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REShow: Max Starks - Hour 2

The Rich Eisen Show / Rich Eisen
The Truth Network Radio
August 11, 2022 3:10 pm

REShow: Max Starks - Hour 2

The Rich Eisen Show / Rich Eisen

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August 11, 2022 3:10 pm

2-time Super Bowl champion and current Steelers sideline reporter Max Starks tells guest host Ryan Leaf why Mitchell Trubisky has the early lead over Mason Rudolph and rookie Kenny Pickett in Pittsburgh’s QB competition, what Mike Tomlin’s expectations are for his team this season in what should be a very competitive AFC North against the Ravens, Bengals and Browns, how he reacted to the Heinze Field name change to Acrisure Stadium, how the Rooney family’s ownership has been able to maintain nearly a half-century of consistent winning and more.

Ryan and the guys discuss their sports fandom and how geography and parents play a huge rule on which teams we root for, and debate how much stock NFL fans should put in those great and not-so-great Twitter videos of their favorite teams’ training camp practices and scrimmages.

Ryan revisits his 2021 NFL Draft breakdown where he thoroughly hammered the Bengals for taking WR Ja’Marr Chase over OT Penei Sewell with their 1st round pick.

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That's 877-ASK-DELL to save up to 48% on our latest technology. Host of the Fantasy Footballers Podcast, Andy Holloway. Coming up, two-time Super Bowl Champion, Max Starks. Tampa Bay Times Bucks Beat Writer, Rick Stroud.

Plus, Florida State Head Coach, Mike Norvell. And now, sitting in for Rich, it's Ryan Leaf. Welcome back everybody to the Rich Eyes and Show. Ryan Leaf here filling in for Rich alongside T.J. Jefferson, Michael Del Tufo, Chris Brockman.

Like to bring in our next guest. Big fan of his. Worked together a bit with him, but really admire his run as a two-time Super Bowl Champion with the Pittsburgh Steelers. My team growing up, protecting Big Ben Roethlisberger during his tenure there.

Now, an analyst for Sirius XM, as well as their sideline reporter for the Pittsburgh Steelers. Welcome to the show, Max Starks. Max, welcome to the show, buddy. How you doing? I'm doing good, Ryan. And as always, good to be back on the airwaves, Rich Bud.

Yeah, it is fun to be with you two. So, Mike Tomlin steps to the mic today and announces that Mitchell Trubisky, who was signed in the offseason, is going to get the first preseason start. I know this doesn't necessarily mean anything, but how are you reading the tea leaves there? And what have you seen in practice with this quarterback competition? Well, Mr. Biscay has obviously earned the right to be the starter for a Saturday's game against the Seahawks, and he's taken the lion's share of the number one in drills. So, no surprise there, and the depth chart dictated that, even though Mike Tomlin will tell you.

The only reason I gave you a depth chart is because the league mandated that I gave you a depth chart. But for all intents and purposes, Mr. Biscay has done those things. He's gotten progressively better from the start of camp to where we're at today.

Now, this afternoon, in about a half an hour to 45 minutes from now, they're going to step on the field and have another padded practice, another competitive practice before the game. And Mitch has just steadily been better. You can see where the decision-making and the feel for the wide receiver and where he can put the ball for those wide receivers to go out there and make a competitive catch and work down the field.

He's doing a better job of that. Mason Rudolph, you know, it's funny, he's been in this system. He has a year leg up on Mitch, but he's been actually the most accurate passer in this offense. It's just, I think, with the athleticism of what Matt Kenseth is trying to do, Mitch has shined in those moments a lot of rollouts, off-platform type of throws on the run. He's excelled at that, but when it comes to pure just passing from the pocket, I mean, Mason's been that better quarterback.

I think Kenny Pickett is coming along. I think he had his best day yesterday in practice as far as passing and the relationship with the receivers. But you can see there's still some time that's needed.

So for this competition, I mean, it's a pretty good competition. I think it really comes down to 10 and 2, which is Mitch and Mason Rudolph. As far as who's going to take those starting dudes, I think Kenny Pickett is a good guy that throws a beautiful fade ball. He has some great decisions that he's making, but it's still coming a little bit slower than I'm sure the coaches would like. And especially when you're talking about working with a third-team offensive line, it gets a little tough. And I think he's done a good job handling that.

He does better when he's with the twos. But I think right now it's a two-horse race in that competition. In that aspect for the coaching staff and maybe the organization, would they rather have Kenny Pickett kind of develop this season rather than really kind of be pushing one of those two others for a real starting role because of what it may look like as a rookie? What's the team's position around where Kenny Pickett drafted in the first round sit this season?

Well, I think if you ask coaches versus the fans, you'll get two completely different answers. The fans want Kenny Pickett, right? He's the native son. He's the guy that literally was on the right side of the building, moving to the left side of the building because the Panthers and the Steelers all traded at the same complex. But when you look at it, I think you'd rather have Kenny be a guy who can watch. I think you think of, like, Philip Rivers, right? You think of Aaron Rodgers.

You think of a lot of quarterbacks who sat four-year and then gone on to just have tremendous courage. I think from that perspective, you would rather have Kenny sit. Now, Ben Roethlisberger was going to sit, but necessity and injuries pushed him to the starting role.

