Luke Jones and Nestor clean out the lockers of Ravens and wonder in long form about every aspect of the cloudy future of Lamar Jackson and the disengagement with the franchise.
ravens, lamar, point, quarterback, steve, lamar jackson, franchise, talking, years, play, playoffs, ray lewis, game, team, people, season, john, tag, super bowl, cincinnati
Nestor Aparicio 00:01
Welcome back, W and S T, Towson, Baltimore and Baltimore positive take a little respite this week from the Maryland crabcake tour. We were planning on divisional round playoff activities, but I’m sure we’ll get out to state fair as well as El Guapo and the Beaumont some other places. Now that the crabcake tour has taken full precedence, the Ravens will not play football, again until September the 10th of this year, obviously a long, long way to go. A long week and a long month ahead in Owings Mills, Luke Jones joins us now. He will be there cleaning out lockers this week, trying to pick up the pieces of whatever happens with Greg Roman whatever’s going to happen with John Harbaugh staff. I the Lamar situation is not going to become clear. But I’m sure I’m sure some team sources are going to leak some information, some players are going to leak some information to some agents who are going to talk to some people like me, you and me and other people. So to me a lot of news coming out of this, but and most of it won’t be good, Luke. I mean, this is really, this is the tough, tough side of the business and the tough time for the franchise, and certainly the heavy lifting for John Harbaugh in the aftermath of all of this, no doubt.
Luke Jones 01:15
And I mean, it’s just it’s frustrating because it is really crazy. As much as you and I have talked about this for weeks, as far as you know, certainly without Lamar Jackson not thinking that this was a serious Super Bowl contender. And we had our doubts long before the Lamar injury as far as just how viable this team could be and not gotten being able to make the playoffs not being able to win the division. But winning, not just winning a game in January, but winning multiple games in January and seeing what Cincinnati what buffalo what Kansas City look like. And, you know, for me, it was always a thought of, I think they could be one of them on the right day. And boy, they came close and as much as we focus on the end of the game. You know what happened with Huntley at the at the goal line, obviously, what happened on the final drive and the time management and Jane crochet almost making a miracle catch about the end of the first half. Now the Ravens had the ball at the three yard line. And they couldn’t get seven. Now they had to settle for a field goal. They get the ball to start the third quarter. And they go what they get one first down and half the punt. And then the Bengals drive down the field. If you recall, there was a third and one where ro Quan Smith had a chance to get Joe burrow down and get them off the field. And it didn’t happen and they ended up scoring a touchdown. So think about what that kind of swing could have been had the Ravens gotten seven to end the first half going into halftime instead of a one point lead. You know that they put another touchdown on the board. And then your you had the ball to start the third quarter. They could have Yeah, they could have really seize control of that game. But they couldn’t. You know, it’s another what if in a season of so many what ifs, but you move on it ends quickly. The suddenness of the end of the season when you’re in the playoffs even even if there was a little more resignation around town than normal in terms of the Ravens realistic chances without Lamar Jackson and just knowing what the state of this offense was at the end of the season.
Nestor Aparicio 03:11
Well, the amazing part is if they win the game, and we’re here today talking about them going to Kansas City as a 16. Point underdog this week, would would Lamar play. Yeah. Right. I mean, like they will feign that maybe he would play because they lie about such things. But that is fascinating that we would have had another week of is Lamar getting better. I mean, this is a chance to go to a championship game. If you go out there and beat Patrick mahomes. You would think that that would that would appeal to number eight, you know what I mean? That would have been that’s all hypothetical at this point. It’s not mentioned me, but I’m sure the franchise will pitch it that way that hey, Lamar, one more week, maybe Lamar could have made it.
Luke Jones 03:52
Yeah, I mean, I that’s what was so interesting about his his tweet on Thursday evening. That to me, and again, he didn’t say it, he didn’t spell it out directly that I’m done for the season. But the details that he offered on his injury, did not give off a vibe that his return was imminent, to lay out the scenario that you just presented. We don’t know. And again, what the team says, and I’m not here and I’m not coming. I mean, it just you know,
Nestor Aparicio 04:23
that hardball apparently was a little blindsided by it or a feign that he was.
Luke Jones 04:29
They didn’t know about it. Now, they they didn’t know he was tweeting that but for here’s and here’s how you know this for sure. I mean, I know that they didn’t know that. But even if you’re skeptical of Luke Jones saying that, think of how the Ravens handle their social media. Anytime there is a statement from someone, they do not just type it out. What did they do? They have their social media team, their graphic design team. They put up a fancy little graphic, it’s got the purple background with the white lettering. They would have put out statement from Lamar Jackson and it would have been Have nice, clean update probably wouldn’t have had that level of detail. But even if they had made an organization organizational decision to say, hey, Lamar wants people to know that this is how injured he is, and we don’t want to damage our relationship with him any more than it might already be. That’s what how, you know, they didn’t know that that was coming. And certainly, you could imagine wonder
Nestor Aparicio 05:21
from his perspective where the damages, and I never you never know when someone feels disrespected, or put down or put away, but I really wonder at what point this thing got arrived. For him. That would be an interesting part of the book. He doesn’t talk to most of anybody, maybe somebody down in Miami will get the story at some point or somebody in Louisville, or you know, or Bill Rodin will get the story, because I saw horrible light up and smile from the podium. I’m like, Who would? Who was the pretty girl that walked in? It turns out it was Bill Rodin. You know, once I saw everybody get up and clean out of the locker, I added a tiny little interview room in Cincinnati that I’ve been in. Oh, I don’t know. 2122 23 times in my life. Not for playoff game though. Never thought about a playoff game. It’s it’s an odd podium, but they’re the truth will come out. It’s too young. It’s too fresh, like one of my wife’s soups. You know, gotta let it settle. let it settle in let it melt a little bit. But, boy, this last month has been one of the uglier episodes undocumented so far, for the for the franchise, because it never got here with Ray Lewis or every or John Ogg go down the list. Suggs, Suggs who was not, and they figured it out with him, let alone the martial Yan does in the lunch pail guys that spent time here. I mean, they even figured out what Jared Johnson by just being honest with him and saying, Do we don’t have the money for you go get paid in San Diego, like the lack of trust, and or trusts or trust, I’m not sure either way, however you spell it. The honor and the integrity of the relationship will be the heart of this story will be Lars knee, it won’t be his ability. It might not even be money, as much as its respect. And as much as Lamar has watched them fall apart without him. In his mind, that is his bargaining chip. I mean, he doesn’t know anything about being an agent, like I’m, you know, like, he really doesn’t. And that’s you don’t know what you don’t know, this unrepresented part has done him no favors. And it’s certainly it’s done, Eric, the cost in the organization, no favors that this wasn’t better managed, better orchestrated, and that involves Chad steel, and whatever they’re going to put out at the podium, and whatever Michel Andreas is going to put online, whatever the orchestration of all of this is. It’s, it’s very unfortunate, Luke, I mean, I just want to say it’s very, very unfortunate that this is the circumstance the franchise is in, and they can’t sell their tickets. And people are all up in arms, and everybody has a strong position that may or may not be accurate. The only strong position is he got hurt didn’t finish the year, and they got eliminated, and they can’t win without him.
