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 (1:02 PM)
Greetings. Here we go.
Sando, to me the biggest obvious threat to the Niners D is Torrey Smith what do they need to do in order to shut him down?
Mike Sando (1:03 PM)
Pressure Joe Flacco with four rushers and get Baltimore to third down. Flacco has crushed people on second down. He's not nearly as good in predictable situations. That is the key.
RIO (Carmel, CA)
Sando the Man- dood. Is there any angle of the superbowl that hasnt been covered?
Mike Sando (1:04 PM)
Many angles relating to the game itself. It's tough getting to them all. Not sure I'll have time to hit all the ones I want to hit.
Do you see Walker possibly having a big game. All the attention will be on everyone else and with walkers speed against balt lb i like the matchup
Mike Sando (1:04 PM)
Sure, but the Ravens will dictate some of that. They will pick their poison from a 49ers' perspective.
4949Centennnial (San Jose)
Mike, media's reaction to Culliver's ignorant comments are some what excessive don't you think? Thats why Harbaugh's treatment of media is kind of justified in our minds. Nothing good can come out of talking to media.
Mike Sando (1:07 PM)
Lots of good comes from speaking to the media. Fans are interested in learning about the players. The Super Bowl is an unusual situation given how many outlets are here. The people asking questions of Culliver for that interview never would get access to Culliver during a regular media week. Media day created the perfect storm. The 49ers have 6-7 public relations staffers here. There are thousands of reporters. The entire team was available at once. The 49ers could not be there to provide a buffer for every potential high-risk interview.
No matter what happens in the Superbowl, are the 49ers officially done with Akers in the offseason?
Mike Sando (1:09 PM)
I don't know if they would rule him out no matter what. Why not bring a couple kickers to camp and see how things go? One rule of personnel: Don't get worse.
Hey Mike, I'm a big fan of your articles!!!! Can you give any insight as to why the Rams fired Blake Williams? Do you think he has a bright future in the league? Thanks
Mike Sando (1:10 PM)
Thanks. They knew Gregg Williams was out. I think Blake Williams was there only because Gregg Williams had been in the picture. I've heard pretty good things about the younger Williams, but I wonder whether the defensive struggles at home against Minnesota might have been a turning point, given that Williams seemed to be pretty involved in a lot of the calls.
EDTGO (THE DEATH STAR)
Has people interviewed AJ Jenkins? Have not heard anything on him. Can you ask him what is his deal?
Mike Sando (1:12 PM)
Yeah, and I've asked Greg Roman about him. I put Roman on the spot by asking why a first-round WR wouldn't get more playing time after injuries sidelined Mario Manningham and Kyle Williams. He gave no good answer.
Mike what general rules of decorum apply to the media during these sessions? So far we have seen someone asked about another players murder charge, their family that gave them up for adoption, and their stance on gay players.
Mike Sando (1:16 PM)
Decorum goes out the window much of the time. The NFL has made a tradeoff in its strategy for this event. The decision has been made to lower the bar for accreditation in the interests of maximum exposure. The tradeoff is then welcoming into the tent people unfamiliar to the league, some of them liable to ask anything at any time. There is less accountability in this situation. If a beat reporter goes up to Chris Culliver and asks that question during the season, the beat reporter has to live with whatever consequences might arise in the locker room. Players might talk among themselves and decide not to be as forthcoming with that reporter. Public-relations staffers might be less apt to give that reporter unfettered access. But if someone who will never see Culliver or the 49ers at any point in the future asks such a question, there are no consequences for that person.
Mike Sando (Tacoma, WA (New Orleans, LA))
I have an absolute man-crush on Russell Wilson, and it's killing me that I can't write more stories about him. Man, I can't wait for the offseason. Right??
Mike Sando (1:19 PM)
Haha. It's good for the division having quarterbacks good enough to make fans of opposing teams sensitive to the growing realization of that player's elevated career trajectory. Wilson and Colin Kaepernick are going to be problems for people.
Hey Mike, big fan, would the offense overcome a bad game from Colin Kaep?
