Dan Pompei: Ravens procurement of players and developing them has put them here

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Our old friend Dan Pompei of The Athletic came to Baltimore last week to write about standout defensive tackle Justin Madubuike but has been here many times over the years chronicling the great players Ozzie Newsome and Eric DeCosta have brought to Owings Mills. He tells Nestor what makes the Ravens franchise ready for its next Super Bowl glory.


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Dan Pompei, Nestor J. Aparicio

Nestor J. Aparicio  00:01

Welcome home we are wn st am 1570, Towson, Baltimore and Baltimore positive reminder we are doing crabcake row and a cup of Super Bowl for our friends at the Maryland Food Bank beginning of February 5 All the details now up in Baltimore positive big appreciation to our friends at the Maryland lottery, as well as win donation and Jiffy Lube for making things happen. I don’t have a lot of time with this guys. Amanda demand he flies around. He writes great stories about the people who play the game of football. I’ve known him for three decades. We were colleagues together a quarter of a century to go out in Northbrook, Illinois when I was syndicated on Sporting News Radio and before that one on one sports. Dan Pompe is still doing it as well as anybody’s ever done it. That players give you access and you sit down I shouldn’t say I just had Joe Flacco on a few minutes ago. But there is something about the things I learned from you and people around you that when you come in to do a story on a Justin matter BK, or at any point, whether it’s Eric Weddle, or Steve Smith, you’ve written so many stories about Raven players. But you are the guy that comes in and tries to get to know these players. And all these years later, it’s still wonderful to know you. And I’m appreciate you making some time here as the ravens are on the cusp of doing the big saying here, Dan Pompe.

Dan Pompei  01:13

Absolutely, it was good to be with you Nestor. And I appreciate very much the kind words I’ve been very blessed in my career to be able to know a lot of good people, including some of the people as the ravens and yourself and always like coming to Baltimore to do story seems like they’ve always got so many good stories, and they’ve got a lot more good stories right now. You know, as you said, they’re marching towards the potential Super Bowl. And really interesting team from top to bottom from, you know, they’ve got they’ve got so many potential award winners on their team, from the general manager to the head coach to, you know, Lamar, and on and on. I mean, they’re really a fascinating team. Well, you’ve been watching

Nestor J. Aparicio  01:57

this from the beginning, back in the days when you involved in you would get together and laugh at our little purple Barney uniforms. And we were we had Ted as the coach and that that little linebacker that nobody wanted, and we maybe one day, we’re going to do so? Well, I’ll tell you, what, 25 years later, after meeting you, when the Ravens were literally that they were the four and 12 ravens of that time, 9798 99, you were out there flipping around with the bears, we’re still trying to figure it out all these years later, but the Ravens have figured out right with when it comes to coaching when it comes to personnel. And we can talk about all the players in Lamar and their greatness in the individual players. But there’s a thing that’s going on with picking football players. And this zigzag thing that Eric has picked up from the baseball side of his analytics. And you know, I always say he’s the reason Mike Elias is the Orioles General Manager. Not a lot of folks know that. But I know that to be factual that he has been in on the science of football and picking football players. And this system that they’ve put together and identifying ro Quan Smith in the middle of the season on a trading deadline to give them a big contract to have this quarterback that nobody else wanted again last year. They just do things differently here and they’re being richly rewarded for that right now.

Dan Pompei  03:06

Yeah, I don’t think any organization in the National Football League does it better than the Baltimore Ravens, in terms of, you know, player, procurement, identifying coaches, replacing people figuring out strategies that enhance players, player development. I mean, there are so many things that I think that they’re really ahead of the curve. And obviously a lot of that began with Ozzie Newsome, and he still has a footprint on this organization, everything they do. And then Eric, you know, has really just been an extension of Ozzy just, he got my vote for Executive of the Year. And, you know, I think he’s done. I mean, there’s a lot of good competition. Don’t get me wrong, but I think what he’s done, really was outstanding. And then, you know, heart you look at Harbaugh and the coaches, he’s had the vision that he had for Lamar Jackson. That really, no one else had, let’s face it. You look at as you said, they make acquisitions. Even. I came in in the offseason to destroy and Odell Beckham, and they paid a lot of money for Odell Beckham and a lot of people thought that was crazy. You look at this production, you might say, well, you know, is he really worth the amount of money that the Ravens invested in him this season in terms of yards and catches and touchdowns? And you know, if you just looked at those things, you probably would say no, but their idea and signing him was that this was a guy who could lift our team, lift our offense, provide leadership, give the young guys something to model themselves after. And I think all of that has been true. So, you know, they look at things a little bit differently from a lot of organizations. And I think it works for them for you know, for a lot of reasons, and I think a lot of other teams would be smart to look at how they do things and copy them. Well

