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The Drive with Josh Graham - Kevin Harlan

The Drive with Josh Graham / Josh Graham
The Truth Network Radio
October 23, 2019 6:15 pm

The Drive with Josh Graham - Kevin Harlan

The Drive with Josh Graham / Josh Graham

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October 23, 2019 6:15 pm

Host Josh Graham with Desmond Johnson, Aaron Gabriel. Do the Panthers need to trade for a WR? World Series Game 2; is this a must win for the Astros? Plus NBA Opening night, Lakers vs Clippers. Kevin Harlan, Daron Vaught and Jordan Rodrigue stop by.

Tune into The Drive with Josh Graham, Mon-Fri 3-7pm on Sports Hub Triad!

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Tune into The Drive weekday afternoons 3-7 on Sports Hub Triad. Just like you should never take your children shopping, general managers probably shouldn't listen to fans about personnel decisions. Because as the NFL trade deadline approaches, there are two things I see Panther fans fixated on, focused on changing. Who's throwing the passes, and who's catching them.

And in both instances, I think the Carolina Panthers are better off staying pat. When you examine where things are at. Doing nothing at all. I'm not a parent at all, but I've certainly babysat and have gone. Grocery shopping is a favor for friends.

And Des, you probably can attest to this as well. That if you take the kids into the grocery store, they know exactly what they're doing. Where they put the candy.

Eye level where the kids are running around. And the sugary cereal. And all of a sudden, you thought about maybe getting 7 or 8 items, it turns into a dozen.

Maybe even 20 items because kids, they just see things, and then they want them. And Panther fans, it's kind of the same way. Oh, oh, oh, Mohammed Sanoo is available? Let's go after him. Oh, oh, oh, how about AJ Green? Oh, oh, oh, how about we get Emmanuel Sanders? Well, Sanders isn't an option anymore because he's a 49er, and Sanoo was traded to the New England Patriots.

So that's left AJ Green, and that's a pretty steep price. That's the expensive cereal. What is the most expensive cereal, Des?

Is it life? Oh, yeah, I guess probably the grainy stuff, the raisin bran type stuff, I guess, right here. I haven't eaten cereal in five or six years. I used to always go Frosted Flakes or Fruity Pebbles. That was generally my course of action.

I was a Frosted Flakes, honeycomb kind of guy. Right. So I see all this talk. Carolina, trade Cam Newton while Kyle Allen's playing well. Don't put him back out there because he could potentially hurt his trade value. That's ridiculous on so many different fronts, and Marty Hurney is not going to trade away Cam.

Breaking news to all of you right now. But the second piece of this is something we haven't addressed as often. The need for a wide receiver in Panther fans mind. Oh, Carolina doesn't have a true number one. DJ Moore hasn't developed into that yet, and Curtis Samuels in year three. He isn't that either. You could really use a weapon like green in this offense.

That doesn't help much. The Panthers don't need to go trading for a wide receiver. There aren't enough balls to go around, I think, to satisfy a number one like green. It's not just Moore and Samuel we're talking about. Greg Olsen demands several touches of the ball during a game. Then you have Christian McCaffrey, who always seems to get forgotten in these conversations.

It's amazing. He could be considered an MVP candidate at running back, but they get forgotten about as a wide receiver. If you have the RB next to you, you never really considered a receiver. But when you consider how many targets the guy gets game to game, he needs to be factored into this conversation. Jerry is right as well. The only reason he isn't getting more balls is because of the guys I just mentioned.

So I don't think you need to work somebody in. Also, I'm not sure if the Panthers would be better with an air quote number one wideout. When you look at Cam's best seasons, it came with the Panthers spreading the ball out to five, at least five, receivers who had 30 catches or more. Cam's worst years is when he had three and four 30 plus reception wide receivers. His best year, of course, was 2015.

Remember what happened right before that year? Kelvin Benjamin got hurt. I'm not saying Kelvin would make the Panthers offense less electric or he's the reason why the Panthers were successful, his lack of being there. But it was kind of a blessing in disguise because Cam didn't have to force the ball to anybody. His number one wide receiver, in a sense, was Devin Funches, who was a rookie that year, and Jericho Cottrey after that, who was a veteran. He had no pressure to go to one guy and force the ball to someone who's demanding receptions game to game. So he was able to spread it out. So I think Carolina is better off where they're at right now when it comes to wide receiver. Also, if you're looking anywhere to add, it sounds unsexy.

