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The loss of running back J.K. Dobbins is only the beginning of the depth concerns the Baltimore Ravens will have this week in Cincinnati. Luke Jones and Nestor discuss Justice Hill and how Todd Monken will adjust the offense for Lamar Jackson now that the workhouse halfback is once again lost for the season.

SUMMARY KEYWORDS

ravens, dobbins, years, jk, week, lamar jackson, game, play, locker room, losing, injuries, thought, teams, bengals, feel, run, throw, linder, home run hitter, talking

SPEAKERS

Luke Jones, Nestor Aparicio

Nestor Aparicio  00:00

Welcome back at W and S T, Towson Baltimore. And Baltimore positive it is it’s football season I don’t know what else to say. These are the days that if we were taking phone calls or we would call them to Chicken Little days because the sky is falling even though the teams want to know we’re gonna be families on Friday. The ravens are still gonna be wondering oh on Friday and the crab cakes are still gonna be delicious and the shrimp salad is going to be great fried oysters are going to be great. We’re gonna be giving away Raven scratch offs this this Friday from the Maryland lottery they present what we’re doing along with our new partners at Jiffy Lube as well as when donation 8669 donation the way to get in touch with our window nation folks. It’s going to be an injury report kind of weak around here. If you’re on the wn St. Textures brought to you by coons Baltimore Ford, you will know about it. This guy runs it this guy goes everything they let him in they threw me out. You can read all that in my Dear John letters in the Dear Steve shoddy letters. And I’m sure Eric the constant just waiting to get his. And by the way, Adam Jones is gonna get a letter this week too. And it will not resemble the Steve shoddy letter. I am not going to hold Adam Jones responsible for anything that Greg Bader or Pierre Angelo’s have done to me, but nonetheless, the ravens are want to know, Lucas, how are you? How was your experience on Sunday at the ballpark? A little less wet than maybe we thought and certainly the outcome of this thing. What you and I talked about, they won by 16 points. Great. But boy, this is um, it’s a body bag game and I called it a Pyrrhic victory out of Baltimore positive.

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Luke Jones  01:28

Yeah, it really was. And it’s interesting to see the lengths that the ravens and many other teams around the NFL have gone to keep starters out of harm’s way in the preseason. I mean, to the point where your starters, most of the Ravens starters didn’t play at all, in the three preseason games even talk other than guys like John Simpson who were battling for a starting job or a guy like Justice Hill, who, as I had said to you before, the JK Dobbins injure, I thought might be their number two running back. But it’s amazing after all that effort, and let’s face it, there’s an impact on that. I think you saw that with a number of teams around the league who didn’t play starters, in the preseason. There are some risks, and I mean, the Ravens compared to other teams, they they could feel good about their performance overall, when you’re looking at it through that lens. But trying to avoid the injury bug in the preseason. And the Ravens were able to do that for the most part sans White Marlin Humphrey and Mark Andrews missing week one. The injury bug, unfortunately find you as John Harbaugh said in the postgame, it’s football. And as we’ve said on so many occasions, the only way to eliminate injuries from football is probably to eliminate football together. But so unfortunate with JK Dobbins and look, we debated so much about his contract, his approach his hold in all those different things. And regardless of how you felt about that one way or the other, to see him being carried into the locker room. And after just a couple hours before that Nestor, he was the first ravens player on the field on Sunday morning, you could tell that he was ready to go, you feel for a guy and certainly for the ravens, they’ll they’ll support him in that way. We’ll see what’s going to happen for his career at this point. And where he’s going to be next year, whether it’s in Baltimore or somewhere else, probably on a one year contract. But in the immediate, you know, in the immediacy of this, the short term impact of this is the Ravens just lost a lot of upside in the opener, you know, JK Dobbins, we’ve seen even if it’s been too fleeting, over the last few years, we’ve seen what kind of running back he is and in week one as I wrote it, Baltimore positive.com. You don’t win a Super Bowl in week one, but you can lose upside that can severely dent those championship aspirations and it’s not just JK Dobbins, but it’s the Ravens holding their breath on Marcus Williams, who reportedly has a pectoral injury that they’re going to hold their breath and see what the MRI looks like. Ronnie Stanley left the game although he stayed on the sideline and he was being iced but he was standing he was walking around did not look like it was something severe they would have taken him to the locker room but doesn’t mean you won’t miss some time here. And then throw in Tyler Linder balm as well. Really tough kid who was in a lot of pain with that ankle. He walked to the sideline, but he went right to the locker room. So you know you’re hoping the Dobbins is the only is the most severe of these injuries. But, boy, after one game and to your point, this was a game we all expected the ravens to win and it was choppy. It was up and down. Certainly I mean, Odell Beckham even called it a undercooked appetizer for the passing game. It wasn’t Lamar Jackson’s Best Performance by any stretch of the imagination, but they got it done. And that’s something the Bengals didn’t do. The Steelers didn’t do just looking into division. Let us