Luke Jones 08:18
I mean, it’s just, it is wild, regardless of how you want to dice up the blame. And you just you just name some individuals where, you know, the Ravens have admits messy situations in the past. And that’s where I’m not going to look at this as it’s a closed book, and they can’t work something out. I’ve seen, I’ve seen it happen before, whether you’re looking at the ravens, where you’re talking about elsewhere, with players contract situations, however,
Nestor Aparicio 08:45
I don’t think the Ravens want to work it out anymore. You know what I mean? Like, I’m like, I’m starting to believe that I’m not,
Luke Jones 08:51
I’m not, I’m not, I’m not suggesting that that isn’t necessarily the truth. But my point is, I’m not going to say Never say never, when you are talking about a position, and the player who is that important to what they’ve done the last few years. And even if you make the decision to move on, it’s still very complicated moving forward, because you don’t want it to be a case of you’re not going to get proper compensation for him. So again, even if they’re heading toward a divorce, even though they were they ever really married when you’re not talking about a long term, you know, $200 million contract, they still have to play nice, and they still need to be cordial and try to handle things publicly the best way they can. But it is wild, when you really take a step back and again, wherever you fall on the Lamar verse organization scale, to think where they were three years ago at this time that you know, this was right around when they lost to Tennessee, when they were 14 and two, they were 10 point favorites against the Titans. And they were completely stunned even in the aftermath of that. You think about where the ravens are at that point. They had a quarterback who was 22 years old, bout to be the unit unanimous NFL MVP led the league touchdowns. This offense was the best in the league better than Kansas City that year. Yes, even though the Chiefs ultimately won the Super Bowl and legacies are defined in January, but we know how great that team was in the regular season to think they are where they are three years later. And over the course of those three years, Nestor one playoff win. It’s, it’s incredibly disappointing. And that’s not even pointing the blame at any one individual. There’s lots of blame to go around. There’s lots of rotten luck to go around, quite frankly, Ronnie Stanley doesn’t crush his ankle, you know, midway through the 2020 season, go down the list of different you know, all the injuries they had last year. I mean, if Lamar doesn’t get hurt each of the last two December’s what does that mean? Does that not saying the Ravens would have won the Superbowl but certainly would have been in a better position than missing the playoffs entirely last year, and being knocked out in the wild card round this year, you’d like to think they certainly had a higher probability of making a run either of those two years, if Lamar is on the field, not, that’s a captain obvious statement there. So it stinks. It really stinks that they’re in this position three years later. And there’s plenty of blame to go around. The organization owns a lot of that, you know, even if even if you are of the thought of Lamar is not this or Lamar is getting hurt, or Lamar wants to money, and you know, go down the list of you know, his critics, you know, his detractors pointing out certain elements of it that might be fair, or a little unfair, you know, the organization. They dropped the board at some point. Along the way here, you know, whether you’re talking about wide receiver or initial offers of Lamar that they gave them are two years ago, Did you know Did they lowball them then and it kind of got this thing off on the wrong foot. And as you’re, as you pointed out, the absence of an agent being the buffer. I mean, it makes things messy, it makes things complicated. And, you know, as much as this thing looked great, and awesome three years ago, and it’s not as though it’s been all bad over the last three years. Let’s be clear about that. But, you know, to see where it is now. It’s, it’s, it’s sad. I mean, it is when you think about what kind of transcendent talent he is. And, frankly, what little the Ravens have done with it beyond just winning games in the regular season. So that’s not to say you automatically give him what he wants, or you automatically trade them or, you know, however, this is going to play out again, expect anything, I think anything’s on the table, other than the Ravens saying, Oh, well, we’ll give you a fully guaranteed deal, I think after another injury, plague season. I know, that wasn’t happening happening anyway, which was evident last year. But clearly, that’s not happening. So I don’t know how this is going to play out and how it ultimately finishes. But to go from where they were in early January of 2020. With a team that looked almost unbeatable. I mean, they won 12 games in a row. And they just racing teams, they were embarrassing teams. Look, this was the best team in football going into the playoffs that year. There’s no question about it, to think where they were then. And to think where they are three years later, and you have one playoff win under your belt to show for it. That’s incredibly disappointing. No matter who you want to blame for that ultimate outcome.
