Luke Jones joins Dennis Koulatsos to discuss the improvements and changes he’s seen with the out-of-the-box success of the 2023 Baltimore Orioles.
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Dennis Koulatsos, Luke Jones
Dennis Koulatsos 00:02
Welcome back. My first guest says always is a great if not brilliant, Luke Jones. Luke, welcome in.
Luke Jones 00:11
Well, I don’t know about brilliant, but I appreciate the kind words Dennis, talk to you as always
Dennis Koulatsos 00:17
me as well that that was my Howard Cosell. It was my tribute to Howard. He will always say the great if not brilliant. So it was a very appropriate to greet you with that this morning. And, you know, because I’ve texted you from the ballpark. I went Sunday and Monday and man I’m having I’m having a ball watching these Oreos. I I’m all in and you know, I’ve been very transparent about being a casual fan. I’m very much on the bandwagon. Luke, I’m enjoying the Orioles. I’m enjoying all the rule changes. I’m enjoying the faster pace of the game. Having more hours in my day. They’re checking a lot of boxes for me these days.
Luke Jones 00:57
Yeah, and going into the final game of this homestand with the second best record in baseball, you know, 13 games over 500 and it’s been fun. It is and we’ve talked about it. And as you mentioned earlier this week coming you have an opportunity to see Shohei Otani pitch and hit on Monday night wasn’t the outcome the Orioles were looking for. But just from a baseball fan standpoint, one of those players that you tell your kids your grandkids about that you saw them play. I mean, that’s the kind of generational talent show Hey, Otani is and that’s why I’ve I’ve talked about this a lot with Nestor. I talk about this a lot with other people in my life just talking sports where I just say enjoy this guy. I don’t know how long he’s gonna continue to pitch and hit at such a high level doing both because I mean the comparison is always Babe Ruth Babe Ruth only did it both for a very short period of time. So even looking at that, I mean, it’s you know, he’s he’s very much rapidly approaching uncharted territory here. So that was awesome to see. But I think for the Orioles, good to see coming back and winning the the next two games after the defeat on Monday night and a chance to wrap up the homestand on a high note and head back out on the road, which is going to be a challenge going to Toronto and the Yankees coming up as well. So business is going to pick up a little bit, although it has here of late we’ve talked about their schedule being more challenging, but I mean, it is really becoming more and more appointment view and watching the Orioles in the nightless nightly basis because of some of what you mentioned with the rule changes and easier to watch. And it’s over by nine o’clock a lot of nights with the 635 starts but they’re winning games, and they’re putting themselves in position to have a really, really fun summer. Yeah,
Dennis Koulatsos 02:46
Wednesday night is an example I’m working on my fishing gear, I’m restringing lines and putting together lures or whatnot and then straight into my tackle box and next thing you know the game is over. So for me it’s it’s something nice to have on TV. I love the pace of the game. And circling back to Otani he is my see I was very grateful to witness what I did. I was rooting for him to get a double. I don’t know how many other loyal fans were. But I I wanted to see history. If you’re going to lose, you might as well be at the wrong end of a historical event. Yeah,
Luke Jones 03:17
I mean, the fact that he had a chance to hit for the cycle, just just a few nights after Cedric Mullins hit for the cycle in Baltimore against Pittsburgh, last Friday night. What was remarkable to see but he is just such a tremendous talent that home run he hit was and I’ve watched a lot of games at Camden Yards. Dennis as a fan and as a reporter, of course, and there are a few home runs that have been as impressive as that one. I mean, that was just an absolute rocket. Again, you don’t want it to come at the Orioles expense. But as you mentioned, if you’re just a sports fan, a baseball fan in general when you have an opportunity to see something special. And hey, he’s still got on base, what five times four times whatever it was. And that was something that hadn’t been done by a starting pitcher in a really long time. So just remarkable. It really is and you know, going back to the WBC and his matchup against Mike Trout and just what Otani has done over the last few years it really has been great for the game of baseball and again a cool opportunity for Orioles fans to get to see him pitch get to see him up close and personal these last few games.
Dennis Koulatsos 04:26
Alright, Orioles bullpen have been lights out right. The two big guys in the air and Michael Gibbons coming back soon but starting pitching a loop. Go talk to me. Talk me through this. I love Kramer I saw him opening day. I believe it’s five and one if I’m not mistaken, Brad. It looks to be okay. But aside from that, I mean I just I’m worried about starting pitching.
