King Henry cometh to Baltimore

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Eric DeCosta must be listening to Nestor Aparicio and WNST Baltimore Positive. There has been an open debate for 18 months on the show about adding Derrick Henry to the Baltimore Ravens backfield. Now, as Luke Jones suggests: you got what you wanted! The deep dive here on adding King Henry in Owings Mills.

SUMMARY KEYWORDS

derrick henry, ravens, year, running, gus, point, lamar, spending, offensive line, game, terms, yards, lamar jackson, love, edwards, week, odell beckham, steelers, standpoint, win

SPEAKERS

Nestor J. Aparicio, Luke Jones

Nestor J. Aparicio  00:01

Welcome home, we are wn st am 1570 tastic, Baltimore and Baltimore positive we are going to be taking the Maryland crabcake tour out on the road. I swear we’re gonna do this in April. But we have so much crap to get to we have free agency. We have tampering they took from us we took from them, the Steelers took from us. Luke Jones joins us now. We’re not even to like the start yet. Right? Like all the fireworks happen beginning Monday morning, and then Monday afternoon and then Tuesday morning. And then by the time like it rolls around, they actually start free agency we all sort of know everybody’s gonna be sitting, which makes the new world more interesting from your report tutorial side. Yeah,

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Luke Jones  00:42

it does. And while we’re still going to find out some stuff at the 4pm deadline, cuts around the league, potential trades. I mean, there have been some trades around the league that have been reported. They haven’t been made official. But inevitably, if we looked in recent years, you’ll find some trades. So I wouldn’t be shocked if there’s something along those lines even for the Ravens Not that I’ve heard specifically, but you have to be prepared for anything. But in terms of the free agent movement itself. The first couple of days, the first couple waves Yeah, you get to the official start Wednesday 4pm. And there’s inevitably a few jokes about you know, you’ll see a video posted of the Tumbleweed just kind of rolling down the road. Lots going on and queue up the inevitable king for a queen. Bad jokes and puns and cliches as it pertains to the Ravens. Patrick queen out Derrick Henry in and just, you know very exciting on that front. Very interesting on both fronts, quite frankly. And as I wrote it Baltimore positive.com Ravens fan it’s not happy to see someone defect to the Steelers. And I think you know from a WWE standpoint from

Nestor J. Aparicio  01:58

the US is what Tiki Barber would say. Right? Yeah, sure.

Luke Jones  02:02

Sure. And look, let’s be clear, and we’ll get to Derrick Henry, because I think Ravens fans want to hear way more about that. But look, three years 41 million for Patrick queen. I think it’s clear the market wasn’t as hot for him, as many anticipated. And sometimes that happens. So I don’t think anyone seriously speaking should be grudge him for making a business decision on the heels of the Ravens gave ro Quan Smith $100 million. And they said to Patrick, queen, we’re not picking up your fifth year option. So he has every right to do that. But from a football standpoint, from a pro wrestling standpoint, Patrick, we just just completed the heel turn. And I think it’s funny because I think you go back at the history of the franchise and look, I understand rod Woodson played for both teams. But rod Woodson had the one year buffer where he was in San Francisco and let’s face it in 1998 ravens Steelers wasn’t ravens Steelers yet? I mean, not even close it took a few years of Woodson already be here

Nestor J. Aparicio  03:01

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to them watching Woodson roll around with our ring, kind of you know, it

Luke Jones  03:06

was but my point is we’ve never seen a player in his prime like this A prime talent like this defect from one to the other directly. So from a rivalry standpoint, and let’s face it, we’ve talked about this a lot. Raven Steelers has lost a lot of steam in recent years and a big reason why, beyond Ben Roethlisberger and Terrell Suggs and Ray Lewis and Troy Polamalu and all the different names riding off into the sunset. It’s been Lamar Jackson not being on the field for I think he’s played in three of the last nine Raven Steelers game so the rivalry suffered. There’s no question about that. Patrick Queen, who also doesn’t shy away from a little bit of trash talk. From an entertainment standpoint, from a journalistic standpoint, I’m all for seeing a raven become a Steeler or vice versa. So it’s fun in that way. Everyone knew he was leaving. So from a football standpoint that was anticipated but his destination certainly raised a few eyebrows. But I think for Ravens fans were the excitement really allies is the the imminent imminent signing of Derrick Henry and you and I debated it going back to the trade deadline last year, and we debated even a couple days ago. But Eric d’acosta gets his man and the Ravens have a legitimate, serious feature back I’ll be at one who’s 30 years old, I’ll be at one who’s more expensive than they’ve been spending money that they’ve spent at the running back position in recent years. And we’ll see how it turns out but just the sheer thought of Lamar Jackson and Derrick Henry in the same bet in the same backfield. I mean, doesn’t you know you can’t beat that in terms of excitement? There’s no question. All right,

