Charging into Ravens bye week after huge win over Chargers

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Luke Jones and Nestor recap an impressive defensive effort by the Baltimore Ravens in a 20-10 victory over the Chargers in Los Angeles on Sunday Night Football.


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Luke Jones, Nestor J. Aparicio

Nestor J. Aparicio  00:01

Welcome back wn S T, Jessica Baltimore and Baltimore positive were positively into by week felt like by week last week, but the Thanksgiving always feels that way. They pick the trash up on the wrong day that kids aren’t in school, all that stuff. We’re back at it this week. We’ll be back in school on Wednesday. We’re going to be Coco’s pub, doing the Maryland crab cakes represented by the Maryland lottery in conjunction with our friends at wind donation. 866 90 nation as well as our friends at Jiffy Lube multi care this week at Coco’s on Wednesday. Thursday will be a gertrudes at the BMA with Dan Rodricks and on Friday and Hollywood casino in Perry Ville, where my picks were better this week, but not certainly not great. And Tom Kelso is going to be joining us from Maryland stadium authority chairman, you’ve heard him here. We’re gonna go long form on what happens to $1.2 billion when John Angelo says says that’s not enough money, but certainly for Sunday night, Sunday, Sunday, Sunday night, we had football all day Thursday. We have football half today, Friday. We had college football all day Saturday, which might have been the best football the weekend. And you know, I’m not the biggest college football guy. And then Sunday night, I was waiting all day for the ravens to get out to LA. It’s kind of shocked. There was many people there as there were I didn’t think the charges had caught on quite that way. It’s the forensics team now the afford 17 Luke Jones joins us now to discuss the aftermath of I don’t know the Ravens had a scare. They’re in every game. It’s the NFL, they went on the road, they went 3000 miles they covered the spread. They won. I mean, I would say style points. Maybe not so much. But that’s not exactly what we’re looking for before the by. They are being talked about by everyone on television all day, Thursday, Friday, even in the college game on Saturday, as a Super Bowl. Not just contender, but a favorite at this point look. Well, I think

Luke Jones  01:51

it depends on what you mean by favorite, if you’re talking about in that conversation is the top three or four teams. Absolutely. I don’t know if I consider them the overall favorite. But hey, they’re nine and three going into the bye week. I think you look at the entire AFC landscape, including Kansas City, who certainly had a nice bounce back performance, but there have been questions about their offense. But I think you look at the Ravens. And I’ve said it for a few weeks now that I don’t think there’s a team in the NFL playing better than them right now. Give credit to the Philadelphia Eagles after knocking off the bills and an overtime classic, late Sunday afternoon into the evening. But for me, I mean, I think there were breakdowns in just about every phase other than the Ravens defense that played at an absolute championship level. I mean, this is a chargers team. We talked about it last week, talked about it with Dennis as well. So legitimate offense that they have and specifically their passing game and Justin Herbert wild, people will bemoan him being overrated. In some circles. He’s a good quarterback. I mean, he’s a very talented quarterback, I think everyone would at least agree on that much. And the Ravens defense limited them to 10 points. They forced four turnovers. And they got very little help from their offense. They didn’t get much help from their special teams. They didn’t get much help from their head coach who I thought had a pretty miserable night if we’re going to call spade a spade with some of his in game, managing or lack thereof. So there was a lot that did not go well in this football game for the Ravens on Sunday night. But the defense was absolutely fantastic. And that’s the reason why they win 20 to 10. They come home, they’re going into the buy and they are nine and three. And there’s a lot to feel great about overall. But certainly we’ve talked about this now for going on three months that the defense has been the side of the ball. While the offense has been very good and even great at times. The defense has been the side of the ball that’s been so consistent weekend and week out. I mean, you can point to maybe a couple quarters where they didn’t play well, all year long. They were fantastic for four quarters on Sunday night. And the Ravens needed them to in order to improve to nine and three I