Nestor Aparicio  04:58

do either on Sunday. Sure, sure. gave me a chance to watch the wham documentary. So I was okay. Yeah, but but but

Luke Jones  05:04

that gives you the proper perspective as far as you’re not always going to come out in week one and do what the Ravens did did the dolphins four years ago, right, but they got the win. But boy, it was costly when you look at what they lost on Sunday, and by no means to do I think it means their season’s over or anything like that. But again, when you’re thinking in the big picture, every time you lose a player that can make the impact that a JK Dobbins can make that’s just that’s upside, you’re gonna have a really tough time finding, you know, maybe maybe it’s a flower. So I mean, as I wrote, he was probably my biggest positive at least on the offensive side of the ball easily. But, boy, just losing JK Dobbins in the fashion they did you feel for him. But as it pertains to the football team, they have other running backs, but none of those guys are their home run hitter that JK Dobbins has shown to be when he’s been healthy, but unfortunately, going on three years now that just not been the case for him. Well, I mean,

Nestor Aparicio  05:59

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it’s injuries of the lead, right? There was a lead of they’re going to be the lead all week. But then the real story becomes and I know it’s early in the weeks like alright, Stanley and lender bomb, we’re gonna get news on them. You may even have it by the time you hear this later in the afternoon off MRIs but, you know, thinking they’re gonna play without them this week, right? I mean, I don’t want to be mean, one of the two of them, it may be something catastrophic this year, but for this week playing without those guys, just one game. Let’s just look at Cincinnati this weekend. So if you’re gonna play without your center and play with that your left tackle both first round picks. One of them’s a made guy, one of them had injury issues, and the offense didn’t click all that well against kind of a bad team. I thought the Texans defensively were better than they were offensively for me with a rookie quarterback and all of that, but the competition’s gonna get stronger across both sides of the ball because the Texans aren’t very good. And we’ll, we’ll get both sides of the ball rub here but the offensive side for what they’re trying to do in run the ball now they don’t have the running back and they have other running backs but pass protection the things that they need to do scheming to protect them all the things they practice. Me first off the senator just just exchange right with the senator, you don’t want to screw with that. Certainly this kid looked like he was going to, to the, to the house of pro bowl at some point. So he looked like he was on that pathway. You started missing these guys. And you didn’t have yet yeah, guys jumping off this week and penalty, lots penalty. Penalties really were the lead maybe even more than the injury. So the injuries happen. But in the case of beaten the Bengals without to fifth year offensive line, the most devastating thing for me would be Stanley Linder bombs not far off, but losing both Jesus.