This isn't this would be the equivalent of life cereal if that's what you're trying to get at the supermarket. You go defensive lineman because one of the weaknesses of this team and nobody's talking about it because the defense is turning people over, doing so at one of the best rates in the league. When they couldn't get a pass rush last year, going into the bye week, they led the NFL in sacks. Everybody's forgetting about the fact the Panthers are twenty third against the run. Everything's great because the sexy defensive totals, turnovers and sacks, they're doing great in.

So they just automatically assume that everything else is awesome when it isn't. And the reason why you're twenty third against the run is because a guy who clogs a lot of that space as a Pro Bowler has done so for years isn't there anymore. KK Short put on IR. So the run defense has been struggling.

KK's on IR. But I'm not even convinced they need to fill that void because of the offseason moves Herny made a few months ago, bringing in Gerald McCoy. Obviously the pass rushers have been great. Brian Burns going to be a candidate for NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year. You signed Bruce Irvin, which seemed to be a nice move as well. You shed some of the older contracts there. Vernon Butler, he's been great since KK went down, particularly against Tampa Bay back to back possessions. He has strip sacks and they recover the second one. So maybe you continue to play that out, see what's happening with Butler, give him one last chance.

If I had to guess, Carolina's not going to do anything at the deadline and I don't think that's the worst thing. Because I also would have said maybe you go corner. Maybe you need to add there. With James Bradbury, there being questions there going into the season, he's addressed those by the way. Let's just note James Bradbury, a guy that you might need to consider paying. Pay that man his money.

Yes. And you might even say with Dante Jackson going down, you might need to add a corner. But Dante Jackson, full participant in practice today. Trey Turner, the same way. It's an excellent sign for Carolina going into the San Francisco game on Sunday. Also, Ron Rivera loved the way that Ross Cockrell performed in Jackson's play.

So I don't even know if you need to do anything with JB, D-Jax and Cockrell all capable of playing very well and at points playing well this year. I don't think he does anything at all because he doesn't have to. In a little over 25 minutes, we're going to be joined by one of the leading voices on the NBA, Kevin Harlan. He was on the call last night for Lakers Clippers.

Earlier this week, he was on Sports Hub Triad as the voice of Monday Night Football as well. So it's been a busy week for him and we look forward to chatting with him on the day the Hornets season tips off. We'll get the Charlotte Hornets basketball in a little over five minutes. But what a sight that was in Staples Center last night. We've never seen anything like this season that we're watching of L.A. basketball.

Every aspect of this is compelling. The big obvious stuff, of course, having two legit title contenders playing in the same building, arguably the two best teams in the sport sharing a building where 82 games in the same city are going to feature at least one title contending team. We've never been able to say that in the history of the NBA. But the deep cut variables, too, are even more fascinating when you consider that Los Angeles is overwhelmingly and understandably a Lakers town. And we learned that so purely last night as the Clippers. I think they lacked awareness and putting Kawhi Leonard on the microphone right before the Lakers are set to face the Clippers, sending a message to the fans on the scoreboard and not understanding how that would be received. He got drowned out in booze.

Take a listen. Hey. Welcome Clifford fans to the game tonight. It's going to be a great season.

We won't we're going to work hard every night and let's get it going. I love hearing Kawhi just talk. He sounds like a robot.

You know, he's a fun guy, after all. That was like so. Did you feel did you feel awkward like watching it? It almost felt like it was his idea, but he was forced to do it.

It was it was really weird. That's everything with Kawhi. We don't really know anything about him if it's all premeditated. Again, he's the fun guy. That's the best way we know how to say it.

Plus, it's not. It felt like Kawhi had the whole opening night planned out. Did you see? I mean, like he had commercials on deck that were coming out.

He had the new New Balance shoes on yesterday. The Terminator. The Terminator.

I mean, yeah, it was Schwarzenegger. It was crazy. Yeah, that Terminator bit was great.

Not really. That commercial was glad. I'm glad it happened, but it was awful.

It was fantastic. And Kawhi was terrific and the Clippers get the win. It seems like everybody at this point in the year is going to be sloppy. The seasons are starting earlier than they ever had before, because you want to limit the amount of rest dates during the season.

