Getting on the field with the whole squad

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With Lamar Jackson signed, Odell Beckham Jr. in a purple uniform and all parts of Todd Monken’s offense ready to install, Luke Jones and Nestor get ready for a real Baltimore Ravens minicamp in Owings Mills.


ravens, week, year, lamar jackson, talking, lamar, play, odell beckham, owings mills, wide receiver, mark andrews, organization, people, luke, shannon sharpe, team, focus, little bit, beckham, ronnie stanley


Luke Jones, Nestor Aparicio

Nestor Aparicio  00:01

Welcome back wn S T, Towson Baltimore. Baltimore positive we’re positively into the summer even though it’s football season around here for at least a few more days. The Orioles are gonna keep us active all week with Toronto Blue Jays Luke’s gonna be out of Camden Yards I will be doing the Maryland crabcake Tour presented by our friends at the Maryland lottery in conjunction with with donation 8669 donation you by two, you get two free two years 0% financing still a great deal out there. We’re enjoying our windows. I know Luke is enjoying his seat at Camden Yards and watching good baseball as well as at an Owings Mills. Look, it’s been a year this week since I asked Lamar Jackson if you wanted to be a raven for life. And then Chad Steele threw me out. I have some more reporting on that later on this summer, because people have asked me, how did you get thrown out? I’ve investigated that. So we’re gonna be telling folks about that later on. But so it has been literally June 13 of last year was the last time I was in the facility. And, you know, I guess the air out of the tire and all of this over the last six, seven weeks where we spent four months talking about If This Then That, oh my God, what’s going to happen? What are they going to do? Lamar, Lamar, Lamar, Lamar, all of a sudden it is. Eric’s had a great offseason, they don’t all they needed to do. They fortified the wide receiver room that you know, they they they look to be ready to roll you show up out there with a true Super Bowl hopeful

Luke Jones  01:27

no question about it. I mean, and that’s why you really had no other choice but to resign Lamar Jackson. I mean, that’s really what the crux of the argument had been for so long. It’s like, okay, I hear you, not paying them fully guaranteed money all that I get it. What’s the alternative? Are you really going to start over as well? Let us get to be your quarterback. So you really come back to and look, all the business stuff for now is in the rearview mirror. And now the the focus becomes? How do you take the next step? Not just for Lamar Jackson, but the organization, the other they’re more than a decade removed from winning the Super Bowl now. So how do you take the next step playing deep into January, and that’s where you want the focus to be this time of year. I mean, you’re not winning any Super Bowls at mandatory minicamp. But the focus, unlike last June, unlike last year’s mandatory mini camp where we hadn’t seen Lamar Jackson all spring, and you’re wondering where his head is, it very much is on the football field right now. And Todd Monken and the wide receivers and I think there’ll be some a greater amount of focus on some other individuals this week, quite frankly, other than Lamar Jackson, like Odell Beckham, Jr. One, we expect them to be there, but to how much is he going to do? Is he going to be a full participant? Or do we just see him running around a little bit here and there? JK Dobbins, we’ve talked about him. You know, Tyus Bowser hasn’t been there all spring, not that I think that there’s necessarily anything wrong with him or disenchantment or anything like that. But, uh, Ronnie Stanley, you know, a first time we’ll see Ronnie Stanley, presumably, I’m assuming this are taking part in a mini camp in a few years. So you do have some other individuals that the focus is going to be on luck, the focus is always on the MAR, let’s be clear about that. That’s been the case, from the moment he took over in 2018. But the point is, his contract is no longer at the forefront. And you can now focus on more football related matters, which a team that has Superbowl aspirations like the ravens, that’s where you want the focus to be, you don’t want to be talking about what’s going on upstairs at the front office and business side. That’s always there. You know, that’s always part of it. That’s always in the background, at the very least. But for this team, the focus truly is back on the football field. And I think that was refreshing hearing a number of players asked about Lamar, you know, Mark Andrews comes to mind right away the number of times that guy has answered questions about Lamar Jackson. And specifically Lamar is future over the last couple of years. Had to be refreshing for him as much as anyone in the organization Mark

Nestor Aparicio  03:59

Andrews having to talk about Lamar is money almost as bad as you and me talking about Lamar is money. Right?

