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 (1:00 PM)
Hello. I am here. Will be getting this going quickly.
Mike Who do you see winning the 3rd QB spot on the roster Johnson or Tolzein.
Mike Sando (1:03 PM)
Scott Tolzien would be my choice based on what seem to be good intangibles. He is younger. We know what Josh Johnson is. If Johnson is not the No. 2, he doesn't fit the No. 3 profile as well.
Hey Mike, what is your opinion of Michael Floyd so far and do you think he has a good future in the NFL?
Mike Sando (1:05 PM)
Floyd has not impressed me at all. It is early. He is just getting started. He might turn out to be a fine player. I just haven't seen anything from him to this point. I also have some lingering questions about some of the issues that arose during his college career. He could not have a mentor better than Larry Fitzgerald. I'll be interested in seeing how strongly Floyd is embracing the opportunity to learn from the best. So far, Floyd has gone under the radar.
Patrick (Evanston, IL)
Do you think Wayne Hunter will have an impact and eventually start for the Rams?
Mike Sando (1:06 PM)
Hunter should factor into the Rams' offensive line as a sixth lineman, at least. He should upgrade their power packages. If he starts, though, I do not think that would be a great sign. I've got question marks at right tackle, for sure. Longer term, I think the line would be best off if the Rams drafted a couple more tackles, then moved Rodger Saffold to left guard. Maybe they need to target a higher-level free agent at tackle in the coming offseason. Hunter would probably serve just as a stopgap, and as a below-average starter if needed.
Hey Mike, a bunch of posters on this blog think Patrick Peterson isnt very good, could you post something to let them know he is the real deal?
Mike Sando (1:10 PM)
Peterson has to prove he is the real deal as a cornerback. He had a rough game the other night in Tennessee. The four punt-return touchdowns show Peterson has phenomenal talent. Larry Fitzgerald and Ken Whisenhunt both told me they were highly, highly impressed with Peterson's talent and approach to the game. Fitzgerald said he thinks Peterson will become the very best in a very short period of time. Those aren't the types of endorsements people make lightly. Fitz and Whiz could have provided the standard quotes about Peterson being a young player with the ability to become a good one. They're with Peterson every day and they think he's going to be a great, great player. That carries weight with me. I know in speaking with Trent Dilfer that he also thinks Peterson is going to be a great football player (I say football player to differentiate between pure cornerback, because Peterson isn't just a corner). Like I said, though, Peterson has to prove it.
How long do you think Russell Wilson can hold the starting job in Seattle?
Mike Sando (1:12 PM)
The more I learn about him, the more I think he's going to stick as the long-term starter, for years.
Jarred (Clovis CA)
Morning Mike, do you play madden? If so, on what system ( xbox or PS3) and do you play online against other people? FYI, the Niners are a very good madden team this year.
Mike Sando (1:14 PM)
Yes, I like to play Madden. We play on a PS3. My boys are 11 and 7. We play against one another. We also like to play the Ultimate team game. They got "Madden 13" the other day. Really love having the legendary players available. We had a team with Steve Young at QB, Barry Sanders at RB, Brian Urlacher at MLB, Ronnie Lott at safety, etc. The great thing from my standpoint was watching my kids see how great the legendary players were. In the first game we played, Lott made a game-turning pick in the end zone. The boys loved that. This game really enhances their appreciation for the history of the sport.
Please tell me that Harbuagh and Smith are playing dumb during the pre season on offense because this version of Alex Smith has looked just as bad as last year. And yes I know its pre season, but other QBs have over 300-400 yards during the pre season where, i'm not sure if smith has even gone over 100 yards.
Mike Sando (1:16 PM)
Jim Harbaugh and Greg Roman believe in doing what they need to do to win. That means not going out of their way to roll up stats if doing so risks mistakes that could turn the game the other way. They know they have a good defense. They know they should be good on special teams. I don't think we're going to see Alex Smith suddenly put up huge numbers in this offense just because they got some weapons for him. This could be partly due to some limitations with Smith. It could also be partly due to the way Harbaugh wants to play the games.
Vin (Rhode Island)
Has there been any word on a possible suspension for Marshawn Lynch?
Mike Sando (1:19 PM)
No. I'm expecting him to play the full season.
Al in Phx. [via mobile]
Sando do u think John Sketon can really play well? I know the team responds to him he looks poised in the pocket but to me I don't see improvement in his accuracy and decision making?
Mike Sando (1:22 PM)
Skelton has had a good game or two, and played pretty well at times in fourth quarters. I tend to see him as a good backup quarterback. That's a compliment, too, given that he was a later-round pick from Fordham. The Cardinals could do worse in the No. 2 role, for sure.
Paul (Albany, OR)
Mike, Matt Williamson said yesterday that he saw Russell Wilson as the best QB in the NFC West by season's end. Would that mean that Sam Bradford is not the right answer for the Rams and they would need to package those draft picks for Matt Barkley next year? Holy cow, how long can a team take to rebuild? Thank you.
