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June 11, 2024 40 mins
Paul Dehner Jr. of The Athletic and The Growler Podcast joined us to discuss day one of Bengals minicamp, Joe Burrow's comments about his return, and the single most intriguing NFL training camp storyline, and how it's consuming the mind of one Bengals assistant coach. 

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Episode Transcript

Available transcripts are automatically generated. Complete accuracy is not guaranteed.
(00:00):
Paul Dayner Junior and Moe Agger instudio talking all things Bengals in general,
NFL topics on ESPN fifteen thirty,Cincinnati Sports Station. Wow. Correct me
if I'm wrong. I'm not surewe have used that in a while,
and if we have, I justhaven't been paying very good attention. Get
Afternoon on Mowgar. This is ESPNfifteen thirty. Thank you for listening.

(00:24):
Hopefully you're having an awesome and Ido mean awesome Tuesday afternoon. Before we
get started, our buddy, PaulDayner Junior is here. Let's send some
congratulations to the Pike family. Ihave never met two people who have worked
as quickly as Tony and Meredith Pike, who got married in October of twenty

(00:48):
nineteen and now have in less thanfive years three kids. Meredith gave birth
late last night to Walker Kent Pike. Tony's posted some photos. Little guy
is beautiful. Meredith, by allaccounts, is doing really well. Tony
said he had not slept all nightlong. Who cares about him? We're
concerned about her, but mainly congratulationsto both a great family. Three kids

(01:15):
in like four months and four yearsand eight months. That is incredible.
And I don't know that they're done. That's none of my business. But
they have not told me that they'redone. Maybe they are, maybe they
aren't. But Walker Kent Pike bornyesterday, and we congratulation to send our
congratulations to the Pikes. I haveno idea when Tony's going to be back
at work. I think this companynow has like a legitimate paternity leave policy,

(01:40):
which did not exist when we hadour one kid, So Tony might
not be back until mid July.And nonetheless, I hope everybody is doing
well. And if you get aminute, Tony obviously is pretty active on
social media, send him congratulations.That's obviously why he was not here today.
Again, can gratulations to the Pikefamily. Paul's here, How you

(02:01):
doing, I'm doing great. Congratsto Tony and Meredith. I the dive
into three kids is a that's abig decision. You've just decided. Look,
my personal hopes and dreams are officiallygone. Well, I do appreciate
them condensing it, right, yeah, right, right, because you and
I both know people. Now youhave two, I have one, they'll

(02:22):
have the two. And then itfeels like there's some light at the end
of the tunnel, and then it'syou know what, let's do it again.
Yeah, and then you got alittle bit of a separation. His
three cloistered pretty close together in termsof age. I always feel like once
you get to three, they're justraising each other anyway. I mean,
really, at this point, it'sreally just you're just training the oldest to

(02:45):
take over, you know, supervisoryroles directly into like, how come,
let's just set you up as ourbabysitter in charge. Now here's the key
to the house. You know,here's a cell phone to get a hold
of us. That's kind of that'sgonna be the tough part of the squeeze
that they have there. You'll haveenough of the gap for that that oldest
to basically be the one raising theyoungest. So tough scene well as somebody

(03:07):
who is ten years older than mysister, yeah, thirteen years older than
my brother. I know what it'slike in the prime of your social life
to be told actually, what you'regonna do is watch these two toddlers,
So go ahead. My my motherin law had four, and she often
jokes about how like the last oneit was like not even hers, like,
yeah, you guys, and thescars that remain get brought up all

(03:28):
the time. Anyway, Congratulations tothe Pikes. Paul's here, Paul Dander
Junior cover the Bengals the Athletic.Get it at the Athletic dot com or
ny Times dot com. It's itall takes you to the same it all
goes to the same place. Andthe Growler Podcast, which I'm sure is
going to be busy this week,even the facts that there's actual stuff to
cover and discuss with mini camp underway, Yeah, Jay and I will be

(03:51):
talking through everything we've got who daylate later this week. I got an
interview lined up for tomorrow. Fillingthe space, as they say, filling
the space, there's a lot ofthere's a lot of space to fill and
a lot to fill it with.Joe Burrow was at practice today, and
yes he was at practice. Wow, he was in front of a microphone.
So we can make all our bigJoe Burrow sweeping judgments. Okay,

(04:12):
well, let's do it. He'sready to go, correct I don't think
so? Okay, I don't think. I mean he said he'll be ready
to go by week one. It'snot week one. It is not.
And I you know, I don'tthink that. I think we talked this.
It's weird because I feel like we'rehaving the same conversation today that we
had a month ago when Joe kindof said this for the first time,

(04:35):
which is that his growth this offseasonis learning to back off a little bit
and learning how to handle his owninjuries and not think that I am the
invincible person who just pushes through everything, because that's what got him to this
point. And he talked more aboutthat today, and I think the what

