Are the Ravens ever going to throw the ball more?

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In an easy victory over the Cleveland Browns, Lamar Jackson was a very efficient 15-of-19 throwing the football but Luke Jones and Nestor wonder if Todd Monken feels like he really needs to do more in the passing game. So far, so good.


week, ravens, year, lamar, game, played, team, sunday, injuries, talk, backfield, running, quarterback, coming, throw, tackle, pittsburgh, division, ball, practice


Luke Jones, Nestor Aparicio

Nestor Aparicio  00:01

Welcome back, WN S T, Towson, Baltimore. Baltimore positive. We’re taking the Maryland crabcake Tour presented by the Maryland lottery in conjunction with wind donation and Jiffy Lube, take it on the road back to the Dundalk. We’re gonna be a drug city for my birthday next Friday could be a game five. I don’t know. I mean, it’s scheduling and rain and wind and cold and the Texas Rangers amongst other things going on on the baseball side. We’re gonna talk plenty of baseball around here this week. You’re gonna be hearing from Doug the senseis is gonna check in this week. Charles Steinberg, Rick Vaughn, whole bunch of old school Oriole people. We’re gonna talk to Brooks Robinson this week, as well as the fascination of Grayson Rodriguez and Gunnar Henderson and Adley rutschman. And me wearing my curio Baltimore shirt here available to foreign daughter this week. Luke Jones joins us now. We’ll get baseball. And I know football is not going to have a lot of oxygen even though it’s Pittsburgh Week. This week. I will talk to some people in Pittsburgh before it’s all over with but it’s a baseball week around here and the football game on Sunday has not led us to like Oh, I got to talk about that one all week long. Right? I’m measuring where the ravens are at three and one and potentially four. And oh, had hardball just told ze flowers to run around a little bit at the two minute warning last week, they would be foreign Oh, right now, I don’t know that it’s as heavy or as impressive as what the Orioles have looked like here and especially their pitching last week against bad teams. But there’s a point for us. I think we’re all acknowledging with Lamar Jackson, even with Humphrey hertz, Stanley herd like, op je, all of that. They’re the best team in the division. Right now. It’s the first week of October. We look at it that way and say, who’s coming to catch us? It’s sort of the Ravens division and not screw up at this point. They need to manage the season the way they manage the second half to some degree.

Luke Jones  01:50

Yeah, I think that’s fair. And and as you pointed out, long way to go. We all understand that anyone listening right now anyone talking about it? We understand it’s early October. So much can change. But couple things like you just said, I mean, they’re in first place. They have two division road wins already in their pocket with a chance for a third, as Kenny Pickett is going to be out and the Steelers offense is a total mess. We’ll see if Matt Canada’s still calling plays by the time they head to head to Pittsburgh, but you look at this ravens team and you just alluded to it, despite all the injuries and they had some moral on Sunday, you know, fingers crossed on Morgan Moses and you know, they lost a couple more corners and they were down to come on see more playing the nickel Layton in that game. But this is a team that still has

Nestor Aparicio  02:38

a seven on seven against that kid.

Luke Jones  02:41

Probably. Yeah. Again, I’ll go back to what I said in a previous segment. I mean, the Browns at this point trading Josh Dobbs and handing the reins to that kid in an emergency situation. Look, that’s tough for any backup in that position. But organizational malpractice, I mean, you can like love the kid all you want longterm, he’s he was not ready for that moment.