Nestor J. Aparicio  04:56

yeah, first round draft pick in a small wide receiver in Hollywood Brown. On that they deal off and get a pic back. They want abusing that pick on a center and a safety they picked the safety and a center in the first round, which you know, all the stat sheets would say. And that’s might not be the best use of your your First Round Capital, especially if you’re not a lottery team and you’re always good enough to be picking it 14 or 18 or 24, whatever it would be. And yet these players that they’ve identified and even to your point, and I’ll let you speak about Matt a BK. I mean, they threw me out of there three or four years ago to answer I don’t get to talk to these players. I don’t get to know them. I don’t you know, I see their growth on Sunday afternoon. And what Luke reports out of the locker room but you know, I’ve been doing this a long time for decades. I missed that part of it. What do you learn from a matter BK? Because labels that stick to young players? They fight against that forever had Flacco on an hour ago, he’s still fighting against whatever label was put on him years ago, aside from Super Bowl MVP. Yeah,

Dan Pompei  05:55

well, I can tell you about before the draft, I talked to some scouts who said they thought he had a first round talent ability. And then he ended up falling obviously, in the draft ravens get him for a bargain price. One of the reasons he fell was because at a&m, you know, the coaching staff changed hands, they went from Kevin Sumlin to Jimbo Fisher, and he didn’t really fit into the new staff very well. And it didn’t integrate, they didn’t really believe in him invest in him. I think it’s such a great example of what the Ravens did. They believed in Him, they bought into him, they embraced him. And they subsequently brought out the best in him. And there was a lot to bring out because such a gifted young man and such such a, I think a really good good human being to who had been very popular in the locker room very popular, really, in the whole building one of the most popular people in there. And, you know, this season, he really broke out, as you know, led all defensive tackles in the NFL in sacks. And now he’s about to get a huge payday or unless the Ravens end up putting a tag on him, which obviously is very possible as well, but I don’t think they’re gonna let them go. And nor should that.

Nestor J. Aparicio  07:08

Well, I dip off base here. He came in, he flies in into stories. The ravens are so compelling all the way around, right? I mean, just let’s start with Lamar and Ro Quan and their leadership. And then you just go through all the webs and spokes of all their mark Andrews and all these players, I think when it’s all assembled, and I’ve had a lot of Super Bowl 35 people on this week talking about that team and the bullies and ESPN, I mean Shannon Sharpe and what his life’s become, and Ray Lewis and all of these special players, there really is some pedigree here to look around this locker room see guys that are at the beginning, whether it’s a call Hamilton as a flowers, in the middle of doing something special Lamar Jackson, even Marlon Humphrey, if he gets back on the field, some of these guys that have had disappointments, but then there’s the cow van noise and the Davian clowny he’s and to your point obj other guys that have been decorated and other places, but they’ve identified ways to bring in veteran talent. And if it’s so many times you’ve been here interviewing a Weddell or Steve Smith, guys, you know, for the lead because you cover the lead veteran, anybody, Dan, but but they import leadership here when they import Kevin Zeitler Morgan, Moses, I mean, they they brought in these other guys that have been a piece somewhere else, but can be a leadership piece here.

Dan Pompei  08:26

Great point, you know, I don’t think that they necessarily see a team as just a compilation of talent, you know, they see different pieces that fit together and can enhance the other pieces. And they’ve been really one of the best at finding value in players who are, you know, allegedly at the end or over the hill, or whatever you want to call them, and bringing out the best of those players. And, you know, that’s even a part of the meta BK story because early in his career, he was helped along by Coleus Campbell by Justin Houston. You know, other other veterans they brought in. But I think finally they got to a point where they said, You know what, it’s okay if we let these guys go, because Mata BK is ready to step up and kind of become, you know, climb the hierarchy, if you will, a little bit on the team and get more responsibility not only in terms of what he can provide as a leader, but also primarily what he could provide on the field as a player. So whereas in the past, he was doing some of the dirty work that would maybe help free up some of those other guys this year. The other players are doing the dirty work that help free him up a lot of times, and it’s resulted in him getting to the quarterback making tackles for losses and making big plays.

