How will Ravens replace production of Clowney?

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We knew the departures were coming in the aftermath of the Baltimore Ravens’ record-setting season. Luke Jones and Nestor discuss the loss of Jadeveon Clowney and how Eric DeCosta will seek to replace his large role in the success of the 2023 Ravens defense. Draft hopes and salary cap realties will rule April in Owings Mills.

SUMMARY KEYWORDS

draft, ravens, years, point, talking, derrick henry, good, players, lamar jackson, running, ortiz, playoff team, find, january, eric, orioles, team, play, season, ozzie newsome

SPEAKERS

Luke Jones, Nestor J. Aparicio

Nestor J. Aparicio  00:01

Welcome home we are wn S T A and 5070, Towson, Baltimore and Baltimore positive we have positively done a lot of baseball in the new ownership. David Rubenstein I will be continuing to monitor all things baseball and report back on what I know I, I have a dear David Rubenstein letter that I have been putting together through the first homestand and I’m just kind of watching it all. It’s all so dreamy and weird to me. After all these years of the Angelo’s family and I even saw John angelos, his wife put a little Instagram up that they’re down in the islands and they’re on to their next chapter and I wish them well, I really, really do. And I certainly am wishing this group well, and I’ll be monitoring that a look and I’ll be monitoring that next Friday on the 12th. We will be at families before the orals games. We’re live for the first time since February. We’ll be live from two of the five stop down see Luke and I from two until three. I will have 10 times the cash can’t promise I’m going to have these exact ones next Friday because I might be into the Batman because on Tuesday we’re going to be a Costas not live but hanging out before the Orioles Red Sox game that is on the ninth. Please come sport Costas. I know they had a big thing for Key Brewing down there. Anybody down on the peninsula whether it’s Ford Howard Edgemere Sparrows Point near Bethlem steel near Tradepoint Atlantic pops tavern, there’s two row foes down there, go support them by some fried chicken and support my friends over drugs city, everybody on that side of town that’s now a little bit more landlocked and it’s worth the extra effort. Ray Bachman down there in Pasadena. That’s my shout out to Ray because we’re doing a 25th anniversary documentary recapping all the madness of wn S T and my crazy career and now with a new ownership on the baseball side. We still have the same ownership on the football side. Luke Jones joins me now to discuss what is a really strange time, Luke I don’t know the last time and even when the Orioles are in the playoffs, which they’ve been in 1214 16 you and I’ve been together almost two decades now going on the second half of that. And where we just put down football. Like you and I were in Orlando I had the owner, the billionaire owner of the team has been in my home run for me on a veranda with the General Manager. You’re with the head coach. All this stuff happens then the bridge falls. Opening Day happens. Cal Ripken has a press conference and David Rubenstein and the Orioles win games and lo and behold, you and I never even did a football segment. Because we got off the plane. There’s no bridge all this crazy stuff out. It’s like the Ravens just rose for a week. Like in embryonic state the Leona? I’ve never I haven’t asked you anything about hard balls breakfast. I haven’t asked you anything about how that delicious salmon was on the buffet. And whether you saw Roger Goodell at the pool or not. But I saw steep Ashanti twice with my own eyes. Saw Chad steel plant bodyguard. I mean, I saw I watched it all we have wonderful conversations with people all around the league. Alex marvez and I took a long walk on the brand and discuss the AW you’ll have you didn’t even know about this stuff I kept from you was I was stealing oranges from various Marriott properties that I brought back here so I could have a proper Orange Crush to start the season man. So happy football draft season you it’s It’s no joke, and it’s certainly not April Fool’s. But there’s still a football team here. It’ll tell the baseball people that Right. Right,

Luke Jones  03:38

right. And it’s not going anywhere. And they’re still in really good position. Even if you have some very significant questions about this roster construction, which we knew we knew this was going to be the case. That’s why we were talking at such length in November and December and the first half of January, in terms of taking advantage of the opportunity you had at that point knowing that you were going to experience attrition on the coaching side, you were going to experience attrition on the players roster side. And we’ve certainly seen that we’ve seen them add Derrick Henry, but we’ve seen them lose a number of players. They’ve kept a few but they’re very substantial questions. And what’s funny is you meant made mention of the coaches practice breakfast and John Harbaugh speaking early last week in Orlando. One of the first things I want to brought up was he still had optimism about to Davey on clowny returning and he has since officially joined the Carolina Panthers close to home more money than the Ravens were going to give him give him so that’s you know, just to another individual, another significant member of their defense to depart here in this 2024 offseason. So we’ve reached the point in the NFL calendar where the NFL would tell you that it’s thriving and look, there is a very sizable portion of the NFL fan base that It does love the draft. And we are diving into that much more so but if you have other interests like March Madness, like the beginning of the baseball season, locally, certainly lacrosse season Wrestlemania. As dorks like me, we’ll talk about

Nestor J. Aparicio  05:18

horse race system. Architecture already, too. So I’ll throw that in from a horse racing friends out there.