Mike Sando (1:21 PM)
Thanks. Do not think that is something the 49ers want to test out. I do think there is a chance San Francisco's defense will make life tough for Joe Flacco. If that happens, yes, the 49ers could overcome an off game from Kaepernick. I'd say less than 50 percent chance of that happening though.
OleSagginSeahawk (30 miles west of Seattle)
Best meal you've had down there so far.
Mike Sando (1:24 PM)
Went to Cochon last night and had wood-fired roasted oysters; braised pork cheeks with potato cake, kohlrabi kraut and mushrooms; Louisiana cochon with turnips, cabbage, pickled turnips and cracklins; and the upside-down pineapple cake with lime sorbet. That will be tough to beat. I then went to the hotel and hit the elliptical machine at midnight. Seriously.
David (New Mexico)
Will #15 get a contract extension this offseason (going into final year of rookie contract)?
Mike Sando (1:27 PM)
Good question. He's due to receive like $10.6 million this coming season, I think. Could be a great time to do something. I haven't looked at the situation closely. Think his deal goes through 2014 and voids with a Pro Bowl and other stuff. So there is time. The 49ers' MO has been to extend guys like that: Joe Staley and Vernon Davis were ascending when they got new deals.
tough decision time, Wilson or Kaeperpnick? Which one for a single game, which one for a full season, and which one to lead your franchise for 10 years?
Mike Sando (1:28 PM)
You pick one and I'll take the other. I'd feel really good about either one and I mean that. There is no clear, obvious choice.
Matt (Green Bay)
Mike in your opinion does the nfl need to be more cautious of the "Journalists and Reporters" they let in for the media days during SB week?
Mike Sando (1:29 PM)
I used to think that, but it's a self-serving thing to think. I'm fine with having lots of people here covering the event. It's fun.
Will Joe Staley be able to contain Suggs? Staley struggled last year
Mike Sando (1:29 PM)
Most of the problems San Francisco's offensive line encountered against the Ravens last season stemmed from issues on the right side of the offensive line.
Mike who gave you the best interview so far and why?
Mike Sando (1:33 PM)
Randy Moss has been outstanding. Really relaxed, open and honest. He wasn't being bombastic when he said what he said about being the greatest receiver. He was very even keeled about it. Just think he has been refreshing.
It seems like one of the most overlooked things about Kaepernick is his mental approach to the game --- he got a higher wonderlic score than Wilson, he apparently studies film voraciously, and in the last game Jonathon Goodwin said that he changed the play at the line 50% of the time. What are your thoughts on this aspect of his game?
Mike Sando (1:36 PM)
I think Kaepernick is really being underestimated. It's just a joke to me that people make a big deal about his tattoos and try to say those, coupled with his running ability, make him some sort of counterculture quarterback. I mean, what percentage of people Kaepernick's age -- from all walks of life, male and female -- have tattoos these days? It's just not a big deal at all. It means almost nothing to me. But we read about it in all these big-picture takes on him. It's insulting. Kaepernick has been the best player on the field for a lot of games this season, games when Tom Brady and Aaron Rodgers were also on the field. He's been fantastic.
Supes (Everett, WA)
How many Superbowls have you been to? What are your thoughts on next years being played in New York?
Mike Sando (1:38 PM)
This is my 15th consecutive Super Bowl. I'm looking forward to having the game in New York and will be annoyed when people complain about the weather. The weather was bad in Atlanta and Dallas. Snowy, icy bad. It's going to be cold in New York, but it's still going to be New York, with all New York has to offer. They had the game in Indianapolis and it was great. Why not New York?
Did you interview Alex at media day?
Mike Sando (1:40 PM)
Tried to, but walked away from him on Tuesday because he had to wait like 3-4 minutes for some interview with a radio station to begin. He had headphones on the whole time and was just standing there in silence. So I moved on. We've written about him plenty and I don't think this is really the time to do it again.
David (Orlando, FL)
Why do you think Aldon Smith has been sackless the last 4 games or so? Is his shoulder injury hindering him or is Justin Smith's injury a bigger factor? Do you think the break will allow for a big game from those guys?
