Fresh off the field in Owings Mills, our Baltimore Positive sports insider Luke Jones gets you ready for a wet TV weekend of Orioles baseball and the Colts return to Baltimore on The Dennis Koulatsos Show, heard on WNST-AM 1570 on Thursday (3-to-5 p.m.) and again on Sunday morning before the Ravens game.
ravens, played, week, orioles, injuries, lamar jackson, talking, bengals, team, baltimore, good, game, offense, win, bullpen, season, clinch, sunday, dennis, astros
Dennis Koulatsos, Luke Jones
Dennis Koulatsos 00:02
Welcome back. But first guests as always leading off as popular. Luke Jones is doing great things not only for the ravens, but the Baltimore Orioles. I know he’s excited this town. It’s a two sport town. And when both of the teams are doing well, Luke, there’s nothing like it.
Luke Jones 00:17
Absolutely, Dennis, I mean, what can we say about last Sunday, it was just such a phenomenal day, right up there with Take your pick. And I can’t really cite too many off the top of my head because quite frankly, the ravens and the Orioles haven’t been good at the same time, all that terribly often over the existence of the Ravens. So but when you talk about Sunday with the Ravens going into Cincinnati and getting a really impressive win over the Bengals, when you consider everything working against them in terms of being on the road, and all the injuries that they’re dealing with, and continue to deal with, as we’ll turn our sights towards Indianapolis. We’ll talk about that here momentarily. But between that and then the Orioles finding out late in Sunday’s game that they had clinched a playoff spot, by way of what I guess the Texas Rangers losing, but coming back and winning, and then the post postgame celebration in the clubhouse. And just the excitement of that. I think anyone who watched his team at the end of last year certainly hoped that a playoff berth would be in the cards this year. But for this team to do what they did clinching a playoff spot with two weeks to go and being in position as an as they’ll now be in Cleveland over the weekend and most likely not going to clinch until they get home. And certainly they they have to keep winning because the rays are right on their heels. But mean just really exciting. And it was kind of wild to think that that ravens game and we’ll again we’ll get to that. But in my mind as impressive of a win that the Ravens have had maybe since early in 2021 when they beat Kansas City in that Sunday night game. I don’t know if they’ve had a win as impressive as what they did against Cincinnati. But I think it was kind of overshadowed just because of the excitement of the Orioles. And that’s okay, right. In week two, the Ravens can be overshadowed. You know, I think that’s okay. And like you said, you can be plenty excited about both but just a really special day, a special weekend, a great finish to the weekend for the Orioles and then they go to Houston and win two out of three from the Astros just continuing to win and win in unusual ways. And still plenty of questions about this team and it’s bullpen but cash, just like you said it. It’s a really special fun time to be a Baltimore sports fan and plenty of reasons to be optimistic about both teams here in town.
Dennis Koulatsos 02:44
Look your thoughts about the Orioles pitching, particularly the bullpen. I guess that’s the area we have to look at on this team to identify a potential area of concern as they marched towards the playoffs.
