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Finding the right mix of veterans and draft players to fit offseason needs Koulatsos last week

Luke Jones joined Dennis Koulatsos for a spring chat about the Orioles bats and the draft picks and decisions of Ravens general manager Eric DeCosta this offseason.

SUMMARY KEYWORDS

ravens, lamar, year, point, quarterback, draft, odell beckham, talking, orioles, players, games, baltimore, beckham, play, season, baseball, wide receiver position, team, lamar jackson, terms

SPEAKERS

Luke Jones, Dennis Koulatsos

Dennis Koulatsos  00:02

Welcome back leading off as usual by all star hitter Luke Jones doing great things here locally and also nationally. Luke, welcome in.

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Luke Jones  00:13

Dennis, how are you my friend? It’s great to talk to you as we do every week.

Dennis Koulatsos  00:17

Yes, sir. It’s all great. The Orioles wet tea opening day. I’ve been watching a lot more baseball this year. Thanks to wonderful people like yourself.

Luke Jones  00:28

Yeah, I mean, it’s been a, you know, up and down start to the season. It’s been fine. You’re the right around 500. And, as a wrap up this homestand against Oakland, I think is certainly you look at what Ryan mountcastle has done. Adley rutschman, Austin Hays, you know, at the top of the lineup, now those guys swinging the bats very, very well. You know, the pitching has been more up and down. The defense has been way worse than I thought it would be. I think that that will remedy itself. I’m pretty confident in saying that, although it’s certainly been head scratching. But the big question will remain the pitching. And I think we’re seeing both on the starting side and in the bullpen. Very much some some concerning early signs. Again, it’s early. But if you had concerns about the pitching going into the season, certainly not seeing anything to make you feel better about that at the moment. But this is a fun club to watch. Certainly, we saw Ryan mountcastle Drive in nine runs the other night, tying an Orioles record so that they hit the ball. There’s no question about that they’re fun. They certainly have talent up and down the lineup, even if you’re still waiting for a few guys to get going. But, you know, overall, it’s a kind of start that I don’t think anyone’s panicking over but certainly not doing any cartwheels, at least like the Tampa Bay Rays, who I don’t know if they’re ever going to lose the game, the way they’re going. I mean, they’ve just been unbelievable to start the season and the rest of the Al East including the Orioles looking up at them at the moment

Dennis Koulatsos  01:56

that they’re very fun to watch, I happen to watch that game, when mountcastle went off for nine RBIs that were down by three or four runs. And all of a sudden here they come back. I love the sprinkler celebration, I think it’s a lot more. It’s funny to me than the the Homer hose which I get, I can take that or leave it but the split sprinkler thing was a very fun thing for me to watch.

Luke Jones  02:20

These guys like to have fun. And you’re seeing this and Nestor and I’ve talked about this so much talking about baseball trying to appeal to some different demographics, and maybe not the Homer hose because, you know, certainly the connotations and what it looks like as far as you know, beer balling and all that maybe not that you don’t want that appealing to kids quite as much. But some of these celebrations that we’ve seen in general, remember, they had the homerun chain last year, which you’ll see I still see kids at the ballpark wearing the homerun chains that were available at the team store. You’re trying to appeal and attract new fans. And so some of these changes, you know, you and I spent a lot of time talking about the rule changes last week. Some of these changes are frankly not meant for those of us who already watch baseball, oh, it’s meant to try to grow your audience and attract new viewers. And in the case of some of the celebrations, I think the players themselves are having fun, but I think that also has an impact on younger fans. So to your point, you know, even if you put aside the home or hose if you’re not as big of a fan of that, which I was very abused by it when I saw it the other night, I couldn’t stop. I was when I first saw it. But you mentioned the sprinkler.

Dennis Koulatsos  03:34

No, just my point is just as I, as I approach 60 Here I did you know I thought about the kids watching the game and I didn’t think about them trying to attract younger people. But that’s a certain demographic. But if if I had a 10 year old 12 year old, not sure, or teenager, I’m not sure that that’s what I want to project but I thought the sprinkler sprinkler thing would like cuter celebration, that’s all

