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The Drive with Josh Graham - David Cutcliffe - 09/5/19

The Drive with Josh Graham / Josh Graham
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September 5, 2019 7:06 pm

The Drive with Josh Graham - David Cutcliffe - 09/5/19

The Drive with Josh Graham / Josh Graham

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September 5, 2019 7:06 pm

Host Josh Graham with Desmond Johnson. Cam Newton had his first official press conference for the 2019 season. The guys look at what he said. Who wins between Duke HC David Cutcliffe and UNC HC Mack Brown in a danceoff? Plus notes on the upcoming Panthers vs Rams Sunday game. Tune into The Drive with Josh Graham Mon-Fri 3-6pm on Sports Hub Triad!



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Attention, please. This is the Drive with Josh Graham Podcast. Tune into the Drive 3 until 6 p.m. weekdays on the Sports Hub. I love it.

It's brilliant. You're on the Drive with Josh Graham. All I do is win, win, win no matter what. The Sports Hub at a.m. 600, a.m. 920. Darin Bottson here. We're sharing with Darin Antonio Brown set to be suspended by the Raiders.

It could be the end of an unprecedented short Antonio Brown era that really never started officially. We got NFL football tonight with the Bears and Packers, but Cam Newton is at it again. He's at the podium. He's being entertaining. And I think Cam Newton's a guy who's largely misunderstood the way that he dresses, the way that he acts, what he says at points, the way that he celebrates.

A lot of people have issues with it, but I think it's just this simple. Cam Newton, he loves the stage and just wants to perform. Even when he's at press conferences, he knows how to give the boring answers and he knows how to sidestep questions.

But he doesn't really want to. When you see him standing there, Darin, I know you're somebody who interviews a ton of people and you line up guests for David Glenn and there's an art to interviewing. I treat every single interviewee differently. Cam Newton, I want to ask him the same questions that I would ask, say, Eric Reid. And I want to ask Cam Newton the same kind of questions I'd ask the coach in Ron Rivera.

It varies from person to person. Now, I know there's times where you have to ask difficult questions that they don't want to answer altogether. But in the preseason, getting ready for week one, there aren't many of those. Cam, he's not a guy who wants to talk about injuries or the game plan moving forward as if he's going to give you anything that the Los Angeles Rams and Sean McVay can use to their advantage. He doesn't want to talk about evaluating his own teammates because he knows even if he didn't think a guy was great, he can't come out here publicly and say so. So I'm somebody when I approach, say, Cam Newton, and I've had success in getting good stuff out of Cam. I think he's very interesting. He's one of the more entertaining quarterbacks to hear talk every single week. I have a different approach with him, and that's OK if it's more lighthearted.

This is a guy who just likes to perform. Yeah, and I think what this boils down to is your point about football-related questions, right? It comes down to whether or not a guy just wants to get through media availability or not. And not to say Cam doesn't necessarily just kind of want to get it over with some days, but he's just too honest for that. He's obviously not allowed to give away anything. I find it hilarious when you ask coaches or anybody like that, what do you see in this team that you've got coming up?

And there's an element, too. I know you've got Coach Cutcliffe on. We had him on with the David Glenn show earlier today. And to a degree, because it's an in-state opponent, we're a statewide show, you have to ask about North Carolina ANC, their opponent on Saturday.

But what do you see from them that you think you can use on Saturday? Cut's not going to tell us that, right? And Cut would much rather talk about Eli Manning and Daniel Jones because he loves those guys. He'd much rather talk about his New York Yankees, his favorite Major League Baseball team, and what it was like growing up in Alabama. That's where you're going to get these guys interested in sharing, if you will, bits and pieces of themselves, because otherwise they're not going to talk about it if you want to just drone on about the football. Cam was looking to entertain yesterday, and the best parts, what I found most entertaining, is when Cam was bored by questions that were asked. Somebody just asked about what he saw from Christian McCaffrey, and this is the way Cam responded. An outlet, safety valve, a rescue button, life harness, an easy button, an old go-to. CMAC is a person who, just like a person I've been playing with for a long time, is very consistent, reliable, and understanding of the game of football. An outlet.

I want to set this up a different way. I want to set this up as, rather than the question being, hey, what is Christian McCaffrey to you in this offense, or whatever variation of the question it actually was, I want to instead pretend that the question I just asked Cam Newton was, come up with as many ways you can possibly say, reliable receiver. An outlet, safety valve, a rescue button, life harness, an easy button, an old go-to. Wow! How many did he come up with there? I think he got them in under the belt.

15 seconds. Cam Newton coming up with seven. I think he deserves some type of an award, maybe even a bell. Geez, how useless is that sound? It's completely useless.

Cam knows it's useless. He's just out there saying seven different ways to say the same exact thing. My favorite part is he got to number six.

He got through number six, and there's that pause before he's like, oh, oh, there's more where that came from. Go to. I can do this all day. Oh, go to. There it is! It's like you're playing something like Scattergories, a game in which you would just be naming.

You're under the timer and you're naming as many things within a certain category as possible, and it's just that light bulb mid-round. He's just like, oh, go to, here we go. Cam would be awesome at Family Feud. When he gets done playing football, I'm actually being serious here. He's going to be a television star, and I'm not talking about one of those guys sitting next to John Fox in an NFL studio breaking down X's and O's. He's not going to be sitting there the way that Greg Olsen aspires in a booth. No, I think he's going to be like Strahan. I think he's going to be hosting a show like Steve Harvey, a game show host. That's what I think Cam's going to be.