Luke Jones 02:59
Yeah, I mean, it’s one of those deals Dennis and luck. This isn’t unexpected, from the moment that Felix Batista walked off the mound a few weeks back with the elbow injury. And I know he’s still throwing and he’s throwing some bullpens. And you know, there’s some non zero chance that he’s maybe going to pitch in October but certainly not something that you can count on or expect even at this stage as he continues to throw and you think about long term what that means for him and potential Tommy John surgery after the season. We knew from that moment that there were going to be questions about this bullpen. I mean, that’s inevitable when you’re talking about a guy who had been the best quite possibly the best reliever and all the baseball let alone for the Orioles and the American League and BNL and all star and all that so it’s tough though I’m working on a story of Baltimore positive.com right now just looking at that. I mean, you feel good about you and your Cano I mean, he’s been an all star reliever and after having kind of a law over the summer where in July and early August wasn’t pitching his best, you know, looked a little more mortal than he had the rest of the year. It’s fits really well since then save for a hiccup or two so you feel good about Cano CNL Perez has been excellent since July. Yeah, it looks like the CNL Perez that we saw last year, who was just outstanding lefty reliever for the Orioles in 2022. So you feel good about them. You feel good about Danny Coulomb. Wednesday’s result notwithstanding. He’s been really really good for them. So you feel good about those three. Jacob Webb has been excellent. Save for a couple of appearances since he was claimed off waivers from the angels so I’m even ready to sign off on him. But you look at the rest of that bullpen and and it’s going to change and it might might even change by the time someone’s listening to our conversation right now Dennis, but, you know, there’s excitement about DL haul because you see the arm. He flashes the moments where he has done a good job but it’s been inconsistent. Jorge Lopez I mean Brandon Hyde clearly has faith in him going back to last year. But he struggled. He’s not eligible for the postseason roster anyway. So I don’t know how much how much more how much longer you can keep sending him out there. And some of these close situations, high leverage situations. Mike Bauman, same thing for him. I mean, he was good in the first half of the season or showed promise and has been a struggle, and he was in the minors until being recalled recently. And, you know, we, it looked like Fuji had turned a corner here of late and had really put together a nice stretch of appearances where, you know, he wasn’t walking as many batters and was starting to look like a guy that you might be able to count on. And certainly, that’s turned for the worst here over the course of the last five to six days. So a lot of questions there. And, you know, we could still talk about guys that are at triple A Norfolk at the moment as you and I are talking. I mean, can you bring up a joey Crable? Sure. Can you bring up a Brian Baker? Sure. What’s going on with Tyler Wells’s? We kind of thought maybe he would factor into the bullpen. But, you know, it’s been an up and down transition for him, you know, dealing with some arm fatigue a couple weeks ago, and, you know, he didn’t pitch for over a week. So, just a lot of questions. I think the wildcard and look, this is this is an overreaction because we’re basing it off of one outing. Maybe Jack Flaherty can transition into a bullpen role and we saw him acquit himself pretty well on Tuesday night. He’s got an arm, he’s got stuff, especially if it’s in shorter outings is he’s someone that he doesn’t have a whole lot of time to get accustomed to it. I mean, we’re talking about you know, the Orioles you know, even if they win the division, and they’re not playing until the divisional round. I mean, we’re talking a little over two weeks away. I mean, it’s right around the corner. I I’m gonna use an example here. And I know Kyle Gibson was even asked about it because he was part of that Philadelphia Phillies team last year, but Zach Eflin, who was a disappointment for the Phillies as a starter in 2022. He transitioned to a bullpen role and he pitched really well for the Phillies. And he, you know, He parlayed that into a contract with the raise where he’s starting again and has had a fantastic year for Tampa Bay. So I don’t say that with any level of high expectation for Jack Flaherty, but it does really speak to where they are right now with their bullpen where you have. Cano CNL Perez, Danny coulomb, Jacob Webb, kind of stored a deal hall after that, who knows Dennis, so I think that’s where you look at your offense. That’s where you look at the rotation and be remiss if not mentioning you know, Kyle Bradish with another outstanding effort against the Astros. He’s pitched going back to last year, Dennis, and we’re talking about the Astros the defending world champions, right? He’s pitch 22 and two thirds scoreless innings against the Astros and three starts going back to last year against them. I mean, he has been fantastic. And Grayson Rodriguez, what he did against the rays over the weekend, I mean, eight shutout innings. I mean, that was the guy that we’ve been talking about for the last two to three years, you know, even longer than that, in terms of his prospect status and and what he could be so you feel great about those two, other than just the lingering question of both these guys have thrown career highs and innings and you keep your fingers crossed on that front. And you know, they haven’t been in this position before but you feel great about them. You know, Dean Kramer, more good than bad, you know, even if he’s had a couple outings over the last few weeks that haven’t been quite as strong. And you know, John means was competitive against the Astros on Monday night. So and Kyle Gibson, good or bad. I mean, he’s