Luke Jones uses the unusually late bye week to take deep dive on Ravens run toward Super Bowl and beyond with Dennis Koulatsos. Offense. Defense. Special teams. And good fortune needed for a difficult run of games leading up to the playoffs.
ravens, defense, chuck smith, great, point, mark andrews, game, talking, week, year, ronnie stanley, marlon humphrey, lamar jackson, team, edge rushers, clowney, offense, sack, baltimore, quarterback
Luke Jones, Dennis Koulatsos
Dennis Koulatsos 00:01
All right. All right. All right. Welcome to the Dennis Corazza show. As always leading off my first guest is the honorable Luke Jones doing great things in our community. And also in the sports world, Luke, Buckman.
Luke Jones 00:13
Dennis, how are you my friend happy by week, you know, a chance to exhale a little bit Raven sitting at nine and three and sit back this weekend and watch the rest of the NFL play out. Certainly a great time if you’re a Baltimore Ravens fan, with the way that I wouldn’t say the first half of the season but being such a late Bob, I know almost three quarters of the way through the season. So certainly, lots to be excited about if you’re a Ravens fan, that’s for sure. Absolutely. I
Dennis Koulatsos 00:40
haven’t even looked at the schedule this week. I’m pulling it up with we’re talking now because I guess what she’s talking about the Sunday night game. catch everybody up in the scrub against the Chargers nip and tuck game. There were moments there. That caused us a lot of concern. Right. But the bottom line is they won. We’ve seen many teams lose. We’ve seen the Ravens lose in the fourth quarter. It’s just the way the league is designed. I don’t think it’s anybody’s fault. Between the injuries and the the referee calls and non calls. I still can’t believe that people bet on these things. I look.
Luke Jones 01:18
I know right? Okay, how can you? Well, hey there and there are people listening right now that would tell you that either themselves or they know someone who does very pretty well with it, but I’m with you. I always joke that I know enough about it to stay away from that realm. But hey, all you see now is sports, gambling and sports betting and every other commercial in the league is certainly not just the NFL, all the major sports. I mean, have leaned into it completely. But it is crazy. And I think as we go back and look at ravens chargers on Sunday night for me, it was really a case of the Ravens for stretches of that game and basically every other phase of the game, tried to out charger the chargers, but I keep coming back to how incredibly well the defense played on Sunday night. And let’s face it, that’s been the theme throughout the year. I mean, not that the offense hasn’t been good. And at times the offense has been great, but it has been less consistent. The defense I mean, let’s we could go through game by game if you wanted to Dennis, when is the defense really faltered over the course of the season. Okay, second half of the Browns game in Baltimore. No doubt about that. They gave up too much rushing yardage. They made Deshaun Watson look like Steve McNair. Okay, Marlon Humphrey got beat in Pittsburgh by you know Pickens have on one play after the offensive just squandered so many opportunities eventually, yeah, that defense is gonna get beat. You know, the indie game, they gave up a little bit too much too much yard yardage on the ground. But even that game, they got to safety late in that game that felt like that should have finished it off. But they did. And so the point is, we can point out these very isolated incidents fourth quarter, the Cardinals game, which was still a little more garbage time than real threat to me, but hey, they did have to recover an onside kick at the end of that game. But the point is, you can name on one hand and still maybe even have a finger or two leftover, the number of times that the defense has really faltered over the course of the entire season or even a quarter, you know, so whereas the offense it’s been more up and down, right? It’s been some games where they didn’t perform very well over the course of 60 minutes, or they perform really well and then bogged down in the second half, or whatever it might be. So the calling card for this team has been its defense, I think, certainly, I think some of the talk comparing it to the 2000 ravens defense a few weeks back that cooled off a little bit after what happened against the browns, and that was always a little bit much. But I do think this is a defense that has the chance to be the best ravens defense we’ve seen since maybe 2006, which go back and look at the numbers for that group. That was a really special group that very much with Super Bowl caliber, had the offense been able to do anything against Indianapolis, and that divisional round that in that postseason. So, you know, the point is, this is the best freedmen’s defense we’ve seen since the days of Ray Lewis and Ed Reed and I feel very confident in saying I think that’s going to continue that’s not to say that they’re gonna have to carry them to a championship I don’t know if you can really ride a defense to a championship in the way that the 2000 ravens were able to do that. But I certainly think this is a defense that is far more consistent far more potent, far more dangerous, far more confusing to opposing offensive than we’ve seen in quite some time here in Baltimore.
Dennis Koulatsos 04:43
Yeah, Luke, can you and I talked about the this game we analyze it broke it down a bit. Justin Herbert to me. I got Drew Bledsoe vibes watching him you know, big guy big arm but and of course Brandon Staley, I thought he was even more So this pressure of the last one just gave a lot of credit to the Ravens average 500 records as a coach definitely on a hot seat. But But back to the Ravens defense that one play where Patrick queen and rook one Smith have smashed the Austin ekeler I guess it was supposed to be a screen but those guys got there in a blink of an eye. But you’re right then this is and Brandon Staley said it himself. He said this was a defense playing at a very high level without Marlon Humphrey.