Nestor Aparicio 13:21
Luke Jones is here he will be continuing to try to interpret all of the changes out knowings Mills, he’ll be there for locker clean out this week. We will look at all the games and look at the final four talk about I mean, this weekend was super wild card activity and stuff. I mean, the bills almost got beat by third string quarterback the Bengals almost got beat by second string quarterback we talked about the Bengals offensive line be decimated three fifths of their line now out in the last couple of weeks, including the other night with they lose the left tackle. And the tournament will go on. We got to see four to seven more games left, right. You know, at the end of all of this, there’s no more one o’clock I said to my wife, there’s Sunday, one o’clock over with until September 10. Now, because they moved all these games back so the routine ends and the offseason sets in and people start thinking about spring training or the Terps or the cabs or in my case, Bruce Springsteen, you know, or whatever the offseason would be this week and the tumult with Roman moving chairs. Whoever Greg Roman’s buddy is that’s about to get the head coaching job at wherever and what job he would want and how weak Martin Dale is still coaching football this week, and the rest of them are not. This is and then nipa shotty. Right. Who I’ll be honest, I never thought Steve shot he was going to take my press credential and be a jerk. But here we are. So I don’t Brian Billick didn’t think he was gonna get fired that day for 15 years ago. Whatever he was John hardball 30 $40 million? Probably still, right? I mean, on the contract, maybe $50 million for three, four more years left on hard balls do whatever it is. This is a time where the fire horrible people like my buddy Joe, Enoch, the people that hate John, and I’ve already brought Johnson flowers because they were in a football game with a backup quarterback on the road where everybody’s hurt. And they have, you know, they almost won the game. I mean, I don’t lose sight of that with John. But it certainly feels like we’re a lot closer to the end than the beginning with John, the clock management issues. Right? Romans, his guy, the place calls are his guy. That guy’s popping off his guy, Chad steel Jason media that’s hit his names on the on the door. And it feels to me like he’s real tired. And watching this, and I’m not watching it in the room with him anymore. I’ve been in a room with him once since June. And I’m watching this as a fan as an interested observer. You’re in there watching the sweat, and I’m thinking to myself, hmm, I wonder how he and Eric are doing. I wonder how all of this is doing? Because this would be the time I mean, the dude who won the Super Bowl last year with F those pics five days ago was talking about maybe I’ll go to TV. You know, I this John want to bring in another quarterback and hang out here another five years and try to do this all over again. Now that he’s put on this kid, or this kids quit on him, or there just needs to be a divorce. Because Steve comes in at this as the billionaire guy whose franchise has picked up $150 million of value, you know, in the last month. I mean, this thing is accelerating and incredible pace. He just picked up $600 million of free money from the state. He’s having trouble selling tickets. He’s got a disgruntled quarterback, a beleaguered coach, a chased off offensive coordinator, a hiding in a hole General Manager and beta Scirocco. I like all of the reset the set, Steve would want how Steve wants this manage that Sashi brown sits here and Chad Steele sits there and Eric sits over here. And all of that is up for grabs to right now. Because Steve comes in and decides he didn’t like any of it. That’s gonna be Steve’s prerogative. So I never lose sight of that, which Steve’s gonna make changes. This. Steve doesn’t fire coaches in week 12. You know, this is the time of the year for Steve to say I got all this money. I don’t want to sell the team anymore. Because there was a period during the plague where I thought the shot he was going to sell the team soon as the people around him then feel like that now maybe he’s playing coy. But this isn’t a time of evaluation for the whole franchise. And I think Steve will be taking a long view of that, because it certainly feels like the end of Camelot to me. To some degree.
Luke Jones 17:59
There’s one word and I don’t want to dismiss the rest of what you just said. But there’s one word that you said that really struck me. You use the word almost. And this is where look, I think John Harbaugh’s credentials speak for themselves. He’s a Hall of Fame coach. He’s been to the playoffs more often than not, he’s had two losing seasons. And you look at those two losing seasons. They were 2015 and last year when they were absolutely rocked with injuries, so I don’t need to sit up here and you know, recite John Harbaugh’s credentials, however, here are some facts. The this team has now gone a decade without making an AFC Championship Game appearance. Think about that. I mean, think about the fact that in John, Harbaugh’s first five years, they made three of those now, they lost in oh eight, or they lost in 2011, the Billy kind of game and then they had, you know, they had their their revenge, they had their their ultimate gratification, their ultimate validation. You know, John Harbaugh had that. So, you know, but you mentioned the word almost. And that’s where we kind of go back to how these guys, they play hard. The floor is very high, right? I mean, they’ve had a very high floor, they want a lot of games in the regular season, and they’ve made the playoffs. But as I mentioned in a previous conversation, this is now out of this period of time where they’ve made the playoffs for the last five years, they’ve been one and done three of three of those now, I’ll point out and 2019 That was the divisional round. They got the first round by that’s something that should be mentioned. Right. I mean, you shouldn’t just gloss over that. But they they won playoff games in 2008 through 2014. They want at least one playoff game. Each of those six years that they six out of seven years they made the play on the road is I remember those most of them on the road. Correct? Correct. I mean, in fact, it was crazy. Sunday was the first time in franchise history. he’d lost a road wildcard game every other wildcard game they’d played on the road they’d won.
Nestor Aparicio 20:05
So buses at Indianapolis that morning. You know, like I I remember Pittsburgh, I remember that eight hours back with Billy condition, you know, like that. We’ve been up and down the highway and hardball has been a part of all of this. To your point. So is the caster. Right? Bus right we’ve been on they’ve been on. So
Luke Jones 20:23
my point is not to say that that means I think the Raven should fire John Harbaugh. But there has to be an acknowledgment here that it’s been a lot of almost not a whole lot of doing it when it comes to January. And when legacies are ultimately defined here. Now, we can talk about elements of love. I mean, my goodness, you had a quarterback sneak play that turned into a 98 yard fumble recovery for a touchdown. Whether Tyler Huntley executed the play correctly or not, whether Greg Roman should have called that specific player not there’s a very rotten luck element.