a veteran, he’s the guy that has the most experience. I’ll be it not a whole lot of postseason experience. So, you know, when you’re talking about a bullpen that has three or four guys that you feel good about. I’m not saying that that can’t work for the postseason. But if you want to optimize that, if you want to give yourself the best chance for that to work, they’re going to need Bradish and Grayson Rodriguez to continue into October what they’ve been able to do in Bradish. His case, really since Matt, you know, since April, you know, he had a little bit of a rough go of it. Remember, he had the IL stent, his first start got hit on the foot with a line drive and in Texas, but since late April, he’s been he’s been one of the best pitchers in the American League, you know, probably a guy who should get some sayang votes, you know, at least, you know, for second, third, fourth, fourth place, that kind of deal. He’s not going to you know, he’s not going to win it, but he’s been that good. And Grayson Rodriguez has been just as good, if not, maybe even a little better than Bradish over the last couple months, you know, since coming back from his demotion to the minor league. So, we’ll see. I mean, we have these questions and they’re fair questions, but at the same time, you know, their bullpen was awful on Monday night. ate and they still found a way to win because they swung the bat so well on Tuesday, it was unconventional and Hyde had to go to Cano and Perez for a third straight night. But they got the win. And that put them in a position on Wednesday where you know how that played out. Shouldn’t have been all that terribly surprising. I think it was one of those times where Brandon Hyde said, I’m going for it, we need to get Tuesday’s when we’ll get a series when hopefully, Kyle Bradish pitches well enough, that gives us a shot, and they had a shot. And quite frankly, even with Fujinami struggles, even with Coolum given up the the game winning run in the bottom of the knife, they scored one run, you gotta score more than one run. And that’s where you put it on the offense just as much as the bullpen. But it still took two out of three from the Astros. So you feel great about that. Going into this weekend, the final hard to believe Dennis, the final road series of the regular season. And I mean, this is a team that has 50 road wins. Think about that for a second. I mean, whether you’re a big baseball guy or not, it translates in any sport, it’s difficult to win on the road at that kind of a rate. And to be in a position where you’ve won 50 games on the road, going into this Final Four game set against Cleveland. I mean, it’s that special. So it’s really a credit to this team. And even with some of these questions, and it’s okay to have questions, you know, they’re not a perfect team. But boy, they’ve just played such great baseball. And even with the, the losing streak that they had going into last weekend, and people started getting a little nervous and starting to doubt, they came back right back and they won four in a row right after that. It’s just, that’s the mark of a really good team. And we’ll see how it plays out. And like I said, not not in a position that they’re likely going to clinch over the course of this weekend. But they can come home, if they take care of business against the Guardians, they can come home and be in excellent shape over their final two Home Series, and be in a position where they just take care of business to a reasonable degree. There’ll be Division champions at the number one seed in the AFL.
Dennis Koulatsos 12:04
Yeah, they certainly have a favorable schedule, Luke looking at the teams that they’re playing to close out the season. So hopefully they can use these games to to get that bullpen a little bit more stable and figure out who they’re going to use. And when.
Luke Jones 12:17
Yeah, exactly. I mean, that’s, and that’s why the Jorge Lopez thing, I’ve struggled with that. You’re always looking at this through the lens of two different objectives here, of course, you’re trying to win that night’s game you’re trying to win the next day, you’re trying to win that series, you’re trying to hold off the race. At the same time. There is an evaluation going on here in terms of how’s your bullpen going to look in October? And boy, there’s still at least as many questions as and, you know, as I just laid out a couple minutes ago. So you’re trying to evaluate that’s why I’ve struggled with hide going to Jorge Lopez so much because, look, he was a great story last year, I understand the Orioles bringing them back. I had no problem. You know, he’s a waiver claim. It’s not as though they’re holding someone you know, he’s holding someone back that deserves to be in the majors that’s now in the minors. I mean, they’ve been cycling through guys. But in the case of Lopez, he hasn’t pitched very well. That’s stating the obvious. And even if he does, okay, I get it. You’re trying to win the division. And if he was pitching lights out, then great. You keep throwing them out there and oh, well, he can’t pitch in the postseason for you just because of the eligibility rules. But he’s not pitching well, and there’s no October upside to seeing if he can work out his issues. So that’s where I question how much longer you can keep sending him out there in any kind of a situation where it’s a close game, because he’s just not getting the job done. So yeah, we’ll see how it works out. And again, in the meantime, need your offense to be ready to score runs, and they need to continue to get good starting pitching. And, you know, when you look at this weekend series, Grayson Rodriguez, Dean Kramer, John means on Saturday and Gibson going on Sunday. This is a series that you’re going up against the Cleveland team that’s been disappointing. Make no no, no mincing words about it. This is the kind of team that you should go in there even on the road and win three out of four and I think that’s how the Orioles view it going into the series.