See, I think that's too confining for Cam. I think he's going to go the Jim Brown route. I think he's going to be acting in movies. He's going to have the physique for it.

He's going to be young. But is he a big enough star? I mean, he's one of the biggest stars in the league. He's very polarizing, but he's one of the biggest stars in the league.

We've been through this. There are maybe two NFL players who make up the 50 most popular American sports athletes. It's the most popular sport, but it's Brady and maybe Brees, and that's it. Well, that's just because of the way the NFL's marketed.

We've talked about that before. They market the teams, not the players. Right, so what I'm saying is, how many NFL quarterbacks do you see host SNL? Like there was Peyton. Brady, Manning. Tom Brady never hosted SNL. Tom Brady's never hosted SNL? You're sure?

No! Tom Brady, that's not Tom Brady's personnel. Has Tom Brady hosted SNL? I know Eli Manning did. So Eli and Peyton did. I don't know if Brady did. He's one of the guys who could, but outside of that, Cam, he would be great on SNL.

I love it when you're so confident that you're correct in an answer and then you're flat out wrong. He's a guy who could. Yes, Tom Brady did host Saturday Night Live. It was back in 2005. So we're talking about three athletes the last 15 years in that sport? Yeah, Brady did it in 2005 when he really wasn't even as...

He had just won two Super Bowls. Prime to do it, you know? Like, here's, I see something. He was quoted in 2018 saying you probably would never... But Cam's delivery is just so great.

His comedic delivery. This right here, he said he had a beef with Christian McCaffrey and with DJ Moore, Curtis Samuel. They created this thing called the Cat Pack.

And Cam Newton had, he took exception with this. Well, first off, I got a beef with all three of them, really, because they got this thing right now where they are part of the Rat Pack. Cat Pack, whatever it is. And I was thinking, they need like a lead singer. You know, kind of like the Temptations. David Ruffin was in the Temptations, but it was David Ruffin in the Temptations. So I was saying that y'all can add me to it. You know what I'm saying? Ace Boogie and the Cat Pack. That don't make sense, but if they want to sell records, if they want to get noticed, you know... I don't know who was responsible for it, but I don't like it.

They need to implement me some type of way. But other than that, he a'ight. He knows it too.

Exactly what we're talking about. He knows it. That's the most consumable thing he said. The most consumable content there. But other than that, he a'ight.

That's right! You know, this is what Jon Gruden's probably saying today. On that note right there. Aside from the cryogenic therapy feat being burned with AB. Aside from the fact he's taunting the general manager and threatening to punch Mike Mayock in the face. Other than the fact he threatened to quit the sport, and other than the fact that he created so much chaos in Pittsburgh, one of the premier franchises in all of sports, to get to Oakland. He a'ight. Other than all of those things.

Then there's this. The Joey Sly sound. See, when I was covering college football in Eastern North Carolina, covering ECU, we saw Virginia Tech quite a bit. And what was interesting, Joey Sly was a kicker you wanted to see take the field. Joey Sly, he single-handedly gave a game to ECU when the Pirates were ranked and Virginia Tech was ranked five years ago and Lincoln Riley was on the sideline. He kicked the ball out of bounds to give ECU the ball at the 35, and then a year later, he was missing a ton of kicks.

I almost felt bad for him. But then Joey Sly has been crushing it in preseason and Cam Newton has an observation about Joey Sly. He may have the least body fat in the kicker in the last decade of kickers.

Honest to God. And he's a licensed trainer and he does not hesitate at every hour of the day to work on his obliques, his triceps, his biceps, squats, and all that. You can't see it because he wears a 6x jersey and I told him, because I'm the incorporated swag coach, I done told him, I said, bro, you got to get a smaller jersey to fill out your, but he ain't worried about it.

He ain't worried about it. What's his title again? What was that again? The incorporated swag coach?

What did he say? He's the swag coach. That's right. Or swag coordinator. Yeah. The swag coordinator, Cam Newton. Any team needs one.

That's right. And I'm interested to see what he's going to come out with on Sunday. The Carolina Panthers, they introduced their 25th anniversary special edition wine. And Cam, he's a noted wine enthusiast.

So we'll see what the outfit is. We'll see if Cam had any input on this wine. But Cam, apparently a fan of Joey Sly, not a fan of the cat pack, or at least how it's currently constructed. He wants Ace Boogie, Cam Newton, and the Rat Pack, much like the Temptations. It's just tremendous.

Cam, he loves the stage and he just wants to perform. So when I'm in those press conferences, I'm just thinking about what way can I throw, what way can I groove one down the middle of the plate to give Cam Newton the stage, the ammunition to give us something that we're talking about all week. Because I'm the incorporated swag coach.

I'm the incorporated swag coach. He did good last year, giving him that drip line or whatever. He really seemed to like that. He was fine with that. And you know, that's in the past now.

That's last year. Just me being pasty and white with glasses? No, what's the new, although that might make you stand out.

It could very well work to your advantage. What's the new slang this year? What's the word that all the kids are saying?