Luke Jones 05:29
Yeah, no question about it. I mean, that’s what’s been so impressive about this defense that if someone had told you this group would have the success, where they would be right now, which is going into the month of December, a nine and three, I mean, right there and look, some people will continue to talk about the Cleveland Browns defense in the Browns defense is really good, too. And I still think there’s something to be said, when you’re a defense like the browns, and your offense has such issues. I mean, we talked about the Ravens offense, but it’s you know, it’s just inconsistency, you know, at times it’s not, it’s still really good offense that whereas the Browns offense I mean, it’s lost for most of them, they can run the ball pretty well. And that’s about it. Right. So especially now with Watson being out of the picture. So I think there is something to be said for a defense having the resolve that you can keep that up when you know your offense isn’t giving you much help. But regardless, you look at this defense, and you’ve seen how good it’s been. You would have been stunned back in late July, to know that the Ravens would be at this point. But Marlon Humphrey would have missed a majority of the games to this point in the season. David Jabo would be would have been an absolute nonfactor in his out for the year, as we learned this week, with a partially torn ACL that was repaired that Tyus Bowser would not have played a snap to this point. You know, you go through Marcus Williams would have missed the amount of time that he missed. I mean, just go through and it while it’s been great and that there’s nothing fluky about it. Let me be clear and be saying that, but what I just laid out, I’m guessing people wouldn’t have been talking about the thinking the Ravens would be the best defense in the NFL and leading the league and certainly leading the league in sacks, you know, you know, with that, and knowing that a job was a total non factor, and Ole missed, what, four or five games, four games and parts of the fifth. So it really is impressive what across the board what they’ve been able to do with their defense. And it really I had this conversation with Nestor earlier in the week, and he kind of talked about Roe Quan Smith, and don’t get me wrong, I still think ro Quan Smith is a force multiplier. But I think the success of this defense runs so much deeper, so much greater than just ro Quan Smith. I think what has made this defense so impressive to me, is the ensemble identity that it has, I mean, perfect example and I noted this in my 12 ravens thoughts of Baltimore positive.com Take a look at what Arthur Mallette did in that game. He had the interception on the Hail Mary and I get it’s a Hail Mary. I mean, it’s not this massive high leverage play there. He could have easily knocked the ball down, but he got an interception had a tackle, you know, which is a good stop on a play. And then obviously he had the pressure on the quarterback hit on the fourth down late in the game. Arthur Mallette I just said made three impactful plays there. Dennis, he played seven snaps in the entire game. So that right there speaks to just how collaborative this defensive effort is. And let’s be clear, there are Pro Bowl talents on this team. I mentioned ro Quan Smith Jadeveon Clowney he’s having a Pro Bowl maybe the one of the best seats
Dennis Koulatsos 08:42
here when he was gonna be my next question Do you about to David Clowney?
Luke Jones 08:47
Yeah, we’ll get to him because some interesting things about him during the bye week, you know that we heard from Chuck Smith. They’re outside linebackers
Dennis Koulatsos 08:53
and I was talking about Chuck Smith as well. There you got
Luke Jones 08:57
to quiet no doubt. But you have real Quan Smith, you have Jadeveon Clowney, which we’ll see if clowny makes the Pro Bowl or not, but he certainly is in that conversation. Right, and, you know, dressers and sack totals and all that, but he’s been great. He’s Hamilton. Yes. Kyle Hamilton’s the guy Dennis that I would say at this point in time, and this kind of lends itself to what you mentioned about Marlon Humphrey. This is no disrespect to Marlon Humphrey or anyone else on that defense, just a matter BK who is that double digit sacks? I’m not so sure Kyle Hamilton isn’t the second best player on this defense at this point behind row Quan Smith because of how much he does, how versatile he is, what he does at the line of scrimmage, his ability and past coverage you know, ability to rush the passer when he’s asked to blitz so, so they have some tremendous talents. Now, you know, don’t get me wrong, but it really is such a collective effort on this defense and, and maybe another great example of that was the example of Patrick Queen on the Blitz, where it looked like he had a free shot. At Justin Herbert, but he played his assignment which was to basically set up a teammate there. Now there is a situation where sometimes it’s like, okay, you do have to open your eyes and take what’s there, even if it’s not exactly how the player is drawn up. But that right there shows the unselfishness of this defense. And I think anyone would tell you while look, these guys want to make you know, they want to have numbers, you know, they want sacks, they want tackles, they want interceptions, because it’s a business at the end of the day. And when they have to go, there agent has to go to Eric to caster or any of the 31 other decision makers around the NFL for money for contracts. Yeah, those numbers matter. But within the context of what this team is trying to accomplish this year, boy, you just have such buy in. So it is really a testament to everyone, you know, the front office set and scouts in ERIC Decosta for bringing in the right players drafting the right players signing the right guys, the coaching staff, beginning with Mike McDonald, and as we mentioned other guys, Anthony Weaver and Chuck Smith, and we’ll get to the pass rush in a moment, as we alluded to, but it’s also just the players buying in, right. I mean, again, there’s, there’s so much that goes into being successful, the NFL, but guys want to be, you know, it’s a business, it’s their livelihood, it’s their chance to make life changing money that’s going to set up not just themselves for the rest of their careers rest of their lives, but their kids or maybe their grandkids, depending on how successful they are. So, so there is inherently there’s going to be some selfishness at some point. Now there has to be, you know, in the same way that anyone that you’re making, you know, no one just works for the fun of it, right? I mean, it’s your livelihood, you have fun doing it, but it’s your livelihood. So for them to have the buy in that they get and for them that just You see guys that step up on a week by week basis. And again, Arthur Mallette was just such a great example that this week you’d look at the two or three splash plays he made played seven