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Evan Washburn, NFL on CBS Sideline Reporter

Zach Gelb Show / Zach Gelb
The Truth Network Radio
January 24, 2023 9:07 pm

Evan Washburn, NFL on CBS Sideline Reporter

Zach Gelb Show / Zach Gelb

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January 24, 2023 9:07 pm

Evan Washburn joined Zach to discuss if the Bengals have become overly confident and whether the Bengals or Chiefs face more pressure to win on Sunday. 

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There's a lot to listen to, 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 preview the championship games, and coming up this Sunday on CBS, you can watch that heavyweight showdown between the Cincinnati Bengals and the Kansas City Chiefs.

And Arrowhead and Evan Washburn of CBS Sports will be on the sideline. Evan, great to have you on. Good to see you, and Phil, the other night. How you been?

Yeah, Zach, that was fun. Not much of a game, but good to catch up in the cafeteria there. So let's start off in the AFC. The Bengals, they should be confident. That's what makes them such a good team.

I'm just starting to wonder, with all the Tweet and the iApples doing, I saw Mike Hilton after the big victory against the Bills, called Arrowhead, Burrowhead. Is the confidence at all a little bit too concerning, or is this just who they are? No, I think it's who they are, and I think they kind of feed off of it. At this point, they've got to create some sense of doubt or tension against them, because I think it's starting to flip. I think after what happened on Sunday, the underdog thing has been kind of put to bed, and now one way to maybe get those of us on the outside to doubt them again would be to say that they're over-confident. So, I don't know, it's all, at this point, week 20 mind games and whatever you need to do to get yourself to a place where you're bringing it on Sunday evening, I guess is just part of the sauce.

But they seem to embrace it, enjoy it, and thrive in it. I know it's early in the week, but what are you hearing about the Mahomes ankle? Andy Reid said he's going to play, but the question, I guess, becomes similarly to the Jalen Hurts shoulder.

How effective will he be able to be? Yeah, I think the beauty of it, and it's a tough term to use because it is a pretty gruesome injury and one that I'm sure is going to be incredibly uncomfortable throughout the week and even on Sunday, is that unlike the shoulder for Hurts, Mahomes has proven, as he did in the second half, that he can make plays kind of stuck in the pocket and relying on his arm, quick release, and not so much being the scrambler to throw. It's a big part of his game, and if he can't do it, it's definitely unfortunate for the Chiefs and Mahomes, but again, I think he's proven he's so versatile that he can win in a lot of ways, and since it's not his throwing shoulder or arm, that he'll still have that bazooka. And I thought that Andy Reid brought up a good point, and I was actually there in 2019. He suffered a pretty bad ankle injury in Jacksonville in week one, and then he came back pretty much in the next few weeks and just lit it up.

So look, this dude seems to be built different. It's going to be a storyline all week and on Sunday, but I don't expect it to limit just his ability to impact the game. My biggest concern is that this game becomes a shootout, and hey, it's like stupid Evan Washburn to doubt Mahomes, but you just wonder if he's going to be able to match Burrow.

We all know Mahomes is considered to be the best quarterback, but if that ankle is not where it needs to be and they have to require to move around and really keep up in a track meet type of game, I just wonder how Mahomes will respond. I agree, and again, if he can't get outside the pocket and make some of the plays with his legs, picking up first downs or extending plays so that he can get those deep shots downfield. But also, I think it's worth noting that they're built different this year without a fiery kill, so the downfield passing game, even when Mahomes has been healthy, hasn't been something that they lean on or count on as much. And they've proven to be able to go back and forth to teams by managing and matriculating the ball down the field and getting, let's say, eight to 12 yard chunks with guys like Kelsey or Juju, as opposed to those, hey, I'm going to hold on to the ball behind this line of scrimmage for five seconds and then get Tyreek busting down the field for 40. So Lou Annarumo has done a remarkable job with this Bengals defense and not many people make Mahomes look human or are able to go out there and clearly beat them three straight times, but Cincinnati has done it. When you go back and rethink about those games, rewatch those games, what has Cincinnati really been able to perfect, especially in those second halves up against the Chiefs? I think, and they've been talking to Lou about it over the course of the last couple of years, he just really leans on the intellectual capacity of his players when it comes to their ability to diagnose what's happening early in the game. This is what the opponent, in this case, Kansas City, wants to do.

Alright, what should we do to combat it? And we talk about adjustments a lot, and I know that's a word that some people find triggering that, hey, teams don't really make adjustments, or they don't do half-time adjustments, they do it in-game. One thing I do know is that defensively it's hard to change on the fly and to make tweaks, whatever term you want to use, on the fly that can really impact an offense. Especially one as lethal as Kansas City, but he feels like he has that and proven to have that, and he has it on all three levels.

You've got an all-pro snub in D.J. Reeder up front, you've got Logan Wilson in the middle who can make plays against the run and the pass, and then you've got Jesse Bates and Von Bell in the back end. They've been a bit spin at corner with the injury to Chittabe' Ujie, but the rookie, Sam Taylor-Britt, stepping up, and I just think Lou has proven with his guys that they can manage a game and manage the swings, and then in the most critical moments, really frustrate offense. You look at the Chiefs, and I look at the way that they're going to be perceived going into this game, Evan Washburn.

