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After Hours with Amy Lawrence PODCAST: Hour 2

Amy Lawrence Show / Amy Lawrence
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February 24, 2023 6:01 am

After Hours with Amy Lawrence PODCAST: Hour 2

Amy Lawrence Show / Amy Lawrence

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February 24, 2023 6:01 am

Colin Ward-Henniger joins the show / Kyler Murray has a new offensive coordinator / Eric Bieniemy introduced in Washington

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You're listening to After Hours with Amy Lawrence.

Hey, hey! We are hurdling our way toward a fri-yay! It's After Hours with Amy Lawrence on CBS Sports Radio, talking a little NBA as the league steps back on court post All-Star Break and there are not as many games left as you think. No, this is actually the stretch run. We're talking about 20, 21, 22 games left for these teams. So just a few weeks remaining in the regular season and man, it is tight. There is not much breathing room.

Whether we're talking about the top of the east or whether we're talking about the midsection of the west, there really isn't much margin for error. It was really good to see teams and maybe a little pep in their step, a little more health coming out of the All-Star Break and then Joel Embiid and the Sixers up to their old tricks. Sixers have the ball. P.J. Tucker, 45 seconds to go. He throws it to Embiid and Embiid's able to save it, but Javert is in pursuit. Here's Tobias for three.

It's good! And the Sixers take the lead. Tobias Harris, right corner.

Got it. 106-105. Moran into the lane.

Leaner short. Tap out. Rebound loose.

Diving. Harden gets it. He falls. He goes to Embiid and Embiid for the jam.

Oh yeah! Joelle Embiid dunks it. What a play!

And the crowd is going bonkers and filling. Joelle Embiid with a slam with 23 seconds to go. The Sixers have gone up by three.

It was lippy. It was chippy in the end with the Memphis Grizzlies. Ultimately Joel Embiid had a very strong finish. He was actually one for eight in the first quarter. So unlike him, two for 14 in the first half. But his final stat line, you would never know.

27 points, 19 rebounds, six assists and six blocked shots in the victory for Doc Rivers. Joelle is a two-way player. And if you take away what someone does best, what else can they do to help the team? Tonight it was Joel. If you took away his offense, what else did he do? Well, he had six blocks. He had 19 rebounds. He had six assists. And that tells you just how great the guy is. So Doc Rivers and the Sixers are off and running with a win as we hit the post All-Star break games. And it just feels a little more tense, a little greater sense of urgency now. We're excited to welcome Colin Ward-Henniger to the show.

He covers the NBA for CBS Sports. And Colin, as we think about the Sixers and the fact that it is largely the same team that we saw last year in the playoffs, they keep running into a grass, a glass ceiling, not a grass ceiling, a glass ceiling in the postseason. What indicates to you that this team might have what it takes to break through, maybe make more noise in the postseason this year?

Yeah, that's a really great question, Amy. And I know that people of Philadelphia are wondering the same thing. It kind of feels like it's the same story over and over with this group, right? They have all the potential in the world and they just can't seem to get it done come playoff time. The reasons for optimism are that James Harden is having an incredible bounce back season. Look, you don't want to take him for granted, but you kind of know what Joel Embiid gives you on both ends of the floor. He's one of the best players in the league, a perennial MVP candidate. He's been relatively healthy all year. One of the bigger question marks was what kind of James Harden were we going to get?

Is the hamstring healthy? Does he have the burst? Is he able to finish around the rim? And he has proven this year that he is obviously not Houston James Harden, but they don't need Houston James Harden. They need a distributor. They need someone who's going to shoot a career high in three point percentage, which he's basically doing this season. And they need someone who's going to show up when the team needs him the most.

That part is what remains to be seen. But as we saw in that game against the Grizzlies, he made some huge plays down the stretch, knocked down a big step back corner three. That's the kind of clutch performance.

That's the kind of offense that they need from him. You mix in the additions that they brought in the off season with PJ Tucker and Daniel House, and they added Jalen McDaniel at the All-Star break. It looks like this is a deeper Philadelphia 76ers team, a more confident group. And if James Harden can stay healthy and be the number two that they need him to be, Philadelphia can expect to not only compete in the playoffs, but potentially make a run to the NBA Finals. Five wins in a row for the Sixers if you wrap back to before the All-Star break.