Nestor J. Aparicio  04:51

so the Derek can be saying you and I went up down the river and I have been the Lamar hater. But I’ve been the pro Derrick Henry guy, the pro They need a better running back and you have been the good six yards of carry, they can put anybody, they can put you back there, but John Riggins back there, but anybody, I don’t think they assessed it that way based on how they spent money. And again, this speaks to me covering the team for 26 years, me sitting here the last two years and not knowing exactly what they’re thinking. But reading the tea leaves and knowing the personalities, put a lot of thought into this. They put a lot of what do we really need for Lamar? What where do we need help for Lamar, and as much as Kevin Zeitler sounded nice, it sounded pricey for them. As much as you and I are concerned about Ronnie Stanley and Morgan, Moses, and they should be to, and who’s going to play on the offensive line? I think there’s the here and now of hey, it’s March, if we’re going to get an established back, not Dalvin. Cook at the end, not name any of the rest of the names. I mean, pick pick any of the names that they’ve rummaged out the last three or four years, you know, I can’t even remember well, who was the tall skinny guy from the Raiders? So give me give me his name. Come on. I’ll tell you what, Latavius Murray. Yeah. Okay. Yeah, there’s one. So I’m gonna go through all these other sort of Melvin Gordon, right. I mean, I can’t even name them all. And then I’m playing. So I really played well. Well enough. Derrick, Henry, to me, is different. But to some of the stat Nick’s like yourself that this is, this has been panned to some by some, why would you pan it? Why would anyone pan it? Look?

Luke Jones  06:30

I mean, I don’t think it’s been panned. I think that’s a little strong. I mean, look, what you said about some of the some of the names you mentioned, and let’s be clear, I mean, Latavius Murray was like their fifth or sixth option that year because they already lost JK Dobbins. They had already lost Gus Edwards, they’d already lost Justice Hill before the season even started. So So you know, some of that is they

Nestor J. Aparicio  06:51

had a one, a two and a three. What do they have right now, if they had to go play this week without Derek, what do

Luke Jones  06:56

they mean? They have an emphatic one. I mean, look, I’ve never said I disliked Derrick Henry. I love Derrick Henry. He’s been on my fantasy team.

Nestor J. Aparicio  07:01

No, no, I’m not saying that. I’m not being flippant. I’m saying they didn’t have a running back. And they didn’t want to enter the draft and enter the summer. With this being their situation. I mean, in a lot of cases, the way they move the football look, it’s just as dangerous as running around with Prashad Perriman. And who’s gonna catch the ball? You know what I mean? Like, who’s gonna run the ball is important here. And it was dolphins, dolphins dolphins until it wasn’t. And it’s been a band aid ever since to some degree to some degree.

Luke Jones  07:29

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I mean, that band aid ranked first in the league and rushing URI goes,

Nestor J. Aparicio  07:34

here we go.

Luke Jones  07:34

I do. I want you. You want me to ask and I mean, if you guys want me to say I love it, Derrick Henry, Super Bowl.

Nestor J. Aparicio  07:41

I don’t love it.