Dennis Koulatsos 14:17
Look, as much as I’ve been into the Orioles this year, too much of the love of the team. You know, at my core, I’m a football guy. Yeah. Of course. I love the ravens and they are one of the few that predicted the upset victory by the Ravens against the the bagels and I did that on the strength of the defense and how they’ve handled them. The last several times they played them looks like Mike McDonald has figured out how to frustrate Joe burrow and also the calf injury, which still factored in. We saw him GrabIt during the last series of the game, but still, that defense only gave up 17 points. Seven of force coming in the form of a punt return for a touchdown. They really
Luke Jones 14:57
played a clean football game on defense And offense now the special teams. That’s another story given up a punt return for a touchdown, but you trust a John hardball lead team to figure out their special teams problems URL, you know, that they’re dealing with right now. Not too concerned about that in the big picture sense. But yeah, I mean, you look at the defense and Mike McDonald, obviously the the approach he’s taken compared to wink Martindale, which I’ll continue to say, in 2021. And look, this is worked out making the change, Mike McDonald, probably gonna be talking about him becoming a head coach at some point in the next few years. That’s probably the kind of path that he’s on right now. But with wink, it was very much put the corners on an island, which was great when Marlin Humphrey and Marcus Peters, pre ACL injury were your guys, but obviously, in 21, they didn’t have Peters. And, you know, it was a case where they very much struggled against the Bengals. And look, I mean, the ravens, we know they were decimated by injuries even before that season started. But just the approach that they’ve taken more cover to, you know, we talked about this a lot last year, really being in a position where just trying to keep everything in front of them, and forcing burrow to check down, forcing him to throw underneath and forcing them to chew up clock and go 12 1314 plays to score touchdowns. And we saw that play out I thought it was interesting, even with with Marcus Williams and Marlon Humphrey being out and not playing on Sunday. McDonald mixed it up a little bit more. I mean, they did some some different things. And they were even more aggressive with their corners than I thought they would be. They played more press than I thought they would. Now granted, they were playing a lot of too high shell and instances where they did that. But you know, Brandon Stevens, what can you say about him? I mean, he’s played well, you know, and that’s not something that you would have expected. I mean, my goodness, the Ravens had him working at safety in the spring in the early portion of training camp until the injuries at corner really started to pile up. And you know, they had just seen and Ronald Darby rotating at the other corner spot, and they held up well, so really a testament to him. The past rush really wasn’t a factor. And that was almost by design, because they knew Burro was going to get rid of the ball so quickly. So was really a compliment to the Ravens. And really, I mean, what’s going on with the Cincinnati Bengals? Look, I’m not ready. And I said this to Nestor a lot. I mean, they were open to last year. I think it’s important. We talked about week one to week two, but even week two, don’t overreact to what you’re seeing in week two, but at the same time you said it I mean with the health with Joe burrow. And I what I was really surprised by was just how, how disappointing the Bengals defense was. I mean, again, credit to Lamar Jackson, who I thought played his best game since the first three weeks of last season. I thought he was outstanding with the quick game and getting the ball out knowing that they had injuries on the offensive line. But aluminum and a rumo defense that had held even Lamar Jackson lead ravens offensive to one I think under 20 points the last two times they had played even with a more healthy the Ravens offense was really good. And the Bengals defense not so good. So that was really
Dennis Koulatsos 18:14
a compliment. That opening drive with the Ravens not to cut you off was was epic. It was just almost an eight minute drive.