Of course, the Bucks, who didn't play tonight but will get back on the court on Friday, they've got 12 wins in a row. And then the Celtics are sitting on top of this conference. When you think about that group that's just now got its starting five back together, what is the Celtics' weakness, maybe their fatal flaw? Yeah, for whatever reason this season, the Celtics starting five last year was pretty much unbeatable. This year, they haven't been great as a unit together. They have so much depth that they've been able to kind of fill in in certain spots and mix up the rotations, Dale Brown playing more with the second unit, things like that. So overall, they've been really good.

But the reason for concern is that maybe this double big with Robert Williams and Al Horford starting together isn't quite working. Defensively, that unit has been great. Offensively, they've struggled a little bit.

So maybe you think about mixing up that unit or something like that, but we're really picking knits when it comes to the bust in Celtics. They have been the clear favorite team, third in offense, fourth in defense, first in net rating. All the metrics that you're looking for, the Celtics check those boxes, and then you mix in the intangibles that they made it to the finals last year had a disappointing showing. Jason Tatum did not play well.

All that is being used as motivation this year. And I think what we saw with Tatum coming out in the All-Star Game, setting the all-time record, even though nobody was playing defense, whatever, nobody plays defense in any All-Star Game. But it was clear that Jason Tatum was trying to get that record.

I think he played like 35 minutes or something crazy like that. So I think all of the motivation for the Celtics is that they want to prove that they are not just on the cusp of winning a title, but that they're ready to do it this season. And all the indicators have been that they are a quality team that's capable of doing that.

And under Joe Mazzulla too, the whole thing about Ime Udonka, who is now no longer a part of the Celtics organization, it's almost as though that never happened because it's not affected them really at all. I got to tell you, Marcus Smart with his green hair and his toughness, I mean, he brings an edge and an intensity to the Celtics, but Jalen Brown's going to scare people in that mask. Oh my gosh, it's not a clear mask. It's a black mask.

He looks like a bandit. He's scary in that thing. Yeah, I remember Joel Embiid had one of those a couple of years ago and it really is something from a superhero movie. There has to be some sort of NBA Marvel tie-in that's going on here. Colin Ward-Heninger is joining us from California, covers the NBA for CBS Sports. So the Celtics have a game lead over the Bucs atop the East, but they're tied in the loss column.

So that's going to be a good race. Who's another team in the East that you would consider a dark horse, Colin? Yeah, I think people, you know, may be sleeping on the Cleveland Cavaliers and I know they're in fourth.

Being in the top three might be a little out of reach at this point, given how well those teams have played. But if you look at the statistics, the numbers, Cleveland is second in the league in net rating. It's not the Nuggets.

It's not the Bucs. It's not the 76ers. And part of that is because of their incredible defense. They were number one in the league in defense at the break. I don't know if that's changed after the recent games, but with Jalen, Jared Allen in the middle with Evan Mobley, that defense, they're almost impossible to score on in the pain. And then offensively, you've got Donovan Mitchell is capable for going for 70 in a game or 50 in a playoff game. And Darius Garland, who has just been absolutely kind of an unsung hero for them with the way that he has accepted Donovan Mitchell into their team, being willing to play second fiddle sometimes, and then take over as the number one kind of playmaker and score when Donovan Mitchell is on the bench or, or injured. I think Cleveland, they're missing some pieces on the wing, which probably put them a level below those other teams in the East. But if you're looking at what succeeds in the playoffs, a really good defense and elite defense, which is what the Cavs have and perimeter scorers and playmakers who can take over games. And I think they have both of those things. So are they going to win a title?

I don't know. They're probably a little young. All those guys are, you know, still a couple of years away from their prime. But I think if you told me they went seven games with the Celtics or the Bucks in the second round of the playoffs, I wouldn't say that you're crazy. And giving the Nuggets a fight on this night last year didn't have a healthy Jared Allen, so that could make a difference. I suppose by that metric, then we always have to account for the Miami Heat, because they also fit that formula. They seem to have a tailor made defense for the postseason. Yeah, and the Heat are one of those teams that's just never healthy.

So it's hard to get a gauge on them. They've done, you could probably say that they've overperformed this year based on what they've had to put on the court on certain nights with just scraping together enough guys. Bam Adebayo has taken the leap forward. You know what you're going to get every year from Jimmy Butler. Kyle Lowry has been a question mark, but Tyler Herro has really stepped up.