Nestor Aparicio  03:02

But why did you start off video trying to find himself on the Arizona Cardinals. He was trying to get jerseys for his family. And he went up on the website, and his name wasn’t on the Cardinals, and they wouldn’t let you put in a custom name. So he pitched it the NFL Of course, they set up a jersey and they did all that. He seems like a good kid too, which is even

Luke Jones  03:21

Yeah, yeah. Yeah. He doesn’t have extensive experience either. But

Nestor Aparicio  03:26

we’re worried about him and Halloween he’ll be playing by the time we get there if he is

Luke Jones  03:30

it. Right, right. So I think when you look at the Ravens right now, there’s still plenty of room for growth. I don’t think anyone looks at Sunday’s performance and would say it was a perfect performance by any stretch. I mean, the defense, the defense was excellent, as they should be against a team that is without its $230 million quarterback and without their four time Pro Bowl running back who had been their anchor, they did what I would want a really good defense to do. I already thought they were a really good defense. So the Ravens didn’t have anything to prove to me on the defensive side of the football was good to see Kyle van Noy contribute after just coming off the practice squad and just being signed this past week. But he’s a pro. You know, at 32 years old. We we saw Jason Pierre Paul do something similar. I’ll be with an even bigger workload last year, when the Ravens signed him and think he played 55 snaps. I think it was against the bills, if I remember correctly. So, you know, I think when you have these types of situations that the Ravens do right now defensively where they’re banged up, clearly they haven’t had Marlon Humphrey all year just yet. And, you know, Marcus Williams returned to practice thought he had a chance to play but it’s gonna be another week for him. Have no Tyus Bowser No, it OFHEO ya know, David a job Oh, who’s on IR now, they have played really well. And it’s really a credit to Mike McDonald. And we’ve seen this team despite the fact that any given week you haven’t known who’s going to line up at outside linebacker other than Jadeveon Clowney, they’ve been able to join rate, the past rush and go look at their sack totals and look how many of those have actually come from their edge guys. It shows what kind of scheming like McDonald’s doing right now. So the point is, and, you know, offensively dealing with injuries as well, there’s room for this team to grow. And that’s, that’s an exciting thing. No one looks perfect right now in the AFC, including Kansas City on Sunday night, going up against the Jets who everyone left for dead and Zach Wilson can’t play and Rogers is there on the sideline. But, you know, I think this first quarter of the season, reminder of a long way to go. Look how bad Buffalo and Josh Allen looked in the opener, you know, for all the talk of the Jets overcoming Rodgers injury, you know, they lost that game. Buffalo has looked really good since then. Miami until Sunday until going Orchard Park, they had looked invincible. And then we saw the bills do what they did. So Kansas City, you know, they’ve been up and down. So why don’t we interesting

Nestor Aparicio  06:01

schedule. Right. The Ravens schedule is interesting in that all these teams you’re mentioning, we’re not seeing most of these teams, right? Like it’s going to be a different kind of Titans coming up around the corner next week after we get the Steelers and whatnot. But we’re not seeing buffalo we I mean, measuring the ravens, I’m saying Where will the the Ravens will measure themselves against the lions, I guess later in the month. And I don’t know if that’s a real measurement, then coming in here, you better hope you beat them, even though they’re supposed to be good. But we’re trying to figure out who these good teams are. Right?