Luke Jones 18:21
Yeah, I mean, it really set the tone. And I thought that was good for the Ravens being on the road. And knowing that and we talked about this last week. I mean, yes, they ultimately score 25 points against the Texans. And that wasn’t a performance to be overly down about but anyone who watched it wasn’t overly impressive either. You know, Let’s call a spade a spade so for them to go out and start the football game like that with a touchdown drive drive that takes up half of the first quarter. And that pin on the heels for Cincinnati of the stinker that they had in Cleveland. I mean it really set the tone for the game and put the Bengals on their heels and let’s face it by the time Cincinnati really turned it on and the Bengals offense came to life. At that point in time. The clock was starting to work in the Ravens favor so even though they scored a couple touchdowns in the second half. Again, they had to take up so much time and and that was something that I really thought and I thought quite frankly Cincinnati should have been showing more urgency in terms of playing a little more no huddle, getting out of the huddle quickly playing with more tempo on their final touchdown drive because they scored and it was it. The Ravens were in a position where they only needed to get a couple first downs then ice the game and they were able to do that. So really a complement to the Ravens with how they played in totality in week two, and certainly too early to panic if you’re the Bengals but they better be feeling some urgency and they better hope that that jobos calf is right because I mean their backup quarterback situation I’ve already forgotten who their backup quarterback is since I was reading about it on Monday. So I’m Canadian is definitely this is an opportunity for the right ravens and obviously they’re playing Indianapolis and doesn’t look like the Colts are going to have Anthony Richardson. I mean, we’ll see it’s a concussion protocol situation. So as you and I speak at this moment, still a little too early to know whether he’ll be in or not. But it’s a great opportunity for the ravens to improve to three, you know, knowing that they do have a couple of AFC North Road games coming up, and I get it. The ravens are better than the browns and the Steelers. I’m confident in saying that right now, but still division road games, and we know how that works. And also a reminder, as much as we are talking about things that needed to get better for the offense in week one, week two, you’re thrilled with the offense, but it is also a week to week league. And as John Harbaugh pointed out, even though I’m not too concerned about the thoughts of an Indianapolis upset on Sunday at the same time, that is a front that’s pretty good. And you are still talking about a Ravens offensive line that played so well in week two, but it is still a banged up offensive line. So the point being ravens can’t be looking past this game. They need to make sure that they’re focused and doing the necessary preparation and not just rolling the ball out on Sunday and thinking they’re going to win.
Dennis Koulatsos 21:10
Now you’re right. You took the words out of my mouth, I was gonna say the same thing. In regard to it’s such a weak weekly, we’ve seen injury so far. Season and the injuries whether you want to talk about Aaron Rodgers, JK Dobbins, we saw Nick Chubb Monday night go down a horrific injury and he was having a great game to me the top three running back in the league. So with him going down, and I know Jerome Ford came in and did a nice job. And now they’re there. They signed Kareem hunt. But still, when you lose, lose those significant pieces, it really does alter the look of your offense or deepens what happened when you lose these superstars.