Luke Jones 04:51
Yeah, I think it’s fair and look going into the season. I never thought this is going to be a great starting rotation. I think the potential is there for it to get better as the year goes on. You just mentioned it. I mean, Dean Kramer, who had a really rough April, and you just noted him as someone pitching. Well, Tyler Wells’s pitched. Well, I think overall, Kyle Gibson has been about what you would expect him to be, he’s a veteran pitcher, who is going to give you innings, he’s going to give you a really solid chance to win every five days, he goes out there, but he’s not going to put up great numbers, you know, he’s going to be kind of a league average starting pitcher. So I think where you’re really looking at this point is, you’re looking for grace and Rodriguez to find his stride. I think, at this point in time, you keep running them out there. That’s just how I feel about this, because he’s got the highest ceiling of anyone in that rotation right now. And it’s tough. You know, it’s tough to pitch at the major league level. And, you know, you hear people say, sometimes, I’ll send them down, you know, he’s struggling, his era is this. And I understand it to a point but at the same time, what about going unless it’s an issue where you feel like a player has completely lost all confidence. And I’m not there with Grayson Rodriguez, I don’t think that’s the issue as much as he just needs to be. It needs to be finer with his pitches, his fastball command needs to be a little bit better. You know, he has to be able to, you know, sequences, pitches properly and make quality pitches with two strikes. And those are all things you learn at the major league level against major league hitters. There’s no magic way to learn that against Triple A tout talent, triple A competition. So it does need to be better. If for no other reason, I think you run the risk of leaning so heavily on that bullpen that you get to August and September that those guys just aren’t quite as effective. And I think the Orioles may have dealt with a little bit of that last year, although it’s tough to gauge because they traded Jorge Lopez at the trade deadline and hindered their ability to make the playoffs as a result, even if just a little bit. But yeah, that’s the it’s kind of where they are. And I think that’s why, for me, these next couple months are going to be so fascinating because I think there are going to be some opportunities at the trade deadline. When you look at some of the talent, they have a triple way. Look how well the tides have played. But you have guys that kind of feel like they’re at a point where they have nothing left to prove at triple A whether you’re talking about a Jordan Westberg be Colton Couser hasn’t been at triple A for long, but he’s absolutely raked. You have some other guys there that you kind of just look at it and say, Okay, is there a spot for them at the major league levels? So two ways to approach that you can potentially deal any of those players? Or you look at the major league roster and say, Is there someone on the major league roster that we deal? And you say, Okay, well, I don’t want to do that. I have a contending club here. But if you feel you have someone at AAA, who’s ready to slide in and be as good and maybe be better, long term, might you be better served to deal someone to go get a starting pitcher. So, you know, I think that’s going to be those are going to be some of the options that are there for Mike Elias. And we’ll see how it ultimately plays out I think finances certainly factor into the this equation and questioning ownership and payroll and willingness to spend money if the right opportunity presents itself. But But yeah, I’m with you, Dennis. I mean, look, the Orioles haven’t had a great starting rotation and you still see where they are on the standing. So not gonna sit here and say that they can’t make the playoffs without a better starting rotation. However, if you’re gonna ask me what they can do in October, yeah, yeah, I feel like you’re gonna have to upgrade there, you’re gonna have to get some improvement there. And I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention, keep in mind, they are going to be in a position where they’re going to be getting some guys back, you know, where you look at where they’re going to be. So the temptation can get better whether it’s a DL haul, looking at drawing a blank here when you look at a DL haul as far as the rotation, but you also have John means coming back from Tommy John’s surgery probably in July. So you know, you’ve got some internal options that could help you out and I’m not saying that anyone should expect the John means throw a no hitter two years ago to come back in July but he can be an option for you. DL Hall can be an option for you even if TL Hall might profile better long term as a reliever. They do have some other guys that drew ROM has pitched well at triple a so called Irvin is back in the majors and pitching out of the bullpen. So you know, so they have options but again, as it pertains to upside, yeah, other than Grayson Rodriguez really finding his stride which I’m not saying won’t happen. You do kind of look at this and say, Is there a move to be made that they can go out and get a number one pitcher or maybe not even the number one but say an excellent number two kind of pitcher I mean, Eduardo Rodriguez the Orioles saw him pitch a couple times for Detroit. You know what Once Once Upon a Time was an Orioles prospect. He’s the kind of guy that might be available via trade that you can go out and get if you’re willing to take on a contract that does include some real money. It’s not insane money, but it’s real money for the next couple of years. Are you willing to do that? So those are ultimately things that, that they’re going to have to look at and ultimately decide upon. But I think your your concern is valid in the sense of I think the rotation has been better than it had been earlier in the year. But certainly still not the strength of this team. And if you want this bullpen to continue to do what it what it’s done, you’re either going to need better starting pitching little more length out of that, or you’re gonna have to score more runs, which that’s easier said than done as well, because they’ve just played a lot of close games, which is a credit because they’ve won those games. But my history would would typically tell you that if you’re playing that many close games playing a lot of one run games, you tend to experience some regression to the mean and not saying that that’ll happen entirely with the Orioles but does make it more challenging. So yeah, they they need to get more out of their starting pitching. And the hope is that they’ll get that as the season goes on with potentially some internal candidates. But yeah, I think you’d love to see them be in the mix to make a major move at the trade deadline to augment that rotation.