But with less camp time and shorter off seasons, I imagine that things are going to look sloppy from the jump. The Lakers and the Clippers both check that box. But while the good news maybe for the Lakers is that you look like you're an unfinished product and there's a lot to build on moving forward with Anthony Davis looking every bit the part of a superstar. It's obvious that the Clippers aren't a finished product either, because the guy who's wearing a literal tuxedo on the bench, Paul George, isn't playing and they're still winning basketball games. And it was evident as great as Davis is, he wasn't the best player on the floor.

Kawhi Leonard, the best player in the NBA right now. So we'll talk to Kevin Harlan about that in just a bit of The Drive. Broadcast live at the Law Offices at Timothy D. Wellborn Studios.

Learn about all the ways Tim Wellborn can help you online at You'll know when you need us. Coming up, more Panthers and why we'll see an NBA team tonight with $71 million sitting on their bench.

This is The Drive. We've really enjoyed becoming an affiliate with Westwood One's broadcast of Thursday Night Football, Sunday Night Football and Monday Night Football, the voice of Monday Night in the NFL. Kevin Harlan now joins us and it's been a busy week for him because he was on the call for the Jetson Patriots a few nights ago, of course. But last night, as one of the leading voices of the NBA on TNT, he had the call for the game everybody's talking about today, the Lakers and the Clippers.

He also, right here in the triad, was anointed the National Sportscaster of the Year by the NSMA a short while ago. Kevin, it's good to have you back on. Give me a sense for how unique the atmosphere was last night where you have Kawhi Leonard speaking to, air quote, a crowd of Clipper home fans there, a Clipper home crowd, only to be drowned out by boos with Laker fans, of course, in attendance.

Josh, good to be on with you again. No, I thought it was about par for the course because, you know, the Lakers wanted Kawhi in the worst way. And he shunned them to go to the rival Clippers, the least popular of the two here in town.

This is a Lakers city, there's no doubt. And Kawhi had gone to a RAM game, an NFL LA RAM game a couple weeks ago. They showed him on the big screen in the Coliseum and he was booed there.

And Paul George was at some charity event about a week and a half ago, and he was booed there at a charity event. So last night, I would say there were probably of the 18,000 people in the building, maybe two, three, 4,000 Laker fans and they were loud. And it was a Clippers home game. So the season tickets were sold that people had bought for the season to Laker fans. Obviously, they were able to get those kind of seats and a lot of them were in the lower bowl, but it really, I think, just kind of fueled what people are anticipating this season. The battle for LA, this has become the epicenter of the NBA this year with these high-profile players in one city sharing the same building.

Laker rooms no more than 25 yards apart. I mean, it really makes for great theater and this is the first of four games. And last night was entertaining and I would assume that the next three will be just as entertaining. I always remind people in April when people overreact to the first weekend of the Major League Baseball season that there's nothing in sports more insignificant than one regular season Major League Baseball game. Yet, it doesn't matter what sport you're talking about, football, baseball, or in this case basketball, after the first game or first set of games, people tend to overreact and make snap judgments. Things are sloppy with the shorter offseason and shorter camp in the season starting earlier than usual the past two seasons, but is there anything you thought you could take away in the short sample size of one game, what you saw from the Clippers and Lakers? Yes, Lakers need a third score. They've only got two and those guys were worn out at the end of the game, LeBron and Anthony Davis. The depth and the scoring punch that the Clippers bring off the bench is significant. They were the top scoring team off the bench last year. They had two historically good players who was a tandem, had the highest average of any two on any bench in the last 25 plus years in the league in Lou Williams and Montres Harrell. The depth, I just think, in a long regular season becomes gigantic and the Clippers, and they're not even full until they get the full force of their impact when Paul George comes off of the injured list in about three to four weeks, he had surgery on both shoulders.

Nothing major, just a little cleanup, but when he comes back, they're really going to be potent. They've got two players, Kawhi and George, that are versatile, can play different ways at both ends of the floor, and I just think in this world of NBA load management, resting your stars and having them ready for when the games count, I think teams are increasingly finding that your position when the playoffs are set, the eight teams in each conference, that regular season becomes pretty important. Head-to-head matchups become pretty important.

The depth and rest managed the right way will be huge. Well, with the Lakers, they can't rest LeBron or Davis the way they're constituted for the scores. The Clippers can't.

They can rest their stars, and they can still perform at a high level. So if anything was revealing from that game last night, that was the first takeaway. We're in Harlem with us here, NBA on TNT. You and I were chatting about college basketball in the spring, Kevin, and specifically about Zion Williamson as he was getting set to transition to the NBA, and you called it right on the head. You said this is the type of player people will go out of their way to join up with in free agency, and you rarely see that with players coming out of college basketball. AJ Reddick joining this New Orleans Pelicans squad. Of course, Zion is injured with the torn meniscus, but even that is kind of a mythology when you consider that Pelicans don't quite know when he tore the meniscus.

