ESPN’s NFL bloggers Sando, Seifert provide Inside Slant on camp life

“Keep your friends close; keep your enemies closer.”

That’s the strategy fans can employ by following ESPN.com’s NFL Nation bloggers.

Throughout the year, ESPN’s eight divisional bloggers — all of whom are veteran pro football writers — keep tabs on your favorite NFL team and its divisional rivals.

Front Row caught up with Mike Sando (who covers the NFC West) and Kevin Seifert (NFC North) in the midst of their three-week training camp blitz to discuss how they approach their jobs covering four NFL teams at one time.

Sando also discusses the new ESPN Audio podcast, Inside Slant, that he and Seifert began hosting this month:

How are ESPN’s NFL Nation bloggers uniquely positioned to cover the league?
Seifert: We cater to an underserved interest level among fans: divisional rivalries. All 32 NFL teams have multiple beat reporters and media outlets covering them from every angle, and by definition they’re going to blanket those teams in more detail than us. But our blogs can serve as a gathering place for discussion and information dissemination about the four division teams’ relationships with each other. How will the Chicago Bears’ offensive improvements fare against the Green Bay Packers’ defense? What will the Detroit Lions do this season to block [Minnesota Vikings star] Jared Allen?

How has Twitter helped you and your fellow bloggers connect with NFL fans?
Sando: My policy is to follow anyone who directs a Tweet my way. That enables direct messaging according to how my account is configured. That puts me on equal footing with followers, which anyone familiar with Twitter appreciates. Some Rams fans I’ve gotten to know that way — @STLphenom, @lannyosu and @ljramsfan were a few — met with me at the team’s training camp this month.

Seifert: For me, the most important use of Twitter is to get a sense for what people are interested in reading about and what issues I haven’t done a good enough job of covering, based on questions and comments tweeted my way. When I get back to the press box after post-game interviews, for example, I always read through Twitter mentions to see what people were thinking and asking immediately after the final whistle. Often, the first post I write will reflect one of those topics.

What can fans expect from your new Inside Slant podcast?
Sando: Picture two guys talking football at a bar, minus the brewskies and background noise. We’re hoping our experience as NFL reporters informs our conversations. We will challenge convention, harness our resources (including the ESPN Stats & Information Group) and generally have a good time while becoming better informed on what matters in the NFL.

To follow ESPN.com’s NFL Nation bloggers:

AFC North (Jamison Hensley): @espnafc_north
NFC North (Kevin Seifert): @espn_nfcnblog
AFC South (Paul Kuharsky): @espn_afcsouth
NFC South (Pat Yasinskas): @espn_nfcsouth
AFC East (James Walker): @espn_afceast
NFC East (Dan Graziano): @espn_nfceast
AFC West (Bill Williamson): @espn_afcwest
NFC West (Mike Sando): @espn_nfcwest

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