So yeah, I totally agree with you. If they can get up into that, maybe take over that five seed as the Nets kind of fall down, the Heat are definitely going to have a team that you have to look out for in the Eastern Conference. All right, Colin, let's talk about the West. And the Nuggets, the knock on them has been their little soft on defense. They certainly need to improve their road record or at least their road acumen. But how much more battle tested do they appear to you now that they have not just a Jokic who is still an MVP form, but a healthy Jamal Murray as well as a Michael Porter who's got some experience under his belt? Yeah, absolutely. This is just a confident group.

They know who they are, which is great. They play through Jokic. There was a little concern from the outside at least of, OK, when Jamal Murray comes back and he starts to get the full strength, how is he going to fit in with Jokic is because the Jokic has kind of been the man there with since Murray's been injured.

That hasn't been an issue. We all know Jokic is unselfish enough that he has no problem going entire quarters and their house without even shooting the basketball. But yeah, top to bottom, this team has just been been built perfectly. They added Contavious Caldwell Pope, which has been an amazing addition for that for that unit getting rid of Will Barton, who just wasn't the right type of player for them. And Aaron Gordon has taken a huge step forward. He got a little bit of all star consideration.

I'm sure he feels he should have been an all star. He's been playing perfectly, knocking down three pointers, being their best perimeter defender. And you talk about that defense, which is their big question mark, given Michael Porter Junior is not a great defender. Jamal Murray has his shortcomings.

Jokic, the numbers say he's a really good defender, but when you put him in pick and rolls over and over and over in a playoff scenario, that might lead to some issues. So Aaron Gordon and Contavious Caldwell Pope have really been the one been the one stepping up on that side of the ball. And that is going to be the key for them moving forward in the Western Conference, because that's I'm sure we'll talk about at some point, they're probably going to have to run into the Phoenix Suns, who have just a couple of scores on their team.

Yes. Before we move on, though, I have to say, I know we don't hand out MVPs in February. And so we're not there yet. But we've only got three guys all Hall of Famers who have ever won three NBA MVP awards in three consecutive seasons. At this point, who is the top competition for Jokic? Yeah, that I mean, if you would have told me before the season started that Jokic would actually have a chance to win a third straight MVP, I would have said no way.

I mean, like you said, absolutely rarified air. Jokic was already kind of a contentious MVP choice around certain circles saying he's more of a numbers guy and it doesn't translate to the playoffs. And eventually that narrative starts to catch up with you. And we say, OK, are we really going to let this guy join Larry Bird and Bill Russell and Wilt Chamberlain? But he's going to do it. I mean, barring something crazy this last portion of the season, he's almost averaging a triple double. And when you look at deep into the numbers, the Nuggets are a plus twenty five in net rating when he's on the floor. That means twenty five points better for 100 possessions when he's on the floor compared to when he's on the bench.

It's absolutely an open and shut case. But as for competition, Joel Embiid is always there. I think he kind of gave up on the idea of winning the MVP after last season.

And for me, Jason Tatum is a guy who doesn't get enough MVP consideration, at least not in the things that I'm listening to. He's putting up career numbers. Again, the Celtics plus eleven in net rating when he's on the floor.

So not quite joke. Jokic numbers. But without him, they basically turn into an average offense when he's on the floor.

They become one of the best offenses in the league. So I think Jokic is the leader in the clubhouse right now. I would give Tatum a little bit more consideration if the Celtics can kind of pull away from the Nuggets in terms of the record.

But since their records are very similar, I think it's got to be Jokic. I know that we had already talked about the Celtics, but as you're mentioning Tatum and then the All-Star weekend, this is what he had to say about his performance. He had thirty one points for the Celtics tonight, but he swears it wasn't a great game.

And Colin, here's why. It was either I left all my shooting in Utah, still drunk from vacation. That's how I played tonight. But man, a good stat line, but you know, really not a really good game. But you know, just for one, glad we won and just try to find ways to make plays on both fans.

You know, just so we could win and everybody feel better about their stuff. He also mentioned something about downing Gatorade to try to get himself moving forward again. So yeah, I guess the man's honest. He really enjoyed his All-Star break. Yeah, you don't hear that kind of honesty too often.