Nestor J. Aparicio  04:07

thought posted both defenses kind of flew to the ball on a Sunday night. You know, I felt that from the Chargers early on that they were ready to play. And for the ravens, the running game and losing Andrews and where Ronnie Stanley and Morgan Moses are just in general in their career and with their health and in the season where they’re getting the by now they’re gonna get some time off. I’m wondering where the time helps them. Certainly Marlon Humphreys, a guy that they miss, but they don’t miss and you only really miss him if the ball can go over your head. And I guess that’s the case of Justin Herbert. That’s the case of quarterback. Kenny Pickett, not so much. You know what I mean? Dorian Thompson rot. I mean, none of these. Gardner Minshew in the first half of the season are going to throw the ball over your head all day long. They might beat you once. But the Marlon Humphrey thing And they can do without him when they’re playing quarterbacks that aren’t going to do that to them, where there’s no healthy burrow and a healthy Chase, where every play down the field, you have a chance for the other offense take the top off, not offensive can play that way. And I think missing Humphrey right now they can get him back for when they really need him. And he’s been a question mark as well. But to have their best player on defense of their highest paid player, not be able to play so much or so well this year and still have the defense be dominant. I mean, it really does go back to row Quan Smith, right. Like I retweeted Dennis in the third quarter after row Quan did something. And he does something every week that and I, you know, for the young guys out there, I saw Ray Lewis play every week. It’s kind of what it look like every week, there’s some sort of highlights some sort of thing. Some sort of fly to the ball that makes you say, Well, you know, without ro Quan Smith, this would be different. I mean, he is there, Lamar on the defense. Um,

Luke Jones  06:00

look, Ro Quan Smith has been great. It’s more than roquan Smith. I mean, Mike McDonald is doing a fantastic, phenomenal job with his scheme and putting these guys in positions to play that their absolute best. Yes, I think row Quan Smith has absolutely been that force multiplier that Eric Acosta talked about when they extended him at the end of last season and signed him up for five more years. But I think it’s more than that. I I don’t think it is. I don’t think ro Quan Smith is the Lamar Jackson of this defense. And I don’t say that as a knock to row Kwan as much as a complement to the collective ensemble effort that they have going with their defense. I mean, we’ve talked about it over and over with their pass rush for example, I mean, they lead the league in sacks and they have for quite a while and give credit to Justin Matta BK who has 10 sacks, first ravens player to hit double digit sacks in Suggs back in 2017. So it’s been a while but it’s been so many different guys. And it’s so many different guys coming from so many different spots and creating so much pre snap confusion, creating post snap confusion, that it really is for me, I mean, it’s Mike McDonald is a heck of a coach and and I can remember sitting here talking with you a couple years ago when they decided to mutually part ways with wink Martindale. And, you know, I questioned that at the time and I didn’t think all their failures in 2021 were because of wink whatsoever. I mean, they had all kinds of injuries. But this change that they’ve pivoted to, and they’ve transitioned from going to blitzing all the time putting your corners on an island to playing a little war zone, but still plenty a man. But more to high looks. Certainly, you know, leaning into more sim pressures than just flat out blitzing as often as wink Martindale likes to do. So. It’s been a transition to that. And it’s also been a transition on the back end of the defense to play in more of what they call position LIS defense where you move guys around. So you mentioned ro Quan Smith, I’m going to mention another individual that I think has been so pivotal in this defense hitting another level over the last calendar year. You know, going back to when ro Quan arrived back in early November last year, I think it’s Kyle Hamilton. And I think you’ve see what he is able to do for them at every wherever he lines up, whether he’s lining up at the nickel, whether he’s lining up at safety, whether he’s lining up as kind of a hybrid linebacker at times, he has been so good for them to and I think he’s becoming one of those guys. You mentioned Marlon Humphrey, I kind of think Kyle Hamilton, not that he’s replaced Marlon Humphrey and importance, but I feel like he’s kind of jockeying for position in that pecking order as far as someone who’s just really becoming indispensable for them, but

Nestor J. Aparicio  08:46

it really traps night where like, safety, what block you know, he didn’t, he doesn’t play that position. I mean, to compare him to Ed Reed, you’re comparing apples and oranges, you know what I mean? Like I it, he plays in a hybrid position, that’s more of a hawk position. That might have been more of a linebacker Lawrence Taylor II kind of position 40 years ago in the game to get after the quarterback. But Mallette is the guy that winds up, you know, being the chaos agent at the end, because you never know where it’s coming from. And that was something that Rex Ryan always wanted to do in this defense 20 years ago, but you didn’t always have the personnel to do that.

