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KJ Wright, Former Seahawks Linebacker

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February 26, 2024 5:36 pm

KJ Wright, Former Seahawks Linebacker

Zach Gelb Show / Zach Gelb

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February 26, 2024 5:36 pm

Former Seahawks Linebacker joins Zach Gelb

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Dana Carvey and David Spade here. You might know our podcast, Fly on the Wall, featuring guests from across the entertainment industry. We decided to do a spinoff called Superfly, and it's fun. It's just two of us riffing on current events, pop culture, catching up, impressions. Joe, Trump's trying to be a dictator.

Yeah, he says, you know, bump on the tater tots. Joe, no. Listen to and follow Superfly on the Odyssey app or wherever you get your podcasts. To U.S. residents, 18 plus. Subject to official rules at

And 61524, void or prohibited. Alrighty, rocking and rolling now, we're number three of our radio program. That's right, it is the Zach Gelb show, coast to coast on CBS Sports Radio. We'll head out to the guest line right now, welcome in a Super Bowl champion.

He's a Pro Bowl linebacker, played most of his career with the Seattle Seahawks, and had it end up with the Las Vegas Raiders. That, of course, is KJ Wright from the KJ Wright All Day Show, who's kind enough to join us right now on CBS Sports Radio. I see you jamming out, KJ Tower rejoin music. What's going on? Doing well, Zach, man.

Back in my hometown of Olive Branch, Mississippi. Always a pleasure to hop on the show, man. Appreciate you.

Well, I appreciate you coming on. So, where are things at right now with the former great Seahawks defensive players and Russell Wilson, because I saw that you guys had that event for Coach Carroll when he basically got fired as the head coach of the team, even though they're moving his position, however they want to word it. And it seemed like getting everyone in the same room has created a little momentum of restoring this friendship. Is that fair to say?

Let's just say time heals all wounds. Let's just say that. It was so unfortunate during our time in Seattle that we compared who's the best. Is it the defense that's doing it? Is it Marshawn? Is it Russell Wilson?

Like, who gets the credit? And I truly believe that just got in our way of having the dynasty that we had, a lot of egos, all those alpha personalities. But you saw when Russell Wilson spoke on Brandon Marshall's podcast, he saw Shurn, Shurn smiled at him.

They was out there talking, hugging and kissing. And so it's really cool to see as we progress throughout our careers, as we progress into adulthood, let's just let bygones be bygones. We did some great stuff in Seattle, and it's definitely going to be legendary and unforgettable.

And so I like where we're at. The decision to not hand the football to Marshawn Lynch is what ruined you guys as a team. And we've been through this before.

You could never fracture what happened after that. But did it all ever regret, like, how if you didn't let ego get in the way, you guys were such a special team and such a good team, what it could have continued to have been? I'm telling you, we should have three Super Bowls.

We should have three to four Super Bowls. If you just make the right decision, you just hand the ball off. And when you didn't do that, a lot of fingers got pointed. It's your fault. It's your fault. You should have did this.

You should have did that. And when I said last time, we had like a dark gray cloud hovering over us for about five to six years, and it didn't quite leave until guys started leaving the building. That's a hard, hard lesson to learn. If anybody's ever in that position again in their careers, if they're coaching or being a gym, make sure you run the dang football, and life will be good. KJ Wright here with us.

What was your impressions? I know you want to DQ Dan Quinn to be the next head coach. That's not the way that it did go down with him, winded up with the commanders. What about Mike McDonald with the Seahawks? Your initial reaction was one. That's another good option.

No, no, that's a great option that the Seattle Seahawks did. You got a guy that's young, a guy that's really creating a new trend with this dominating multiple defense that he has. Not a chance to meet him last week. I stopped by the V-Mac last week, got a chance to meet him. And I like his energy. I like his swag. I like his energy. I love this culture that he's trying to build. Obviously what Pete Carroll did for 14 years, that's going to be obviously hard to match. So he wants to build on top of what Coach Carroll has already done. Keep everything vibrant, keep everything fun, but bring in your own style.

Bring in your own personality. And I'm telling you, Zach, he has this serious demeanor to him, which the Seattle Seahawks need. They need that guy that's going to be disciplined, that guy that's going to be straight to the point, that guy's going to hold people accountable. And so I'm really excited to see what he brings to the table. He's built a phenomenal staff on defense, on offense.

And so I believe the sky's the limit because when we face the Niners twice a year, when we got the Rams twice a year, they've been kicking our tails for the past three, four years. Let's really switch stuff up, get a defensive-minded guy in there that can really slow those offenses down. Talking to KJ Wright right now on the Zach Gelb show on CBS Sports Radio, the future of Russell Wilson. We all know eventually he'll never really get released by the Denver Broncos, and he could sign on somewhere cheap.

