Luke Jones and Nestor take a deep, long holiday dive on the future of Greg Roman and Lamar Jackson in the current Ravens’ offensive system and with these skill position players. How could this win games in January?
week, wide receiver, lamar, game, ravens, point, lamar jackson, play, greg, ball, cincinnati, year, roman, offense, throw, draft, quarterback, run, nfl, passing
Luke Jones, Nestor Aparicio
Nestor Aparicio 00:01
W N S, T, Towson, Baltimore and Baltimore positive now, not just podcasting, and video casting and Christmas casting, but also transcribing courtesy of our friends at otter out on the website. So if it looks funny or sounds funny, it’s probably because I’m from Dundalk and I speak funny. We weren’t Dundalk last week when the Maryland crab cake tour at Costas in one of mine. Everybody gets crab cake orders in early this week. If you are shipping tasty crab cakes from any of our great sponsors out and about Regina shock she shipped herself in she ate my crab cake the other night still never got a crab cake. I did have some delicious oyster stew as well as Greek salad but I gotta gotta get back down to Costas. Get some crab Imperial this week. Maryland crab cakes were on hiatus through the holidays, but just a phenomenal, phenomenal effort at the end Costas witchiness shock and John Allen and the beyond words folks in the milkshake folks, and my dear friend Joyce buchi, as well as at fails the prior week with damy. Also, Ross Elaine joined us as well from the Maryland lottery scratch offs and Dan Rodricks did two really chunky pieces on why we love Baltimore that you can find out at Baltimore positive.com One of the things we love about Baltimore is a football and crabcakes. Nobody does it better we do. Luke Jones is here it’s Christmas week. Christmas eve if you are shipping those prep cakes and fade these are Costas or Conrad’s or Pappus or any of our great sponsors out out to the world. A lot of folks get crab cakes on Christmas Eve, Luke, are they going to be happy crab cakes? Are they gonna be like that dry? I am from 77 After goes to the post? I’m asking.
Luke Jones 01:37
I think it’d be a happy Christmas Eve. But I think it depends on your definition of happy I think it’ll be a win. I think you still like where the ravens are from a run game standpoint, from a defensive standpoint, you know, wasn’t a perfect defensive performance in Cleveland, but I mean, they gave up 13 points. I mean, are we really going to sit here and Okay, Justin Houston shouldn’t pull on Deshaun Watson facemask noted, okay, the Browns ran the ball on the Ravens better than anyone had since the Browns played them back in week seven. But it’s not as though they cashed him it was, hey, they got to lead because the Ravens defense couldn’t be perfect. And the Ravens offense couldn’t get out of its own way. And then the Browns just kind of leaned into their running game. And Nick Chubb news flashes pretty good. So if you get give them a lead, and they have a chance to run the ball and kind of control the clock in that way, then they were able to do it. So I mean, there’s not a whole lot to say about the defense from Saturday’s game that doesn’t pertain to the health of Marcus Peters and the health of class Campbell, really, I think, for me, and I put this up on Twitter, and I got some obtuse replies to it. But we saw Kyle Hamilton being targeted a lot early in that football game. And I made mention that, as good as this ravens defense can be, and this is a good defense. I’m not ready to say it’s a great defense. I haven’t seen greatness out of this group consistently. I think they have great players. But as a collective unit, I’m not ready to put this in any kind of a peek, Ray Lewis, every kind of unit as it pertains to the history of the Baltimore Ravens, but it’s a good defense. And I’m very clear about that. But I think one thing that we saw early in the game and then it’s magnified when Marcus Peters leaves the game not necessarily that the Browns started throwing the ball all over them, but from a big picture sense is this team’s had two corners that a trust and a lot of people were like, well, they only have one Marcus Peters. I’m talking about how the Ravens feel about this. They’ve had two corners that they play, Marlin Humphrey, and Marcus Peters, despite the fact that they’re in dime and subpackage Way more than you’re in a quote based defense. In this day and age. They’ve used Kyle Hamilton as their big nickel. Now. Kyle Hamilton in certain matchups has thrived in that role. In other matchups were might be a little trickier going up against a slot receiver or a little more of a talented tight end. We’ve seen him have a few more issues there. My point is, it’s really difficult to continue to play really good defense when you have so little depth at corner, and then that’s magnified when Marcus Peters leaves the game with a calf injury and hey, we all saw the clip of him limping noticeably on the sideline and obviously he didn’t