Nestor Aparicio 20:59
That’s a hell of a bad beat. I wouldn’t exactly exactly I mean, whether you get you know, normally okay when he was running and Andrews was chasing him and four guys could block Andrews and I’m like, Are any of you going to take out at night turn around? The only guy that can catch him and I thought that he almost got him I mean, get get almost the block in the back plate defense
Luke Jones 21:18
block in the back could kind of sorta could have been called there too. But but the point, the point is, you can only keep talking about almost so long until you start to say like, what gives here we’re spinning our wheels. Why isn’t this translating? Yeah, we it’s great to win these games in the regular season, but got to break through. And that’s not to say that’s one specific individuals fault. It’s an organizational thing. Yeah. But there have been personnel questions, you know, whether you’re talking at wide receiver or last year, not being covered at left tackle adequately for Ronnie Stanley are gonna go down the list, you can talk about coaching decision, my goodness, I mean, we broke, we picked apart Greg room. And over the last couple of years, he talked about John Harbaugh with fourth downs and two point conversion calls at the end of games and clock management, as we saw that rears its ugly head at the end of the game, you know, you can talk about Lamar Jackson, or this defense not protecting late leads or what you know, I mean, go down to lose its rear
Nestor Aparicio 22:15
its head at the end of the game and reared its head to end their season.
Luke Jones 22:18
Yeah. Right. I mean, literally. Sure, sure. So, you know, and I guess my point in saying that is not to say that they need to clean house. But I think if you’re Steve Ashada, you do have to look at this thing in a big picture sense and say, Okay, are we continuing to move in the right direction, whether we’re talking about Lamar Jackson, or the coaching staff, or the organizational philosophy? I mean, I mentioned the revolution in Lamar Jackson in medieval running the football and deep, you know, and doing all those things. Do they need to take a long look at that, you know, and we can talk about wide receiver and say, well, wide receivers don’t want to play here. Well, why is that? Right? I mean, you have to you have to de facto that’s you have to? Well, sure, but you have to be introspective because wide receivers important. Look at the teams that are still playing other than maybe the Giants, which
Nestor Aparicio 23:08
becomes important when you’re down 10 points. You know what I mean? When you fumble the ball, you get a kick block, you’re losing 10 to nothing, all of a sudden, the way to matriculate the ball is the throw the football and we watched it all weekend, teams that complete forward passes. And this isn’t that team. Steve sees that John sees that Eric sees that they went this direction. They called it an experiment in the beginning, which always left the open to say it was an experiment. So I can see them dealing Lamar off to the beaten years for three first round draft picks up the Buccaneers guarantee him $210 million. And then coming back and saying, Look, we tried it and here’s why we love that kid. Here’s why it didn’t work. He got hurt. He ran into linebackers. We couldn’t get wide receivers to come and play here. And we just decided it was an experiment that we tried it it was a lot of fun, wasn’t it a lot of fun. Can’t you hear Johnson? One that a lot of fun. Get you know, but but we’re gonna do something a little more traditional now and like try to throw the football.
Luke Jones 24:08
Yeah. But then that’s where I do go back to everything else about this. And we keep saying the word almost has as the track record been so overwhelmingly great since Super Bowl 47. To say that, all right. This current regime gets the start over again with another quarterback. I don’t know. I’m just presenting that question.
Nestor Aparicio 24:30
I thought that Steve would want to look for another head coach, because it was painstaking for him as much as the hire of people. He doesn’t like hiring people from what I can tell he doesn’t fire a whole lot. Even people he should fire including the people threw me out of the building. So they don’t move anybody out there. Nobody moves out there. It is a very it’s the strength of the organization. Is it sir, is the stability and the way they keep people around? Right? So knowing all of that I’ve never felt I my my thought three years ago was Steve was setting this thing up to sell it and saying to the owner, I got Eric to Costa and Ozzie Newsome still in the building. And, and you know, and we have tickets sold. And here’s my new team, President Sashi. Brown. Here’s my you know, I’m giving you a $5 billion organization that’s functioning, you know, so give me my 5 billion. Let me cash out and I’m done. Right, Steve isn’t done now. Right. So if Steve’s in it’s there’s not an old guy, right? I mean, he’s got 20 years of life good life. Right? Yeah. Right. Like, like the next thing, his next, John, his next constantly Arey that he puts in that chair. At some point, he’s going to outlive John in the deal. Now, I believe he’s going to still own the team when John’s not coaching it anymore. Or John doesn’t want to coach it, or he doesn’t want John to coach it. But I’ve never thought that he’s wanted to find the next guy. And they’re at the point now, where they’re going to have to find the next guy quarterback, right? I mean, we all I mean, I’m not sailing Lamar down. I think it’s more relationship and trust. And then it is whether Lamar can play or not, because Lamar can play, and they’re gonna struggle without him. But I don’t think they can go on with him, because I don’t think he’s gonna play for a tag. And I don’t think they’re gonna come up with a contract. And I don’t think they trust him. Because he didn’t play Sunday night. And so. So all of that being said, this, isn’t Steve’s mind. Now. Do I want to blow the whole thing up? How much longer am I in? Is John really the guy? Are we gonna bring it up? Are we gonna get bad and draft a rookie quarterback? And like, go that route? And, like, because this is a time for big change for them? I don’t know what big change might not mean, John, it might not mean Eric, it might. It’s certainly going to mean Greg Roman, it’s almost certainly going to mean Lamar Jackson to some degree. I would wonder if Steve doesn’t sit down with John and say, Do you want to go coach another team? Or do you want it? You know, like, are we in this for another one of these, we’re gonna go draft another Lamar, and do this. Because this, beating Joe burrow and beating Patrick mahomes and beating Josh Allen and beat the jig, and beating Trevor Lawrence, they better be better than what they are right now.