Luke Jones  05:25

Yeah, well, but that’s still, you know, that’s still about a month away for that. But the point is, we kind of reached the point in the NFL calendar, where free agency first, second, third, fourth waves of free and so you’re done now, right? We’re, we’re three weeks into that conversation. And yeah, there are still some good players out there. Yeah, the Ravens could still sign some good players. And maybe they bring back Kyle van Noy still because the clowny is now officially off the market. And don’t having departed the Ravens but you kind of get to the beginning of April. And okay, well, the liars luncheon will be coming up here soon. I mean, that that is what it is.

Nestor J. Aparicio  06:05

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person on my shirt.

Luke Jones  06:08

So you have that event, but we know that there’s not going to be anything of substance that comes from that. And that’s it’s been that way for a long, long time. Right. I mean, that’s not anything

Nestor J. Aparicio  06:16

gummies for it to make any sense to me.

Luke Jones  06:19

But but but the point I’m trying to make is you kind of reach it’s not a law because it’s not for the teams because they are doing all the pre draft evaluation. But in terms of making news, the fan fan base at this point, it’s kind of like Okay, while we’re three and a half weeks out from the draft, right. I mean, that’s, I mean,

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Nestor J. Aparicio  06:40

the fan base was up in arms about clowny so let’s go back and revisit that a little bit. The clowny van Noy the fact that this time last year, um, you know, nobody would have said you have to have those guys are those guys were essential. We went out watch the play, right and now we’re gonna watch and play without clowny and you know, they’re always in search of this Elvis Tuberville always search of this veteran guy that they’re chasing that it was a Bella check thing, right? I have Chad Brown on all the time. He was that guy, you know, at that point in his career once you get into your 30s and whether it’s domata Peko, a couple of years, you know. And I feel that way about the baseball team to that like with this new owner they’ll buy a pitcher you know, there’ll be some guy we don’t know about that will add the Rodriguez and, and Corbin burns and all of our enthusiasm for October if if this guy series and he wants to win and he’s a billionaire bla bla bla bla bla, football salary cap this that patients patients in Ozzy we trust in ERIC we trust all that stuff. I thought clowny and Van Noy were pretty essential part of parts of what they did last year in regard to success. And they sort of pulled a rabbit out of the hat. Right. And they’re good at this. George kookiness is good at this. Now, they don’t have Joe on the scouting side, but they’ve been preparing for all of this loss. And, you know, you and I are talking to Mike McDonald. He’s out in Seattle. He’s gone before he got here kind of sort of to some degree. Philosophically, anyway, there gonna be some changes with Zach or, but players and the the edge and that value in that position, and we’ll get a guy and we’ll find a guy. That’s how they found these guys, but I am. I’m a little bit more on the fan base side of saying, yeah, it would have been nice to have clowning venoy back, but you played like a $10 million edge rusher and they don’t they can’t afford that. And this is the difference between shopping before the Mars contract and after to some degree. Sure,

Luke Jones  08:40

sure. I mean, look, I’m not sitting here saying that I expected or even that I would have definitely said that. I would pay Jadeveon Clowney two years. 20 million, what MAXVALUE I think is up to 24 million to be in Carolina. But that said, you can agree with saying okay, they can’t afford that. Or maybe that’s not the best way to spend for them. Making the bet that clowny is going to back to back have seasons like he had for the Ravens this past year to do that, again, knowing his injury history, knowing you’ll be another year older. I mean, those are fair points. But that said you still have to replace the production. And they’re still for as successful as they were signing clowny the third week of August and signing Kyle van Noy in late September. They’ve also signed Jason Pierre Paul two years ago where didn’t make the big impact, right? I mean, so so it’s not as though they bad 1000 But yeah, they are really good at doing that. But it’s just another challenge of okay, what are you doing about edge because really the issue and it’s funny, how many straight offseasons now we’ve been talking about? Edge rushers. If you go back to the end of Terrell Suggs, right. Oh, they

Nestor J. Aparicio  09:49

haven’t drafted a good one. That’s where you’re going. Right? And that’s,

Luke Jones  09:52

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that’s exactly what it’s going to say. Yeah, this is this is where you look at this and say, okay, adopt AOA. And by the way, oh, wait was better this past year than he was? The year before that he did take a step forward. Has he taken that massive leap where you say, okay, that’s our guy. We want to extend him we can’t let them get get away. And in fairness, they would tell you but we do have just a matter BK as an inside pass rusher, which so many teams do not have a talent like that. And I would say you’re absolutely right. And they just paid him. Sure Exactly. So but that’s where we get into and notice you mentioned Lamar post Lamar contract, paying just a matter BK got other guys that they have paid

Nestor J. Aparicio  10:28

knowing that Hamilton and Linda, they’re coming, they’re coming

Luke Jones  10:33

but that’s also we’ve reached the point now and this is where you know, as I mentioned, waiting on the draft it’s not to be dismissive of anything that could happen over the next few weeks but the draft becomes even more important than it already is for this franchise. And this

Nestor J. Aparicio  10:49

is how you spiritually fill these holes as you’re thinking actually I’m going to get a guy here in the second round and you know by week 14 He’s going to be a player a guy man trust