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Luke Jones  07:44

I don’t but I don’t hate it either. Let me be clear about this. I’ve yet have viewed their running game in the aggregate. Right. And with Lamar Jackson being the centripetal force, I mean, to your point, look at the motley crew of running backs that they’ve had at some points now, at other points. Let’s be clear, Gus Edwards, until last year had averaged five yards of carry every year he was healthy, and has been extremely efficient. And I think if nothing else, maybe the fact that the Ravens spent what they spent on Derrick Henry when Gus Edwards went to the chargers for two years, $6.5 million, that might have been an indictment on where they think Gus Edwards is at this point in his career, because, say what you want in terms of Gus Edwards never been a guy that’s rushed for 2000 yards, like Derrick Henry did four years ago. But from an efficiency standpoint, from a yards per carry standpoint, from a success rate standpoint, Gus Edwards has been as efficient and productive as just about anyone in again, understanding he hasn’t had 250 Carry seasons like Derrick Henry, but he’s been extraordinarily efficient. So for the ravens to say, all right, Gus, we love you. But goodbye. And he goes out and rejoins Greg Rome, and with the chargers, and the Ravens go and spend, not quite three times as much but close to it on a running back who is of course better. I’m not saying Gus Edwards is as good or better than Derrick Henry, I’m talking in terms of the cost effective part of this, the idea that anytime you spend on one position, there’s a trade off, and what are you not spending elsewhere? My, the point I’m making is, I’m guessing this is as much about the Ravens not thinking much of what Gus Edwards is, it’s going to be in 2024. Then, oh my gosh, we need to go get a feature back because in the aggregate, with multiple backs, even with the injuries, they’ve had yards per carry, ranking the last five years, first, first, fifth, third, third, rushing DVOA the last five years first 12, which that was the year that they lost all the running backs, and Lamar was hurt at the end of that season. Second, first rushing EPA, which is another efficiency metric first first 11th second third.

Nestor J. Aparicio  10:00

So Eric might say, Let’s keep it that way. Let’s keep it first. Okay,

Luke Jones  10:07

fine. I mean, sure, but I but I guess my point is, you’ve been able to be wildly productive spending next to nothing at the position is how much better is Derrick Henry going to make you then first in the league in rushing yards? Is my point, how much better is Derrick Henry going to make you then third in the league in yards per carry? I’ll hear it being better. But boy, that’s a high bar. Right? I mean, if Derrick Henry rushes for four and a half yards per carry this season, which isn’t bad for him whatsoever, but you’re spending a lot more to get that production than you did in the past. So that’s the point I’m making and at what cost? And you just mentioned? Well, okay, the Ravens have talked about wanting to really rebuild their offensive line, that’s not an easy thing to do. And if you’re going to spend a lot more money on a running back, and that becomes even more challenging to do. So.

Nestor J. Aparicio  10:56

It’s about being able to draft young players, though, on the offensive line they do, even though it hasn’t been successful lately. Every year, they were losing one for a while. But to your point, they don’t have a naked play with right now other than the veteran guys that they have on the on the book ends, right. Like, and the garden thing is still very much. You don’t know think Cleveland can play. I mean, really?

Luke Jones  11:16

Yeah. Well, and let’s not overlook Tyler Linder, Obama’s approval center. He’s great. I mean, he’s the anchor. I mean, he’s really the anchor. It’s not Ronnie Stanley Morgan, Moses, at this point. It’s Tyler, Linda bomb. I mean, Wayne on the cheap. Right? They have one spot where you’re not worried whatsoever. There’s no question whatsoever on the offensive line. That’s not to say that Stanley Moses aren’t going to be back. But at the very least, there’s

Nestor J. Aparicio  11:39

questions two years now he’s gonna be a $12 million $50 million center. So So again,

Luke Jones  11:44

look, as I just said, I’d love Derek cannery. And I’m looking forward to this. And I think it’s going to be fun. Do I think this makes the Ravens dramatically better. And that’s the big key here, because you’re spending dramatically more money at the running back position relative to what you were doing? Do I think this makes them dramatically better? I’ll tell you where it matters for me. What’s Derrick Henry going to look like in January? He’s 30 years old as it is. And this is where I think it’s going to be interesting for them because you have this feature back. I think it’s going to be critically important for them over the course of a 17 game season, to lighten this guy’s workload from where it’s been the last few years, with the thought in mind of wanting him to be at his absolute best come January because nothing has changed on that front. From where we were talking about this team a week ago. Or a month ago. Yeah, well, on the heels of losing in the AFC Championship Game, everything they do is judged on January at this point. So Derrick Henry could come in and rush for 1500 yards or five yards per carry. But what how does it change our fate in January that’s that’s ultimately going to decide how successful this move truly is. Because there is a trade off to spending more on a running back when you have needs on the offensive line. When you have needs that edge rusher when you have needs. You know, with Ronald Darby going off the Jacksonville, you need another corner to backup Marlon Humphrey who has been injured. So you know, you go down the list of all the moves they make. And look, I saw a lot of people saying this on social media that what else did you want them to spend on at this point now that you know, we can’t look at this in terms of player A for player B, right? In the same way that we can look at this and say okay, well, is a $9 million 2024 investment better? In Derrick Henry, is that better than a $15 million investment in Odell Beckham last year? You know, the there isn’t just one or one choice, right. I mean, there’s lots of that was

Nestor J. Aparicio  13:38

gonna be my point. And it’s took part of that money. And I mean, it’s the Lamar tax. I mean, I bet Lamar is in love with this idea.