I think they like the same thing. I don't think they want to come out and name him a week-one starter because then what's the point of bringing in Mr. Biskey? You know, what's the point in re-signing Mason Rudolph if the rookie's going to come in and just blow everybody out the water? So I think it's one of those things where it's a process, it's a maturation, and I think they would rather see him sit for a year and let the other two duke it out and lead the helm for a year and then come next year training camp.

Then we make that transition to really giving Kenny a sense of, you know, he's going into a position more mature, ready to take the reins, and it's a team that's also ready to receive him. So this is the first, we're talking to Max Starks, Steelers sideline reporter, two-time Super Bowl champion, offensive lineman for the Pittsburgh Steelers. This is the first camp, right, in a long, long time that Ben Roethlisberger hasn't been at the helm at the quarterback position. What's the leadership qualities he had, all of the things that go into it to have stability at the quarterback position.

What's it been like? Have guys on the defensive side of the football, have others have to step up? What's it been like without Big Ben not there this year for camp? Well, I think it's clear that you're missing kind of the true quarterback leader on the squad, right, a guy that when you could look to offense or defense, right, defense would look to Ben when they needed help or they're in a pinch, and Ben would say, you know what, let's throw it on my back, let's go ahead and let's go out and battle, we need to help our defense out. I think now you're looking at it and it becomes more of leadership by committee because, you know, Cam Hayward, T.J. Watt, they've got the defense on lock. Minka is another leader on that defense.

So you have the triangle of leadership on the defensive side of the ball. But when you get to offense, offense is a lot younger crew. Now, there's some veterans on this squad. When you look at James Daniel and Mason Copeland, those guys were brought over in free agency. Your wide receiving corps, you know, you're looking to guys like Chase Claypool, like Deontay Johnson, who are those unequivocal leaders in that room because they've been here the longest, but you don't see multiple numbers in years behind them. This isn't like seven, eight-year receivers. And then you look in the running back room. I mean, Najee Harris is a clear clubhouse leader at the running back position, but he was a rookie this time last year.

Pat Fryer moved for all intents and purposes. He was a rookie last year. So when you're looking around, it's going to turn to Mitch Trubisky, but Mitch has to gain the trust of the team. And you know that, Ryan. As a quarterback, you have to be able to step in that huddle and get that confidence from them, and he's earning it.

And I think he'll earn that first strike come Saturday when he starts out with the 1s as they go into Acresher Stadium. But at the same time, there isn't a clear guy that's like the standout that's been here for a while. So I think that void is there. And also that trust, right?

Trust that Ben Roethlisberger can bring you back late in the game. You know, we don't have that yet. We don't have that sense because we haven't done it yet. They haven't really had that practice of going through a game, being down, and looking to a guy like 7 to come and pull you out of the fire when things get tight.

But they will develop it. But right now, that's where we're looking at. It's more of a committee and guys kind of leaning on each other and having a collective voice versus one person speaking for the team. You could argue that the AFC North is one of the most competitive divisions in all of football, right up there with the AFC West this season. And normally, it's been really Pittsburgh and Baltimore.

But Cleveland over the last few years and Cincinnati, of course, after last year have reemerged in this conversation, right? And probably one of the most unknown situations is what happens in Pittsburgh. What are the expectations for this team?

Mike Tomlin, of course, never having a losing season as a head coach in Pittsburgh. What are the expectations for this team heading into this preseason? Well, I think the expectation is to take a step forward. That's the first thing. The first step is at this point in the year in preseason, it's not a team yet. It's a bunch of guys trying to become a team.

You have 90 trying to become 53. So the biggest thing is taking a step forward. You have an opportunity, not wasting that opportunity, to shine bright on the national stage when this game is televised. You get to go and do it against somebody that you don't have to walk in the locker room or the dorm room afterwards and explain yourself about why you got hit.

I think this is that first opportunity. But I think for the Steelers as a whole, you're looking globally at what the expectation level is. The expectation level is to go out there and compete and be competitive this year. Just because seven is not a quarterback, you have a great defense who's coming back and really resurging. Last year was a down year from obviously the rushing yards per game given up. They were last in the league. But you also know there was injuries and everything else.

That group looks healthier. It's still five years in a row leading the league in facts year in and year out. So we know they can press when you get teams in the passing situation. The biggest question mark is going to be that offense. Can you get off to a fast start? Last year, 37 first quarter points, Ryan, in 17 games.

37 total. If not once, that puts your defense at a very stressful situation. So the biggest thing that's going to come out, prove that you can get off to a fast start. Prove that this Matt Cannon offense is explosive and it can put points on the board. That's going to be the first thing. That's the first step that they really want to take. And then for the defense, it's shoring up that run defense, showing that a team like Seattle who's coming in committed to running the ball, can you stop them from running the football?

Those are the first two things I'm looking for this Saturday. We're talking with Max Starks here on the Mercedes-Benz phone line, two-time Super Bowl champion with the Pittsburgh Steelers. An offseason in which something very near and dear to your heart, the name of the stadium that you played your entire career in, gets a new facelift. There was kind of a viral response to it. It is part of what the business world is now, but what was your takeaway when the change went away from Heinz Field? I had the same reaction as a lot of fans.

I was like, what? What do you mean it's not Heinz Field anymore? What is AccraSure?