(04:56):
are we gonna go the hubbub lastweek potential of him hysteria, that's what
I think. It was, hysteriaover missing a couple of practices. And
you know, today I thought itwas pretty light work for him. We
didn't really. It wasn't a lotof like, you know, throwing the
deep ball and ripping it and himadmitting that, look, there's highs and

(05:20):
lows of this stuff. I've beenthrough it before, but I'm really learning
to not try to push myself harderwhen I'm going through the lows and understand
what that means, and that meansbe mature about stuff and maybe backing off
and then taking the next few weeksplus and backing off a little bit even
more and try a different path toopening day because the previous paths to opening

(05:44):
day have not exactly gone the wayhe wanted to. That's important, that's
maturity, that's the growth you wantto hear from him. And I think
that you know, he talked abouthis own mortality and coming to terms with
that and not being this invincible playerand he's kind of had to build himself
up to be his own head.All of that stuff is great to me
if you're a fan of the Bengals, to me, if you're a fan
of Joe Burrow, if you're afan of football, it's exactly what you

(06:06):
want to hear. You don't haveanything more left to prove, to try
to show that you're the toughest humanbeing in the world. Go out there
and be healthy and be ready togo play. And that's an off It's
reflective of everything we said last lateJuly, August and September, right,
It's reflective of everything we talked about, like, hey, look, if
if he was feeling discomfort during thatpractice where he went down and got carted

(06:29):
off, then he shouldn't have practiced. And if he pushed it a little
bit too much during August once hewas trying to come back from the CAF
issue, then he should have donethat. And if he should have,
maybe not been on the field forthose first couple of games. Number one,
you feel better about the backup quarterbacksituation. But two, let's take
a long view here and let's notdo something stupid. Yeah, and that's
great, and that's what it hasto be for him. He has his

(06:54):
contract now, he's here, everybody'sin this together, okay. So and
the you know, you're kind ofthinking, how do I write this differently
than I did the first time?And I think it's that, Look,
Joe Burrow is scared of the samethings that you are fan like. Joe
burrow Is has these deep thoughts aboutthe same things that Bengals fans have these

(07:16):
deep thoughts about. It's like,gosh, I just I hope he's not
the one that ends up. Wetalk about injuries being what got in the
way of greatness, of championships,of enjoying his career, and he's openly
admitting to those thoughts, and that'sI think that's that's a lot of maturity
there, and it's and it's goodto see. As far as him on

(07:36):
the field, I mean, Ithink he has done more than enough this
offseason to make everybody comfortable with wherehe should be and expects to become camp
and come in the regular season.And I think if you were sitting here
and you and I were talking aboutthis, I can't imagine we ever touched
on this topic four months ago beforethey ever report, and said, where

(08:01):
do what do you want to besaying about Joe Burrow on June eleventh,
when when Mini camp starts to wrap, You're gonna say that you feel like
you saw everything you wanted to seeout of him, and you feel like
pretty good about where he's gonna beat going into the season. And I
think you can say that. Iremember the day after the injury against Baltimore
that Friday morning. It was coldand gloomy and gray, and I'm trying

(08:22):
to talk myself out of like absoluteworst case scenarios, and we knew he
was done for the season, butI remember thinking, like, there's gonna
be a time next summer where wefeel pretty comfortable with where things are.
And that might not mean that hecould play a game the next day,
but we're going to be comfortable withwhere things are. On June the eleventh,
I feel comfortable with where things are, and it feels like they do

(08:43):
too. Yeah, And you know, Charlie goes with us ask a great
question today, kind of pinpointing,like, look, if you needed to
access one of these, you know, absolutely rip it into a tight window
throws today. Could you do that? It's one hundred percent right, And
he's admitting like he goes through upsand downs with it right now, and
he's still kind of going through allthat stuff. But I think understanding that

(09:03):
he's got that where he needs thatright now, I think is a huge
deal in terms of what your expectationswere of an injury we didn't know about
coming into this portion of the program. So I you know, I think
that it's it's been a pretty solid, productive offseason despite there's just always going
to be hysteria. Sure, youknow, there's just that's what's and wait
till camp comes, right and youget you get the first day off of

(09:26):
camp, and I would prefer toremind everyone remember what happened when he was
feeling a little soreness the second dayof last year's camp. Keep that in
mind keeps perspective, as you wouldsay, maybe just don't even bother showing
up until the opener and everybody bejust fine with it. I think,
yeah, yeah, I would tellJoe, what is that going to be?
The eighth? Sometime of the eighthsounds like a good day? Yeah,

(09:46):
can you can you make sure you'reat the stadium at about ten thirty
in the morning on the eighth.We'll do some some pregame throwing, just
you know, sort of get therust out. Sure, be good to
go here. Yeah, le'd betotally fine with that. I think.
I think you feel that way forshort. All right. He's also not
on the Madden cover. Oh mygod, Really that was gonna be that