Luke Jones  13:44

He showed me it was more tax last year though. Yeah, he wanted Odell Beckham I mean, I mean, that’s, you know, the, you

Nestor J. Aparicio  13:50

give the kid a half a billion a quarter billion dollars like you let them do what he wants. I mean, it’s his team. Now. If he wants a running back and he’s in there saying, I don’t want to play with Gus Edwards breaking, you know, being older I, I want the king bring the king in here. Last year, we had Odell Beckham bring me to King. You know, like, I do think there’s a point here where they sued Lamar. I mean, come on, dude. I mean, we call that a $30 million tax last year for a washed up wide receiver. Like, I don’t think Derrick Henry’s washed up. And I do think they look better getting off the bus and I agree with you 100%. I don’t think they have any intention of running him 26 times again, I don’t. But I do think I do think this if they’re in Cleveland and week three, and they’re up 30 to 17. He’s going to get the ball the last eight minutes of the game like Gus did, and that’s going to be more of his game. They want them to throw the ball, right? I mean, they really do. Yeah, and run less and not be the guy running the ball in the last eight minutes of the game because they can’t figure out any other way to do it. Or especially when they get behind by three points in wet themselves. And he runs right he runs left. It’s it’s razzle dazzle sometimes it’s going into the phone booth and it’s work But when they get behind, it’s different. I think he’s here to make sure they don’t get behind.

Luke Jones  15:07

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They weren’t behind much last year. So I mean, we’ll

Nestor J. Aparicio  15:09

see. Fourth and 1/4 and one and a half from the 44. yard line.

Luke Jones  15:14

Gus Edwards was outstanding in those situations over the last five years. I mean, there, there are even statistics that kind of prove he, at times has been the absolute best short yardage back in football. So

Nestor J. Aparicio  15:26

well, he ought to help Herbert out in San Diego, right. I mean, and they paid him.

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Luke Jones  15:30

And again, this is where I go back to for me, I don’t know how much of it is really oh my gosh, we need to have a dramatically better running back as much as we’re not sure what we saw from Gus Edwards in 2023. How that’s going to translate to 2024. And we know he’s a couple of years removed from his knee injury, which was a really bad knee injury, mind you, and he’s Gus Edwards gonna be 29. So he’s not a spring chicken either. So I think a lot of this had to do with their projection on where he was at his career in his career. And Derrick Henry, look, he’s 30 years old, he has over 2000 carries in the NFL. i One of my arguments for not being inclined to do this, if it costs too much was he’s going to start declining at some point. Now, in fairness, I think people that just point to his yards per carry last year being lower, or kind of selling short how bad the Tennessee offense was terrible. Yeah, I mean, it was really wet. So when you look at his yards after contact and things of that nature, he still was among the best backs in football, but he’s already an outlier in terms of defining that right in terms of defying and fighting off father time for him to be 30 years old, for him to have as many carries under his belt, and to still be that productive. That’s the world is going to turn at some point. Now I am not saying it’s going to be this year. And I’m not saying that this move won’t work out. And like I said, I love the player. But you’re spending markedly more for this running back then you’ve spent on a running back, you know, even go back. It’s been five years since they signed Mark Mark Ingram to what three years 15 million. So even taking into account the growth of the salary cap you’re still spending more relatively speaking.

Nestor J. Aparicio  17:20

I love him getting off the bus in Buffalo and an AFC Championship game maybe at the city or Cincinnati or whatever. Just having a dude I mean, like I and you and I are all gonna be on the other side. This is gonna be fun season where you’ve been dedicating upon me on the Lamar thing see, sees the MVP and I never said he couldn’t be I just said he can get hurt and he shouldn’t be running into linebackers that from the beginning. So they got another guy to keep him from running in the linebackers as he gets older and more expensive. And I just sense that you think they spent too much money and I think you wisely sense that. Who’s gonna be blocking for like, who was her left tackle? Who’s our right tackle? Who are our guards? What you like, what what are we doing there? And, you know, and then there’s the whole Pat Ricard and, you know, what is their running back situation? Is it just Derrick Henry, and we’re gonna, you know, come in with one in 10 hit, you know, like, there’s gonna have to be more in their offense and the Keaton Mitchell’s not a part of this. And obviously, Gus isn’t a part of this. Dobbins won’t be a part of this, all the names we know, this is where they do go into the draft and get somebody at 60. Or at 90, who’s a dare I say Ray Rice, I always compare it to Ray Rice, because he was the best back they ever really drafted, who did all of those things would be a compliment, like an axillary kind of guy to go along with Derrick Henry, I think that’s probably what they have in their mind’s eye. Well,

