As the Baltimore Ravens return to London for the first time since the disaster in 2017, our Luke Jones joins Dennis Koulatsos for a lengthy pre-game report on the matchup with the Tennessee Titans. Please join us at Hollywood Casino in Perryville for the 9:30 a.m. kickoff and watch party with games, prizes and a breakfast buffet.
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Luke Jones, Dennis Koulatsos
Dennis Koulatsos 38:53
He has Luke Jones is breaking down the Baltimore Orioles in a very early look at the potential offseason needs and perhaps some moves and well, that will segue over to the Baltimore Ravens, who just started coming off of a disappointing loss to the hated Pittsburgh Steelers. Lots to unpack on that game. The game was lost on many, many levels, and not just the 567 drops however you want to quantify them but what it was clock management coaching, not being able to block culling covers zero and failing to double cover the best wide receiver on the field. To me, Luke It was a multitude of mistakes not placed on one person’s shoulders.
Luke Jones 39:36
No question about it. Dennis and as I mentioned at Baltimore positive.com In the aftermath of the Orioles losing game too, and the Ravens having lost that game earlier in the day in Pittsburgh. The Orioles I think it was a lot of disappointment this week. I felt a lot of disgust with that ravens loss because Dennis up And I’m glad you mentioned I mean, look, everyone fixates and focuses on the drops. And I’ve wholeheartedly agree. If the if the Ravens don’t have all those drops, they’re never in the position that they’re in in the fourth quarter. That said, that said, a big part of football or any sport, quite frankly, is, how do you handle the sequence of events? How do you handle what happens over the course of the game, to the point where you’re in the fourth quarter? And whatever the score is, whatever the circumstances or explanation was that lead you to that point? How do you respond to that? And, Dennis, this is where I look at the Baltimore Ravens right now. And this has been a couple years now, I have a lot of concerns about the DNA of this football team at this point, because I was looking at this the other day. And I’m not talking about being behind by one score. But going back, and I could be wrong about this, because I was going on about three hours asleep when I looked this up. But I’m pretty certain that the last time the Ravens had a comeback victory in which they trailed multiple scores. I want to say it was that Vikings Game Two years ago, where they wanted overtime. Now, part of that part of this is to their credit, the Ravens don’t find themselves down multiple scores very often. So I’m not even concerned that they don’t have wins, where they’ve trailed by multiple scores. And they’ve come back and won since then, because that scenario hasn’t happened very often. However, since that point in time, and we’re coming up on nearly two years ago that that occurred. You look at what happened at the end of 2021. And Lamar wasn’t out there. I get that, you know, a lot of weird things. They had games where they tried to go for too and make sport down decisions, things of that nature. But I can’t help but feel with that. That that was something that started to become part of their DNA moving forward. And since then, you have the Miami game last year. You have the Buffalo game last year. You had the Giants game last year, the Jacksonville game last year, all by the way, all those games I just mentioned, games Lamar Jackson played in. You have the Pittsburgh game in week 17 Last year, which was Tyler Huntley fully acknowledging that but the defense faltered at the end of the game, despite the fact that they played well, in D, a few weeks ago, and now Pittsburgh, Dennis, I just fired off what seven different games over the last season, and now you know, you know, five games into this season, you know, so we’re talking close to a season and a half, seven different games where they have lost, despite the fact that they had a two score lead in all those games at some point in time in some of those games fairly late in the football game. That’s not good, you know that that to me is an indictment on just about every part of their operation. And, look, that’s not me sitting here saying that they should go 17 Oh, no, we know that you’re going to lose some games. And I’ll even say up those seven games. I’m not saying that. You have to win all seven of those every single time. However, what I just laid out, Dennis, is the difference between just being a playoff team and being a wildcard as the as the Ravens or last year, for example. And again, I know Lamar Jackson has been injured the last couple years, I get that everyone understands that everyone knows that. But when you drop games, that many games where it should be in hand, and you’re