(10:07):
was gonna be a big thing todayhad he been on the Madden cover.
Yeah, I'm aware. Yeah,okay, I mean it's great. Are
you disappointed you don't get to writeabout the Madden cover? You think I
was gonna write about that? Idon't know. It's a picture on a
video game and it's great, likecool, Like that's cool? Right,
Yeah, what do you write afterthat's cool? Well, there are some

(10:28):
who believe there's a curse associated withit. That curse has long been disturbed.
There no such things as curses.But I mean, are those who
believe you want me to write tothose people? Not really? Yeah?
No, actually no, I'm notreally sure what I was supposed to say,
right, what does it all mean? Ball? Oh? Today everybody's
tweeting about how he's gonna take pianolessons. There's more substance to that than

(10:50):
him being on the cover of aculturally significant video game. Definitely more interesting.
It's a picture on a video game. Yeah like that. I mean,
Joe Burrow potentially showing up and playingthe piano while everyone takes the field
in the opener is something I couldget behind. Okay, that's good.
I mean, to me, that'sfar more interesting than Hey, there's a

(11:11):
picture with Joe Burrow on it.All right, this was gonna be my
poll question today. What's more interestingthe cover of Madden or Joe Burrow taking
piano lessons? Yeah? Okay,fine, no doubt. I have this
vision of like Burrow like like likesinging Stu's song from The Hangover, playing
a soft piano about singing about tigers. Sure while everyone comes. That's like

(11:33):
how that everybody enters the stadium thisyear I feel like this is obvious.
I feel like today was a badday for piano teachers because he says he's
learning it on YouTube. Yeah,tough scene there, I which is how
I've learned everything I know how todo around my house. Yeah yeah,
it's the ultimate teacher. But there'snothing like that. You go to the

(11:54):
old lady's house and she shows youexactly how to play the piano. You
get that one on one. Let'sstand up for piano teachers everywhere. Don't
let this. Don't let this getyou sidetracked. You want to really learn
how to do it, you gotto get I took industrial arts in college.
No, I'm sorry, in highschool woodshop, metal shop, I
didn't do well in those classes.I didn't pay attention. But watching on

(12:16):
YouTube, I learned how to makea cover for my fire pit, and
I'm like, I'm I can makefurniture on the side. I sent this
to some friends of mine, likeI'm I'm kind of good with a jigsaw,
and I learned how to do thisentire project by watching YouTube. YEA,
So now I feel like maybe industrialarts teachers kind of irrelevant and is

(12:39):
this gonna set off a wave oflike recreational piano playing. Yeah, every
party or get together you get tothere's one person saying, look at me,
I'm Joe Burrow and like just justpounding away at the keys and it
sounds terrible. I could tell youthe two most often used words this summer
when training camp gets started, andthis fall once the season gets underway.

(13:03):
I can tell you what they're goingto be. Okay when we come back.
Wow, it is seventeen minutes afterthree o'clock. He's Paul Danner Junior
on X at Paul Danner Junior coveringthe Bengals for the Athletic and the Growler
podcast, which is available on YouTubeand all the other places where you get
your podcast. It's eighteen after threeo'clock. I'm Oeger. This is ESPN

(13:24):
fifteen thirty, Cincinnati Sports Station forthree o'clock. This is ESPN fifteen thirty
on Moeger. Paul Danner Junior ishere. By the way, Full show
Rundown is on X thanks to ourfriends at Emory Federal Credit Union, your
credit union with heart since nineteen thirtynine. Going to Emery FCU dot org,
Read Paul at Theathletic dot com andcatch the podcast multiple times per week,

(13:50):
The Growler Podcast. All Right,here's what you're gonna hear. A
lot of this is going to beEvery Bengals fan in order to sound intelligence,
is going to repeat these two wordsoften over the course of the next
seven months. Are you ready yes? Eye candy eye candy? I can't
I candy yeah. Reference today itwas uh yeah. I think that starts

(14:15):
the conversation of something that we've spenta lot of time talk that I think
is I thought, you know,despite everyone we're all talking about Joe Burrow's
health. Maybe the most interesting thinghe said today was talking about them being
more aggressive in dictating two other teamsdefenses the terms this year offensively, and

(14:37):
that means going out there, havingtheir different versatile pieces and being able to
put them wherever they want and wherethey can't be wrong, and they're going
to have a matchup that they wantno matter where it is. We talked
a lot about that in terms ofthe versatility in the backfield, in terms
of Gisicki, in terms of JermaineBurton being more of an inside outside guy