Luke Jones  18:51

I mean, keep my keep Mitchell still around, it’s just gonna be a question of when is he back? Right. I mean, he had suffered an ACL injury in mid December, it would be very ambitious to think he’s going to be around for September. But he could be back by October or November. That’s not unheard of, in terms of under a year for an ACL. But certainly week one, you know, even if things are going really well, how the Ravens have generally proceeded and you look at how they handled Gus Edwards and JK Dobbins a couple years ago, coming back from the ACL. So, look, and that’s part of this. And that’s where I’ll be, I want to be fair about this. Again, I don’t hate this move. It’s looking at it through the lens of what’s the trade off, what’s the opportunity cost here, that you’re missing out on in terms of adding other pieces or being able to keep to Davey on clowny? Or you decided you’re not keeping Kevin Zeitler? You know, whatever it is, but in fairness, yeah, you look at their current depth chart and in terms of healthy players, it’s Justice Hill. Okay, I love Justice Hill as a third down back as a guy that can get some passes out of the backfield. But as a number one Back Of course not. So it was never a question for me. And this is where I want to be clear about this. This is never a question for me that you don’t do anything at the position. It’s just what do you spend? How do you spend? Where are you targeting running backs? What skills are you looking for? In doing that? And that’s where, you know, I might have gone a different route. For example, you know, I’ve given you a really simple one, Zach Moss, two years $8 million. I think you look at some of his his metrics and how he filled in for Taylor and Indianapolis. And by the way, Zack moss ran against the Ravens all the way back in week three. Yep, two years, 8 million for him. I think that has the potential to be one of the best deals that are signed in free agency now we’ll see. You know, but the ravens are certainly getting someone who has a far more impressive pedigree than anyone else that was on the market. There’s no doubt about that. Far more productive. He’s set to eclipse 10,000 career rushing yards this year, I think he’s like 500 yards away. And he’s coming off of a very productive season. So it checks. It checks all the boxes. Now,

Nestor J. Aparicio  20:57

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it is shocking, nonetheless, I mean, to some degree, it’s, it’s a shocking development, that I mean, look, I kicked it around about this, the last two trading deadlines and you, you know, you throw throw a wet blanket on it, and they go out and get ro Quan Smith and give him a farm right, a year and a half ago, instead of getting a running back. That’s what they felt like they needed then. And I think they assess the market better than anybody to look at, if a team’s gonna get rid of a player. If a team has a cap cut coming. They knew ro Quan Smith could be available long before he was and they knew that they were going to act if he was and they they made it happen, right, like behind closed doors in the middle of the season. Um, you know, they are astute. And that’s why when they make moves like this, despite the Odell Beckham thing last year, that was, I mean, almost on the record, to pacify and to lure Lamar Jackson here, you know, things happen sort of bang, bang, that week that it happened, when we spent eight months talking about it not happening. This is more, you know, there was rumblings at the trading deadline about this. And I told you when I said, they get him, they’re gonna win the Superbowl like, you know, nobody wants to tackle that guy in the fourth quarter on a cold day. So and they didn’t. But Eric, Eric obviously still listens to the show. I mean, I appreciate that. Doesn’t take your best advice. But the bit in all sincerity, they they put big numbers and big machines and big science and data into this. They love something about Derrick Henry, because they went out early tampering time paid him more than any of the other running. They could have had Josh shake, they can add any of these guys, they could add any of these guys that that to your point at that price, pick your running back have to have the one you want. They pick the one they want it. Well,

Luke Jones  22:38

I mean, say Quan Barkley, and you know, some of the guys you mentioned got more money than Derrick Henry, let’s be clear about that. Let’s be fair about that. And there are younger but look, a lot of this. That’s why I keep coming back to this. It’s not about Derrick Henry philosophically, I’m not in the camp of paying running backs. I mean, I’m just not. And I think there’s plenty of numbers over the last five years that supports that when Lamar Jackson is your quarterback that you can stick anyone back there and be really productive. is Derrick Henry a better feature back to the other guys they’ve had? Yeah, of course. I mean, he’s going to the Hall of Fame. Like I’m not I’m not sitting here being dismissive of him. But when you’re spending

Nestor J. Aparicio  23:16

the Hall of Fame you do, okay. Absolutely. Okay, cool.