Luke Jones  06:31

Yeah, and most years, that’s what you’re doing in September and October, right? I mean, there are teams that you think are going to be really good. I mean, Cincinnati is a great example of that. And look, maybe the Bengals will rebound. Maybe Joe burrow gets healthy over the bye, and they’ll make a second half of the season kind of run. And they last year, they started off slow. Now that that’s one reason why I think a lot of us were not willing to bury them at, you know, being open to and everything there. But there are inevitably there are teams every year that we think are gonna be good. And for whatever reason, injuries, coaching, whatever personnel changes, whatever it is, they end up not being good. On the flip side, there are teams that you think are going to be awful. And they end up being better than you thought. Look at the Houston Texans, you know, as much as thinking about the perception of CJ Stroud going up against the Ravens in week one. And you know, he made some throws here and there, he certainly wasn’t great. But look at how he’s played. I mean, even a rookie quarterback, I mean that that Houston team, they’re not great. I’m not sitting here trying to sing their praises to a dramatic degree. But better than you thought. You know, I mentioned the Arizona Cardinals which Josh Dobbs, I mean, they they’ve been more competitive, you know, they haven’t won all these games, but they’ve been more competitive than you would have thought. And they beat Dallas last week. So it’s a week to week league next year, we say it every year, and we forget it this time of year every year. I mean, it’s just we go through this exercise every year, we overreact to the first couple of weeks. And then things start to settle one way or another after that. But if you’re the ravens, you’re three and one, two road division wins in your pocket already. The rest of the division looks very messy. You’ve been banged up, yes, the injuries cannot continue at this rate. And we’ll continue to talk about that because it’s very important. But to this point they’ve been able to endure, we do know that most of these injuries are not serious season ending kind of injuries, which I think is important to note on like two years ago when they had lost so many guys, even before the season started let alone early on. But they’re in a position where I feel they’re ascending still now How high will they ascend who knows and so much of that comes back to your quarterbacks healthy. Again, no one else in the AFC North can say that right now about their quarterback and the Ravens have nothing to feel sorry for you know, nothing to apologize on that front after the last two years what they dealt with. So they’re in a position where I do expect this team to get better they they need to get better, they should get better I expect them to get better as the year goes on. If at some point on these injuries, at least slow down a little bit, let’s say and they can continue to make progress continue to grow. The offense needs to become more consistent there’s no question about that. You know, I thought Lamar Jackson played a good football game overall on Sunday understanding he didn’t have a starting tackles didn’t have two of his top three wide receivers and they didn’t have to do a whole lot they were able to play a style where they could manage the game after their scores

Nestor Aparicio  09:38

are still really tough for Lamar it’s tough for every quarterback

Luke Jones  09:42

third Long’s just gonna say let’s be very clear about this starting looks tough for every quarterback you know that’s that’s not a Lamar Jackson exclusive thing there so you know he he played well though. Now that wasn’t his best game wasn’t a legendary game for Lamar, but he played well. He played winning football, good football. out on the road made some beautiful touch passes. I mean the touchdown to mark Andrews in the back of the endzone How many times have we seen him throw it to mark Andrews and you say, oh, no, no, it looks like it’s gonna be picked off. And it’s perfect. I mean, they just have it looked like an interception. It looked like it was but it was a perfect throw right over the the fenders, just over his fingertips. And right in the mark Andrews hands, we’ve said that, how many times over the last four or five years. So you know, they have room to grow. And Lamar even talked about that after the game. You know, he was even asked, Did you guys make a statement against what had been the number one defense and he said, we still have points out on the field, we still made mistakes, you know, we still have to protect the ball better. And He absolutely has to protect the ball better. It you know, more fumbles this week. You know, that’s something we can talk about the offense continuing to grow and injuries and some of that, but you have to you have to protect the football. And aside from the botched exchange with Justice Hill, they were able to do that on Sunday. I mean, that was the only way Cleveland was going to have any chance in that football game. So I credit them for after you know, after that mistake in the second quarter that short circuited what had been their best drive to that point, you know, they protected the ball, they moved the ball twice to impressive drives in the final five minutes of the first half. And that’s really all they needed to do. You know, they added the touchdown, you know, after the turnover, you know, in the fourth quarter, but I mean, this is this was the kind of performance that you’d want to see, given the quarterback circumstance for the opposition, but they went out and did it. And Cincinnati people expected them to win in Tennessee. They didn’t people expected Pittsburgh to beat the Houston Texans. I think you know, I mean, not that the Steelers are reviewed as a juggernaut, but certainly weren’t expecting them to get their butts kicked. So you can keep picking apart different things about the Ravens. And we’ll do that because that’s that’s what we do. Right? We’re going to talk about this thing on a daily and weekly basis. And we’re gonna measure each Sunday on how they do but you look at where they are compared to the rest of this division. Suddenly, all those injuries that we’ve been talking about a lot. They don’t feel as dire it doesn’t feel as critical when you consider where the rest of this division is. And look. They go to Pittsburgh and and stubbed their toe. Well, it’ll be a different conversation next week. You know, as we’re traveling with the Orioles and seeing what happens the division series but this was a workman like performance that you want to see coming off the you know, the heels of a loss, bad loss against Indianapolis and your three month football team, a three in one football team with room to grow and there are plenty of teams in the league right now. And every other team in this division right now would trade positions with the Ravens in a heartbeat.

