Getting ready for fake football and the Eagles

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As the installation of the new offense has its predicted hiccups under new coordinator Todd Monken, our Luke Jones tells Ravens fans what’s happening on the back fields in Owings Mills and in preparation for the always awful and always victorious preseason efforts by the men of John Harbaugh.


week, offense, owings mills, ravens, lamar jackson, lamar, terms, years, dobbins, big, greg, quarterback, day, talking, couple, interceptions, feeling, game, roman, august


Luke Jones, Nestor Aparicio

Nestor Aparicio  00:01

What about W and S? T Towson Baltimore and Baltimore positive or positively celebrating 25 years I’ll change the logo at some point around here. It’s changed at a Baltimore positive. Got some fireworks and candles and cake. It was like peach cake spear you get a peach cake. I made my way through this guy’s homeland the other day up in Pennsylvania. Coming down what road was I on there? What great east west north south highway was I on there and what trail? The Susquehanna trail that’s where Hannah trails that York Road are no different than New York Road.

Luke Jones  00:35

No York Road turns into the trail. Yeah.

Nestor Aparicio  00:38

Okay. Let’s make it sure that I know this. Right there. The Pennsylvania line. Jones comes in from Shrewsbury where he crosses the state line. They let him into Maryland they let him into Owings Mills to cover all things Ravens. He’ll be out though with the Orioles in the Astros all week long. I am around doing 25 years of celebrating checking us out of Baltimore positive we’re going to be giving away Maryland lottery scratch offs up a green mount station in Carroll County almost in Pennsylvania. On Wednesday. We’ll be up there at the new sports wagering facility as well as just a delicious crab cake with Chris and Dave, up at Greenmount. Station. That is Wednesday also brought to you by our friends at window nation. I’ll have the fun floppy hat that I brought to drug city over the weekend. All right. Look, we’ve done a lot of baseball here. We talked about the hot sauce with Adam Frazier in the 83 worlds Dan and all first place in the pitching in the Flaherty. We still play football around here. There’s like a preseason game this weekend. You have given a whole lot more time to football than most and going out there. Most people just get there one day and they go out and see Odell Beckham Jr. with his purple hair. Tell me Luke, what’s going on in Owings Mills here this week as we prepare for the always important first preseason game against the Philadelphia Eagles.

Luke Jones  01:51

I was just gonna say I mean, we’re in the dog days of camp, and we’re counting down to the first preseason game in which we know no starters are gonna play maybe a couple young starters, hopeful starters, we’ll see but largely going to be backups and rookies. And, guys, you’ve never heard of guys that you probably will never learn. And that’s just the reality of what preseason football has become, as it’s just trended more and more in that direction. But in the meantime, plenty of work going on on the back fields in Owings Mills. And I think the prevailing theme over the first couple of weeks of training camp, and it’s kind of came to a head late last week, with some frustration expressed from Lamar Jackson from Mark Andrews, and interceptions thrown off during Saturday’s practice. The offensive remains a work in progress. And I look, we talked about this going into training camp, we talked about this from the moment that Todd Monken was hired. And the moment that the Ravens finally had a long term deal with Lamar Jackson that this was going to be kind of a pivot point for this offense as they move on from the Greg Roman era. And Lamar Jackson moves into a much higher tax brackets, so to speak, in terms of what his compensation is, and what expectations are. But we knew in talking about this offense, that it’s gonna be different. And I think what was should have been apparent should have been expected and that’s why I’m not fazed by it is, it’s gonna be a work in progress in terms of shifting when you have a new system, when you have new pieces. When you’re missing a couple of those key pieces in terms of Rashad Bateman and JK Dobbins on the field. At the moment, we’re seeing the offense have struggled with the right word as much as just inconsistency, you know, because at times it has looked pretty good. And it has looked like a team that’s that certainly has a higher upside with its passing game. But with that upside also comes those times where your floor is a little bit lower. So we’ve seen a little bit of that as well. And certainly, on Saturday, it was, frankly, an ugly day for the offense. But the context of those interceptions let’s, let’s always remember, it’s why I’m not a big stats during training camp practices, guys, you’ll see some reporters across the league tell you that, you know, so and so was 13 of 17 and 11 on 11 drills and practice needs context and what they were working on on Saturday. A lot of third and long situations. If you’re trying to convert third and long chances are you’re probably taking a little more risk with the football and if that’s going to happen in a practice setting where there are no stakes you know you’re not playing a game you’re not in danger of losing a game that day. That’s when you’re going to try some things so Lamar Jackson and the Ravens, quarterbacks we’re trying a few more things. Now you’d like to see better execution. And Lamar be the first one to tell you he doesn’t wanna throw pics, even an intersect even in practice and he hasn’t thrown many in practice over the years. I’ll point that out. In terms of talking about his ability to take care of the football in that way, but they’re learning and Todd Monken talked about it again this week that, no, we’re not where we need to be. But that’s okay. I expect that the first week of August, now, you want improvement, you want to continue to grow, you want to continue to find more consistency. And that’s where the ravens, you know, they’re in the process of doing that. But that’s kind of been my big takeaway over the first couple of weeks, it’s definitely been the defense ahead of the offense, given mine, defense year two with Mike McDonald now, as opposed to, not even into fully into a full preseason with Todd Monken just yet, so I’m not really surprised by that. I can’t say I’m really concerned by that up, there’s nothing really concerns me this time of year Nestor, it’s up what injuries. So if you can avoid that, then you know that then you’re doing something as long as you continue to move forward and making progress. I’m fine with that. So that’s where they find themselves these first couple of weeks overall, other than the Dobbins saga, it’s been a pretty uneventful camp, they’ve had minor tweaks and some minor injuries here and there, but nothing catastrophic, nothing of the season ending variety, which is, which is what you want. So from that standpoint, the first couple of weeks of camp, it’s been about what I expected to see from a team that has a new offense and new coordinator. And there were going to be some growing pains and you want to experience those now. So then come week one and into the early portion of the season, you’re that much better and feeling like you’re capable of reaching your potential?