Maybe keep that one to himself. Celtics fans appreciate it. Colin Ward Henniger is with us here on CBS Sports Radio. So Colin, we know KD is getting closer to making his son's debut. Considering some of the new look rosters out there, the Suns with KD, the Mavericks we've seen now with Kyrie a few times, including tonight, the Lakers have retooled their loss roster. Excuse me, which one or two I suppose if you need to which of these rosters do you feel like really has the potential to make a jump in what is a very crowded Western Conference? Yeah, I mean the Suns are the team in terms of making a jump. It's actually, you know, they could probably get to the two seed if the Grizzlies continue to slip, but really the jump we're talking about is going to be in the playoffs with the Phoenix Suns.

If they can stay around four or five, that'll be fine for them. With Kevin Durant coming onto the team, this is just an absolute game changer. There's no other way to put it. One of the all-time great players still playing at an absolutely elite level, going to a team that already had the pieces to be a contender with DeAndre Ayton and Devin Booker and Chris Paul. Now you throw in Kevin Durant and this is a guy who can join any offense and make it better. It doesn't matter what position you want him to play.

We don't want to play outside. You want to play inside alongside Stars by himself commanding the second unit. He can do absolutely anything you want. I'm out here in the Bay Area and I asked Steve Kerr what it was like to try to incorporate Kevin Durant into a team that already had, you know, established leadership, established culture, a winning team, and he just looked at me and he said, it wasn't that hard and he moved on to the next question. So that's what it's like when you get Kevin Durant.

I mean the guy's an all-time great and he fits into any offense. He turns the Suns into the Western Conference favorites. I know the Nuggets and the Nuggets fans are not going to be happy to hear that but it just is what it is when you have an absolute killer like Devin Booker and then you add another one in Kevin Durant, not to mention Chris Paul, even though he's aging, you know what he's capable of in playoff settings. So that's the team I'm looking at. Dallas, I think it's intriguing. I just don't think they have enough pieces around Kyrie and Luca right now to be a true contender and then the Lakers, they might make the biggest jump, getting back to your question, just because they could go from 13th up to, you know, 7th or 8th if things fall the right way.

I like all the pieces that they've added. I still don't think it makes them a title contender but they certainly have a much better team around LeBron James and Anthony Davis with guys like DeAngelo, Russell, Malik Beasley, Jared Vanderbilt, Mo Bamba. I think they made some really good additions that are going to make them a lot better but probably still not a championship contender. Let's talk about the Mavericks for a second. I want your opinion on this, Colin, because they gave up a lot to get Kyrie and when I spoke with Mark Followell in Dallas last night on the show, I actually asked him were there any rumblings, any concerns about Kyrie joining the team based on his past and what he said to me is the only thing he's heard is the concern that Kyrie will not stick because he'll be a free agent at the end of this season and that obviously he had his eyes on LA before he landed in Dallas. So let's say for the sake of argument the Mavericks don't get back to the West Finals or maybe they do but they don't get to the NBA Finals and then Kyrie leaves. In your opinion, would it have been worth what they gave up for him? It's a really tough question.

So the only reason in short, no. It will not be worth it because you'll be less kind of at ground zero with Luka Doncic but when you add in the other factors, so you know there were reports that Luka was kind of putting a little bit of pressure on the front office to make some changes. So you want to keep that guy happy at all costs and if that means trading a couple guys who are good players but not necessarily part of the future even though Dorian Finney Smith was a really good player or is a really good player, I think that you have to do it for Luka just to say, hey man, we're doing what we can to keep you happy. We're trying to work with you. If Kyrie ends up leaving, you know, I think they're kind of back to square one but I think they came to the realization that the team as constructed was not a title contender. So let's try to do something that makes us a title contender. If it doesn't work, we're just back to being not a title contender like we were before and we can start over. Well that's depressing.

You know Josh Green has been playing really well. Does that not make sense? No, it totally does. I was just saying that's kind of depressing.

You took the scenic route and you end up right back. It's kind of binary but it is kind of how you have to think when you have an all-time great player on your team. You say, are we capable of winning the title or are we not? All these moves around the edges, they might look nice or they might make you a little bit better in the wins and losses but if they're not winning a title, what is really the point? So I think that's why they take a big swing by going with a guy like Kyrie Irving saying, hey, you know, being the fourth team to say, hey look, we're the ones who are going to take care of him and make sure that he's focused. We'll see if that happens but you know, hey, so far so good. They look good out there. That's true and he's smiling which is always a positive.

Hasn't gone AWOL yet. I know, I know. Exactly, thank you.