He might have been playing on it the way Blake Griffin did in a playoff series last year. I don't bank against physical enigmas, and Zion, he seems to be that. I'm not that concerned with him being a teenager right now, that there's larger ramifications than just the fact that he has a right knee injury, and he's getting it recovered medically, surgically. How much concern do you have for Zion? Well, I've come up to some scouts.

I did a game at the Garden Friday in New York. Pelicans played the Knicks, and we were told, by the way, by the Pelicans, and kind of ticked off that, that they completely misled us on the injury. They must have known there was something fairly significant, because he went from missing that game, perhaps being able to play in the opener, to being out two months with surgery on the knee. And, you know, it's going to come back, you know, it's just a media thing, but you can't lie, you can't lie like that.

I mean, you just can't. I mean, it's their business, and I get that, but I think there's got to be some trust, and we were completely misled. Because Kristen Ledlow, not to interrupt, she reported that he is out for that Friday night game, but he was not ruled out for Tuesday, correct? Right, yes, and they had left him back in New Orleans, and you couldn't do that, and he did. David Griffin, their GM, and I don't know. Anyway, moving on from that, I mean, it doesn't affect anybody but us.

But then we give the wrong information to the fans that are buying seats, and are wanting to schedule their night to watch them play, and so then we look bad, and we're just as good as the information we get. So, but I've talked to a couple scouts, talked to two last night here in LA, and the feeling is he's heavy. He's got too much weight, and the league, the way that quickness, and quick twitch, and speed, and endurance, and the physicality, that weight's not going to work. And there's, and you know, he was injured last year, as we know, and I think there's a very subtle concern around the league that he's too heavy. And whether that's the Pelicans' concern, or Williamson's concern, I don't know. But the optics are not good, and he still is so quick, and imagine him with 15 less pounds on him.

So all these players have gone through it. LeBron was concerned about his weight when he was a young player. I don't know if Williamson is. The people that know the game better than I do would tell you that he looks heavy. And so that's going to be, and you know, we heard his knee in the summer league in Las Vegas, too.

They had to shut him down there after a very short stint in the summer league in Vegas. So there's a lot going on around this kid. He represents so much, and it's got to be watched closely, I think.

Last thing for you, Kevin. One NFL note. One of the big stories in the NFL. The Panthers have won their last four. They're getting set to face the undefeated San Francisco 49ers on Sunday. Kyle Allen will get the start, but Cam Newton's been working on the side. And I keep hearing this notion. Oh, don't rock the boat.

Don't rock it at all when things are rolling for you. But Teddy Bridgewater wins five in a row, and that narrative doesn't seem to work when you're talking about Drew Brees. Now, I'm not comparing Drew Brees to Cam Newton, but it seems that they're okay bringing Drew Brees back in, despite the fact Teddy's been winning a ton. With the Panthers, it's a question mark, despite the fact Cam was 15-1 a few years ago and won an NFL MVP and might be the most talented player this organization's ever had. What's your view on what should happen when Cam's foot heals? That's a tough one because I'm not in the practices meeting room around that team on a day-to-day basis. I haven't seen him in person, so I really can't comment. I do know that I did a month game in Charlotte late last season, and his arm was shot. We know about the subsequent surgery.

I don't know what to tell you on that one. The kid is playing well, there's no doubt. They've rallied around him clearly. They're getting terrific performances from McCaffrey, and they're winning. There's probably a little bit of thought about continuing the way you're going and waiting until Cam is 100% healthy.

He's a unique talent and a superstar, an MVP, a Super Bowl quarterback. He's got nothing to prove, but why push him? Much like Bridgewater and New Orleans, why push Brees? Make sure that there is not a speck of any doubt in any medical mind when you look at these injuries and you don't rush to get these guys back.

If you're not getting the performance you're getting from the two backups, then it's a different scenario. You're getting quality performances, you're winning games, you've kept the thing on the track, and that speaks volumes. So what it's done is it's given a luxury to teams without their starting quarterback to really make sure that health is the main concern. There's not a question of a doubt that that guy is ready to come back there and play. If a starter like those two have to step aside because of injury and not performance, then they give the job back when they are healthy to go. This is a unique situation with two teams that are making a run here in midseason. I think that health has got to be the first concern, but the teams can breathe a sigh of relief, be rushed, and put into a panic mode about getting these quarterbacks back out there. Well, it's been great to have you on Monday Night Football right here on in the Triad, Sports Hub Triad, and to hear your voice here with us now and on basketball games again.