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Luke Jones  11:00

and this is where it’s been disappointing it through no fault of his own but I mean where are they David a job oh right now right i mean if a job Oh had been the really good number three edge rusher this past year and stayed on the field and I don’t know finished with six sacks, let’s say but like showed some really good signs. Pressure eight was good pass rush when weighed all the different things that you try to measure in a pass rusher beyond just the sack total. If he had done that, then cloudy going out the door. I don’t think he bat an eyelash really, but it is different through the lens of okay, I’ll sign off on OAE not saying always gonna be the next sucks or the next Jumonville or even the next Matute on but I can sign off on saying oh a as a starting player. Fine. I’ll go that far. And a lot of people would listening would say no way. Look, I disagree with that. But I’m just giving them the benefit of the doubt there. But a Java was played what five games in two years. And keep in mind him coming out of Michigan. As much as people love the talent and we’re mocking him potentially being the Ravens first round pick before he tore his Achilles at his Michigan Pro Day. There, he was green, you know, he was considered a role prospect. So he’s, for me, it’s not even about that. Okay,

Nestor J. Aparicio  12:14

they always think they can coach them up. That’s part that’s part of the full,

Luke Jones  12:17

but you have to do it. You have to be on the field, you have to be on the practice field to develop. And I think as much as you say, Okay, well, he’s only played in five games. He’s also missed so much development time through over the last couple of years. So that’s where you look through the lens and say they need some more help a pass rush at the edge rusher spot. So whether it ends up still being Yeah, they could still resign Kyle Vanoise 33. You know, he’s not going to Command i No one’s going to give him what Carolina just gave cloudy, you know, I’d be stunned to see him anywhere in that territory. But at the same time, he is three years older than Jadeveon Clowney, and while he was good, he wasn’t as good as cloudy, cloudy was a better player than van Noy this past year. So what’s the price point? You know, where is he in his career? And what he what he values? And where are the Ravens in terms of how they value him. So, you know, the point is, they’re probably going to be looking to draft an edge guy at some point over the first few rounds. But we’re talking about that position. We’re talking about the offensive line, which you know, I’m gonna bring that up because they’ve got three open starting spots right now they got

Nestor J. Aparicio  13:27

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a hell of a running back.

Luke Jones  13:29

They do. They’re gonna keep needling me. Until, until Derrick Henry runs for 1500 yards,

Nestor J. Aparicio  13:40

I really need to do I need to find one of those Derrick Henry Euler jerseys that’s on sale. That fits me. And every time we talk about the offensive line, I’m just going to put on my Derrick Henry Euler jersey. But

Luke Jones  13:54

I but I will say this, and I will not move off at this point, because I have that much conviction about it. As it stands right now. And Eric, and Ozzy will tell you right now, yeah, the season doesn’t start until September. And I’d say yes, I understand that. But right now, the net gain that the net positive that they have at running back, does not offset the net loss at offensive line until we see what this offensive line looks like. The offensive line impacts everything you do your running game passing game. I mean, it’s you know, well, that’s where

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Nestor J. Aparicio  14:25

they’ll spend some of that clowny money and replacing Zeidler with a Ziglar and a Moses with a Moses. Like, that’s how they probably are thinking about this, of getting one veteran, one draft pick and one Ben Cleveland that’s hanging around or one mCherry that you know what I mean? Like, that’s how they’re thinking about it. I

Luke Jones  14:45

think so. Yeah. I mean, whether that works out or not, we’ll see because we’ve also seen them have years, you know, go back a few years ago when they thought that Allah hundra Villa Nueva was going to be a good enough insurance policy for Ronnie Well, dude,

Nestor J. Aparicio  14:57

this time last year, if you would have told me they’re getting Kyle van Noy. way. And you, David, I would have said you’re getting Andre Gorod. And you know, like make up any, any guy that didn’t work out? You know, you brought up John BRP. All right. So like any of those guys that didn’t make it sort of those two guys could have easily have been that easily. Yeah. And that’s why they walked on clowny at $20 million, because they have his X rays. Yeah.