snaps you know, so it really does speak to how collaborative the the this defense really is, how complimentary it is. And like I said, you know it’s it’s this great ensemble cast that you know, in any given week you’re having guys that sometimes you don’t even call their name and other look at Broderick Washington was a healthy scratch a week ago and had a sack late in this game not that it was the most critical play of the game but if the point still stands so it really just is so impressive for this defense to do what it’s done and like I said it’s got it’s got its elite talents but boy it’s just it’s such an impressive collective effort. And really the pass rush leading the league in sacks and I get it Mata became clowny are up there but to lead the league in sacks. There’s no TJ watt on this defense. There’s no miles Garrett on this defense. I mean, no one is quite that dynamic. Mata BK is as close as it comes. But even him, you know, he’s an inside pass rusher. You know, you don’t view those guys in quite the same light, even if we should maybe but just so impressive, the true team effort they’re getting with that defense. And it’s really taken their defense from a defense that was really good at the end of last year to what’s been a great defense here in 2023. Now,
Dennis Koulatsos 13:15
all great points, Luke Davian clowny. And I’m glad you brought him up. He’s been great against the run great at rushing the passer. And I want to give some some credit to Coach Harbaugh, because they do have a culture the Ravens have a culture of letting the guys be themselves right. within certain parameters. So with with planning on a team and Mike McDonald’s influence and also Chuck Smith, right, Puck, let’s talk about that. And, and I also want to cost our listeners that. You know, I like Mike McDonald, he’s done some great things. But anytime you get a promotion, you’re moving away from your strength. And it doesn’t always translate. He may be a great head coach. He may not. But we do know that. John Harbaugh is a great coach. Right. So I know Hobbs got knocked and rightfully so for some of those challenges or non challenges or whatever. But I think I think guys like hardball, they want to play for him. They play hard for him. And I think part of maybe what what what’s happened with County’s resurgence here, right rebirth on the Ravens. You gotta give credit to the coach.
Luke Jones 14:23
I mean, you give credit to everyone, but yeah, I mean, it begins with John Harbaugh off the top there and I mean, look. Yeah, and what you just said with Mike Mike, I mean, it’s so fascinating. And obviously it’s by week so you hear so much in Taurus. Okay, is Mike McDonald gonna get hired somewhere else? I’ve heard people talking and you know, I there’s some merit to the idea of if, if you’re Steve Ashada and you kind of look at John Harbaugh and say, Okay, I mean, John how much longer you want to do this you know, is there something we can work out that this is like Eric to caster eventually replacing Ozzy new smile here, all that, but again, there’s an unknown in the moment in the present, everything fits so well. And I mean Jadeveon Clowney is such a great example of this. I mean, this is a guy who, let’s be clear, and Chuck Smith made this point. Other than Lamar Jackson, there’s probably no one on the current roster who has been scrutinized as much as Davey on clowny and Lamar of course more because you’re talking about a franchise quarterback and his contract situation how high profile all that was. But in the case cloudy, you’re talking about someone who was regarded as this epic talent coming out of college coming out of South Carolina number one overall pick. And his career did not play out like a number one overall pick, right? He’s had a good career and I think anyone I mean, let’s be clear, was never a bust. Let’s he should avian clowny wasn’t a bust of a bust is someone who’s out of the league in two years and and you say, oh my gosh, that was an absolute disaster. That guy was embarrassing to our organization, whatever it might be. And we’ve seen plenty of those, particularly at the quarterback position. But it’d be tough to look at today on clowny compared to what he was coming out of college and seeing what his career has been in say, it hasn’t been underwhelming, and a lot of that had to do with a guy had microfracture surgery on his knee was his first or second year, whatever it was, I mean, that is the kind of surgery that oftentimes oftentimes will end someone’s career. I mean, that’s, you know, that is a tough surgery. So anyway, back to where clowny was at this stage of his career is considered someone who was physical always had the violent hands, good against the run. stolid pass rusher but not someone who’s put up big numbers certainly hasn’t been a dynamic pass rusher, you know, had never had a double digit sack kind of, you know, never put up 1516 sacks, you know, First Team All Pro kind of season. And the way that when the Texans drafted him, they thought that’s what you’re gonna get every year from Jadeveon Clowney, you know, we can all remember the highlights of him in college, so. So you have all that you have a guy who has been with the browns, the last couple years ugly departure at the end of the season last year in Cleveland in luck. I mean, how much of that was him? How much of that was the organization I guess, and it’s a combination of both, you know, I don’t think you completely absorbed the player. But we also know the history of the Cleveland Browns as an organization. So now you kind of take it for what it is. And then you know the Ravens talk with them at one point. They have some discussions and then they eventually sign them midway through August and he comes in, he talks about having one wanted to play for John Harbaugh. And when you hear that at the time you take it with a grain of salt because any team that has a coached with any level of accomplishment, any level of tenure, they’re probably going to make some mention of having wanted to play for the coach because they’re trying to endear themselves to the media trying to endear themselves to the fan base. But you look at the perfect storm. Clowney comes in Anthony Weaver’s the defensive line coach coached him in Houston as a as an assistant there so has a familiarity with him. Chuck Smith, the Ravens outside linebackers coach has worked with should they be on clowny because Chuck Smith was a private pass rushing coach for years had worked with clowny at varying earlier much earlier in his career. So So right off the bat, there’s some institutional knowledge on what makes a Davey on clowny tick, what makes him good as a player, all of that, but so you have that factor. But I think what was also fascinating and Chuck Smith laid this out is today Dan cloud, he’s grown as a player this year, and he mentioned specifically and I’m I’m not going to get too technical here because, well, I’m not a pass rushing savant, or anything