There's always that danger. Alright, so good stuff. We've got about five to six weeks left. It's about to get hot and heavy on the NBA hard court so follow Colin on Twitter at ColinCBSSports. Colin Ward-Henniger joining us from California covers the league, covers the association for CBS. Good to have you. I'm sure we'll catch up with you again. Thanks Colin.

Appreciate it, thank you. Good stuff with Colin and funny too. Wanted to sneak in that Jason Tatum bite because as he says, a little bit too honest maybe for some of the fans out there. He just couldn't accept the accolades for the great stat line because he realized that it was not quite what it appeared and then the Kyrie Irving situation too. I mean, isn't that the case? We're kind of sitting around waiting for the shoe to drop because it's Kyrie and he doesn't operate well when he's happy.

That's just not how he works. So follow Colin. Follow me on Twitter, ALawRadio2. We've also got our Facebook page. Don't forget YouTube channel. Producer Jay is nearing the end of his vacation and nearing his birthday.

His birthday comes up on Monday. I actually was looking through some of my baking books because I try to get creative and do something different when I've got an occasion to bake for and so I'm trying to come up with something new and I think I've settled on marble brownies. I'm not sure yet but I'm thinking chocolate and marble which is essentially cream cheese, cream cheese mix brownies. So I was looking at cupcakes too but I'm not great at cupcakes because I don't have one of those piping tools for the icing and so it looks like I just glopped the icing on top. It doesn't look pretty like the kind of cupcakes that you would see in a bakery. Mine looks stupid. So yeah, so I've tried before and the cupcakes were good but the icing was, it looked hideous. So I don't think I'm going to do that. Maybe just some marble brownies.

Carlos, his eyebrows just went shooting skyward. So yes, you can have some too even though when is your birthday? My birthday is in July but I will be here on Monday to celebrate James. You'll be here on Monday to celebrate James? Yes, I'm coming in right after you guys. Okay, so in other words we should save some brownies.

I know the morning crew is going to want some brownies too so, but he's going to have to have first pick. Alright, so all of that to say that Jay's coming back soon so please subscribe to our YouTube channel because that makes him happy. Alright, we've got plenty more to get to including the introduction of Eric the enemy finally with a new team after 10 years in Kansas City.

We'll do that at the bottom of the hour following the update. We've got the latest on Kyler Murray actually. He's rehabbing.

He's on track. He's got a new offensive coordinator as well as a new head coach. It's After Hours with Amy Lawrence on CBS Sports Radio.

You are listening to the After Hours Podcast. Two receivers left. Shotgun set for Murray. Blank to his right by Conner. Snap to Kyler. Back to throw.

Now backing up. Moving to his left. Gonna tuck and run at the five and Murray into the endzone.

Touchdown. Again, Kyler Murray using his legs to escape the pocket and the Cardinals retake the lead with 12 seconds to go in the first half. Follow Amy Lawrence on Twitter After Hours or anytime.

Her Twitter handle is at ALawRadio. In order to be using his legs in the future, Kyler Murray will need to completely recover from what is the torn ACL, but according to Jonathan Gannon, the new head coach from Philadelphia has taken over the head coaching job post-Super Bowl appearance in the desert. He says that Kyler Murray is on schedule with his rehab. Dave Patch with the call on Cardinals Radio.

It's After Hours with Amy Lawrence on CBS Sports Radio. Murray's actually in Dallas. He had surgery on January 3rd.

I'm sorry. He moved from Dallas where he had the surgery. Now back to Arizona. So he's in Arizona. Back in the Cardinals facilities here and there and wants to be able to play. Though Gannon, or to be able to play when the season begins, but Gannon wouldn't put a timeline on it at all. Just that they've seen him in the facilities that he's there. They've spoken to him and that he is quote on schedule.

Now, Cliff Kingsbury had said that Murray probably wouldn't be ready for week one, but Cliff is in Thailand somewhere now, so I don't suppose that matters anymore. There's a brand new offensive coordinator who will have the opportunity to work with Kyler Murray. Now Gannon, before bringing in one of his, I was going to say teammates, one of his coaching mates, one of his colleagues from Philadelphia, he admitted that right now when you talk in offense, everything revolves around their quarterback. I structured everybody that I interviewed around Kyler. The questions I was asking about how philosophically, how we're going to play on offense, what I think is really hard for defenses moving forward into 2023 and beyond, a lot of those had to do with Kyler. And ultimately, in my opinion, that's one of the number one jobs of the offensive coordinator is to maximize the skill set of the quarterback and the other positions as well, but we know that's the position that makes it go.

