The NFL on CBS broadcast team just got even deeper, as Charles Davis has signed on to be a color analyst alongside longtime play-by-play announcer Ian Eagle for the upcoming 2020 season and beyond.
A former University of Tennessee football standout with years of experience in sports broadcasting, Davis spoke with CBSSports.com for nearly 20 minutes to discuss the move and his excitement to be paired with Eagle in the booth. We also dug into some of the biggest headlines of this NFL offseason, with Davis giving his thoughts on all of them. So pull up a chair and get to know the newest member of the NFL on CBS with this Q&A:
Q: Excited to join the CBS crew? Give me some of your thoughts about joining the team here.
A: Yeah, I’m very much excited about it. Let’s face it, this is an iconic group that I’m fortunate enough to join: CBS Sports. I mean, think of all the great moments, the history, the great people that have worked there … For me to be a part of that, albeit a small part of that, is pretty exciting for a kid that grew up in New Paltz, New York.
Q: Looking at your new broadcasting partner in Ian Eagle’s career, what are your thoughts on joining him in the booth?
A: I’ve known Ian over the years. … Everyone, every single time when you say that you’ve met Ian Eagle, they just gush as you might imagine — and rightly so. I don’t think there’s anyone in this business that has encountered him that you’re going to find anything, but the most positive praise, respect for his abilities, all of those things and I feel the exact same way.
In my career, I’ve been very, very fortunate and blessed to stand next to some people who are really good at what they do in terms of play-by-play. I’ve worked with Thom Brennaman on national championship games, Gus Johnson on college football, Kevin Burkhardt in the NFL, and now Ian Eagle? That’s a pretty good run to put it mildly. All those people are experts in their business. Ian is no different and, of course, you just talk about one of the best people in the business as a person not just a broadcaster.”
Q: Well, you’re not the only one switching teams this offseason. Tom Brady joined the Tampa Bay Buccaneers after twenty years with the Patriots. What were your thoughts on his free agency, his decision and what to Tampa this season?
A: So I don’t get accused of revisionist history, let’s just say right from the beginning I was quoted and on record saying, when push came to shove, I thought Tom Brady would end up back in New England. I was one of those people that thought, “Hey, it sounds great that he may go somewhere else, but I don’t know that it gets better than being in New England.” Of course, I was wrong.
When you look at this new opportunity, where he’s going, the receiving corps that he’ll be throwing to, a team that went 7-9, which isn’t all that great, but they lost six games that were one-score games during the season. Then you think, “OK, with Tom Brady at the helm, would that record be 0-6?” I don’t know many of us who would think that. You start to see the optimism and why people in Tampa, not just because of Tom Brady, but maybe there is a team that’s looking for a guy like him that can take the key and open up the door for that crew. That’s why it’s so exciting.
The next step was Gronk. You’re like, “What? They got better?” They got better because here comes Gronk, who will speak TB12 for the rest of the locker room and be able to tell people how you interact with your new teammate. Not that Tom Brady is aloof, but can you imagine being in a locker room with Tom Brady? You might have a little trepidation about approaching. You might be a little starstruck at the beginning and Gronk can help ease all that. Plus, his body is healed and he can go back to being the All-Pro tight end we know. A lot of optimism in Tampa and rightly so.
Q: What about the team that Brady left behind in the Patriots? How do you view their transition with possibly Jarrett Stidham at QB?
A: Throughout this process we kept thinking that there’s got to be a move that New England is going to make. They’ve got to bring in someone else. Well, they brought it Brian Hoyer, who is on his third stint with the New England Patriots. With Bill Belichick being there and Josh McDaniels still the offensive coordinator, the comfort zone for him should be fairly easy. Is he truly a threat to start? Probably not. He’s a veteran backup to try and guide the young kid, but I think we still all thought they would draft someone or that they would try to sign someone in free agency.
From what I’ve been told after talking with a couple contacts, Andy Dalton was never really a big option for them. They never became a player for him. When you boil it down, Jarrett Stidham, they drafted him last year and had him around all year long. They must believe unless there is another move to be made. Is that Cam Newton? I think if it was they probably would have done that already. I think that they must believe that Stidham is their guy.
Q: Let’s look at the quarterback situation in Dallas. Jerry Jones gave Andy Dalton a contract before Dak Prescott. How do you see Prescott’s contact situation shaking out?
A: I would have thought that he would have already been signed by now. I thought he would have signed last year. As the situation kept devolving, I don’t think that any of us would ever think that signing Andy Dalton didn’t carry a little bit of a message with it. That Dallas is like, “Hey, can we get this thing done?” I don’t think they are trying to say that they are done with Dak Prescott by any stretch, but I think they are ready to be done with the situation and they’ve backfilled themselves just in case something else goes haywire.
