As the young players work hard in Owings Mills and the veterans come in and out for “Organized Team Activities” (aka OTAs), Luke Jones and Nestor put into perspective all of the changes the Ravens have on offense this spring and why Lamar Jackson will need to be the catalyst.
orioles, year, lamar, week, win, talking, football, ravens, janet jackson, otas, september, play, baseball team, super bowl, people, expectations, long, quarterback, season, good
Nestor Aparicio, Luke Jones
Nestor Aparicio 00:01
W N S, T, Towson, Baltimore, Baltimore positive, we are positively into a fresh Preakness week here. This guy didn’t know much about the races, but he knows a lot about football around here. Luke Jones joins us now. At some point, I’m gonna get you out on the Maryland crabcake tour and I hear the food up at the local and fallston is going to be phenomenal next Tuesday. So I’m brought to you by the Maryland lottery and our friends at window nation. But you’ll be on the other end of the world. Right? There’s an Owings Mills, watch now on Lamar got how much in the signing bonus? One. So, you know, I was like, and you think he didn’t win the negotiation. But the watch is on now for whatever the installation of all of this is. This is It’s quiet, because we’re watching baseball right now. And I’m seeing Janet Jackson and waiting on the race and Bruno Mars is coming to town and John Waite and all and Otani. We have all these rock stars and down. But really, the football people are very wildly excited. And there’s like a fresh day in the in the building. I would think at this point, if you’re if you’re going to the building to work every day. Yeah, there’s
Luke Jones 01:07
no question about it, I think for the first time. And you got a little bit of this with the Odell Beckham signing, you know, we’re at what it was at Eastern night. And there was some enthusiasm there. Because I mean, that was the first really notable signing, notable audition they had made. But of course, you know, when you’re talking about hours before the draft starts, something that had been two years in the making finally happens, I think, for everyone, not just the organization, but the fan base itself. There was a thought a sense of relief of the focus is going to go back to the field again. And yeah, I mean, Lamar is contract will be talked about whether he plays great, whether he plays not so great, depending on what happens with the salary cap and roster moves over the next few years. I mean, that’s part of it. And that’s the same way in every market that has a quarterback that’s receiving top to your money. I mean, that’s just the nature of the beast. We talked about it with Joe Flacco for years,
Nestor Aparicio 01:58
you pay your quarterback $50 million a year, you know, hope you’re gonna win the Super Bowl, you have to believe you’re gonna win the Super Bowl, right? Yeah, sure, sure.
Luke Jones 02:05
You know, how much of Hope first belief, I mean, hey, you still have to go out and do it. And there are still plenty of great great players who never won a championship. And that’s just the way it works. There are no guarantees. But there’s just such a sense now of focusing on the field and focusing on football. And I think the schedule coming out on Thursday night added to that, where you get that context, you know, now the season is going to start at home September 10. Against Houston. And for the first six on the row, we know they’re gonna go into London are playing the Christmas night game against the 40, Niners you got for primetime games, three of them on the road. So you have all that context now. Right? I mean, we always we spent so much time I mean, you and I talked about the Ravens multiple times a week even when there isn’t a whole lot going because it is king when it comes to sports and with apologies to the Orioles who have been outstanding. It’s the same in every market. I mean, the ratings bear that out. I mean, you don’t have to look too far to understand why but there is just such a sense of that’s over now and you can focus on football and now that you have the schedule and you’re trying to I that up or are they gonna go 12 And five, it’s gonna be 11 and six, where you know, how tough is Cincinnati gonna be? You know, Cleveland just gods that area Smith via trade. So you wonder where the Browns are with Deshaun Watson suspension behind him and a full normal offseason. Pittsburgh, Kenny pick it? Is he going to take a step forward? How dangerous are the Steelers be if he can do that. So you just have all that excitement? And yeah, the business of the game is part of it and will continue to be because we’re still going to talk about the Ravens salary cap picture and can they add another edge rusher? Do they need to add another corner between now on September 10. But, you know, it’s just it’s refreshing to not have that same story we’re talking about over and over and over and over? And yes, we’ll still talk about it. And we’re still going to talk about Lamar. I mean, my goodness, he’s the face of the franchise, but it is there’s a different tone now. And you can sense the excitement amidst everything else going on Orioles and everything else going on downtown. It’s Preakness week, all of that. But there’s still that sense of, yeah, the ravens are still going to be the main event come fall, because football is king. But, you know, it’s just, it’s much, much easier now to think about it in those more enjoyable terms, then, that sense of unknown and bracing for the potential worst case scenario that was out there for quite some time. Let’s face it.