like that. But I know that Jadeveon Clowney had tried to learn that the Cross Chop pass rushing move for a long time and Chuck Smith even said that he would watch them at different stops in his career and and even reach out to him at times and say, that’s not quite it, you know, that’s not quite it. He has mastered that this year. In fact, he used that very move on the strip sack, obviously after you know, to end the Chargers insanely long drive, you know, that went from the end of the third into the fourth quarter, and they don’t get any points you know, that came on the Cross Chop. So I think the biggest lesson for me here and we’ve talked about this a lot, you know, through the lens of the Orioles with their rebuild but this is Davey on clowny having a growth mindset and you know someone who’s been in the league a long time yet is still striving to get better and and embraced being coached and he’s got to go to move now. And Chuck Smith is big on that. Obviously he’s a pass rusher guy. He’s been big on everyone on that defensive front having some kind of a pass rush move now, you know it does everyone have a legendary move and the way that you think of like Dwight Freeney with the spin the way that he was like that guy that gave Jonathan Ogden more trouble than anyone you know, talking about Jr, being a Hall of Fame left tackle. So, still, I just think it’s really impressive and it just speaks to, you know, clowny it’s a reflection of just what I’ve mentioned, the buy in for this defense and they all play for each other and And I think it also is interesting, you know, with Chuck Smith and Anthony Weaver Chuck Smith was very, that both those guys talked to the media on I guess it was Tuesday. And they both made clear that, hey, this isn’t just about me, this is also his, you know, he deserves credit to what the Ravens have done this year, they’ve kind of streamlined in past years, they would kind of have the defensive line and the outside linebacker separate. And, you know, I mean, and obviously, they have their full team, or full defense meetings and things of that nature. But this year, they’ve really had those two groups work together and be in the meetings together, that it’s really streamlined what they’re doing. So you know, it gives you much more multiple seamless pass rush where I mean, there are times where clowny lines up at the three technique, they’ve had a dot AOA line up over the nose at times, you know, you’ll have Brent urban or Broderick Washington or Mata BK lineup at five technique on occasion, although Mata BK typically stays inside. So the point is, it’s just, there’s so much that’s gone into this, but when you have a Davian clowny, a guy who, if anyone would have, you know, at this point in time have not an excuse, but he’s 30 years old, he’s his 10th year in the league, if anyone’s going to have a, an attitude of, I kind of learned everything I’m going to learn at this point. It would be him and you know, he’s had, he still had a rock solid career, but for him to kind of have this renaissance that he’s had. And to hear Chuck Smith explain it and to hear how the crop Cross Chop and just search on Twitter, clowny Cross Chop, and you’ll see some defensive line and Guru types that you always find on Twitter, you know, on social media, sharing how that technique that pass rushing technique has been a game changer for him because for him, he was more of a just a power throw his body around violent hands physical kind of guy and that and that worked for him. But it wasn’t leading to him putting up monster sack numbers, whereas you look at him now he’s got seven and a half sacks, he’s got a great chance to to be a double digit sack guy, although I will point out Justin Houston was at a similar point in the season last year, and we’re down. So I think that’s a reminder that some someone like clowny want to continue to manage his snaps and keep him fresh to the rest of the way. But it’s just really speaks to how much buy in there is. And again, going back to your point about John Harbaugh and the culture and, you know, Chuck Smith even laughed, he said, My wife hear so much about team culture, and she just rolls her eyes. But and look, it is eyewash for in many places. And you know, it’s not, you know, every team has a certain amount of culture, right, and you still have to go out you stuffed up talent, stuff to have guys go out and make plays, you still have to have a certain amount of good fortune, you still have to stay relatively healthy. So it’s not everything. But I do think what we’ve seen with this defense, you know, with guys like clowny and Kyle van Noy coming in, you know, and cloud use case, right toward the end of training camp in Vanoise case after the season had already started and see the success that they’re having as two veteran players who, like I said, if there was anyone who had the attitude of, I’ve learned everything there is to know I’m kind of who I am at this point in my career, it would be those guys, and yet, they’ve bought in and they’ve learned things and they’ve even grown as players. I mean, I mean, what a great example that is for someone like adopt AOA, or is in year three. And, you know, let’s face it, first couple years wasn’t off to a great start with his career and we’ve seen him take a step forward. So it really is just so impressive the entire defensive operation and it for me, it’s the biggest reason why they’re nine and three and it’s not that’s not a knock on Lamar Jackson or the offense. We know Lamar is in the MVP conversation, but the defense has been so consistent week after week after week, save for a couple quarters here and there. That it’s just it’s really been impressive and it’s a huge reason why this team’s a legitimate Super Bowl contender this year. Well
Dennis Koulatsos 24:06
cloudy Savin fun clearly the whole team is particularly the defense right? They’re having a lot of fun. They’re touching the quarterback they’re getting the reps and I know that plan to express frustration he says when he was with the browns, they were more concerned about getting miles Garrett better matchups matching him up against the weaker offensive linemen which look it’s a really good strategy but I think another big key is why these edge rushers are having some success. Just about about a PK, right? Broderick Washington, Travis Jones, Michael Pierce, they’re getting a push up the middle and when a quarterback can’t step up, he’s got to escape. And when you try to escape, you got these Enza crashing down on him and because of the rotation they’re fresh, right and and calamity is a dude we watched him give the Ravens a hard time when he was with the Browns we watch them get the Ravens a hard time when dealing with the Titans. That was one game I think he’d spent half the game when the in the backfield so They are having fun and they’re playing at a high level. It’s it’s good that Chuck Smith has been a great influence on his edge rushers as well.