Nestor Aparicio  06:42

Well, for me when the offense coordinator and look, I’ve been around John long enough to know that John thinks these press conferences are for his locker room. He’s admitted that to me that when he is speaking to the media, he’s not speaking to the fans or the season ticket holders, he’s speaking to his players. And the mungkin thing where we stink, we got to get better, you know, all of that early August coach speak. I’m not at their sweat that out with you chat still won’t allow me that but I laughter more I was that just sort of this is the offensive coordinator speaking to his locker room, we stink, we need to be better than this. I thought that was kind of, I don’t say hilarious, but sort of telling us to kind of ball coach Todd Monken is,

Luke Jones  07:28

I find it refreshing because I’ll be totally honest with you. I don’t think Greg Roman, there were very few times where Greg Roman would be credited, and even a hint of critical about his offense. And look, I don’t say that to beat up Greg Roman and to prop up Todd Monken. Ultimately, it’s gonna be the results, you know, to your point press conferences, you know, whether you’re delivering a message to your players, or whether it’s just, you know, it’s largely fluff. I mean, it is I mean, there’s, there’s some meat to those to those media sessions, but a lot of times, you kind of plug and play the name and what you’re gonna throw out there. And that’s just how it is. And I understand that and I think barbells become uninterested in the following. Mostly, please press.

Nestor Aparicio  08:16

Yes. Yeah.

Luke Jones  08:21

I mean, it all depends. I mean, well, that’s a that’s another story for another day. But going back to mungkin. I think, what has been evident, if you’ve been out there, you know, even fans, you’ve had an opportunity to go out there. You hear you do hear how vocal he is. He is a little more no nonsense. And let’s be clear, I believe Todd Monken, when when he says that we’re not where we need to be yet. We’re not very good right now. I actually believe him in him expressing that. Because it does kind of make sense from the standpoint of, you’re not playing games on August 5, or August 7, or August 10. Even August 12. Where Yeah, they’re going to play the eagles on Saturday night and fake football. It’s not a real game. It’s not a game where you know, as much as people talk about the silly undefeated preseason game streak, which I wish they’d lose a preseason game. So we could stop talking about that, because I find so not interesting, but but the point is, they’re working. They’re building right now. They’re working toward being good. And they’re not there yet. But that’s okay. And the reality always was going to be if you were moving on from Greg Roman, there was so much familiar familiarity there for the players for Lamar Jackson, for the rest of the coaching staff, that when you make a change, when you say all right, we need to get better. As a passing offense. We need to pivot we need to evolve. There are going to be some growing pains there. As I said, if you are going to have more upside with your passing game, inherently, that carries some risk as far as the downside right if you’re going I’m gonna throw the ball, even if it’s just a little bit more, there’s going to be a higher percent chance of an interception or something going wrong or Lamar Jackson being sacked in the pocket, you know, whatever it might be. That upside also comes with a little more variance in terms of bad things that can happen. And that’s okay. Like that’s to be expected. I mean, that’s just that’s how this works. So, you know, as Bruce Arians would say, no risk at no biscuit, right? I mean, it’s so I mean, that’s where the Ravens find themselves at this point in time. So that’s, I’m not fazed by large accident and their backup quarterbacks throwing a bunch of interceptions on August 5, I’m not, especially when you understand that we’re working on third and long situations. So it hasn’t been like that every day. They’ve had good days. In fact, I think one thing that I actually was encouraged by watching this offense was I think they tipped up in terms of performance. When the pads came on last week, you know, the first week where it was still OTA ish, kind of a feeling, you know, in terms of practicing and shells and shorts, I felt the offense looked better when they put the pads on it. And when they introduced the threat of contact, which is a good thing. So, you know, that’s where they stand right now. And, you know, that’s why I think people who are out at training camp on a day by day basis a year by year basis, you know, I can tell you so many different years, were watching a certain team, I thought they were really good. And they ended up not being so good or teams that I wasn’t so sure about, they ended up being really good. They’re stalking days now. They’re putting in the work right now. And that’s where they find themselves. And, you know, part of this is also they’re going up against the defense that okay, I’ll hear that they have some questions. And Justin Houston signed with Caroline over the weekend. So we’re not going to see a reunion with him which the overall sense I had gotten early in camp was, I didn’t think they were really too keen on bringing him back at least for the money he was asking. So I wasn’t shocked to see that so but questions about the pass rush, which we’ve been talking about for years now, since Terrell Suggs left even since before then probably go back to Elvis Tuberville. But, you know, between that, and you know, a little bit of a question about their outside corner depth beyond that, this is a defense on paper that looks like it’s going to be a really good to great kind of defense. So that’s a factor in terms of assessing this offense and where it is right now. So, you know, it’s it. Overall, it’s been a fairly uneventful start to the training kept with these first couple of weeks, the Dobbins story, which I still don’t think becomes a big story until if he’s not out there. August 23. If he’s still not practicing, then then I think that becomes a much bigger story than it is right now, which is a story but they’re still over a month ago until the season starts. So, you know, I think this is a story