Luke Jones  23:20

I don’t think I mean, it’s got a 2000 yard season, he’s gonna eclipse 10,000 yards. He’s shown longevity in a in. Now, that doesn’t mean it’s gonna be a first ballot guy. Right, necessarily, but I don’t

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Nestor J. Aparicio  23:32

think he’s thought like that yet. I think he needs to win some games. You know what I mean? Like, listen, Walter Payton never won. Right. I mean, you know, Barry Sanders never won the end of his career. You know, Adrian Peterson never want you know, like, they didn’t win. You know what I mean? Like so, Emmitt Smith, all he did was win, right? Like in our in our faces. The Franco Harris is those guys. Derrick Henry is one of those guys like, Yeah, I mean, I do not Mr. Derrick Henry. I mean, I want to go get the oil or Jersey even though I thought it was 30. But I don’t think of him in those. I think of him in the Hall of very good right now. But I think he still has some work. And that’s interesting that he probably thinks he still has work. And he probably, you know, Hey, dude, I’ve been in Tennessee that we haven’t had a quarterback. We got to goofer an owner, we had to put on old pajamas from Houston recently. Like he’s coming to a place that he’s taken seriously too. This is another part of the Ravens recruiting players too. And like he wants to come here. He’s coming. He’s already rich. You know what I mean? He’s, he’s here to win. I mean, and I, I love that part about it. Because he runs angry. That’s fun. Yeah. And

Luke Jones  24:37

when I say Hall of Fame, he’s on that path is what I’m saying. I don’t think if he quits today that he’s a lock or anything like that. I mean, I think that’s a different discussion. So yeah, this is a great opportunity for him in that way. But at the same time, I’ll continue to go back to the passing game over the last decade. That’s ultimately what matters most in Anyway, passing the ball and defending the past now, Are there exceptions to the rule in certain playoff games with the elements being brutal and, and raw and things like that? Of course,

Nestor J. Aparicio  25:10

you do for their offense with the passing game, in your opinion, does he change anything? Um,

Luke Jones  25:15

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he himself No, because he’s not a guy that has caught many passes out of the backfield at least last year and if you look at it, he typically hasn’t been a guy that is in pass protection a whole lot as far as like third down situations, you know, especially this past year and they you know, they had a young back in Tennessee, so he came off the field someone throw downs, but where he does help is stacking the box, you know,

Nestor J. Aparicio  25:41

things of action to me or him and Lamar, is he getting it as Lamar get shorter wants trouble for you? And if he tucks it and throws it over your head to mark Andrews and single coverage, because you got a bad matchup? Hello, you know, I mean, say flowers, you know, they they, they have fast weapons, that that would be my thought about it is I do think in the box, if you’ve got to tackle Derrick Henry, you got a different situation than trying to catch Keaton Mitchell.

Luke Jones  26:10

Yeah, yeah, sure. Right. But I would also say they’re coming from a place where they weren’t bad at those things before they were already really good at all those things and that’s what I’ll keep coming back to the standard here’s is gonna be very high for me Nestor. If Derrick Henry rushes for 4.3 yards per carry this year, then I’m gonna say, Okay, we’re at the Ravens doing that in the past, you know, and that’s

Nestor J. Aparicio  26:32

why for Odell Beckham to catch 35 passes for 15 million. We knew that going in we knew going in.

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Luke Jones  26:38

Those aren’t the only two players in the league is my point. Like, you know, like, we could keep talking about that trait, you know,

Nestor J. Aparicio  26:44

by signing star players to appease your quarterback and appease the fan base. Are you really doing it to win? Or did you do it to sort of put what put making nice poster? You know, looking good coming off the bus? I I thought Odell Beckham was was definitely that. I think the end morale, and he’s going to teach wide receivers and all that. This is we’re gonna kick your ass play. And I don’t. I like that. From Raven standpoint, I like this as a compliment to Lamar. I like it a lot. Okay,

Luke Jones  27:14

yeah. I don’t dislike it. I’m just saying it’s an expensive way of going about it at the running back position. After years of spending nothing there that you could then spend it elsewhere. And