I know that they've seen almost everything. They've been down big in the fourth quarter, they've been down big in the first half of these playoff games, and they always seem to prevail. This Cincinnati team has given them clearly the last two years the most trouble. Is there a mental kind of block for this team in Kansas City when they go up against the Bengals that they have to find the way to break down, or are they just not going to be mentally rattled by going up against the Bengals?

I go back and forth on this stuff, Zach, and especially with a team like Kansas City and just how experienced they are in these moments. The idea that this is their fifth straight AFC title game at home is bonkers. I think they are irritated, frustrated about the fact that they've lost the last three to Cincinnati, but I don't by any means think that that's something that's going to weigh on their minds as they try to get sleep the night before the game or as they take the field thinking, oh man, we can't do this. This is not a situation as I would see it going back to kind of those New England years where you would hear teams say when they walked into Foxboro they'd lose to the banners before they even took the field. I don't get that from Kansas City when it comes to Cincinnati.

I think they have a ton of respect for them and they know what they're going to find themselves getting into over the course of three hours on Sunday, but I don't think of it as a hurdle they have to jump before they even take the field. Is there more pressure headed into this game on the Bengals or the Chiefs? I would say it's still the Chiefs. I think Cincinnati is proven that they are a team that is going to be here year in and year out as long as Burroughs there and as long as they got the nucleus, obviously offensively with Jamar Chase and T Higgins and then the defense we mentioned. But I think when Kansas City won it in 2019 and then going back to what I just said about the five straight people had them kind of pegged as the next Dynasty is the next Patriots if you will, which I think is ridiculous.

There's something we're going to see that but just getting to this point and if they drop another one to the since then it's like, okay, what do we got going on here? Because you know the 10 win seasons are great and it's an incredible duo of Andy Reid and Mahomes, but if you don't start hanging a couple more banners, then I do think that it becomes a different description of what you are as a team and in this era if you will. If Burroughs wins this game on Sunday the AFC title game and takes down Mahomes to the fourth straight time. Will you call him the best quarterback in the league?

I don't know. I mean I kind of I'm a big believer in see in these team and I know it's frustrating probably especially in the sports talk radio world. I don't think wins or quarterbacks that I really the more and more I do this and the more I'm around it. I just realized how much it is a incredibly team-oriented result and look I think Burrow has as much an impact on their ability to win or lose games, but we talked about Lou Anna room on this defense. I think what they did the Buffalo on Sunday afternoon equal to what Burrow did against Buffalo on Sunday afternoon, but that line did so I'm not going to take a result either way and say that that puts a quarterback over another. I think Burrow in my mind whether he wins or loses on Sunday solidified himself as a top five quarterback or an AFC right there with Mahomes Allen and Burrow and I kind of view it as maybe season to season. I think Mahomes has had the best season at the quarterback position in 2022 and Burrow may be off to a faster start to 2023 if that makes sense.

Evan Washburn here with us. So where does Buffalo go from here? I was talking about it yesterday. I said they have to get more physical in the trenches on both sides of the ball and they have to start taking a little bit of the food off the plate of Josh Allen and get him a legit bona fide running back. I think that's fair. I think there's there's aspects to the defense to that and this isn't necessarily something that's going to be offseason or I shouldn't say that depending on what happens with Micah Hyde. I know he was making his way back from the neck injury, but they were really depleted there and it was a unique. It's a unique defense in the sense that it's it's that Ben that don't break and I thought that they just they became thin at the worst possible time whether it was Devon injury and Micah Hyde where they went in the secondary. Obviously the more Hamlin's part of that as well. It just became too much to overcome defensively and then to your point.

I think I think it's a valuable one. I don't though I would say I wouldn't ever expect to see Buffalo become a run first type operation. I do think it needs to be part of it and I know that's been kind of a constant back and forth because Donald McDermott's been off the clear at times that he wants to be able to lean on the run game. I think Cincinnati is a good example of it this year because let's just be real, you know, Nixon has not been as effective or relied upon over the course of the 17 game regular season. He dealt with obvious concussion, but they have in there and when they needed a most he did step up.

So I think that's the kind of layer of a run game that could really be valuable to Buffalo moving forward, but I just think that that if you if you look at it in a vacuum like Sunday was rough for Buffalo Jack by you know, by all accounts. They just were, you know, our physical out tough, whatever you want to say, but I look at the last three years was disappointment because they have made a Super Bowl. I still look at it as what happened in the divisional round last year was once in a lifetime.

The 13 seconds against Kansas City and then even going back the year before in the AFC title game. I mean, they're right there. So I don't look at this as like, hey, we need to knock this thing back down to the studs and kind of rebuild who we are. What about Dallas?

