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Kevin Harlan, Westwood One NFL Broadcaster

Zach Gelb Show / Zach Gelb
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January 19, 2023 6:43 pm

Kevin Harlan, Westwood One NFL Broadcaster

Zach Gelb Show / Zach Gelb

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January 19, 2023 6:43 pm

Kevin Harlan joined Zach to preview the NFL divisional round games and discuss if he would rather start a team with Josh Allen or Joe Burrow. 


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So get started and download the free Odyssey app today. We continue this exact Yelp show coast to coast on CBS Sports Radio. Let's go out to the hotline right now and welcome in one of the all-time greats. That, of course, is Kevin Harlan, who's going to be on the call this upcoming weekend, Saturday afternoon, for Westwood One with the Jacksonville Jaguars going to Arrowhead to do battle with the Kansas City Chiefs. Kevin, always an honor to have you on the show. How you been?

Zach, great to hear your voice. Doing well and looking forward to this divisional round of the NFL playoffs for sure. So that game that you have Saturday afternoon, we know Doug Peterson knows Andy Reid so well. Andy Reid knows Doug Peterson oh so well. Does it give one over the other maybe an advantage going into this game with how familiar they are?

I don't think so. You know, these coaches know so much about, you know, what other teams do. And they watch so much tape. And Reid said now, you know, certainly an extra week to get his team healthy and to prepare for a couple different teams. And certainly one of them was Doug's Jaguar team. And, yeah, I mean, they faced each other when Doug was with Philadelphia.

So they know each other well. You know, Peterson has had the time with Reid and knows exactly how they operate. It's something that I think is certainly a part of the equation, Zach, but nothing that I think can sway it either way. It's going to be clearly the things that each team does well. And I really think they try to stay in their own lane. They know what the other team can do. But I think right now it's like what do we do best to play at our best? And I think both coaches will take that road before they continue to, you know, make the team aware of tendencies and things the other teams do.

But it's mainly what do we do well and how can we continue to do that here for another week if you're Jacksonville and to get the playoffs underway if you're in Kansas City? We all know how great of a coach Andy Reid is. I still feel, though, as if we don't give enough credit, enough people nationally, Doug Peterson. We know the level he took the Eagles to and what he's doing here and here number one with the Jaguars is just so impressive.

Well, you've nailed it. You know, we saw it when I was broadcasting last week's Vikings Giants game. Just, you know, what Brian Dable has done for, for instance, Daniel Jones and watched his body of work, knew what he was inheriting when he became the head coach and left Buffalo and is thinking, you know, the strengths of Jones and really mix them into what the offense he thinks can do well. And that matching is something that I think is hard for a lot of coaches to do because they've got their own set way of doing things as opposed to Dable, who has said, let me adjust to what my quarterback can do and then I'll go forward. And Reid has done that very well. Now, the difference is Reid is dealing with a generational talent with Mahomes and I think Daniel Jones was in desperate need of somebody to really get the best out of what he can do well. And that's what Brian Dable has done. Jones last week was spectacular.

He has finished the season very, very strong. And we know that Reid does that with any quarterback he's had, whether it was initially Alex Smith in Kansas City or going back to the terrific quarterbacks he had in Philadelphia. He has always done what the quarterback is best and most comfortable at doing and then makes the offense kind of revolve around that. Both these coaches have been right on the money. Anderson has done a great job with Trevor Lawrence and that is probably one of the things he has gotten from Andy Reid, knowing exactly the kind of philosophy that Reid has and use that with Lawrence as he did up in Philadelphia when Doug was there with Foles, for instance. And he had to go in and take that team to a Super Bowl. But he tailored that offense so well to what Nick could do there. He's done the same thing with Trevor and Jacksonville for sure.

Kevin Harlan here with us. Most of the year I didn't really care about the loss of Tyreek Hill for Kansas City. You knew Mahomes was going to be able to find a way. But as you know, looking at the Chiefs the last few years, they've dug themselves in the postseason games in some big holes and had to climb out of it with the big playability of Kelsey who's still there and then Tyreek Hill who's not. This is the time where I'm going to wonder how much they actually miss Tyreek Hill, especially if they go down early on Saturday. Well, Hill was a game changer.

You're so right. The whole field tilted toward him. And then when it wasn't Hill, it was Kelsey who's going to the Hall of Fame someday.

So, you know, it was such a two-pronged attack that defenses sometimes had their heads swiveling around. They had no idea who they were supposed to cover, where they should be, how they should try to defend these two outliers that were just so good. One so fast that has great ball skills in Hill and one like Kelsey who can, you know, block like alignment and chip like alignment but then certainly find the open gaps with great hands and then the ability to run after the catch. You know, these are two guys that were just so different and so good.

Now, you've taken one away, Hill. The offense probably isn't as fast. They're hoping maybe the Hartman would have that, you know, that speed to kind of go in that category and run that lane.