Dennis Koulatsos 11:23
The Orioles have done a really nice job the front office have taken the discard from other teams and picking them up whether it’s look at the victory over the angels Wednesday night. Bradish came from a train from the angels Columbia was purchased from the twins Cano treadle to quit twins and also Batista. He got released by the Marlins. So they’re done a very nice job not just for the the farm system, but they’re picking up they picked up some players that it’s had a positive impact on his team this year.
Luke Jones 11:50
Yeah, they’ve really been a team that has been able to the as you as you put it, teams that have discarded players right guys that have been waiver claims, you know, and this has been pitchers, this has been bullpen arms. And this has been even position players. I mean, even going back I mean Anthony Santander that this was the Dan Duquette era, he was a Rule five pick, Jorge Mateo had been waived and, and cast off by a couple different teams, despite the fact that he was once considered a prize prospect. So you know, that happens, but it’s really happened in the bullpen where you look at that. And, you know, other than a couple guys, I mean, it’s been guys that have been picked up and they’ve made adjustments. I mean, we’ll begin with yen year Cano. I mean, with what he’s done. I mean, it was Felix Batista was the guy that came out of nowhere last year, and, you know, kind of been a journeyman minor leaguer. And you know it with the year, you know, it’s, it’s just been remarkable when they acquired him from the twins. You kind of looked at that deal and said, Okay, that’s, you know, they’re acquiring a reliever that no eye sees. Big guy has a nice arm. But he’s in his late 20s. He’s never really had any success to write home about when we saw them in the majors last year, it did not look good. There was talk throughout the offseason, whether this guy would even remain on the 40 man roster. And he’s been in the majors for a little over a month. I mean, it was earlier this week that it was a month since he was recalled from triple A Norfolk. And right now, Dennis, and this is odd to say this about a setup, man. But if you look at American League, rookie of the year, candidates, year Cano might be at the top of the list, when you really look at how valuable he’s been. I mean, he’s gonna give up a rod, at some point, he’s gonna walk a guy at some point, but it is really just been incredible to see what he’s done. And it’s been such a great story with him, you know, coming from Cuba and almost giving up on baseball, and again, not really finding the success that he wanted to find. And, again, the Orioles identified something in him. And that’s something that I think you have to really credit Mike Elias and his baseball ops and the scouting department that for as much as they went through this deliberate tanking rebuilding process over the last four to five years, they still had an eye for identifying talent, identifying traits in either pitchers or position players who hadn’t had success, but they said, You know what, this guy has a really good, whatever pitch, or this guy has a really good skill set, that we think with some of our player development and some of our adjustments and the technology we use to cultivate that, that we can make some adjustments here and turn this into a productive player for us. And they’ve done that doesn’t mean they bad 1000 doing it, but they’ve done that. And again, to see it firsthand again on Wednesday night. Yeah. And your keynote comes in and just, you know, easy, easy 1238 Then and to turn it over to Batista for the ninth. I mean, it’s, it’s been fun to watch, and it’s something that you have to be able to do. It’s great to talk about spending money. I spent two minutes talking about it just a little bit earlier in our conversation and that’s part of it. But if you really we truly want to build something special and sustain it. That player development side is so important. You have to draft Well, you have to develop well, you have to be able to look for talent elsewhere, that hasn’t panned out because it’s really hard to do. And the same way that the Orioles have had some great prospects that haven’t panned out, and they’ve gone elsewhere and figured it out. And sometimes they don’t. At the same time, you can identify players that were somewhere else and didn’t work out for whatever reason. But if you identify that there’s something to work with, it’s kind of that that ball of clay right that you can mold it and kind of manipulate that a little bit and turn it into something that can help your ballclub the Orioles, we saw it last year with the bullpen we’re seeing it again this year with some guys that you wouldn’t have expected to emerge. And they have and it’s been so important for this team because their bullpen has been so vital to their success.