So that was very centric around all the interviews and I liked his answer. And so Drew Petzing is the brand new OC for the Cardinals and obviously everyone's raving about Kyler. Anyone who takes this job is raving, gets a chance to work with him as soon as he's healthy.

Certainly the organization, my relationship with the head coach, what they're about here in Arizona. So really looking forward to being a part of it and getting in here and getting going. He's been in the building, so I've had a chance to talk to him a lot over the last couple of days and I got out here and he's been great. I think he's really attacking the rehab, really excited about what we got going on.

So it's been great to get to know him and I look forward to that continuing these next couple of days. What if they don't have Kyler Murray to start though? And apparently Colt McCoy had a minor procedure as well.

He would be a very short term solution as we know. There's been some talk about whether or not they might bring in a veteran to start the season or to run through OTAs and training camp just so they have a viable option until Kyler is completely healthy. But yeah, they're looking at at least the offseason without their QB1 to try to get their system in place. It creates some unique challenges, but I think that's the nature of this league. I think no matter what year you're going into, there's going to be something that you have to handle and deal with. So it's something we are going to work through together as a staff and going to put our guys in the best position to go out there and win when the fall comes. The fall feels like such a long way off.

And yet we know football is just gearing up now for its new league year, which begins in early March. Actually, I caught myself watching the St. Louis Battle Hawks on TV for a couple of minutes. I was eating dinner and I was kind of flipping through the channels and I thought, all right, I can be a Battle Hawk. I like the name. A.J. McCarron.

XFL fan, aren't you? Well, at least last night. A.J. McCarron is their quarterback. And we know him from Alabama days and his cup of coffee that he had in the NFL.

But then I thought, you know what? I don't miss football that much yet. I'm OK. I tune back to basketball. Well, apparently that came down to a game winning field goal.

I saw that. OK. A.J. McCarron now 2-0 with Anthony Beck as his head coach. I don't mind when the NFL goes away, because for six months it runs my life. The dog and the football run my life from really early September until the Super Bowl is done. And even soon, it'll about to be hot and heavy with the news.

And so it's it really never stops. So I'm OK with not having to attach myself to a football schedule right now. I'm OK with that. I'll be joking around. The XFL, I'm sorry that I can't.

What about the USFL? When I was a kid, when I was a kid, loved it. Loved it. I was all over it. I was into it. I went to a playoff game with the Jersey Generals.

Oh, yeah. They lost to the Stars. Herschel Walker over the top, landed on his head, didn't come back. And that was the end of the Generals for that day. Yet, look, I loved it. Now, I was a kid.

I thought it was great football. I was a kid. I don't remember.

I'd have to go back and watch it now to tell you if it was. I know the Stars. We all know the names. Was it really that good of football? I don't know. No idea.

But what I've seen from the USFL, the five minutes here or there, the XFL, the five minutes here or there and what are they in the third iteration? Like, I'm not going to deny it. You're not coming after me. Your audience is someone else because I don't need football that bad to watch that level of football. Agreed. Agreed. Now, I realize how difficult it is and I understand these guys are still professional.

Yeah. I don't I don't care because part of it for me is the NFL. It's the storylines. It's it's the laundry. It's the history of it. It's all the different things.

Like you put on those uniforms. We get to know new players each and every year. But we know who the teams are. We know what the stories are.

We know what the organizations are. The XFL, it's almost like you got me for a brand new movie that I don't feel like sitting down to watch. So you have to unfortunately get like a five, six year head start, get really, really, really, really good. And then maybe I would sit down for five to 10 minutes and see if I'd give it a go again. I'm not the audience to watch this stuff.

I've kind of been put off a little bit. It's not necessarily the XFL's fault or USFL's fault, but just the fact that they stop and start and they stop and start and they change ownership and the whole arena football I was kind of into was at the AAF and then it folds, right? It was was that pre-pandemic. It was actually pre-pandemic. It was, but that was around for a long time. That was the arena football league was around for a really long time.

It was a new, I thought it was a new version of it. You're talking about the American Alliance football league, the AAF. That didn't even finish the season. Right. No, that was different. That wasn't arena football.