Luke Jones 27:27
That’s the job, right? I mean, that’s what and that’s why you’re saying the word almost. And I’m not trying to fixate on that. But it just it really struck me you saying almost. And you meant it in a complimentary fashion. I mean, again, very few people gave this team any shot on Sunday night. And I mean, they were a foot and a half away, you know, foot away from taking the lead in the fourth quarter. I mean,
Nestor Aparicio 27:50
I don’t even like John, but like I picked 37 and 16 and felt guilty. I felt like, I just thought he would throw a couple of picks. I thought the defense would get beaten a few more times over top. That’s what I thought the fact that the game was where it was in a 14 point swing on a really dumb play and a bad decision by second string quarterback with with your franchise running back on on ice. Like I bet Steve’s not happy this morning. Right? Like, I’ve just started to think I bet Steve’s not happy?
Luke Jones 28:21
I wouldn’t think so. I certainly wouldn’t think so. But But again, that’s where keep coming back to this. And you just said with these quarterbacks aren’t going away? I mean, now, could there be could Cincinnati screw up their situation with Joe burrow? Because Mike Brown is notoriously cheap? Sure. I’d say that’s possible. But it’s not going to happen with all these guys. Right? Patrick mahomes is not going anywhere. Josh Allen is not going anywhere. I mean, you can stop with those two. And just what we’ve seen out of those two franchises over the last year, especially Kansas City, but buffalo to a lesser degree, but you know, I mean, we saw the playoff shootout that they had last year in Kansas City and how close the bills were at that point, but the gig is not to be almost the gig is to you got to break through. And if you are in a position for argument’s sake, that let’s assume and again, I’m not making that 100% assumption, but I certainly feel it’s more likely than I would have certainly a year ago absolutely from two years ago that the Lamar Jackson relationship is coming to an agreement that’s what they called it experience whatever you want to call you know the revolution whatever. If we’re if we’re making the assumption that that is going to come to an end here and again, I’m not saying it definitely will, but would it surprise me? Of course not. I’ve seen the same thing everyone else has seen a play out over the last few months and the last two years really, but how do you get how do you break through you know, how is it going to be Is it as simple as but you need to you need to find the next Joe burrow you know, Is it as simple as boy you need to try to be able to drop Bryce Young and I’m just throwing his name out there just as an example. Not saying that, you know whether he’s going to be a Start in the NFL or not, but he’s gonna be a very high pick. I mean, that’s, you know, the number one pick and all that. But no, that’s that is what’s tough about this because they’ve had they’ve maintained such a high floor. And people have even talked about this. You see a lot of people, you know, smart Ravens fans, blogger types, you know, media. X’s and O’s types talk about the Ravens formula, compared to less need in the Rams where, you know, it was blank those pics and you know, we’ve see where the Rams won a Super Bowl last year and they’re terrible this year, because coach almost said, eff this job. By the way, as a quick aside, I love how the Rams put out the statement that Shawn fey was excited about returning next year. Yeah, nothing says excitement. Like I need a whole week to figure it out.
Nestor Aparicio 30:46
If I want a coach next year to pay me 12 million, I guess. So I guess I’ll call him. So. But
Luke Jones 30:51
but the point is, you know, when you look at this thing, you know, closest is great, or is good to a point. And it’s great to compete every year. But if you feel like you’re, you’re really not getting over the hump. And that feels like where the Ravens have been the last few years. And look, if Lamar Jackson had been healthy the last two years, who knows? Maybe the Ravens would have made an improbable march to the Super Bowl. Let’s face it in 2012. You know, I talked about this recently, go back and look at the end of the 2012 regular season when they played a similar season finale in Cincinnati. No one thought the Ravens were going into the Super Bowl. At that point, there was much more talk about the fact they’d lost four out of five. So you never really know. And maybe that’s the argument that the Ravens could make for saying, Hey, we’re in it. And on the you know, we’ve been on the fringe at the very least, every single year for how many years now, but almost is not the gig, right? Almost winning Super Bowls and getting the AFC championships and getting to the Super Bowl. I mean, that’s that’s what this is about. And, look, let’s be very clear, take a step back, you know, let’s touch the touch some grass for a moment and realize how good Ravens fans have had it how good Baltimore has had it for two decades now two decades plus the number of playoff appearances, two Super Bowls in the last 22 years. I mean, don’t take that for granted. Let’s be very clear about that. However, if we’re looking at it over the last decade, there have been fewer two playoff wins since Super Bowl 47. They have won playoff wins since January of 2015. And you say that with them having a unanimous NFL MVP at quarterback in 2019. So why hasn’t it been more successful in January? Super shot, he should be asking that question right now. And that doesn’t mean he cleans house. Let’s be very clear. But you better be introspective about why almost is as good as you’re doing right now. You know, in terms of almost winning in the first round or almost beating buffalo.