(14:58):
if he's the guy the other guysthat they had have, but I think
kind of going out there and kindof very much saying it with your chest
as Joe Burrow today, of we'regonna come out and we're not going to
be the ones adjusting to what otherteams are doing to us. I expect
to see a lot of different thingsfrom defenses, but we're gonna tell you
how this game's played because we havethe personnel to do it so many different

(15:20):
ways. We can dictate what youhave to do to us. And I
think that's a significant You know,if there's a a lot of talk this
said about what's the philosophical shift goingto be, well, how is it
going to change schematically? With DanPitcher, I think that has been the
thrust of it has been find moreexplosives, and part of that being we're

(15:41):
not gonna let other teams tell ushow we have to play, because we
got to go find the explosive playsand we're gonna go do it. And
I think if you're a Bengals fanlistening to that, that should make you
pretty excited, more so than maybeanything else you heard. Kind of the
antithesis of what we've heard about theBengals offense for a very long long time,
going back to even the current butbefore the current regime, which was

(16:04):
well, you know, you can'tdo this because the defense is doing this
right, And that frustrates the hellout of me because coach has always love
to talk about how we're going toimpose our will, No one's going to
tell us how to play. Andthen the games begin and it's like,
well, why why couldn't you throwto this guy? Well, you know,
they kind of took him away,yeah, Or why couldn't you why
couldn't you you do this against thisdefense? Well that's kind of designed to

(16:26):
stop this, So we had togo to something else. And so when
Joe was talking today, I tooksome degree of solace and the idea that
we're not going to talk so muchabout those similar themes this fall. Oh.
Granted, it's a lot easier totalk about in June than it is
to actually put forth and put onthe field in September, but still,
yeah, and you just came through. We've the last really couple of years

(16:49):
has been all about these teams refusingto let the Bengals twenty twenty one Bengals
them, You're not going to throwover the top of us, You're not
gonna We're not going to let thisturn into you guys just hitting go balls
all day. And so you getthese you've gotten these two deeps and all
this stuff where it's been left openunderneath. And and they say, oh,
well, they're they're forcing us todo ten eleven twelve play drives.

(17:10):
That's how they're forced us to doit, and we'll go do it.
And that's how it's got to be. And I like saying, look,
the whole league shifted to all ofthese deep shells last year, the whole
everybody's not just the Bengals seeing thisstuff, and a lot of teams were
finding plenty of different ways to generateexplosive plays and to not have to play
that type of you know, teneleven, twelve thirteen play drive. And

(17:33):
so you've got enough out there tosee there's plenty of ways to go do
this. Maybe a little bit ofthat conservative nature. Just because you can
do it doesn't mean that you shouldn'tbe really a little bit more aggressive and
trying to move the ball in otherways. And instead of just sitting back
and saying, well, this iswhat we got to do. Well,
Pike and I would would joke aboutthis all the time. And I think
you and I did two two yearsago early in the season when it was

(17:56):
the Tampa two, and I'm like, you know, this defense has been
around for quite a while. Thisis played by every team in the league.
At some point. We can't solvethat. But it was like a
major talking point early in the seasontwo years ago. Will the Tampa they're
playing Tampa two, They playing covertwo against this, And I'd go,
yeah, cool they are. Soyou're just not gonna throw it deep now.
Yeah, We're just we're just notgonna try. Like I get it.

(18:18):
You can't heave a downfield every play. And so I thought of that.
When I heard Joe talking about thattoday, I thought, Okay,
well we're not if what he saysproves to be true in September, we're
not going to be doing the ohboy, Tampa two. What do we
We can't just can't throw the ballnow because that's what we did two years
ago. Yeah, And I thinka certain bit of that becomes in being

(18:42):
a little more aggressive and utilizing yourother players, your other positions, not
viewing the tight end as a throwawayposition that just gets checkdowns, not viewing
the running back position as something asyou hand off to try to get three
and a half yards. But somethingthat can be more of a weapon to
create explosive plays, you have todo that. It doesn't matter. I
mean, you can put good receiversout there all you want, and that's

(19:03):
great, you have that weapon,but you got to be able to beat
to find other ways to beat thesedefenses. And that's why you love the
idea of Okay, Burrow took asicky over that intermediate middle, you know
where you're trying to guard him with. You're covering him with a five to
nine slot corner, and Burrow's justgonna keep high pointing him and throwing to

(19:27):
the back over the back of hishelmet, And you can do it all
day long, right, And thatshould be a weapon that you have to
combat that stuff or Chase Brown.Heard a lot of good stuff about Chase
Brown this camp, and how goodhe looks running routes out of the backfield,
and how much it's more explosive hecan be. If they can continue
to do some of the things theydid in the screen game last year again,
other ways to keep these defenses thinkingabout other things other than can't let

(19:51):
them throw over the top of usor whatever that can do so many things
to change the way they're playing andcreate new explosives for you. I think
Burrow will be on the cover ofMad nexture. I'll prepare my think piece
on that. Uh yeah, sure, video game guy, maybe maybe you
could get him. Could you getlike a legends mode on the on the
college football games coming back right,and you got all the access to the

