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 (1:17 PM)
Sorry for the delay. I'm ready to go.
Michael (Cincinnati) [via mobile]
What am I missing here? Everything the Browns do with Manziel is criticized to some degree. Dan Graziano wrote that piece of garbage yesterday. Do you believe Cleveland should name him the starter? Do you believe Manziel deserves more attention than Tom Brady? Since it is Cleveland, it is easy to throw stones?
Mike Sando (1:20 PM)
First off, thanks for taking a shot at my friend Dan. It saves me the trouble and gives me something to bring up the next time we do a power rankings video together. People I know in the league think it's impractical to draft Johnny Manziel and sit him on the bench, based on the buzz around him and also based on Manziel's own perceived makeup. The feeling is that he's too big to be a backup for any meaningful period of time. Now, the Browns will determine whether or not he starts, so they could sit him down to start the season. But I think he's going to play a lot this year. I think 14 of the 16 most recent first-round QBs started more than half their teams' games as rookies. As for people ripping Cleveland just because it's Cleveland, I know we gave them a good grade in our offseason report card piece that was published for Insider subscribers earlier today.
Tony (Richmond, CA)
Will the Patriots seek help in free agency/trade to help Tom Brady on offense?
Mike Sando (1:22 PM)
I tend to think they will always have their ears open for possible acquisitions, but mostly they are looking to get healthier for the upcoming season. Brady got some momentum late in the year after a really rough, uncharacteristic start during which time he obviously struggled with an unfamiliar cast of receivers.
Full Time Steve (Needham)
10.5 wins for the Rams.....you taking the over or under?
Mike Sando (1:23 PM)
The under. I would take the under if the over-under were nine. I would take the under at 8.5. That is no slap at the Rams, either, but they have some serious challenges schedule-wise, they have questions at quarterback and on offense in general.
Jeffrey Grover (M-Town)
Gun to your head.....will Johnny Manziel's career more resemble Russell Wilson or say Tyrelle Prior?
Mike Sando (1:25 PM)
I wonder if it's a little bit more like Michael Vick's career, where you see some really good things, some good seasons, but also some inconsistency and some injury problems related to style of play and also physical stature. In retrospect, we know Vick probably did not have the right mindset early in his career, and that is a question mark with Manziel as well -- not in relation specifically to the troubles Vick encountered, but just in overall approach/maturity/professionalism.
Keith H (Seattle)
After the chat, you're on the Brock & Danny Show with John Clayton. For those not in Seattle, how about a link so they can stream your mutual wisdom?
Mike Sando (1:26 PM)
Yeah, if you Google "710ESPN Seattle listen live" you will probably find the link. As for finding wisdom, I'm not so sure.
Jean Claude (Vermont)
Do you think the 49ers will use Brandon Marshall's contract as an equivalent for Michael Crabtree's future contract?
Mike Sando (1:28 PM)
I haven't researched that, but my initial thought on those negotiations takes me back to 2009, when Crabtree came into the league suggesting his actual value exceeded his draft slotting. I tend to think Crabtree will again have a higher view of himself than the 49ers have of him, and that it will make middle ground tougher to find. The injury set him back, but a huge 2014 season could really put him in a better spot.
Al Brown (Gnome, Alaska)
What grade would you give the Seahawks draft? You mentioned in your article earlier that their depth has taken a hit, and it seems like they made a major reach drafting a 5th round guy in the 2nd. I'm also not impressed with Paul Richardson, he had chronic drop problems in college. If the Richardson pick doesn't pan out, my Hawks look to be in rough shape at WR.
Mike Sando (1:32 PM)
I highly encourage you to read Dave Boling's recent column. I've known Dave for 20+ years and really cannot remember him being way off-base in terms of what his first impressions were after taking a look at players in person. He came away from the rookie camp really liking what he saw there from some of the guys. I was out there one day and can say Norwood, the receiver, caught my attention. It seemed like John Schneider was really excited about Richardson in particular. I think there was so much depth at WR in this draft that Seattle was ideally positioned to get a couple good values at that position without having a first-round pick.
freddy moulton alabama [via mobile]
how is the pittsburgh steelers draft rated i am a big fan ¤
Mike Sando (1:34 PM)
They added speed through the draft, which was positively received. Any GM with two years left on his contract will tell you it takes three years to fully assess a draft, and we obviously cannot know much at this early stage, but this looked like a good draft and was received as such.