Luke Jones  04:04

Yeah, exactly. It only in that case. I mean, that’s his teammate, right. I mean, you know, it’s one thing. We’re paid, it’s part of our livelihood to talk about the business side and contracts and the salary cap things. Some people

Nestor Aparicio  04:15

think it’s my livelihood, others don’t but that’s

Luke Jones  04:18

Sure, sure. But But when you’re talking about teammates, you know, that’s, that’s a little more awkward. I mean, I think there were lots of players who empathized with Lamar empathized with the ravens, but at the same time, they didn’t want to be in the middle of it. So I said at the time of when they came to terms back on the day of the the first night of the draft, that it really did feel like a cloud that had kind of been hanging over the organization for a while just just dissipating, right? Just disappeared and doesn’t mean that everything’s perfect. But things just feel so much better for the organization, knowing that the contracts done and how, oh, yeah, go out there and try to win a championship now, Lamar, All right, everyone else. So that’s where the focus really is for this year’s mandatory minicamp, which is a stark contrast of where we were a year ago at this time.

Nestor Aparicio  05:08

Well, I mean, this is the time of the year I’m always amused having done this from the time the Colts were here, being a fan of the offseason and draft to see how the league is done all this, but this is really a week where you know, chat steals thrown me out and people like me out. So there’s no real reporters are few and far between. They have their cameras everywhere. I have a feeling by the end of the week, Lamar Jackson is going to hit Odell Beckham on the tippy tippy fingers in the tippy tippy toes, they’re gonna I mean, this is going to be a week was a flowers is going to cut somewhere and catch a sweet ball. And they’re gonna create a meme that has 2 million views. And that’s what they do now that is that that’s the business that they’re in in June of creating that. But that’s something we have not seen. It’s something the fan base, and they’re still trying to sell tickets and get you to go to London and get me to stay away from Cincinnati and Cleveland, trying to get some people to go to the games trying to get me to stay away. But the notion that this week that this offensive fireworks and you and I talked at length last week, Dennis and I talked at length last week about Todd Monken. And the offense. This is a week where you get good optics where everybody’s son this time last year, it was that awful. former reporter Nestor asking Lamar, if he really wanted to be here. Now, it’s literally this is a week for the organization to get people’s hopes up. And as long as nobody turns an ankle as long as there’s no Leon Sirsi. That is a mess this week there. They will create momentum for the season and give back slaps at the end of the week. And everybody should leave this feeling good. Everybody should put some, some good tape together for Right. And all the kumbaya yawning that hardball is so good at bringing people together. This is the week that all that happens. This is the organization will smell really good on Saturday, as long as the kid doesn’t go out into a drug ditch and get himself killed next week. And that happened last year, too.

Luke Jones  07:00

Yeah, I mean, that’s really it’s not just the Ravens. It’s all 32 teams this time of year. I mean, even the worst teams in the league are selling more hope right now than they will come the fall.

Nestor Aparicio  07:09

Everybody’s in the Vince McMahon business. Exactly. Watch how quickly they just all have taken the Vince McMahon model and said we’re gonna bring that to Kansas City, wherever it is, right.

Luke Jones  07:21

Yeah, I mean, it’s just that’s the nature of the business at the end of the day. It Right, exactly. It’s entertainment it is and you’re trying to sell fun, right? And you just said it and it’s not even turning an ankle. You know, a player turns an ankle. That’s not a big deal this time of year, but and we’ve seen it around the league, we’ve seen some players suffer, you know, a blown Achilles or a torn ACL. We’ve seen it with the Ravens in the past me Tavon young tore his ACL way back when back in the spring Dennis pit unfortunately had his third and final hip injury that ended his career in the spring this time of year so so it can happen. So yeah, there’s there’s a downside to this time of year and that’s part of the whole discussion of spring workouts and voluntary versus mandatory and all of that and this

Nestor Aparicio  08:03

is where we’re at John, this is why we don’t get them together doing this every week in March and April in May.