Because last year was drip and then there was... The key is if Joey Sly makes a big kick during a game that kind of maybe bails out Cam or the offense, you got to make him make more Varsity Blues references. He did. He calls Joey Sly swole tweeter. Swole tweeter. And that's deep cut Varsity Blues reference there.

That's not Vanderbeek. Joey Sly was bombing 70 yard field goals at practice yesterday. So even though I didn't like him in college, he hit a 59 yarder in preseason game number four. He's bombing 70 yard kicks.

He deserves an opportunity dash. I will say that cat pack to me sounds like a group of girls that me and my friends would have been trying to hit on at the bar back in 2003. But we were too timid to go talk to them because they outnumbered us. That sounds like a group of girls.

Maybe hot. But the idea that they referred to themselves as the cat pack would totally steer me away. I would not make a...

I don't assert an effort. Like have t-shirts and stuff? Unless they were like a band. I thought that would be older women. Like a bunch of cougars. There's the cat pack. The cat pack. There you go. That actually makes a little bit of sense.

That would work. Are you guys familiar with the Red Hat Society? They would be the Red Hat Society. Referees?

No, the Red Hat Society. It's like an old southern woman. I was thinking about people who signal timeouts on the field. That's some inside baseball there. Coming up, news involving the most important show in sports television history.

Keep it here on The Drive. Yesterday I was scrolling Twitter and I saw a tweet sent out by our next guest who pointed out something I think a lot of people would be surprised by. That since 2012, Duke Football has more wins than any North Carolina program with 52. NC State with 51.

App State, 48. North Carolina, 46. East Carolina, 40. And Wake Forest, 38 wins. We're now being joined by the head football coach of those Duke Blue Devils.

David Cutcliffe on the show who's getting set to face a team right here from the Triad in North Carolina A&T. Coach, I've had this discussion with Dave Claussen at Wake Forest who constantly says that his team gets overlooked. He doesn't expect to get anything in the rankings nationally, year to year, or in preseason rankings. You've dealt with that quite a bit, I think, too, in terms of perception and expectations. Why do you think places like Wake Forest and Duke, private institutions, even if they are in a power conference, never get respect nationally? I think probably the biggest issue is that the tradition, and people tend to look at that more than you think. Traditionally, neither one of us have been football powerhouses and you're just not expected, particularly preseason. We've been a top-25 team here. We earned it, played real well in 2013, had 10 wins. But then, we probably didn't get as ranked as high as we could have. It's who can live with it.

I don't think it's a private institution. I just think it's the history that is not there. Although now Wake wins in recent years, particularly under Dave Claussen, we've won. People that are young, our prospects look at it and say, yeah, y'all always win. But I think just the media and general public just don't think of football when you say Duke or Wake. You coached in the SEC for a long time, Tennessee and Ole Miss, of course. Do you buy the idea of SEC bias? Does that exist?

I think there can be some, but I think history is there. I've often said this, anything with emphasis brings results, real emphasis. So if you look at the years of 100,000-plus seat stadiums, now some of them are 90, the crowds, the intensity surrounding. I grew up in Alabama, and on Saturdays there was one thing, and really year-round it was one sport, and that was college football.

So I think that that's probably the same thing. It kind of earns its way there. And until somebody unseats them in every aspect, the emphasis that they've put on football has paid dividends through the years. I remember something you said at ACC kickoff. You said you liked the fact you were playing Alabama in Game 1, because your players get a chance to see what it looks like at the top and measure yourself against that. Alabama pretty much is the standard, along with Clemson and college football right now. And the way that you described the challenge with Alabama is very similar to the way Sam Washington at North Carolina A&T, who joined us earlier in the week, described what he viewed playing a David Cutcliffe coach team like. He said that that's a program and a coach who does it the right way, and we want our players to see what that looks like.

What did you learn from playing Alabama? Well, I think the thing that was most telling wasn't necessarily a talent disparity. They're great, don't get me wrong. Physically, they're gifted at every position.

They're so fast, so strong. But you know what they did that was telling to our team, and certainly me, we played hard, but they played harder. They took their level of play, their effort, their intensity to a championship level. And I will say this about Sam Washington, his staff, and the A&T program. There's a reason their champion, I mean that's a championship program because they play at that level.

They play with confidence, they play fast, they play hard. And this isn't coach talk, this is reality. Anybody that has studied the A&T program, you know Rod Broadway is a great football coach. Sam Washington spent time with him, and it just continues to get better and better over there.

They recruit well, and then they coach them even better. Back-to-back celebration bowl championships and Rod Broadway in addition to being a winner, now a Hall of Famer. He was inducted last year.

We're chatting with David Cutcliffe here on Sports Hub Triad. Now that you've faced Tua Tagoviola, aside from what you saw on film, what's the thing that makes him most impressive in your mind? Well, he's the most accurate passer in college football today.

I mean, people do not break stride. He can throw it on the run, he can throw it from the pocket. But I'm telling you, his accuracy level is phenomenal. His poise, his game management, and one of the things people don't realize is how strong he is. He's 6'1", I would say that's probably accurate, but he's 225 to 30 pounds. He's not heavy, just strong, and he can run. He's really fast on top of all that.