continually letting the other team get off the mat and come back on you and whether your offense plays great for a certain amount of time and then bogs down whether your defense is great for three and a half quarters as the Ravens were on Sunday in Pittsburgh, but then has a breakdown at the very end of the game and gives up a 41 yard touchdown with a little over a minute to go. Whether your quarterback who was outstanding against the Steelers, and it should have had these great numbers because his receivers let them down. But he also threw a terrible interception at a crucial point in the game. Whether you have a coaching Stephen and look, John Harbaugh is going to be a Hall of Fame coach the way it trends because if Bill Cowher is why isn’t John Harbaugh, so he’s going to be in Canton someday and if he wins another Super Bowl at some point, it’s not even a question right luck. Yeah, but you have what happened at the end of the first half. And yeah, Tyler Linder balm may have messed up there and he owned that and look, that’s a credit to him. But why are you even bothering doing that? That’s getting too cute. Even if you’ve got a first down there, do you? Are you really like that thinking or not at first down, even if you get them to jump there? Or is it still that high percentage that you’re going to score a touchdown there? When you acknowledge there’s a downside to to that to trying that and the downside is what happened there and you got nothing then When you fail to call timeout at the end, you know, with what happened was a flowers and the kickoff against the Indianapolis a couple of weeks ago. These are breakdowns across the board special teams, they got a punt blocked in the fourth quarter on Sunday. So that’s when John Harbaugh, that’s when all 53 guys on the roster that’s on every coach, you know that that’s, that’s not good. You know, we’re talking, we’re seeing a team that over the last two to two years, Dennis is good. This, I’m not saying they’re a bad football team. Of course, they’re not a bad football team, because they’re still winning more than they lose. But these kinds of breakdowns are not indicative of a team that really knows how to win and a team that knows how to maximize its potential. And that’s concerning to me. And that’s the difference between a wildcard or winning the division potentially look, they’re still in good position. And maybe Cincinnati show that they’re ready to get off the mat because they looked more like the Bengals last week. But even saying, if they can still win the division, this is a difference between having to play maybe your first round game at home, but then you’re on the road the rest of the way, and having a chance to be the number one seed or to play more home games in January that matters. And to see these kinds of breakdowns. I see a team that really is struggling to deal with adversity in the midst of the game. Now, they do a great job from Monday through Saturday. And they have in dealing with injuries because you look at you know, the Cincinnati win in week two, you know, they’ve they’ve the defense has risen to the occasion. Before, you know with Marlon Humphrey just returning Marcus Williams missing most of the season. You know, they you know, with the pass rush, you know, Bowser, no way. So it’s not as though they don’t they don’t handle adversity at all. But in game adversity, when things start to go sideways in the midst of a game, they’re not handling that well. And they haven’t handled that well, for a couple years now. And for me, Dennis, boy, that that’s that’s an indictment on your DNA as a football team. And that right there does not reflect well for your ability to not necessarily make the playoffs because they made the playoffs last year even without Lamar Jackson. But if we’re talking about actually wanting to do something for talking about making a deep run, if we’re talking about going to a Super Bowl, and you can’t handle these things, and you can’t finish off opponents, even inferior opponents. I mean, Dennis, maybe Mike Tomlin will have the Steelers playing better later in the year because he typically does. But I was not impressed by that football team. And okay, their defense rose to the occasion late, I’ll give them that. But I was very underwhelmed by what I saw from the Steelers on Sunday. Yeah, Indianapolis look, they have some interest, they have some strengths to that football team. And maybe they’re a little bit better than your typical team that’s picking in the top five, like they were in April. But that’s still not a very good football team, and you lost them at home in a game that you should have won. So these are not what we’re laying out here is not flattering from a coaching standpoint, or from just a team’s DNA, you know, looking at them and saying, I what a lot of what I’m laying out there, Dennis is I’m kind