Where do they go from here that they're paying back? We know a ton of money, but he keeps on just being a good quarterback, not a great quarterback in the unfortunate part for them. He was not good in a game where he only needed to be good to probably go get that victory against the Niners on Sunday. Look, that's your quarterback. You're paying them to be our quarterback. I think I'm a big believers that in, in setting proper expectations, money doesn't dictate your salary as quarterback doesn't dictate what you have as a fan when it comes to, as we throw it around, throwing around top five for a guy like burrow, just cause you're getting paid in that, in that group doesn't mean that's who you are, but it also doesn't mean, Hey, let's just cut bait unless you have a clear exit strategy. And I always go back to Kansas city and how they, they got into this my home situation. They had Alex Smith there for, I don't know, maybe four or five years, a good stretch and it paid him well.

And he was effective. They got the playoffs, but there was a limitation. That's not to say in a perfect scenario, he didn't, doesn't make a run, a Joe Flacco type situation. But if you kind of frame your expectation that way, and if you're, you're Dallas, you're a Dallas fan and you think, okay, we got back now, you know, w w what are we doing? What are we moving forward with? When do we look towards the draft and maybe make a move for a quarterback or do we, cause I mean, I think contractually that they're kind of bound to them for a little while here. So, um, I just think it's, it's, you want to make this clean move or this clean brace, but it just doesn't work that way. So kind of live in your, your situation as best you can.

And then hope that when the time's ready, that's when you're ready to pounce on the opportunity at that position. What does your gut tell you on Rogers? Is he back in Green Bay next year or is he going to get traded to one of these AFC teams? I don't know, man. I, I, that's a, that's a tough business to live in. I have, I mean, I try and consume as much Rogers content as possible because I do find. You can't miss it. It's all over the place.

It never ends. It's insufferable. I don't want to be a hypocrite because we asked these players and coaches to be honest and open, and then I try not to be critical of them when maybe whatever they're saying doesn't really fit at times. But look, I think it's feeling like he's building a situation with the way he's describing things where if he were to leave the crumbs were laid. It kind of reminds me a little bit of the Brady situation in New England when people were following when he was selling his house or when he was doing this or who was moving where. And those are things where hindsight, you're like, Oh, we should have known he was doing that.

But in the moment, you're not ready to make that, that plunge. Look, I think it'd be fun. I root for the, for the dramatics of it.

If he did make a switch, if he got traded to maybe a team out east or something, you throw them in the mix there and in the AFC East, you throw them to the Jets or something like that. I mean, let's get crazy, Zach. Let's have fun.

You're right there in New York. You'd enjoy it. Yeah, that would be something. Rogers against the New York media would be must watch each and every week.

And then the recaps on McAfee would be great. I know you got to run Evan Washburn. So last thing last year, NFC title game. What do you think decides it between San Francisco and the Eagles? Wow. So we'll, Hey man, we were there together in Philly. That, that seemed that place was on Saturday night, but strong vibes. Um, I know the Brock Purdy thing's been unbelievable and it's been cool to watch. I love San Francisco. That defense is, is unreal. I just like Philly in this one because of the, that home field felt like they just were, you're cooking with gas on Saturday night and you throw up a rookie quarterback into that, that scene.

Um, I don't know. It feels like at some point it's got to, the moment's got to stun them a little bit, but, uh, I think it's going to be a phenomenal game. And like all the conversation about San Francisco's defense is warranted, but as we saw with our own two eyes there in Philly, the Eagles defense is no joke. And they're going to make Purdy's life.

I think, uh, you know, living, you know what, over the course of four quarters. Well, enjoy the game coming up on Sunday, kick ass on the sidelines. You know, can we send you maybe a Zach Gelb show beanie if we get that made to get the pub on CBS? Beanies can be tough, man. You don't cover the lettuce. Um, even 23 hair. Yeah, that is true.

So I don't know. Maybe we could come up with like a, um, trying to think like a pin or something. I mean, we're big on pins over the course of the season. I thought, I thought you were going to say, but I thought you were going to say boxers so no one could see them.

I was running low on ideas when it came to visuals. Well, I have been, we appreciate it. Thank you.

You got it, man. The listening you love is on the free Odyssey app, your trusted local radio stations, coverage of your favorite teams, live news from your hometown and millions of podcasts on demand. Best of all, you can completely customize your listening experience.

Follow topics you care about like leagues and teams pause or rewind your local sports and news and add shows to your queue to catch up later. There's a lot to listen to. So get started and download the free Odyssey app today. The listening you love is on the free Odyssey app, your trusted local radio stations, coverage of your favorite teams, live news from your hometown and millions of podcasts on demand. Best of all, you can completely customize your listening experience.

Follow topics you care about like leagues and teams pause or rewind your local sports and news and add shows to your queue to catch up later. There's a lot to listen to. So get started and download the free Odyssey app today. The listening you love is on the free Odyssey app, your trusted local radio stations, coverage of your favorite teams, live news from your hometown and millions of podcasts on demand. Best of all, you can completely customize your listening experience. Follow topics you care about like leagues and teams pause or rewind your local sports and news and add shows to your queue to catch up later. There's a lot to listen to. So get started and download the free Odyssey app today.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-01-24 23:04:58 / 2023-01-24 23:13:24 / 8

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