Luke Jones  08:07

Exactly. And to be clear, look, guys guys get hurt working out on their own too. We can all remember Terrell Suggs getting hurt playing basketball and Arizona. Oh, wait, it was a conditioning drill. Right? But no, I mean, it’s that’s part of it, unfortunately. But so much of this week, as you said, is really about selling hope. And for the Ravens. There’s going to be a lot of excitement because we expect to see Odell Beckham out there at least doing some things you know, I don’t think he’s necessarily going to be full go and we’ve seen the Ravens slow play some of their guys that you know, Rashad Bateman has been out there but we haven’t seen him do full team drills for example, but he’s looked good. Now he’s on track. I mean, he’s looked like Rashad Bateman pre foot injury. So, yeah, that’s what you’re wanting from some of these veteran players coming back from injuries. And, you know, it’s just, it’s exciting. It’s gonna be exciting to see Odell Beckham in his number three ravens jersey, it’s gonna be exciting to see. Ronnie Stanley out there taking part in mini camp for what the first time since probably 2019. You know, they didn’t have mini camp and 20 because of the pandemic. So it’s been a long time since seeing Ronnie Stanley out there this time of year now. Is he going to be full go? Are they going to slow play him a little bit? I’m guessing they’ll probably take care of them a little bit. So you’ll have that. But you just said it for all these teams with their websites. And look, everyone’s kind of in the business of no one’s really being disparaging of players this time of year. I mean, I say it all the time, and you’ll see me I’ll have my 12 ravens thoughts from Owings Mills throughout the week with observations. Observations are fun. Everyone wants to know what’s happening out there, and that’s fine. As long as we understand that, anything that happens, good or bad. Let’s be clear if someone drops a pass, that’s not the end of the world either. But it’s true, like you said, and we’ve seen plenty of players look really good playing in shorts, and then they get to training camp, let alone for preseason or the regular season, and reality sets in a little bit that introducing that threat of contact changes things. On the flip side, I can think of guys who this time of year did not stand out. I can think back to Mark Andrews, his very first training camp, he didn’t look very good. We in fact, I kid you not some of us local guys that are out there every single day, we were wondering if he was going to land on IR, we were wondering if he was going to be much of a factor as a rookie. And well, we saw what he looked like as a rookie when things mattered, he played really well. So you can never put too much stock into it good or bad. But that having having said that, it’s fun, right? I mean, this is a time of year where we’re talking about what this could look like Come September, October, November, December. So and we’ve talked about it, the Ravens still think have a little bit of roster work to do, it’s still like to see a veteran edge rusher added to the mix between now and the start of the season. I still think that there’s another veteran corner addition to be made, you know, whether it’s Marcus Peters coming back, or whether it’s another veteran type that you’re going to add to the mix just to fortify your depth. So, but those moves are doable, though, we’re not talking about lucrative financial commitments there. They have the wherewithal, they have the ability to create the cap room to do that. So but having said that, how the team looks right now post draft post free agency, all that. This is basically what we’re going to see come September. So that’s where it is exciting because it is mandatory this week. So you’ll see some of those guys that we haven’t seen running around over the last few weeks with OTAs. So it’s your first real chance to lay eyes on the entire roster, or most 98% of it at the very least. And that’s what makes it fun this week, as long as we understand that, it is June at the end of the day, and they’re not doing anything for real just yet.