What do you think the best option is for a landing spot for Russ for this upcoming season? He has got to sign with the Pittsburgh Steelers. You have got to go to the Pittsburgh Steelers.

It is bizarre to me, Zach, what Mike Tomlin has done with, to be respectful, you know, tier three, tier four quarterbacks, right? It's been phenomenal that you get ten wins with those quarterbacks, nine wins. Get you someone that's been to multiple Pro Bowls, been to the Super Bowls, had an All-Pro under his belt, and really get this thing going over there in Pittsburgh. This team is perfectly built for him, Najee Harris. You've got the running game.

You've got Jalen Warren, Pickens dominating defense. Get you a quarterback that can find a way to get you guys over the hump. And so it's unfortunate that his time in Denver went like that two years in a row. It was a decline. It was a really steep decline that we saw with Russell and with all Sean Payton and Nathaniel Hackett.

So get back on track. It will obviously be a contract-friendly type of deal. Life will be good for Russell West. I'm really excited to see where he ends up. Yeah, what do you think he can continue to be, though, as a quarterback? Because the last two years, I know he played fine this year, but I just don't know if he could be a great quarterback again. Like, is the ceiling for Russ moving forward just potentially being a good quarterback again in the NFL? Russell can give you 10-plus wins.

I'll say that. Russell Woods can give you 10-plus wins. Russell Woods can get you in the playoffs.

Whether Joe Burrow is going to be tough, whether Lamar Jackson is going to be tough. But he can get you in a position to compete. He can have you in a position to be in the playoffs. He can give teams a run for the money when it comes to winning the division. And so I love what he brings to the table.

You saw Zach when he started using his legs, when he started running. Do that. Get outside the pocket. Bomb that football downfield. And this offensive coordinator has got to find a way to maximize his skill set.

Maximize Russell Woods' talent at age 35, I believe. And so I know he can still play some big-time ball. You see that he has this chip on his shoulder. He has a little bit of adversity. And that's good for all ballplayers. When you get benched, when you get cut, it really channels that inner dogging to, like, I want to get back on track.

I want to prove to the whole world who I can be. And so I think this is good for Russell. And his next destination, I think, is going to make a lot of noise. Yeah, I also think Russ needs to focus more just getting back to football. I think Russ got into the whole brand and, OK, you're an icon and all the off-the-field stuff. I truly don't believe I said this before you came on, KJ Wright. I don't think playing at his best was number one in the priority list the last few years. I think that's fair to say. That's fair to say. You see the endorsements.

You see, obviously, you married Ciara, who was a superstar in her own right. And so get back to the basics. Eliminate the distractions. Put the colognes away.

Put all the stuff away. What's the brand, the good man brand? I love all this stuff.

Russell Wilson is a businessman. I'm telling you, dial in to the details. Focus up. Narrow in. I believe this moment, when teams tell you you're not good enough, when teams tell you we're going to sit you on the bench, that stings. That hurts.

And I thought, I know he's going to be laser focused. Dial in to the details. I'm telling you, Zach, if anybody can bounce back, Russ Wilson is the guy that can do that. Talking to KJ Wright. Make sure you check out the KJ Wright Show in Seattle's ESPN 710 AM.

Also make sure you check out KJ all day with his podcast. How do you think Russ could be, though, in the locker room? Because it did feel like in year one he had a tough time relating to the locker room and he isolated himself for the locker room. And even though it felt like the relationships with the players were proved in Denver this past year, it wasn't necessarily the case with him and Sean Payton being able to get on the same page.

Listen to me closely. I'm seeing a new Russ. We're seeing a new Russ right before our eyes. He's letting his hair down. He's speaking up. He's defending himself. You saw what he said about Marshawn Lynch when he defended himself on Brandon Marshall's show? I don't know what that guy's talking about.

He probably had a little too much Hennessy. Perfect. That's genius. Like, go defend yourself. Talk your stuff.

Talk your mess. That is what I love to see from Russell. And so you're talking about being authentic, being true to himself, saying how you truly feel versus saying what you think sounds right. That's what your guys want. That's what your teammates want to hear.

They want someone they can connect with, someone they can relate with. And I believe that I'm seeing in the last, ever since he's gotten benched, ever since he started speaking up for himself, we're really seeing a new Russell Wilson. So I can't wait to see him migrate into a new locker room because they're going to love him. I also wonder why Sean took the job. I know he got paid a fortune, Sean Payton that is, but why would you leave the Saints when you didn't have a quarterback at the end and that's why you retired, and then you take a job where you didn't love the quarterback at first, like how they went about this and how early they tried to change the contract. It just showed that Sean never really wanted to try to make this work or salvage this with Russell Wilson. No, horrendous leadership. Horrendous leadership from the owner, from the GM, from the head coach.

It was just a bad dynamic since day one. You knew what you were getting. You saw him the year before. You saw the contract that he had, right?