Nestor J. Aparicio  27:27

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rookie guards

Luke Jones  27:28

the offensive line. Now. I’m glad you brought that up, because, and it’s not so much about the rookie thing. It’s much more, we also need to understand what kind of runner Derrick Henry is. Because he’s so big people just think about it in terms of the box being stacked and running between the tackles. And he’s really big, and he’s converting third and fourth downs. And look, he does those things. I’m not going to sit here and say he doesn’t. But Derrick Henry, at his best is running outside zone and having linemen who can get into space and occupy blockers and give him cutback lanes. And he can go nuts. We’ve seen him do it against the Ravens in the past. I mean, he is a guy that you want to be able to get him to the outside, because he’s still really, really fast. And that even proved, was proven out last year, looking at some of the Next Gen Z guys

Nestor J. Aparicio  28:14

can’t catch him and the small guys can’t tackle him. So you know,

Luke Jones  28:19

cases I mean, that’s how fast he is, if you can get him to that point. So with their offensive line, I think it’s and I think this is where they’re going anyway. And Tyler Lindenbaum is a great example of this. Yeah, he can be physical. And I’m not saying he’s not a physical player. But Tyler Linder bombs, some of his biggest highlights of last season and even going back to his rookie year, without seeing him blocking downfield seeing him move on the move, it’s going to be imperative for them if they want to maximize Derrick Henry as a runner, that they need to get more athletic on their offensive line now, easier said than done. Right? I mean, and that’s where I think it’s interesting, even from the standpoint of talking about someone like Ben Cleveland, who I think many of us have viewed with the assumption that he’s gonna be one of their starting guards. He doesn’t really fit that profile. So even there in terms of what you want to do to optimize what Derrick Henry does as a runner, they still have some work to do on their offensive line. So I don’t hate this. I don’t love the price, though. I’m not going to. I’m not going to shy away from that. And people are going to say I’m hatin on it, and I don’t like Derrick Henry, and that’s not true. I love Derrick Henry, but

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Nestor J. Aparicio  29:29

I didn’t hate Odell Beckham. I just thought it was absurd. You know what I mean? Like,

Luke Jones  29:33

I didn’t love that. Let’s be clear, though. Like, like, let’s not position this that I was in favor of that, you know, I thought it was crazy to give Odell Beckham $15 million. It was Lamar tax. I mean, but at the same time, I think a lesson that needs to be learned there, which I’ll go back to what I said a few minutes ago. You’ve got to keep Derrick Henry fresh for January, Odell Beckham remember they managed him at times. He was actually go back and look he had a really good stretch from what the second week of November through early December. He was really good for that four or five game stretch. And then what happened. He wore down and was a nonfactor late in the season. So with any move they make, whether we’re talking about Derrick Henry, whether we’re talking about any pass rushers, they’re going to sign any offensive lineman, they’re going to acquire anyone they’re going to draft ever all the incumbents on this team, anyone who’s coming back, that resigns with them, you know, like just anatomy k, for example. You know, it’s all going to be judged on what they do in January. I mean, that’s just where they are at this point. You know it. For me, I mean, Derrick Henry, rushing for a bunch of yards in the regular season. I mean, they’ve, in the aggregate, they’ve rushed for a bunch of yards every single year sits

Nestor J. Aparicio  30:43

to help them close games. So you hope

Luke Jones  30:47

8

you hope and I mean, last year, they did not have to close games very often, let’s face it, I mean, they had the top point differential, and they blew teams out, especially in the second half of the season. And, but then

Nestor J. Aparicio  30:57

they got behind once, and they couldn’t get a fall in and they can’t get up against the team that’s capable. You know what I mean? Like, those three weeks in January, to your point, are gonna define who they are. And they better get to the third week. Yeah,

Luke Jones  31:08

yeah. But at the same time, if you’re behind, you’re, you’re not running the ball when you’re behind, and people will right now are blowing the gasket, thinking about the fact that they weren’t behind by that much against Kansas City. You know, some of that was panicking, and not being just not being very good. And Lamar not being very good. Right. I mean, you know, is Derrick Henry, the difference in beating the Kansas City Chiefs? Well, now you also have a diminished defense and your offensive line has question marks. And what about wide receiver, you know, is not Bateman going to take a step forward? So they still have other questions, you know, so, you know, is this the last piece for them to become a championship team? You know, they’ve got other work to do. And that’s my point here, in terms of giving Derrick Henry, what amounts to a one year $9 million contract, and then we’ll see in terms of 2025, that absolutely helps the run again, that’s that’s the no brainer statement. But what’s the trade off? You know, what’s the opportunity cost here? How much better is your running game going to be? Because again, that’s a very high bar, you know, they were first last year, there’s no, there’s nothing higher than first. Right? So, you know, so that’s where you kind of get