Nestor Aparicio 04:40
Well, you know, this has been such a hard offseason right. And it’s been such a weird time for you and me on the radio. I mean, I’m really proud of our work. I mean, in my 25th year of the station and 32nd year of doing this. We’re at a point now and I’ve talked about this for a week or two. Because look, you can see Tell me the Orioles issue in March. All, you know, I used to be the guy going down there shoveling it at six o’clock in the morning, you know waiting for Bill stecken to let me into the stadium so I could shovel that they might win at five games or whatever. The real belief and the feeling I have about going downtown, whether it’s at families doing the crabcake tour and having Ron Legler on from the Hippodrome and then my kid going to six and friends going down there, or me, going down and getting an Eagles ticket on my own and seeing the CFG Bank Arena or getting invited by this the president to go sit in the front row with Janet Jackson on Saturday like and see the place and see people checking their phones for Oriole scores. And I can’t imagine where the Ravens would be right now. Right now, if the Lamar thing had gone sideways, 15 days ago, if they were in a real pissing match with him as they easily could have been right for all of this, that it feels like all the chakras are aligning here for the city. In some weird way. I’m very inspired by it, driving into the city, seeing it at the bottom living there for 20 years, I walked down Park Avenue after getting these Janet Jackson tickets past the Chinese joints where my mom took me when I was a little boy. And so I’ve walked some really not so great parts of the city. And I see hope coming because I see people coming back. And more than that the football team sits above all of this. They’re more important than any of the rest of this to most people and have been for a generation now. And the one thing I see in the sports section, I counted 500 People to People of Color in the section. Like I see this on television, it plays out. Then I go to Janet Jackson, I see a multicultural city. I go to seal in Philadelphia and I go to CLM Washington, I see multicultural city. And you know the the Orioles have a ways to go in that department. But I would say for the Ravens. It’ll be quiet, quiet, quiet. But every time you’re out there that they allow you in and deny me access. And you can watch a practice be a part of it. I think the energy for the football team because of the baseball team. Because of the city everybody’s coming downtown, whether it was to see new addition last week, whether it’s to see Chris Stapleton, whether it’s the See, everybody will be in the city at some point to see a baseball game or concert something this summer. But then the ravens are going to play and the Orioles. I don’t think the Orioles are going to be in a pennant race. And I’ve said this, I don’t think there’s going to be a pennant race. I think by September, we’re going to be thinking about October for for baseball. But then the ravens are going to play and they’re going to play Houston. And I just know how important football is here. And it’s gonna bubble below, because you’re gonna be at the ballpark five nights a week, for the first time and along, you’ll mentioned buck and all that. But I think this is a different level of excitement because it’s ground floor. It’s young players, it’s squirt sections, Peters eatin pudding, and they’re like trying to have some fun down there. Again, they’re discounting, they’re doing things to that by September, there’s going to be an orange tsunami, but it’s all going to stop on that first Sunday for football. And I just think this is this is an amazing year, I think for sports here. And the Lamar signing brings hope whether it’s you and I can fight Oh, whether whether they’re really going to win the Super Bowl or not. But they’re going to win a lot of football games and they’re going to have a as long as he stays healthy $52 million player, they’re going to be relevant. And the relevance is going to be a different kind of relevance because the baseball team plays every night, and we haven’t had that year. I’ll say in a generation you can make up whatever you want. But I think the ravens are going to go to below the fold for a little while. And that’s probably good for them. They jets the likes that he he gets paid the same either way. They’re they’re going to be quiet and peaceful as long as the medivac doesn’t show up, as long as red lights don’t show up late at night. And they make some stupid headlines, which is always possible. I mean, they had a player die 11 months ago, like literally in the wrong side of town. So as long as nothing like that happens for the franchise. They’re right where John wants them quiet below the fold, working hard and stalling and off doing all of this. The hard work, the stuff where you win a championship, this is the time for them. Sure, sure.
Luke Jones 09:23
I mean I liken it to a pro wrestling card. You have all these other things going on. I mean the Orioles right now are stealing the show with not just getting off to a good start but a really good start. And you mentioned all the other concerts all the AW was at the arena not about two weeks ago. I mean, there’s plenty
Nestor Aparicio 09:41
this week, Otani See, this is a big this is I can’t imagine a week like this. We have a football team that everybody thinks to win the Super Bowl. We have a baseball team that everybody thinks is going to the playoffs. We have the biggest horse race in the world. I mean, this we have an arena that really is like yeah, it looks like Madison Square Garden. I mean that This is a beautiful thing for Baltimore right now. And I think it’s even more beautiful that we’re not all sitting around bitching about Lamar anymore that that’s over with. That’s good.