It's good to have the NBA back. Thank you so much for working us in, and we hope to see you sometime soon, Kevin. I hope so, John. I've always enjoyed being on with you, and I look forward to our next visit.

Take care and thank you for having me on. We'll see you next week. And I'm not a guy who generally overreacts to things, I don't think.

I try to stay away from being a victim to the moment. Is Game 2 really a must-win for the Houston Astros? I'll tell you why I think it might be when we begin sharing with Darren Vaught next. I can't believe this.

This is insane. We're sharing with Darren Vaught from the David Goyne Show. Game 2 of the World Series tonight, I believe to be a must-win game for the Houston Astros. You got Justin Verlander on the mound.

He's going up against Steven Strasburg. It's a home game in the most important elements of this. World Series format, two home games for the favored team, then three home games for the less favored. Games 6 and 7 will be on the Astros home field if necessary. If you go down 0-2, dropping both games at home, I don't think this series comes back to Houston for a Game 6. So in that sense, I think tonight truly is, without any whiff of hyperbole, a must-win game for the Houston Astros.

What do you see? A must-win is, I mean, that's way down the line. Is it way down the line? We're in the World Series for God's sake. Yeah, but on the front end of their rotation, the Houston Astros have maybe the two best ever to be at the top of a World Series rotation. All the reason why you have to win tonight. But they each get another start, Josh. If you don't win tonight... Maybe they get another start.

Well, right. Assuming one's going to at least get another start. Garrett Cole will get another start. If things go the way that you want after going down 0-2 in the series, they each get another start. And you've got another pretty good guy in Zach Greinke who is going to get a start.

Patrick Corbin's pretty darn good too. No, I agree. I agree. Going down 0-2 with three games ahead of you in Washington DC is not good. I do not know that it is must-win tonight. I believe it is.

You don't think it is. But everything last night pointed Houston's direction as that be in the game they should have won. Garrett Cole, his record, 19-0 in his last 25 starts dating back to May 25th. You consider they're up 2-0 very early in the game. The crowd's behind them. They're at home. You have a little bit more momentum because you're not off a week like the Nationals were. Which I think is an advantage to Houston because they didn't have to get on a plane anywhere. Also, they had the massive favoritism from Las Vegas.

They are the biggest favorite in a World Series since the Red Sox against the Colorado Rockies in 2007. Yeah, but that's by Vegas odds. Okay, that's fine. That's fine though. Houston, on paper, in Vegas' mind, they feel like this team is the biggest favorite we've seen since 2007.

Now, it should be prefaced, as you mentioned. That's based more on where money's going than how Vegas views the deficit between these two teams talent-wise. That being said, do I think this Houston Astros team is one of the four or five best teams in all of Major League Baseball over the past 20 years? Yeah, who else is on that list? Probably.

They're very, very good. Who else is on that list? I think last year's Red Sox have to be taken into consideration with the way that they perform. When you have the top three position players, I'll be an MVP candidate.

Sure. I mean, if we're saying the past 20 years, some of the early 2000s Yankees teams, of course, go in. Early 2000s Yankees, huh?

Yeah. I'm trying to think. What kind of players would be on that team?

What kind of players would be on that? Maybe, I don't know. Your face lit up when I said early 2000s. Aaron Boone, maybe?

Maybe the 2000s were Red Sox with Doug Marabelli as the backup catcher. I love that it's a never dying thing. It's our muse.

That's what it is. Like, this is the ex-girlfriend that you knew was, you just had the part ways with, but every time you see her, you're like, oh man, we just had so much fun together. It was so great. It was a great summer.

Now I'm feeling really nostalgic. So you probably go 2001 Yankees, 2018 Red Sox, this Astros team. If you're talking bullpen and just individual parts, the Royals in 2014 have to be in consideration. I don't know who else you'd even throw in there. Yeah, I mean, past that it's debatable, but those are probably the top three.

Those three stick out among the refs. And I'm sure there are some that did not win World Series that we could throw into the mix. But I wonder how many people are missing on this Washington team.