But the biggest thing, his throwing motion is so quick and effortless, and he's as accurate as anybody I've ever seen. Coach, I'm not sure if you saw it after the fact. I was in Charlotte watching North Carolina beat South Carolina last weekend, and then we saw the video of Mack Brown dancing in the locker room. When you win games at Duke, you're known to pull off a couple of dance moves. Did you see Mack Brown getting the win and pulling off some of the dance moves? I saw late that night when we got back, I sat up and watched TV, and I did see a clip of it, and I'm going to tell Mack he looked pretty good. He's got to represent us old fellows. So I thought he did a good job with it.

Obviously it was a great win. You admitted at one time, Coach, that you went to discos back in the day. Are you a better dancer than Mack Brown? Well, we may have to find out sometime, but I'll take him home.

I promise you, I'm not afraid. What exactly would that look like? What is David Cutcliffe like at a wedding reception?

That's what I want to know. Does David Cutcliffe cut a rug? I'm kind of a wedding crasher. I'm on the dance floor.

You just ask anybody. I've never passed up an opportunity to dance to good music or a good band. Our families always love music, and everybody in our families love to dance.

It comes naturally. Give me the song or the band that's most likely to get David Cutcliffe on the dance floor. I think any. Listen, it doesn't matter what genre of music. It can be rap. It can be rock and roll.

I don't really have a favorite song, but I want it fast. I was one of those guys. Growing up, even in high school, everybody flooded the floors at a prom to get the slow dance, right?

Everybody. I went and sat down. I wanted to dance. I don't want to pretend to dance.

Anything you put on there that's got rhythm, I'm in it. If Duke beats North Carolina A&T this weekend, will David Cutcliffe be dancing? Well, I would imagine my friend Sandra afterwards, after the press conference, that's always a standard with our players.

There's always a little bit there. I hope we play well enough to beat these guys. That's the first challenge and the toughest focus we're going to have of the day. After that, if we can be fortunate enough to win the game, I will sure be in the mood to dance. Coach, we always enjoy our visits.

You know, people go to sports for a time. Things are going well weather-wise over there. My sister is a student at UNC Wilmington. She had to be evacuated and I'm from Eastern North Carolina.

Spent a lot of time over there. I have a lot of friends who are, of course, watching things with Hurricane Dorian. Thanks for giving us something to smile about and I hope you the best of luck with weather, of course, but on the field with football as well in A&T this weekend. Well, thank you, Josh. We got a lot of friends.

I've got a lot of friends in Eastern North Carolina. We've got a lot of players that have family and we're praying hard. A year later, here we go again.

God bless them. I'm just praying for some way that that storm turns up more northward and more out into the Atlantic. Hope to catch up soon, Coach. Thank you again. Thanks, Josh.

I reiterate that again. We'll continue to bring you updates on what's happening with Hurricane Dorian, but I know most of you go to sports talk radio to escape all of that stuff. I'm not a meteorologist.

I'm not an expert on the subject. I know that things, fortunately, are veering further east than where we're at here in the Triad, but our thoughts, our prayers, we give them out to the people that we care about and even those that we don't. I know a lot of people affected by what's happening already with this storm. Coming up, the unprecedented summer of Antonio Brown. This is The Drive. Oh, look who's back. This is the Sports Hub at AM 600 AM 920.

Now back to The Drive with Josh Graham. We have a Twitter poll up at Sports Hub Triad. You can vote on this poll. We asked David Cutcliffe who would win a dance-off between him and Mac Brown, and he said that he would be unafraid. The direct quote was, we may have to find out. I'll take him on.

I promise you I'm not afraid. And so we just simply asked the question, who would win the dance-off between David Cutcliffe and Mac Brown, and the responses we've been getting. There's a ton that we can get to maybe a little bit later on. But I want to talk about what's happening with Antonio Brown. I want to talk about the Panthers and the Rams, which we'll be at on Sunday with Mina Kimes of ESPN, who's kind enough to spend some time with us here.

She broadcast the Rams preseason games this year. So I think I'm going to start at a place. You've done a lot of these, and I appreciate you spending time with us today.

But I'm going to start at a place I don't think anybody else has started with you. How much of a John Wolfhard fan are you? Because we're here in Winston-Salem and in the Triad, and John Wolfhard's a pretty big name around here. Oh man, what a delight to be asked about John Wolfhard on this afternoon. I am so pleased to talk about him because I think, look, I understand you guys have been in on Wolfhard, members of the Wolfpack, if you will, for a while now. But I like to think on a national level, you know, I am currently one of the drivers of the John Wolfhard hype train, and I'm going to continue driving that because I think he is so talented and absolutely, I really honestly, you know, he's on the Rams practice squad, I think he's as good as many of the backups in the NFL. So what's the next step for the Wolfpack, I guess? If we're leading the John Wolfhard fan group, what's the next thing that we do if you're our leader?

We're turning to you! Well, I think him even making the practice squad, you guys, was a bit of already a victory because the Rams had an entrenched developmental quarterback in Brandon Allen who had been with the organization for a couple of years, and he basically beat him out for that job. Unfortunately, with Blake Bortles as their backup, he was probably never going to be, you know, the backup unless he really lit the world on fire, but it's a sure, it's a good place to start, and I'll tell you what, being in that organization as a quarterback, you really can't be in a better place right now in the NFL. I never like being the person who asks somebody what they expect to happen in situations that seem to be unprecedented, but with Antonio Brown, who's had just this offseason, that it's crazy that the Hollywood Hogan gold mustache gets completely forgotten because of the fact he's had all these crazy things that happened in a row, which have now culminated with him, set to be suspended according to Adam Schefter's reporting at ESPN. There's a chance it could also affect the guaranteed money, too. It could be void if it's conduct detrimental to the team, as far as my understanding of the contract is. What do you expect to happen here with AB now? Yeah, I have no idea.