I don't even know what AccraSure is. Why are they coming in and ruining a Pittsburgh tradition? Because you had the Heinz Ketchup Factory that's literally right on the north side, the same side as the stadium. You still see the smoke stacks from the factory still standing, and now it's like Lofts and everything else. But that's just as Pittsburgh as it gets.

So to see the ketchup bottles being lowered, I watched the video of them being lowered from the end zone because obviously when you hit the Heinz red zone, the ketchup bottles tilt, then they pour into the screen and it's a cool moment. But now for it to be AccraSure, that's the growth and that's where we are from the business side of the NFL. If there's an opportunity for these organizations to make money, to continue to build their brand, when you see the Denver Broncos going for the exorbitant amount of money for billions of dollars, you have to wonder, okay, well, what can we do to maximize our profits as well so that we can stay viable and continue to grow this game and also grow the arm of the NFL as far as their philanthropic efforts and interests as well as just growing this game.

Internationally, you've got to build the war chest before you want to go out and conquer across the ocean. So I think that's just kind of the nature of what it is. It's a natural thing. We'll get used to saying AccraSure Stadium instead of Heinz Field over time, but it's one of those things where you see a little bit of the nostalgia kind of go away and it becomes something new. And hopefully you could build a new tradition for whatever quarterback it is.

Pickett, Trubisky, Rudolph. Now you can start building your own name. Ben had all the Heinz Field records. Now see if you can get some AccraSure Stadium records. I like it.

I like it. You talk about legacy and history, right? I grew up a Pittsburgh Steelers fan, right? Growing up in Montana, we didn't have a pro team anywhere. So we had relatives in Pittsburgh, and they would send along the iron beer cans with the team picture on it. And I loved the black and yellow and Terry Bradshaw, and I've watched it over time. And what's been so impressive about this organization, and you can speak firsthand to this, is what the Rooney family has been able to do, right? Three head coaches in the timeframe I've been alive and been a Steelers fan. The consistency, the winning, the pedigree, and the tradition is unparalleled, I believe, in this league. Speak to that a little bit, what the Rooney family has done, and the tradition and history of the Pittsburgh Steelers. Well, we all know the year is 1970, really. You have the AFL-NFL merger, but you have something else. You have this influx of talent.

A guy by the name of Joe Green gets drafted. And from that point forward, we know that's the origin of what we know the Steelers to be. A new standard was set. We can go back into the 60s and the 50s and the 40s. Of course, they were founded in 1933. But as the Checkered passed, there was a year they formed during World War II where they formed with Philadelphia and became the Stegels. There's a lot of history, but 70 is a defining moment where you hire Chuck Knoll the year before, and then he is his first draft class.

And then we know what the 70s are. That is the Steelers decade. When you're talking about decades for NFL teams, that was the Steelers unequivocally. And from there, a standard was set. And the standard was we're going to be tougher than everybody else out there. We're going to play a physical brand of football, and that has transcended. That's one of the things that when we think about the Steelers, whether it's a Steelers fan or not, you think of Pittsburgh, you automatically go, oh, that's going to be a rough game.

That could be a physical altercation. When you step in that stadium or when they come into ours and you knew you were going to feel it the next week, and I think that's kind of what's permeated. It started with the steel curtain and it's carried on today, and that's one of the things I think about and what makes it special, and it starts with the steadiness at the top. The Rooney name has been associated with leading this franchise since its inception. And to be passed down from father to son and to now father to son, again, it's something that you don't take for granted. This is my first year coming back for training camp. I was hired last year to come in on the sideline duties when the great Tunch Ilkin passed away, and I was asked if I could come in and not replace, but simply come in and assist with the broadcast because you can't replace Tunch. But being around the guys, being here at St. Vincent's, before COVID, 54 straight years where training camp was held here in La Trobe, PA, at St. Vincent's College. So every Hall of Famer that we know in the modern era has started here on those same exact fields that we practice on today, and that's the proving ground, right?

That's the forge before you can make steel. You come out here to become a team that then goes down to Pittsburgh and performs on every Sunday and every other football day, and I think that's an important thing. But the Rooney's are here. You see them every day. Mr. Rooney's in the lunchroom.

I just saw him earlier. And you see everybody around this organization just embrace it. Coach Tomlin, we had a conversation with him in the dorms.

Everybody's available, and everybody's growing, and I think that's something that we don't get in a lot of places. I had the unfortunate opportunity to go to San Diego, and I went to St. Louis, and it was different. And now those teams are both in L.A., which is crazy. Those two sites are no longer existent, but it's a different sense, and you see when it's an older organization that's been passed down through the history of the NFL and over five decades-plus of security, it makes it crazy to think three head coaches. How many coaches have the Browns gone through in the last six years? And if you think of the Steelers, since 1970, they've only had three total head coaches, and the current one is on his 16th season, and he's never had a losing season to this point.

He has something to the fifth, and that's just tremendous. All of them have Super Bowl victories. All three of those coaches have Super Bowl victories under their belt, and it just goes to show that the standard that they've created is just something that, you know, when you get here, you're somewhere special. Well, I know why I've loved them for so long, and this will be another great year for me to follow my team. I'm so happy that you're a part of it this year, and you'll be my first call when I announce some insight on what's going on there in Pittsburgh.

Max Starks, everybody. Thanks for joining us, buddy. Man, thanks for having me, Ryan.