Luke Jones  04:02

Yeah, yeah. And that’s fine. And it’s funny, especially you see a few of the pitchers in the dugout who have that ability to sprinkle the water so to speak, which I can’t do anything like that. So, but again, at the end of the day, we’re seeing and we’ve seen the shift in baseball for a number of years, players showing a little more emotion players showing more fun. It’s not as though they didn’t have fun in the past, but it was very much part of the unwritten rules was, you know, to not celebrate in that kind of fashion. And, you know, as much as you never want to disrespect the opponent. It’s okay to have fun. It’s okay to show some emotion. It’s okay to show some fire. And we’re certainly seeing more of that. So a lot of that in the World Baseball Classic. So it’s something that’s becoming more and more accepted as time goes on within Major League Baseball and, you know, I kind of the old guard, you know, you get further and further away From that, so it is fun. And again, at the end of the day, these are games at the end of the day, you and I have talked about this before, it’s entertainment, and you want to do whatever you can within reason to attract viewers. And you know, it’s an entertainment driven sport. It’s an entertainment driven industry, whether we’re talking about the NFL or major league baseball, the NBA go down the list. So ultimately, you need people to watch it if if it’s going to be profitable and continue to be profitable for the long term. And that’s where baseball is trying to make some changes trying to appeal to a younger audience. We know baseball for a long time now has had the average, you know, the law as far as average age of viewers, easily the oldest sport in terms of people consuming it. So you know, they’re trying to combat that a little bit. And I think there are ways to do that to attract a younger audience without offending your base of established viewer. So in the process, and I think baseball for the most part is doing a pretty good job of that.

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Dennis Koulatsos  06:02

All right now, why why haven’t I seen Gunnar Henderson? As much as I saw him last year? What’s going on with Gunnar? And again, keep in mind, I’m a casual fan. I’m watching more than I ever have had before. But I know what’s going on with him.

Luke Jones  06:16

Well, I mean, we’ve got to understand he’s playing. He’s certainly missed. I think he had the day off once or twice at this point. I mean, he’s just off to a slow start. And I mean, it’s, it’s always magnified at the beginning of the season, when you have, you know, especially a younger player getting off to a slow start, but he’s still drawn a lot of walks. So that tells you he’s seen the ball pretty well. So it really is just a matter of, if you look over the course of a 162 game season, even the absolute best hitters in baseball, are going to have an 11 or 12 game stretch where they probably are a sub 200 hitter. I mean, that’s just the way it works. But it’s magnified at the beginning of the year, because you have nothing else to draw off of right now. It’s in the same way that if you know if your quarterback throws three interceptions on opening day, you know, in week one, you kind of say, oh my gosh, but if that happens in week 12, you don’t like it, but you have a body of work from which to draw. So when you’re talking about a young player like Gunnar Henderson, I can’t say I’m shocked by this. Certainly you want to see him get going sooner rather than later. But I don’t think it’s anything at this point in time to be overly concerned about. I think he just you know, you keep writing his name in the lineup, and you trust that, that he does what he’s done at every level of the minor leagues, which was a just grow, improve as a hitter. So I think one thing we forget, and I wrote this earlier this week, Baltimore positive.com. as it pertained to Grayson Rodriguez and making his second major league start first started home is when we have these big time prospects, whether we’re talking about Adley rutschman Last year, but especially talking about guys that are a little bit on the younger side, and Gunnar Henderson is 21 years old. Grayson Rodriguez is 23. I think we sometimes we forget when a guy graduates from the minor leagues, we kind of think that that means that their development is done, and they’re just a major leaguer. And that’s not the case. I mean, these guys are constantly making adjustments. And in the case of young players, they’re continuing to develop, it’s up now they’re facing the greatest competition in the world. So it’s tough. I think, you know what, when you’re up close and personal and watching these guys on a daily basis, I mean, you realize just how difficult it really is to do what they do now, at the end of the day, they have to get the results and Gunnar Anderson, at this point in time is scuffling offensively. But I don’t think there’s anything at this point to really be overly concerned about, I think you just have to let it play out. And, you know, I think I said it last week, when we talked about the beginning of a season, you kind of let have to let the baseball season breathe. You know, I think that at least the first month, I mean, I’ve, I’ve said for a long time I kind of, you know, you make observations, you talk about it, but to me, you don’t really make any definitive. And it’s not even definitive at this point. But you really don’t start making any conclusions until to me about Memorial Day, you know, where you’re 789 weeks into the season, and you’ve got a good sample of games. And at that point, then you can kind of say, okay, these are the teams that are good. These are the teams that are definitely bad, and you’ll have plenty of teams that are somewhere in the middle. And the same applies to these players. As you know, again, you get off to a slow start for two or three weeks. It’s not anything to be overly concerned about. But certainly from a confidence level standpoint, you want to see him start hitting the ball and start having some success, you know, to go along with all the hype and all the potential and expectations for someone who was widely regarded as the Rookie of the Year favorite.