How it's possible that you can miss this much. Is it because first impressions are so lasting and superstar power, superstar perception affects so much, where Washington starts 1931, people just say this team's not so great. They're not World Series worthy.

Bryce Harper's not on this roster, so how good can they be? And people tend to follow baseball casually more than hardcore baseball fans do, obviously, but certainly more on a national basis or less on a national basis than we did 10 or 15 years ago. When you look on paper, you kind of wonder how people can think that this is an overwhelming favorite, the Houston Astros. You have these three starters in Scherzer, Strasburg, and Corbin going, and even Anable Sanchez is a fourth. And these two position players who emerged as the year went on with Rendon and Soto, not to forget former NC State shortstop Trey Turner.

How can we be so off or Vegas be so often thinking that Houston's that much of a fan? I think we as sports fans, because of a singular guy's impact on a team in other sports, I think we just sort of assume that that's going to be the case in all sports. If you're a more casual observer of Major League Baseball, you see Bryce Harper left the Washington Nationals. Oh, assumedly, they're not going to be as good because he's the second highest paid guy in Major League Baseball history. This is a really, really good team. And again, I think the Astros are one of the best teams we've seen in a long, long time. But that being said, the disparity is not as great as Vegas odds makers have made it out to be, because this front end of the rotation for the Nationals with Max Scherzer, who's one of the best pitchers of the last decade, Steven Strasburg, who was touted over a decade ago as the greatest draft prospect ever, and hasn't lived up to that hype, but it was impossible hype. He's been really, really good. And Patrick Corbin is a guy that, of the six, you take the top three starters for each squad, fewer people have heard of Patrick Corbin, but he's a really, really good asset. And you talked about the lineup. I think Trey Turner, despite the idea that Rendon is an MVP candidate and Soto is a generational talent that we're going to enjoy watching for a long, long time, Trey Turner is their engine, and he stirs that drink in a lot of ways. And I love him because he's a throwback. He's a traditional five tool player.

That being said, there are a lot of really, really good pieces to this Nats team. Darren Vaught, we're sharing with Darren here with us. 336-777-1600 is the phone number. If you want to chime in that way, you could also tweet the show at sportsubdrive.

Is it? 777-1600. Darren, I forgot. If you're going to be on this show, you've got to introduce yourself the new way that we do it.

Dan Patrick has, you give your height and weight, and you give what you bench on this show. You've got to tell us what your go-to cookout Trey is. Hey there, Darren Vaught.

First time, long time. Friend of the program. I go a big double Trey with cheese, lettuce, tomato, and onion, two corn dogs as my sides, and a bottle of water. That's my cookout order. There you go.

So if you're going to call in to the show, 777-1600, that's the requirement in doing so. A local tie. Two corn dogs. Yeah, two corn dogs. You're crazy, man. You're a crazy man. Most people would call me out on the bottled water. Most people would call me out on the bottled water. Hold on a sec. Can you get a bottle of water?

Yeah, it's Dasani. Always. I did not know this. I would probably start getting the bottle of water now if I knew that was an option. I had no idea. The bottle of water. Bottled water. What a clutch play.

Cookout life hack. Yeah. I had no idea that that's something you could do. Really good there. Was that really Williams making an appearance a second ago? Ooh.

Yeah, it was. Roy. Next time I'll give you, because I have a separate order. It's the same, but it's just with the shake added. Oh, don't give me your second order. It's with the shake added. Oh, thank you for that.

No, it's a go-to. Same thing. A local tie to the World Series last night. You have Ryan Zimmerman, Mr. National, his first World Series at bat going yard, becoming the fourth player ever to do that. The first player ever drafted by the Washington Nationals.

This is the Nationals' first ever World Series appearance. And on top of that, he was born in Washington, North Carolina. It's Little Washington. Oh, no, it's not Little Washington.

You're talking to the former voice of the Washington pan-pack. Washington, North Carolina, also the home to Dominique Wilkins, too. So, Washington, North Carolina getting a little bit of love. Also, what a year it's been for Virginia as they win national titles in lacrosse and basketball. They have one of their finest baseball players going yard, hitting a home run in his first World Series at bat.

And, also, their football team might find themselves in the ACC football championship, so that will remain to be seen. But since it's Sharon with Darren, I've got a quick story. I had to be at a meeting in Raleigh at 9 a.m. this morning. Traffic was terrible, but you don't care about that.