Nestor J. Aparicio  09:52

Dan, you expect them to win the Super Bowl.

Dan Pompei  09:57

I think they’ve got a really good chance you know, I So I’m a little bit reticent at this point to make a pick. But I think to me that they, they are as talented as any team. You know, if you put a gun to my head, I’ll say, Yeah, I’ll pick the ravens, but I guess I want to hold off to just see how this week goes and who they’re playing and all that kind of thing. But I think them in the 40 Niners are the two best teams, you know, definitely against those other two teams who, who are really outstanding in many ways, and, you know, obviously, team with mahomes, you never want to discount, but I think the ravens, you know, you look at all aspects of what they can do, how they can beat you. And really, then you look at kind of what’s their vulnerabilities are, and you say, you know, they’re pretty much the complete package, probably more so than any of the other remaining teams, well,

Nestor J. Aparicio  10:54

there’s gonna be a cap issue here, right, there’s gonna be a come hell to pay to have all these good football players. And more than that, and I don’t even talk to coach Bullock about this. And I probably should, where, you know, they’re bringing a U haul into the back of the complex you were in last week and pulling coaches out, because it really does feel like this is short time for for this group to be together whether Mata BK gets paid or gets a tag put on him. They can’t keep everybody I mean, this is a very special group of players. And they’re not there’s not going to be enough money to go around. And I had Flacco on and we all know what happened after he gets paid, that this does feel like a window for them. And to not only have to beat Houston, the way they didn’t only see Kansas City here, they’ve really got an incredible path and a big, big opportunity here that I think a lot of folks here hope is not lost, because this isn’t like some big window for them. It is maybe for Lamar and you feel that way about some players in the organization. But this this isn’t for long because of the talent they have.

Dan Pompei  11:51

Now, they will lose some players in the offseason, some really good players. But that’s been another thing that they’ve been really good about traditionally over the years, is letting certain guys go is free and getting those comp picks and reloading restocking in finding a way to get better, maybe not exactly the same, but get getting better in other areas or you know, finding a way to remain competitive. There are many teams that have been as consistently competitive as the ravens and you know, that’s included some fluctuations in talent and player losses and all that kind of thing. So, you know, I kind of have faith in ERIC de Costa and John Harbaugh in what they can do to kind of keep everything going in the right direction. Even if they do end up losing some some key pieces. I mean, you know, what Harbaugh did this offseason with the offensive coordinator was really interesting because there was a time not long ago when everyone thought that Greg Roman was the reason that they were winning games and they were being so successful offensively. And then obviously, he thought this year that he could do better with Todd Monken. And sure enough, he could so you know, credit to those, those leaders and what they do how they think and it’s a great testament to their ability to continue to stay on top when so many go up and down in that league.

Nestor J. Aparicio  13:19

Well mahomes On the road scares me because he had that fire in his eye and buffalo like this is the thing I haven’t done he because he’s done everything else. He just doesn’t win road games because they don’t play road games. So we are a little concerned about him here this week. I will miss you at the Super Bowl but we’re doing a couple of Super Bowl and the crabcake row for our friends at the Maryland Food Bank. It’s always good to visit with you I appreciate your time I love it you know when you’re in here doing Raven species it means the ravens are doing well. You’re one of those guys out the winners and telling the good stories in the league and when you come to town it means good things are happening out there usually right?

Dan Pompei  13:53

It does and you know usually good things are happening with the Ravens it’s good to be there and it’s always like I said it’s one of my favorite places to go. Hey,

Nestor J. Aparicio  14:01

do crabcake with your name on it over Pappas whenever you want brother come on out. Let’s go man. Damn pop patient will be a Pappas on Friday. The ninth of February. I’ll do a crab cake row. We have football all week. Luke Jones is out in Owings Mills. We have a litany of superstars, Joe Flacco, Brian Billick, Marvin Lewis, Brandon Stokely I Gosh, I’m losing track of all the people we’ve had this week. But more and more coming up. Peter kings coming up later today, as well. I am Nestor. We are wn St. am 1570, Towson Baltimore. We never stop talking Baltimore. Positive

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