Nestor J. Aparicio  32:20

into as Eric saying, I’d like to stay there. Okay. Okay. Okay. But

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Luke Jones  32:24

I’ll still say that while the barge accident, being healthy is still the most pertinent, you know, factor in that being true, because they’ve proven that they can run the ball with just about anyone that running back as long as Lamar is out there and healthy. So, you know, we’ll see. And again, I’ll say this much, putting aside the cap, putting aside the salary and all the questions there. I mean, you have Lamar Jackson, the greatest, greatest rushing quarterback in NFL history. And Derrick Henry, who’s the best running back in the NFL over the last seven years, and it’s not even close. I mean, that’s, that’s really fun and exciting. Team. Yeah, I mean, it’s fun and exciting. Now, can you ride that to the Super Bowl, you’re still gonna have to throw the football, I mean, I’m not not gonna sit here and say, You’re gonna turn the clock back. I mean, 2019. And even when they tried to do it a couple years ago, they turned back the clock, or attempted to anyway, and Greg, Romans last year. And we kind of saw how it turned out before, you know, even before Lamar got hurt. So you start to throw the football. And like I said, Derrick, Henry, with putting defenders in the box and play action and things of that nature. Yeah, absolutely going to help help immensely on that front. But they’ve also already been really good. Doing those kinds of things is my point. So it just comes down to, for me, how much better is he going to make you relative to the fact that you are spending considerably more on a running back than you have in years. And again, I’ll continue to look at it in the aggregate, because ultimately, it’s not about having a name at running back, you know, it’s about how productive you’re going to be. And they’ve been very productive even without a higher price running back, like Derrick Henry in recent years. So that’s a high bar is my point. I mean, if you’re telling me it’s worth, he’s worth it, then Derrick Henry should be rushing for five plus yards of carry next year and their, their running game should be 2019. Like, which is kind of historic, but you know, we’ll see how it plays out. So and we’ll see if he fights off Father Time another year, he’s done a heck of a job doing that, at this point. I mean, I think back to what was it 2021 When he had his foot injury and miss time and there are a lot of people at that point who figured, okay, this is the end for Derrick Henry, we’re gonna see him really start falling off a cliff. They’ve run him into the ground, you know, 300 plus carries a year all this and bounce back and was really still really, really good the last couple years, so, you know, we’ll see if he can do it again. The ravens are certainly confident and betting on him doing it again. I’m not gonna say he can’t, but at the same time, this move ultimately will be judged in Jan. You worry. So I think it’s going to be important for them to, yes, get production out of him and win games, because you have to get to January. But it’s, I think it’s gonna be of the utmost importance for them to keep what will be at that point, running back getting ready to turn 31. And another 200 Plus carries under his belt for an outstanding career to make sure that he’s at his best then because that’s how they’re all being judged at this point. No one cares about Pro Bowls and MVPs and regular season statistics, and even the regular season win loss record or even the division title. You need to get there. You can’t go seven and 10 and miss the playoffs, of course, but they’re all being judged on what happens in January at this point. I mean, and last year, just reiterate, you know, reiterated that big time so if Derrick Henry can be at his best Come then, and help them win game. So you know, if it’s 2024 degrees and snowing or raining or muddy or whatever the conditions, then it’ll be well worth it. It’ll easily be worth it. But again, it’s a high bar because they’ve already had an outstanding running game no matter how anyone wants to complain about who’s been running the ball at given times. This

Nestor J. Aparicio  36:12

is a tough one for the Nestor hates the caster and the Ravens, because I’ve been nothing but a brilliant in regard to them signing Derek cambrie I look jumps can be found out and Owings Mills. He can be found on the interwebs he will be found in Sarasota next week as well. And then in Florida for the NFL owners meetings fall over. They were doing a Baltimore positive. Got some fun stuff happening for our 25th anniversary in conjunction with opening day. A couple of weeks from now we’re talking a lot of baseball. We’re gonna get a lot of football free agency in here this week. Luke’s got you covered on the WNS T tech service for anything that still happens at some point they’re out of money, right look, I am Nestor we are wn sta and 1570, Towson Baltimore. keep you abreast of all things football and baseball in Baltimore positive

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