Take care. Yes, sir. Alrighty, Max Starks, former two-time Super Bowl champion there in Pittsburgh, now their sideline reporter.

This interests me. You know, you talk about T.J. and his love for the Dallas Cowboys, you know, the Patriots on your end, Chris Brockman. Yep. Del Tufo, what's your favorite football team? The Rams. The Rams? Yeah, I had never had a team, so I'm the Rams. You're the Rams. I took the Rams over when I paid enough for my season tickets. Okay. So I'm a Rams guy now.

Okay. And I'm a Pittsburgh Steelers fan. So now we know the origin of how you become a fan.

It's about money. Yeah. Not a true fan. Not a true fan. T.J., tell me how Dallas became your team. Well, you know, I grew up in the middle of Pennsylvania, so I was surrounded by Steelers fans.

My old family, Steeler country. But one of my earliest memories, and I don't remember the game, I just remember being a baby probably sitting in front of the TV. I can remember Jackie Smith dropping the touchdown pass in, like, Super Bowl, let's say, 12 or something.

I don't, you know, obviously I had to go back when I was older. And we watched it. But I think it was really Tony Dorsett.

I kind of figured that out. I knew Tony Dorsett had gone to Pitt and then he became a cowboy. And I, like, for whatever reason, like I said, I don't even remember Tony Dorsett from Pitt, but I just remember it's me and my mom tried to piece it together once that she was like, you liked him.

He played for the Cowboys. And so, you know, but I grew up around the Steelers. Like I said, Steeler country, Steelers fans. I didn't dislike the Steelers. I just didn't like Steeler fans because I was surrounded by them, you know. Maybe that, I mean, I found out pretty quickly about Steelers fans, too. Passionate. Yeah, passionate. And they found out that I was a Steelers fan and now they're like, they're not happy with me, that I'm a Steelers fan. They're like, we don't want you part of this.

I'll rain down my judgment and we'll move forward. This is recent? Yeah. Yeah, because I don't think a lot of people knew I was a Steelers fan because I didn't talk about it, right, until I started doing radio and things like that. Yeah, I didn't know until like last year you brought it up. Yeah, yeah. They're not happy that I'm a Steelers fan.

We don't need you. You've been a Steeler fan longer than most of them. Probably. Probably. Time to check themselves. Who knows?

Who knows? All right, Mr. Brockman, why? Why the Patriots?

When did that become and when did that happen? Are you a fan when they start winning championships or what? Tell me.

Well, no, not really. Look, my dad and my mom's family are from Pennsylvania, so my dad's actually a diehard Steelers fan. So, you know, I was fine with the Steelers back in the day. And then I was on the West Coast as a kid, so I liked watching the 49ers.

But then we moved to Maine when I was 12, so 1993, Drew Bledsoe gets drafted, so I was kind of on board with the Patriots starting back then. Good time to get it, a Washington State quarterback coming to the helm. That's right.

Yeah. He's a pretty good one. I used to have a Drew Bledsoe poster in my room when I was at Washington State. It was a poster they made that had, like, 10 different pictures of him. It said, 10 reasons why Drew Bledsoe will kick your butt.

And it showed him making throws, and it showed him lifting weights and doing things like that. That's awesome. Like, that was, you know, he was definitely a hero of mine. Yeah, so I was, like, 9 or 10. I liked the West. You know, I was a big Oakland A's fan. I loved Jose Conseco. And then when we moved to Maine, I just kind of was like, I adopted all the Boston teams. Yeah, it's funny to hear some of these stories around, you know, making shifts and changes. Growing up in Pittsburgh, in the Pennsylvania area, you on the West Coast. Like, for me, like, there was nothing else.

Right? There was the University of Montana, and then there was Montana State University. Those are the two. Either you were a Grizz or you were a Bobcat. My dad had gone to Montana State. My dad had taken me to games. I loved the colors the Bobcats wore.

They were, like, blue and gold. And there was a guy named Kelly Bradley, who was a quarterback, and they went on and won a national championship in, like, 1984, I believe. And Dave Arnold was the head coach, who would go on to recruit me to Miami.

I mean, there were so many ties into this. And I fell in love with the Bobcats. So they were my college team, right? They were my college team.

And then you grow up and grow older, and you start to realize that, you know, you're going to get a chance to go to college somewhere to play a sport. But the professional aspect of all those things, like, in Montana, there was nothing. So there was, TBS and WGN were on TV in that state. Braves or Cubs.

So I was either going to be a Braves or Cubs fan, and I wasn't, I don't know why. I didn't, you know, fall on the side of Sarah Tiana. Right. But I fell in love with Ryan Sandberg. Of course.

Right? Who wouldn't? I would play shortstop for the Cubs in turn two with Ryan Sandberg, me and the Sandman. Sean Dunstan did a pretty good job. All right.

We'll give him that. The Hawk. Andre Dawson. That was Andre Dawson. Yes.

Yes. Mark Grace. Greg Maddox, when he started out. Right? He's really a Cub.

He's not a brave Sarah Tiana, if you're listening to this. All right. And so those, and the Pittsburgh Steelers were my football team. You know, I think my dad tried to get me into the Vikings. My dad's from, he was a Vikings Twins fan. Like, you know, I remember the Kirby Puckett, Kent Herbeck days in the Homer Hankies and all that stuff. So I mean, I grew up all that. My dad was a Boston Celtics fan.

