tight end personnel groupings. Sounds like overkill to me, but if anyone would embrace newfangled personnel groupings, Jim Harbaugh and Greg Roman would be the ones. Imagine Fleener, Vernon Davis and Delanie Walker on the field with Frank Gore and one wide receiver.
Can the 49ers be a top 10 offense this year?
Mike Sando (2:19 PM)
It's a shock if they are not, although they do face some top offensive teams/quarterbacks in 2012.
Chi-Town-Bulls (So Cal)
With the way Alex Smiths contract is structured, do you see a legit QB competition this year in camp/preseason for the 49ers? (Q posted once)
Mike Sando (2:21 PM)
Ha, thanks for honoring the preferred chat protocol of not flooding the forum with multiple postings of the same question. Alex Smith goes to camp as the clear starter. There will be competition, but Smith would have to falter for the 49ers to replace him going into this season, in my view. Smith will have to play well to keep the job, in other words, whereas a quarterback with a more lucrative contract would have greater security.
Kyle (St. Louis)
Would it make sense for the Rams to move Jason Smith to RG and Dahl to RT?
Mike Sando (2:23 PM)
The Rams think Harvey Dahl is best suited at guard. They do not see him as a tackle and it's an upset if that changes during the offseason. Smith has enough to learn about playing right tackle, it seems. Not sure I would want to start over with him at another position.
TN Hawk Fan (TN)
After a good 2010 the Rams were supposed to take the division and crashed -- no one saw it coming -- After a good 2011 the 49rs are supposed to take the division?? Parallels or not?
Mike Sando (2:26 PM)
One big difference: The Rams were coming off a 7-9 season. The 49ers are coming off a 13-3 season. We should expect the 49ers to finish worse than 13-3 simply because 13-3 is such an outstanding record. I think their defense is good enough to keep them reasonably competitive even if injuries or other factors lead them to a disappointing season. A bad season for them will be better than a bad season was for the Rams.
Where would you put the over/under on Seahawks wins and which would you take ??
Mike Sando (2:29 PM)
I'd put the over-under at 7.5 or eight right now, pending additional information about Matt Flynn. And I would lean toward the over. Seems to me the Seahawks should improve on their 7-9 record from last season and maybe get into that 8-8 or 9-7 range -- better if things really come together.
Dr. H. Doofenshmirtz (Tri-State Area)
Do the Cardinals bypass drafting a QB this year? No second round pick will make any guy they would get kind of a gamble/project anyway.
Mike Sando (2:32 PM)
I see no need for the Cardinals to make that position a priority in the middle or later rounds. They will be in the market for a veteran next offseason if Kevin Kolb flops. They already have John Skelton as the young developmental backup and potential starter. They need to improve the rest of their roster right now. They've made the commitment to Kolb for this season and I'm not sure I could justify using a mid-round pick on a quarterback. Now, what if Ryan Tannehill is there at No. 13? Few expect that to happen. That could make things interesting, though.
Chex Norris (San Diego)
New 49ers stadium = hosting Super Bowl within next 5 years?
Mike Sando (2:34 PM)
Yeah, I would think so. The stadium is in California, which helps.
Travis M (Tucson)
Any chance the 49ers trade up in the 1st round? Usually a team without major needs doesn't trade up, but if they are in a win now mentality, wouldn't it make sense to move for a talent that could help right away?
Mike Sando (2:37 PM)
Depends on the talent. Having a shot at the right receiver or even a Pro Bowl-caliber guard could have some appeal. Adding Randy Moss and Brandon Jacobs looked like shorter-term moves. The 49ers still need to draft for the long term. I'd want to move up for an immediate starter, perhaps.
With the possibility of Greg Williams never being allowed back to the NFL, do you think the Rams will actually look for a new D-Coordinator soon, or wait until next offseason?
Mike Sando (2:38 PM)
There is no reason to hire from the outside. They could name someone interim coordinator or eventually name someone coordinator outright, but I think it would be someone on the staff right now. Dave McGinnis and Chuck Cecil come to mind.
Battles 4 Seattle (Tukwila)
Mr. Sando, would you agree that it is premature for 49er fans to flaunt that Jim Harbaugh is 4-1 against Pete Carroll?
Mike Sando (2:39 PM)
No way. Any ammo like that is fair game and should be used while it's available. Fans love those sorts of things and they should.
Mike Sando (2:40 PM)
Sorry for the late start today. Thanks for your patience. I have a radio commitment here momentarily. See you on the blog shortly.