What? Everyone complains about Raleigh traffic. I was ticked off, and I take it out on the car that's in front of me, so I start wishing terrible things to happen to the car in front of me. I have bad road rage. I hate traffic. But what happens when something bad actually happens to the car in front of you? How do you feel? Because it's 730 this morning.

We're making it around 8 o'clock. The car in front of me, we're going 75 miles an hour, gets hit by a deer. Like, again, 75 miles an hour.

What? This car right in front of me, we're at the left lane. I'm not saying the guy hits a deer. I'm saying the deer hits this sedan in the back rear door, driver's side. And you were behind this vehicle. I was as close to you, it felt like I was as close to this car as I am to you right now.

Sitting here in the studio. After you wished harm upon the car in front of you. Correct, because he was a bad driver.

Yeah. And then it seemed like he knew what just happened. He got hit in his rear door, and then it took him about two minutes before he turned the hazards on and got off the road, but then I passed him. Man, just a deer slammed right in, and then the deer went skidding right past my car.

It avoided me completely. No residue. No deer residue. No deer residue on the car, but this happened right in front of me. Like, God, this guy's the worst. I hate this person so much. Boom!

Deer hits car, not car hits deer. That's exactly what I'm trying to describe to you right now. So if you're in your car right now, driving, listening to the drive, don't wish bad things on the person who's in front of you right now. You are listening to WSGS Winston-Salem, WCOG Greensboro, WBCM Burlington, WMFR High Point, The Signals making up, Sports Hub, Triad. Food and football. That's the name of the segment that we do.

It's one of our favorite reoccurring bits. It's Jordan Rodriguez, kind enough to spend time with us from the athletic Carolinas, find her story. She was looking ahead with the Panthers coming off the bi-week to the offseason. There are a few Panthers signed through 2020, so the prioritizing game begins for Marty Hurney, even right now as you start to look at things. Jordan, we welcome you back on in the Triad. What do you view as the number one contract priority next offseason for Marty Hurney? Well, I think it's a tie between Shaq Thompson and James Bradbury.

And I think so much of the defense right now goes through what Shaq Thompson and Luke Keekley do together. So I would say that that one probably becomes one that they would very much like to have sorted out. And, you know, I haven't gotten any indication in doing some research and making some calls for that story that they aren't going to happen. And that's interesting to me. It very much seemed like such a wait-and-see time.

And I remember talking to you about it, Josh. It was such a wait-and-see time at the beginning of the year because so much was uncertain from the, you know, the help of Cam Newton to the jobs of Ron Rivera and Marty Hurney long-term to the move that David Tepper was going to be making as new owner. And so it kind of felt like that was the reason why so few players were signed through 2020. But now you have, like, the reverse problem where you probably want to keep some of these guys and you have to start making these decisions and have to start having these conversations that you didn't have at the spring prior. So it's going to be an interesting time moving forward. Ideally, when would the Panthers like to make a decision, one way or the other, extend or not to extend for Cam Newton? Well, the collective bargaining agreement kind of becomes a factor here. And those conversations will probably start to happen more in earnest this spring. And if they are dedicated and determined to locking him down with a long-term extension, you'll start to hear rumblings of it as early as this spring. And especially if he's going to be, you know, back in position in the role that we're still accustomed to seeing him and healthy next season, full-time, I would think they'd want to have something in place with him long-term. Because you just don't usually see, if the quarterback is a serious, you know, if they're serious about having them in their long-term franchise quarterback, you don't usually see them playing on the final year of their contract as like a, I have to prove my value. They've already shown it. And the team kind of reciprocates in that way. And I do think you'd start hearing it probably this spring.

Follow Jordan on Twitter, at Jordan Rodriguez. Readers, stop the athletic Carolinas. See, when I view what general managers, how much attention they should pay to fan interest and what the rumors are, what the media is putting out there about personnel decisions and trade rumors, I view it the same way like you should be taking your children shopping.

Like if you take kids shopping, they're always going to want the sugary cereals and they're going to want the airheads and whatever's at the counter. And you're hearing fans say, oh, oh, oh, I want Mohamed Sanu. Oh, can we please get an Emmanuel Sanders? And how about an A.J.

Green? And we're hearing this about wide receivers particularly because, you know, it's the sexy position. And fans would always like to see wide receiver running back bolstered up. And since the Panthers have arguably the best running back in the sport, I don't think you're necessarily looking there. Is there anything you really play to some of these rumors about the Panthers looking into Emmanuel Sanders? Should they be going after a wide receiver?