Nestor Aparicio  12:38

We’ll talk about the passing game plenty. No Odell Beckham, no Bateman all the fun toys and you know that they had in August not there. But the running game without Dobbins because Dobbins is the one guy he’s not coming back, we talking about Stanley or Humphrey or any of these guys that LBJ that will be back the notion that this running game was going to be committee. And I guess, probably to some degree, I feel like we’re seeing Gus Edwards a little earlier. Right. Second quarters, the roles have changed as far as what they want to do and how they want to do it. But this is going to be a committee backfield in the less Lamar runs, the

Luke Jones  13:16

better, the better. No question and that. Let’s be clear, again, that doesn’t mean the more doesn’t run, it doesn’t mean it’s not part of what they do. But because shame on you if he’s not running it at all. But yes, no question about it. And the guy that really stood out to me, Nestor and go back and look at the snap count, he only played seven snaps, and I would assume that was by design as he was coming back from the toe injury. But Justice Hill gives them some juice run in the football. I mean, he he shifty, changed direction, he’s got some speed, he can break tackles, I think he runs tougher than his frame would indicate. And he’s the guy that I’m really looking to, as we get into the season, and he’s got to stay healthy. And that’s something that’s been, you know, that’s something that’s dogged him over the course of his career every time he’s gotten to a point where you say we saw this last year, when Dobbins early on, you know, wasn’t given them a whole lot, you know, before we got the scope, Justice Hill was someone who gave them some juice in the running game early on, and then he got hurt and we didn’t really see it after that. So, you know, Gus Edwards is the guy that they have the most trust and he’s the guy that was the healthiest, you know, coming off of the last couple of weeks. But for me the upside in that backfield and, you know, we’ll, we’ll talk about Keith Mitchell, the undrafted rookie at some point in time, you know, as he gets back on the practice field, because I’ve had a lot of fans asked me about him and the potential for him to be involved in this backfield and some to some degree, you know, what we’ll see, you know, once he gets back to practice, but Justice Hill for me, you know, to 15 yard run, you know, three yards or three carries for 33 yards, you know, only a handful of snaps so they were trying to keep him on a pitch count, but he’s the one I look to right now. If you’re asking me Where’s the upside coming from with this backfield. And that’s not to disparage Gus Edwards. We know what Gus Edwards is at this point in time. But in terms of the guy that can fill that void that you thought you were going to have with Dobbins in terms of more upside, a guy that can be a little more of a home run hitter, you know, feels like Justice Hill could be that guy. Again, he’s got to stay healthy. But in the big picture sense what you what you the question, you pose the comment that you made? Yeah, you want to have consistency in your running game. You know that the yards per carry wasn’t overly impressive on Sunday, but it was enough to, to clock and do what you needed to do against a team that had a good defense, but had nothing going offensively whatsoever. And that’s what you want. But I’ll be interested to see how this thing continues to evolve with our backfield in the weeks to come. But I’ve been saying it since the spring and summer. You heard me talk about it back then even I think Justice Hill, if he can stay healthy, is a guy that can fill some of that void of what they were hoping they were going to get with Dobbins.