of questioning their mental toughness, not their toughness in terms of tackling and all that but kind of questioning their mental toughness, because I just gave you I just reeled off what 678 games over the last two seasons, where they’ve kind of crumbled in crunch time where things start to go south a little bit, and they just haven’t recovered. So I don’t know about you, Dennis. And let’s be clear, this doesn’t mean I think they’re falling apart if they’re gonna go six and 11, or anything like that. But we’re beyond just this team just making the playoffs, right. I mean, at some point in time, it’s like you can you can keep talking about wanting to win a Super Bowl. But then when you’re seeing when you’re seeing these things, it really makes me doubt your ability to put together a three or four game run in January to win a Super Bowl. So really disappointing to see how that played out on Sunday. You could tell we’ve had several days later that yeah, that’s that feeling of disgust. I think a lot of Ravens fans had even as they were going into watching Game two and then seeing the Orioles lay an egg that night. I think
Dennis Koulatsos 49:09
you put it very well. All the points that you may look but the lead up to the fact that the Colts the Steelers, you know the type of games that impact you. Yeah, later on in the season, in terms of making the playoffs, your playoff seedings having to go to Buffalo versus having a home and ballgame in Baltimore having to go to Kansas City versus having a home game of Baltimore. These are the things that you see that that Nick You say and question to your pointer DNA. I was very happy to see Patrick Queen say I’ve just heard of this right. I’m sick and tired of this and Patrick clean me has has really done a lot of things right. You know, he kept his mouth shut. He came in he’s playing at a very high level. He’s evolving to a leader and if I’m Eric the caster, I’m looking to see if there’s any way I can keep this young man on the roster with rope once with a look at the 40 Niners they have two great middle linebackers. to speak on the Niners. That’s a good team. That’s a team I saw play on Sunday night and just athlete smacked another very good team team and a Dallas Cowboys right in the mouth. does everything well manage the clock manage a game managing X’s and O’s? What’s the stuff that we haven’t seen? The Ravens do consistently. And somebody’s gotta need to grow up. I mean Marlin Humphrey, Allah Bala, Humphrey. But now if you want to be a broadcaster, you know what, you know, go practice because you’re not really good at it right now, young man, be the best football player you can be and then you focus on your post football career when you get there not before you get there. So you know, whether it’s him or Odell Beckham, Jr, whoever they need some focus guide, you can see ro Quan Smith is also getting pissed off because the defense is doing all that they can to hold these teams together. And let’s make no mistake about it. The defense didn’t give up the block time. You know, for the state to defend thing give up being put it in a bad fuel position due to turnovers. So the defense is doing their part. And this is where John Harper strength has to be in the keeping to the different from pointing fingers at the offense. And he often has got to execute to me, it’s really the offense, the coaching staff, and John Harbaugh has got to own this too. I mean, I love John, but now the vocal minority that been one of them gone for years, their voices are becoming louder and louder by the loss.
Luke Jones 51:20
I can’t disagree with you, Dennis. I mean, like I said, late in the game, there were breakdowns across the board, including defensively so that I have my concerns about just how they’re handling that end game of diversity. But by and large if you’re looking at the whole pie, right, as far as what you’re concerned about what the same, yeah, it’s the inconsistency of the offense. And let’s be clear, I mean, the past catchers drops hadn’t been a major issue in previous weeks, but it’s something pops up every week, right? I mean, whether it’s, you know, a game where Lamar doesn’t play as well or the offensive line has too many breakdowns or they’re not running the ball quite as well at certain parts of the game. On this past Sunday, it was obviously the pass catchers dropping passes like crazy. So you know, at times I you know, I found Todd Duncan’s play calling to be a little questionable for stretches. The point is, it’s not one specific thing that’s playing now it’s kind of across the board and it’s been look it’s it hasn’t been all bad either. Let’s be clear about that. At times the offense is quite good and quite promising and you see the potential but you know, they just keep popping leaks you know, like setting they get something fixed and then something else goes wrong.