Luke Jones 10:07
Exactly. And like I said, you know, as I was making my comparison here, I mean, the ravens are the main event in the fall. And but the thing is, you have all these other things going on. Now, the pressure is gonna be on to live up to those expectations. Right. And I will, I know, You’ve been more dismissive about this, and I disagree with that part of it. But I liken this to 2012. I go back to that year. The Orioles had lost 93 games the year before that, and suddenly they were a 93 win team and, you know, Machado comes up in August, they make the playoffs, you know, they take the Yankees to five games and the divisional round. And it was that was a really fun season. And for the ravens, there was some pressure keep in mind this is coming off the heels of Billy Cundiff and Lee Evans and losing the New England and the AFC Championship game. And then we know what the the Ravens did that fall in that winter. So it’s not to say that the Ravens have to win the Superbowl but the point is the Orioles with business picking up for them and excitement really picking up for them, you know, starting last year, but especially this year, when you’re talking about a team that’s, you know, kind of been flirting with 667 ball. That’s kind of where they’ve been for a while now, early in this season. That you know, it’s not just that the Lamar things done, but it’s okay, it’s time to roll. It’s time. Everything’s in place. Mungkin Odell Beckham you just drafted another wide receiver four out of your five starting offensive linemen are back your top two running backs are back you have Mark Andrews and two talented tight ends behind him. Everything is in place your defense looks a little bit different. But you know on the heels of a really strong finish to last season, and Mike McDonald and a second year as coordinator and Ro Quan Smith locked up now everything is in place for this team to not just be really good, but to make that playoff run to make that deep run into January so now of course that’s January that’s a long ways off I mean, we’re we’re still months away from even kicking off the season but it really does speak to the Ravens kind of laying low as you mentioned and the focus being on football and yes there will be attention on OTA attendance and who’s there and Lamar and all those different things but
Nestor Aparicio 12:22
are the expectations on Lamar then I mean, you know, at 52 Listen, I’ve seen this job and I saw it you guys up I mean, you and I talked about to Vinnie Testa variety people can go find that a Baltimore positive about what he found when he got here. There was all of the Flacco years. I mean, Chris Redman comes on all the time, Kyle bowler, like for these guys to take on this gig this time of year? What should Aaron Rodgers be doing in a new place in New York? What should Lamar be doing? Not just with a new contract, but with a new everything here new players? Guys? Yeah, ze flowers, guys. He didn’t even you know, that he needs to get on the field with how early is too early? Because I will say this and you know, this once July, runs around, right? It’s over for these guys for anything other than rest. The Playbook, the gym, teammates, getting on a plane get I mean, the season is really, really a grind when you’re making $52 million a year. And that level of expectation is now there.
Luke Jones 13:28
Yeah, absolutely. And you know, to answer your question, and I know, because they had the access last week to football school, I mean, people were calling it OTAs OTAs. start next week, you know, that’s when we start getting into the actual offense versus defense full team practice. Still voluntary, but that’s when the structure really starts. So if some people made something about Lamar not being there at football school last week, there are lots of veterans that weren’t there last week. And believe me, Nestor I’ve seen lots of football practices. I’ve been out there plenty of days whether we’re talking about August when it’s 96 degrees and humid, or whether it’s rookie camp the first weekend in May what they were doing this past week, I would not sweat veterans not being out there. They’re not even in helmets. They’re not even wearing jerseys. It’s very I want to say low level because that’s insulting to the guys that were there but it’s much more elementary than talking about getting ready for Steelers week or banks or guys
Nestor Aparicio 14:27
that haven’t been in a building before these are guys that were within Cookman or something you know, like it in some cases it’s somewhat more in Iowa right but like right
Luke Jones 14:35
so but but my point is, some people were making something out of all of ours, not there for football school. Next week is when OTA start my expectation. And I’m and I’m saying this is the guy who said hey, it’s voluntary, and I was saying last year when he wasn’t there for OTAs. Look, I think it’s a symptom that all isn’t Kumbaya, contractually speaking, but he’s entitled to skip ot gays, if he’s not there for OTAs, then that’s a different conversation, football school and what they’re doing these last few weeks. And to your point, once July, late July rolls around, their lives are basically football and maybe they go out to dinner occasionally. And that’s about it, right?