Nestor Aparicio  11:51

Luke Jones is here. He will be there in Owings Mills in the afternoon as well as with the birds. Neither one of them allow me in so Luke has to work twice as much this week, but he will be doing that at Baltimore, Luke and out it’s up at wn St. And of course out of Baltimore positive as well. As the Orioles continue their tour it pays the Ravens try to get above the fold, as we would say right like don’t try to get some oxygen here. What are you looking for this week other than what you’re going to see which are these tippy toe catches and you know that things that make memes and videos, snippets good. i The Odell Beckham thing to me is the straw that stirs the drink in a good way, a bad way. They’re all about it. Monkey knows him. He’s a champion. He’s all that he wasn’t that Cleveland. He certainly wasn’t that with the Giants. Go, go ask Eli Manning. Go go, you know, go ask the Giants people now. We all mature, we all move around. He’s got a ring. He’s at this point of mercenary Right? Like he’s not going to be on this team next year. Unless he stinks and plays cheap and if he stinks, they’re not going to want him back. This is a fascinating rental of him. And I don’t know whether I if I have any comparison Right? Like you would say well he could be the Anquan Boldin of the Super Bowl, back shoulder third down catch in Las Vegas and and have a parade here. And he could also be Shannon Sharpe, right like Shannon Sharpe came in here with a very volatile time. Back when I was still a real media member wrote books about such things really was a stabilizing force with Ray and the law and the media and a bad offense like all of that changed. Trump’s got his own problems finding new partners in media here all these years later, but when I think of the leadership history of the organization, and I don’t mean John Ogden, Ray Lewis Suggs read, I’m talking to imported Guys, guys where they’re going to transplant heart into the team. They’ve done that with a defense with ro Quan Smith. Clearly they didn’t feel like Marlon Humphrey is the leader over there or that Patrick queen was going to be able to play that position next five years at that level. They love CJ Mosley and got priced out of him. But bringing in guys from other organizations. Eric’s had a lifetime and doing this and trying to identify the right guys. And he’s got a really mixed card on that. Because every Jeremy Maclin and every you know, all of those, he owns that stuff, too. He owns Earl Earl Thomas as well, which was a disaster for everybody. So I don’t know, but this Odell Beckham thing, they feel like they’ve served this up, it felt like a little bit of a tic tac for Lamar, like, you know, try to get Lamar back or whatever. Now they have to go sleep with it. And they have to go make it work. And there’s one football for all of them. And we’ve talked about that at length for mungkin and the genius of but the Odell Beckham thing as much as I feel like well, I know what I’m gonna get out of Lamar. I mean, you know, I’ve seen Lamar render. I don’t know what we’re gonna get out of Beckham and whether that’s going to make Lamar better or not, because that’s really what they’re betting on. They’re betting on Odell Beckham is going to make Lamar Jackson bet Ever, as a human as a player as a celebrity, as like all of that, that that that’s what they’ve imported in the way that when Shannon Sharpe came in here and Rod Woodson came in here, brought fricking grownups in here, like big, big boy pants. Triple 35 team. I know I was on the inside of that. I don’t know, I’ve watched Odell Beckham from the outside. You’ll smell like Shannon Sharpe to me.

Luke Jones  15:25

Yeah, I mean, it’s, it’s gonna be fascinating. And look, I mean, you know, Shannon Sharpe when he came in at that point, I mean, that was a Ravens team that was, and we can talk about this team needing to learn how to play deep into January, but they’ve had no problems winning games in the regular season, whereas the pre 2000 ravens, I mean, the best they could say was they had gone eight and eight, the year before. So. So it’s not quite that dynamic. But your point is well taken. And, look, it’s not just Lamar Jackson. I want to see how Odell Beckham influences, Rashad date, how he influenced the say flowers. I mean, you have to read you know, in the case of flowers, the first round rookie this year, Bateman, you know, a couple of years removed from being a first round pick, you know, what’s the influence look like there? So it’s going to be fascinating look, I mean, it’s, there’s so much to look at with Beckham and either be a proponent of it and say, Look, he’s he sat out all of last year after having a second ACL surgery in a two year period. And he didn’t, you know, he didn’t force his way back onto the field last year, he wasn’t playing as a diminished version of himself, this idea that he could really truly heal up. He’s only 30 years old. I mean, we’re not talking about someone who’s 36, you know, in the case of when the ravens brought into Sean Jackson last year. So there’s, there’s a lot about him, you know, even some of what you said, as far as what his rap might have been with the giants are Cleveland, the Rams loved him. He was absolutely a net positive contributor for them. I mean, go look at what his postseason numbers were, he was really good for them in January, and he was possibly going to be MVP of the Super Bowl before he hurt his knee late in the second quarter. So he was a positive there. But that was a smaller sample size. And that was a couple years ago. And as much as he’s been through physically, that’s where you look on the flip side and say, All right, he’s 30. But he’s also 30 with this injury history. So is he actually someone that plays older than that? So I think, look, he’ll have a one handed catch at some point, even if he’s just goofing around. And they’ll they’ll make a highlight out of it. Now be fun, right? I mean, nothing wrong with that. Let’s be clear. But how’s he running? How’s he moving around? You know, How involved is he? Like I said, I don’t think he’s necessarily going to be a full girl. But I think we’ll do something. I think we’ll see him running around at least during individual and some some things like that. I don’t know that for sure. But that’s my expectation. But yeah, I think there’s plenty of intrigue to see how this is going to go. And in the case of Beckham, perhaps it’s alleviated a little bit by the the reality that the Ravens paid him 15 million guaranteed, as opposed to the seven that’s that people thought he’d get from, whether it’s the Ravens or the jets or whoever was going to sign him. So he has a little more financial, you know, he doesn’t need security. But you understand what I’m saying from that standpoint, but he is on a one year deal. It is a standpoint where the guy is very clearly trying to reestablish his career, whether he sees that long term with the Ravens or not, he’s clearly trying to get himself reestablished