Luke Jones 25:08
No question. I mean, Chuck Smith has been an influence on the edge rushers, he’s worked with the interior guys. And same thing with Anthony Weaver, Anthony Weaver’s, the defensive line coach, but he’s worked with the edge rushers, Weaver brought up a really interesting point this week. And you and I’ve talked about this, you know, we’ve talked about this for years. And Tom Brady being a great example of this, when you could get inside pressure on him. The ball would come out so quick. So even if you had great edge rushers, they wouldn’t always get to him. And there are things that you can do to account for edge rushers, you know, you can keep a blocking tight end, and you can chip with a tight end. Obviously, you have you have a back, you know, in the case of the ravens, you know, you use someone like a Patrick Ricard. But Weaver made the point. And this really pertains to just a matter, BK, but it also applies to any of their other guys, when they’re lining up on the inside. He just said, you know, there are things you can do to account for a guy on the edge, there’s only so much you can do when a defensive tackle lines up, you know, you can try to double and, you know, I mean, there’s some of that, but you’re much more limited. I mean, obviously, you want to be aware of where that guy is, and you want your quarterback to be aware, that way your quarterback has, you know, he’s ready to have an answer to pot read whatever it is hot route to get the ball out quickly. But when you have that pressure that’s coming right in your face, where you know, a defender is coming at your legs, whatever it might be, I mean, it’s that is a different animal than someone coming off the edge where you know, you can step up in the pocket, you might, you know, you might be able to shake loose. It’s just It’s tough when it’s inside there. And it’s you know, it’s right in your face like that. So I think what Mata BK has given them, it’s just it’s a different dynamic. And I think you and I talked about this even a couple of weeks ago, where you kind of think back over the history of the ravens, even with all their defensive excellence, who have been the great interior pass rushers for them. I mean, hello de nada at times, but Aminata was never a guy who put up big sack numbers. You know, I think you go back to 2006, Trevor price put up monster numbers that year, but he was still more inside outside at that point, you know, he wasn’t lining up exclusively as a defensive tackle. And the way that Matt a BK almost always is lining up, you know, as you know, kind of a three technique so it really makes such a difference. And again, there are things schematically you can do to account for guys that are rush rushing off the edge, but they’re it’s you’re much more limited in what you can do against defensive tackles. I mean, again, you can try to double, but again, you try to do that your numbers and it’s going to set someone else up, especially someone coming from the outside then so I just think that’s been such a a different element that the Ravens typically haven’t had, I mean, they’ve had good pass rushers in the past. But what’s made this much more dynamic and much more difficult. Not just the scheme when we’ve talked at length about the scheme and sin pressures and guys blitzing from the nickel like Arthur Mallette or Kyle Hamilton, you know, I mean, you know, it can it can pressure can arrive from just about anywhere you know, with that front and especially when you’re having seven or eight guys at the line of scrimmage and even if they’re Russian for you don’t know which for a common, but I still think Mata BK is presence just it’s made such a difference for them, and having someone who, you know, even with all the games and, you know, pressures and blitzes and exotic packages that they run, you have someone who Mata BK who can just win inside and they just haven’t had many guys like that over the years and there are many guys like that around the NFL. You know, that’s why you’re in Donald has been this alien for a decade. Right? So it really just speaks to, you know, another unique factor that’s that the Ravens have going with this pass rusher in this defense.
Dennis Koulatsos 28:56
Yes, Sam Adams was twitchy for a big man back in the 2000 different but still he was much bigger than than men. Right? He looks like a bodybuilder. But I did take a look at sport track. They projected numbers for next year. We had a BK he’s 26 years old. They had number 355. Right three years 55 million. And they had Patrick Queen at around four 466 or so. 24 year old players so very young still, for Patrick queen. So they’ll have some they’ll have some cap space headaches. Next year’s Lamar Jackson’s salary accelerates. Right.