Dennis Koulatsos  09:42

Gotcha. Now I’m looking at the MLB standings division, Tampa Bay Rays off to a smokin blistering hot start starting off the season at 12. No

Luke Jones  09:53

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absolutely. I mean Tampa Bay has been it’s so funny, Dennis because we’ve talked about the race for such a long period of First time, I mean going all the way back to the days of Joe Maddon and Andrew Friedman and what they did at that point in time, which is 15 years ago, at this point, it’s hard to believe that World Series appearance they had against the Phillies was 2008 15 years ago at this point. But I think what’s interesting about the race, we know how they operate, obviously, they’re not a big market team that spends a ton of money on free agents or anything like that far from it. But they’re a team that’s just drafted and developed so well. And they’ve cycled in players, you know, they, they tend to trade players when they start to get more expensive through the arbitration process, or even got, you know, some of the guys that they have signed to extensions, but they just have that constant churn. And you know, when players start to get more expensive, they tend to rate them when their value is at its highest. And then they bring in more young players. But I think last year, to make it more specific, as far as the team we’re seeing on the field right now, last year, they had so many injuries, I mean, go down the list of the injuries was a little reminiscent of the 2021 Ravens. I mean, that’s what kind of an injury list that they had at different points over the season. And they still found a way to be a playoff club. But what we’re seeing now is a team that is much healthier, specifically on the offensive side, you know, their position players are much healthier. And they’re just demolishing the baseball. I mean, what’s what’s wild about them is, it’s it’s one thing to say they have an undefeated, you know, they’re 12 No, it’s another thing to go look at the scores and see that most of those games all but a couple, they’ve won by at least four runs. So this isn’t just you’re winning, and you’re winning tight games. You’re You’re dominating, you know, it’s kind of kind of like the 2019 ravens in the regular season. I mean, you look at their run differential through their first 1112 13 games, it’s, it’s really, really impressive. So will they continue at that clip all season? Of course not, you know, they’ll go through their, you know, they’ll go through some of their valleys and some of their struggles in the same way that I was just talking about. Gunnar Henderson, the same thing happens for teams. But you get off to this kind of start. Even in the Al east. It’s just making things that much more difficult for everyone else. I mean, look at the Orioles who are hovering right around 500. And that means you’re already what six games out? You know, you’re already kind of in that territory, which isn’t insurmountable. But when you haven’t even reached Tax Day, and you’re already six games out, then you start to get into a position and say, Well, I mean, is Tampa Bay going to run away with this? I mean, you would think Toronto will have something to say about it before it’s all said and done. You would think the Yankees you know, I’ve never really viewed the Orioles as a serious threat to win the division. I think the Orioles you know, at best case are more so a threat to be one of the wildcards but Tampa Bay is just they’re rolling. And again, it’s been their offense that’s really been so eye popping. You’re used to the rays, pitching well, and playing good defense. But they’ve just they’ve hammered the baseball and it’s been really impressive to watch and you know, some people will look at it and say okay, well haven’t had the toughest schedule to start off the year and that’s well and good. But even if you’re planning lesser teams, if you’re beating the you know what out of them on a on a nightly basis, that still says something about your your ability and your talent as a baseball club.

Dennis Koulatsos  13:20

He is Luke Jones joining us live here on 1570 Am Baltimore positive wn St. Luke got that which you and I haven’t talked this week about Odell Beckham Jr. Him coming up to Baltimore. So I’d love to hear your thoughts on the signing.

