Bernie: Hey Jim, good to be with you today!
Jim Rome: Nice to have you here, Bernie, thank you very much. Let me get your thoughts first on the situation in Cleveland. Butch Davis had a tough decision to make, Kelly Holcomb over Tim Couch. Time will tell, Bernie, but... did he make the right decision?
Bernie: Yeah, you know what, I think a lot of coaches would like to have that type of tough decision, when you have two guys playing good. In the NFL, every year you end up counting, at some point during the year, how many teams are already into their backup quarterback. Multiple teams have to use multiple quarterbacks over the course of a year, so, I think it's going to be in the long run healthy that they have two guys who are playing pretty good.
I don't think that Tim Couch lost the competition as much as Kelly Holcomb won it, and I'm not saying that to be politically right. Both of them have had pretty good pre-seasons, and pretty good seasons last year. Tim led the team to eight or nine wins, and Kelly played exceptional at the beginning of the year - and played really exceptional in the playoff game.
Jim Rome: Bernie, people will be watching Tim Couch to see his reaction. Do you expect him to take the benching like a man and to be a team guy?
Bernie: You know what? We're all human. The position you're in, the position I'm in, we're all human. We have feelings. There's no question he was dying with the decision. You know, it sucks to not be the starting guy, and he wants to be "the guy". But he's staying cool, he's taking it good, he's saying the right things, he's handling it right. He has the right attitude, too...
But, you know, the way we started the show talking about "it's a long year". He'll probably play. He wants to be ready to go if he's called upon, so I think he has the right attitude, and the best attitude you can have given a bad situation for him.
Jim Rome: You know, Bernie, I went to BerniesInsiders.com. You've got a column right there now about whether or not you think this team is going to make it to the playoffs again. Are they a playoff team this year?
Bernie: I think more of the issues are going to be on the other side of the ball, more of the unanswered questions. We've got some high-powered offenses coming to Cleveland this year, and how we play with a new set of linebackers and the secondary and I think it all falls on (the defensive line). We have a lot of talented high picks up front and we need to really put pressure on the quarterback. How we handle things defensively will dictate how the team goes. The playoffs are going to be tough, I think, with some of the teams that are coming into town.
Jim Rome: Carmen Policy, said during the Spring that the team might have to take a step back to take a couple of steps forward. You know Browns fans... they did not want to hear that. They didn't want to hear it, but is it true?
Bernie: Do any of us really want to hear that we may not win the Super Bowl? I mean, we're getting into an era now, where less than championship-level football is not really acceptable - this is a long winded-way of agreeing with you and Carmen. In the salary cap era, you have to do some things that are not popular in the short run in order to give yourself a chance at the glass slipper - the Super Bowl ring. You may have to take a little bit of the poison early, and the Browns had cap issues this past year. That's why you don't see Earl Holmes and Jamir Miller and Dwayne Rudd on the team now. Not because they weren't NFL football players, but because the salary cap was more of a factor on the team.
Corey Fuller is now playing in Baltimore. You didn't give him up because he's not a team leader or because he's not a good player and can't play in the league anymore. We saw that in New England the other day - their worst nightmare came true and Milloy went to Buffalo.
Jim Rome: Bernie Kosar joining us and, yeah, they get the first shot at them in the opener. You mentioned the offense and they've got a lot of weapons. What about the running game - let me get your quick thoughts on that. William Green - is he ultimately going to be one of the league's better runners, and is Butch Davis going to look smart for taking him instead of Clinton Portis?
Bernie: It's funny in Denver. If there's reincarnation, I want to come back as one of Mike Shanahan's running backs or quarterbacks. It seems like whoever he puts in at quarterback and running back has a great year out there. I think it has a lot to do with the coach and the offensive line and their system. I'm not taking anything away from Clinton Portis - and as a UM guy I'm very biased towards liking him - but they've been very successful in that system with a lot of different people.
William Green had a great second half of the year. He struggled early, but came back and was really the dominant force in the second half. So that's obviously the William Green that the team and ourselves are hoping to see this year.
Jim Rome: Bernie, why would you have anything against Denver??
Bernie: (Laughing) Oh, yeah, I get nightmares from those games...
Jim Rome: (Laughing) I would think...
Bernie: You and I are old enough to remember them. I spoke to a High School the other day, and thank God for ESPN Classic or they wouldn't know who I was.