Nestor Aparicio 32:50
Why don’t your fan base believes either right. And Steve doesn’t know any. I mean, Steve Steve’s on a boat drinking expensive wine living on his yacht. And in the Bahamas. He doesn’t know maybe he does. I mean, he’s a smart guy. Maybe he’s driven around. But I’ve lived here. I remember we didn’t have a team. I remember we brought a team. I remember the first time I remember the second time I remember the road to the second time. I remember oh six I remember the passion of the city. And they screw that up for life with with people like me and may throw me out of the stadium. So, but I see empty seats, and I see flamingos that aren’t on lawns. And I see people like me that have 100 sets of purple floodlights that didn’t make their way out of a bag. There was no confidence for this team in the community. I’ve been out in bars and restaurants all week. No, nobody’s painting the town purple. Nobody believed. That’s a real problem for ownership. Now, whether they acknowledge that or not Sashi Brown, what the hell does he know he’s off a boat. He thinks this is good, because he’s getting paid. And he’s new to it. And he’s got to see and he’s got a job for as long as he had as long as contract is at this point, right? Like, but Steve doesn’t think of these residents in general. Sashi. Brown thinks he’s got a job for 20 years, because that’s the way Steve operates. And they better get moving as much as I’ve beaten the baseball team up here for two decades. offseason there is no offseason. And that’s not just for Eric de Costa. That’s for selling their brand and the spirit of the brand and getting people excited. And to your point when you don’t win playoff games, when you fight with your quarterback when ticket prices go up when you treat people poorly. And I’m not the only one that’s been treated poorly. I get reached every day by somebody who’s been treated poorly by the Ravens. And I don’t mean taking a knee and Wembley and I’m mad because I love Donald Trump. I’m talking about people that feel like the Ravens have drifted not just in the way they’ve treated me or they’re getting their $600 million of free money and like all of that just They need some kumbaya time with their fan base, and a reconnection, a reengagement of their fan base locally in Baltimore, to bring back that level of Billick on billboards, or we’ve got Ray Lewis, or we’ve got this transcending quarterback who doesn’t play in December and is mercurial at best, and maybe wants to leave at worst. Right? So this is an episode for Steve to and Sashi, who’s now the leader, and Eric and John, who are the leaders. They don’t think anything about the fan base or the fans or what they just don’t I mean, they they don’t I’ve been a part of this I remember when they cared what the fans thought. Now they just put a pretty social media status thing up put it out there and, and flagellate themselves and feel like they’ve done something they want to up two playoff games in a decade. That’s on John that’s on Eric That’s on Steve bet that they can’t get their tickets away. That’s on the franchise. And all of this should be baked into whatever they’re doing with their quarterback, whatever they’re doing with their coaching, whatever they’re doing with their brand strategy. But their brands take a little hit the beginning with Ray Rice and the Wembley knee and losing playoff games. And John’s demeanors just poor, like, you know, like, just literally as a guy watching it, I look at it, he looks like a guy that might not be my head coach anymore, because he doesn’t look like he doesn’t look like it’s fun. It doesn’t look like it’s engaging. And it doesn’t look feel like he’s recruiting anyone anymore. It feels like it’s the building against the world. Okay, that’s who he is. And if that’s what you want from your head coach, fair enough, but it’s costing them in other ways. I believe that I see that. And I feel that when I walked the streets in a purple hat, and by the things, people say to me, when they come up to me, as I’m as close as they’re gonna get this deep shot of yours, they don’t get a chance to talk to any of them. So when they run into me, they talk to me about this stuff. And I see the the $5 tickets on game days. And I see that nobody went to Cincinnati. I couldn’t have put a mini bus together to go to Cincinnati on Sunday night to see that. So this is this is on Steve’s desk, Luke and you know, I know you’re more football, I’m more business and wherever it is. This is where it all this is where you shape the organization, which feed calls Eric and John and the leadership to Jupiter in three weeks and sits down and says what are we doing here? This is this is a bad. I mean, they made the playoffs? And it feels like there’s tumult, you know, it does not? It doesn’t feel like good times there. It feels like some major changes are about to happen and in ways maybe we’re not even talking about.
Luke Jones 37:46
Yeah, I mean, a couple thoughts. And then I do want to mention something as a retort to that from a football standpoint. But one gotta remember is this franchise has now been here. 27 years you had people in their mid 30s. Who the ravens are like the Orioles were for you. And for me, they were just always there. You know that they were an institution? Yes. We know that the St. Louis Browns moved in 1954 and became the Oreos and all that, but they’ve been there. They’re absolutely. I do think this fan base is spoiled a little bit relative to how bad is in some other places. I mean, again, you talk about some talk about some cities, some franchises that have had a team wait longer, you know, even even longer than the Colts being in Baltimore. look at someone like the Detroit Lions, for example. never even been to a Super Bowl, let alone one two in this millennium. So there’s there is some of that and I do think there’s just some that I think there’s ebbs and flows to that in any market. I think at times, New England Patriots fans are way more spoiled now than they were in the mid 90s. That’s for sure. Thinking about what that franchise was
Nestor Aparicio 38:57
when you’re thinking about old tire coaches and quarterbacks. I mean, how much Bill Belichick gonna continue to do, right. I mean, he looks a little old and tired and beaten up and sort of like, I see all these young coaches. Right. And John was the young coach, right? Mike Tomlin was the young coach. Oh, Peyton was the young coach. They’re not anymore. And I don’t know, for watching it from where I’m watching it. It just seems like that they’ve, they’ve lost the fun. They mean, they’ve lost that.