Luke Jones  13:34

Shocked, absolutely shocked. I mean, Let’s call a spade a spade whether this move is going to work beautifully or whether this move is going to be a bust. And I think either scenario could absolutely play out. This is very engraving like even if you love this move even if you have no reservations about it. This is a very unrivaled like move. I mean, you have to go back to the Ravens acquiring Anquan Boldin and extending him back in 2010. Or even go back to Derrick Mason when they signed him as a free agent in 2005, after he had departed from the Titans, you know, and of course, I’m talking relative to the cap, you know, obviously this, this has more money than they paid those individuals but talking in terms of proportionally speaking to the salary cap. That’s how long it’s been since the Ravens have made this kind of financial commitment at the wide receiver position. You know, I mean, go look at the deals in recent years. You know, Michael Crabtree got what a three year deal but it was really a one year deal. Not much guaranteed money not much in terms of average annual value. Steve Smith was not a high price item. You Mike Wallace was not a high price item. So you know this, this is just its territory where they haven’t been quite frankly. So, first of all, it would be disingenuous of me to completely bash the move when I’ve been someone that has been very adamant about needing to be more aggressive at the wide receiver position whether you’re too Talking about the draft, which they have been more aggressive in recent years, or talking in terms of, hey, sometimes you need to go out and spend a little bit more money to land a guy now, that said, so I praise them for taking that big swing. This is a really big swing, because you’re talking about someone who, Let’s call a spade a spade has not been healthy is very far removed from his peak seasons. I mean, yes, I remember the Odell Beckham making the crazy catch on Sunday night football. And I remember the Beckham who absolutely tore apart the ravens, when they went up there and played the Giants back in 2016. To game Jimmy Smith had a concussion and was out and then half, just went nuts went nuts against them. But that was seven years ago, I mean that you have to go back to 2019 for his first 1000 yard season. So that’s not to say that this won’t work out. And this won’t be a fruitful partnership, especially if we start to consider what ramifications or potential positive impact it could have on Lamar Jackson, at least for this season. But you’re talking about a lot of you know, a lot of injury concerns over the last three, four years. And you’re talking about someone who’s had ACL surgery on the same knee twice in the last three years. It’s a major risk. So when you hear all of that, to then think that you gave him $15 million guaranteed with incentives to take it up to 18. It’s quite a risk. It’s quite a swing. Like I said, I mean, this could be this could work out really well if Odell Beckham is truly healthy. And he finds a little bit of a fountain of youth. I mean, I’m not expecting him to be the guy who was with the Giants, you know, early in his career. I mean, we’re so far removed from that, I think it’d be kind of a delusional to think that he’s going to be a 1300 yard receiver. But couldn’t can he be a what he wants for Cleveland in 2019, which was 74 catches a little over 1000 yards, you’d like a few more touchdowns and four. But can he be that guy if he’s fully healthy? We’ll see. You know, I’m not sure I’d bet on that. But I think that’s within the realm of possibilities that feels like it could be, you know, optimistic, but not absurd, right? So it’s just you look at this, and he didn’t play last year, you didn’t get the sense that any other team was, you know, the Jets clearly had interest in him. But when they found out the Ravens were offering $15 million, they said, Thanks, but no, thanks. So, you know, it’s fascinating. It’s fascinating, if nothing else, because again, this is just so enraged, and like, you hear some of the reports suggesting that Steve was shot. He was involved here. I mean, the Ravens had some dialogue with Beckham last year. You know, that’s just he wasn’t healthy. And I’m not sure the Ravens they didn’t have at the cap space, and at that point, at least, weren’t willing to make the kind of financial commitment to land him that they were that they did over the weekend. So we’ll see how it plays out. I think, you know, if you want to ask what I think a good outcome would be, and I don’t even know if it means he’s 1000 yard receiver, but probably he’s somewhere approaching that, let’s say, and your best case scenario would be Rashad Bateman stays healthy and you kind of have a one and a one A and that’s not to say that either one of them’s an Elite Pro Bowl player. But you have a one and a one a that’s pretty legitimate in terms of compared to what we’ve seen at the wide receiver position for the Ravens for a long, long time. You know, going back to probably have to go back to Torrey Smith Anquan Boldin, Jacoby Jones, which was 2012. So I think you know, if you kind of think about it in those terms, it can work out but boy, it’s just you’re betting you’re really making a strong bet on Odell Beckham Jr. Being able to stay healthy here, but let’s face it, Let’s call a spade a spade. Ravens were in a desperate position. I mean, I don’t think they would push back at that. But I don’t know how you look at it. And say that this isn’t a desperate move. I mean, it is. That doesn’t mean it won’t work. But it’s a desperate move. I don’t know how you could look at that objectively, because I think here’s what I would say Dennis to any Ravens fan. Odell Beckham signs this same deal to with any of the other 31 teams. I think Ravens fans are mocking that team for signing him not signing him but signing him at that term at that price. So we’ll see how it plays out. I’ll say this much, they better have a really good grasp on where he is physically right now and feel really great about that. Because otherwise, I don’t know how you you justify paying them that much money. So yeah, they use avoidable years. So the cap number is not going to be much this year. But keep in mind, just because it’s only you know, just under $4 million is his cap figure this year. That means it’s a little over $11 million for next year’s cap. So now, if he plays great and he’s healthy and you extend them then you can curtail that a little bit but, boy, we’re We’re using a lot of ifs and maybes and mites in talking about this. But, hey, they’re taking a swing. And that’s something that I’ve asked them to do for a long time. So as much as I have my significant reservations about how this is going to work out, I also recognize and applaud them for taking a big swing at a position where they’ve needed to over the years and quite frankly, they haven’t done it more often than not.