(20:12):
current players. Maybe they start bybringing him back. You know, what
was the best offense in college footballhistory? And you get Burrow on the
cover of that for just to easeeverybody in. So when Madden ratings come
out, you're not going to writea big piece on that. I love
Madden Rating Day. Madden Ratining Dayis huge. You know, you know
who takes Madden Rating Day really seriously? Players? Sure, players really don't

(20:36):
like yeah when they feel I understandthat in the Madden ratings. I understand
that if there was a radio talkshow host game. First of all,
what are we doing? But secondly, I would be interested in my rating
there wouldn't be very good, butI'd be interested in what the the video
game makers said about me. Yeah, sure, what somebody says. I
mean, we have ratings and numbersthat we all follow, you do you,

(21:00):
Yes, yeah, they're important.So it's sometimes I wish they weren't,
but yes, yeah, correct,I mean, but it's different when
it's one, one person one gamesis something that you really respect. But
yeah, I'll make sure to getright on there. There is one storyline
that's going to play out during trainingcamp that is more interesting than any other,

(21:22):
and you wrote about it. We'regoing to talk about it next on
ESPN fifteen thirty Cincinnati Sports Station,Sports Headlines and Service at Kelsey Chevrole,
home of lifetime power train protection andguaranteed credit approval from their family the Yours
for a Life kelseyshev dot Com.Red's back at it tonight, first of
two against the Cleveland Guardians. It'sOhio Cup, Paul Man. I've noticed

(21:45):
the tension in the air downtown tonight. You could feel it. You could
really feel it, like the cupson the line. Last year, we
were supposed to take a journey upto them for what was going to be
the determining match if you remember,they lost that game. Yeah, and
so we didn't go. We didn'tgo. Maybe it's our faults. Uh,

(22:08):
You and I have our picture withthe Ohio Cup. We sure did
the current Ohio a legendary moment.Yeah, I mean it's you know,
it's it's like when you see theStanley Cup or any famous trophy, you
know, you just you just can'tbelieve you're kind of in its midst and
it becomes it's sort of its ownthing. So we just when you see
it, you marvel. Yeah.I don't know if it's going to be

(22:29):
on display at the ballpark tonight,but if it is, feel free to
get your photo with it. UH. Starting line up tonight hopefully made well
thanks to our friends at Madewell Restoration, Freedom and Center. Elliott's Short Candelario
is playing third base, Steer atfirst, Frehleian raid Field batting fifth,
Stevenson Herd Abaest Dhing India, WillBenson Brent Suitor is going to be the
first pitcher on the hill tonight forthe Reds, who are going to employ

(22:53):
a bullpen game seven to ten thisevening on seven hundred WLW. What else
do you have? Florence y'awl's takeon Windy City Tonight Bengals Mini Caamp Day
one. Joe Burrow was there,Paul Danner Junior's here. So beyond all
the stuff that people are gonna spenda lot of time on Burrow's return,
which is obviously important. T Higgins, when's he gonna join the fraye Jamar

(23:17):
Chase, who, by the way, is there. I think the single
most interesting summertime NFL storyline is exactlywhat you wrote about, and it applies
to the Bengals, and it appliesto really one of the themes of the
offseason, which is the Bengals haveto be better on special teams, and
they have to do this in thisclimate where now you're dealing with the one
of the biggest unknowns in recent NFLhistory, which is how is this kickoff

(23:40):
rule gonna work? And so youwrote a piece about Darren Simmons who says
he's consumed with thoughts about how howthis is gonna work on top of making
the overall special teams play better.Look, man, I get it.
A lot of the medical stuff andthe new faces and Trent Brown and rookies.
This to me around the league oncegames and practices begin is what I'm

(24:03):
going to be paying attention to mostbecause it's fascinating how teams are gonna do
this. I mean, I couldn'thave been more fascinating seeing like what is
the process? You know? Andthat's kind of where I started with Darren,
Like, tell me what it's likefor in a game that you've done
the same way your entire life.They're like, hey, we've invented a
new way to do something. There'sno technique, there's no like, there's

(24:23):
no model, there's no template forwhat this is supposed to look like.
You guys make it up as yougo, but here's the rules of where
it has to start, you know. And you're just seeing so much tinkering,
so many different brainstorming sessions. Peopleare what you know. He talked
about calling people that he knew thatdid special teams with the XFL, which
was a similar version of the rule, although there are some fundamental differences in

(24:47):
this one, and then trying itout and realizing that didn't go I thought
it was gonna go, and thenhaving to do and you're doing all of
this in an off season where you'renot allowed to touch anybody. Really,
you're not going to do any ofthe stuff that you can do to really
test it out, and then you'regonna have to get into training camp and
continue to test it out and inpreseason games and test out all kinds of
stuff and hope there's gonna be anadvantage for somebody. You're talking like sixteen