Luke Jones  15:23

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And they probably said, look, we got outstanding surplus value for what we paid him. Let’s be clear, let’s be careful not to give that all back in year two, so but you still have to replace that production. And that’s the that’s my overall prevailing point here. But you know, with the offensive line, you know, even if you get those pieces, even if you find the right veteran, you make the right veteran acquisition, let’s say you draft Yeah, I’ll throw a name out there. I’m Marius Mims, you know, the offensive tackle from Georgia that’s been talked about a lot that is kind of a high ceiling but high risk player in terms of he’s had some injuries and, and you know, he’s kind of a boom or bust prospect, which, you know, when you’re picking 30th. You know, you’re not going to get a perfect prospect at number 30. You know, this isn’t drafting Jao fourth, overall, this isn’t drafting Ronnie Stanley’s, what sixth overall, I mean, you’re talking about a guy that’s going to have some warts in some kind of way. That doesn’t mean he won’t be a great player eventually, but profile wise, he’s going to have some question marks. So you know, even if they add the right veteran, even if they draft someone 30th Overall, hey, even if you get lucky. And when I say lucky, meaning you’ve identified a guy, but he falls to you, you know, a guy that you love in the third round, let’s say, and maybe that’s a guy that might be might be ready to start at left guard. In year one, maybe he’s that, you know, that talented but kind of fell through the cracks a little bit from the about an evaluation standpoint, there’s still no guarantee all that’s going to mesh we know how important it is for an offensive line to play together. So that’s just it’s it’s a question mark right now it is, that doesn’t mean that I think the ravens are in a playoff team right now, or aren’t a Super Bowl contender right now. But until we see these questions answered, of course, you’re gonna have some, some reservations, right? You have to take pause, these are two important, these spots are too important to just view it through the lens of oh, well, you know, that’s a backup safety or, you know, a third corner, you know, I mean, which, by the way, those are two other positions that they will certainly be looking to address via the draft, I’m sure. So, you know, it’s just but when you get to early April, this is kind of the time period where things slow down a little bit in terms of making headlines with roster moves, and you’re looking at the draft, I think fans start to look at the draft more, you know, pro days are ongoing, are wrapping up, you know, we’ve seen some of those here recently, and will continue to over the next couple of weeks, you know, maybe some news leaks out about the visits, you know, official visits that guys make around the league and who the Ravens might potentially host. But, you know, when you’re picking 30th, Eric, the caster can probably sit there and tell you probably give you a list of eight guys and feel pretty confident when they’re picking it 30 Assuming they stay there, and they’re not trading back or whatever, probably tell you eight guys and feel like he could pick from that list of eight that that will be their pick. But I mean, you have 29 other spots in front of you. I mean, Nestor I mean, that’s just there are so many variables there at work so much unknown there. And I

Nestor J. Aparicio  18:34

always think that they would that, given where they are and picks, they’d almost rather back up and take two in the late 40s and one at 30. And that’s how they evaluate all of this to saying we’ll take our chances on the mark Andrews Orlando brown part of the draft and try to find those kinds of players in that kind of an area before we wind up getting a guy that has dropped out that we don’t see the value in other than finding like a lender bomb or, you know, like if they find the best garden to draft at, you know, some Quentin Nelson type of guy that they you know, they feel about like, whatever, that I could see that being something that they could stay up for. But they could also feel like we’ll take the third best offensive lineman in the draft at 48. And we would be better at it. That part of the draft. I don’t know and that’s got to be available as it plays out for you. But their needs are different not needing a quarterback and not needing a game changer. A ball. Someone touching the ball. Um, you know, they want a lot of football. You know, I can hear the arrogance of d’acosta right now if he was still having coffee for me instead of running for me in the middle of the night after 30 years. That he would say, you know, I’ll take my chances. You know, like and I know how cocky they are and I know how good they are at what they do. Make a lot of parts here. And they’d say that a lot of good football players here, just had to give had to give a defensive tackle a billion dollars, because he was that good. And we figured that out. And we found him. Where do we find him? Where did we draft him? Luke? Yeah. You know, like so. Right. So that, you know, they’re always thinking more like we find players between 50 and 100 that other people can’t find. And that’s how we win. But then when they find that they got to pay him, or or, or chase them off to the lions and get a get a get a sandwich pick and figure out how to make something out of pick 124.

Luke Jones  20:33

You know, yeah, you just made mention of the possibility of trading back. I mean, I talked to someone last week in Orlando that presented that as very much a possibility. And I’ll go back to the, you know, just the little example that I gave there, where I said, the cost of might have eight players that he kind of thinks will be there when they’re picking it 30, someone from that list. But of those eight, Nestor, there might be only two guys that they really truly say, Wow, we love that guy. You can like plenty of players. But if you only like a guy there, and you’ve got a chance to move back to say, I don’t know, 42, but you can pick up then a third, an early third, um, you know, whatever. You know, I don’t have the draft trade chart in front of me. But you understand the point you mentioned.

Nestor J. Aparicio  21:21

I mean, that was part of a guy like him that those are the guys they really like.

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Luke Jones  21:28

Yeah, sure. Sure. Absolutely. So but at the same time, they they really liked OA. And a couple years in, you know, it’s, it’s been a mixed bag. Right. So you never really know. And Eric has said this, I’ve heard Mike Elias say this, about the baseball draft, as much as you try to make it science, you know, and especially now there’s so much player tracking data that they have, that kind of makes, you know, the 40 time at the combine. I mean, it’s such a small, tiny little piece of the evaluation puzzle. But they have so much tracking data, they have so much information, but they’ll still tell you as much as we try to make it as scientific as possible. Still aren’t involved.

Nestor J. Aparicio  22:08

Tim, we’re talking about a team that went all in on Hayden Hurst and five minutes later drafted Lamar to throw him out the door. Exactly.