You saw all of these things, and before you took the job, you should have been like, no, this is not the right situation or the scenario for me. But instead, you chose to go on your press conference until your starting quarterback stopped kissing babies, stopped worrying about your image. You come to a player in the middle of the season saying, adjust your contract or I'm benching you. You handle business before the season starts, and you handle business after the season. You don't handle that kind of business right in the middle of the season when you're trying to focus on your opponents.

So just horrendous leadership from the top all the way down. So best of luck to Sean Payne going forward with whoever he chooses to be a starting quarterback. And you know this. If a team offers you money, even if you don't like necessarily the culture, they're willing to pay you something. You're going to go sign there if it's the most guaranteed money.

I wonder how many guys, though, are going to get kind of turned off by Denver just seeing what happened to Russ this past year. We talk as players. If I'm about to go to a team, I'm making a phone call. Hey, bro, how was your experience with the Las Vegas Raiders? Hey, bro, how was your experience with the commanders? We talk all the time. How's this coach? How's that coach? And so it is a real brotherhood.

It is a real fraternity. If it comes down to $10 million here, $8 million there, for my happiness, I'll take a little bit less to be in the right situation. I promise you, I'll take a little bit less to be in the right situation, the right scenario, because you don't want to play for some guy that you don't feel cares about your well-being, someone that talks to you any kind of way. I promise you, guys, we want to make the right decisions for our happiness first. Let's just say Russ and the Steelers can't find the way to get something done. Who else jumps out to you? Is it the Raiders? Is it Atlanta? Is it maybe Minnesota if they move on from Kirk Cousins? Who's the next team if it's not Pittsburgh? Well, Atlanta Falcons clearly need a quarterback.

I personally think that is Justin Fields' destination. Justin Fields and the Atlanta Falcons makes all the sense in the world. They need a quarterback. I can't even think of their quarterback now. Who's Atlanta Falcons starting quarterback? Justin Ritter or was that Taylor Ham Heinecke as well? Both of those guys, ain't it? Exactly. And so Justin Fields or Russell Wilson go to the Atlanta Falcons.

That is my next destination. Bijan Robinson is going to be a superstar in this league. He's going to be a superstar. Kyle Pitts, we haven't figured him out. He has all the physical traits. He just needs a quarterback to bring him alive.

And obviously Drake London is going to be a stud as well. So this offense is ready. This offense is prepared to really make some noise and take over that division. Get him a real quarterback in the building.

The sky's the limit for those guys. Now, I would have said maybe there was a chance of this happening if Pete was still the coach. But we are past right now the potential reunion of Russ going back to Seattle, correct? No, the owner's still there. The GM's still there.

Equipment manager, no. It's not happening in Seattle. That ship has long sailed.

He's going to be in the Ring of Honor, but he won't play there. So let me use your defensive mind here for a second. We're all trying to figure out how to slow down the Chiefs.

You played on a great defense. That LOB, let's say, was going up against Mahomes. How would you guys approach him? First, we would have started inside out. We would have started inside out.

And when I say inside, we would have focused all on number 87. Defensive lineman, when he's right there at number 3, you chip him, you hit him, you get him off his track. When we go man to man, KJ, you play outside.

Kam Chancellor, you play inside and over the top. You cannot let him take over a game. You cannot let those guys just pitch and catch and have a field day.

And so we would have started there. But with our pass rushes, guys, cage rush Patrick Mahomes. Cage rush him. By that, I mean don't let him step up in those B gaps. Let him step up in those A gaps like we saw in the Super Bowl to where he was able to win the ball game. You got to be disciplined with this guy because when he takes off running, he could run, throw it, or he can just simply run it and pick up the first down. And so it starts right there in the middle. It starts up front, staying disciplined with these guys.

Hey, Badale, Scantley, okay, whatever. Miquel, Hartman, whatever. Sherman, Maxwell, you handle those guys. Right here in the heart of this defense is how you got to slow those guys down to give yourself a chance.

And you guys know it, too. The offense has to help them out, too. San Francisco in that first half, they should have been up by a whole lot more. And when you leave someone like Mahomes or Brady in a game and they're in striking distance, I don't care how great your defense is. Eventually, they're going to find a way to get that game tied up. And then that comes back to the whole conversation, game manager or game changer. And you need a quarterback to manage the game. You need a quarterback to do the little things right, to pick up this first down here or there. But when it's nut-cutting time, when it's time to hoist that Lombardi trophy, I need a game changer on this fourth and one. I need to put the ball in your hands and you're going to find a way to execute and lead us to the promised land. And so when Cam Newton was saying all of that stuff, I was like, bro, you need to have game manager type of personality. You need a game manager type of traits. But obviously, when it's really time to get it done, to really execute, you need that game changer person on your football team.