Luke Jones 29:32
Yeah, and maybe that, you know, that leads us into something that I wrote about it at Baltimore. positive.com I look. Let’s shift to the other side of the football. Yep. Ronnie Stanley. I mean, we’ve been we’ve talked about it Dennis. I do think that right knee has been a problem for him. To his credit he tried to get you know he came back after just one game off and you know cook because at times look fair, unfair perception reality why? Never missed a heck of a lot of games the last few years. So, of course, there’s frustration from the fan base, you know, and, and some of that, at times is unfair, you know, I, I certainly think he wants to play I certainly feel for him as a competitor. But yeah, this is an example. Maybe it wasn’t the wisest decision for him to try to play. And certainly Khalil Mack ate his lunch. And to be fair, Khalil Mack has done that to a lot of great left tackles. I mean, you’re talking about a guy who’s at least going to be in the conversation as a Hall of Fame player, if not a Hall of Fame player outright, so But Let’s call a spade a spade. I mean, this has probably been the worst season of Ronnie Stanley’s career, I mean, just using pro football focus, and I get it, that is not the end all be all evaluative tool, and their grades are not gospel. But it’s been rough. And I think the reality is going back to you know, what transitioned us to this conversation is the ravens are gonna have a heck of a lot of tough decisions with free agents, and just roster building moving forward, because the reality of Lamar Jackson’s contract, it’s just there, it’s not a knock on the bar. It’s just any franchise, or any team that has a franchise quarterback that is elite and making elite money, you have to adjust from a roster building standpoint, and I’ll say this much, you absolutely must get proper production and value from your highest paid players on your roster. And where they stand right now with Ronnie Stanley, considering lumbars cap number is going to go up next year. And considering this boatload of free agents that they’re going to have, I think Ronnie Stanley might be playing for his ravens career the rest of the way. And now, let me be clear, it’s not as simple as just saying, Oh, we’re going to cut them because even in a post June 1 scenario, you’re going to be taken on some money, you’re going to take on a heck of a lot of money pre June 1. So the best case scenario, within the realm of realistic understanding, he’s going to be 30. And I’m guessing the ship is probably sailed on him becoming the guy getting back to the guy that he was in 2019, for example, and also understanding that the injuries probably aren’t going to improve when you get to the wrong side of 30. If you’re someone who’s subject to a lot of injuries, but the best case scenario is probably Stanley getting that knee in a better place over the spy. So you know, and that’s why I asked John Harbaugh this question. And John flat out said, look, it hasn’t been great. Ronnie probably be the first to tell you, it hasn’t been great. It’s got to get that knee right from a technique standpoint, from a bend standpoint, being able to anchor all of that. So it’s not as though anyone’s just saying, Stanley’s just bad now, and that’s just who he is. But he’s dealt with the knee. He’s caught the ankle that’s caused him basically two full seasons going back to 2020. So they need to see a better version of Ronnie Stanley and you know that on a couple levels, one, that they truly want to maximize their Super Bowl potential. That’s not to say that they that they can’t win a Super Bowl with Ronnie Stanley not playing his best, but it’s like the mark Andrews thing, right? Mark a better Ronnie Stanley makes things easier for you in the same way that if you had Mark Andrews things would be easier for you. And knowing that he’s not going to be back until best case scenario late in the play in the playoff run. If they get that far, so they need a better rod, Ronnie Stanley to maximize where they want to try to get this year. And you need that you’d like to see that from a decision making standpoint, because the best case scenario is probably him playing at least one more year. Even if you’re looking going into next year’s draft and saying you know what? Let’s try to find our franchise left tackle the future. Maybe we’ll play it like the Ravens did way back in 1996. And Jonathan Ogden was drafted. And where did he play his rookie year Dennis left guard that could solve a problem at left guard for one year. You have Stanley for one more year can mentor the young guy and then you see where you are at that point. But if they don’t get a better version of Ronnie Stanley than what we’ve seen so far in 2023, I think you need to I think you need to bump up that that the urgency of that succession plans. So I think you know, again, going back to where I kind of took this conversation you have all these different guys that let’s face it, they’re not gonna be able to keep everyone I mean they’re just not I mean, I think they’re, they’re gonna try like heck to keep Justin Mata BK. But if you do that, there’s no way you’re keeping Patrick queen. You know, you’re, there’s no way you’re keeping Geno’s stone around who deserves to start somewhere. You know, I mean, that’s just where it is. And Marcus Williams, to his credit has played really well, you know, since that first game back where there was the concern about his tackling, so, you know, you’re not going to keep everyone but you do want to keep trying to keep some of these guys. And if you’re looking at Ronnie Stanley, it’s just he’s not a $20 million. He’s not playing anywhere close to a $20 million left tackle. I mean I still think to be clear, because I’ve seen some conversation about this. He’s still their best left tackle. Patrick Macquarie has been better at right tackle when he’s filled in than left tackle this year, though Macquarie played very well back in week two to his credit, but Stanley still their best left tackle, he still has their best, the most upside. But Dennis, the fact that we even have to say that is a major problem with where they are from a value standpoint with Ronnie Stanley. So yeah, I think there’s gonna be a lot of scrutiny. You know, a lot of you know, the, the Ravens gonna be watching him closely. You know, John Harbaugh didn’t hide from it. I mean, yeah, they know he’s runny nose, he’s not playing very well, you know. So it’s nothing personal. And I’m empathetic for all the injuries that he’s gone through me that ankle injury that stunk that that happened. And there’s no way the Ravens could have foreseen that. Certainly, it’s not something that Stanley wanted to have happen two days after he signed that extension. But here we are three years later. And there’s a significant value problem with Ronnie Stanley. So if he plays better the rest of the way, I think you still probably plan to have him on the team next year, maybe you can try to rework the deal a little bit, make it a little little more cat friendly to help you sign some other players but but if it’s much, much of the same the rest of the way, I don’t know if the ravens are going to have much of a choice but to kind of pivot and see about bringing someone else in you know, and look, not saying that you’re going to find someone that was as good as Ronnie Stanley four years ago, but I don’t think you especially when that’s the guy protecting your $260 million quarterbacks blindside you’re gonna need, you’re gonna need better than that over the course of the next couple years. And, you know, I don’t know if Ronnie Stanley at this point. I don’t know, if he’s up to that, especially at the compensation level that he currently finds himself and, you know, it’s just there’s a value problem there. And, you know, when it’s been as problematic as it’s been a they’re still nine and three. Let me be clear, these are still relative problems, but I think he’s still got to look at it in terms of where they’re going roster building wise. That some me if you’re unless he’s better down the stretch, that’s going to be very problematic going into the offseason with all these free agents.