Dennis Koulatsos 52:31
How about Ronnie Stanley right. Okay. He was a turnstile. What I saw of him he could cut and Alex Highsmith went right around him and stripped Shaq Lamar Jackson up go to Lamar Jackson that was on on your left on your on your All Star highly paid, left tackles, they’re making mistakes across the board and they gotta clean it up. I mean, and then you got to wreck try and make fun of them on national television that they’re sacrificing catching a rugby ball because it’s bigger. And I mean, come on, man. This this thing just but all those drops were on believable. The bait been dropping the endzone. I still can’t wrap my mind around that when all these things are leaving points on the field. And Lamar Jackson like you nailed and I love Lamar Jackson, as well as he played the I don’t know what kind of a throw that was to Beckham Jr. It wasn’t a bad throw. It wasn’t a shoulder fade. And you got a rookie cornerback who had to prove himself pick off the ball very easily. From your your All Star highly paid quarterback?
Luke Jones 53:34
Yeah, I mean, it’s just you can’t have that. And again, this isn’t about I think a lot of fans get in get caught up in the blame game, right? And it’s like, oh, well, you know, for keeping tallies of who messed up the most and then and then the guy that must up the least. We can’t blame him. We can’t hold him account. No. Lamar Jackson needs to be held accountable for that late throw. Again, should they have been in that spot? No, of course not. If they catch passes, then Lamar might not even be in the game. At the very end. Marlon Humphrey probably isn’t in the game to give up that home run or the home run was a home run kinda touchdown to pick it to Pickens. But you have to handle the sequence of events. Everyone does coaching your franchise, quarterback, your stout defense and your offense. That was the reason why you were in that position. It could have been very simple. Whether it was Bateman whether it was a flowers, whether it was Mark Andrews, someone make a play, someone make a play at the end of the game to finish the football game, and no one across the board. No one made a play to finish that football game. And they lost a game they absolutely had no business losing as a result. So that’s why for me, yeah, the past catchers were the big thing that stood out. I mean, how could they not? I mean, and by the way, I’m officially concerned about Rashad Bateman at this point, I just I don’t I don’t know where this physical part is one thing but I start to wonder now if just if you’re you see a guy I saw a guy who’s not playing with any confidence whatsoever, and I don’t know, you know, maybe the hamstring was still bothering him. The foot you know, we know Liz Frank injuries are Tada.
Dennis Koulatsos 55:15
What about the hands? It’s right. It’s the hands it’s not his hamstrings and it’s put the ball hit him perfectly. But look, I
Luke Jones 55:22
flash it gets the headspace. Yeah.
Dennis Koulatsos 55:25
And I’ve I’ve flashed back to the letter, Joe Flacco years when he didn’t have a lot of weapons around him. To the point when a defense got a turnover, you were praying that they would score when Keyline Seymour got that fumble on a punt return. And I was I was saying please score when he got knocked out at the seven yard line. I said this isn’t good, because I didn’t have a lot of confidence in the in the offense scoring and I don’t know if that was the the fourth and two or the the interception in the end of the I don’t remember the sequence. But I know we came away after having first to go on to seven was your points that much? I do know.
Luke Jones 56:04
Yeah, nothing nothing. And again, someone make a play. Someone make a play or Todd Monken dial up a great call.
Dennis Koulatsos 56:12
You know whatever it is have Lamar Jackson run it three times. I don’t care. We’re trying to win the ballgame here, right. Same thing I said at the end of the Colts game heavily on third and three, have Lamar Jackson run it twice. Have you? This is you ran him 12 times before that you’re not going to run him and that’s in that sequence and you’re worried about him getting hurt. No, sir. Your best players have to show up. You know, Mike Tom didn’t throw a slant to all chefs key on that play. No, he he dialed up he saw zero. He said we’re going to have our best player. Touch the ball, Bill Bella check and that situation does not call a clovers zero Bill Bella check. We’ll call we’ll double cover Pickens because Pickens is not going to be the guy let it be Nagi Harris against roe Quan Smith like the year before that’s okay I’m okay with that right I’m okay with a linebacker on a running back I’m not okay singling up the best wide receiver on a damn field one on one with your with your quarterback was just coming off of injury by the way.
Luke Jones 57:10
I was just going to say if you’re talking about Marlon Humphrey midseason form Amana man I can probably live with that
Dennis Koulatsos 57:18
but what you’re trying to Stevens out if you’re going to single him up put Brandon Steven that or do not put Marlon Humphrey just coming off of injury against a guy he can’t even cover when he’s healthy nevermind when he’s injured.