That was closer to this. You're right. I meant the AAF. So that's my point is like, I feel it is. So if I get invested, it's, it's not going to be around for the long, for a long haul anyway.

So what's the point? If that's the case, then I would say stick to the USFL. Now, granted, this is their second iteration, although granted they were done in, I think 85. I mean, when did the USFL go under 85?

I think it was. So this has been a long time and they have backing from the NFL. If I, if I'm not mistaken, the XFL, you had the Vince McMahon, the first one, then he tried to bring it back.

Then the pandemic hit. Now the rock has it. Like they've gone through the rock.

They've gone through so many different things and it's hard to, to do that. Especially now they're going to be going up against something that has NFL backing again. Maybe I'm wrong, but I feel like the USFL has some NFL backing thing.

So if any of them are going to survive, I would imagine it's that one. All right, we shall see. Time will tell. Eric Bienemy introduced in a new place for the first time in 10 years. He's not with the Chiefs. And I like what he had to say in his introductory press conference.

He sure was fired up on even a response to one of his harshest critics. We'll hear from him as well as Ron Rivera. Next it's After Hours with Amy Lawrence.

You are listening to the After Hours podcast. As you know, our search for our offensive coordinator, uh, process has ended. Uh, we've got our guy, uh, it's a very long process for the most part. And that was, uh, on purpose and we wanted to be very thorough.

I want to get the opportunity to get to, to meet a lot of these guys. And that's what we worked on. Uh, we had a lot of qualified, uh, candidates, a lot of, um, a lot of good candidates, guys that we really got to talk with and spend some time.

We tried to do that the right way, but we took our time on purpose because we wanted to make sure we had an opportunity to visit with, uh, with all the candidates and Eric Bienemy just happened to be very busy at the time. So, uh, we really truly feel we found the right guy. Uh, we found a guy that we believe can step up and, you know, be the guy that we're looking for. Um, he's going to be our offensive coordinator, assistant head coach.

Uh, and we're going to go from there as far as those are concerned, cause I know you guys have a lot of questions. So I want to go ahead and introduce to you guys, Eric Bienemy. You're listening to after hours with Amy Lawrence on CBS sports radio. I couldn't be happier for Eric Bienemy, but also once again, a reason to admire Ron Rivera. I know there's been talk about him in Washington and whether or not it's working and whether or not he should keep the job moving forward and whether or not they can win.

Really. It's a quarterback issue. It's a revolving door of, of quarterbacks. Like we've seen with say the Carolina Panthers since he left, like we've seen with the Cleveland Browns, uh, like we've seen with name another team where they've just keep changing quarterbacks and they can't find any stability. The Indianapolis Colts is another great example.

The Denver Broncos, same thing. But I admire Ron for so many reasons. He is a leader among men. He's disciplined, he's professional, he's compassionate, he's tough, he's a cancer survivor. He is about opportunities. He trusts his people and he treats the people around him with respect. And once again, a reason to admire him.

He's the one. He waited for Eric Bienemy knowing the word around the league is that Eric was ready to leave the Chiefs, even if it was a lateral move, using my air quotations, because he realized that he'd run into a brick wall over and over again after, what was it, four different iterations of head coaching interviews. He's interviewed with more than half the league for their head coaching gigs and has been passed over every time. And so he realized that maybe he had to get away from Kansas City, but man, what a high note to end up on. A third Super Bowl appearance, a second Super Bowl ring, Andy Reid going out of his way to mention Eric Bienemy, both on the field as well as in the locker room. If you haven't seen the video, there's a video circulating on social of Patrick Mahomes and Eric Bienemy, or EB as they call him, in the locker room following the Super Bowl. And Pat is singing the praises of EB and did so again when he was hired by Washington. And so it's Ron Rivera that gives him an opportunity not just to be the offensive coordinator but to call the plays, that's the plan, as well as to be the associate head coach.

It's huge. It's a promotion. But also it's an opportunity for him to grow and to prove what he can do because apparently that's what's necessary around the NFL.

It's after hours with Amy Lawrence on CBS Sports Radio. Eric had other opportunities, he had other opportunities to be an offensive coordinator. So why the commanders?

Why not Washington? Look at all the talent. Look at the players that they have, okay?

Look at the guys that they have on defense. So I'm excited about this opportunity. I've known Coach Ron now since 1999.