Jim Rome: Speaking of ESPN Classic... If you're not listening to "Bernie, what about those games against Denver", let's never forget you were on the other end of that BC-Miami match-up, the Hail Mary, Doug Flutie...
Bernie: Yeah, it's funny about the ESPN Classic. They called me to do interviews and game recaps. They said "that was one of the greatest games ever. You had a great game, threw for over 470 yards...". I go, "Yeah, but we lost!" They said, "I tell you what, let's do the Nebraska game". "OK, we'll do Nebraska...".
Jim Rome: You know, Bernie, is that... 477 yards... it's a great game, or is it? I mean, if you lost, is it a great game?
Bernie: No, no. I was a really good winner, not so good a loser. I would rather have thrown for 100 yards that game and won the game, than to have racked up those stats and lost 47-45 like that.
That was a good lesson for me in life, because that was probably the only game in my life... we had scored a touchdown with only 20 seconds to go. We thought we had it wrapped up, being up more than a field goal with only twenty seconds and the kickoff pending. That was the only game where I checked it in early, took the pads off, started to kind of enjoy myself. That was my lesson to play out the whole game. Then Doug hit that - I call it the Hail Flutie pass - you could have heard a pin drop in the Orange Bowl.
Jim Rome: It's funny you say that. I was about to ask you Bernie... when he's running around back there, are you thinking to yourself "it's good, we're fine, the clock spins, we win" or when you saw little Flutie running around were you thinking "oh crap!".
Bernie: No, no! "Game over! We've got 'em! They're dead! We're winning the game, there's no doubt about it!".
The Orange Bowl is one of the classic historical old
stadiums and it is intensely loud. In fact, we're going to see a great game with
the Gators and the Hurricanes down there on national TV. It gonna be rockin'...
loud... and I've never heard the place that quiet.
I wasn't even really watching, because I said "there's no way with him running around that he's going to be able to hoist it 65-70 yards on the Hail Mary pass to even make it there". So, I thought he was dead and the game was over.
Jim Rome: A final thought about that. You've got Miami and Florida. Florida guard Shannon Snell said after Saturday's win..
Bernie: ...locker room material...
Jim Rome: Locker room material, you know it. In case the visitors don't know it, Snell said "I still love Brock Berlin, but I hope our defense hits him in the mouth and makes his mouth bleed. Nothing personal, I don't like Miami". And Miami, nobody has said anything, nobody has even responded. What, Bernie... nothing?
Bernie: You know the coach is at work. Coach Coker is an outstanding, outstanding coach, and he's done a great job taking over for Butch. Inside we all have our competitive fire and we all have that little chippiness and saltiness to us, and you know that those guys are really steamed by that. Art Kehoe is the offensive line coach, assistant head coach, and you know he's putting that stuff up and playing it up to his offensive line that the d-line is after (Berlin) and they want to get him. Eighteen, nineteen, twenty-year-old kids... that is going to be all over as far as the motivational effect, and I think that stuff does have a big motivational effect on the game.
Matter of fact, he's not backing down from it. You check out his quotes from today - I do the Fightin Gators website and magazine, and the 'Canes - he's backing it up. He hasn't stopped. All the defensive linemen are all kind of re-iterating the same theme. So, I think it's going to be a pretty hostile environment out there about 8:10 on Saturday night.
Jim Rome: Alright, so I mentioned BerniesInsiders.com, is there a Cane and Gator website you have also?
Bernie: Yeah, as a matter of fact, you can check it out. I am a huge college football fan. I don't think there's anything more electric than some of the college games and those atmospheres. You go into Columbus, Ann Arbor, down to Gainesville, you get 100,000 people in all those stadiums and it's a fun environment. I have about 25 magazines and over 100 websites. You can find the websites at TheInsiders.com and the magazines at CitadelPublishing.com.
Jim Rome: There it is...
Bernie: It's fun. God blessed me, Jim. I played 12 years in the NFL, and now I get to go to games and write about them. So, I don't officially have to have a real job.
Jim Rome: You're set. You're all set up.
Bernie: I don't have to mature, I don't have to grow up.
Jim Rome: Bernie, that was excellent. Look at those websites, great to have you on the show. We have to do it again before the year's over.
Bernie: Anytime, Jim, love your show.