Okay. I grew up a Los Angeles Lakers fan because I wanted to kind of go against my dad in that I ultimately became a Seattle Supersonics fan because of Gary Payton and that crew. And that was a little bit later. So those are some shifts and changes. But early on, I was like diehard Cubs Steelers.

Those were the two that were in the initial ones and haven't changed. So it's been a good ride with some. It's worked out.

Tough ride with the other, right? But you finally got the Cubs ring. But I told you about that, how it was just a miserable watching experience.

Oh, of course. I thought they were going to blow it. It was going to end. And I just had no faith. And game seven, I like was screaming and yelling.

And my wife looked at me like, who am I with? It's like, TJ, you expect bad things to happen to the Mets because you're just conditioned to kind of feel that way. No, it's not the Mets necessarily, more so the Clippers. I'm conditioned to feel like bad things. But the Mets fans that I have in my life, they just expect the Mets to blow it.

Like, they're still not buying. Oh, I'm way beyond that because I'm telling you, I'm feeling something I haven't felt since like 15. This team is.

TJ's got a tingle. This team is different, man. This is not the same Mets squad. And by the way, we've never been able to roll out Scherzer and DeGrom back to back. So this is here's another thing I want to talk to you about MVP odds at some point, because I think it's time that we put some respect on Pete Alonzo's name for National League MVP.

The way he's carrying this, helping to carry this squad. I know Goldschmidt's favored right right now. But Pete Alonzo is just bawling. You've got to like yourself, Pete Alonzo. I'm interested.

He's behind Austin Riley and Freddie Freeman, too. I'm interested. And I'll understand that. We've been the best record in the league, you know, now that the Dodgers have ever taken them, pretty much the whole year.

Like, put some respect on the polar bear, Ryan. Come on. Freddie Freeman's been amazing. But yeah, I feel you. I'm excited to get out east and check these games out, because I think I'm going to take the rest of the year when I get out there and look into a little Mets. It's a good year to start. I'll let you on the bandwagon, bro. All right. I appreciate that.

TJ's going to let me on the bandwagon. All right. When we come back. Yeah, we've got to go to break, but we've got Jets news when we come back. All right. We've got some Jets news when we come back.

Here on the Rich Eisen Show, I'm Ryan Lee filling in for Rich. We'll be right back. Does your antiperspirant keep you dry all day? Dove Men Plus Care Dry Spray goes on instantly dry for a cleaner feel and offers 48 hours sweat and odor protection.

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Clean feel all day. Well, welcome back, everybody, to the Rich Eisen Show. Ryan Lee filling in for Rich here.

That was awesome to see Paul Rudd talking about his season. That's something that'd be fun for me to do. I can do that, too, from that team. The numbers. The numbers and crazy. That team, me and Joe Green, Jack Ham, Jack Lambert, Rocky Blyer, Mel Blount, all those guys on the offensive side. When I really started getting into the Steelers, though, at the end of that run, when I remember, and when he said number 83, for me, number 83 was Louis Lips. Yeah, right. Yeah.

Louis Lips, sink ships, as I remember how it went. And Mark Malone was the quarterback after Bobby Brister. Those were kind of my... I went through some dark days there for a little bit. Yeah. Before Cower got in there at the end of the Chuck Noel era.

Alongside TJ Jefferson, Michael Del Tufo, Chris Brockman. You got some breaking news out of New York around the Mackay-Becton situation. Yeah, kind of what... Wait, we got a breaking news drop, Mike?

I don't know. Breaking news. Oh, man. Production value, Mike. Well done.

Well done, Mike. Yeah, we kind of thought this earlier in the week when Mackay-Becton went down with a knee injury, kind of ending his season for the second year in a row. Five-time Pro Bowl tackle Dwayne Brown signing with the Jets, so he's gonna take over at that left tackle spot to protect Zach Wilson.

As disappointed as Jets fans were this week when this news came, you have to feel a little bit lifted up with the great All-Pro Dwayne Brown now making an appearance. Now, he's aged, right? I mean, he's older. He played all 17 games a year ago, right? Yeah, right.

So, you know, let's see. But, I mean, if you're a Jets fan, you've got to feel pretty good about who's stepping in to take on this role, right? Two-year deal for Dwayne Brown. Is it meaningful that we're this far along in camp, that he's coming in, learning the offense, or is this something as a right tackle, he's got a pretty good hold on everything and is gonna make it a pretty seamless transition? Yeah, I mean, I think a guy who's had the type of career that he's had, long career, been super, super high level on several teams. He's able to come in there, plug and play.

He's a mercenary. He knows what to do. He's gonna protect Zach Wilson at all costs and it's go time. So, that's good news for the Jets because obviously losing to Kai Bector, that's a pretty big, it's a pretty big piece to fall there and then we're able to get Dwayne Brown to fill in. I mean, Jets fans got to feel good about that today, even though... Yeah, I think they do for as low as they may have felt when the news broke a couple days ago when we were here.

They're hearing this news. I mean, this was always something on the horizon when Dwayne Brown was at the green and white game the other day. Yeah, he had been there all week kind of visiting the team.