It hasn't really taken hold. So, Juju Smith-Shuster has played well. Kelsey has had another 1,000-yard season and is at the very top of his game. And the Holmes has had to adjust a little bit, as has Reid. So they've used McKinnon out of the backfield a little bit more.

They've tried to diversify there a little bit and be a little bit more creative. And it's worked. Now, listen, all that puts stress on the offensive line, which I always think of these linemen, because Mahomes is always living for another play to develop. He'll extend the play with his movement. His arm, he knows, can always bail him out. That's hard on an offensive line, but that line has grown so accustomed to it.

The receivers, I think, are so in tune with what he wants to do, they'll change their routes midstream. And, of course, Kelsey is Kelsey. You've got a team that knows that they can come back. Now, that can also be a correction. I think you're alluding to that. Getting behind, that's a strenuous, exhausting experience, regardless of how talented you are. And the Chiefs are incredibly talented offensively.

But to continually go down that road, that can wear on you. You know, we saw it last week with Jacksonville. No one expected what they did against the Chargers, and it was miraculous, really. I mean, to what they did, you know, they kept their poise. They didn't get down. They never lost faith.

They kept their eyes straight ahead, and they showed what they can show. You know, teams go at Kansas City, and the Chiefs know they're going to get their best punch. So I think they're used to sometimes getting the best performance that opponent's going to give. And if they've got to fight from behind, so be it.

But that gets exhausting after a while. And the better opponent you play, whether it's the Bengals or the Bills or whoever they're going to face, should they beat the Jaguars, you know, there's not going to be a lot of room for error. Last year against the Bengals in Kansas City, they had the halftime lead, and it was sizable. And then, I don't know if they took their foot off the gas, exhaled, however you want to, you know, describe it. But Cincinnati, again, had such great faith in Burrow and those great wide receivers and Mixon last year was just incredible that they never lost faith in what they do.

And that's where that margin of error becomes slimmer, and you cannot exhale. Well, let's see how they do against Jacksonville this week. I think it's going to prove to be a very formidable team to play and beat, as all these teams seem to be in these playoffs.

There are no pushovers. You get to this stage. You've earned the right. And if you're hot, like the Jaguars are, Zach, you know, that's even more of an impetus to stay on your game and not let things stray too far away from your site. You've got to stay on it because Jacksonville has shown that they are now a red-hot team in this league with the way they finished the regular season, the way their quarterback has ended the regular season. And Lawrence, with his high quarterback rating, passer rating, this team is playing at a very high level and the best football of their season, for sure.

Kevin Harlan here with us. If you were starting a team tomorrow, who would you rather have that quarterback, Joe Burrow or Josh Allen, Kevin? Well, I like Burrow, and I guess I tended to like him just because the running of guys like Lamar Jackson and Josh Allen, and I'm even going to put Daniel Jones now because this has been something, it's been his gateway here for the last handful of weeks.

You know, those guys are always in harm's way. Burrow will stick in that pocket, it seems, a little bit longer, hangs in there a little bit tougher, and his body of work from his last year at LSU, Zach, to what he's done in Cincinnati is almost textbook. I mean, it's been just remarkable for where he was drafted, the kind of credentials he was bringing into the NFL, and then how he has responded to me is, you know, and he's a leader, he is well-liked, as those other guys are, but he will stand in that pocket and rely on that position, not that he can't run, but a little bit longer than the others, who know they've got, you know, this gift of running and use it.

I just wonder the longevity, though, of something like that. So even though Burrow has been out with some injuries in his past, a blown knee is rookie year, and he takes his shots, Burrow to me seems like a pretty attractive candidate to begin a franchise with a quarterback. So you had the Giants last week in what was a great game up against the Vikings.

Kevin Harlan is here with us now. They're going to see the Eagles for a third time in what's going to be a raucous atmosphere in South Philadelphia. Do you think the Giants can continue to keep this magic and this wonderful season alive, or does it end coming up on Saturday night? Well, they have no pressure on them. Jacksonville has no pressure on them. They have not an ounce of worry or concern or pressure on them.

They're playing with house money. And we use that loosely, but in the case of those two teams, they are. No one really would have thought they'd make it to the divisional round, and here they are. Going on the road and winning against the 13-win Viking team that was 8-1 at home and plays their best football at home and has come back at home regardless of how far they're down, they won.

The Giants did. So they've proven a lot to me. I had them late in the season for CBS against the Colts when they had to win to get in the playoffs, and that day they were almost flawless, and they were virtually flawless against the Vikings, again, in the wild card round last week. I love the temperament of the team. They've got an elite left tackle. They've got an elite running back.

Their quarterback is playing within his game plan. They have three reliable receivers who are basically brand new since midseason. They're relying on a rookie, and he has answered a tight end, and they've got some wonderful parts in their defense, including, you know, their all-world Dexter Lawrence in the middle of that defensive line.