return. So calf injuries are tricky, especially for a defensive back. You You hope there’s a positive update this week. You hope he’s at least ready for let’s say, week 18 know if he can be ready for Cincinnati and if he has to miss some time here. You hope it’s only a couple of weeks but that is not good news because let’s face it, we’ve seen Brandon Stevens and we’ve seen the rookie corners and I mean, it hasn’t gone well. What they’ve had any other corners on the field other than Marlon Humphrey. And I get it. Marcus Peters hasn’t had a phenomenal all pro season, but he’s still better than what’s behind him on the depth chart. So not having him and then what it potentially means for the Ravens run defense wise with class Campbell, not that I expect the run defense to go in the tank. They have lots of good players, but class Campbell, we’ve talked about it over and over despite the fact that he’s 36 years old, and a dinosaur in terms of dt NFL player terms. He’s had a really good season. So seeing him with the knee. I know he was wearing a brace after the game and the postgame locker room. Again, fingers crossed on that, you know, I saw some speculation that it’s a MCL which usually that’s not a terribly long timetable as far as a return. But certainly you don’t want Clay’s Campbell to be playing at less than 100%. So, I mean, again, they gave up 13 points, there’s not a whole lot to say about it, they gave they gave up one long touchdown drive. And again, the Justin Houston facemask was just so such a backbreaking development there. I mean, they would have gotten them off the field and probably had good field position at that point. But Cleveland put together a drive Deshaun Watson wasn’t great. Now he was better than he had been the previous two weeks, but you’re still not pushing the ball down the field a whole lot. And like I said, the Browns running game was effective, which no running game had been effective against this ravens defense in quite a while. So sure, if you want to dock them, knock them down a peg or two because of that have added but let’s face it, what what plagues this football team? We’re not talking about the defense very much. Although like I said, still not ready to call it a great defense. considering some of the performances we’ve seen over these last several weeks haven’t exactly come against flashy, top five kind of caliber, all offenses. If we’re being honest.
Nestor Aparicio 06:54
You know, I guess it’s the time of year when you start beating up the cost about the bad things and Mick probably not shared enough about the good things and Ro Quan Smith and you and I alluded to this earlier where this franchise will be at the end of this for injured players, older players rent to play or they have a few of those right? And where the Step Up is, for any number of the next level of whatever Tyus Bowser became let alone Matt Jude on or so Darius Smith or whatever, but these second, third, fourth year guys where you say, where are we with Devin DuVernay? Where are we with Brandon Stevens? Where are we with? Vancleave? Where are we with just go through the list of these guys that the offensive line has been the one place that maybe they could play a week or two or three without Clay’s Campbell, maybe he makes his triumphant return in Nashville on January the 14th. And it’s perfectly fine and awesome. And same thing with Peters right like they can if they beat Atlanta this week, and a couple things happen. They make the playoffs. We’ve talked about these scenarios, right? And if that happens, and you’re just content to say let’s let let’s rest everybody and go on the road with healthy everybody on January 14, and treat Pittsburgh and Cincinnati like, like what they are meaningless games at that point. If you’re just going to be a wildcard team, and you can’t win the division, right? Or you feel like you can’t win the whatever it would be. But to me, the defensive lines the one place where like they have a little bit of depth the backside? I don’t think so you know what I mean? And especially unless you’re getting a snowy night in Buffalo or snowing and I still think about all of this right? Like, I mean, sure Patrick mahomes wakes up with the flu one day like Billy Joel did the other day, right? Like it happens, right? But I would just say on the vagus side of who you like better and where you’d like to be you wrote passionately last week about the health of Lamar Jackson and that being important on January the 14th. Do it if they beat the Falcons this week, and they backdoor themselves in at Christmas morning. They are a playoff team. Man, I would back everything down all of this and try to go win in Nashville and level it because that’s what’s gonna happen. Right. Try to be the five see, right. I mean, like, that’s their scenario with it. That’s, that’s their Christmas scenario to winning in January, is not going out and having Lamar camp around on Saturday. i That’s my opinion this week on that.