Dennis Koulatsos 15:51
Yeah, lots lots to like about the Orioles, it seemed like they have a lot of confidence. They feel like they’re never out of it. They feel like they can come back against any team, no matter the score, which is a far cry from a couple years ago when they were hopeless. You know, in the third or fourth inning right. We talked about this before. Now there is some swagger and some confidence about this team.
Luke Jones 16:11
No question about it. I mean, talking to Austin Hayes recently in the clubhouse after a game he made comment of remembering those days where they were out of the game in the third or fourth inning, I mean, the number of times that you’d sit there in the press box or you go to a game at that point in time. And biggest thing you’re wondering by the fourth inning is which position player is going to finish out the game for you because you don’t want to burn through your entire pitching staff. And it was ugly, it was really ugly. And it it hurts your fan base. It does. And you know, for people that have talked about attendance and why aren’t more people coming in, you know, it’s it’s getting better. But it takes a while. And you know that when you really look at the Orioles, not just over the last five years, but for the better part of the last 3035 years, you know, dare I say close to 40 years, there hasn’t been a whole lot to write home about save for a handful of seasons. So there but there is enthusiasm now. And I think with this being a largely homegrown ballclub and to having some of these guys that have been drafted and developed here and came up through the minor leagues. Now I think fans can identify with guys a little bit more, and they want to buy into it a little bit more. So there’s still work to be done. And as much as we talked about spending on free agents are trading for guys, you’d love to see a couple contract extensions mixed in there. And again, that’s a question for John Angelo’s and ownership that until we see otherwise deserve skepticism, but in the meantime, it’s just it’s been really fun to watch. And they’re never out of it. They rarely make it easy. As I mentioned, they’re playing really close games. But when you have the bullpen that they have, they found a way. And it’s just it’s been so refreshing to watch going back to really last June when things really started to turn around really July with the winning streak and all that but it’s just, it’s it’s a good time to be an Orioles fan and haven’t said that very many times, really over the course of my life. But this is certainly one of those one of those times where that description is appropriate. Look, you
Dennis Koulatsos 18:15
alluded to it at the beginning of our segment in terms of the, you know, the talent they have at the farm system, and particularly in the middle infielders, right. Do you have a there seems to be a bit of a log jam for me, which is not a bad problem to have. Middle. infielders can play anywhere on the field, except pitcher and catcher, you can move them around. So they’ll have some significant trade bait, should they choose to go that route, you have Jackson Holliday, for instance, are doing a really nice job in the minors right now. But they do have some guys coming up. And they’re all playing that that shortstop second base, where she can slide them over to third as well. But they do have a lot of prospects at that position that those positions
Luke Jones 18:55
they do. And that’s something that you want to have, quite frankly, if we talked about this a lot, and you and I spent so much time talking about football, you talked about the term being strong up the middle. And that obviously applies in baseball when you’re talking about catchers, but more so shortstops and center fielders, because the idea is if you can play shortstop or center field, you can probably move to other positions where as if you draft someone who’s already a first baseman, really the only thing they can probably do is dh right. If you draft someone who’s a corner outfielder, the only thing they might be able to do is move to first base so and that’s not a hard and fast rule but that’s generally how it works. So you want those you want better athletes, right? You know, you want guys that can potentially move around the diamond and someone might start out as a shortstop and they wind up at third base and we’re seeing that with Gunnar Henderson right now. You just mentioned Jackson Holliday, who oh my goodness to see what this kid is doing at high single way already. Where he is just absolutely raking for Aberdeen and It’s funny, I remember talking to someone earlier this season about the possibility of Jackson holiday. Maybe he see the Major Leagues by the end of next year. Now, I’m starting to think, how are you going to keep them out of the major leagues next year? You know, that’s how good he is. But then they’ll go through a slump at some point, because it’s, this is really tough. And that’s just how baseball works. But the point is, they have plenty of talent. I mentioned Jordan Westberg, a little bit earlier in the segment, he’s done just