Chat with Mike Sando
Welcome to SportsNation! On Thursday, we'll have ESPN.com NFL Insider 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. Thanks for dropping by. Here we go.
Ed (Queens Village)
NFL trade deadline was extended a couple weeks. As if teams did not really want to trade. Why the lack of trades?
Mike Sando (1:03 PM)
People often only want to part with players they do not need, or players they do not want for one reason or another. Who wants to acquire those players? At this stage of the season, teams need their depth. Sometimes it's hard to part with a player of value.
DerekMQT (Marquette, MI)
Hi Mike. Lot of talk of how dangerous the Niners will be with Manningham and Crabtree coming back. The question is WHY? The Niners are a running team and almost never go into a 3 wideout set. Also, both players are coming off injuries so they won't be in game shape, possibly for the rest of the year. I'd be more excited about the defensive players coming back than the offensive. Your take?
Mike Sando (1:05 PM)
Well, if you look at how the 49ers' two most recent seasons ended, I think you could make a case that WR depth was an issue. It certainly was a huge issue, maybe the No. 1 issue, back in the NFC title game against the Giants. Also, early this season, the WR issues were significant against the best defense the 49ers faced: Seattle's. For the 49ers, winning the NFC West probably requires beating the Seahawks in San Francisco. I think that's easier to do if the team has additional viable options at WR.
Kevin (Joyce, WI)
Is Wes Welker at 2 years/12 million the best value of any free agent signing this past offseason?
Mike Sando (1:06 PM)
It was a great value for that team. I don't think Welker would have provided the same value to some other teams. But with Peyton Manning there, the value is really maximized. And I suspect the Patriots would pay that price if they could do over again, knowing what they know about the rest of their receiving options.
What is your take on how a penalty, such as the one by Golden Tate for taunting, should be enforced?
Mike Sando (1:07 PM)
I like the 15-yard penalty during the game and then whatever fines are handed down outside the game. I would not want NFL officials deciding on the spot whether to take touchdowns off the board. However, if officials did have that power, I suspect players would be sure to comply with the rules.
La Playa (34 HP)
What is wrong with Brady....age, o-line, poor wr's...all of the above?
Mike Sando (1:09 PM)
It was clear in analyzing his games earlier in the season that Brady was not on the same page with his receivers. He was holding the ball longer in some cases. There's no question in my mind the situation at receiver and tight end is a huge factor. Now, it seems like we should be seeing more improvement over time. I think it's fair to say Brady isn't playing as well either. It's just hard to separate the two completely.
Paul (Albany, OR)
If the Rams end up with a top 5 pick, do they go Quarterback because a)Bradford has been league average at best and will be coming off severe injury and b)the new qb will be way cheaper for 4-6 years allowing the team to build solid depth elsewhere? Thank you
Mike Sando (1:12 PM)
Great question. I think it all comes down to how good they think the drafted quarterback is going to be. None of the analysts I've heard sees an Andrew Luck-type talent in this draft. They all talk about the great depth potential of the class. It's interesting that the Rams have already passed on Robert Griffin III, which was the right move under the circumstances. Would they now be wise to pass on another top-five QB all because they think Bradford can be the guy, even coming off a torn ACL? I say draft one early if you think the value is there. Then you have a good problem.
Barb Cangi (Gulf of Mexico)
do the Chiefs have the most underrated offense in the league?
Mike Sando (1:15 PM)
Depends who is doing the rating. I think they have a decent offense but not a dynamic one. They are 18th in Total QBR, 16th in yards per game, 25th in yards per play, 11th in rush yards per game, 11th in yards per frush, 24th in pass yards per game, 25th in net yards per pass attempt, second in interception rate, 23rd in sack rate and 18th in first downs per game. Those are the hallmarks for a low-risk, complimentary offense -- one that will work best in conjunction with an outstanding defense.
Seattle has not looked impressive the last couple of weeks, does SF with their Wrs coming back close the gap that was there in the beginning of the season?
Mike Sando (1:17 PM)
Yeah, the gap has closed and will remain closed until the Seahawks figure out their offensive line. The great thing for both the 49ers and Seahawks is that they weathered the storm, so to speak. They kept winning games even after losing some key players. They're nearing the other end of the tunnel and should be closer to full strength later in the season.
Scooter (Medway, CA)
Who is the front runner for the 2nd seed in the AFC to you right now? Assuming 1 of them comes from AFC West (Denver or KC)...don't you see the Bengals grabbing it?