Luke Jones  07:44

Yeah, I mean, and again, we don’t know how serious it is, as I said, Stanley was standing on the sideline for a good bit. And even, you know, just had his knee wrapped in ice. If they thought it was a catastrophic injury, they would have taken them to the locker room. I mean, that’s that’s just how these things work. But to your point, even if he missed a Sunday, even if he misses the next two games, and we know Ronnie Stanley, for all the injuries, he’s had he, you certainly wouldn’t say he’s been a fast healer in his career. And I’m not saying that there’s a knock, that’s just been the reality. But without him going to Cincinnati, knowing that they have Trey Hendrickson and a pass rush, and it’s just a Bengals team, that’s just gonna be ticked off in general, because of how lousy they were, you know, that’s just that’s not something you want. And going on the road, without your center to your points, you know, the snap, making calls at the line of scrimmage with pass protection. I mean, these just are not things you want to be dealing with, even in a short term situation. So you’ll hope for the best and maybe, who knows, maybe one of them will be out there, at least on Sunday. Or maybe it’ll be the best case scenario. But

Nestor Aparicio  08:48

what would be the center, right? I mean, not the left tackle, I started the real reason I even asked you this is sort of like, who’s gonna play with for 60 minutes, like if this is the case, and both of these guys are down because I saw Macquarie on the left edge, and I’m like, wow, you know, like they deep depth on the offensive line there. That’s something we haven’t talked about at all. Now. It’s something I have to talk about.

Luke Jones  09:09

Well, Macquarie most likely will play left tackle and Sam loves to throw they would elevate from the practice squad as they did over the weekend, and must have started a ton of games for the bears. You know, he’s that Owings Mills native, so you know, kind of a good story, but it also proved out in Chicago. He’s best served as a backup. And I think that was evident over his three years starting games for the bears. I mean, that’s why he was available when the Ravens signed him in the offseason. So you do feel better about him compared to maybe most teams backup centers, but again, there’s a reason why you took Tyler Linder bomb in the first round. You know, I always say this and it’s such a fan reaction at this point. Not just and I’m not saying Ravens fans, I think anywhere that you just say okay, next man up. Well, you can only say that so many times until you look at the depth chart and say, I don’t know if that looks good. So, again, if Stanley and Lindenbaum aren’t out very long then you can weather this. But at the same time you look at the schedule at Cincinnati, all right home against Indianapolis, kind of a similar story to what we’re, we were talking about with the Texans. But then you have Cleveland and Pittsburgh that so you have three AFC North Road games here that you don’t want to be in a position where you’re so undermanned taking on your division rivals early in the season. So you know, it’s not the panic button, because you’re not going to turtle up. I mean, you got to kind of go out and play. But it’s less than ideal, especially when you went to the lengths that the Ravens went to try to keep their starters out of harm’s way in the preseason. And, to your point, they were sloppy. I mean, I had penalties and the offense just wasn’t very crisp. The defense for as well as they played, they had some big time penalties as well that they had to overcome. So, you know, you’re almost willing to sacrifice that because yeah, you keep everyone healthy, but defeats the purpose when you lose multiple starters and week one, and already one of them for the season and holding your breath on the other guys. So it’s less than ideal. But you also know, we also understand that, whether it’s week one, week, eight, week 17, you’re gonna lose some guys over the course of a season, you just, you were just hoping to avoid it happening in such at such a volume early in the season that kind of gives you that feeling almost like two years ago, almost like like, oh, here we go again, scenario. But again, you hope you pray, you keep your fingers crossed, whatever you want to do, that these other injuries aren’t as severe. But I mean, it’s just, it really does put a damper on what was when and again that the Ravens should feel fine about overall, relative to what you see around the league. I mean, Kevin Zeitler, I asked him about it in the postgame locker room. And he just said, Look, man, I’ve been around a long time that week. One’s kind of like the Wild West. I mean, you just don’t really know what you’re going to get. I mean, sometimes you come out looking great. Or your opponent comes out looking horrible or they your opponent surprises you Well, in

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Nestor Aparicio  12:03

the in the world of the John Harbaugh paranoia and all of these head coaches paranoia. Week one is the thing. They’re all sleight of hand, right? They don’t show anything in the preseason. They throw you guys off the backfield. They don’t practice. I mean, hardball is over. They’re worried about practicing stuff in front of fans, right? Like the stuff that they do in early August. They don’t want anybody. I mean, it’s paranoia, the destroyer, and then they come out and they onside kick in Denver, where you know, all of a sudden, they try to make a play on the on the kickoff of the season. To give you that element of surprise. Everything about week one is the element of surprise in the mind of all of these head coaches.