Luke Jones 57:31
Yeah, I don’t know if I go as far as putting Brandon Stevens on an island either. saying you know I thought he got here you believe it.
Dennis Koulatsos 57:38
But Brandon Stevens on him with Kyle Hampton over that Oh, Marcus win them over the top. My point is take away their best player in that moment in that situation. And I do question that their their intellect. And I like Mike McDonald, but I mean, we’re like, where are your mind that in that situation? And I know that what they like to do in that situation? But do that rush five instead of six and double up? Double Up Pickens, who is this who’s a second best wide receiver? He’s hurt Deonte Thompson, you know, yeah, Calvin asked, I don’t even know who they have on that roster. Freimuth was out. You don’t have your starting tight end. You don’t have your second best receiver. So double the best guy on the field and take your chances that way.
Luke Jones 58:24
No question about it. And again, this comes back to what I just said about this ravens this current ravens team coaching, offense, defense, special teams,
I love it. They
Luke Jones 58:36
they’ve had too many breakdowns late in games across the board. And again, look, I think Mike McDonald is a great defensive coordinator. I think you and I’ve talked about this before, he talked to me head coach, you know, whether it’s hanging on long enough to succeed John Harbaugh and Baltimore, or whether he becomes the head coach of take your pick the Minnesota Vikings in two years or something like that, you know, but if there’s one area you can point to where it hasn’t looked as good. It has been late in games now. I’ll also say this much. We know it’s the NFL in 2023. offense has the the general advantage they do. However, this defense as well as its played overall. Again, we saw a breakdown at the worst possible time. And that’s not to that doesn’t mean it’s all their fault in the same way that if you blame Lamar Jackson for the interception, that doesn’t mean you thought he stunk the first 15 minutes of the game, you know, we have to have more nuance with this on social media. We’re all about oh, well it was this guy’s fault or these guys fault. So I’m not gonna blame this guy or this guy or that side of the ball. Know that in the final five or 10 minutes. That was a collective breakdown, you know, across the board, everything.
Dennis Koulatsos 59:50
What football is the ultimate team sport. I mean, all team sports are fantastic, but you never it’s never comes down to one play. It never comes down to the referees call. It’s called like to win a win, guess what they win as a team, head coaches, the coaching staff, the players, everybody. Same thing when they lose, you blame it on special teams, wide receivers quarterback play play calling clock management schemes, you name it, it was a total heap loss. Just like for the Steelers on the flip side, I’m gonna give them credit. They took their strengths and magnets to maximize them, right. They got to great edge rushers, they got to ask for the quarterback, they came up with a with a timely with a timely block, and they found a way to win. So love them or hate them. Whatever you think of him. It was from the head coach on down. It was a total team victory as they were celebrating. We were miserable on our side of town.
Luke Jones 1:00:45
No doubt. And I mean, look, I even said it. I don’t think the Pittsburgh Steelers are very good right now. However, you leave a team in a football game long enough. Unless they are really the worst of the worst. They’re eventually now they didn’t even do it. Right away. It took them a long time. They eventually took advantage of it. And I mean, again, I look at that game. And like it’s really easy. And you saw a lot of national Talking Heads. Oh, another it’s ravens Steelers, this did not have that feel, to me this. More like the Ravens look like they were going to they should have blown them out by three touchdowns. And they just left them in the game. They left them in the game too many mistakes too many drops, you know, fourth down at the end of the first half all of that. And then eventually, then Pittsburgh did come to life. And again, this is where I talked about the Ravens utter inability to regroup and get off the mat when Pittsburgh finally did punch them in the mouth. And you know, at that point, it was all over and they’d lost and they were three and two instead of being four and one just like a few weeks ago when they should have been three and oh, and they were two and one. So hey, woulda, coulda shoulda, they’re three and two and not five No. Well, to your point
Dennis Koulatsos 1:02:01