Mike Sando (1:20 PM)
I really do see the Bengals being in good position. They play the fifth-easiest schedule from this point forward. Their remaining opponents are 24-33 (.421). The Bills are the only team in the AFC with an easier remaining schedule by that measure. I also think the Bengals should be an improving team because they have good young talent. They are in that second slot right now. The AFC seeding as we speak goes Chiefs, Bengals, Patriots, Colts, Broncos, Chargers, Jets, Titans, Ravens, Raiders, Dolphins, Browns, Bills, Texans, Steelers, Jaguars.
Michael (Cincinnati) [via mobile]
For my money the Browns handed it to the Chiefs last Sunday. Andy Reid should send Davone Bess a game check.
Mike Sando (1:21 PM)
The Chiefs have played the easiest schedule in the NFL so far, but the Browns gave them a good run. It's tough to win all the close games but the Chiefs have done so to this point.
I was ambivalent about the Bears retaining Cutler for a variety of reasons. But seeing the impact of teams losing lesser QBs (St. Louis, Tennessee, Houston) is causing me to seriously rethink my stance. What's your take?
Mike Sando (1:24 PM)
There is a big difference between even an average starting quarterback and a replacement-level one. If the Bears did not bring back Jay Cutler, they would presumably have a plan that would include drafting a quarterback and/or acquiring a veteran. That would be better than what typically happens when a starter is lost during the season unexpectedly. I tend to think Cutler is better than what the Bears would get from a replacement in 2014.
Bobby D (Burnsmobile, AL)
No one sees to be putting enough attention into Reggie Wayne being out for the year in Indy. I think that makes Indy a 1 and done team unless Luck plays out of his mind. Your thoughts?
Mike Sando (1:28 PM)
They have about half the season to find out how the offense can evolve, but when you look big picture, you also see that tight end Dwayne Allen is out. So, now they are playing without Allen, Wayne, Ahmad Bradshaw and Vick Ballard. That is a fair amount of offensive firepower. I do think Andrew Luck is good enough to be a tough out in the playoffs when you're talking about a one-game situation. Let's say they wind up playing a wild-card game against San Diego. I think the Colts could win that game.
Mike p (Greater KC)
What do my Chiefs have to do to get some love from the National Media and pundits at ESPN... yesterday someone said on a segment of Sportscenter that the chiefs were pretenders based on schedule, yet the broncos and chiefs have played 5 of the same opponents in the first 7 games?
Mike Sando (1:30 PM)
It is possible the pundits are comparing the quarterbacks for each team.
what is coach's film? how is it different from what we see on tv?
Mike Sando (1:32 PM)
Coaches' film includes two different angles for each play. One angle is from the sideline high above the field. This angle shows all 22 players for the duration of the play. A second angle shows a tighter shot from one of the end zones. This tighter shot gives a clearer view of the quarterback and the lines, with less ability to see the perimeter. So the coaches watch each play twice, one from the sideline angle and one from the end zone angle. There is no sound on these. Sometimes the coaches like to see the TV copy as well because they like to hear what the microphones pick up.
Is there too much emphasis being placed on the Seahawks poor showing Monday night and not enough on A) getting a road division win any way you can and B) Fisher and his Rams being a bad matchup for the Hawks?
Mike Sando (1:35 PM)
While watching the postgame analysis featuring Trent Dilfer and Ray Lewis, I kept thinking about how their 2000 Ravens championship team won some of its games. There was a 9-6 Ravens defeat to the Steelers on Oct. 29 of that year in which Baltimore completed 12-25 passes for 152 yards with no touchdowns and one interception. Now, those Ravens were playing a competitive Steelers team. But even the Steelers got just 9-18 passing that game. I do think there's value in the win-is-a-win thinking, especially on the road. Seattle is in great position to get home field, which would probably be pivotal. At the same time, the Seahawks' offensive line is having major issues that make the team vulnerable. Those issues are real and worth discussion without losing sight of the bigger picture.
Sando. My man. You're usually good with this stuff. Will the Jags win a game this season?
Mike Sando (1:37 PM)
The Jaguars play the Titans (road), Cardnials (home), Texans (road), Browns (road), Texans (home), Bills (home), Titanas (home) and Colts (road). Let's see what the quarterback situation is in Buffalo late in the year. I think 0-16 is likely.
Whats the early word for the 2014 draft...still QB heavy with Boyd and Bridgewater?
Mike Sando (1:39 PM)
I think it is overhyped based on the number of potential early entrants. Scouts I've spoken with see more numbers than absolute great quality, and they question whether the numbers will be as strong in the end based on who enters the draft early.
Dikembe (Hilly Streets)
is Alex Smith the most underrated/undervalued player in the league?