about everything you can expect someone to do at triple A at this point, I don’t know how much longer you can keep him down. So again, there’s always the trade possibility and at some point in time, because you do look at the Orioles. And while there are some interesting arms in their system, certainly they’re much more, they’re much more, you know, they have much more depth at the position. Position players are looking at it from that standpoint. So that’s part of it. But you look at these infielders. Yeah. I mean, you know, we’ve seen Joey Ortiz come up and hasn’t necessarily shown it with the bat yet. But even on Wednesday night, he spells Jorge Mateo makes a couple of great plays in the field. I mean, you see what kind of defensive shortstop he is, and there’s value there, even if it’s as a utility player. So they, and that’s part of, you know, that’s been by design, not just to draft middle infielders, but to move them around, and to have guys that can play multiple positions. And that’s been something they’ve wanted to do and, you know, some of these outfielders or some of these middle infielders, you might even see in the outfield at some point in time. I know, that’s something that has been mentioned and talked about, I mean, we’ve seen it with Terran Vavra, who was a middle infielder, and now we’ve seen him play right field for the Orioles at Camden Yards. Westberg is someone that I think could end up seeing some maybe not regular starts in the outfield, but sporadic you know, he can be a super utility kind of player, when he gets that call, which, again, feels like it’s gonna have to be at some point because he’s just been so good at triple A, but these are good problems to have. You want to have, you know, we talked about this a lot with the ravens and deep depth and good problems to have and who’s going to play where and all of that one, you know, you’re gonna have injuries to you’re gonna have guys that are gonna struggle and three, I mean, prospects are still prospects, right? And as much as you think that a guy is going to be this this great player, it doesn’t always pan out that way. I mean, it has with Adley rutschman, with Matt Wieters, and I don’t want to say he didn’t pan out that leaders is a multi time All Star catcher. But was he Johnny Bench? Was he Joe Mauer with power? No, he didn’t really fit that description. So so much of this is just projection. And it doesn’t always play out that way. But the more and more options that you have at these different positions, you’re just improving your chances of one being able to fill field a great Major League club and to giving yourself some organizational depth that from which you can then trade to add and augment at other positions like the starting rotation.
Dennis Koulatsos 22:58
Great stuff Luke can be brought to the Orioles. Let’s shift over to the Ravens showed them a little bit of love in their offseason. Great to see Marlon Humphrey and Ro Quan Smith, so much involved so early. They’re getting involved with the workouts. They’re getting involved with the city. It just refreshing to see these guys, but the question I have, what about the offense? Who’s the I would love to see and I’ve mentioned this on Twitter. I’d love to see the offense match that intensity? I just don’t see it. Yeah,
Luke Jones 23:27
and as I wrote earlier this week at Baltimore positive.com. I’m, I’m willing to give this to the start of OTAs. Before I’m really going to get in to Lamar Jackson then being there. But your point I, I think what Mike McDonald had to say was very telling I’m guessing, John Harbaugh privately was pleased to hear him speak in the terms in which he did about Roe Quan Smith and Marlon Humphrey. And look, I’ll reiterate what I said, I believe I said this to you when we talked last week. When you’re out there for the football school workouts. It is very rudimentary, it’s very elementary. It’s very basic. It’s basically a walkthrough. You know, it’s maybe a walkthrough on steroids. They’re not even wearing helmets and shells and all that. But your points well taken. And I think for me, again, this this question, or this conversation becomes much more pertinent and much more relevant if Lamar Jackson’s still not there next week. But I’ll point out, and this is where your criticism, or at least asking the question, let’s say applies to some other guys. So on the offense, I haven’t seen Ronnie Stanley out there. I haven’t seen Mark Andrews out there. And again, it’s still very early. All these guys are there for OTAs. To me, it’s it’s not it’s a non factor because they still have three weeks of OTAs and they have a week of mandatory mini camp and they have all training camp, but it’s a fair question and I’m not gonna sit here Dennis and say that you’re wrong and asking that because I don’t feel that way. Hey, it’s voluntary, I got it at the same time. This is a team that, let’s face it. And I’ve talked about this with Nestor a lot, Reese here recently, we focus so much on Lamar. And because the quarterback gets too much criticism and too much credit in certain scenarios, but that’s just the player