No, I don't think so. And I kind of equate it to this. First of all, whoever they bring in, this would be the guy who would be taking the snaps that Chris Hogan was taking, which amounted to like a target and a half per game, if that. And so the distribution of resources in terms of passing the ball around, those guys are already set. And if you bring a veteran star in, then that means that you are halting the growth of the young draft picks that you have invested so much in. And so that was what people were concerned about, I think, when you had a couple of other veterans on the team. But the Panthers weren't really operating in that way where they were putting the veteran on the field to take the snaps away from the young players when the young players are healthy.

And so I think that I always counter, and that's a great analogy that you use the kid in the good clothing or toy shop, because it's so true. And I always kind of counter with like, OK, well, who do you want to see the ball less than? Who would you like to give the ball to less?

In terms of the workload that Christian McCaffrey has handled so far this season, and even been complimented by Reggie Bonifant at times. And then D.J. Moore, Curtis Samuel, Jarius Wright being, you know, still captain clutch on third down. Greg Olsen, too. Greg Olsen. And so I'm like, OK, well, who do you not want to see get the ball more of these people?

And then who also, doing that, you're also making the investment that will then halt someone else's, the investment you've made somewhere else. And then the party herni, they like to have veteran guys in there, but they have one, Jarius Wright. And Jarius and Curtis and D.J.

are like hilarious together, and they have a great rapport and a great relationship. It's a good room. If you start to have injury concerns, sure, I see that that's when you have to go out and make some moves before the trade deadline. But knock on wood, they don't really have those right now. They have a healthy receiving corp for the first time in quite a while, other than Chris Hogan on IR. And then you can bring Chris Hogan back because he could be designated to return in the next four weeks.

So, you know, it's just not something I could see them. And, of course, the other thing, and I'm sorry, I'm ranting here. Oh, no. Marty Hurney loves his draft capital. Loves it.

Absolutely loves it. He is so invested in these kind of shorter deals with guys who are over 30 years old, and you can see this across the board, other than with Greg Olsen, these shorter deals with guys who are 30 and over. And then really complementing and supplementing via the draft. And that's something that they did all over the place on defense. That's certainly something that they haven't had to really do on offense because they have so many young players on offense.

But they certainly use that model defensively over the last two years, and it's working for them. Follow Jordan Rodriguez for the football. I follow her for that, but also because she's somebody in London, and I want to say portions of this football to food portions as well of this conversation, because you're also somebody who wears stylish hats at football games.

We saw that on the social medias as well as the Panthers beat the Buccaneers in London. I've got to know, as somebody, we rely on your opinion on everything, food and drink. What's the best thing you ate in London? Because London gets a bad rap when it comes to the culinary arts. True, but I think that food from different countries that existed in London was so good. Indian food was amazing. Asian food was amazing. So Josh, I will tell you, the best meal I've ever had actually in my life was in London. What?

I know, this is a huge statement for me, and I thought about it for the last two weeks. It's at this place called Dashoom, Indian food place, and it was kind of an homage to the old chai stalls that merchants used to set up inside train stations in Great Britain back in the late 1800s and early 1900s. The flavor, Josh, oh my God. And I've had good Indian food. This was a step and above anything I've ever had. Impeccable service, great drinks, just a really all-around beautiful meal. It was the perfect weather to enjoy some really spicy food.

It was raining, of course. At the time, I was like, God, this is the best meal I've ever had on the road. And then once I got back to Charlotte, I sat down and I thought about it and I thought, this is the best meal I've actually ever had.

You gave me a recommendation in LA. I forget what it was, but it might have been the best meal I ever had. It was hash browns. It was buffalo chicken hash browns that I had with red velvet pancakes. It was pretty amazing. Oh, that sounds incredible. I trust your opinion on food. So, man, if you say it's the best, then I'm going to take a note.

And then if I go overseas, that's the plan. But overall, good trip? Yeah, it was awesome. Just a really cool experience. The team really enjoyed it. The energy the fans brought was just incredible. Pretty electric atmosphere.

And I wish all stadiums looked like that one. Well, Jordan, I hope you enjoyed the bye week. I'm going to be seeing you very soon. Enjoy San Francisco, another great place you can grab some food.

And I'm sure we'll be talking sometime soon. Thanks, guys. Appreciate it. Take care. That's Jordan Rodriguez from the Athletic Carolinas on Twitter.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-02-10 15:59:48 / 2023-02-10 16:18:21 / 19

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