Luke Jones  22:15

As I’ve said over and over. I mean, and that’s I don’t say this is a knock on the Ravens. It’s just an overall statement on that process itself. Everyone passed out and Lamar Jackson including the Ravens once so you know, this man

Nestor J. Aparicio  22:30

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your your brother in law’s all eagles, dup and sixes and the Phillies and all this cool look at the Eagles quarterback situation over the last 10 years, just go evaluate that get Howard asking or Spadaro or any of those guys I was drinking with, you know, at the bar up in Philadelphia a couple of Well, I was drinking with them in Orlando, but I was with the Eagles contingent look at their quarterback history and signings and contracts. And they’ve won a Super Bowl and law and lost another one that they couldn’t like. And they’ve evaluated these drafts and their picks in their talent, sort of weirdly, if you were writing a history of it, and they’ve been,

Luke Jones  23:19

yeah, it’s really hard to do that. I can’t emphasize that enough, even the ones that are the best at doing it. And we just talked about two teams who had been really good with it. Historically, over the long haul, the ravens and the Eagles and, you know, throw some other teams in there that have drafted really, really well, it’s still very difficult to do, you’re still going to have more misses than hits. And even when you talk about hits, there’s drafting a guy that’s going to be a multi year starter for you. There’s drafting a guy that’s going to be a pro bowl player for you. And then oh, yeah, there’s drafting guys that go to the Hall of Fame. Now, Ozzie Newsome drafted Jao. Fourth overall, and was fortunate enough, smart enough as well. But fortunate enough that Ray Lewis is still sitting there at the end of the first round, right? I mean, completely changed the trajectory of the entire franchise. With that one pick. Ray Lewis goes six spots before that. Who knows how it plays out? I mean, so it’s really difficult to do. And there’s still a lot of luck involved. And that’s part of why the Ravens value what as many picks as they can, because they view it through the lens of they’re not lottery tickets, because it’s more sophisticated than that, but at the same time, and Acosta has used this analogy a lot about wide receivers. And I’ve talked about this a lot, you know, until recently, we know, for a long time there, the Ravens were so risk averse with their wide wrist at the wide receiver position that they didn’t take as many swings even they weren’t even really trying to draft receivers. But you got to take swings, you know, you gotta you gotta go for it sometimes, and sometimes it’s going to work out you’re gonna look like a genius and then other times it’s gonna look Like, Oh, yeah, that guy wasn’t very good. So, fortunately for the ravens, it’s been much more of the former where you say, yeah, it’s worked out pretty well. Yeah, there’s, there’s some MADI alums in there, there’s some Prashad paraments in there. No, no doubt every team has those guys. But they also drafted Jonathan Ogden, and they drafted Ray Lewis and they drafted Lamar Jackson, who was a two time MVP through his first six seasons. I mean, they’ve also

Nestor J. Aparicio  25:26

drafted Mark Andrews and Marcia Honda and that, you know, late picks that have blossomed in some Dallas Thomas, guys that have just been good football players and Jared Johnson’s and just, I mean, they’ve just gotten they’ve gotten solid book there is good at this. That’s how Eric’s kept his job for 28 years. Amongst other things, but I would say for me, I trust in their arrogance that we’ll figure out the clowny thing, we’ll figure out the edge, then we’ll figure out we got the running back. This is where I reached for my I’m gonna get it to happen to find me, a cheap Chinese knockoff of an Oilers Jersey, and I’m going to put it on 22 because I look good in it. I like it anyway. And it says Henry on the back and I don’t even Oh, Henry. But for me, I think that they’ve, they’ve spoken. Eric agrees with me. They needed a running back, they needed a big fat running back, they need to gotta take a load off of Lamar. They agree with me. They gave him the money now that now they have to deal with you saying, well, who’s gonna play card? Who’s gonna

Luke Jones  26:37

block for him? Right. Exactly. Exactly. And let’s, and I’m glad you framed it the way you just did, because it comes down to this. What they do in the regular season, look, they could line up today, even with my concerns about the offensive line. And even with needing an edge rusher, they could line up today and kick off the season today. I’d have them in the playoffs. I mean, okay, we could sit there and say, All right, a Cincinnati gonna be back at the same level. They were before the burro injury and they had won the Division Two years in a row, they’d be in the playoffs. I take

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Nestor J. Aparicio  27:10

your point, if you were a gambler, and we would warn everybody, you know, 100 gambler, we always say, but if you were a gambler, you’d place a bet on them. Gonna say you need to know who their guard your tackle is they got a quarterback they

Luke Jones  27:22

got the playoffs. Right. But But, but this is where we get to the kind of the tough element of the discussion. It’s all about what happens when they get there at this. How do you release all in Buffalo in January, right? How, you know, Lamar playing at a higher level, John Harbaugh having this team ready to play and, you know, not panicking, you know, coaching decisions, undisciplined penalties that that, you know, whatever it is, like we’ve seen it, and we’ve seen it multiple times. I mean, it’s, it’s part of their identity now until they change it right, that are so far removed from their last Super Bowl. I mean, it’s 11 years ago, 12 years ago, at this point, Justin Tucker is the only guy hanging on right. God bless. I’m gonna go hey,

Nestor J. Aparicio  28:05

Flacco still got a job in Indy. Now I’m talking

Luke Jones  28:08

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about I’m talking about guys on the roster. You have guys that are still ravens today. But you know, that’s ancient history. So I mean, this current era, like, I don’t need to see them go 13. And four, I don’t need to see them go 15 Into I look, okay, if they want 70. To know, yeah, that would be history. And we’d be talking about the Patriots and the 72 Dolphins. But beyond that, I mean, it’s all about January at this point. So that’s, that’s where, look, I can sit here and not be as over the moon about the Derrick Henry signing. And ultimately, it comes down to does he help you win playoff games? Does he help you get to a Super Bowl? If he rushes for 1500 yards, but he doesn’t move the needle in January? I’ll look back at that and say, Okay, well, hey, it was fun watching him