Mike Sando (1:40 PM)
Gotta be a combination of shoulder, Justin Smith's status and the opponents getting rid of the ball. Aldon Smith did get pressure against the Falcons. He will now be coming off a bye, which has to help.
Elsa Moua (NC)
Female fans and a Mother here.....whats your takes on Colin Kaep adoption interview or answer>?
Mike Sando (1:42 PM)
I'm totally fine letting Colin Kaepernick make that decision based on what he knows and how he feels about the situation. Athletes tend to get really popular when they have success. There are a lot of opportunistic people. If I were him, I'd be most loyal to the people who were loyal to me without condition. And I'd be wary about relatives of any kind suddenly showing heightened interest. Kaepernick is young. He has time to think through this thing and make a decision. He shouldn't feel pressured. I respect his approach.
Sloppybeast (Traverse City, MI)
I feel that the Ravens D has lost a step, while the 49ers O has gained a step. Do you think that the speed of the 49ers skill players will be a major advantage for the 49ers?
Mike Sando (1:43 PM)
Yes, I do. List the 5-6 most explosive players in this game and you'll see most are on the 49ers, and one of the, Colin Kaepernick, is going to handle the football a great deal of the time.
I saw an interesting stat that the 49ers are undefeated under Harbaugh when they score 20+ points, do you think if they reach that scoring mark again that they'll stay that way?
Mike Sando (1:47 PM)
I was all excited to look up some cool facts on this but didn't find what I was looking for right away. Give me a second here.
Mike Sando (1:51 PM)
Still did not find what I was looking for there. Sorry about that.
OleSagginSeahawk (30 miles west of Seattle)
Just saw Richard Sherman's interview down in Orleans. Did you get a chance to talk to him ?
Mike Sando (1:52 PM)
Did not. Caught up with Jerry Rice yesterday, but have not had time to process the interview. Hoping to find Bruce Arians tomorrow. Steven Jackson might be here tomorrow. Those are some of the non-Super Bowl interviews of interest for me.
Mike, Your take on the best landing spot for Alex Smith? I would say Cleveland for a couple of reasons. 1: Norv Turner. 2: They have a respectable O-Line.Putting him with a Team like the Jets or Cardinals would very likely bring back the "Old" Alex Smith.
Mike Sando (1:53 PM)
Those are good thoughts, Steve. The Browns improved late in the season. They have talent at running back and left tackle. They played a ton of younger guys this season and appear to have suffered through the worst of their struggles for the time being.
Charles (San Jose)
If the 49ers let Alex Smith go, would there be a gentleman's agreement not to sign with another team in the division?
Mike Sando (1:54 PM)
No. I see no reason for either side to make such an agreement, and I question whether it would be allowed under the rules.
I just checked. The Niners have lost one game under Harbaugh when scoring over 20 points. They lost 27-24 in OT to the Cowboys in week 2 last year.
Mike Sando (1:55 PM)
The 49ers have also won some lower-scoring games. 13-8 at Cincinnati, 13-6 against Seattle.
Patrick (Washington DC)
Mike, I just clocked over to see ESPN's picks for the game. Seems like there are two camps: Niners will win because they are the better team and Ravens will win because destiny is on their side. No one seems to be using facts to say why Ravens will win. Indicative of how this Super Bowl will play out?
Mike Sando (1:58 PM)
The destiny angle is so lazy, I think. It's the narrative people will adopt if the outcome makes it fit, but there is no destiny without playing better than the other team plays. Too many things can happen in a football game for some mystical force to be the reason for the outcome. It's silly, I think.
Dave (Las Cruces)
How do you see the Superbowl playing out for Frank Gore? Seems like he's only getting stronger as his career goes on!
Mike Sando (1:59 PM)
Gore is at the age where his production will almost certainly decline, and decline quickly. But he is good enough right now to be a force.
Mike Sando (2:01 PM)
Thanks for dropping by the NFC West Super Bowl chat this week. See you on the NFC West blog.