Luke Jones  12:41

It is and it’s also the element of overreaction for everyone else. And that’s where we look at this and say, Okay, again, the Ravens won, it wasn’t pretty, they need to be better. They know that. I mean, I don’t think I encountered a single offensive player in the post postgame locker room that was remotely satisfied with what they did. I mean, ze flowers kind of had that rookie. You know, he was kind of not in all the moment, but I think he was, you know, he was on cloud nine, because hey, he had a good game. And it was his first NFL game and good for him. He should feel good about that. But you know, from Lamar Jackson to Kevin Zeitler to Odell Beckham, Jr. I mean, no one was particularly happy with how they played. I mean, that was just the way it worked. And you know, that I think some of that was to be expected, especially when you’re not playing in the preseason, I think there was going to be that adjustment, there’s going to be a learning curve when you’re talking about a new offense. And by the way, you didn’t have Mark Andrews out there. And I think that was evident by how little the Ravens got going over the middle of the field. You know, a reminder of all these wide receivers are great, and they’re better for that, and I think they have a higher ceiling but still remind you just how important how critical Mark Andrews is to that whole operation, but they’re gonna get him back, you know that he missed week one, they erred on the side of caution that you’re trying to do that. But again, when you lose upside that they lost with JK Dobbins, it’s just you take that long term hit and you hope that Justice Hill can help, you know, pick up the slack, certainly,

Nestor Aparicio  14:07

for him. So my what I mean, you talked a lot about I don’t know we had a segment where you didn’t talk about him, because we were talking about Dobbins, not playing holding out Dobbins was in the news. Dobbins was talking Dobbins wasn’t there. Where’s Dobbins? Is he going to play is he going to show up? That’s for Josh Jacobs for all those running backs a couple of weeks ago. But you can see Justice Hill just to tell. And there he is. Here he is, what do we need to know about him? In regards to maybe what we didn’t know the last couple of years have seen? I mean, I think the difference now Nestor is I think he his skill set.

Luke Jones  14:38

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I mean, he’s more of a Space Player, right? You know, he’s certainly not a guy that profiles is always going to run between the tackles a ton like Gus Edwards, for example, who obviously Gus is going to have a bigger role than I was kind of wondering what his role was going to be like, you know, as this offense, but Justice Hill is just a better fit for what Todd Monken wants out of his running backs. And it’s Not so much even running the ball, you know, it’s receiving receiving out of the backfield. You know, he’s probably, of the Ravens running backs. And I’m not sure about this, but I think he might be their best in pass protection. And certainly that’s a factor as we saw the O line habits issues, especially in that first half, protecting Lamar Jackson and dealing with blitzes. I think that’s why we saw Patrick record out on the field, probably more than anyone thought

Nestor Aparicio  15:24

I was just getting ready to say, what’s he doing out there? Every time I looked up, he’s off the left side, chipping a linebacker trying to take on a safety. And I’m like, I thought he was the forgotten man. And it was really weird, watching Lamar back up, and then have somebody get in on him. And him not have the escape ability, because of the space and the direction he’s moving in. Right. Like literally, it was, it was just a bizarre thing to see this offense a little bit, because it’s not anything like we saw, we thought was bizarre when they were out there running, you know, metallic players in different directions, you know, wave, left wave, right. And all that. This certainly looks a little bit different. But it looks like the Morris little more susceptible to get chased around and getting getting pinched, get stuck. And I didn’t think Lamar could get stuck. Yeah, I mean,