Sorry. This situation is just too wild. You know, I always thought, just because of the sheer amount of money Antonio Brown would be giving out by walking away, that it would never come to this, but it feels to me that there are forces here that defy rationality, right? There's no way we can look at him and say, well, these are the actions of a so-called rational actor. Honestly, I can't even tell if he wants to play football at this point. Now, from a football perspective, he's still one of the best wide receivers in the NFL, and, you know, when I was at Raiders camp with the Rams this summer, he was not there, but he had been there for OTAs, and everyone who was around that organization said, yeah, when he was here, he was awesome because he's still Antonio Brown, but if he doesn't want to play, he's not going to play.

At this point, it does seem to be trending that way. So we had the helmet incident. Now he's taunting management on social media, leading to an altercation with Mike Mayock. Again, according to reporting, you have the cryotherapy mishap.

You have the Hollywood Hogan mustache. I'm just going to throw that in there. And what happened with Pittsburgh? What's the craziest part of this in your mind? I think the public, this latest bit, actually, because, you know, the cryotherapy thing, you could actually just explain away as an accident, as Gruden did, but this appears to be actual self-sabotage. Like, this is the first thing where I really think, wow, he might not want to play because, you know, you don't get in a public dispute with your team if you want to play for that team generally.

Mina Kimes of ESPN with us here. Like I said, you covered the Rams in preseason, which means you spent some time with the team that set the face, the Carolina Panthers, Sunday, and Charlotte. What did you learn about Sean McVay that you didn't know before spending time with the team the last month or so? You know, I had heard this, but I would say I had it confirmed just by being around the organization.

He is 33, I believe, 33 years old, very upsetting, especially if someone is about to turn 34. But he is an incredible manager, right? I think that's something that's underrated when we talk about his leadership abilities. We talk a lot about his offensive genius, and that's certainly played out on the football field. But he's also a genius when it comes to managing personalities, and not only players, but other coaches. He is really, really respected and well-liked in the locker room, and in turn, I think he affords people a lot of respect. And honestly, not that this is really about, this is as much about the front office as it is about McVay, but look at this Jared Goff extension. No rumors, no drama, no gossip. It just got done, right? No leaks, no public sniping.

And I think that it really says a lot about their organization. As somebody who follows it pretty closely, the Panthers, what's going on with Cam's health, I'm not very concerned about it in the short term. Obviously, there's going to be questions to see the durability of his shoulder as the season goes on, but he hasn't been limited in practice like he was even when he was playing games with the injured shoulder. It wasn't as serious of a procedure that he had in January. He had it earlier than he had the previous one in 2017.

That last one was done in March, and it was seen to be more of a serious operation. So if we're assuming good health for Cam Newton, understanding that's a big if, what's your view of the Carolina Panthers with him being healthy? I am very high on the Carolina Panthers. I think that they absolutely can win the division.

I certainly have a floor as a wildcard team as well. I think they have one of the best front sevens in the NFL. I think the aforementioned Rams should be terrified of that front seven going into the weekend, and I absolutely love this offense and what North Turner was doing with it before Cam got hurt last year, and I think he was hurt longer than people knew as well. So to me, he said it, it all depends on Cam Newton's health, because the way in which his game was evolving under Turner, his ability to get the ball out quicker, his improved completion percentage, that's all tied to his footwork, his mechanics, not just his scheme, and that's tied to his health.

He has to be confident in executing this offense, and if he's not healthy, he won't be. Prior to this interview, you told me that you were driving, you were on the road, and before we chatted about Zion Williamson, you said the first time you actually rode a car was in South Carolina while doing that story on Zion. How good of a driver is Mina Kimes? Well, you know, okay, so I just want to make it known, I am in traffic right now, so we're just inching along, so this is a very safe phone call, I'm moving very, very slowly, but yeah, that was an adventure, I can't believe you remember, that was definitely a new for me, a new experience, renting a car, and it's not something I've done since, actually. Well, Mina, I enjoy your podcast, it is the Mina Kimes podcast with Lenny, your dog, and I appreciate you for spending time with us on what I'm sure is a very busy week.

Thanks for doing it, I'm sure we'll catch up somewhere down the line. Thanks for having me, guys. Got it, that's Mina Kimes on Twitter, at Mina Kimes, ESPN, you can read her stuff, senior writer, and then of course, she's all over the place, around the horn, and she's the one that does all the Etso sketches, too, when that's necessary. So, all over the place when it comes to radio and podcasts and on television, too, but as she said, I don't understand what a common criticism would be for the Carolina Panthers, other than the fact that Cam Newton and his shoulder hasn't held up in two of the last three years. That's really the only criticism I think you got, but even if it's a big if, if Cam Newton's healthy, what's the argument against this team being a playoff team? If Cam Newton, let's just say, by the grace of God, you know that Cam's going to be healthy in 16 games, what possibly could you say is going to hold this team back from being playoff quality?