Luke Jones 09:25
Well, and again, it depends where he is. I mean, I hear what you’re saying. They’re not going to shut it down, though, that if they went out they win the division. I mean, they do. And right now you and I can sit here and say that they’re probably not going to beat the Bengals and we’d pick Cincinnati for picking the game. Come week 18. But they’re not going to say that they’re not going to think I mean, even if even if Eric Decosta and Steve Bushati and John hardball deep down know that this team, as its presently constructed, is ill equipped to make a deep January into February Super Bowl run. They’re certainly not going to To throw in the towel or anything like that, shut it down and just say, Be resigned to the fact that they’re gonna be a wild card. So that’s where you do look at this thing right now, where’s Lamar this week? Assuming he gets out on the practice field, and we’ll find out very shortly, you know what that looks like. And you know, whether he’s full limited, whatever, whether he’s even out there again, until we actually see him, you just know, it’s, it’s conjecture, and John Harbaugh is gonna say every single week, he has a chance, right? So until you see that, that’s when it’s difficult to evaluate if he’s healthy, and the rehabs gone great the last couple of weeks, and he’s good to go. And their medical team says he doesn’t have any elevated risk of further injury than any other guy that comes back from an injury and just, you know, hey, it’s football, you’re gonna get hurt from time to time. If that’s the scenario, then he plays and you try to see what this thing looks like. I think what’s tough, you know, what you mentioned in terms of trying to recalibrate, so to speak, even if you’re going to go on the road. And if the playoffs started today, they’d be playing a very, very wounded, I’ll be at looking like, they’re I say, maybe circling the drain, Tennessee Titans kind of team right now, when you consider what’s happened with them with the losing streak and firing their GM. And, I mean, Tannehill gets hurt on Sunday, even though he returned to the game, you know, what’s he going to look like, and all of that, but, I mean, this is a team that has, they got to try to get get themselves in a little bit of a role here. I mean, we’ve talked about it, this passing game is as it’s as it’s been playing for a while now, it’s not good enough. And that’s where you’re trying to manage the micro of winning that week’s game, but also trying to get better in some ways that you need to get better. And that’s not to say, I’m not going to be so disrespectful or, or even to take this game to lightly as far as the Falcons, the Ravens haven’t blown anyone out in quite some time. We know that. But at the same time, you don’t want to just say, Okay, well, you clinch and then, you know, any scenario where they shut it down? They’re not, they’re not in any kind of a position, you know, for that, you know, so it really is a case of, you need to be healthy. There’s no question about that. And if Clay’s camp wants to miss a couple games, he has to miss a couple games. And Marcus Peters hasn’t missed a couple games. He has to miss a couple games. If it’s longer than that, then yeah, that it’s more of a problem. Of course,
Nestor Aparicio 12:20
when I say shut it down, by the way, I mean, I fully understand what you’re saying, right. The goal now should be to make the playoffs and play with healthy Lamar that was that, that that last week? And I you know, healthy everybody, quite frankly, and I don’t even know what that means for Kenyan Drake’s availability or where Gus Edwards who hasn’t looked the same, right? We know where Dobbins is in regard to his health, we know where Mark Andrews we’d like for him to be and what we believe and what he’s saying and what our eyes are telling us. I think the wear and tear is as big an issue on them. And what this road Greater Pittsburgh and Cincinnati is going to look like out in the cold and Atlanta this week in the cold what all this is going to look like for them. And how that because these other teams look a little more spry. I literally I’ve watched everybody play this weekend. And I’m like, Bengals look like it’s week six and they’re ready for a cat fight.
Luke Jones 13:19
Now, although I would say I mean Trey Hendrickson is Miss time. Hubbard left the game on Sunday I mean the Bengals you know, they’ve had some guys banged up here and there, you know, I mean, they’re arguably their best defensive player DJ reader their their nose tackle. Ravens didn’t see him back in week five. I mean, he’s back now so
Nestor Aparicio 13:39
to buy Tampa, so let’s put that put that out there too. Sure. Sure.