So, it kind of felt like something was imminent and they were able to get it done for a two year deal. So, Zach Wilson had a nice clip go viral yesterday. Did you guys see that? The sidearm pass, kind of Mahomes looking throw that he hit. Was it Elijah Moore that he hit? I'm not sure who he hit. But yeah, it looked pretty good.

Nice, nice. Opposite of the Tua clip that went viral yesterday. Of him throwing like a 40 yard out with a wobbling duck with five yards to nobody. Though, I will say, he's looked incredibly good against the Bucks defense in the red zone. Tua has. Tua has. But also, Skylar Thompson.

So, I don't know whether you would... Skylar Thompson, the rookie quarterback out of Kansas State. He threw three touchdowns this morning, apparently. So, they've had their way with the Bucks. We'll see, I mean, am I correct in assuming that their joint practices leads into a preseason game between the two? Usually that's the case.

Let me just double check. Usually that's the case where teams will jointly practice together. Right before they play in a game. Right. And then they end up playing each other.

Yeah, Bucks and Dolphins play on Saturday. Okay. So, you know, you'd like to see it play out on the practice field and see... How much stock do you... I think it's awesome. I love it. The whole live tweeting and live video of these joint practices, of everything that's going on in training camp. Even like OTA is like, a guy went 11 for 13 but threw two picks. It's April.

I think that stuff is great. It's pretty much meaningless. But this time of year, how much stock are you taking into some of the seven-on-seven numbers that come out, the videos that we see, the clips that kind of go viral?

How much do they mean to you in the grand scheme of things? We're a month away from the season start. Right. There's no relevance in it for me because what's practice for? It's to try new things. It's to try things out. It's to learn and stuff like that. So I don't want just a new cycle over the entirety of training camp in a negative about something.

I want to see flashes and things like that and see that you're learning. You're not making maybe the same mistakes again because this is where the opportunities are for you to make those. But yeah, I don't take too much into consideration because defenses are going to be completely different once the season starts.

And I, better than anybody, can attest to that. My pre-season skills are, you know, they rank up there. If there's a Hall of Fame for the pre-season, I'm a different kind of bust in that thing. But when the regular season starts, right, it is defensive coordinators are amazing in that league. They are as good as you get in terms of how they prepare, especially for rookie quarterbacks, guys who are learning a new system, things like that. So you know, what you want hopefully from your defensive coordinator on your team is that they're giving them the hardest, most difficult looks to prepare for.

That's the defensive coordinator's job is to get their defense ready, of course, and then make your quarterback ready for what they're about to receive this season when the season kicks off. Yeah. So in that same vein, you know, we were kind of talking about yesterday about the Patriots. Like should me and other New England fans be freaking out about all the kind of daily tweets about the offensive struggling and this, that, and now Mac Jones and a lot of the starters are not playing tonight.

Like is that a big deal? Should we kind of freak out about that or, you know, we're still a month away and let's just give it time? Yeah, I think just we're still a month away, give it time, let them play some preseason games. Also, if Bill Belichick, who's arguably the greatest NFL coach ever, right, if he doesn't seem too concerned, right, if he's willing to keep these guys out because you got to keep them healthy, right, I think he might have a better understanding than any of us. I don't like the fact that it's been batted about and talked about all through camp so far. I will say this, once something happens and a stone starts rolling downhill and gathering moss, like, I mean, it becomes like a freight train sometimes.

Like then it's just hyperbole and it's just bash, bash, bash. I mean, last year at this time, Jamar Chase was the worst pick in the world because he couldn't hold onto the ball. That's right, remember that? Isn't that amazing, TJ?

Yeah, right? I totally forgot about that. Yeah, it was like, Jamar Chase can't catch. He can't catch, he's dropping passes, gloves, no gloves, hands, whatever, and then the dude's like the best. Plays in the last game of the season, you know. Offensive rookie of the year.

He took every ball to the house, it felt like last year, he's so good. Yeah, I mean, so let's, you know, let's just remember, if you're looking for anything, you know, and this is not just self-deprecation, but just, you know, just check out the Ryan Leaf stats in the preseason, alright? You know, I think we went, I want to say my rookie year, I think we went, maybe we went 4-0 in the preseason, you know? So I beat Steve Young, I beat Dan Marino. In the preseason? Oh yeah. That is amazing.

Oh, here we go, hold on a second, I'm just trying to look for these. I'm maybe not Dan Marino, I'm trying to think of who we played. Jake Plummer, Steve Young, Jake Plummer, where did we go on the road my rookie year? I think we went to, we were home against, that was during the regular season, though. We were, in the preseason, we were home against St. Louis, Todd Light, I remember Todd Light is a safety there, I think I ran a touchdown. Maybe Minnesota, maybe we went to Minnesota my rookie year, those may have been my four preseason games in 1998.

I can't find the stats. Well, I've had them hidden until one day when people are starting to think, when people are really kind of starting to, I don't remember Ryan Leaf as a football player, I just bring out the preseason stats then. You know, Chris, I was thinking about this yesterday, I was driving, right? I was thinking about you, Ryan, and something about, you know, you did your podcast bust, right? And people love to throw around a bus word to athletes who they don't feel, you know, their careers turned out the way it was expected. But no one ever really takes into consideration the amount of work that it took for you to get to that point. So there's a bunch of people out here, right, who might say, huge Marcus Russell, anyone who, you know, Greg Oden, people whose careers didn't pan out for various reasons, and they want to call them a bust, but not even giving credit to what it took to get to that point.