Nestor Aparicio  12:53

is there are no stories right now. And Owings Mills. And that’s good story.

Luke Jones  12:56

Yeah, exactly. I mean, it really is again, it the interceptions are a story that day. And then oh, Lamar goes out and he carves up the secondary the following day, or two days from now, whatever it is, and then that’s the new story. And then the next story is the next practice. I mean, it’s, you’ve been doing this long enough to know

Nestor Aparicio  13:17

the only story in August is how, you know, Mike Elias is managing the roster and Brandon Heinz managing the bullpen. Like literally, when the baseball teams this good, it really does take some of the air out of the tire. And it does make things a lot more quiet. knowings Mills unless there’s an injury, or unless there’s a fight or unless the offensive coordinator says we stink, which he did over the weekend. And I thought, okay, that you thought it was refreshing, you’re out there. That’s great. I thought it was an interesting sort of pots and pans to be banging and something we we don’t, you may go on out there a long time. To your point. We don’t hear that early in August. And that got my attention. But it got my attention for the right reasons to say, yeah, they got work to do out there. And as I said to you last week, new language, new installation, new offensive coordinator, new wide receivers, different offensive lineman, and a quarterback trying to learn all of this to under the weight of data escapes $70 million.

Luke Jones  14:14

Yeah, I mean, that’s that’s part of it. Look, when you get to a point where you move on from an offensive coordinator who orchestrated their best season in franchise history from an offensive standpoint in 2019, and

Nestor Aparicio  14:28

the only ear or language that Lamar has had five, six years in a language in a quarterback language to rip that up and say in three months, we’re gonna learn a new language, just getting the old language out of your head is a mess. And I’ve talked to football players for three decades about that. It really is complex. And I think if you’ve it for any fan that’s watched anything that the Ravens even put out about their classroom setting the classroom part of what they’re doing, forget health speed, arm strength, all of that. Just knowing a lot payment assignment technique what you’re supposed to do the calls, taking the wristband off all of it. This is a big, big step for Lamar. It’s a big Lamarr. We know in the marketplace quarterback we know we can throw the ball. But learning the system and commanding a language is that that to me is my question for Lamar give all the money in the world, but he has to learn this language and install it and be the leader on the field and know it better than anybody else knows it. That’s really hard to do. They’re asking a lot of Lamarr