Dennis Koulatsos  20:26

Yeah, I don’t disagree with you, he is an alpha, he should have a basic knowledge of Todd Monken offense, he can help some of the younger receivers on the field. Also in the film room, also in locker room, so I liked it for a number of reasons. Its impact on the signing on the draft, you know, they usually go best player available anyway. But short the cost of would love to trade back, pick up some extra picks. But he’s got to have a dance partner to do that. So he’s got to be ready to turn in a name at 22 Love to see the Ohio State receiver with that group Pudge ze flowers, perhaps but it’s a deep draft at wide receiver and cornerback Luke so they can they can pick up some quality players. In the later rounds. I even like the the two kids from Maryland, you know, Dottie Dimas and Rakim Jarrett in the later rounds to supplement that wide receiver room.

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Luke Jones  21:21

Yeah, or maybe the two quarterbacks from Maryland. I mean with bang Bennett. Yeah, yeah. I mean, the one thing I will say is, well, certainly you look at the Ravens going into the draft, there isn’t as much of a dire 2023 need at wide receiver. However, the teams that really do the draft the best, and we’ve regarded the Ravens as being that team more often than not over the course of their history. You’re not drafting for this year, you’re drafting for the next three or four years. So with that in mind, I would not at all hesitate if, if and there’s been some, you know, I saw Jim Nagy, the Senior Bowl director even tweeted out earlier this week, talking about the fact that, you know, the wide receiver position maybe isn’t as highly regarded with NFL talent evaluators as the media and fans and draft Twitter seems to think so. Yeah, I think that’s always something just to keep in mind in general. And that applies for any position, quite frankly, but a one year deal for Beckham, even at $15 million. To me, that is not stopping me from drafting a wide receiver in the first round. If if your guy’s there, and he’s absolutely the top guy on your board. I do that. Now that said realistically speaking? Yeah, I think this certainly decreases the the odds of them drafting a wide receiver in round one probably increases the odds of them drafting a corner in round one again, who’s going to be there? I mean, I think someone like Christian Gonzalez is gonna be long gone. I’m really skeptical, Joey porter will be there at 22. I think he’s going to be I think he’s going to go and if not, at probably not the top 10. But probably the early teens, early to late teens, I think, for him, you know, out of Penn State. So it just depends how much you liked these guys. And to your point. Yeah, I think in an ideal world, when you only have five picks, when you only have when you don’t have a second round pick, I think you’d love to recoup a little extra draft capital, if you can move back. Whether that means you move back to the end of the first round, whether that means you move back to, I don’t know, is there a team at the very top of the second round that that’s desperate to get someone and maybe you pick up? Maybe you pick up a premium pick for next year? I don’t know. I mean, I think there are a lot of different ways you can go. But as we’ve said, you also need a partner there. So it’s easy to say you want to trade back. But if you don’t have a team that’s willing to come up, you’re kind of stuck there. But, you know, I think the reality is we’ve spent so much time talking about wide receiver and corner and rightfully so. And I think those are very clearly the obvious targets as far as looking at positions of need. But I still think you could talk about edge. I still think at this point in time now with clay as Campbell gone with just a matter of BK in a contract year with Broderick, Washington and a contract here. I still think defensive line is something that you could look at not saying the first round, but you know, when we’re trying to gauge where the ravens are over the first 125 picks of this draft, let’s say and depending on if they would move back and pick up an extra pick or so. So yeah, they have other positions that they could still look running back now. Not saying be John Robinson, but you know, you look at running back, Dobbins contract here, Gus Edwards in the final year of his deal, Justice Hill was your third running back and you know that that’s not someone that you’re looking at as a long term piece. So you have a number of positions that and a number of ways you can go. So yeah, I think when you make the backups I think it does allow you to fit best player available a little bit more. But keep in mind that’s always tied in to need. So you know, we’ll see how it plays out but the wild card, and just because they got Odell Beckham, I think you feel better about them our status maybe for this year but I don’t think it necessarily changes anything long term. You and I’ve talked about even the possibility of a quarterback now I’m not saying at 22 but