Nestor Aparicio  16:06

I’ve talked a lot about ball security since they brought Lamar in with the RPO with a sleight of hand and who I haven’t know you take it had a problem to deal with that on Sunday. And part of that is this committee thing you’re not dealing with. There’s no familiarity in all of this, other than a couple practices during the week. And you weren’t the number one back in August. So you know, Dobbins was going to be that guy and he didn’t practice all laterally on. So the notion that that that part of it being safe, go back to Mark Ingram five years ago where I thought the you do that 1520 times a game ball is gonna wind up on the carpet once a game, they need to make sure that doesn’t happen in regard to Melvin Gordon and Gus Edwards and all of these different running backs coming in and what Lamar is key and cue is in regard to I’m taking the ball. No, you’re taking the ball five years, and I still don’t really know. It has something to do with reading tackles and reading where where things are. But in that moment, the ball can ever hit the ground and it’s hit the ground lately.

Luke Jones  17:07

Yeah, I mean, they haven’t. Really it’s been more in the pocket more so having fumbles this year, and that can’t happen. I mean, it just can’t. Especially with a veteran quarterback. I mean, Lamar, we remember it his rookie year, fumbled a ton. And a lot of that was the mesh point stuff that you were talking about. I mean, what happened with that exchange? I mean, Umar hand it was high, you know, the ball was not, you know, it was kind of

Nestor Aparicio  17:32

Yeah. Yeah, I

Luke Jones  17:35

mean, it was just, it was just odd. And I’m not as forgiving as you are with that. But your point is, well taken, the Justice Hill had missed a little bit of time. I mean, it’s not like Justice Hill is a new player they’ve been, you know, those guys practice a lot. And as I pointed out over the course of the spring and summer, he was their number one back in practice for much of the spring and summer, because Dobbins, held out until mid August. So, you know, it happens, but it can’t keep happening, if that makes sense. I mean, I will hear a lot about this offense being a work in progress, and with the injuries they have, but you can’t put the ball in the ground, you just can’t there’s never an excuse for that. So that’s the one thing that you point to, and it happened once on Sunday, and they lost it. And fortunately, they didn’t come out looking any worse for it as it pertained to the game. But that’s certainly something that Lamar specifically does need to clean up, you know, the how he’s played overall, you know, he was brilliant in Cincinnati, played very, very well on Sunday overall, you know, I thought it was a really good performance for him, especially on the road, especially against the good defense and knowing the injuries that they’ve been dealing with on the offensive

Nestor Aparicio  18:42

side and they’re not throwing the ball like for all the nine months. So if we’re gonna are we gonna pay Lamar? How much we’re gonna pay Lamar? Oh, my God, they signed back on, oh, they’re gonna throw look at this, they’re gonna throw that they drafted a wide receiver in 19 throws, you don’t mean like, the notion that it was going to be a 4045 Throw offense ever, even when they’re losing by a lot. And you know, hopefully that won’t be the case that they’re losing by a lot and have to play that way that this is all of the fireworks about offensive throwing for 6000 yards. Remember that? Yeah, that’s Well, I told