Mike Sando (1:41 PM)
Alex Smith makes $8 million a year, has average stats and has won a ton of games playing well within the context of his defensive-oriented teams. The Chiefs gave up two second-round picks for him. I'd say he's valued about right.
Scuba Steve (Roche)
Are we witnessing the demise of Thomas Edward Brady?
Mike Sando (1:43 PM)
Well, we're not witnessing the ascension of him. I would expect him to decline as he ages, but also think he will be better at some point in the future than he is right now. I base that on this season being a worst-case scenario from a weapons standpoint. I would expect Brady to remain the starter and to have better weapons in the future, and to have better results consequently.
We miss you on the NFC West chats, man! Hope all is well. Are you surprised that the 49ers didn't jump at Nicks or Gordon a few weeks back? I kind of am, but they've been able to weather the storm and it sounds like Manningham is back after the bye and Crabtree a couple of weeks after that?
Mike Sando (1:46 PM)
Hi, Scott. I'd say the 49ers' approach was not a surprise because the team was winning. There was really no need to spend draft capital for a short-term fix while the team was winning and still expecting to get Michael Crabtree and Mario Manningham back this season. The 49ers righted the ship and cruised. Why panic? They take a long-term outlook on things and have possibly been burned a little at the WR position anyway.
Eddie Roche (Holliston)
If there was 1 factor you could point to as to why the Monday night game was so close, what would you say it was? Was this another case of the Seahawks maybe sleep walking thru this game, or did the Rams expose some serious holes? Obviously abit of revisionist history, but if Bradford played this game then it would likely have been a Seahawks loss.
Mike Sando (1:48 PM)
The Seahawks did not have their starting tackles, and the Rams did a great coaching job. Also, I think the Seahawks went into preservation mode for a while. Just take the sack, don't fumble and see if the Rams can score touchdowns. Ugly, but ultimately effective.
any chance Falcons pull the upset over Carolina this weekend? Cam Newton can't keep up this pace forever, he is still inconsistent and overrated. And their Defense has feasted on weak offensive teams. Tell me there's a chance.
Mike Sando (1:49 PM)
That would be hugely disappointing for the Panthers. It would surprise me. I don't think the Falcons have the manpower right now.
Linda (Rome Total War)
Hasn't Dalton taken a couple of huge steps forward this year? Man is he playing well.
Mike Sando (1:51 PM)
Dalton has been very good the past few weeks. We studied his deep passes over the past two game and saw real strides from the end of last season. I think consistency is still the thing, though. Dalton has played well for 2-3 games at a time before. The hope from a Bengals standpoint is that this young group of offensive players is taking off together.
Ted DiBiase (Money)
People have been saying the Chiefs easy schedule has been key to their start, but from my chair it seems like the Seahawks are served up cupcakes on a weekly basis. Now granted, the Rams were fired up to play for whatever reason but the outcome of the game was never in doubt. Seahawks face the winless Bucs next week, looks like yet another layup W.
Mike Sando (1:53 PM)
The Seahawks have one of the easiest schedules from this point forward. However, they are 3-1 this season against teams that had winning records at kickoff. Top records in those games: Bengals 3-0, Chargers 3-0, Patriots 2-0, Chiefs 2-0, Packers 2-0, Seahawks 3-1, Lions 3-1.
A Sandler (Under the tag)
How about a Raiders question....how good is Tyrelle Prior looking?
Mike Sando (1:55 PM)
He's been pretty average for a starting quarterback if you look at the whole picture, but I wouldn't necessarily look at it that way. The context is this: He plays for a team lacking talent, he has had some games where he had very high completion percentages, he seems to work at the game and he presents another dynamic through his running ability. Looks to me like there's a lot of upside there and they should stick with him.
Hollywood Hulk Hogan (Venice Beach, CA)
Love the chats brother. Pittsburgh or Pats this week? Seems like the Steelers are primed to make a run and their defense still ranks among the league's best. Patriots seem to be scraping by, I think Pittsburgh hulks up and wins big this weekend.
Mike Sando (1:56 PM)
I don't trust either team at this point but I probably trust the Steelers less at New England.
Kevin (Reno, NV)
What is the timetable for Percy Harvin's return to the field?
Mike Sando (1:57 PM)
When he feels right. He had a great workout early last week, but the hip has developed soreness since then. So they are treating him right now. I haven't gotten the sense his return is imminent.
Mike Sando (1:59 PM)
Thanks for dropping by the chat this week. My pleasure as always. See you around, including on Twitter. @SandoESPN