Dennis Koulatsos 37:18
Yeah, there’s Andrew Vorhees hanging around again, hopefully he’s healthy. In 2024. deep draft for Offensive Tackles deep traffic quarterbacks to areas of need for the Ravens so hopefully illustrate that but for this year, his injury when he goes down, certainly shifts the balance of the offensive line. Mark Andrews goes down shifts the balance the entire team, and we saw that I guess the performance against the Chargers was to be expected by the Ravens offense given that you’re missing such a huge piece of your offense. In Mark Andrews right Lamar Jackson safety black and hit blank in his go to guy and third down his go to guy in the red zone Solimar have to have to go on living without Mark Andrews for the rest of that perhaps for the rest of the season. Yeah,
Luke Jones 38:07
I mean, you certainly you can’t play the rest of the season expecting Mark Andrews to come back. I think from a mindset standpoint, if you’re Lamar Jackson, if you’re Todd Monken you have to be planning as though Andrews isn’t going to come back because it’s still that’s not considered a high percentage, there’s a chance that he could come back maybe by the AFC Championship based on, you know, some of the conjecture that’s been out there, but he had surgery. He’s on IR. You know, he’s not certainly not gonna be playing the rest of the regular season. So they’ve got to figure it out. Right. I think what was a little discouraging, is, you know, again, relative, they won, right? I mean, they were able to get the running game going when they needed to they you know, they made enough plays, but they did have the extra rest coming off of the Thursday night game. So they had you know, and hypothetically Todd Monken had a few extra days to prepare. And let’s also face it I mean, this is this was not a good chargers defense. I mean, this is a lousy chargers defense on paper and I give them credit and look they still have Derwin James they still have Khalil Mac so I don’t want to completely say they’re devoid of talent but we saw a Jordan loved it the week before against them for example. So so from that standpoint, it was a little discouraging see them seeing them not be able to have more success in the air. And look they did some early early on they did I thought Monken and Lamar did some some nice things in terms of for example, getting the ball to Isaiah likely in space. I don’t think this was a for me what I’m talking about here isn’t Andrews being out and Isaiah likely was a disappointment. It’s the entire operation we talked about this is going to have to be a collective effort of four or five different guys stepping up and Lamar Jackson happened to step up his trust level when some other guys that’s just where they are, you know, you can’t you know, this isn’t as simplistic as as they likely steps in for Mark Andrews and everything is peachy Dory, you know, like it’s hunky dory you know? It’s, you know, they’ve got to adapt. So from that standpoint, you know, you kind of look at what how it played out. Four of 13. on third down, you know, they were one of two inside the redzone. You know, they were unsuccessful a couple of times on fourth down, and we could certainly, you know, the direct snap the GUS Edwards. Yeah, that to me was a little too cute. But at the same time, you go back and look at it look like it was there if it was kind of run correctly. But the point is, they do have some work to do on that front. And I think that’s, for me, one of the biggest questions I have for this team for the posts by stretch, you know, beyond talking about, you know, Stanley, as I mentioned, beyond talking about, like, you know, the running back position, keep Mitchell, you know, do we see him start to become bigger, you know, what happens with the defense in terms of do they, you know, do they break the franchise sack record? Do they, you know, what’s it look like with Marlon Humphrey coming back, like, you know, some questions like that, I really do look at the passing game. And they do need to find a little bit higher level of consistency, higher level of efficiency. You know, I think you kind of look at, and I don’t mean, Lamar, I mean, more the offense in general, but you kind of look at since that Detroit game, where they were just amazing, you know, as incredible as incredible. Could be offensively in that game. Yeah. It’s been a little more up and down. Arizona. Not so good. offensively. Seattle game. Really good. You know that that reminded you of your of Detroit, Cleveland, game up and down Cincinnati. Yep. It was good. This week, that’s not so great. So it’s been a little choppier. On that front. And look, when you have a defense as great as the Ravens defense. Okay, you know, and they look, they’ve won, they’ve won, what? Six of their last seven. So it’s not as though they’re not in great shape. But if you’re looking through the lens of January, and understanding how tough the rest of the regular season schedule is going to be let alone getting into January, where you’re playing a good team every single week are a great team every single week. They do need more consistency with that passing game. And the first. Yeah, they did a great job adapting against Cincinnati when Andrews went down, obviously early in that game, but their first full game lesson or first full game test, I should say, without Mark Andrews. Yeah, it’s a little choppier. And that’s probably to your point probably should have been expected. Although