I struggle to find anything. The only thing that I would say besides health would be potentially the secondary. That's really the only weakness I can really find on this team. Most people that I've seen basically say, oh, well, because you got the Saints and Falcons in your division, that's why, and it's like, those are people that are uninformed. They haven't realized that when healthy, if Cam Newton's healthy for an entire season, the Panthers have not, they've won at least 11 games or more since 2013, in years where he's been healthy the entire year. So if he's healthy all year, they're going to win double-digit games. And they're going to make the playoffs. If you win double-digit games in the NFC this year, you're making the postseason.

It's that simple. I had Atlanta being a playoff team. Me too. So Julio Jones, all this stuff here, it worries me. This stuff really does concern me. And if I'm a Carolina Panthers fan, even though I think this is a playoff team, this game terrifies me on Sunday. If you're a Panthers fan, you should be very worried because we're going to learn immediately just how improved the two big, biggest weaknesses of the Panthers last season are. Offensive line and pass rush. Obviously, Cam Newton's health is another thing. And I'm not concerned about Cam's health, especially in the short term.

Wasn't limited in practice, not on the injury report, less serious operation, more time to recover. But offensive line and pass rush, both of those places are going to be just facing maybe the toughest test they get all season. It's a new offensive line going up against Aaron Donald. And we're going to learn very quickly if they're able to hold up. You're probably going to have to do some double-teaming, but can you get by with one man on him and maybe hedging with the running back?

We'll see. Keep an eye on Aaron Donald. But then you got a retooled defense with a new scheme and new pass rushers going up against the most prolific offense in the NFL a year ago.

You're going up against the best offensive line among coaches in the sport. If the Panthers can't get to the quarterback, can't wreak havoc with Ryan Burns, Bruce Irvin, and Gerald McCoy, in addition to the players who are coming back. If they can't keep Aaron Donald out of the backfield, the Rams are going to win and it's not going to be close.

I happen to believe both units are improved, but we're going to see just how much they are improved. I don't see any situation the Panthers are winning this game big. I do see scenarios, namely these two big question marks, where the Rams could win and things get ugly.

Yes, Dev? Honestly, as an actual Panther fan, I'm feeling pretty confident about Sunday. This is part of the reason why I watch preseason, because we've clowned preseason the entire month. I clowned preseason? I watched every game, but it was work. Yeah, of course it's work. It's a chore to do it, but it's worth it.

I don't like preseason. It's not worth it. It really isn't. Let me finish my point here. It's worth it for those of us that are fans of these teams, because we're not going into this blind. It's not a bunch of ifs. It's a matter of, can they do what we saw scheme-wise weeks two, three of the preseason with actual starters out there the entire game?

I like stuff that I saw. The simple fact that Rivera's taken over the defensive play calling, Carolina's going to have a top 10 defense. They're just going to have it. They've always had it, except for last year, since Rivera's been there, he's taken over the play calling.

They fixed all the spots they needed to fix and stayed within the small amount of money they had to work with under the cap. I really like the stuff that Herny did in the offseason. If anything, I think the Rams should be worried about how they're going to move the ball against this 3-4 defense with a girl with bad knees. Des, come on.

Just come on. These are the defending NFC champs. That's last year.

That means nothing. That's fine, but many of these players on that defense, also coordinated for the last three games of the year, finished 19th. Yeah, but those last three games of the year, they were only given up, what, like 13 points a game? I'm just saying, Des, I am definitely more concerned about the Panthers than I am the Rams when you got your best pass rusher as a rookie. The Panthers' best pass rusher is a rookie right now in Brian Burns. It's true. And we've maybe seen Brian Burns play 30 snaps?

That's it? In preseason? While teams are running vanilla offenses and you want me to think that, okay, now the Panthers are good, their pass rush problem is fixed? You're going to put them over Bruce Irvin?

Absolutely. There's a reason why Bruce Irvin is being passed up by teams. Brian Burns, I expect him to be in the Rookie of the Year discussion. I like the Panthers. I think they're going to make the playoffs. But, there is less certainty with what Carolina has versus what the Rams do.

The Rams, they still have the best defensive player in the sport and the Panthers are still working in a new offensive line. Notice Greg Little still having issues with concussion. And Darryl Williams wasn't exactly healthy last season. And you've got players who are in here that you're really going to be leaning on.

And a new center. First game he's working with Cam Newton. So the Aaron Donald stuff should terrify Panther fans. And then the pass rush thing, that's the reason why the Panthers, aside from Cam's shoulder, the other reason why the Panthers had the losing streak, it was the lack of a pass rush. It wasn't the secondary. The secondary got torched because the quarterback had so much time to throw. I'm not concerned about Cam, but those two areas really do concern me.

So that's one piece of this. Another thing I want to talk about is what's happening with Antonio Brown. Maybe an update here on Julio Jones 2.

We're going to get to what is going to happen in an unprecedented situation next on the drive. I just now got to my Twitter feed and that was a mistake. We have this Twitter poll out there trying to figure out who's the better dancer. Mac Brown or David Cutcliffe. Cutcliffe said that if he was challenged to a dance off with Mac Brown, actually I think I just framed the question, who would win a dance off between him and Mac Brown?