Nestor Aparicio 15:17
The math on this, and I hadn’t thought about this until 10 minutes ago in the segment, because I thought 52 million, I’m like, that’s 3 million a game. He’s getting $750,000 A quarter, to go play football on Sundays, Mondays, and sometimes on Thursdays and sometimes in time. And sometimes what Christmas, but he doesn’t get bonus time for that, like a cab driver, but listen to, he will only be judged on that show here. I mean, that and whatever stupid stuff. He says on the internet, or stupid stuff he’s shown doing or whatever. He’s tweets, whatever, like, but he’s got he, none of that affected how we got paid none of his bad behavior, none of his skipping OTAs none of his none of any of that has been punished in any way. It’s been rewarded. He hadn’t played to December’s he got paid, he stopped. So now, I don’t know what the level of expectation in the building from him is in May in June and July and August. I don’t, I don’t want to say I don’t care. They’ve thrown me out to not care. And by the way, we’re watching the baseball team. And I got some concerts coming up, and I’m enjoying my life and like that I’m but come September 10. That’s when they get judged. And that’s when you and I write columns off the games. And we say they’re want to know their own one. And what are they doing? And everything between here and there is a preparation for that, that we’re going to be watching. But how critical can you be of them at this point? And I even think to myself, so what if he’s not there next week, I mean, he’s making $52 million, I would be there. But there’s also a point for a 25 year old kid that’s five years into the same doesn’t matter. And I’m going to be there for everything you need me to be there for until they break me and a half, which I’ve been from the beginning, because he showed up last year. And I know Dennis would say he made business decisions on the field. But I mean, he was ready to lead them when to wins. You know, he was he was ready to lead them. And he led them so and he’s led them for five, which is why they gave all the money they believe in it. Sure. So if you believe in Him, then whatever he does here, whatever he tweets, whatever signing holds up whatever speed he drives his car, and it’s as long as he’s alive and breathing and doesn’t break the law and shows up and plays football and makes $3 million a Sunday. They just need to win 1211 13 Something like that. Right? Like that’s, that’s all the heats that happen here. Well,
Luke Jones 17:44
I’ll disagree a little bit, because I don’t think it’s about the regular season anymore. Now, granted, you have to play at a certain level to get into the tournament. It’s all about January at this point. And one, he’s gotta be on the field. That’s that’s the given. Right? That’s the requisite that hasn’t been there the last couple years. And that’s
Nestor Aparicio 18:02
what he’s in control of that, by the way. Guys get hurt.
Luke Jones 18:05
I mean, let’s acknowledge that. And it’s not as though he’s had these debilitating ACL type things. You know, he’s fully healthy. He said he, you know, he’s fully cleared from the PCL last year. But ultimately, it’s about January. And that’s not just for Lamar. Let’s be clear about that. This team as its presently constructed. Justin Tucker is the only guy left from Super Bowl 47. I mean, that’s just that’s where they are at this point. John Harbaugh is now a decade removed from winning a Super Bowl. And I don’t mean
Nestor Aparicio 18:35
that the Shaolin is up against the only thing they have Steve Tasker and Jim Kelly name when, like literally right,
Luke Jones 18:42
but buffalo at this point, I mean, look at them. I mean, they, you know, they had the epic playoff loss to the chiefs in 2021. postseason, and they’re chasing it, right. I mean, everyone, not that, and this is why I’ve said this to you about, you know, going back to the Lamar contract debate, and paying them and talking about Super Bowls and all that. All these young quarterbacks other than mahomes are chasing that, right. They’re all chasing the home. So
Nestor Aparicio 19:08
I took a mouthy Eagles fan down to Janet Jackson on Saturday night and I know you probably know some mouth Eagle fans that are you’re related to it. You spent the weekend and they just all are convinced I have a green shirt on. They’re just all convinced that they’re that this kid’s gonna win three of them up there, right?