Luke Jones 39:26
Well, and I mean, and to bring it back to Lamar Jackson for just a moment. Look how much fun he had his first couple of years. And, you know, he had such a youthful countenance, right? I mean, he was smiling. He had so much fun. I mean, we remember him, you know, he bumped into a photographer on the sideline and he’d get up, you know, it helped the person up, make sure they’re okay. And even, or even a couple of counselors sent a private message to them on Twitter. Hey, are you okay? Stuff like that. Not to say that Lamar doesn’t care about knocking over photographers on the sidelines anymore. My point is he played It was such a. I mean, it was so rejuvenating after you know, the last few years under Flacco had not been very fun. And I’m not saying that was all Joe’s fault, either. It was just how it played out for the franchise. But, you know, I, one thing I did want to mention from a football standpoint, because we’ve spent a lot of time talking about what’s wrong. Team has an All Pro cornerback whether you like him, you know whether you personally like him or not Nestor because I know you’ve talked about Marlon Humphrey, great player, Mark Andrews, one of the two or three best tight ends in the NFL, Ronnie Stanley is back healthy and look like Ronnie Stanley from the time that he came back. And that’s encouraging. They just signed row Quan Smith, who, for my money is the closest darn thing they’ve had to Ray Lewis at at inside linebacker, since Ray Lewis better than CJ Mosley better than Patrick we and go down the list better than Darryl Smith, and they invested a long term deal on him. So it’s not as though the cupboard is bare, and all these other positions, they have a lot of talent. However, when you’re talking about your offensive coordinator, you’re talking about wide receiver, which whether the Ravens track record or not. It’s a very important position, look around the league. And most importantly, you have such an unsettled situation with your franchise quarterback, boy, it’s really tough to just try to focus on all the things that are going well. And to just overlook that because you can it’s that important. So I mean, it is difficult, I think, I mean, at least since January of 2008 when the Ravens were looking for their next head coach after Brian Billick was dismissed. I mean, it’s difficult to recall a an offseason that’s going to be more pivotal than this one. What exactly is going to happen here? Greg Roman being fired. I mean, to me that’s, that’s the baseline. And I don’t say that with disrespect to Greg Roman. And again, I’ve said all along, I don’t think it’s all his fault, but I just don’t see how you don’t make a change there. I think it’s
Nestor Aparicio 41:59
Ron, it’s just had seven or eight offensive coordinators, right. This is right. I mean, I can’t even remember them all. You said well, Zorn cam Cameron,
Luke Jones 42:08
Pressman. Tres. Oh, I forgot about him. Right Kubiak? Yeah. So Zoran was a quarterbacks coach, by the way, not not. Right. Okay. That’s right. Your point is,
Nestor Aparicio 42:18
But your point is there lots of cooks and replacing it with the offensive coordinator, replacing replacing
Luke Jones 42:24
coordinators. That happens all the time. You know that that’s, I mean, I made I tweeted at the end of the game on Sunday night that a really interesting offseason now commences and people were saying, Greg Roman, that’d be fine. I mean, that’s just scratching the surface. And again, I don’t say that with disrespect to the human element of Greg Roman the person. Look, Jim Harbaugh becomes an NFL head coach, again, he’s gonna gotta join Jim, wherever he winds up, which it’ll be interesting to see. But what’s gonna happen with Lamar Jackson, what is going to happen here? And do you tag? D? Do you somehow find a way to come to a long term agreement? And again, I’m not expecting that whatsoever at this point, why tagging in
Nestor Aparicio 43:03
part was always like, that’s what fans on the internet? Well, they use under team control. And that’s what the announcement is under team, you’re gonna do that. And I’m like, great. What does that mean? If if you’re paying $50 million, and what you’ve had the last eight weeks, from a communication trust standpoint, if that’s where you are, and I don’t mean injured? I just mean, like, is he on the boat? Is he is he fully committed? And I know John wondered that out loud to some journalists privately back in the spring when he didn’t show up in OTAs. So I think this the when he didn’t show up at OTAs, and we talked about it and said, Well, it’s just just practice Allen Iverson. Yeah, just practice. And it’s optional. And the Players Association have negotiated these terms. And that, that got on the wrong side of John, In the beginning, I know that got on the wrong side of John, which got gets on the wrong side of the organization, if you’re on the wrong side of John. And to your point, they’re gonna franchise him and he doesn’t have to show up. And I, I just don’t see that as that’s for fans on the internet. That’s for the end of the bar. You guys at the end of the bar, just say franchise and play and this isn’t rotisserie football. I mean, it’s not. And I’ve never thought that that was a legitimate channel to do anything other than deal with. I never thought he’s, well, you’ll just shoot $48 million. You’ll show up. He’ll play. I’m shocked. He showed up for 23 million this year. And there were a lot of smart people that thought he shouldn’t have Yeah, well, you’re going to tag them because you’re not going to just let them enter free agency right. I
Luke Jones 44:40
mean, so it’s it’s very much comes back to what are you tagging him for now the organization will say, assuming several weeks from now, when we get to the window for issuing the franchise tag, the organization will say publicly we are tagging Lamar in hopes of working out a long term deal and we’ll have till mid July to negotiate and We know how that works, because we’ve seen them tag players in the past and everyone other than Matthew Jude on the Ravens have signed long term and Wiley Williams Way back when which, you know, different business back in the late 90s compared to what we’re talking tag. Sure, sure. So, but it’s just, you know, it really does come back to you know, do you give them the exclusive and I’m not going to take credit for this, I saw Mike Florio wrote, I think it was Mike Florio, but others have talked about this as well. Is there a scenario where you give them the non exclusive tag? And you know what you say, but because with the non exclusive tag, that means what he is free to negotiate with other teams? Do you give Lamar what he wants and say, you know, what, Lamar, assuming he still wants a fully guaranteed deal, or nearly fully guaranteed Dayla? Assuming that hasn’t changed? And we don’t know, because Lamar hasn’t talked about it, and he doesn’t have an agent, delete that information. But assuming that is the case, is there a scenario where you say, you know, what, we’ll get on the nonexclusive tag, it’s cheaper, we are covered that if some team signs him, and we either one can’t match it, or let me rephrase that they can match, they could they can do whatever they want, if they really want to do it. But if they don’t want to match it, they get two first round picks. However, if you do it from a strategic standpoint, if you’re still thinking, the star franchise, quarterback as much as there might be certain things about him that, you know, we’re worried about the injuries