(25:12):
hundred potential plays where there's gonna bea lot of teams that are able to
take that. I mean, howmany touchdowns? Is that gonna mean a
lot? You're talking about plays whereone breakthrough into daylight and it's and you're
housing it because everybody's there along thatsame line. Whoever can get in front
of the trend and whoever can handlethis the best. You know, there's

(25:36):
a massive swing. We always woulddo win probability differences in games where your
team either lets up or returns anykind of a kick. It is massive.
It's like a twenty five percent swing. Anytime it happens. There's a
possibility that that could be the gamechanger in a ton of games, specifically
early in this season, if somebodycan figure this out or has the right

(25:59):
personnel to do so. And everybody'sgoing through trial and air themselves, trying
trying to get a feel for itand working with different ways. We saw
Evan McPherson was trying this like sidekicktoday. So the ball was kind of
like laying on its side, almostlike you would think an on sidekick,
but you're kicking it with enough heightto get it to the landing zone between

(26:19):
the twenty and the zero, soit hits spinning and it's kind of a
line drive because you know, you'llcare about the hangtime because your guys are
already kind of down there. Youwant to get it to a point where
it's really hard to handle. Theball is live. It doesn't go into
the end zone untouched and all ofa sudden like that's touch back. No,
that's a live ball that can alwaysbe recovered. So you know,

(26:41):
I think you're gonna see more stufflike that. I just you know,
there's a lot of trial and airhappening right now and something that they need
to try to Like everybody wants totry to say that they're ahead of the
curve of come. You know,early September you reference on the piece that
Darren reached out to people who hadworked in the XFL where they view us
a version of this as a generalrule, What did the average kickoff look

(27:04):
like in the XFL? Not alot. I mean, it kind of
was a little blot like you.I think there's a thought that guys are
just gonna be breaking free for touchdownsall the time, and it just kind
of it would look like somebody kindof runs up, tries to get through,
can't and just there's too many peoplecloistered into a smaller right space.
But I also think that there's alsolook NFL athletes change that a little bit.

(27:29):
I mean, you know, Ilook at somebody like Chase Brown and
so he's built for this. Imean the twenty two mile prower speed on
the screen last year right at home, and the ability to find that one
little hole and then run away fromthe traffic is something that would seem to
fit this trying or you Darren wassaying, But also why don't know that

(27:55):
maybe it is like a run play. But also there's a lot of elements
to u pun return here where yougot to be able to have the wiggle
to make the first guy miss becauseeverybody is converging at you from all angles,
right, So if there's a there'sa there's a punt return element to
it too. So will that workbetter? Is that you know, I
have my theories and I'm kind oftrying to work them all out, but
nobody, Yeah, nobody really knows. This is a blank sligh how it's

(28:18):
gonna actually play. I think whatI think will happen is you'll have by
week six, I think everybody willbe doing the same stuff. Sure,
but that first five weeks you're gonnasee all kinds of teams trying out their
ideas and seeing what and it reallyit really puts the the joint practices around
the league. It puts a premiumon them because this is the first time

(28:38):
you're really gonna be able to executestuff, and you know, and his
point was, that's true, hesaid, but you know, once we
get into camp, once once campshappen, they can do that stuff in
practice. The joy practices give achance for you know, a little bit
more true trying out new stuff withouteverybody seeing like you would have. And
you'd be more likely to do thatin a joint practice in a preseason game,

(29:00):
so to speak, because there's maybethere's something that you don't want people
to see that you're gonna try orwhatever. But yeah, I think there's
all those proving grounds are going tobe really critical, he said. They
are gonna they're going to add asyou might imagine, add more sessions of
that than they've ever had of practicingkickoff and kickoff return just because of the

(29:21):
nature of so many people trying todo it. He's like, and oh,
by the way, I'm still outhere trying to get our regular units
to be better and because that wasn'twhere they wanted it to be last year
or two, and so, youknow, I talked to Evan McPherson a
little bit for that and he waslike, I'm not doing any tackling drills
anytime, Like, I'm not goingto see me out here, and I

(29:41):
think it's like, yeah, youmight have to be a little bit more
involved. He's mentioned that they didhave like a little bit of a kicking
tryout for guys that want to seewhat they have. He's like, because
you know, the thing is,a lot was made of Dave Tube in
Kansas City talking about Justin Reed potentiallydoing that because there's more involvement for that
player in tackling as these safety valveSo why not have a safety back there

(30:02):
who's a little more comfortable with that. His point was that's fine, and
if you have a guy who cando that, that's good. He's like,
But for me, I think it'sthe precision of where the kicklands is
gonna be the most important part ofthis thing not beating you, because the
advantage right now is with the returnteam the way it's currently set up.
But if you can have the precisionof landing it outside the numbers between the

(30:26):
five and the goal line consistently andwhatever, you know, whatever that kick
is for your kicker, that isreally what sets you up to be able
to bring this thing down pretty easily, or that you hope easily. But
if you can't do that, youstart going out of bounds or not missing
the landing zone it comes out tothe thirty or forty and all that other

(30:48):
stuff, then you get yourself intoall kinds of trouble. I can't wait
for the first time that a teamlines up for a kickoff in the Hall
of Fame game, because you coverthis league for a living. I followed
it. I follow it pretty obsessively. But there are people who are not
following the ins and outs of rulechanges and what happens with the league office.