Luke Jones 19:25
Well, I’ll give him I’ll give him the nod. We’ll see about the Superbowl. Jalen hertz got his master’s though. I thought that was pretty cool. Impressive guy. So impressive. Well,
Nestor Aparicio 19:35
apparently this kid Indianapolis. Richards and he’s really been impressive in a lot of ways to people in Indianapolis in a leadership way. Look, we got through Trevor Lawrence. And you know, the last class that hadn’t even gotten there yet. And Justin Herbert that this is, this is big stakes, and it’s really tough to win. And if Lamar doesn’t win, it doesn’t mean he stinks. It means he didn’t win, because it’s really, really hard to win. So when I say, I’m unsure if Lamar is ever going to bring a Super Bowl here, I think you could say that you can bet against most of these guys, because over the next 10 years, only gonna be four or five of them that win and one of them is going to win a couple times. And I bet mahomes Is it done? I don’t think any of us believes mahomes is done.
Luke Jones 20:17
Yeah, I mean, that’s, that’s just where it is. And even mahomes. I mean, go back and look at Tom Brady. I mean, he wins three out of 4010304. And you’re thinking okay, dynasty, and it was, but then he, it was 10 years until he won another one. Now, he got to a few over that time, but it was 10 years until he won another one, and had that second chapter of a dynasty, whatever you want to call it. So it is tough. And as much as we look at these quarterbacks, and we always attach the win loss record to the quarterback in the head coach, right? We know there are a lot a heck of a lot of people that are involved in that and a heck of a lot of people who have a major impact on that. And it can be a key injury at the one spot or the two spots that your depth isn’t quite as good. It can be the way the schedule falls and just you know how
Nestor Aparicio 21:10
Evans dropping a ball in the corner of the endzone and Billy kind of missing a kick and you mean exactly lean more wood we’re not talking about bought me that in those moments, it’s that makes it all the more amazing the Mile High miracle and talk you’re hitting the kick in Denver and just just, you know, everything that went right for me to write Purple Rain to a decade ago, feels like five minutes ago. But for Lamar to pull that off, that’s a January thing to your point. And this is when all of that happens, but I don’t I think this is gonna be a nice peaceful couple months for them. I think John likes that chat still likes that Steve likes that Erica like that. They gotta go get a Justin Houston or whatever. And at some point in the next couple of weeks, something will pop and we’ll get a wn st text courtesy of Coons, Baltimore Ford, but the baseball team, and the elixir of summer in life is going to pull the air out of the purple balloon that for three months, was sitting on top of spring training and everything else kind of sort of right.
Luke Jones 22:13
Absolutely. That’s why I use the wrestling analogy. You’re wrestling, boxing, MMA, whatever, where you have a card, right? You have all these different cards, or all these different plates on your card, and then you have the main event, the ravens are still going to be the main event. Now if the Orioles will go to the World Series, then we’ll revisit that that mindset and I’m not I don’t say that as any discipline the Orioles because what they’re doing right now is exciting and fun and very engaging. And I think you’re gonna see that see that reflected at the ballpark over the course of the summer. But the ravens are still the main event as the NFL is the main event in sports in this country. So But you’re right, there’s there’s a sense now of the Lamar business is done. And again, we’ll continue to talk about it, we’ll talk about it for years. But expectations high as they are, there is a sense now of focus back on the field, there’s plenty else going on. So it doesn’t mean that everyone’s gonna be breathlessly waiting for OTA and training camp updates, but they’ll be engaged, but there’s plenty to go on. And then when they kick off in September, and you hope that’s in concert with the Orioles locking up a playoff spot, at the very least are being in contention for that. It’s gonna be a fun September. It really is and expectations for this team and for Lamar Jackson are very high and they should be it is time for this team to go to the next step and get beyond the divisional round. I mean, it just is it’s been since 2014. Last time they were 2012 gone beyond the divisional round. I misspoke there. So it’s been a long time. So the expectations are high. Pressure is going to be there for Lamar Jackson and the rest of this football team. But it’s a good kind of pressure. It’s a different kind of pressure than the pressure we were talking about six weeks ago, two months ago, wondering if Lamar Jackson was even going to be here, let alone having him locked up for a long term contract no and he’s going to be your quarterback for at least the next few years.
Nestor Aparicio 24:09
Ah, the honeymoon period Luke Jones be covering all of it out in Owings Mills and down to Camden Yards. I mean the Orioles on fire Otani in this week Preakness, Bruno Mars all sorts of awesomeness happening and the Maryland crab cake tour coming back to fallston at the local next Tuesday, the 23rd from two of the five be given away these eights and lottery scratch offs on that afternoon. Also have some great great guests up in Harford County next week. It is all brought to you by our friends at window nation as well. 866 90 nation you buy two you get two free five years 0% financing all month long. Happy Preakness Happy spring, we are wn st am 1570, Towson Baltimore, and we never stop talking Baltimore positive