So relationships means something. I have never ever backed down from a challenge. So I'm embracing this challenge. I'm fired up. I'm excited.

I'm excited when it's time to start talking ball with these guys, to start getting to work. But when it's all said and done with, why not Washington? Relationships matter. Well, we know that's the case with Ron Rivera as well. Of course, the questions came up about getting passed over for a head coach, about still wanting to be a head coach in the NFL.

But the enemy, as always, handles it with great professionalism. Being a head coach right now is not in my thought process. Right now, here's what I'm focused on. I'm focusing on being the best coach that I can be today, okay?

The rest of everything else will take care of itself starting tomorrow. I live in the moment, okay? I got to be where my feet are. So right now, my feet are planted right here.

I got to be where my feet are. We've heard that from Eric B. Enemy in the past. A lot of different players showed up. They were sitting front a couple of rows for this press conference, which meant a lot to him because he kept gesturing to them and pointing to them and smiling.

And they were clapping for him like Terry Mclaurin. Scary Terry, top receiver for these Washington commanders. What about having Eric B.

Enemy as your new OC? He's a champion, a multiple-time champion. And nobody in this building, outside of maybe Coach Rivera and a few other people have experienced that, especially recently. And he knows what it takes to get to the mountaintop. And that's why we're all chasing.

That's why we come to work every day. And I like his demeanor a lot. I like how serious he is about his business. I like that he lets everybody know what his expectations are. So there's no confusion when we step out on the field, what's expected of us all.

And I like that he's competitive and wants to be aggressive and also cares about strengths. I think effort's a big thing in this game. And a lot of times, the wins and losses that we've had, we've had a lot of one-to-two score games, close games. The difference is one or two plays, maybe a little strain here, a little strain there. I think that marries well with the guys we've got in this locker room, honestly, because effort was never an issue with our offense.

Effort, no. But the ability to pass the ball and to move the ball and to put points on the board has been a challenge going back to 2016. Did you know the commanders who used to be Washington and who used to be the Redskins, they've not finished better than 16th in passing yards or points since 2016, which means they've been in the bottom half of the NFL in both passing yards and points. Again, it's a revolving door at quarterback.

So you think about Alex Smith and his injury, obviously, and then what they've had since then. They've tried Carson Wentz, they've tried, shoot, I can't even remember them all. Tell me who else. Taylor Heinecke.

Taylor Heinecke, that's right. Obviously, the better part of three seasons now in which he's been starting. They ended up with Sam Howell.

They've kind of been pinballing it with their quarterback position. We'd heard from Ron Rivera during Super Bowl week that Sam will be the QB one going into training camp. And Eric, post-press conference, talked about the young QB. Had an opportunity to evaluate him coming out. And I thought the kid, he's a heck of a player, a heck of a competitor.

Still going through the evaluation process when it's all said and done with. Sam has some stuff to him, but like I said, you always want to create competition. One thing I did, I have to admit this, I watched that last game that he played. Against the Cowboys?

Yeah, I saw that flex, it got me fired up. So Sam Howell is your QB one, but Rivera clarified and said that's not necessarily his starting job, only that we like the way that he's handled his business at this point. And we'll hear from him after the top. Also, Rivera on why BNME has so much credibility. And then BNME also responding to his critics, but I looked it up here just so I can give you the list of quarterbacks going back to Kirk Cousins' final year. So when Kirk was with the commanders, they weren't the commanders then, but 15, 16, 17, he started every game. He was the most stability they had at quarterback for three seasons.

Remember there was a major contract issue, he was franchise tagged a few times, and finally got the guaranteed money in Minnesota. Since then, Alex Smith, Josh Johnson, Colt McCoy, Mark Sanchez, four different starters in 2018. Case Keenum, Dwayne Haskins, remember they tried him, I forgot about him, they drafted him. They went back to Colt McCoy, then they went back to Alex Smith, then they went back to Dwayne Haskins. Kyle Allen followed Ron Rivera from Carolina, he started four games, not last year, in 2020. Then Taylor Heinecky, then Ryan Fitzpatrick, they bring him in for the starting role in 21, he gets hurt in game number one and never plays again. Garrett Gilbert, Carson Wentz, Sam Howell, revolving door. It's After Hours with Amy Lawrence, CBS Sports Radio.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-02-24 06:25:40 / 2023-02-24 06:43:21 / 18

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