Nestor J. Aparicio  28:55

three times? Well, it’s sure

Luke Jones  28:56

sure. Of course, you know, I’m not even talking

Nestor J. Aparicio  29:00

about and pissing on him. But they did that. And that’s how they got eliminated. It’s

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Luke Jones  29:05

more than that, just that Lamar Lamar didn’t play? Well. I mean, honestly, that that’s, that’s the difficult part of the conversation that he got thoroughly outplayed by Patrick mahomes. I mean, it’s just that simple. But yeah, they didn’t run the ball either. And they made some not so great penalties and some critical spots on defense that hurt them and, you know, but anyway, not not to dwell on that, but it’s just the big picture. equation here is everything they do and that’s why even going back to the O line I made mention the scenario where they find that veteran acquisition whether it’s after the draft, whether it’s in August, they trade you know, some swap pick trade where they acquire some teams Guard veteran guard on an expiring contract because they drafted a kid in the second round that they like and they’re gonna save some cap space. You acquire someone like that you draft someone that’s going to be ready to go and Ben Cleveland or Andrew Vorhees or whoever it might be that’s an incumbent is ready to start. All of that plays out. they’re still gonna need time to gel. But you know what, that’s okay, as long as the base as long as the floor is high enough that they’re winning games to make the playoffs and all that. We saw here the last time this team played in the Super Bowl, they had an offensive line that was in flux all season long until when they insert Bryant McKinney, left tackle, Michael Horn moves over to right tackle Colette as Emily moves from right tackle to left guard, and boom, they were off and running. And Joe Flacco went on a historic run and the rest. Rest is history, Super Bowl champions. So everything they do at this point in time. For me, it’s not even really about week one, it’s about what’s going to have you at the point come, it’s what now the second or third week of January, it’s so the timing, so weird, because we say January, but regular season doesn’t end until the second week of January at this point. But it’s all about positioning yourself for that moment. And that’s why I said where they stand right now, even with their flaws, even with the roster holes, they’re a playoff team for me, even if they just rely on the draft, and that’s that, you know, but it’s all about maximizing and being ready for what you’re going to be in January. So that’s where I say, okay, they can have some choppy offensive line play early on, not to the point where you get Lamar hurt, mind you, but it doesn’t have to be perfect in September or October, but you want it to be at its highest level come January. And that’s what they’re that’s kind of that’s the overall challenge for this team at this point. I mean, it’s sure what they like the number one seed again and a buy again, sure, because that just the probability, right, it’s one less game that you have to play. But you know, it’s all about winning games then. And, you know, whatever they can do now, or whether it’s signing a running back, as they did in Derrick Henry, or drafting an offensive tackle or a guard 30th Overall, or finding, hitting out on an edge rusher, which is something they’re kind of overdue to be able to do at this point. Whatever it might be, we’ll see what it looks like come January, and ultimately, you know, again, because I think we’re gonna talk about Derrick Henry all year. And, again, I’m looking forward to watching them play. But how has he helped them win games in January? Yeah, we’ve seen them have great running games, you know, number one in the league in rushing this past year, even with running backs, oop, everyone said we’re so bad or whatever. But yeah, how’s he helped them win in January. That’s everything they do at this point. They’re looking at it through that through that lens. And they’re a playoff team, you know, assuming Lamar is healthy, they’re a playoff team period. We’ve seen it over and over and over at this point, when Lamar is upright and healthy, they’re a playoff team. So that’s not in doubt. But it’s a matter of what can you do between now and then to be ready to roll in January and finally break through because that’s what everyone’s waiting for at this point. And understandably so, given the regular season success they’ve had over the last five years, I’m going