Luke Jones  15:29

they’re asking a lot of him but but it’s everyone. I mean, when you get to the point where you move on from Greg Roman, that’s a signal to everyone that get comfortable being uncomfortable. I mean, that’s that’s kind of where you are with your offense at that point. Because you’re trying to go in a different direction. You’re you’re trying to evolve, you’re trying to be better, specifically with the passing game. So yeah, inherently, the quarterback is going to have the most resting on his shoulders, but but it is all of them. It’s, it’s Mark Andrews, it’s Ronnie Stanley, you know, guys who’ve been around guys who’ve had six all the success in the regular season. But they’re trying to take the next step. Now you can’t take the next step in August, you know, talking about January in the playoffs, you have to lay the groundwork to get to that point, but they understand the expectations, they understand that when you make a change, like the Ravens made going from Greg Roman to Todd Monken, that that was a signal to everyone that that wasn’t good enough last year. And we need to get to the next step. And we have, you know, for all the individual accolades, whether you’re talking about Lamar, or any number of other guys have been the Pro Bowls and all of that, they have one playoff win in this era. So they’re trying to take the next step. So to do that, you have to get uncomfortable, you know, they’ve stepped they’re stepping outside of their comfort zone of where it was with Greg Roman, because they, they felt and I’m of the opinion that I agree that they had plateaued, they had kind of gotten as far as they could get with Greg Roman, at the helm with that offense in place. So you’re, you’re evolving now. And that takes some time. So that’s where I look at this. And, you know, this is what I expected, I didn’t expect the offense that go out there and carve up the defense every day. I mean, first of all, it’s a really good defense, as I pointed out, second of all, they are doing different things. Offensively, that doesn’t mean they’re going from run heavy to pass heavy, but it’s a different system, it’s different languages, there are, there’s going to be more on the Mars plate pre snap in terms of protections and adjusting the play calls and things of that nature. And that’s not even to suggest that Lamar won’t be able to do that or do that at a very high level. But it does take some time. And I think any quarterback of any era will tell you that when you have a new coordinator, when you have a new offense, it’s going to take some time to learn that and the Ravens are going through that right now. And they’ve had of two weeks worth of practices. The offense has had one day where it was ugly, like it was Saturday, you know, the rest of it’s been, you know, some good, some bad and a lot of okay, it’s been a lot of effort, okay, which is perfectly fine in late July and early August, as long as you continue to move forward.

Nestor Aparicio  18:09

Two minutes on the crappy game that most of us won’t watch. Right? What is the guy who’s going to be in? I mean, is there anybody fighting for left guard? I mean, anybody we’re going to recognize, I mean, we know it’s not going to be Beckham and Andrews. But what is it going to be this week?

Luke Jones  18:27

I mean, you’ll recognize I mean, young guys on the roster, you’ll recognize I mean that John Harbaugh has already said that he expects adopt a Oh way and do a better job owed play. I don’t think those guys are necessarily going to play a ton, especially Oh way when you consider where they are at outside linebacker with Bowser being banged up. But you’ll see the recent draft picks, you’re gonna see those types of guys out there. I mean, it’s going to be the Ravens backups. I mean, you know, for lack of a better term, we’re gonna see Tyler Huntley. We’ll see Josh Johnson you know, as those two have competed for the number two quarterback spot, you know, you’re gonna seed I would assume you’ll see a good bit of Justice Hill at running back. I don’t think we know we won’t see Dobbins probably won’t see Gus Edwards, even though he’s practicing. I think you just want to be careful with him. But yeah, left guard is certainly something we’re going to be looking at big solid, the sixth round rookie. He’s been manning that spot. Now, the Ravens have said that John Simpson, who’s a veteran who started started a couple years ago for the Las Vegas Raiders. He will also work at left guard, then Cleveland, by all accounts. He’s in that he’s not in that competition. Right now. He is working at other positions to try to make this team as a reserve. I mean, that’s just where it is for him. I mean, it’s looking like you know, we saw this with Tyree Phillips last year, who had been a 2,023rd round pick and then gets to 22. And they tried to trade them and no one wanted them and they ended up waiving them. Then Cleveland, it’s feeling if you tell me that’s going to be how this plays out over the next three, four weeks. I will shrug my shoulders and say yeah, that’s it. Sounds about right. I mean, that’s just where it is. It’s but it’s between a sixth round rookie and John Simpson who they call a veteran. But the funny thing is he’s think 25 or 26. He’s not that old. So, but yeah, that’s gonna be one of the big positions. You know, we’re gonna be just looking young cornerback depth. I’m going to be looking at that, you know, some of the young guys on the roster. Does anyone stand out? So and that will be Jalen hertz over there thrown at either so no, no, no. So,

Nestor Aparicio  20:25

Saturday night,

Luke Jones  20:27

we’re probably not going to learn too much. Probably overreact to a couple of young guys make it learn

Nestor Aparicio  20:31

that Eagles fans are jerks. We already knew that. So

Luke Jones  20:36

you said it not me. I’ve

Nestor Aparicio  20:37

got the guy with the Sixers hat in my closet. Luke Jones is going to be out knowings Mills monitoring fake football and real baseball this week. I I just can’t wait for Thursday to see whether you’re going to be at the baseball game or whether you’re going to be at Owings Mills. While I sit here and watch the game on TV, Astros in town oriels headed to the West Coast. We are headed the Greenmount station on Wednesday for the Maryland crab cake Tour presented by the Maryland lottery conjunction with our friends at window nation we are celebrating our 25th anniversary around here. Big appreciation to curio we’re gonna have 25 stories of glory one a week for the next 25 weeks beginning later on in the month. It’s been an exciting time around it we got a lot of great stuff up we had such a great time it cost us and a drug city so many guests go check it out. We are wn st am 1570 tau so I feel check torrents check it out. And 5070 We never stop talking Baltimore positive

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