that everyone’s going to point to, and in the same way that the head coach gets all of that as well. But you look at this team and its totality, other than Justin Tucker, and by no disrespect to Tucker, he’s a kicker. And he was a rookie at the time. And look, he had a really important part in that. But I mean, this team hasn’t gotten out of the divisional round in over a decade now. I mean, that’s just that’s just reality. So all of these guys are feeling that same kind of rep, where, what are you gonna break through? You know, it’s great to talk about regular season success. And look, you need that regular season success, to get into the tournament, right to get into the postseason. But if you want to get to the next level, what are you doing? What are you doing to go above and beyond to make that happen? And look, do I think being there for football school? Is the end all be all? Do I think it’s necessarily all that high on the list? No, probably not. If I’m being totally truthful and insincere with you, Dennis, however, is it? Is it a byproduct of needing to have a little more of that drive and urgency? I don’t know. Yeah, well, time will tell. Like I said, if we’re talking about some of these, you know, some of the aforementioned names not being there for OTAs, then, you know, with mungkin in the new offense and trying to help younger guys come along, then I think that becomes a more valid criticism at that point in time. So we’ll see. Ultimately, I’ve said, I’ve said that I expect Lamar to be there for OTAs. The general expectation across the league is that quarterbacks are there for OTAs. And I would think specifically, when you’re coming off of getting a $260 million contract, expectations are there for you to be there for OTAs. So if he’s not, I get it. People will say it’s voluntary. And some people will say that they don’t care about that. But at some point in time, you need to start you know, if you’re truly all in and that focused in and obsessed on winning a Super Bowl, I’m not being there, I’m not sure. That’s the the best approach to take, even just from a perception standpoint with your coaches and your teammates. So we’ll see, again, I don’t, I’d be lying to you if I cared, if I was really even pretending to care about football, school attendance. But as it pertains to OTAs, we’re gonna see across the league, other than guys that are much, much older, you know, Tom Brady fit that description late in his career, or guys that are in a contract kind of situation, like Lamar was last year. And I understood that from a business standpoint, other than those types of guys, quarterbacks are there, and then they’re out there doing it. So if he’s not out there next week, then I suspect that the floodgates are gonna open with criticism. And yeah, I’m certainly not going to be someone that’s going to be feeling all that strongly about defending him at that point in time.
Dennis Koulatsos 28:10
Yeah, well, in a corporate world than just looking at my business, my industry and the person that worked for you know what they want. And so they know the players know what John horrible wants, when it’s an organization when it’s, we’d like for you to be there means to me, it means you need to be there. Hear you from a leadership standpoint, and the other pieces. And that wasn’t picking on Lamar Jackson, you know, that I was I was talking about Ronnie Stanley and Mark, Andrew J. K. Diamond, you name it. Yeah, across the board, but with a more specific to whom much is given much as expected. And I don’t think that’s that’s a stretch to say that I think it’s fair. And the other piece of it is Mike McDonnell has been there for a couple of years. Now. He’s got a system in, you got a brand new offensive coordinator, you have a brand new offense you’re installing, you would think that they’d want to absorb as much as possible. And I’ll leave it at that right now. Like you I’m not, I’m not geeked up about it. But at some point, I’ll become indefensible. Not that I’m looking at the fan anyone, either. Yeah. Yeah,
Luke Jones 29:09
I think that’s fair. And again, like I said, you look at OTAs across the league. I mean, if Patrick mahomes Is there, and look, I want to be clear about this. Patrick mahomes. And some recent years, hasn’t necessarily been in Kansas City for this part of the offseason, and has even had times where he’s brought his skill players to where he lives, or they’ll do a little retreat or whatever, and they’re working out and doing something like that. So it doesn’t necessarily have to be that and look, I’m not suggesting that Lamar is not working or that Lamar is not even working hard. I you know, he posted on social media, a little bit of work and out there on I think it was Wednesday, you know, so that was great to see. But, you know, I, I, I’ll be clear about this. It’s contrary to popular belief, just because something doesn’t take place on social media, doesn’t mean it didn’t happen and vice versa, if it does drop on social media doesn’t mean that it’s authentic and where it needs to be. And I don’t say that about Lamar. I say that about anything.