Luke Jones 21:45
No question. I mean, and we talked about that last week with losing JK Dobbins. I mean, by no means do I do I think that injury sinks the Ravens Super Bowl hopes and I mean, we saw in week two how well they played without them in Cincinnati against the Bengals team that, you know, I picked the win the division and the ravens to be just behind them now as a wild card. But at the same time when you lose players, like you just mentioned, it does alter your upside a little bit right, it does force you to view things through a different lens. I mean, look at the Ravens this week, this past week, you know, you’re looking you going from JK Dobbins who wasn’t going to be the bell cow necessarily, in the sense of I expected him to get 25 to 30 touches a game. I mean, there are so few running backs in today’s day and age that do that. But he he was very clearly going to be the number one and then you immediately you’re going to Okay, well Gus Edwards and Jake and Justice Hill are one in one A and that worked out well. Well, lo and behold justice Hills dealing with a toe injury this week. And that’s one reason why the Ravens have brought in Kenyan Drake to their practice squad and someone who was with them last year, but how quickly can he get up to speed in terms of learning? You know, it’s a different offense than it was a year ago. But you know, what’s that mean? For Melvin Gordon, what does that mean for someone like Owen Wright, who’s on the practice squad. So it is such a week to week league? And, you know, I think two years ago when they beat Kansas City and week two, you know that Sunday night game, I mean, they were riding high. And then if you recall what happened the following week, they went to Detroit and they needed an NFL record field goal from Justin Tucker, to beat the lowly lions. They are they would have been, they would have lost that game. So not to say that I expected you know that I’m picking Indianapolis upset because I’m not I think the ravens are gonna win. I think they’ll handle their business. But it is such a week to week league. And as much as you know, teams look at week one, and things look so terrible where things look so great. Week two can turn around and it’s the absolute opposite opposite. And that being said, what you are in week two does not mean that that’s what you’re going to be weeks three through 18. So it’s a long season. matchup dependent, injury dependent I mean, the ravens are banged up this week, even though the early indications might be more banged up now than they were even last week just saying something. And we know our Darius Washington’s on IR which is unfortunate because I think he’s flashed a lot of promise being their nickel. So how’s that gonna look? Do they go to Arthur Mallette or do they go to Kyle Hamilton back in a nickel kind of role and and you’re counting on Darryl Wardley to play on the back end next to Geno’s stones. So, you know, is Indianapolis the offense it’s going to exploit that probably not. You know, I don’t know. I think Minshew mania from where it was a couple years ago has certainly died down. But that said he has a backup quarterback who plays with with some reckless abandon which can get them into trouble. But it can also afford an offensive some opportunities to make some plays that maybe you don’t see with a typical backup quarterback so it’s a week to week league. And that sounds boring saying that that sounds like you’re sitting on the fence a little bit to say that I think the ravens are gonna win Sunday. But that said, you still need to prepare and respond Next, every week’s opponent because especially this early stage, especially talking about the Colts with the new coaching staff, and some new personnel in certain spots, there’s still some unknown there. And the ravens are in a position where they still have to prepare a little bit for Anthony Richardson if he does clear concussion protocol, and you certainly have to be ready for Gardner Minshew who and, you know, it was to have some similarities, maybe in terms of not drastically changing the offense. I mean, Minshew can move around a little bit, but at the same time, they definitely have some differences with their skill sets. So it’ll be it’ll be interesting to see how it plays out. But again, the Ravens playing at home, certainly no excuse not to go out there and handle your business. Even if it’s not a work of art. Across the board. As you know, it really felt like in a lot of ways for most of Sunday’s game, both offensively and defensively, not the 2000 ravens, you know, I don’t want to make too much of it. But they just played such a clean football game, and they executed their game plan so well.
Dennis Koulatsos 25:59
No, absolutely. Have there been any indication by Coach Harbaugh or the Ravens in regards to Marlon Humphrey and Ronnie Stanley or Tyler Lindenbaum? Any any update or their injuries and any eta as for the return?