Nestor J. Aparicio  32:56

to find a Nashville retailer that has an abundance of their 50% off right, oh, 50. Ad? I mean, come on, I pay more 2999 for that, but and it’s gotta be it’s got to fit me right. Look, Joe, you know, I tell him No wonder these owners run from from us when you know, 13 and four, and it’s not good enough. And you’re worried about our guard, you know, 101 wins, and we got burns and Rodriguez and you’re worried about who we’re going to acquire at the peak? Well, I mean, that’s, I mean, the bar has been raised here. It’s a good end. Yeah, all the way around in the same way. We’re like, who’s gonna pitch game one in October. That’s, if that’s what we’re talking about on April Fool’s Day, then, you know, we have a really, really active sports environment here. That turns me on. I mean, I’m the guy that sort of brought Sports Radio into the focus here was I’m going to bring out my 25th anniversary documentary. But I’ve never seen anything like this sort of this sort of optimism, where we’re talking about a draft of a 13th and 14th. That blew it in the AFC Championship game at home with the best quarterback in the league, and they blew it. But they were in the AFC Championship game at home. And sure, like, and they’re bringing back all these elements other than most of their coaches on the defensive side, but, and the baseball team is just getting going, right? The baseball team is finding its legs, and now has this owner who we’re going to figure out is he investing in Henderson? rutschman What’s he building? Is it a casino isn’t a parking lot isn’t a tailgate? What $600 million get you these days, you know, who are they going to put up in front of it? So you know, you don’t get to ask him any questions but although he didn’t seem like that kind of guy at all. This next couple of weeks liars luncheon getting into draft time for the Ravens or two Ortiz not being here. You know, this was a pretty together group here in a way that probably unprecedent ended I don’t haven’t gone through all the other 31 places. I would say there’s some places where there hasn’t been a lot of change in the department but nothing like Newsome to Costa and really feel like hardball if you want to go back that far. But Ortiz has been for all of it. kookiness, other than 12 minutes in Cleveland for all of it. Savage left, they never brought him back, which tells you how they feel about him. He’s running around with the Jets. I had a nice long conversation with Joe Douglas. So there’s this spin of minds that have gone other places in different ways. And Andy weidel and Terry McDonough from the original group a bunch of Shaq errors, a lot of guys went other places. But the Ortiz thing and running into him three different times down in Orlando last week once with Jim Harbaugh, and he let me know there’s plenty of room if I want to become a chargers fan like that. He said there was plenty of room there and I I saw that. But different really different and and I think the cost they even mentioned maybe in Indianapolis, one of the rooms I didn’t have a press pass for to ask a question. But I saw him on a screen somewhere in the last two months, saying it’ll be weird looking and Joe’s not sitting there. Mm hmm. Different.

Luke Jones  36:15

Yeah, it’d be different. But you just laid out about five or six different examples of that happening in some shape or form. On the front office side. It’s just like, you know, in that case, it’s just like, when players leave right, next man up. I mean, you know, guys have come back, you know, like George cockiness, but you lose people, but at the same time, you’re, if you’re an organization worth its salt, and the Ravens have certainly been that for a long time. You’re developing more scouts, you’re developing. You know, there was a point where Joe Ortiz was an entry level guy, Eric Decosta, was an entry level guy, you

Nestor J. Aparicio  36:49

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know. So, look, I was sitting and talking to the shotty about this. And he was still speaking to the great unwashed, like me, instead of running from me on verandas and owners meetings, which is just, I never thought I’d live to see, I mean, to say these things out loud that I have witnessed. But the genius in this through all these years, is the cost that could have gone anywhere. And he interviewed and people called NEET denied interviews, or T’s could have been running the Giants couple years ago, amongst other places. They were both rumored to the bears, I think it very good because everybody’s rumored to the bear. Right? Like, and I don’t know what happens behind closed doors where they come back and get some more money and get something something some added to their contract or a you know, a summer vacation home. I don’t know, you know, like, but but there’s been a management part of this for Bushati. And he would say that’s his genius and keeping and retaining good people, as I wrote about and Purple Rain to back when I trusted him and believed in him. That keeping guys like, this is a big deal, losing your teeth, because they’ve managed to keep all these other years that at some point, it is a changing of the guard that he doesn’t like that he’s not comfortable with from a manager. He likes what he likes what he likes, and keeps it around. And they managed to keep this together way longer than anybody could have. Right. You know, I mean, like Ortiz had chances to go other places and take that big job and get that raise. And somehow it never happened and happened now and John’s brother and it’s all tight. It’s it’s weirdly Stepford in that way, like, in the way it’s all held together. And but, you know, this isn’t the way Eric would prefer it. Eric would prefer to have Joe there, I would say sure.

Luke Jones  38:35

Yeah. But and you mentioned the shoddy. I mean, it precedes Porsche, the shoddy it’s, it’s Ozzie Newsome, right. I mean, Ozzy still around, you know, I mean, he’s on a regular basis. And so much of this. I mean, as he was with art coming over from Cleveland, and that standard, it took a few years to really get going and obviously, art with the financial realities of where the organization was, its first few years in Baltimore, and which is what spawned Steve Bushati buying the team, ultimately. But, you know, you start from that standard. And it’s continued now close to three decades, and at some point in time, at some point in time, because nothing lasts forever. And this is a great example we’re seeing in New England with Bella, check out the door now. Nothing lasts forever. So at some point in time, it will end on, you know, on various levels, but they’ve been really good at sustaining it. And when you have Ozzie Newsome, and then a right hand man is Lieutenant and Eric Acosta as long as they have and you know that you had that transition, which Think about how many different times something like that would happen where it doesn’t go as smoothly as it did. I mean, they really didn’t miss a beat and that doesn’t mean they make every perfect move or anything like that. But it was so seamless how that happened. And by Nope, they’re by no it there have been no indications there was any ego whatsoever with either of those guys in terms of Looking roles for lack of a better term? It’s worked out really well. And I have no reason to think and I say this with no disrespect. I’m quite fond of Joe Ortiz, I’m hoping he does well, with the Chargers. Uh, but, you know, I don’t think I don’t think they’re going to miss him to the degree that it’s going to put them in peril. Let’s put it that way. Because they have always found the next person to step up. You know, it might be someone like David Blackburn, for example. You know, they have people in their scouts and guys that have been around that aren’t maybe maybe household names. So the way that you talked about some of the guys have passed ravens regimes, but, you know, they’ve got people that they’re confident in, and I think you’ll see, some of those individuals grow into more notable roles in the coming years. And, hey, at some point in time, we’ll be talking about the next general manager, you know, because Eric Decosta, will be ready to move on to the next chapter in his life or whatever. So, you know, it’s just how this works, but they, they feel confident, and they have a long track record of having a very successful turn in the way they bring young people when they develop their work up their work their way up the ladder, either within the Ravens or they go elsewhere. In Cunningham’s another example, that someone I remember you and I talked to, when the eagles were in the Super Bowl, he was one of their personnel types. And we’ve seen him interview for GM jobs and things of that nature. And he’s, you know, working his way up the NFL, a executive ladder elsewhere. So, yeah, that’s just how this works. And, you know, Joe Ortiz. Yeah, don’t miss them. Do I think it’s going to be this death knell for them or anything like that? No, I don’t, because I just think they feel confident in the people they still have there. And people that are now going to be asked to do more here in the coming years. So you wish them well, but it’s how this works. When you’re successful. People, other teams want your people and if you’re going to sustain success, you better be ready to handle that. And once mostly have been