about offense, and how the rules favor, the offense, etc. And 2023 in the National Football League, my controller she’s been here for a year or two, the Steelers fan. And she always says told me for many years when it comes to the ravens and the Steelers. And I think this is true throughout the entire NFL, she says, Whatever team’s winning in a one score game, whatever team is winning with two minutes left ends up losing some flashbacks to the Ravens game. In fact, when we hit the two minute mark, I follow her and I said Dagnabbit she’s going to be right, because we’re going to find a way. We have the league with two minutes left, but now they have the ball. And we’re going to lose the game. That’s exactly what
Luke Jones 1:02:40
Yeah, I mean, it’s just you’ve got to find a way to finish football games. And this team just has not been as good as it needs to be these last couple seasons to do that. If you want to make a deep January run and you want to be the number one seed or say the number two seed where you know, you’re gonna be playing in the divisional round at home as well. So I mean, these are just, this matters. This is the difference between going you’re 13 and four and 11 and five or 12 and five and 10 and seven, you know, I mean, this adds up. And again, I’m not saying those seven or eight games that I mentioned these last couple years that that that it’s inexcusable for it to ever happen, things are going to happen you know, you’re going to have that happen a lot once in a while. But that’s too many for a little over what are what less than two years now that’s a little over a season that that has happened you know, going back to week two of last year, like I said Miami buffalo the Giants Jacksonville Pittsburgh and week 17 Last year Indy and then Pittsburgh this past Sunday, that’s too many when you’re talking about a sample size there of what that would be, oh 2021 games of regular season football over that stretch. I mean, boy, that’s that’s really cut yourself off at the knees in terms of putting yourself in position to potentially be a number one seed or a number two seed it won’t come playoff time.
Dennis Koulatsos 1:04:07
No question about Luke as always, I appreciate that. Yeah, we went a little bit over overtime. We had to have some Orioles and ravens therapy here. So I appreciate that. Please tell our listeners where they can find you as the Baltimore positive, your social media presence, your blog, and everything else that you do.
Luke Jones 1:04:23
Full disclaimer, but you know, after everything I just said just went on Sunday in London. We didn’t we didn’t spend a moment talking about the Tennessee
Dennis Koulatsos 1:04:29
Titans. It’s a weak weak league we get that. It
Luke Jones 1:04:33
is it is but a lot of what we just talked about it what’s so troubling is this keeps happening. But check out my blog at Baltimore positive.com sponsored by coons Port of Baltimore. I have residue on the Orioles. I will have some ravens content been light on the Ravens side because of you know for obvious reasons, with the Orioles being involved in the postseason and being more immersed in that but ravens in London Of course you can follow along on twitter at WNS team me personally li AppArmor Luke, I am not in London. But of course I’ll be back on the scene and Owings Mills next week, as the Ravens will hope to improve the foreign too, and then turn their attention towards the Detroit Lions, which should be an interesting matchup a Detroit team playing really well. But you want to be on the wn St. Baltimore positive text service sponsored by Coons, Florida, Baltimore, if you are, you’ll get the latest significant roster news or latest significant local sports news Game Day inactives final injury report information all of that sent directly to your mobile device via the wn St. Baltimore positive tech service, sponsored by coons Port of Baltimore. And of course, anything throughout the week on AM 15 Seven, eight with Nesta any of that Orioles, postgame sound that maybe you couldn’t come to listen to on Tuesday night or Wednesday, but it’s there. We’ll have plenty of Raven sound as they get back from London and get back into more of a normal regular season mode. Check out all of that at Baltimore. positive.com.
Dennis Koulatsos 1:05:58
All right, my friend, I appreciate you and I’m out next week. So we’ll we’ll I’m sure we have a lot to talk about a lot to catch up. Two weeks from now. You stay well
Luke Jones 1:06:08
be be well, Dennis, have fun and we will reconvene in a couple of weeks. And hopefully we’re talking about a couple more ravens wins and not having to talk about well, whatever the heck that was that happened in Pittsburgh this past Sunday.
Dennis Koulatsos 1:06:19
I sure hope so. So there he goes. Luke Jones here on 15 7am Baltimore, positive WLC. We’ll take a quick break and come back right after this.