Luke Jones  09:26

Well, and that’s that’s part of it certainly been. I mean, the Ravens have had plenty of good defenses over the years and great defenses over the years if you go way back when but I just think you see so much creativity with the scheme and I this past week off AOA was asked about it. And he said they’re all like little ninjas that they’re lining up and trying to be deceptive and trying to hide and trying to get the timing down for these different stunts and blitzes and sin pressures that they run that. I mean, you made a point talking about some of the backup quarterbacks that they faced And that’s why to me Sunday night was so impressive because, say what you want about the Chargers? I mean, the Chargers did plenty of charging. You know, the Ravens tried to do some charging in that game, for lack of a better term, but they’re four and seven. And it’s mainly because their defense stinks. Now, they played well, the Ravens offense didn’t play well, on Sunday night, but Justin Herbert’s legit, and Keenan Allen is very legit. And that’s a passing game, and an offense that hasn’t run the ball very well. But they’ve been, you know, they went in, they entered the week, I think they were 8000 points per game. So this was a very respectable offense, and certainly a high quality quarterback. And they did it to him. And to your point, they did it without Marlon Humphrey even and, you know, we’ve talked about some of the other guys that they’ve missed at various times this year. And this defense is rarely missed a beat. I mean, what would you say? I mean, the second half of the Cleveland game, certainly, you know, the Cincinnati they gave up some rushing yardage, but I think they were kind of daring the Bengals to run and then you know, when burrow exited, it’s kind of okay, they should do that against Jake Browning. And we kind of saw that play out to the Bengals against the Steelers on Sunday. But when it’s Justin Herbert and the Chargers offense, the Chargers passing game, and it’s playing on the road on Sunday night, and you’re fighting the urge to look to peek ahead to the bye week, knowing that you’re a tired football team, even though they’ve been a very good football team. They’ve been tested a lot in that way with travel and being on the road. So for that, that defense to play the way they did for four quarters and picking up one touchdown drive, you know that and the opening drive was a little shaky, they probably got bailed out on the non call on the sideline. But other than that, they made it extremely difficult for Justin Herbert and the chargers that felt like every yard every first down was an absolute grind and the struggle for the chargers and that’s that’s just a compliment to the entire defensive operation. And you know, when you’re doing that without Marlon Humphrey, who, prior to ro Quan Smith arriving was their best player on defense, you know, over the last three to four years you know, I think most people would agree with that. So you’re doing that and you continue to play at a high level when you’re missing one of your best players on that side of the ball and we haven’t even talked about missing Tyus Bowser or no David a job Oh are going through the Marcus Williams missing a big chunk of the season. They haven’t missed a beat and it speaks to it’s a compliment to everyone quite frankly. And that’s why I just said as important as ro Quan Smith is as great as ro Quan Smith is it goes much more than that runs much deeper than that for this ravens defense that just continues to play at an absolute championship caliber level.

Nestor J. Aparicio  12:38

Well, you mentioned Matt a BK you know, his name came up in the postgame with the 10th week off now, concussion protocol. I mean, just from the injury level and where they’re trying to get healthy. They only have one more West Coast trip left out to San Francisco to play a really tough team on Christmas night. You’re gonna be a national TV team now played well in the bright lights of La they’re going to do that against Jacksonville, they’re going to have that similar opportunity against San Francisco. I don’t know what gets flex later on in the year. Pittsburgh keeps winning who knows right? But I would say for them this time off and this late by and nine and three and not full health but good health, good health, not Andrews OSI good health for them. And they’re got to figure that out how that the offense is going to. They missed him on Sunday night. You know, he missed them on third down every time there is a third down. And I think they miss him every time Lamar looks for a man. He’s not there. They’re they’re positioned in a way when I said I began the segment saying Super Bowl favorite. Nobody picks against them. You know what I mean? Like if the Chiefs had to come here and play, I have a feeling although Sunday night people would pick the Ravens at this point, because the Chiefs have not been as impressive and the Ravens for the three losses the Ravens up and played a stinker. And you mentioned confusing backup quarterbacks. They’ve now confused Herbert they’ve now confused golf. They’ve now confused Smith. You know they they’ve gone through some starting quarterbacks, especially on the other side, on the NFC side. And they’ll see you know, we’ll see a few more with Lawrence and we’ll see what Brock Purdy is I don’t think it I think of that more as the offense in system than I do the quarterback beating you as much as the system beating you did okay gets Eckler which says to me that the McCaffrey thing would be for them, but they they’ve rarely been in this kind of a position where buffalo stinks. Cincinnati doesn’t have a quarterback Cleveland. Well, they have Joe Flacco but they don’t have a quarterback. The path through January looks a lot different December 1 than it would have looked on August 1, as we looked at the ethnic division as we looked at the conference, and we looked at it and said, Yeah, there’ll be nine and three during their late by and be relatively healthy. And most importantly number eight will be upright