Luke Jones 26:14
No, I mean, John horrible. He went into deferring city injury report mode. I mean, I think at this point, when you kind of look at this, none of those guys were practicing Wednesday. In the case of Humphrey, I mean, he’s been out over a month now. I mean, I think any notion of him playing for that week’s game, he’s gonna have to log a full week of practice. I mean, at least, even if it’s limited, limited, and then full go, you know, I can’t, I can’t fathom Him only practicing one or two days, this week, and then suiting up. I think the idea, you know, maybe he’s out there by the end of the week, running around a little bit with with designs of him playing against Cleveland. So you know, Ronnie Stanley, Let’s call a spade a spade with Ronnie. I mean, he’s a tremendous talent. But generally speaking, when you have timeframes for injuries in mind, it’s usually not on the shorter end, you know, Blendr bomb it, he was walking around, even in the locker room last week, but anyone who saw the replay of him getting rolled up, I mean, I was a pretty nasty ankle sprain. So he’s a tough guy. But you know, again, a young guy, are you going to have him only practice a little bit this week and play? Probably not. And I think, you know, one piece of potentially good news that we did find out earlier in the week that Marcus Williams not going on IR and he’s not going to have surgery for the PEC injury. Now, that doesn’t always mean that that’s going to be you know, that he’s going to come back and everything will be fine. Sometimes you’re taking calculated risks with with injuries, especially if you’re talking about surgery and potentially missing the season being the alternative. But yeah, that’s kind of where they are. And we’ll see about Justice Hill. We know that adopt AOA dealing with an ankle, an ankle sprain that I went back and saw the replay of that, that, you know, that one got rolled up pretty good as well. So he was in a boot in fact, leaving the stadium on Sunday, so I’m guessing we’re probably not going to see him this week. You know, Beckham saw him in the locker room, you know, he’s walking around, okay, but that ankle and I don’t know for sure if it’s the same ankle that he injured way back when as a member of the New York Giants that cost him the rest of the season one year but, you know, with Odell Beckham, I think we had the expectation going into the year probably wasn’t gonna play 17 games so if he is dealing with a little bit of something, this is probably a week you point to and even looking at how they played last week without him for the entire second half. I mean, if Nelson Aguilar is going to play like that, ze flowers doing what he does see if you can get Rashad Bateman involved a little bit more you got Mark Andrews back and healthy now. I think they can be okay on that front. So long answer to what you asked me but probably not a whole lot of optimism for those guys that you mentioned plan this week. But again, we’ll see as we get a little bit closer to Sunday, if that changes at all.
Dennis Koulatsos 29:05
It just have to keep scoring points and I think with Mark Andrews in there he opens up a lot of things a lot of guys and he’s he’s Lamar Jackson security blanket but they have some tough not to look past the Colts but they have some tough road games coming up at the Browns at Steelers divisional games and of course, the game across the pond against the Titans before they come home versus the lions but it was encouraging to see Lamar Jackson set his feet it seemed like he was going through his progressions he threw some very nice balls he spread the wealth around didn’t seem like he had target fixation whether it was Mark Andrews Zane flowers and he just did a great great job when distributing the ball.
Luke Jones 29:42
He was just he was so efficient. The ball came out quickly. I mean, look and part of this is just wasn’t even a Greg Roman thing or anything like that. I mean, when you have a quarterback like Lamar Jackson, inherently, he’s going to hold on to the ball a little more because he knows that he has that USC capability, right? I mean, that incredible athleticism and speed. I mean, we’ve seen it over the first two weeks of the season, as much as they’re not using a lot of design runs with Lamar Jackson. He’s still taking off and running and still getting his yards. And that’s still, their best run play is a Lamar Jackson scramble. I mean, let’s, let’s be honest. So you always have that element. But I think going into this game, knowing that Bengals front going up against an offensive line. I mean, John Harbaugh can say all he wants about, you know, confidence in those guys going into the game, but until you actually see it, you don’t know. So I mean, I thought the way they played was exactly how they were going, going to need to play quick game, no ballgame. Now, lots of good time and get into a rhythm with the passing game, and use your running game to complement that hope that you have a lead. And then in the second half, you lean on into the run more so and that worked out beautifully. I mean, that’s what you want to see. And I think if there was going to be on a simplistic level, going from Greg Roman to Todd Monken, that’s probably what you were looking to see, you know, not necessarily that Lamar Jackson was going to suddenly become this quarterback that’s thrown at 45 times a game, not that the Ravens were going to become the Kansas City Chiefs with Patrick mahomes. But be a team that, be it be a little more aggressive throwing on first