Like, you were better than 120% of the people, of anyone who ever used that word to describe you, right? All these guys who may not have turned out to be as great or as good as we thought they would be, you got to still give some type of respect to what it takes to get to that level. It's not easy. Playing quarterback is hard. Making a professional sport is hard.

To get to that point should be celebrated, and yet we always want to kind of knock people down the peg or two because it didn't turn out the way that we thought it was going to turn out. Yeah, it was. And I think for the longest time, I was beat over the head by it so much that I forgot to recognize that. You know how hard it is, Chris, to be the number two pick in the NFL draft, Doug? It wasn't number one. No, I'm just kidding.

Could have been. I'm just kidding. You know what I mean? You know how tough that is? The number two pick? Like come on.

No, I think there's been a... I think, first off, calling the podcast that I think is kind of ingenious. Yeah, it's a way to take ownership of that.

Take ownership of it too, but it's kind of like when Brian Bosworth back in the day, things started going sideways and he started selling the Bos sucks t-shirts outside the stadium and made a bunch of money off it, right? I never knew that. It's kind of like that.

And it's taken me time to figure that out, like yeah, yeah. I think most people are either... And I didn't realize this. Most people are either NFL fans or college football fans. It's rare for a real mixture of the two. I'm a unicorn in that. I mean, I love them both.

And I know about them both and I'm invested in both. But a lot of people are either NFL fans or college fans. So when my name is talked about, if you're an NFL fan, that dude is terrible. That dude doesn't know how to play quarterback. Like we were talking about watching Hard Knocks last night and the motivation factor of the head coach, right? A lot of the feedback from people were like, Ryan Leaf was the least motivated person ever, right?

And that's not true. But as an NFL fan, maybe they would look at that and go, oh, like the dude wasn't successful. It must've been all these things. Where if you're a college football fan, you're like, that dude may be one of the best quarterbacks who ever played college football. And so it's interesting to see the divide there and how you consume your football product.

And I think for the longest time, the only thing I identified with was his failed NFL quarterback. So I even bought into it, right? And I think it did a huge part of how it affected my mental state and where I went ultimately.

There was trauma probably behind it because I wanted to be successful. Of course. I mean, are you kidding me?

I wanted to be the best quarterback to ever play. Yeah, obviously. And I expected to be. Circumstances are what they are. When things got tough, I couldn't cut it.

And there aren't a lot of people that can't. But I did it at a very public level, right? I crashed and burned in front of everybody, and I was drafted along, arguably the greatest quarterback to ever play in Peyton Manning. And the way I crashed and burned, I think. And then what happened after my career, right?

The way I continued down that path. So I understand it. It's nonsense. If the word bust is a, if it's defined, the definition should read, individual had a ton of expectation, was drafted very high, and did not meet those expectations. I guess that's where you could define the word. But the word has become such a toxic word, right? They use it as a slight, like this is a punch to your gut. When in reality, it doesn't have that much meaning because a lot of expectation on me, of course, didn't live up to those expectations.

And therefore that word is attached. Doesn't mean I was a bad football player. Doesn't mean I didn't work hard. Doesn't mean that I wasn't interested in being great. I just didn't have the success that people assumed I would have.

So I get it. Mike just whispered in my ear there that the two road games that year, and how did I forget this, my rookie year, we went to Indianapolis and played Peyton. Oh, the preseason? We rocked him 33 to three, I think, or something like that. We beat the Rams at home. We beat the 49ers at home. And then we went on the road to Indianapolis and Minnesota. That was my rookie year. And I remember going to Minnesota now because my family has a bunch of relatives in Minnesota and I had so many people there. And so a little recap of the rookie preseason for Ryan Leaf here.

Bringing back sweet memories. All right. When we come back, I want to revisit some of our draft day analysis when I host this show and talk about it a little bit. All right? accountability, Ryan. On the Rich Eisen Show, I'm Ryan Leaf filling in for Rich. We'll be right back.

All right, everybody. Welcome back to the Rich Eisen Show. Ryan Leaf here filling in for Rich alongside TJ Jefferson, Michael Del Tufo, and Chris Brockman.

All right. So TJ brought an interesting idea to me a couple days ago. Looking back, I've hosted the draft day coverage here on the Rich Eisen Show over the last two years. And when some of the decisions were made at the time and whether or not I felt like that they were the right choices made, I think we pulled a few from two drafts ago around a few players that I thought that they may have made a bad choice. I wasn't big on the wide receivers. I'm willing to take a huge L here with the wide receivers because of where I saw the market go, where the market went this year. So if you can get one in the first round and get them on a rookie contract for that length of time, I'm all in.

We'll see if it works out in terms of the bag. But the running backs in the first round, I still don't get. Najee Harris was pretty darn good, guys. Really good. Really good.

Really good. But guess what? That team needed to build the offensive line.

Right? I feel like they could have found a running back later in the draft and been better up front. And that would have been different for this team, not only for the quarterback, but also running the football. I mean, Najee ran his head into the back of their backs a ton last year. He just... I mean, how many carries did he have? How many touches did he have? Like a mountain full. A lot. Hold on. I'll get you a number. Right?