Luke Jones  16:11

and it’s not as I mean, go back and look at how many times he was sacked a couple years ago. I mean, it has happened and at times has happened at high volume, you know, and we saw this two years ago and 100, Villanova was playing left tackle and I mean, they just they weren’t very good. On the offensive line. I mean, talk about losing JK Dobbins two years ago, there O line was their biggest problem as it pertained to the entire operation. So, but but, you know, to go back to it just to sell probably the best fit from a scheme standpoint, and I think you’re gonna see, not ready to say that he’ll be the lead back. I’m not saying that at all. But I do think looking at him and Gus Edwards, it’ll probably be not probably I be confident saying it’ll be far more one on one A, than it would have been under Greg Roman, right. Because under Greg Roman, Gus Edwards would have just become the guy basically, because they just started

Nestor Aparicio  17:03

their backs. Lamar would have run the ball 18 times in Cincinnati and tried to figure out a way to win. And they still do that. They still might do that, because they didn’t do that this week.

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Luke Jones  17:12

Yeah, let’s be clear, let’s let’s be clear about this. And I even noted this and what I wrote it Baltimore positive.com. And that was part of my part of the lamenting the loss of Dobbins is the upside in the running game. And part of that is I think the Ravens have made it very evident now. Go back and look at how many times Lamar Jackson ran in 2019. Week, one 2020. Week one, you’ll find that in week one, he he quite often has not run a whole lot so that again, perspective, don’t overreact and react to week one and say because we saw this in the opener, this is how it’s going to be. But I think it’s no secret that the Ravens St. John Harbaugh even said this last Friday, you know, it’s a fair assumption that they’re gonna throw the ball more than they have in the past. And, you know, that didn’t really play out on Sunday. But that’s still the expectation. But I think what was interesting, Lamar Jackson ran the ball six times, Nestor, five of those scrambles, he had one design run, it was a QB sneak in the first quarter late in the first quarter. So that was a far cry from what we saw under Greg Roman, most of the time, most Sundays, and again, not even saying Lamar running 22 times, but of the 10 or 11 times he’d run, a good portion of those would be designed run. So if you are going to continue to avoid design runs to that degree. Yeah, you are losing quite a bit in upside with your running game if you’re not going to have JK Dobbins, and you’re not going to have Lamar Jackson other than the scrambling which let’s face it, I mean, he still he let them in rushing still, which which was very much a case of, you know, product to the offensive line and pass protection but he’s still gonna be a factor but again, if it’s not the designed runs, and you’re losing JK Dobbins me boy, you’re cutting off a lot of upside right off the top

Nestor Aparicio  19:01

of the locker room anymore and facing but he is their best running back. Yeah,

Luke Jones  19:04

he’s the greatest rushing quarterback in NFL history. I mean, it’s already bearing out right? Um, I mean, okay. I don’t want to disrespect Michael Vick. I don’t want to disrespect Randall Cunningham. But look at the numbers. Look at what he’s done. I saw his contract to He led them in rushing the last four years. I mean, even the last two years, but he missed the final five games. He still had them in rushing. So it points to that but it’s a lot of upside that you’re having to replace here because JK Dobbins we saw it even last year when he wasn’t completely right. What kind of home run hitter he can be and his ability to make guys miss and that’s why I said it was so good to see ze flowers. He’s not the same player of course and he’s not going to run the ball 20 times a game. But you saw that same you know that yak ability that ability to make guys miss and make them look silly. I mean, we saw your Dobbins has been able to do that when he’s been healthy. Unfortunately, it’s all too fleeting, but you missed that you have to You’re gonna have to find that over the course of the season. And that’s not going to say it’s gonna be one guy, but you’re gonna have to make up for that. So, it is going to be interesting with the loss of Dobbins to see what this looks like. And, again, Justice Hill, Gus Edwards stepping up. I’m guessing we’ll see Melvin Gordon promoted from the practice squad. I mean, I didn’t think he had a great summer, but he didn’t have a bad summer either. I mean, he’s not the guy that he was as a pro bowl running back for the charger several years ago, but I think he can still help them. And we’ll even see about Keith Mitchell that the undrafted rookie Anthony Mitchell, son who made the team but they put him on IR because he’s got a shoulder. I don’t think that’s supposed to be a season ending thing. So we’ll see if he’s in the mix later this year. Maybe he’s that guy that becomes our home run hitter. Come week 13. Who knows? But it’s a question that you’re gonna have to find an answer that you thought you had, right? I mean, you thought JK Dobbins was going to run for, I don’t know, 1200 yards this year, I certainly would not have been surprised that that didn’t the case, because I think they were planning on him being the guy and it being a little bit less of a timeshare than it’s been in the past when Greg Roman was in charge of the offense. So pressure