Nestor Aparicio  18:27

needs the ball this year in order to do that they always want

Luke Jones  18:31

the ball to. And that’s what’s going to be fascinating about this, because as we’ve mentioned, do I think the ravens are going to throw the ball more than they have in the past? Yes, of course I do. They wouldn’t have added at wide receiver to the degree that they have if they weren’t planning to do that. However, do I think that means they’re going to throw it 45 times a game? No, I don’t because Todd Monken history recently at Georgia was they ran the heck out of the football when they threw their tight ends. I don’t think that’s completely disappearing from the Ravens offense. So this is all part of the balance of that so much keeping everyone happy, although at the end of the day, that’s that’s kind of what it is. But if you’re Todd Monken it’s having balance. It’s utilizing all the talent you have all over the field. It’s run and and pass. You know, it’s play action. It’s RPO Oh, it’s spreading out teams out more than Greg Roman did and running against lighter boxes. I mean, it’s, there’s so much that goes into it. And yeah, you look at the players, you have to keep happy and we can get to JK Dobbins here in a moment, but Odell Beckham his history suggests he’s gonna want the football and by the way, I understand that from top wide receivers that Jerry Rice wanted the football right Chris Carter wanted the football I mean, that’s, that’s that’s how it goes. Right? I mean, that’s that’s just as much as you can love guys like Kadri Ismail, for example. God bless him and I love Q. The 2000 ravens he was their number one wide receiver. He didn’t need the ball. whole lot because he wasn’t, he wasn’t Jerry Rice, he was a Terrell Owens, you know, we’ve seen that we saw that with Willie steed a couple years ago, you know, Canada, maybe not their number one, but you get a starting wide receiver who wasn’t gonna get the ball very much. So it is going to be a different dynamic. And we’re not going to get any answer for that this week. But we’ll start to see what this all could look like, you know, it gets the imagination going, it gets the the juices flowing in terms of really picturing what this could look like Come September and plan deeper into the season. So it’s fun in that regard. But I think for for just this week, though, what you tangibly want to see is how well is Becca moving around, you know, how fast is he look? How does this change direction? Look? Is he favoring the knee in any way? And I’m not necessarily the guy that’s going to be able to tell you that perfectly. But now there’ll be enough video and, you know, the doctor David Charles of, of the Twitter universe will look at look at him and say, Hey, he’s running really well. This looks a lot different than the Odell Beckham we saw in 2021 with the Rams who still had a little bit of a hitch in his giddy up. So we’ll see how it plays out in that regard. But certainly with that, I get laying eyes on him for the first time since I guess seeing him at Preakness, right. Yeah, that’s kind of the first time we saw him, at least in Baltimore, let’s say. So we’ll see how it looks. But it’s going to be fascinating because I think it’s easy for Ravens fans to think about the best case scenario, but we also know that there was a time when Ravens fans were excited about getting Jeremy Maclin and guys and Michael Crabtree and guys of that and Earl Thomas. And then a few months later you say Ooh, well, that didn’t work out too well. So we’ll see what happens here with that GM but certainly it’s a it’s a higher price, higher cost, you know, higher calling, you know, higher cost of doing business and expectations are going to be very high all the way around as far as how that’s going to work out.

Nestor Aparicio  21:55

Keep them healthy out. knowings Mills this week, Luke Jones will be on appointment on double assignment this week. Greg Bader in the chat steel working Luke like a dog or maybe I am maybe he actually works for me. He’ll be in Owings Mills. He’ll be at Camden Yards all week long. I will be available next Baltimore We’re taking the Maryland crabcake tour on the road beginning next week. Spirits West next Thursday. We’re going to be moving to Shannon’s we’re going to be Pappas and Glen Burnie we’re going to be a Costas to start our 26th year that’s on August the third celebrating 25 years wn st as well as August 4 A drug city going to drag all my friends and sponsors to Dundalk to kick off our 25th year just to show him the homeland good it’s a good crabs all brought to you by our friends at the Maryland lottery we’ll be giving these away all summer long. The Maryland crab cake tour schedule now up on the web as well brought to you by our friends at window nation 866 90 nation. Look out for Luke get him a towel and some hydration it’s hot dogs this week. It’s Orioles and ravens at least for one more week. Then we go into baseball season. We are wn st am 1570, Towson Baltimore. And we never stop talking Baltimore positive

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