Dennis Koulatsos  25:31

let me go ahead let me ask you about the quarterback because it’s not a given Lamar Jackson that situation going to be resolved this year. It’s not a given it’s going to show up people so Lt. You know, obj wouldn’t have signed here. If he wasn’t assured that Lamar wouldn’t be here. I don’t buy that he had 15 million reasons. And then some. I mean, look, I’m sure he could have he wanted to play with Aaron Rodgers in New York. But if they’re given up 5 million and the Raiders have given up 15 million guess what, doesn’t matter who the quarterback is, he has a family to take care of. Right. So with that said, I didn’t see enough. I haven’t seen enough out of Tyler Huntley to have confidence that he can take this team deep in the playoffs. He had a play the mic, hit it make a play, cause the 14 point swing, not Penny the entire lab playoff. Lots of the bangles will haunt me. My point is even if Lamar shows up, he hasn’t played the last two December’s I mean, I think the need to address the quarterback position either. I’m not saying it’s Carson Wentz. I’m not saying it’s henna hooker. I’m not saying that it’s Stetson Bennett, but I do think they have to do something. Regardless what happened with Mr. Jackson to address the quarterback position.

Luke Jones  26:40

Yeah, I mean, I just, it’s tough. I hear you on that. And I don’t disagree. But I also think you only have so many resources, especially this year. We’ve talked about it with what they’ve had and with free agency. I mean, my goodness to sign Beckham to a one year $15 million deal they had to use for void years, you know, they’re gonna have an $11 billion dead money hit on the cap. They’ve used void years for other players to extend them, you know, they’ve used for years to, to sign guys. I mean, that’s just where they are right now. So I think it’s tough. Now. You mentioned Hendon, hooker. Look, do I think he’s going to last to the third round? No, I think it’s quite possible. He goes in the first round. I I wouldn’t be shocked and I don’t know this, but based on who he is, as a parent for all understand. We know he’s recovering from an ACL injury suffered back in November, but based on who he is as a player, I wouldn’t be shocked if we’re maybe overhyping will Levis, and Anthony Richardson a little bit and really underselling Hendon hooker. And that’s not to say that I think Hendon hookers going into top 10 either. But I do wonder if that could be a surprise where maybe Lavis and Richardson last a little bit longer in the first round, and people think maybe Hendon hooker does go on the first round. I mean, you know, I, at some point in time, I mean, you’d love to think that maybe the Odell Beckham signing is maybe a sign that the Ravens feel better about where they are with Lamar, at the very least for this year. But short of a long term contract, you still have to be thinking about that. So, you know, I mean, it’s doesn’t mean I think that they’re going to draft a quarterback early. But I think we have to at least acknowledge that there’s some nonzero chance of that happening. But to bring it back to what you said, as far as even a backup, it’s just tough because for me, if Lamar, you know, if we’re talking about the same story, and Lamar has another injury, at some point in time, especially with his asking price, like what are you doing from a long term perspective at that point? Because that players generally don’t get healthier as they get older, right, it generally either stays the same, or it gets worse. So I guess my thought would be yes, your your point about the backup quarterback has some error, and you’re not alone. Plenty of people have said that. But I would also say, but what’s the if that scenario plays out again, what’s the purpose of that? I mean, it is Carson Wentz. And you just threw his name out as an example. You know, Teddy Bridgewater is the name has been mentioned. Is that is a quarterback like that getting you to where you want to go anyway? Or is that just kind of raising your floor, but then you’re talking about potentially having to move on from the bar at this time next year anyway, but isn’t that just making your draft pick? You know what I mean? Like, it’s that you’re kind of in purgatory then so I, I almost feel and I felt this way for years when when Joe Flacco was the quarterback and he was durable. And they had Tyrod Taylor, who we come to find out was a really good backup quarterback based on the way he played in Buffalo and how he played in his career after he left Baltimore, but at the time, he was making nothing he was, you know, he was a late round pick. And my thoughts with that. And this always goes back to what Tom Moore the former offensive coordinator, the Indianapolis Colts said for years when Peyton Manning was the franchise quarterback, and he was asked to At one point in time, you know, why doesn’t the backup get more reps in practice? And he basically said, If 18 goes down, we’re bleep. And we don’t practice bleep around here. So, the thought is it’s kind of one of those deals where, yes, I agree with you. I don’t have a high confidence level and Tyler Huntley. At the same time. Tyler Huntley has won some games. So I that’s where I kind of go back to backup quarterback, you have to make the decision, especially when you’re limited from a cap standpoint and a resource standpoint. You can either spend more on a backup quarterback, and then you have less to devote elsewhere. Or you can take that calculated risk and say, you know, what, if my quarterbacks gonna miss two or three games, can this guy win me a game or two and kind of keep me afloat? And I think Tyler Huntley shown an ability to do that, at least, if you can do that, but then devote those limited resources, you have to go and prove something else that you know, will play for you that year. That’s when I’m inclined to kind of take that calculated risk and gamble and say, you know, what, if Lamar goes down, we’re not winning a Super Bowl anyway. So I don’t know why I want to spend that extra money to bring in Teddy Bridgewater, you know, Carson Wentz. You know, and I don’t think it would be when I mean, once is almost paid himself out of the league. At this point, it feels like but, you know, it’s just one of those deals where I just keep coming back to that. And that’s how I felt for a really long time. Or I just kind of think if your, your starter goes down for more than a couple games, you’re probably in serious trouble anyway. Even if you go out and spend more money for a backup and, and think, Oh, well, I’ve got this better backup that, you know, chances are, he’s still probably not going to be good enough. And certainly not going to get you to a Super Bowl or anything like that. We can all talk about the Nick Foles scenario. And yes, I realize that there are some exceptions, but you don’t bet on outliers, right? Outliers just kind of happen. Chances are, you’re gonna just gonna have to take a calculated risk. And that’s how I feel about now other people might feel differently. And we’re also need to acknowledge until we know for sure that Lamar Jackson is actually going to play and show up, then yeah, there is a different factor. If you’re entering the season with Tyler Huntley as your starting quarterback, because Lamar has held out then, boy, that’s that’s a different discussion entirely. But then I keep coming back to what’s your long term plan at quarterback then and for me, that’s not wasting resources on, you know, trying to have a better backup just so you can maybe win seven or eight games as opposed to five or six.