And you know what's crazy? You look back at that Super Bowl. I don't think Brock Purdy played great, but he wasn't horrible. He gave a good performance. It was amazing how many of the playmakers didn't show up. I know Deebo was dealing with something. Kittle basically did nothing.

Ayuk, they didn't target him enough. And as great as McCaffrey is, I love McCaffrey. Fun with the football on the first drive of the game. That's what was stunning to me about the Niners was how we all talked about the quarterback, the quarterback and the quarterback. But really, the pieces around him did nothing in the big game. Let's not forget about the play caller either.

Yeah. Once again, once again, Shanahan, you're up. Choked up a lead.

Didn't run it. You choked up. You choked.

You got a little tight form. The moment got too big once again for Kyle Shanahan. And so when he's talking about being in those situations, doing the little things right, hey, let's actually run the football in this situation. Let's not call a timeout when our defensive coordinator is in his own and trying to make a, he blew it once again. And so he has to take a deep look in the mirror and say, hey, I didn't quite maximize the talent I have on this, on this roster. Obviously the guys need to show up more, but he definitely was another piece of that puzzle that didn't show up when they needed them the most.

All right. Last thing that I'll ask before I let you go back to enjoying home as KJ Wright is here with us. How far away are the Seahawks? Made the playoffs a year ago, missed it this past year.

We look inside that division. We know the Niners aren't going anywhere. The Rams are only going to be better.

The Cardinals are going to continue to roll with Kyler Murray. How far is Seattle from getting back to potentially being a championship contender again? Three years.

Three? So are they going through a rebuild now, you're saying? No, they're going to be, they're going to win nine, eight, nine games. They're going to be competitive. But when you're talking about winning your division, we're talking about getting that first round by, when you're talking about making a deep playoff run, you got three years. They have a lot of good pieces.

They do. A lot of good pieces. But get your franchise guy. Who's going to be your franchise quarterback? Keep adding pieces on the secondary. Keep adding pieces at linebacker. Both Jordan Brooks, Bobby Wagner are free agents.

So they got a lot of decisions to make. But find who's going to be your quarterback. Let McDonald continue to build out this roster, implement this culture. And I believe in Coach Carroll's fourth year, if I'm not mistaken, that's when he came in there. He changed everything around, made the most transactions in NFL history, like over 100. He built the team that he wanted to build. And in three or four years, Coach Carroll got his Super Bowl.

So I'm saying they're going to strike gold once again with McDonald. He is KJ Wright, of course, the former linebacker for the Las Vegas Raiders and most remembered with his playing days with the Seattle Seahawks. Make sure you check out his podcast, KJ All Day Podcast, and also the KJ Wright Show on Seattle's ESPN 710 AM. Enjoy home. Always appreciate you jumping on board with us, KJ. I will. Thank you, Zach. You got it. There he is, KJ Wright, joining us on the Zach Gelb Show on CBS Sports Radio.

I loved it. I said it from the day where Russell Wilson and the Broncos, who practically knew, were done. I threw out two destinations. One was Pittsburgh and one was Atlanta. I don't think Atlanta will be a bad destination.

I don't think it's going to be the number one target for them. I think Atlanta is either going to trade up in the draft or they're going to go bring in Kirk Cousins or Justin Fields. I think there's enough options there where before you get to your last option that's still serviceable and Russ could still be serviceable where Russ won't wind up in Atlanta. But you look at the Steelers.

I don't think they'll end up doing it, but they should. Kenny Pickett's not the answer. Mason Rudolph's probably going to go somewhere else in free agency. And here's the thing what you need to understand with Russ. He's not great anymore. He still showed this year that he could be solid. He could be good.

And you've got to remember it's going to come on an insanely cheap one year deal. Like I'm talking about nothing because he just got a brand new extension. He didn't even get to the extension and now Denver is going to move off from him. And I can guarantee you this, Russ will be better than Kenny Pickett. Russ will be better than Mason Rudolph next year. And look what those guys just did this year making the seventh spot in the wild card. And the last wild card spot with the seventh seed with not having a lot of good quarterback play.

I think for a year or two a stopgap move until you find your next guy, Russ would be a good one for the Pittsburgh Steelers. Alrighty, Zach Gilb show CBS Sports Radio. When we come on back we'll give you my top five NBA storylines for the rest of the season.

Coming on back. Dana Carvey and David Spade here. You might know our podcast, Fly on the Wall, featuring guests from across the entertainment industry. We decided to do a spinoff called Superfly and it's fun. It's just two of us riffing on current events, pop culture, catching up, impressions. Joe, Trump's trying to be a dictator. Yeah, he says bump on the tater tots. Joe, no. Listen to and follow Superfly on the Odyssey app or wherever you get your podcasts. Subject to official rules at and 61524, void or prohibited.
Whisper: medium.en / 2024-02-26 19:11:11 / 2024-02-26 19:21:22 / 10

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