Nestor Aparicio  21:07

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off Lamar to pass and to not run, even though when he runs, they win.

Luke Jones  21:14

I mean, and this is what I’ve said to you all along. I mean, the plan has never been that Omar’s just gonna sit back there and throw 45 times either, you know, they’re just gonna be more more balanced, and they want to be more explosive in the passing game. And certainly, yeah, they do plan to throw more, but you still want to balance you know, you still have games where even though it didn’t play out Sunday, but there was rain in the forecast are gonna be games where there’s going to be wind and you know, you’re not going to throw the football as much. So you want to be able to be multiple. And I think the good news is with the wide receiver talent, they’ve added that you certainly feel better about their situation now than if this hadn’t happened to JK, you know, like when this happened to JK Dobbins two years ago, and you had Hollywood Brown and Rashad Bateman who was injured at the time already, and you’re looking at your wide receivers and saying, oh my gosh, what are we going to do? So you at least have that? You know, and that’s why, yeah, I haven’t changed my stance drastically on where the ravens are where I think they’re gonna be, I mean, I picked them to go 11 and six and be a wild card. I still feel I’m not changing that prediction after losing Dobbins, but when you get to January, when you’re talking about upside, when you’re thinking about all the things you want to be able to do at a high level, to beat teams in the playoffs and make a deep run. You certainly were envisioning JK JK Dobbins being a big part of doing that and now that he’s not going to be again, it comes back to are you gonna be able to find some some more upside elsewhere? You know, whether it whether it is one of these running backs, surprising you or whether it is ze flowers, doing things that he did on Sunday, which again, I was very impressed with what we saw from him. So that was easily you know that that was easily the highlight offensively but they’ve got to be better. There’s no question about that. But in the meantime, you’re holding your breath for to get some good news on Ronnie Stanley and Tyler Linder. Bomb. We’re gonna have plenty

Nestor Aparicio  23:06

on the defense, we’ll have plenty to talk about Justin Tucker, kicking field goals and drinking ROFO and doing all that speaking of that rural farms in our COPPA getting ready kids are in school. Right? It’s 911 This week’s thoughts about all that my wife was a first responder up there a long time ago. So I want to salute everybody out there that’s thinking about that. It’s 22 years crazy. Football this week. We got baseball this week. The Orioles have sold out game on Friday this week with the Adam Jones thing. I’m writing letters to Steve Ashati and letters to John horrible, so I haven’t even read the letters for the radio side of it yet. I’ll do that a little later on in the week. You can find us around all week long. And of course at fate Lee’s on Friday doing the Maryland crab cake Tour presented by the Maryland lottery conjunction with our friends at Jiffy Lube, new sponsor as well as our friends at window nation. 866 90 nation he is Luke you can find him at the ballpark this week. You can find him in Owings Mills during the week. He’s doing double duty. I’m locked out he’s working harder. He’s aging more rapidly than I am but I’ll be here doing radio all week as well. We have Mike Lombardi on this week. We have some great guests talking football this week as well as the Ravens go out to Cincinnati to take on the Bengals who lost to the browns and that’s probably the best news of week one on Nesta he’s loop we’re back for more ravens coverage around here as well as Orioles coverage. Imagine that in September we’re wn st am 1570, Towson Baltimore. We never stop talking Baltimore. Positive

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