Personally, I think they will finally get it done and Dak will be the quarterback, but it’s a bold move by Dallas on a roster that last year underachieved because they should have been a Super Bowl contender. Instead, they got beat on the last week of the season and didn’t even make the playoffs. They believe they still have a strong team and be contenders and signing Andy Dalton is what good contenders do. They backfill the quarterback position in case things go wrong.
Q: Before the Andy Dalton signing, I think the biggest quarterback story in the NFL had to revolve around Aaron Rodgers and the Packers drafting Jordan Love. Were you surprised by the Love pick, and what do you think is Rodgers’ fate in Green Bay?
A: Surprised would be wrong. We all look at mock drafts, right? A mock draft, in our purview, is something that allows people to mock you. I mean, if you put one out there, prepare to be mocked. It’s the way it goes. It’s the nature of the beast. The last one that I put out there, in my comment section, I believe that there’s something in there that Green Bay is expected to take a receiver, but could this spot be for a quarterback? Could it be Jordan Love or could it be Jalen Hurts? I think I put something like that in there. Not because I was trying to cover all the bases, but we’ve seen it before with Green Bay. …
It was a little bit different there (compared to when the Packers selected Rogers in 2005). It will be interesting to watch to see how it plays, but I think Rodgers will take it very well. I don’t think he’s going to freeze him out. I think they’ll get along fine, but I don’t know what that means for he and his head coach. I’m pretty certain that he was not expecting that pick to happen. … They needed receivers. They didn’t draft a single receiver in the deepest receiver crop in the last twenty years. To me, that was a bigger surprise than than the actual drafting of Jordan Love.
Q: Wanted to take a look at the two teams that were in the Super Bowl last year and we’ll start with the 49ers. We’ve seen teams in the past lose the Super Bowl and struggle the following year. The Rams from last year are a good example. Does San Francisco have a good enough culture with Kyle Shanahan to avoid that type of plunge?
A: I think that they do. I think Kyle Shanahan has a strong sense of self and belief in self. John Lynch is really locked in to being a GM in the league now. His drafts have been extremely good. …
Joe Staley, their longtime All-Pro, Pro Bowl left tackle, retires. They immediately replace him with Trent Williams, the best left tackle (available) at the draft. Would you rather have Trent Williams or any of the top four tackles that were in the draft? Probably take Trent Williams. That’s how good he is and they are immediately plugging him in to play left tackle. They trade DeForest Buckner to the Colts and they cut back in the draft and take Javon Kinlaw, one of the top rated defensive tackles in the draft. They need receiver help and, with their second pick, they draft Brandon Aiyuk, who many thought may have gone a little bit earlier in the draft.
I love what they do and how they are manipulating the team. They have something to prove coming back from how it ended, minutes away from winning it all. This feels like a team that’s not kicking back. As crazy as it sounds, this feels like a team that is still ascending.”
Q: For the team that actually won the Super Bowl in the Kansas City Chiefs, do they have what it takes to repeat and possibly create some form of a dynasty?
A: They have the ability. We all know that there are going to be people that come at them like crazy. Who was our last repeat? New England 2003-2004. You can see how difficult it is because we’ve seen other teams that we thought were going to be really good for a long time. We just mentioned the Rams. They go to the Super Bowl and did anyone see them missing the playoffs this year? Probably not. …
(The Chiefs) have a lot of continuity. They have like 20 of 22 starters coming back. It’s crazy. It’s like a college team. It is just nuts how good that is. (They have) a generational quarterback, who still feels like he has a lot to prove after finally getting over the hump and looking to do it again and again. I think that this is a team that has a chance to be in that hunt again, but predicting back-to-back … look, no team has been able to do it since New England in 2003-2004. Let’s just watch Kansas City make their run. It’ll be fun to see.
Q: Finally, I want to see if you have a team that could be a Cinderella similar to the Tennessee Titans last season. Any clubs that are being slept on?
A: I immediately start with the Arizona Cardinals. … I watched that team last year and thought they got better every week. I look at their offseason and they re-signed left tackle D.J. Humphries, the make the trade with David Johnson and they get DeAndre Hopkins to go to that offense to play with Larry Fitzgerald and Christian Kirk. I think it’s a team on the rise. Then, in the draft, they get the most versatile player in Isaiah Simmons, they got a tackle in Josh Jones. I think it’s a team on the rise. They’ve got a tough division, but they very well might be that surprise team to take off and go with the air raid offense.