Dennis Koulatsos 30:07
But I didn’t see the clip was he was he? Was he working out on the home gym? We’re on his house, the entire gym or something else? I’m saying? Of course.
Luke Jones 30:16
Of course, of course, I know, it looked like it was just a field in I assume, in South Florida, I saw palm trees in the background. So it wasn’t Owings Mills. But, you know, again, we’ll see how this plays out. And I expect him to be there. I’m sure the ravens, if they didn’t expect them to be there for football school, which I think there was at least a strong hope that he would be there. From what I’ve gathered, they certainly expect him to be there for OTAs. And if he’s not then and the same goes for any of those guys, you mentioned, Ronnie Stanley, Mark Andrews, Kevin Zeitler, all those different guys that you are talking about a new offense that not to say that, again, it’s not even to say that, that means the season is gonna be a failure, or they’re not going to make the playoffs or they’re not going to do this or that. But it is one of those things. point to and say, Are you all in? Yeah, yeah. So you know, that’s, that’s part of the discussion. And again, next week, OTAs begin that for me. For me, that’s kind of the inflection point where I look at this and say, All right, you know what’s going on here? You just got a crazy signing bonus, and you’ve got all this money you’re getting the next couple years. And, you know, you went through OTAs and previous years before last year, so why not anymore? So I think that’s a, that’ll be a fair question. But again, I’m willing to say, you know, football school again, it’s very, very rudimentary. I think. For me, I kind of look at it as far as who it’s most appropriate for it does feel rookies, and young players and guys that are very much on the roster bubble. But now business will pick up as you get in OTAs. Now, and now you can start doing offense first defense and 14 practices.
Dennis Koulatsos 31:56
But the optics are great for the defense, though. I mean, it’s just to look for rope, one Smith and modern Humphrey and I’ll leave it at that. It’s just, here’s our two guys. They’re all in and you want to see that familiar ship and to me, the defensive unit last year, particularly with the arrival of broken Smith, even when Mr. Jackson wasn’t a feel, was a better unit demonstrates.
Luke Jones 32:18
It was it was I mean, they that second half of the season, really from the the arrival of ro Quan Smith with at the saints game and you know, they got Tyus Bowser back, they got some other guys that a little bit healthier than they had been. Yeah, they got Marcus Williams back to the stretch. Yeah, that was a defense that was kind of in that top three. As far as being that kind of a defense in the NFL.
Dennis Koulatsos 32:42
You remember when Ray Lewis arrived, he wanted to make the linebacker crew the best, the best squat on the team. And you’d like to have about a player that can elevate the stone he elevated that the linebackers and Jonathan Ogden want to elevate the offensive line, it became a domino effect. And hopefully the rest of the team will catch fire from Marlin to row Quan to bleed over to the off one set and they forge that identity that can push through the regular season and have some success and continued success deep into the playoffs.