Luke Jones  15:00

Yeah, I mean, that’s probably the biggest point to take away going into the bye week and knowing that we are going to be approaching, you know, we’re gonna hit December later this week, the Ravens obviously don’t play this week. But Lamar Jackson’s healthy right now. And that has not been the case. You know, you got hurt what, December 4, last year in that Denver game? So I think the late bye week is massive, depending on where you are. I mean, if the Ravens had been more banged up in say, October, then yeah, you probably would have been looking at that differently. And you would have been saying, wow, they could really use the buy in week six. So, to your point, they’ve had their share of injuries. But it hasn’t been nearly what we were talking about two years ago, three years ago, when they were dealing with so much on both sides of the ball. So it’s a great opportunity for them. In fact, I mean, Nestor, this is the latest by they’ve had since going back to 2002 1001. Now 2001. Okay, but 2000. We know what happened that year. And we know that you can speak to this way better than I can having covered them at that point in time that there were veterans on that team who really appreciated and took advantage of the fact that they got some rest in the month of December before the final stretch. So you make a great point. The only thing I’ll say, I don’t think buffalo stinks, their record stinks. And that’s what’s going to keep them out because they have a bear of a schedule. But I look at the current AFC playoff field right now, putting aside the four division leaders, but as things stand now and again, we know it’s only post Thanksgiving a long way to go. But it spurred Cleveland, Indianapolis are in the three wildcard spots. And then I look at the in the hunt teams, Houston, Denver, buffalo, if I’m an AFC contender talk in Kansas City, Baltimore, of course, Jacksonville, Miami. I mean, you know, those are the teams that are all sitting there with three losses right now. Those are the top four teams in the conference right now. I’m all looking at that and saying, I’d much rather face Pittsburgh, Cleveland, Indianapolis, then Houston, buffalo, or Denver and you know, taking the Bengals out of because burrows out for the year. So but I look at that. And I think not just for Eagles fans happy about that when I think the rest of the AFC was happy with that win because I still think buffalo from a talent standpoint, from a true talent standpoint, is still among, you know, at least the, I’d say the four best teams in the AFC but you got to win close games and they’ve had injuries. And you know, Josh, Josh Allen had some issues turning over the ball and some critical losses earlier in the year. They played a great game against the Eagles, but you look at them and their schedule at this point. Matt’s not going to add up for them. I just don’t think it’s going to So yeah, if you’re the rest of the AFC you look at Pittsburgh, and okay, their yardage was better. Kenny Pickett played better than he has. But boy, that’s not a very high bar at this point in time is it? And the browns, I mean, Flacco

Nestor J. Aparicio  18:01

is gonna be their quarterback next week, right? I mean, he he, he’s gonna quarterback a playoff game. And I mean, I think he can hand the ball off to something, replace some defense and not screw up. And maybe they can go 500 The rest of the way, like literally,