So... He said he wants 500 this year, Ryan. He called in a few weeks ago. We were like, bro, you don't. No, you don't.

You really don't. He had 307 carries and 74 catches. So that's why. Quick math. 381 total touches last year.

Wow. Big number for a rookie. So I mean, investing a first round draft pick in that, it sounds good because of the amount of touches and the importance to the offense he was, whether that team would have had any success without him. That may be the difference maker and whether my analysis on that was, I just, I would not invest a first round pick in running backs.

That's just how I, as a general manager, go about their business. So let's throw those back up there again. I want to take a look at the Devonta Smith one. I thought he was, I thought he came along pretty well last year. He didn't have the impact. Let's say Jamar Chase and Jalen Waddle did, but they did get to the playoffs, right? They did do something that Miami wasn't able to do.

I like both of those players. I would argue this, and people can come back to me on the Jamar Chase one. If Penay Sewell was on the offensive line, does Aaron Donald get to the quarterback on the final play of the Super Bowl? If Penay Sewell's on the line, do they make the Super Bowl? That's the bigger question. If Jamar Chase isn't on that team last year.

Say no. I would argue that they wouldn't, right? So this is like pigeonholing one, picking one aspect of it. But would you rather have Penay Sewell and then whatever, or would you rather have Jamar Chase and then the way they rebuilt the offensive line this past offseason?

I think we'd all choose the latter. Yeah. With hindsight, seeing how great Jamar Chase is. And also they took a guard. They took Jackson Carmen in the second round with their second pick last year. So they did follow that up with a guard right after they took Chase. I agree, but I think as we've seen and see some of the wide receivers who got paid this year, Deebo Samuel and AJ Brown, guys that got picked in the second round, right?

Things like that. There could have been a wide receiver for Cincinnati in the second round, and they could have Penay Sewell in the first. And maybe Joe Burrow's the catalyst and all that. Not to take anything away from a jar of Chase, exceptional player.

Joe Burrow is the straw that stirs that drink for sure. But yeah, I have completely flipped my script on terms of where you go wide receiver in the first round now because of the rookie contract and what we saw this offseason in terms of what the market became. Like that, I can't believe the amount of money that's being spent on some of these wide receivers. So if you can find them in the first round, let's see again what Tennessee does, what Kansas City does, and what Green Bay does this year because they let the star receiver go for big money and went and tried to invest in the draft. So we'll see.

All right, when we come back, we're going to speak with Rick Shroud all about the Tampa Bay situation and Tom Brady and what's going on down in South Florida when we come back. Right. You know, another thing, you spoke about Najee and should the Steelers have gone offense. Well, he was the 24th pick. Another lineman or a lineman didn't get drafted until the 37th pick after him. So maybe they just simply put the best player available because that's a lot of picks between, you know, linemen here. So maybe they just, you know, nobody was worthy of that, that first round great.

Well, the first round is so interesting to me because of how important it's become. Right. So I think in that instance, with what they were going to be able to do with the running back position and how he contributed, I feel like they could have found that somewhere else. And what they needed was an offensive lineman to come in and bolster that offensive line.

So I'm still of the mindset. I'm really, as a fan, I'm really thrilled that we got Najee Harris and how great of a player he is. Right. That's big time for me. But the Travis Etienne pick, of course, I mean, Urban Meyer, they get Trevor Lawrence and Travis Etienne. I love Travis Etienne and apparently you're going to love him, too, for your dynasty fantasy.

Let's go. That was big on him last year. That was a huge loss for them last year where it could have went somewhere else in terms of, I mean, Urban Meyer and that team, they were not going to have success.

So you could probably chalk up all of last year's to a complete waste and where we go forward now. Right. And so, you know, you'd like to maybe have a player that will contribute down the line. And I think Travis Etienne is going to be that guy. I just don't know if you, I'm sure you could have got him in the second round, if you wanted to take the second, well, they had the first overall pick in the second round, too, right?

Yeah. Tyson Campbell. I mean, Javonte Williams was there so they could have perhaps... And we've heard about that and we talked to Andy earlier and he likes him in Denver, right? He thinks he can have a big year there as well. So exciting times around me being told I was wrong here on the Rich Eisen Show, which we love. You know, the thing is, Ryan, Rich's big thing is he went back and he corrected his don't trade for you on his take. And we're kind of big on accountability here and I know you're big on accountability. So when I came across that a few weeks ago, I was like, yeah, Ryan has to address this. Yeah. And he did. I knew you would.

You man up. We don't shy away from it. Do you know how many times I've been wrong in my analysis work over the last six years, guys?

13? More than I've been right. When we come back, Rick Stroud from the Tampa Bay Times is going to join us here on the Rich Eisen Show. For the real story behind some of wrestling's biggest moments, it's something to wrestle with Bruce Prichard and Conrad Thompson, too. All-time Hogan opponents, Macho Man's got to be in the conversation. Where's Andre for you? I've always said Andre was number one. Wow. Going back before Hulk Hogan was a babyface, Hulk and Andre were able to go in and headline at the New Orleans Superdome, at Shea Stadium in Japan. Wherever they went, that was an attraction. Something to wrestle with Bruce Prichard. Listen wherever you get your podcasts.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-02-06 19:28:49 / 2023-02-06 19:51:32 / 23

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