Rich (New Jersey)
Hi Mike - The Raiders lease with their current stadium expires after the 2014 season, Raiders owner says if improvements or new stadium isn't place they may head south to Los Angeles, will that happen ?
Mike Sando (1:37 PM)
It's not as simple as just relocating to the Los Angeles market. The league will have something to say about that, and unlike in the past, Al Davis isn't around to tell the commissioner where to go. The 49ers just showed it's possible to get a stadium built in California using public funding, but I don't see the Raiders being in position to finesse such a deal in Oakland.
What are the chances the Rams have 2 1000 yard RBs this year with Mason and Stacy? Certainly Mason has to prove himself and move up the depth chart first, but it seems like something that would make their OC very happy if it were to occur.
Mike Sando (1:37 PM)
I'd say zero chance. The Rams play against too many good defenses.
If Tannehill does not take a big step forward do the think the Dolphins go in a different direction next year?
Mike Sando (1:39 PM)
Not necessarily. Tannehill could still be their best option relative to whatever they could get in the draft or in the veteran market. I think they need to see what he can do while playing behind a better offensive line. Now, as I say that, they have a new offensive coordinator, and there's a decent chance they'll have a new head coach in a year -- all things that could make life tougher for Tannehill. I would think Tannehill would need to have a really bad year for the team to go in another direction. Taking a big step forward would be nice, but I don't think it's an absolute necessity under the circumstances.
Kevin (Reno, NV)
Over/under 7 wins for the Raiders this year?
Mike Sando (1:40 PM)
Under. The schedule is not going to help them. They play in a pretty tough division and then must face the NFC West this year. Tough deal.
Hi Mike,How would you rate the Giants draft and off-season?Thanks.
Mike Sando (1:43 PM)
I really like the fact that they parted with some older players and made a real effort to churn the roster with some decent veteran acquisitions. The changes were so sweeping, though, that it was a little dizzying and I wonder how quickly everything will come together, particularly with the new offensive staff. And then we have to at least wonder whether Eli Manning is taking a turn for the worse. I did like the Beckham selection based on everything I've heard about him from people who scout players. I also think the Giants will probably benefit from better luck with injuries and turnovers. I would think they'll be back in the mix this year.
Kevin (Reno, NV)
How does the Rams defensive front stack up against the Niners and Seahawks after they drafted Aaron Donald?
Mike Sando (1:46 PM)
The Rams' quickness in the defensive front can really give the 49ers' interior offensive linemen some issues. Now, San Francisco will have a new center this year, but in general, I think the Rams can match up well against the 49ers' offensive interior. Joe Staley is a good tackle against the more athletic guys, and it's tough to shake from my mind the absolute mauling SF put on the Rams in St. Louis last season, but I think that matchup is OK for St. Louis. It is even better against the Seahawks' offensive line, which is not as good as the 49ers' offensive line. I think St. Louis knows how to play Seattle. Throw in Donald with Gregg Williams and I'm very interested in seeing what Seattle can do against that front. Having a healthy Percy Harvin could give the Seahawks a better chance.
Scott (Westmisnter, CO)
Who would you take going forward - Keenan Allen, Alshon Jefferey or Michael Floyd?
Mike Sando (1:49 PM)
I'm going to go with Jefferey. Matt Williamson put him ninth on his list of No. 1 wide receivers. Allen got honorable mention. Floyd was not mentioned. Matt: "Jeffery didn't eclipse 51 receiving yards in Chicago's first three games and also had three other outings in which he had fewer than 60 yards receiving, but he was utterly dominant against the Saints and Vikings. Still a little up-and-down, the 24-year-old has rare size and body control. He also has very strong hands.Only Gordon and Calvin Johnson average more yards per catch than Jeffery in 2013. Jeffrey was the Bears' most feared receiver by the end of his second NFL season."