Luke Jones  19:15

I also told you that offseason, that that way, it was never going to be a 40 or 45 Throw offense. So and let’s be clear, they didn’t need to throw more than that on Sunday, that would have been irresponsible. That would have been reckless of Todd Monken and Lamar Jackson to throw that much in a game like that where the Cleveland only chance was to take the ball away. So but but you’re right and look, a lot of that has to do with your franchise left tackle out there and maybe, maybe not today. But at some point in time. There’s a conversation that needs to be had as far as where they’re going at left tackle in the big picture and I get it Ronnie Stanley’s under contract for two more years and getting out of it next year would be tough. You probably have to do a post June 1 kind of deal but you can’t depend on us. And at this point, this isn’t the ankle. This is a knee injury, the other knee and it didn’t look that bad. He was standing on the sideline at the end of the game week one, not saying he doesn’t. I’m not saying he’s not hurt. But at some point in time, you’re paying this guy to be out there against Myles Garrett. And he’s not and that hurts their offense when he’s not out there. You know, God bless Patrick mCherry. He’s one of the best reserve lineman in the NFL, but he’s a reserve lineman. He’s not a franchise left tackle. So scared for 65 Exactly, very few, even a lot of franchise tackles struggle against that guy. So I mean, that’s just, that’s where they are. But that’s part of you know, that’s part of the conversation here in terms of the passing game and pass protection and, you know, Lamar taking off and taking care of, you know, taking advantage of these wide receivers who by the way weren’t on the field that come in and Bateman hurt. And unfortunately, that’s been the story of in backups case for many years and at different times, and and Bateman’s case, that’s been the story of his entire three year career. He can’t stay on the field. It’s a shame because the kids talented, but yeah, with all of that considered, yeah, probably not conducive to Lamar going out there throwing 35 or 40 times a game, which I think is the high end of what you would see with this passing game, you know, 35 throws per game, let’s say which, you know, would be more in line with teams that you consider to be passing teams, let’s say so, you know, but but they’re winning football games. They’re three and one they should be for now. And to your point, a little more than John Harbaugh with the you know, the Z flowers fair catch, there are other place they failed to make in that game. So we know that but it’s the NFL, it happens. And it was good to see them rebound in the fashion that they did on Sunday, knowing that they were still really banged up, you know, got a couple guys back. It’s good to get Linda Vaughn back, but they’re still missing guys. And, you know, we’ll see hopefully not a long term injury to Morgan Moses, but you know that John Harbaugh said MRI pending and you definitely don’t want to be losing your right tackle when you’re trying to get your left tackle back on the field which looks like Stanley’s closely practice on this week. So we’ll see if we see him in Pittsburgh, but definitely going up against the Steelers defense that could be in a position similar to what we saw with the browns on Sunday. Although Mitch Trubisky. I’ll give more credit to than Thompson Robinson but that’s a Steelers offense. It’s totally lost right now. So you want to have your offensive line intact and as healthy as possible going up against that Pittsburgh defense.

Nestor Aparicio  22:34

Here’s Luke Jones he has bought tomorrow Luke is going to be in Owings Mills this week and Camden Yards gonna have some workouts. I always love these October workouts and you know the shadows over the stadium and sweat shirts out and take October and all that I got my curio Baltimore shirt. I’ll pick appreciation our friends at curio wellness and father and daughter. Yes, they are cannabis dispensary. And we’re educating folks around here Wendy brown final beyond this week, they’re sponsored our 25th anniversary, our 25 stories of glory time will not dim the glory of your deeds. We have new station sound, we have new bumpers, we have all sorts of new things. And the same old Marilyn crabcake tour. We’re gonna wind it up one time this month because we’re expecting it to be a long baseball month with lots of moving parts and game times and game fives and sixes and sevens. I thought brought to you by the Maryland lottery will be at drug city on the 13th That’s Friday the 13th and he but he wears a Jason mask. I’ll buy you an extra soda or something for for next Friday. We’re gonna suggest over Maryland lottery our friends at window nation 866 90 nation as well as our newest sponsor, Jiffy Lube, MultiCare. They’re everywhere. We’ll be telling you about Jiffy Lube as well sponsoring our Maryland crabcake tour the 13th We’re doing that. And then just in general Luke and I are looking forward to traveling next week going to some games on the road either in Dallas Arlington, or in Tampa. And we have full coverage Steelers this week as well. Big big week around here. Lots of things going on. The Orioles have they don’t really have a lease. That was sort of a lie. We’ll talk about that in the baseball thing. So I’m talking leasing and by the way, I’m writing a letter to rob Manfred this week in anticipation again, one of the alts on Saturday night I asked him what what he’s doing for our town and what he’s doing in regard to ownership. At the at the Major League Baseball offices. My column misses up ravens barely break his sweat in dispatching the woeful brands all of Luke’s work is also available at Baltimore, Luke and on the interwebs as well as everywhere I travel on social media, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, all of those places. You can find us at wn S T am 1570, Towson Baltimore, where we never stop talking Baltimore positive

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