The latest NFC West chat ran a little long. Thanks for all the good questions and comments. Transcript here. Highlights below:
Northwest FAN (Gig Harbor WA): Sando, with the coaching changes already made this offseason, who is the biggest winner? Have these moves improved each organization? Also, with Dick LeBeau apparently not interested in the Cardinals DC position, any idea who they're looking at now?
Mike Sando: Kent Somers just tweeted something saying Arizona would wait until after the Super Bowl before naming its defensive coordinator because the team wants to interview candidates from both squads. We know the Miami Dolphins' Todd Bowles is another candidate, and one Bill Parcells has advocated. So far, I think the 49ers are big winners on the coaching front because they now have an offensive-minded head coach. I'm not saying Jim Harbaugh will be great -- it is too early to know -- but he has to be better offensively than Mike Singletary, and that has to help the 49ers. I need to learn more about Seattle's changes to evaluate them. The Tom Cable hiring looks like a really good one, though. And I like Josh McDaniels' addition with the Rams. We do need to see how McDaniels fits with the current staff and to what degree he changes the offense, however.
Toby (Lost in Idaho): Mike, I really enjoy your work, keep it up! Just wanted to get your gut feeling on how the QB situation will pan out with my Seahawks this offseason. Do we draft a stud or address the lines and give Matt and Charlie another season?
Mike Sando: Thanks, Toby. I would think Seattle would re-sign Matt Hasselbeck, bring back Charlie Whitehurst and then take its chances in the draft. I do not think Seattle will force a QB choice in the first round, but if the Seahawks feel the value is good, they would take one there, or anywhere. We should also consider potential trade options. I would not be surprised at all if the Seahawks went after a quarterback in the trade market. Kevin Kolb or even Matt Flynn could make some sense. I'm thinking Seattle would be less apt to pursue Carson Palmer, who is older, has had injury problems and isn't very mobile.
Chex Norris (Carlsbad): Can Brad Seely really make the niners special teams "that" much better? Ginn showed a couple glimpses of good returns last year.
Mike Sando: I think the return games depend first on the talent level of the man returning the football. Coaching is very much secondary when it comes to big returns. Some special-teams coaches are better than others, but no special-teams coach is going to turn a mediocre returner into a dynamic game-breaking one. If coaching improves the 49ers' special teams, it could reflect renewed emphasis from the top. Head coaches help determine to what degree those 45-man game-day rosters are geared toward special teams or specific needs on offense or defense.
Mike Sando: If I were a Rams fans, I would love to see the team land a stud interior defensive lineman or a stud linebacker, but mostly the former. Even a top defensive end would be nice, given that James Hall, though still productive, is up there in years. The 14th pick is a little early to be looking at guards. I also would not argue against a defensive back.
Thanks again for your contributions.