Luke Jones  18:14

well, they’re going to need them to do more than hand the ball off because I mean, Dorian Thompson Robinson hasn’t been able to do more than hand the ball off, you know. So they, they’ve got to make some plays in the passing game and look at me, Joe Flacco is gonna get an opportunity. I didn’t look very good with the Jets last year, but it’s gotten much better. He’s got a much better supporting cast around him, and we’ll see what happens. Record wins. It certainly makes for it makes for a great story. One way or the other. I mean, can you imagine if it’s the Browns coming into Baltimore for you know, first round, second round, whatever it is, and, and Joe Flacco is playing against the Ravens in Baltimore in a playoff game. I mean, that’d be incredible, you know, from from a theater standpoint. So, but yeah, you look at this conference right now. And Baltimore’s legitimate, Kansas City’s legitimate regardless of you know, they haven’t looked, you know, they’ve looked flawed. Everyone looks flawed. It’s a different. I mean, the Ravens offense was not good on Sunday night, and in the first full game without Mark Andrews, I mean, that’s going to be something they’re gonna have to go to work on. But, you know, Jacksonville looks good at times. Other times, they’ve looked bad. Miami, I mean, the dolphins that that offense that was unbelievable, earlier in the year hasn’t been at that same level here recently and certainly hasn’t been as, as potent against quality opponents. So there are plenty of question marks in this AFC which is fine. And the ravens, I would say, at this point in time other than I’m still gonna give the Chiefs a nod. I’m just going to because they’ve earned that for the better part of five years. But other than the chiefs, I mean, you know, the Ravens certainly look better and way better than some of these other teams that are currently in the playoff field. So, you know, get healthy, take advantage. Todd Monken needs to go to work John Harbaugh needs to go to work. I don’t know if Mike McDonald has too much work to do over the bye week other than just self scouting and figuring out, you know, not wanting to be too predictable when wanting to look at tendencies and doing the self scouting that you’re going to do. But, I mean, this is a football team that has so much going for it right now even even acknowledging, missing Mark Andrews and the challenge that that’s going to provide are going to create for them going forward. But there’s I mean, this just a good, really good football team. And they’ve, they’ve got a chance to not just be in the playoff field. I mean, they’ve already clinched a winning season. I mean, think about that for a moment. You know, as they go into the bye week, but get a little healthier. I think it’s important for this team to get fresh, you know, even guys that aren’t injured, I think are certainly banged up and just want to get off their feet for a few days. And that’s what the bye week affords. But they need to come back ready to play because as much as we’re talking about the number one seed right now and their potential to do that. I mean, so it’s not a layup of a schedule when they come back even even the rams which is the easiest of those five games left on paper. Now the rams are playing a little bit better the last couple weeks after looking like they were totally done done a few weeks ago. So but those last four games I mean, if the ravens are gonna be the number one seed come week 18 They’re going to earn it. I mean, there’s no question about it when you look at those road games at Jacksonville at San Francisco and then finishing up with Miami. And we know say what you want about Kenny Pickett or that offense we know what the Steelers have done and and been against the Ravens these last couple years they’ve been a challenge they’ve been a major pain in the you know what and they’ve been a team that’s had more success limiting Lamar Jackson than most teams out there. So it’s definitely gonna be a challenge for them but how can you not feel really good about where they are right now going into the by just the fact that they have the bye week this late, knowing where they are health wise and knowing what benefit that should be on paper as they get a little bit of rest here coming up, should

Nestor J. Aparicio  22:13

have bet the under on Sunday night not as many points scored in a 20 to 10 matchup, but certainly the Ravens covering the spread and getting the job that looks around here. He’s Baltimore Luke, He will not be on the fields of Owings Mills this week is nobody’s doing anything loose candy, mowing the lawn, hanging out talking baseball waiting for the Orioles to sign a lease, put their tickets on sale and all the stuff that I’m sure we’ll be getting to here. This week. We’re doing the Maryland crabcakes represented by the Maryland lottery. We’ll have Raven scratch offs to give away Wednesday, Coco’s and where the cocoa shirt will be larval at Burger and Fries with Marcelo last week over cocoa snuck in there with my wife. We’ll be there Wednesday from two to five. We’re saying is joining us Ron Cassie from Baltimore magazine will be there. Thursday we are at gertrudes at the BMA come on by the Hopkins campus 105 We’re gonna be there with Dan Rodricks. Also debt Ramos Councilwoman Ramos is going to be joining us as well as John shields and the folks at the BMA and then on Friday. North we’re going to see So Kenny went up to Hollywood casino in Perryville. Christian Horton is going to join us as well as former Maryland stadium authority chairman Tom Kelso, who you may have heard through the holiday you may hear here this week, we are going to do a Maryland stadium authority and stadia for Dummies series beginning Friday. So I’m brought to you by the Maryland lottery in conjunction with wind donation 866 90 nation by two you get two free five years 0% financing through the holidays. Plus our friends at Jiffy Lube multi care. I still have to get a prop for that. Hold that up but the three crabcake tour stops this week. We’re going to be at state fair on December 5. We’re going to be at foreign data on December 15. We’re plotting a wise stop up at the honey go Plaza in Perry Hall later on in the month before Christmas. And then we’re going to be fate Lee’s after Christmas. So play crabcakes plenty of football plenty of exhaling going on as the first place and number one seated ravens pretty healthfully go on by this week Luke and I are going to continue on to talk about Lamar and the offense and the Pi Week and maybe some Orioles baseball we are wn st am 1570 Towson Baltimore. We never stop talking Baltimore positive

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