And he said that he want it back down. Quote, we may have to find out. I'll take him on, I promise you, I'm not afraid. And there's a poll out there that you can vote on, at Sports Hub Triad on Twitter, who's the better dancer, who would win a dance off, I should say.

David Cutcliffe or Mac Brown. And the poll is coming back Mac Brown 56% at the moment. But another thing I'm seeing, Angry Panther fans who are telling me that I'm crazy for picking the Rams, even though I didn't pick the Rams. I said that I have more questions about a team that didn't make the playoffs last year than I do the defending NFC champs. I have more questions about Carolina. If anything, I picked Carolina to go to the playoffs and I didn't pick the Rams to go to the playoffs. So, I didn't pick the Rams to win this game.

It isn't to say I won't. We'll get to that tomorrow, maybe. I got the best bets tomorrow. But let's go to Justin in Winston-Salem. Justin, you're on the Sports Hub, what issue do you have with my analysis on the Rams and Panthers? As an NC State fan and a Panthers fan, I'm hoping that your pitch last weekend turns out the same as this pitch that you're making for the Rams. That's fair.

Alright, thank you Justin. I didn't pick NC State, or excuse me, East Carolina. Mike Houston told me to, remember? Put some money on it. It's the only time a football coach has ever told me to do something involving the point spread. I thought I had to put money on East Carolina because Mike Houston told me to and he scares me.

Put some money on it. Yeah, that probably should have been a red flag when he told us that. We should have probably went the other way. Why? How is that a red flag? Because like you just said, normally that doesn't happen. Normally a coach isn't so sure that they just come out four days before the game and say, you know, put some money on it. I love that he did that though.

I wish more people would do that. Oh, I love it. Yeah, but that was probably bad news for... So, I'm just saying this game is a game we're going to learn immediately what improvements have been made at the most important spots for Carolina. It's been almost a picture perfect offseason for the Panthers in terms of things they needed to do. If we actually probably had this discussion on the air at the end of last season, we looked at the offseason and said, okay, they need to get younger.

And what happens? Julius Peppers retires. Thomas Davis is phased out. Captain Munnerland, they don't re-sign him because they don't want to pay 30-year-old nickel cornerbacks what he was making at the time.

And they began to get younger. On top of that, they needed to get a better pass rush. They bring in Bruce Irvin. They draft Brian Burns.

I'm all in on Brian Burns. They changed the defensive scheme. They had to adjust things there. The offensive line, you knew you were losing Ryan Khalil until Ryan Khalil decided he wanted to play football again. But Matt Paradis is an upgrade on paper at that spot. But the issue is, all of this right now is pie in the sky because we haven't seen it on a field yet. We saw preseason football, but the defenses aren't doing anything exotic. Offenses aren't running anything other than vanilla schemes and formations. So we don't know how exactly this revamped defense with Ron Rivera coordinating it and this new pass rush is going to work against the most creative, innovative offensive coach we've seen in the last decade in the NFL.

So it's an immediate test. I'd feel a lot better about the Panthers right now if they were playing the Bucs in week one versus week two. I'd feel a lot better about that. But there's something about not having tape for Sean McVay, what he's been doing since, having an embarrassing Super Bowl loss that has me a little bit scared as to what we're going to see Sunday afternoon.

Michael in Winston-Salem is up. Mike, what do you think is the potential downfall for the Panthers this year? Well, the first thing is, I don't think you can just say, oh, if Cam Newton's healthy, they'll be fine. Because you want to take away those seasons that he's played in 14 or 15 games, but it's not like they were lighting the world on fire just because he got hurt once. You know, if he was healthy, if he started all 16 games the year that he went 6-8 and he wins both of them, that's 8-8. That's still not a playoff team. So he's not a guy who's moving the needle every single year if he plays or not. But the other thing that is the problem with this roster that scares you is they've got so much talent that's at the very, very high end.

Let's just start with one. What if Christian McCaffrey goes down? What if he played 98% of the snaps? I mean, who are they possibly going to turn to in the running game and the passing game that's going to come anywhere close to replicating that? And you talk about the brand new offensive line. Cam Newton is not a make a quick read and get rid of the ball quickly guy.

If they're not giving him time, he's getting beat up, he could well get hurt, but he's also going to force a pick into double coverage or triple coverage or quadruple coverage because he's just throwing it where he sees a receiver, not where a guy is quickly open. I think you could play that game, thank you for the call Michael, with almost any team in the NFL. You say, what happens if Christian McCaffrey gets hurt? Well, what happens if Jared Goff gets hurt for the LA Rams? You could do it with any team. You're telling me the Rams are going to be a contender with Shawn Mannion playing quarterback? I don't think so.

So you could play that game with anybody. Yes, the Panthers do put themselves in a position. If Christian McCaffrey gets hurt, they're going to be in a tough spot at running back. But the reason why I feel like if Cam Newton's healthy, this team's going to be fine is because unlike previous years, it used to be the narrative with Carolina that they never put enough weapons around Cam, they never did it. But now they have Christian McCaffrey, who's one of the most dangerous weapons in the NFL.

You have the rest of what he calls the rat pack, or excuse me, the cat pack. DJ Moore and Curtis Samuel, who seem to be hitting their strides, both of them. DJ Moore going into year two, Curtis Samuel going into year three.