I would have liked to have seen a little more against, again, not a very good chargers defense. But it certainly shouldn’t, there shouldn’t be any complacency, at least as it pertains to that. Going into the bye week. So that’s where Todd Monken and T Martin and Keith Williams and George Godsey. And you know, all the offensive assistants going into by weeks and all right, how are how is this passing game going to evolve because obviously without Mark Andrews, it’s different. Now, again, it’s not as simple as plug and play likely for Andrews and everything’s fine. So you know, there’s going to be some evolution that’s going to have to be at work here. But, you know, the running game has been good to excellent passing game has been really good at times. But it hasn’t been as consistent. And if there’s the biggest area for me, for this team between now and getting into the playoffs, is you’ve got to find a higher level of consistency. And it doesn’t that doesn’t mean Lamar throwing for 400 yards every week. But when they are throwing the ball, you do want to see some improved efficiency. And, you know, you’ve got to find, you know who that how you’re going to replace that Mark Andrews production, again, likely is part of that. But for me, maybe it’s a flowers, becoming a little more of a sophisticated part of this offense from a route running standpoint, maybe a little less underneath for him and maybe pushing the ball downhill downfield with him a little bit more. I know it’s going to have to come somewhere, you know, Bateman, Odell Beckham, you know, it’s going to be a collaborative effort. But that really is, for me the biggest question for this team as we come out of the bye week. And again, it’s not against a specific opponent just wanting to be more consistent week to week on that front. Because,
Dennis Koulatsos 44:19
hey, you know,
Luke Jones 44:21
you’re at some point on this defense is probably going to have an off game. Yeah. We’ve been saying that. You know, it probably will happen at some point. So if that’s the case, you want your offense to be ready to in the same way that the defense was ready to step up when the offense had its issues against the chargers on Sunday night. Of
Dennis Koulatsos 44:38
course and as the Ravens have a vibe this week and we’ll see the the Cardinals and Kyler Murray, as though they’re hosted by the Steelers right and then the Browns traveled to the Rams perhaps Joe Flacco starts that game and the Bengals at the Jaguars so we’ll be rooting for all the B teams against our divisional opponents loop with that. Please tell our listeners where they can find the social media all the great stuff You do for Baltimore positive wn as to your blog, and everything else that you do. Absolutely.
Luke Jones 45:04
I encourage everyone to follow us on Twitter at wn St. Follow me personally at Baltimore, Luke, check out my blog at Baltimore positive deck.com, sponsored by coons for the Baltimore. As I mentioned, you know, a piece on Ronnie Stanley. I’ll have more on to Davey on clowny and some of the Ravens outside linebackers. Check out my 12 ravens thoughts and I’ll even have a piece over the weekend. Questions for the stretch run. I mean, this is a Ravens team that is nine and three is currently number one in the AFC although probably at by the end of the weekend probably won’t be but because of tiebreakers and assuming that the other three loss teams don’t all fall this weekend. But ravens are in a great spot. But yeah, they do have some questions the rest of the way and some fun questions such as Lamar Jackson’s MVP candidacy, I’ll be pondering all that at Baltimore positive.com You want to be on the wn St. Baltimore positive tech service sponsored by coons for the Baltimore if you are you get the final injury report of the week. Game Day inactive sent directly to your mobile device 90 minutes prior to kickoff. Any significant local sports news sent out via the wn St. Baltimore positive tech service sponsored by coons for to Baltimore and of course, anything throughout the week on AM 15 Seven eat with Nestor, ravens players and coaches interviews including interviews with some of the Ravens assistants Chris you at the secondary coach talking about Kyle Hamilton and Brandon Stevens and we mentioned Chuck Smith, Anthony Weaver T Martin talking about Lamar Jackson’s development as he is putting up another very strong season at quarterback for the Baltimore Ravens. Check out all of that at Baltimore. positive.com
Dennis Koulatsos 46:40
All right, my friend, always insightful, always informative, always hard hitting. I appreciate you Luke’s you have fun this weekend watching the other games and we’ll reconvene at same time next week. Yeah
Luke Jones 46:52
encourage everyone have a nice fun stress free football weekend Hey because it only the intensity and the anxiety only grows from here as the Ravens come out of the bye week and it’s a bear have a final five weeks there’s no doubt about that even the Rams looking a little bit better the last couple of weeks so certainly not a game to sleep on there with Matthew Stafford but plenty of excitement so rest up because these next couple months could be very fun, but also very nervous. As we get closer and closer to January yet
Dennis Koulatsos 47:23
we’ll be Cardinals rams and Jaguars fans for about three hours of Sunday BlueKai appreciate you and with that we’ll take a next break here on 1570 Am wn st we’ll be back right after this.