I really like them. I think Landon Collins, and now they're getting McKinney back a couple weeks ago, those have been two nice additions here at the last half of this season, last quarter of this season, for the Giants. They seem to be building momentum. I think Wink Martindale, their defensive coordinator, knows exactly what he's got and is not afraid to dig deep inside his bag and figure out something new.

He called, I thought, a great defensive game plan against the Vikings this past weekend, and we talked about Dabel earlier and what he's done with Jones and constructed the offense, and Mike Kafka has been calling great plays. I have a real belief in the Giants. Nothing would surprise me in this game whatsoever. We really don't have the complete, full disclosure on the shoulder of Hertz. They may say he's ready.

He may say he's fine. You just never know until you get in the heat of the game, until he takes a couple hits. And listen, they're the team to beat, and everyone's talking about a San Francisco-Philadelphia NFC championship game, and I don't think they're far off, but the Giants will not go down easy at all. But nothing would surprise me in the Eagle-Giant game this weekend.

Nothing. And I also think, Kevin, and I usually never trust what I call the drama Dallas Chokin' Cowboys, but I think the Cowboys are very much alive up against what is a great Diners team. Well, we'll find out what this young quarterback in San Francisco, Zach, is all about. There's no doubt that the Cowboys gained incredible confidence with their win in Tampa Bay, even though the Buccaneers clearly from top to bottom were not probably worthy of that position out of a weak division. But there was Brady, and you're playing on the road, and you just never know. But they answered that.

They checked that box. So now in kind of a short week with travel, they go out to the West Coast, and they're going to play against the Diners who have, it seems like, every box checked. Defensively as good a defense overall from tip to tail that you'll find. Offensively they've got weapons everywhere you look. The McCaffrey deal at mid-season was terrific, and the quarterback has not failed. The quarterback has stayed in his lane, and he has done well.

You just wonder, when will it run out, or will it run out? He is redefining how they thought that position would look in San Francisco. And you've got, I think, one of the best play callers in their head coach, Shanahan, at the controls. So that's going to be very difficult for the Cowboys. But when you win on the road, and when you stay in routine, and again have to play with all the things of going away from home, which the Cowboys will do again this weekend, that's pretty intriguing, isn't it? That's a very interesting game. Perhaps the most interesting of all the games this weekend. The Bengals and Bills clearly has an AFC championship feel about it. But you've got to include Kansas City in that. But these two teams, Dallas and San Francisco, to me seem to be, this really has so many different ways it can go.

I can't wait to watch it. On the way out with Kevin Harlan, the future of the two elder statesmen in the NFL at the quarterback position. Brady, do you think he's back next year? And how about Aaron Rodgers, will he be back in Green Bay? Well, I think Rodgers will be, and something tells me Brady's going to be back, but I'm not sure if it's with the Buccaneers. But the Packers want Rodgers back.

He was dealt a shorthand. He did not have anything close to what he needs to operate at wide receiver. I mean, even just under ordinary circumstances, like if you just took a middling receiving corps, I mean, I don't even know if the Packers as a group approached that, quite frankly. And that's what Rodgers, two rookies, and just not a lot of flash. And all he needs is one, because he'll make the others good and they'll get good. But if you can just take some unwanted attention off of just ordinary receivers or young receivers who have yet to reach the potential, that was what Rodgers was facing all the time.

And I just didn't think he had a full hand to play in his card game. They'll have another year under him. I'd like to believe the Packers are going to go after some free agent receiver and try to rectify that position. He deserves it. Rodgers deserves more talent at that position. He did not have it this year. And they probably thought that he could make these receivers better than they were.

But it's got to be a two-way street. And they were spoiled with Devontae Adams. And they've had other receivers that were good secondary guys. But when you get in that main role, man, it changes. It changes when you go from assistant coach to head coach. It changes when you go from number two receiver to number one. You're facing the number one cornerback.

You're facing a lot of eyes on you. And then when you go down the list, you've got inexperienced and unfulfilled guys trying to go in there and work. And Rodgers was dealt that hand in a lot of ways. Even though he had very good running backs, I just didn't think it was right. But I think he still has, you know, one hope for one more hard, good run. And I think he's coming back. And as for Brady, I think he still wants to play.

Some of his passes that you saw the other night were terrific. I just, you know, we saw it today that the offensive coordinator was let go in Tampa Bay. You see Brady working with a new guy. I don't know. A couple teams could go in there and look at him. Maybe Vegas. Maybe Miami.

Who knows? But I do think both are coming back, yes. Kevin Harlan, appreciate the time as always. Thanks so much. Have a great call tonight and also coming up this weekend. Thank you, Zach.

Always fun. Thank you, my friend. Thank you, guys. Thank you, guys. Thank you.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-01-19 20:09:09 / 2023-01-19 20:17:02 / 8

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