Jordan Rodriguez had a really long story about Curtis Samuel today that I suggest you read at theathletic.com. He was the story of the preseason other than Cam Newton. And it seems like that guy is going to take an enormous step this year. I am fine with where Carolina is at at the moment. But this opener, it's all about what's going to happen at the trenches. There are more compelling matchups than what's happening on offensive to defensive line. But the new O-line against Aaron Donald, if that doesn't work out and Donald's constantly in the backfield, game over Rams win. And if the retooled defense with new look pass rushers do not get pressure on the NFL's best offense, ran by Jared Goff who just got his new contract, that's another situation where the Rams are going to win running away.

The most compelling matchup though, that I am keeping an eye on. I love the idea of a chess match within a football game. And I've called Luke Kuechly the Peyton Manning of defense because I believe Peyton Manning, the reason why he seemed to be one of the greatest quarterbacks ever, has nothing to do with his physical gifts. He never threw the tightest spiral. In fact, there are a lot of ducks Peyton Manning has thrown the last 15 years, but it's all about the mental part of the game. He's the guy who engineered quick pace, run fast, no huddle, and doing so while recognizing what the defenses were doing on the fly, changing game study to the point where every single quarterback has to be film nuts in order to be successful.

Peyton Manning, he revolutionized that. I don't see many defensive players doing what Luke Kuechly is doing, calling out what the offense is doing as it's happening. Luke would be the first one to tell you, he's not the fastest player, he's not the most athletic, he's not the strongest, doesn't have the best build, but he's a player that you know is going to be reliable each and every game. He's consistent, he recognizes what they're doing on offense, and this time he's going up against the greatest offensive mind in the sport right now in Sean McVay. McVay was raving about him when he spoke with North Carolina media yesterday, it's no shock that he loves Luke Kuechly. It seems like Luke Kuechly would be Sean McVay's guy, but that's the matchup that fascinates me the most, but the matchup doesn't matter at all if the Panthers can't block up Donald and if they can't get to Jared Goff.

None of that stuff matters. If we're going to refer back to last year to try to get a bearing on what might happen for week one of this year, the Rams defense last year gave up a lot of yards per game, they were ranked 22nd in the entire league, so there's going to be opportunity for Carolina to move the ball up and down the field. On the other hand, Carolina had problems putting the ball in the end zone last year, so they can't settle for field goals in order to beat the Rams.

I will say this to echo off of our last caller, this is the most talent Cam's had around him since his rookie year. The last caller was saying that you can't just pencil the Panthers into the playoffs if Cam is healthy. No, we're not doing that. I am.

If Cam Newton's healthy, they're making the playoffs. You know what, I'm with you. That's actually what I'm saying. Sorry caller. Caller's incorrect.

At Burger King, at McDonald's, the consumer's always right. Not in sports talk radio. Nope, not here. No, no, no, no.

But I interrupted you. I was just saying that I just feel like the narrative for Carolina nationally is always 8-8. Every year. What's the overrun drawn this year? I think it's seven games or something. But that's where it should be.

It's crazy talk. You say the narrative of the Carolina Panthers is they're 8-8. Well, they've been 500 literally over 25 years.

True. They are at 500. And with Rivera, either they are 500 or they're well above it. They never bottom out because of his defense more times than not. He's never lost more than nine games in a season.

But he's never had back-to-back winning seasons either. They went 6-10 after the Super Bowl. You're correct.

They did. But yeah, I mean everything points to the Panthers having a rebound season. I agree. And I have Carolina in the postseason as a result. But there are still Mad Panthers fans coming at me saying that I picked the Rams when I don't have the Rams in the playoffs and I have the Panthers as a 5-C. Do you believe in Super Bowl hangovers? I do.

I do. But I also believe in Aaron Donald. And I believe in it takes time for weaknesses to become strengths. And in order for you to beat the Rams, matchups matter more than anything. In order to beat the Rams, you're gonna need to block up Donald and you're going to need to get a rush on Jared Goth. And those were two of Carolina's weaknesses last year. That's simply all I'm saying.

And that's what scares me about this. If this game was happening week four or five, I'm probably not worried about it. Okay, Brian Burns has played games. He's gotten his feet underneath of him. And this team has played together in this scheme in actual game action. And the offensive line has started to build chemistry together.

That's great. You're playing to defending NFC champs right out of the gate. And you can acknowledge, yeah, that's last year.

And you would be right. But Aaron Donald is still gonna be a monster. And this offensive line is working together in an NFL game for the first time on Sunday. And this D-line is working together in this new system for the first time.

And you're going up against McVeigh. It's the timing of the game that I have issues with. One quick thing, too, that I would tilt towards the Panthers' favor. This is a 1 p.m. game for a West Coast team traveling across the country. If it wasn't the opener, I'd have an issue.

If it wasn't the opener... I don't know when they're coming in. I mean, they might be there to help.

I think they might be. And that's the only reason why I'm not putting much stock into that. Because the recovery cycle is a lot different. The Rams didn't play any of their players of the preseason. That's a good point. So I'm not worried about the 1 o'clock kick as it relates to the opener.

But most times I would. Dez, what have you got? And take it to the house. I have shocking news on Nicki Minaj.

Shocking! That you probably want to know. It's pretty huge. So we'll get into that and take it to the house. All right. Take it to the house next.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-02-10 01:15:37 / 2023-02-10 01:38:07 / 23

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