Nestor J. Aparicio  42:01

one less guy for you to have a salad with a little piece on it that they serve out there at the buffet at the liars luncheon. What is the liars luncheon? I need to know that it’s ever since Chad steel took me off the list. You don’t seem to realize I don’t get the press releases. I don’t get any of the I don’t know anything that goes on because I drink from the other water fountain now. Yeah,

Luke Jones  42:21

April 9. You know, it’s a week, second Tuesday in April.

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Nestor J. Aparicio  42:27

So it cost us that day watching baseball. Sorry, let him know. Yeah.

Luke Jones  42:32

Right. So so I’ll be out there

Nestor J. Aparicio  42:35

being question conscious. I’ll be slumming it.

Luke Jones  42:41

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Hey, at the very least, we won’t have to ask about Lamar Jackson’s contract status that the liars legend because we know what kind of reaction that got from the powers that be so. But you know, it’s it’s draft,

Nestor J. Aparicio  42:51

Jad steel stand in front of the whole media this year and tell them they can’t ask this year?

Luke Jones  42:55

I don’t know. But it’s draft time, we’re at a point where free agency has very much calm down. That’s not to say the Ravens won’t make assigning won’t make a move. But, you know, we’re three and a half weeks out from the draft. There’ll be excitement once we’re on the draft. But when you are picking 30th, it is different than when you’re picking 14, which is about as high as the Ravens ever picked, which is pretty rare, even in that territory unless they’re trading up or what have you. But, you know, it’s it’s definitely they’ve got some holes, there’s no doubt. But at the same time, I think they’ve earned the benefit of the doubt to assume that they’re going to address that. And that’s not to say they’ll be perfect not to say they’ll be as good as they were last year, which was best in the NFL until the AFC Championship game. So, you know, it’s just a matter of letting it play out. And, you know, pretty soon they’ll be starting the offseason program. So there’ll be out there running around in shorts and all that. So we’re just kind of at that point where all right, free agency for the most part is over, even if it’s not over for the Ravens given their history last year, even with cloudy and Vannoy and what have you, but, you know, kind of let it settle in and see what the draft is gonna bring. So in the meantime, plenty of other things, exciting things going on here locally, and it’s okay to focus on the Orioles almost exclusively right. Ravens will be there when the draft kicks off here in about three weeks.

Nestor J. Aparicio  44:22

Yeah, see the Orioles have 124 More games before the Ravens have to play? Yeah, you know, and

Luke Jones  44:32

that’s why I always say and look, I understand. Not everyone is a massive baseball fan. But when I hear people say I can’t wait to week one. I’m just like, no what Wait a second. I don’t want to wish away the summer. You know, got a good good baseball team here in town. Should be a lot of fun. It’ll be there. It’ll be there when the time comes and there’ll be plenty of excitement as there should be when Lamar Jackson’s your quarterback, but there’s a lot of other exciting things going on here. Leading With the baseball team and new ownership and everything that can happen on that front so if the Ravens take a little more of a backseat than we’re accustomed to them take King and look, it’s the NFL it’s still king. But that’s okay. It’s okay to to kind of focus on the Orioles for for a while and the Ravens will be there and they’re working behind the scenes to kind of figure out the yo line figure out what the draft is gonna look like. And you know, they’ve earned the benefit of the doubt that the team that that kicks off in September it they’ll be ready to go. They’ll be ready to go and they’ll most likely assuming a healthy number eight, they’ll be playing in January again.

Nestor J. Aparicio  45:39

Do you know what the number one question I have received walking around the stadium all day Thursday, and I was out in the city on Friday I was added cost this I bet I’ve been out a little bit over the weekend even my yoga class. Number one question to me is a nasty pic giving you your press pass back. So I have an official pronouncement for everyone. Maybe I am Esther we are wn st am 1570, Towson Baltimore. We never stop talking Baltimore. Positive

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