What grade did you give the Bears Offseason? I really hate how ESPN puts so many Insider articles on their main pages. Its a tease and those articles strictly need their own section.
Mike Sando (1:52 PM)
B-plus grade. I think the idea is to integrate the Insider pieces into the regular flow, making them available as an option for people who want to go deeper. Hopefully people see it as a good value. I was for years averse to paying for anything online, but now I do pay for several subscriptions. I pay for a local paper's app, I pay for the New York Times' app and I pay for Pro Football Focus. When I covered the NFC West, I paid for the Arizona Republic's site as well. Come to think of it, I should have expensed that!
Do you believe that the Broncos have taken the necessary steps to win the Super Bowl this year?
Mike Sando (1:55 PM)
I think they are improved and have improved their chances, but there are just too many variables and no guarantees. One thing we see frequently is people looking at the Super Bowl winners and then suggesting those teams had it all figured out. We'll see some years go by where no team with a great cornerback wins the Super Bowl, so all of a sudden we're questioning the value of corners. It's a little silly sometimes, simply because several teams in a given year were conceivably good enough to win the Super Bowl, but simply lost one game along the way. I do think there are still some rugged defenses in the NFC and that those defenses could make it tough for Denver or any team to win it all.
Spring Valley (Sharon)
Sando, why do you hate Sam Bradford so much?
Mike Sando (1:58 PM)
I like him. Some people think I do not like him when I suggest he has not proven much to this point, or when I note that he has missed quite a few games to injury, or when I question whether he is the long-term QB there in St. Louis. Those all seem like reasonable points to make. They are not unfair criticisms and certainly are not personal. Put it this way: How many teams would trade their current QB for Sam Bradford at Bradford's current salary? I'd say less than half the league would do it, right?
Will Middlebrooks (Third Base)
what does Sando say about the Garappolo pick?
Mike Sando (2:01 PM)
I like the Patriots' thinking with Mallett nearing the end of his deal and Brady at the same age Favre was at when the Packers took Rodgers.
RE: Steelers '14 Outlook. What am I missing?? Munchak hire, Pouncey healthy, O-Line young and rising, year two leap from Leveon Bell, great draft, young receiving core, another year in OC Haley's offense, Big Ben/team played lights out down the stretch last year--what am I missing for them not to be a strong contender this year?
Mike Sando (2:01 PM)
The schedule, which I think also helps them, at least from a couple angles I was analyzing the other day. I do think the Steelers are in good position and you could make a case that our "B" grade for them was on the low side, actually.
Steve C (Vaping)
how formidable will the pairing of Revis and Browner be for the pats?
Mike Sando (2:03 PM)
I'm not sure what Brandon Browner is going to contribute. He seemed to decline some with Seattle and then got hurt, and has had suspension issues. Is he reliable? As for Revis, well, I would think he will be an upgrade from what they had, certainly from a consistency standpoint.
Over/under Jets 7 wins. I see the Jets as a team that could win between 7 and 10 games.
Mike Sando (2:05 PM)
I'm still trying to figure out how they won eight games last season with the QB play they got and given the fact their defense was not great. I'm thinking they get better QB play this season, they have better weaponry this season and they probably are in that 8-win range again, just figuring they probably should have won fewer than eight last season.
What are you thoughts on the Dolphins draft? A lot of small school players, and no flashy picks. But Laundry is a stud and they addressed a lot of needs. What do you think?
Mike Sando (2:06 PM)
They had to make character a point of emphasis and seemed to have done that. As for how good the players will be, it is very tough to know that. Also, the environment a team provides affects how draft picks perform. There are some question marks in Miami on that front, and the head coach might not last beyond this coming season. Let's keep those things in mind when assessing this draft longer term.
Mike Sando (2:06 PM)
Heading onto the radio now. Listen live here.