(31:11):
That first game is going to comeon, teams are going to line
up for a kickoff, and peopleare going to wonder what the hell they're
watching? The hell is going on? Yeah, and I think players are
going to wonder that too as theygo through it. You know, Like
what was I doing out there?You know? I said? When the
games it's different than you were inpractice, Like, yeah, I don't.
You're not relying on some basic thingthat you've done your whole life.

(31:33):
You're trying to kind of re relearnit. I thought the you know,
trying to figure out what type ofplayers should be on this, and him
pointing out that I he thinks whereit will land is that the point of
attack is going to be very muchlike a run play, Like your middle
sections need to have your big guysthat can hold the line and hold that

(31:56):
He's like, but who's going tobe the first team to put the little
guys in there across from the bigguys, knowing that they can jet around
them and get a free shot topotentially, you know, knock somebody down
at the ten yard line or whatever. It's like that you know you're gonna
see. You could seriously sit thereand be like, Okay, here's our
mathive, where are they at?You guys? Switch put that guy on
that guy knew because you have allthese individual one on one matchups that are

(32:21):
part of you gotta set all ofIt's like when you set the Ryder Cup
card, right, like, whoare you gonna go against? I don't
know what are they gonna do?I don't know why who's gonna be across
me? I'm gonna put that guyin the eighth slot. I think it's
gonna be this guy, and Ijust think you end up in You know,
it's a lot, maybe a lotof mind games for not a lot,
or maybe it is. Maybe itis what we end up talking the
most about through the first month ortwo of this season. I think we

(32:44):
will. I think we will too. I think it's gonna I think it's
gonna absolutely affect the outcome of aton of games, and inevitably we'll look
back in January and say the inabilityto get it figured out or be ahead
of the curve was a reason whythis team is in the playoffs and that
team isn't. Yeah, I mean, I can't think. I can't think
of anything like this. You know, we've we've added, you know,

(33:05):
thirty years ago, the two pointconversion. We've changed the rules, we've
changed how kickoffs work. We've movedwhere the ball gets kicked from. We've
moved the the yard line that youget if if you have a touchback.
We've never done that. I canrecall anything like this in the sport where
you are giving coaches and teams ablank canvas on which to come up with

(33:27):
stuff. Now, it's it doesn'tresemble anything the games ever done. It's
one of the coolest training camp earlyseason storylines that I could ever remember.
Yeah, and I and I lovethe idea. You know, you've You've
made the preseason interesting to me becausewatching teams around the league figure this out
on the fly, to me atleast, is going to be fascinating.
Yeah. I mean I probably talkedto Darren for a half hour about it,

(33:52):
and I feel like we could havetalked for another hour and a half
because I was like, wait,what about this? Yeah? I was
like, wait, can can youdrop kick? That could drop He's like
whoa, whoa, Well cal himdown. He's like, you're trying to
run. I'm trying to jog here. Just try to you know, there's
there's any number of things because that'sjust what's going to happen, right,
Someone's going to have an idea.Someone's going to take it from there and
it's going to go to a crazyplace and it's just a matter of being

(34:14):
ready when it happens. All right, Two more items to hit on when
we come back. Ten away fromfour o'clock. Paul Danner Junior from The
Athletic and the Growler podcast on ESPNfifteen thirty, Cincinnati Sports Station. Whether
it's after a workout, it's fiveaway from four o'clock. This is ESPN
fifteen thirty. Another few minutes.Do we have to talk about Jamar Chase
being a can today? Any anythingthere you'd like to? He didn't want

(34:36):
to. He didn't want to talkto us, which I totally understand.
Trent Brown was there. That wasnice of them to show up. It's
not helping himself. Why hasn't hebeen around? This is what the Bengals
signed. This is how you getsomebody who's a really who had the numbers
that he did. Yeah okay,yeah, left and right side said all
the right things, and and thatthat's how you get that guy for four
million dollars for one year. Becausethis is the stuff that has followed him

(35:00):
his career. Where was he playingtoday, I was watching a lot.
He was playing right tackle some therewas one play with Trent Brown at right
tackle Anna Marius Mems next to himat the move and which I thoroughly enjoyed.
Justice for the visual. What arewe going to call that package that
they employed it? I guess arewe going with the Cincinnati skyline? I

(35:22):
don't know that was the that wasthe thing with the three, but I
think it was a new Okay,there was a new name. I told
I said for a while when itwas just the Browns. I liked Browncers
as the nickname that you know,Mark and I had come up with that,
and we were really excited about it. And then they added Memes and
that I have. We haven't founda great way to add him into that.

