On this special 188th episode of “Listen In With KNN” presented by Fox Sports 1340AM/96.9 FM, host Kelsey Nicole Nelson welcomed special guest Rod Walker, columnist for The Times-Picayune | New Orleans Advocate to the show!
With a countdown to the regular season, the two discussed what’s the next step for the New Orleans Saints without Drew Brees as their quarterback and looked into Covid-19’s impact on the NFL this upcoming season. The duo also dove into what to expect out of a Willie Green led New Orleans Pelicans squad. Also on this show, Nelson and Walker talked about their Deep South hometown roots, and Mississippi ties.
As we prepare for the 2021 regular NFL season, all eyes have been on the New Orleans Saints franchise and who they name as their starting quarterback. Many fans have been left in limbo with many questions surrounding who the Saints will name their starting quarterback for the season as the battle between Jameis Winston and Taysom Hill plays out.
“I think their excited or maybe curious is a better word,” said Walker on the fans of New Orleans. “This is the first time since 2006… And it was never a question in training camp you went into training camp and you knew number nine was going to be quarterback, now you know there is a quarterback battle that this city hasn’t seen in a long time,” said Walker. In what might be a surprise to some, Walker discussed that losing Drew Brees isn’t necessarily the biggest question for the Saints this year. “Here it is, this team has some other question marks that you didn’t expect, they have a hole at cornerback… David Onyemata defensive lineman is suspended for the first six games… and this past week we found out that Michael Thomas had surgery in June, so he’s going to miss the beginning of the season and that’s been the talk around here…”
But, Walker still did put emphasis on the starting quarterback battle for the New Orleans Saints as Jameis Winston and Taysom Hill continue to duel it out with fans and media alike choosing a side as to who they want to see as QB1. “If he [Jameis] can fix his decision making I think he’ll thrive in this offense. We’ll have to see how much he [Taysom] has developed as well. It’s an audition for both of those guys… Sean Payton is a guy that probably isn’t going to name a starter before that first game… “ Walker noted it’s something everyone will keep an eye on as he pointed out the quarterback battle goes even further. He drew some comparisons between the rookie quarterback out of Notre Dame Ian Book and Drew Brees. “He’s [Ian] a guy that has a lot of confidence, I sort of see that same chip on the shoulder that Drew Brees had as far as wanna prove people wrong and obviously we don’t expect to see him play much this season but I will be curious to see him…” said Walker. “He may get a shot but if this Jameis, Taysom thing doesn’t work I wouldn’t be shocked if the Saints try to get some veteran guy.”
As Nelson and Walker discussed the Saints they transitioned briefly into discussing their Mississippi roots as Rod Walker is a Mississippi native and a Pittsburgh Steelers fan. Yes, you read that right though this is not a combo you always see. Nelson had to dive into how a man from Mississippi ended up loving the black and gold. “I have an older brother who was a big Steelers fan going back to the steel curtain days. We were always watching the Steelers and I just latched on and I’m thankful he was a Steelers fan because he easily could’ve been a Cowboys fan…” Walker jokingly exclaimed.
Discussing sports in New Orleans Nelson and Walker had to discuss the other big team in New Orleans, their NBA neighbors the New Orleans Pelicans where there’s a new head coach at the helm in Willie Green. “Willie Green is a guy that has really gotten positive reviews from everybody from Chris Paul to Doc Rivers to Devin Booker, everyone has raved about him. He’s been on a staff with Monty Williams and with Golden State, he has been around some winners,” said Walker. It will be interesting to see how Willie Greens’ coaching style translates to Zion Williamson, Brandon Ingram and the rest of that young up and coming Pelicans roster as they search for a playoff spot this season.