Dennis Koulatsos  32:35

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Yeah, you make excellent points, Luke. And, look, I’m glad I don’t have to make those decisions for the Ravens because even with the Beckham signing, the Jackson situation, it’s not resolved until it’s resolved. And, you know, I have to operate as a as an analyst as a fan. With that mindset. He know this. He’s mercurial. He’s one of one he thinks differently. He doesn’t have an agent, and there’s no guarantees with Lamar Jackson, whether he’s all in he shows up, he’s happy to. He sets out until he has to show up before starts costing him real money. But and it’s gotta be tough on the organization on the coaching staff to to operate in that mode. Right. I mean, I think the first OTAs are April 17. If I’m not correct, and I mean, you can’t have this uncertainty at quarterback certainly isn’t good.

Luke Jones  33:27

It’s not offseason workout start this coming week. But OTAs don’t start until well, after. That’s kind of like late May, you know, they start workouts, but it’s the tear. You know, it’s kind of a tiered ramp up and everything but

Dennis Koulatsos  33:38

you’d like to see the face of your franchise there. Right? These events, you want them to be the leader, the alpha right, here I am first and last out, putting the time in. I’m here for the guys right for the team.

Luke Jones  33:50

Yeah, and even if he’s not there every single day, yeah, you’d like I’m gonna have a presence and yeah, look, I mean, it’s, it’s sticky. I mean, this has been this has been a difficult situation for a while. I mean, as much as a lot of Raven supporters have wanted to just kind of not acknowledge it. It’s and even the organization. I mean, you could say you love the guy as much as you have. Lamar can say he loves the organization as much as he has at various points. But, you know, if you truly loved each other that much, you know, we wouldn’t be talking about this at this stage of the game. So it is what it is. And I will say this, and I agree with your point, you know, look, do I think Odell Beckham had received some level of assurance from the Ravens that there’s at least a relatively high confidence that Lamar is going to be their quarterback this year? Yeah. Absolutely, however, to your point, and I would also remind everyone Deshaun Watson had eliminated the Cleveland Browns from consideration in his, you know, his court courtship with those four teams that were vying for him last March before Well, the Cleveland Browns came came over the top with A fully guaranteed deal. And suddenly the idea of becoming a brown sounded pretty good to him. So, so you acknowledge that. So yeah, the $15 million? Absolutely. You know that that to me, eliminates the notion that Beckham when it comes to Baltimore, if if Lamar Jackson wasn’t guaranteed to be their quarterback this year, I do think again, he he tweeted out or he put a picture on Instagram of his son and Alomar jersey, that Lamar posted. I think Lamar posting that same night about two hours later, that he and Beckham had FaceTime. To me that was a sign at the very least, that the Morris trade request is not Ravens. You’re dead to me. I will never play for you again. You know, I think it’s obvious at this point in time that that was way more negotiating tactic then he never wants to play for the Ravens again. Now, again, that doesn’t mean that this fixes everything either. But it’s complicated. And, you know, you’d like to think that maybe Odell Beckham being the LAO, you know, someone who’s been under the spotlight, who’s been under the microscope, in a way, not like Lamar, but similar. You know, he’s been that high profile player, even if he hasn’t always deserved to be based on the fact that, you know, we’re way removed from his elite production with the New York Giants. But, you know, maybe there is something to be said about bringing him in, maybe he can serve as NOFA liaisons the right term, but maybe he can be a little bit more of a sounding board for Lamar. And maybe him maybe that is, maybe Odell Beckham will end up being pivotal at some point in time to the sides working something out? I don’t know. You know, I think it’s a, you know, he’s a very expensive item, if you’re looking for him to do those things and not be really, really good on the field, you’re, you’re certainly hoping for that first and foremost. But if there are some, you know, some alternative perks, like I just laid out, that Beckham can bring you, then that might be money, that’s very well spent. But until there’s a resolution, or until there’s