(35:43):
But and that's fine if they gowith the skyline. But I just
feel like, I don't know,big dudes on the right, is that
too too wordy? A little bit? Yeah, Okay, you need to
be able to make an acronym,if you do multiple an acronym that spells
out Bengals. Okay, come upwith that. Okay, I work on
that. We're getting to the pointduring the offseason where there's not a lot

(36:04):
of hard news which unfortunately this cameout today, the Joey Chestnut story.
No, he has been banned.He's not going to compete in the fourth
of July Major League Eating hot Dogeating contest because he's representing another hot dog
brand. Yeah, big, Big, I don't understand the allure of competitive
eating. Yeah, I don't understandwatching it. I don't understand people who

(36:27):
could boast of being able to doit. I've had folks say to me,
I could eat sixteen Skyline cheese cony. He's more than you like.
Yeah, awesome, awesome. Ito do that. I could eat four
and I'm fine. I'm good.I just need to be. I would
say what I'm here for. JoeyChestnut v. Kobayashi right down the street

(36:50):
side hustle game, right like,everyone's gathered whatever, whatever the closest is.
They can get to the Nathans withoutbeing considered part of it. Is
this beside show live in the PGATour. This is what everyone's wanted since
since Kobe Yashi got booted anyway orwhatever happened to him, to find everyone
everyone that likes competitive Your friend hasn'tbeen banned, You've seen the crowds down

(37:17):
there. Oh yeah, I getit. Those people. There are certain
things that a lot of folks areinto that I I just I don't get.
I just want to watching Watching thehighlights of that makes me sick to
my stomach. Watching people gorge themselveslike that doesn't make me feel hungry.
It makes me feel like I wantto throw up. It did make far

(37:39):
the greatest like graphic on the socialwhich was the Joey Chestnut band graphic band
really big and it's a picture ofhim like looking like he's about to throw
up with like three hot dogs hangingout of his mouth, and I'm like,
that's that's really the perfect photo toaccompany someone being banned from anything.

(38:00):
It is you've never been banned fromanything before? Not yet, not yet.
I've banned myself from hot dog eatingcontest. There was one of those
at Octoberfest one year. Joey Chestnutwas there, Nick Lache was eating hot
dogs and I'm like, all right, I'll check this out, And after
like three minutes, I'm like,this is gross. Yeah, I'm done,
I'm out. I don't understand theallure of competitive eating. So you've

(38:21):
never you've never been invited to takepart in such a contest, and I
would say no. If I was, yeah, I would hope. So
yeah, all right, thank youas always. Yeah, pleasure Get Paul's
coverage of Mini Camp at Theathletic dotcom and catch the podcast The Growler where
you get your podcasts. Follow himon x at Paul Danner Junior four o'clock
on ESPN In fifteen thirty Sports Up, I'm Christine Lyci. The status of

(38:50):
Celtic center Christops porzingis uncertain. Gamethree NBA Finals tomorrow against the Mavericks seven
thirty Eastern, ESPN Radio and ABC. Porzingis suffered a rare injury to his
left leg in Game two and isconsidered day to day. Coach Joe Missoula
being told is it's obviously something serious, but it's something that has the potential
to play. Z th everything youcan between now and game time to play.
But we're gonna make sure we puthim in the best possible situation.

(39:13):
Our medical team, we'll protect him, and you know, because this time
of year, it can be verytempting to put yourself in a compromising situation.
And so he's gonna try like hellto play. But we got us
back Joe Missoula on the NBA onESPN Radio. Quarterback Aaron Rodgers and ed
rusher Hassan Raddick not a Jets mandatorymini camp. Both unexcused absences. Coach
Robert solid told reporters Rogers absence isrelated to an event that's very important to

(39:36):
him. Reddicks is contract related.USA Basketball says a lack of national team
experience a big reason Caitlin Clark wasn'ton the US women's Olympic roster. On
Veiled Today, Billy's catcher JT Realmuto, we'll undergo right knee surgery tomorrow.
No timeline yet for his return.Helly you, it's your residence. Super
Bowl champ Chris Kenny coming on Wednesday. I'll tell you why Kyrie Ever needs

(39:58):
to be the best player on Nicoleif the MAVs want to get back into
this series. It's unsports for likesix am Eastern right here. Called the
ESPN Radio ESPN two in ESPNU.It is sponsored by

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