Mike Sando (1:26 PM)
Matt and I had a conversation about those subjects this morning. He has been a big Bradford supporter, but that support has waned some based on what he has seen from Bradford this summer. I've been trained to downplay what we see in preseason, so my outlook is more positive. But at the very least, this season appears pivotal for Bradford. I thought he looked confident with a bounce in his step as training camp opened. He hasn't looked that way when pressured and hit in the preseason games. As for Wilson, yes, Williamson is excited about him independent of how he feels about Bradford. He really thinks Wilson is going to be a special player. More on that a bit later, on the blog.
PCIBTY (White House)
Are Seahawks saving pass-rush packages for the real season? Seems like Bruce Irvin is doing a lot of bull rushing and they aren't utilizing his speed.
Mike Sando (1:29 PM)
Yeah, I think there is something to that. Irvin did not even play in the nickel every snap early in preseason. One big issue, I think, has been the absence of Jason Jones. Not sure how to feel about that one. Jones has been resting a knee in recent weeks. Pete Carroll says Jones will be fine for the regular season. I'm a little skeptical. Seems like Jones should be healthy enough to participate now, at least to some degree. I've gone back and forth on what to expect from Irvin this season. He looked great early in camp. So fast. Then he hasn't done much in the preseason games, so I cooled on him. At the last minute, though, I went with my initial instinct, picking Irvin as a defensive rookie of the year candidate in our preview section published today. I emailed his name to editors at the last minute.
Do you think Russell Wilson will have a winning rookie season
Mike Sando (1:30 PM)
Yeah, I think Seattle has a good shot at winning more than eight games this season.
Matt Flynn puts up great numbers this evening. Controversy engaged?
Mike Sando (1:30 PM)
No. Too little, too late.
Marco (LC, NM)
Do you see any of the NFCW teams going after anything specific positions after the final cuts?
Mike Sando (1:31 PM)
Yeah, Arizona should be on the lookout for help at offensive tackle. Seattle should be on the lookout for potential help at receiver, possibly a slot receiver. St. Louis should be on the lookout for help on the offensive line, possibly at outside linebacker and maybe at safety too. I don't see huge needs for the 49ers.
Why does nobody believe Alex Smith is ELITE? It's not ALEX's fault Habaugh doesn't let him throw it!!!
Mike Sando (1:32 PM)
On the other hand, if the 49ers were highly confident in Smith's ability to carry that offense, they might see that as a great way to improve their chances for winning. Right?
Scott (Northlgenn, CO)
To my eyes, Ryan Williams has looked like the more explosive RB for the Cards...do you think he becomes the main RB over Beanie at some point this year?
Mike Sando (1:34 PM)
That would not surprise me, but I think Wells would remain a primary first-down guy if healthy. It could become a situation like the one the Giants had with Ahmad Bradshaw and Brandon Jacobs.
Mike if the Cards dont strike a probowler with Floyd do you seem them finally getting their act together and drafting an early round OL or two?
Mike Sando (1:36 PM)
The first round of the draft didn't fall right for them when it came to drafting an offensive lineman early. I did not have a problem with the Floyd choice based on how players seemed to be rated. Tackle Matt Kalil was the fourth overall pick. After that, no offensive linemen were selected until Riley Reiff went to Detroit at No. 23. The Cardinals held the 13th pick. Taking Reiff 10 spots before other teams were willing to take him might have been a reach. Sometimes it's tough to put value over need. At the time, though, Levi Brown was healthy, at least.
AndyStandsUp (Cool Northern AZ)
Michael Adams or A.J. Jefferson at CB and Brandon Williams or Quentin Groves at OLB for Cards?
Mike Sando (1:37 PM)
I'd lean toward Michael Adams because we know what we're going to get from him. He serves a specific role. Not sure on the OLB choice. I might lean toward Williams but I wouldn't feel great about it.
Any possibility 2 teams from the NFC West make the playoffs? Im thinking Niners win division but would not be surprised if the Seahawks sneak into a wild card slot
Mike Sando (1:40 PM)
I think two teams in the division will have winning records this year. That gives the NFC West a chance to field two playoff teams. But I also think the NFC North is more likely to have two or even three teams with winning records. The NFC South and NFC East might be more likely as well.
Mike in your honest opinion,do you see the Kolb or Skelton being even the slightest bit of a threat to anyone, should they ready to draft QB in the 2013
Mike Sando (1:43 PM)
The Cardinals will, in my view, be looking for their next quarterback after the 2012 season. Ryan Lindley might have as good a chance as Kevin Kolb or John Skelton to factor as a starting candidate in the future. That is my opinion based on watching the quarterbacks. Kolb and/or Skelton have an opportunity to prove otherwise this year. I just don't like their chances behind that offensive line (specifically left tackle and the two spots on the right side).
Dugan (Spokane, WA)
I keep reading contridicting reports...is Seattle putting in a bid to host a SB or not?
Mike Sando (1:46 PM)
The team said no. There could have been some inquiries made at some point, but if the team says there is no effort being made, that seems pretty clear.