more clarity, even on just what Lamar is thinking for this year, you know, until he comes out and says I’ll sign the tag, or I’ll be there for this or that. You know, it’s all conjecture, you know, you’d like to think because of reports that Lamar was recruiting back even last year, to join the ravens, you’d like to think that maybe that cre at the very least, if nothing else, maybe it decreases the chances of Lamar holding out for all of training camp, maybe this means he shows up, maybe if not for the start of camp, maybe it’s I don’t know, first week of August 2 week of August, and still has plenty of time to get ready. Because, hey, you know, Beckham and him clearly have a friendship and you don’t want to leave him hanging high and dry after you tried to get him here. So again, it’s conjecture. These are our opinions, you have an opinion about it, I have an opinion about it. Anyone listening right now has an opinion about it. And at this point, two plus years into the negotiating process, or lack thereof. I don’t think anyone’s opinion about this has changed, changing. So I think it’s, you know, as difficult as it is for all of us, media guys who, you know, we talked about this, and then we follow this for a living, we’re still very much in the dark here. And it’s very difficult to see how it’s gonna play out. And, you know, there’s probably, if you want to be really cynical, you know, I’ll throw this out there. And I don’t think this is the case. But if you want to be really cynical, this could have been a sign of desperation that the Ravens just wanted to make a good PR move, because they’re not sure what’s going to happen with Lamar Jackson. So, you know, I mean, it’s, everyone kind of sees and hears and, and says what they kind of want to see and hear and think at this point in time. So, you know, I don’t think anyone’s opinion is changing. So I think you just have to see it play out. And, unfortunately, in the process, you know, to your point as far as Lamar has presence or lack thereof, as you’re trying to get ready for the 2023 season. This whole saga makes it very difficult to feel like it’s certainly not improving their chances to win a Super Bowl now doesn’t mean that they don’t have a chance to do it. And even if Lamar just comes back on the tag, but all of this just kind of complicates what ideally you want the big picture goal to be which is winning a championship. We’re short Luke is always

8

Dennis Koulatsos  39:21

pleasure having you on appreciate your thoughts and your commentary. Please tell our listeners where they can find you on wn St. Baltimore positive other great stuff you do your social media presence, as well as your blog.

Luke Jones  39:33

absolutely encourage everyone to follow us on Twitter at wn S T can follow me personally at Baltimore Luke. I will be live from Owings Mills for the Odell Beckham press conference. John Harbaugh and Eric Decosta are scheduled to be there we’ll see if they talk or if they just make a statement and leave which is something that you’ll see executives and coaches do for such press conferences but I’ll be there. Orioles wrapping up the homestand as they get ready to head back on there. But I’ve been at the ballpark so check out my blog at Baltimore positive.com sponsored by coons for to Baltimore. Latest 12 ravens thoughts, thoughts on the Orioles, Odell Beckham press conference reaction, all of that episode more positive.com You want to be on the wn St. Baltimore positive text service sponsored by coons for the Baltimore. If you are you got that Easter evening tech Siller that the Ravens had come to terms with Odell Beckham Jr. You’ll get alerts on notable rate Orioles roster moves, you’ll get alerts on the draft, which is just a couple of weeks away. Crazy to think we’re nearly upon the NFL Draft. Any significant local sports news sent directly to your mobile device via the wn s. T Baltimore positive tech service sponsored by coons for to Baltimore and of course, anything throughout the week on AM 15 Seven eight with Nestor sound from the ballpark the Odell Beckham press conference. Check out all of that at Baltimore. positive.com All right, my

Dennis Koulatsos  40:51

friend always a pleasure and we’ll have more to discuss one week from today.

Luke Jones  40:57

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Sounds good Dennis be well I look forward to it. Likewise.

Dennis Koulatsos  40:59

There it goes. Luke Jones here 1570 Am Baltimore positive wn St. We’ll take a quick break and come back right after this.

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