down using quick game, using timing routes, using rubs all those different things that seem to be mostly absent over the years and a Greg Roman passing game. And to do that, and then have your running game, pick up second, in short, third and short, you know, that’s kind of the analytic way of of looking at football in 2023. You know, really, it’s passing, you know, to get a lead and running to protect the lead. I mean, that’s kind of what you do. So, I think the Ravens executed that very well against Cincinnati. And that said, credit the offensive line because even with Lamar Jackson getting the ball out quickly times where he did stand back in the pocket, like for example that the deep ball is a flowers that was just, you know, just a pretty pretty connection, great throw and fantastic catch. I mean, the touchdown to Aguilar, I mean, it doesn’t get prettier than that in terms of quarterback to receiver connection. But on those plays where he did hold the ball a little bit more the pass protection held up. So it’s great to see, but again, you do it in week two, it doesn’t mean it automatically comes in week three. So it’s always a moving target. It’s always a new challenge, you know, different defense different personnel different matchups you’re trying to exploit so it was very encouraging to see that and as I said, For my money, easily the best large axon had looked since the September of last year where remember those first three games were Bateman was healthy. Lamar looked like an MVP candidate. But Bateman got hurt in that Buffalo game and week four. And from that point, you know, it was kind of all downhill for the the offensive operation entirely, you know, over the course of the rest of the season. And for this for this ravens team in general as impressive of a win as they’ve had since as I said that that Kansas City game week to 2021 so that doesn’t just because you do that doesn’t mean that it’s automatically just going to be there and Week Three you gotta go put in the work and hope you stay healthy hope my goodness hope you don’t have any more injuries of significance. At least maybe the injuries chill for a couple of weeks at the very least until you get some of these guys back but you know that’s that’s part of it. Now we talked about the the war of attrition that always goes on in the NFL. And unfortunately as much as the Ravens had, despite some nagging injuries in training camp to some guys here and there. They didn’t have they didn’t have a bunch of season ending injuries before the year started. But boy, it’s already hit them here over the first couple of weeks and you hope that slows down because health is so critical for any team. But the potential that they showed going out there and beaten the Bengals on the road. I mean, I think that for anyone who was doubting the upside, the potential for what this team could be come December in January. It was a nice little preview to see in week two in terms of really seeing just how high the ceiling can be.
Dennis Koulatsos 34:10
For sure. I know it looks like Keaton Mitchell he’ll be eligible to come back in week five hopefully give the running game another boost. But look, this thing is a work in progress process and this Monken offense will see it evolve as the season goes by look I appreciate your time your thoughts your insight as always please tell our listeners where they can find you. wn st social media Baltimore positive you blog and all the other great things that
Luke Jones 34:35
you do absolutely everyone can follow us on Twitter at wn st can follow me personally at Baltimore Luke check out my blog at Baltimore positive.com sponsored by coons for the Baltimore latest on the Ravens 12 ravens thoughts injury report course postgame reaction to as the Ravens take on the Indianapolis Colts trying to improve the three and o on the season. I’ll be on the scene at Camden Yards all next week as the Orioles look to clinch knot knot clinch a postseason spot they’ve already done that clinched the number one seed in the postseason and clinch their first al East title since 2014. You want to be on the WNYC Baltimore positive tech service sponsored by Coons, Florida, Baltimore, if you are, you’ll get the final injury report of the week you’ll get Game Day inactives you’ll get any significant in game injury updates, you’ll get any significant Orioles roster moves as far as I’ve seen, comings and goings and who might get promoted who might get sent back. Any significant local sports news sent directly to your mobile device via the wn s. T Baltimore positive tech service sponsored by coons for to Baltimore, and of course anything throughout the week on am 1570 with Nestor, ravens players and coaches interviews from Owings Mills, Orioles players and coaches interviews from Camden Yards. Check out all of that at Baltimore positive.com
Dennis Koulatsos 35:52
Look I appreciate you let’s hope we have some halfway decent weather for the Ravens home game this Sunday and the Orioles keep with keep going with their winning ways. Yeah, by
Luke Jones 36:03
the time we talk next week, Dennis who knows we could be talking about a three and oh ravens team and we could be talking about an Orioles team. A Ellie’s champions number one seed in the Al it’s not far fetched on either account so certainly a lot to happen between now and then but look forward to it. As always Dennis you got to
Dennis Koulatsos 36:23
stay well my friend there it goes live challenge here and 1578 Baltimore positive W NS T we’ll take a quick break and come back right after this.