Luke Jones 33:14
Exactly. I mean, I’ve said it, I’ve written it at Baltimore positive.com. I mean, the defense there are still some questions as far as outside corner depth in the past rush and will OA and a job Oh, step up this year, you know, especially a job Oh, first full NFL season where, you know, he was basically on a red shirt last year with the injury. But the defense high expectations but this offense at this point, there are no more excuses. It’s time for this offense, and specifically the passing game to be really good to be the kind of group that you look at and say, not just make the playoffs. They’ve done that, right. I mean, we’ve talked about and Lamar is a better passer than his critics want to give them credit, credit for I’ve said that over and over. And I’ll continue to say that, but for this team to make that deeper run into January, they need their offense to be ready for that kind of those kinds of matchups, that idea of if you have to be in a position where you’re going to throw the ball 40 times or 45 times and you’re gonna get into a little more of a shootout because we know even if you have a great defense, great offense, beats great defense in today’s NFL rules in the game is designed to be that way. So if you find yourself in that position, or if you find yourself trailing by 10 points, can you be better equipped to throw the ball and throw the ball a lot if you have to. That doesn’t mean that that’s going to be the way you always want to do it. And I still will say that this team is still built to run the football at a very high level. But you didn’t sign Lamar Jackson to 52 million per year and you didn’t bring in Todd Monken to replace Greg Roman and you didn’t bring in Odell Beckham in draft save flowers and bring in Nelson Aguilar. And to draft the two tight ends they drafted beyond behind Mark Andrew Who’s Who’s on a premium contract, you didn’t do all those things to have a middle of the road or below average passing game anymore, all those things are in place. Now, for this to be a really good passing game doesn’t have to be the best in the league, mind you, but for it to be the kind of passing game that you can look at and say, You know what, maybe we’re not going to be as great statistically as mahomes, and the Chiefs or even burrow in the Bengals. But we’ve closed the gap. And we think with everything else we can do specifically on the defensive side of the ball, it’s gonna give us a heck of a chance to go up against those teams in January and be able to win. So you know, what time will tell and and ultimately, what hat what something looks like on paper, it’s got to play out and you got to put in the work, and you’ve got to have enough luck and health along the way. And we certainly know health and injuries have been a big part of their downfall in some of these recent seasons. But ultimately, it’s time to take the next step, the Ravens did not invest the contract that they did in Lamar Jackson, to continue to not be able to get out of the first or second round of the playoffs. So it’s time for this team, not just Lamar, but this team, this this entire team. And that includes John Harbaugh mind you who horse, his best, you know, his most success and most lucrative days is ravens head coach for a long time ago. And that doesn’t mean they’ve been bad, but it hasn’t been that same ceiling for them in a long, long time. So it’s time for everyone to make a deep run and play into late January doesn’t mean you have to get the Super Bowl or have to win it this year. But I think, for me kind of looking at this thing. And again, always understanding there there can be unforeseen circumstances that change the expectations. But I want to see this team get to an AFC Championship game at the very least. Can you get to that point? And if you do that, and this looks how I think it can look and you meet those expectations, then I think everyone will be rip. Everyone’s really excited now but I think people will be even more excited about this team moving forward over the next couple years.
Dennis Koulatsos 37:09
Absolutely look always great stuff. I appreciate your time, your thoughts and your insight and your wisdom. Please tell our listeners where they can find you Baltimore positive Bobby and his T your blog and all the other great things that you do.
Luke Jones 37:20
Thank you very much. I encourage everyone to follow us on Twitter at wn S T can follow me personally at Baltimore Luke finishing up the homestand at Oriole Park at Camden Yards Orioles, head back out on the road then go into Toronto and New York. I will be live in Owings Mills for the start of OTAs. One OTA day open each of the next three weeks, followed by mandatory mini camp three days. In mid June. I will be on the scene hearing from John Harbaugh. We expect to hear from Lamar Jackson sooner rather than later and to see him out there and as well as plenty of other ravens players you want to be or check out my blog at Baltimore positive.com The latest from Owings Mills have Orioles thoughts as well as they continue their strong start to the 2023 season my blog sponsored by coons for to Baltimore. You want to be on the wn St. Baltimore positive tech service sponsored by coons Florida Baltimore, if you are you got the Ravens schedule sent out to your mobile device you’ll get significant roster moves or notable signing any speed any significant local sports news sent directly to your mobile device via the wn St. Baltimore positive tech service sponsored by Coons, Florida Baltimore, and of course anything throughout the week on AM 15 Seven eat with Nestor Sal from Oriole Park at Camden Yards, ravens players and coaches interviews from Owings Mills check out all that at Baltimore positive.com All right, my friend
Dennis Koulatsos 38:39
always fun having you on have fun today and the rest of the week in the weekend. We got Preakness we got lacrosse playoffs. We got all kinds of great stuff happening PGA you name it great time to be a sports fan.
Luke Jones 38:50
Absolutely Dennis plenty going on and we’ll have plenty to talk about next week.
Dennis Koulatsos 38:54
You got to my friends today. Well,
Luke Jones 38:55
Dennis Koulatsos 38:57
My pleasure. There you go. Luke Jones here, the great if not brilliant, Luke Jones here on top you catch him here on tautomer positive with that we’ll take our next break. Come back right after this