or whatever, but he’s still our guy, because we don’t win games without him. Let’s just say for a moment, that’s how they feel. I’m not saying that that’s the case. But that’s the hypothetical. Is there an argument to be made that you give them the non exclusive tag, and you let them are, hey, go call teams that are looking for a quarterback or let they’ll call you and see what they offer you, and then see if they give you a fully guaranteed deal, the deal that we haven’t wanted to give you over the last 10 months, you know, since the Watson deal. So, you know, that serves two purposes. One, you know, if some team signs him gives them the deal he wants, and the Ravens don’t want to match it, they get to first round picks. But it could also be the reality check that the Ravens might feel that Lamar Jackson needs and some team offers him something that is not terribly different than what the Ravens have been offering. And again, I don’t know that all it takes is one team to give you hope. Everyone was talking about the teams that were vying for Deshaun Watson until the Browns gave them a $230 million guarantee contract. All it takes is one team. We know that however, you do wonder if that’s the scenario, maybe more so than the exclusive. Maybe you give them the non exclusive and say no more, go out and see what you’re worth. Hey, the Ravens did it with Ray Lewis, they did it with the greatest, you know, the most beloved iconic figure in franchise history. And Ray Lewis, after the end of the 2008 season, he became a free agent he could have signed with anyone we all know that and there was all the whispers about Dallas at the time. Guess what Ray Lewis found out, no one else was paying wanting to pay him more than the Ravens were willing to pay him at the time. And he was 31 years old, came back now. And again, I’m not suggesting that that’s how it will definitely play out with Lamar. But if it’s a case of Lamar continues to want a fully guaranteed deal, as is the assumption, then. Okay, let him go see if someone will give it to him. Because I do agree with you from the standpoint of with the tag. It’s great to say you want to play it out from a football standpoint and say, All right, well bring in another receiver hat be better there. We have a different offensive coordinator and see what Lamar and this offense looks like that. That sounds like that sounds like a very reasonable idea in a vacuum. Right. But business involved is involved here. Human beings are involved here. And you’re talking about a situation that’s now festered for two years, whether it’s remained, you know, I’m not saying it’s been I’ve been ill will over that entire time, but at some point in time, just have to call a spade a spade, why can’t to get a deal done. You know, there’s frustration, there absolutely is frustration for both sides. And you can understand that. But, you know, it’s great to talk about that hypothetical situation. But that’s where I do agree with you from the standpoint of is it really plausible to just say, you’re gonna play out another year for the tech for on the tag? Is Lamar gonna be remotely amenable to that? I mean, if it’s the exclusive then, okay, he gets 4445 What you know, and it’s not set just yet because we don’t know what the what the cap will be and all that. But does it play out that way? Or does it get really up? Does it get, you know, forget about OTAs. I mean, that was that was a symptom of where the contract situation was at that point in time. Him skipping OTAs if that’s the worst that would happen after you tag and boy, you’d sign up for that and blood right now. But it’s gonna show up for mandatory minicamp you’re gonna show up for training camp, so you got to show up for the start of the season. You know, I made the assumption of late August it’s no guarantee we’ve seen guys look at lady on bail in Pittsburgh whether he was wiser or not doing that guys will skip You know guys will show up. You know, we’ve seen guys show up in week three we’ve seen guys sit out so yeah, I have no idea how it plays out if you just say, oh, okay, we’ll try to tag them and see what happens. And I’ll go back to what I said to you before the season even started. And this wasn’t even me being pro Lamar or anti ravens or any of that. I said to you at the time, how exactly does this play out for that constitutes a win for the Ravens in terms of the this negotiation? You know, it’s fine to say you don’t wanna give him a fully guaranteed deal, I get that. I understand that. I totally understand, especially now after him having another season where he’s gotten hurt and couldn’t finish the year. But what constitutes a win here? And if you’re gonna trade him? Well, you’re starting over at the most important position. If you draft Kyle bowler, the next Kyle bowler, then where are you the next three or four years, you’re the Jets, the Jets have a really good roster right now set their quarterback positions a mess. Well, they didn’t make the playoffs. So it kind of shows you where you are there. So you know, that’s not an imperfect comparison. But my point stance, if you don’t have it figured out with your quarterback than all the other good players that the Ravens have on their roster and all the things about this organization that you really like, and there’s still a lot to like, it’s still, you know, I don’t want to say it’s moot. But, boy, that stuff doesn’t add up to feeling nearly as strongly and as confidently about this organization, as you’d like to feel so until they get that figured out. Boy, I mean, it’s just, you think it was a dark cloud hanging over the 2022 season? I don’t think this offseason is gonna play out. How about firing Greg Roman and saying you’re gonna go hire an offensive coordinator who, you know, who’s my quarterback? Exactly. What’s Lamar Jackson steel, and it might be someone who wants to work with Lamar, let’s be clear about that. I think there are plenty of guys out there who would embrace that, whether they’re at the collegiate level or if somewhere else in the NFL, I think their guys would love to work with Lamar, but if there’s no security there in terms of knowing if he’s going to be your quarterback or if he’s going to show up until September 10. Boy, how do you proceed there so that’s where you just look at this thing and I’m not you know, not saying the ravens are doomed I’m gonna go to 15 next year that’s not remotely saying that but for everything they have going for them right now. Until you get this situation resolved. Just feels like very little else matters. And that’s that’s an unsettling position to be in. When you’re going into a season after a first round playoff exit.
Nestor Aparicio 52:22
Well, we don’t have to ask if they’re gonna sign ro Quan Smith, because that was that was the big question a couple of weeks they got that. They got that done. Look, Joe is here. He will be an always most cleaning that lockers this week. We will be continuing to discuss this playoff games that will be here on Thursday, I’m doing the Maryland crabcake Tour presented by the Maryland lottery. Like he jokes with the Friends of winter nation. Lots and lots of things happening here including a Super Bowl in Glendale, Arizona in a couple of weeks as well. Seven football games remaining on the docket, including a chance to see the Cincinnati’s and the buffaloes in Kansas cities and Jacksonville’s get together this weekend and show us how it’s done. I am Nestor we are wn sta and 1570, Towson Baltimore. And we never stop talking Baltimore positive