Z. Ro (Cliffs of Insanity)
Alex Smith has the best statistics of any QB in the NFC West. You just love the Seahawks.
Mike Sando (1:47 PM)
Alex Smith was the best QB in the division last season.
I don't understand why people think Wilson will struggle with coverages, when intelligence and the ability to learn is probably Wilson's strongest attribute. The only reason people say this is because he is a rookie, I'm not hearing any of this with other rookie QB's who are playing well, so why Wilson, other than, he's not supposed to be this good?
Mike Sando (1:48 PM)
All the concerns about Wilson stem from a template saying: rookie QBs struggle, short QBs struggle, Matt Flynn should start because he's earning more money, etc. None of the concerns about Wilson stems from how he has played when given an opportunity to play. We should keep that in mind. He could be different from others.
Do the Rams not have access to ESPN and can't see the highlights on Wayne Hunter? Or did they think Smith was that bad?
Mike Sando (1:49 PM)
They wanted to part with Jason Smith, and they wanted to get at least something in return. Their offensive coordinator came to St. Louis from the Jets. He will know better than most how Hunter might be able to help the team. The Rams do not expect him to become Orlando Pace.
Darren Urban (Tempe)
What's the philosophy behind the Whisenhunt motive to not give either potential starting QB reps in tonight's game when undecided? Can the spectre of injury be that great? Or is decision already made?
Mike Sando (1:51 PM)
For the record, I'm sure this is not the real Darren Urban (the one from azcardinals.com) asking the question. I didn't notice the name til after I selected the question. Now that we've got that out of the way, I find the motives curious as well. They have to be interested in getting a long look at Ryan Lindley to figure out when he might be able to help the team. Ken Whisenhunt knows what he has with Kevin Kolb and John Skelton, for better and worse. He figures a couple series in a FIFTH preseason game isn't going to help enough to outweight what the team will learn from watching Lindley.
Rob (Augusta, Ga)
Who in the world is Charly Martin and where did he come from? Pushing Lockette out of a spot...he better be awesome!
Mike Sando (1:54 PM)
Well, we do not know whether Charly Martin will earn a spot on the initial 53-man roster. I think it's a possibility based on how he has played. He seems to have a knack for getting open. Has Lockette shown enough to justify a spot on the 53? No, but he does have that blazing speed, which intrigues.
John (St. Louis)
Do you think that Rokevious Watkins could make a significant impact for the Rams and potentially start at left guard this season? I mean, aside from being massive, does he look like he could be a good lineman.
Mike Sando (1:55 PM)
Yes, I could see him becoming a starter at some point this season. Not sure if it happens quickly, but in looking at the line, I'm not seeing sure-fire guys at left guard. There should be room to give Watkins a look.
Pete ( )
IIRC, Joe Thomas is a free agent next year. Could you see a bidding war between AZ & STL for his LT services?
Mike Sando (1:56 PM)
Cannot see the Browns letting Thomas get away.
Mike - What follows is a quote from Maiocco: "On Jenkins: "He was the 49ers' first-round draft pick, and he has gotten better and better since coming to the team. But it's still difficult to try to figure out a way for him to contribute as a rookie. Jenkins is behind Michael Crabtree, Randy Moss, Mario Manningham, Ted Ginn and Kyle Williams on the depth chart. And the 49ers are not going to suit up six receivers for regular-season games." Do you think SF will carry 6WR,... & if not - How does this play out, in your opinion.Cheers!~BK
Mike Sando (1:57 PM)
Yeah, I think the 49ers go with six receivers initially. Ginn being banged up would be one reason. I'm assuming Ginn sticks around.
Daniel Wood (Seattle)
A lot of analysts are saying that Pete Carroll is making a mistake starting Russell Wilson in his third year with a team that seems built to win. The point seems to be that he will lose some win-able games due to rookie growing pains. What is your take?
Mike Sando (1:59 PM)
I've been waiting for Wilson to plateau, but the more chances he gets, the better he looks. The only relevant question is whether the team would win more games with Matt Flynn or the recently traded Tarvaris Jackson. I see no evidence suggesting they would. That's the thing about Wilson that busts the template. He appears to be the best option right now, not just for the future. So the team feels as though it is not sacrificing the present. That is key.
We know Fisher plans to run the ball a lot. Are we going to see a higher than average frequency of power packages from the Rams? Are we likely to see a lot of Hunter on early downs or will he most likely be used sparingly for short yardage/end zone situations?
Mike Sando (2:00 PM)
I do think we'll see a fair amount of personnel groupings with two tight ends and/or a sixth offensive lineman. Do think the Rams will be much more power oriented. Steven Jackson thinks this is the most run-oriented offense he has had as a pro, more run-oriented than the one Scott Linehan operated.
Mike Sando (2:01 PM)
Thanks for dropping by the NFC West chat. My pleasure as always. See you on the blog, where we already have an item explaining why our AFC North blogger picked the Cardinals to win the division. We'll have another one soon with Matt Williamson's reasoning for picking Seattle.