Luke Jones 13:43
I mean, as as well as they played in the second half and as terrible as the Buccaneers were in the second half. That first half is a different story. I mean, I even my high school buddies, who are all Ravens fans, you know, a few of them are even texting Hey, of Cincinnati loses today This eases the sting of what happened on Saturday. Well, then, from that moment on Cincinnati played better the Bucs fell apart. So put your point. I mean, I hear exactly what you’re saying. And And again, if Lamar comes back, whether it’s this week, week after that following week, and he’s not right, and he’s playing at less than 100%. I mean, we’ll watch the games. We’ll see how it plays out. But they’re clearly no chance of doing anything special at that point. If he’s not right physically, if he’s right, and if he looks close to 100%, or as close as you can be this late in the season to your point, everyone’s banged up. I mean, even Cincinnati’s you said look spry. They have guys that are banged up. I mean, that’s the nature of the National Football League and mid December as you’re getting closer and closer to January. It’s why we talk about the teams that are the healthiest, having the best chance to make a run Cincinnati State very healthy last year. The Rams stayed extremely healthy last year. The rams have been the opposite of that this year, and we see how terrible they’ve been. I mean at Baker Mayfield playing quarterback for them at this point. I mean, that’s just where They are. But if you’re the ravens, if you get Lamar back healthy, gotta take care of business these next couple of weeks, there’s no question about that. And let’s face it, they’re playing at home. They’re playing teams that are worse than them. Now, how much worse? Again, that’s up for debate. And we talked about the struggles of the offense and what that’s meant in some of these games that have been closer than people would have expected a month or two ago. But don’t they? It all starts with getting Lamar back. And you hope Marcus Peters and class Campbell aren’t going to be out too long here. Hope for the best. We’ll try to see if we get any kind of a semblance of an update from John Harbaugh this week in terms of what that will mean. But it’s, it’s a week to week, it’s always a week to week thing, but you get to this point in the season. It truly is week to week, where, when, and you’re looking for two of those other AFC East teams, non buffalo AFC East teams to lose. And if you do that, hey, it’s a merry Christmas on Sunday when you wake up and you’ve clinched a playoff spot, and then you’re in a position where, regardless of what Cincinnati does, you beat Pittsburgh, you’ve got an AFC North championship game in week 18, which I would assume will be flexed to primetime, if it plays out that way. So there’s still a lot to play for as lousy as it’s felt. You know, as as lousy as Saturday was, I mean, that was as lousy as a Ravens game has felt in quite some
Nestor Aparicio 16:22
time in the Panthers game Sunday, they played some stinky game for sure. Like they were gonna win because tomorrow, right on the field, and you’re like, at some point, you’ll do some special no win. And they did. Yeah, they want a lot of ugly games. And they want a lot of games where on Monday we’re like no style points. There. Was this wrong and there was that wrong? Well, okay, the thing that’s wrong right now with the Ravens is the bills are really good. The Bengals are really good. The Chiefs are really that’s really what’s wrong with the ravens to me right now, in that I never thought they were that great. nine and five is, you know, pretty gaudy. For what they are. I don’t know whether that’s going to end at nine and eight or whether that’s going to end at 11 and five, you know, I don’t know where this is going to end. But I know what team they are. And I know what they’re capable of doing and what they’ve looked infinitive doing for 15 weeks now, right? Like literally, we’re into this they are what they are, but a diminished version of that with glaze Campbell and with Peters. Probably not so great this week. The fact you think they’re gonna roll the ball out on Christmas Eve, and it’s gonna be sleeping, they’re gonna beat this rookie quarterback, and they’re gonna stop this running back. He’s been pretty decent. And the offensive line that’s been pretty decent moving the ball? I don’t know. But I when I look at the bigger picture for them. I just don’t think they have enough talent, man. You know what I mean, even with ro Quan Smith, and I think they they made their defense measurably better over the last five or six weeks. And I think the outcome is there for that right. But style points, we don’t need any style point I still think they’re they’re going to be able to beat good teams, to your point without being able to throw the football unless the weather conditions the right storm blows in and it becomes about Justin Tucker, I don’t know how that could happen. But I or just becomes about just running the ball where the former passes outlaws. They can do a Canton Bulldogs game here. Right?
Luke Jones 18:08
Exactly. And, and we’ve said it over and over again, we’ll continue to say it because this discussion is not going anywhere. This is even at the Ravens win the Super Bowl, we’re still going to be talking about this to some degree or another as far as what it looks like moving forward, you know, in that unlikely scenario, but I mean, they run the ball very well. They need to lean into that more of it, especially in situations like what we saw on Saturday, which again, was just I go back to that 11 minutes to go three timeouts you’re down 10 and you threw six straight passes and turn the ball over on downs. I mean, that that was I saw some people say it on Twitter. And I would agree. I mean, that was if you want to point to a fireable offense, something that you will look to and just say that’s below the bar from a coaching standpoint. I mean, there you go. I mean, and I’ve tried to you know, I feel I’ve I haven’t been a bass, Greg Roman guy, I’ve questioned their overall philosophy which goes so far beyond Greg Roman that’s a bit shoddy thing. That’s an Eric d’acosta thing that’s a John Harbaugh thing now that this is the brass they signed up for this
Nestor Aparicio 19:12
let’s face it this far and said that we’re gonna zag that’s exactly what they did right?
Luke Jones 19:18
But you know for me it’s not even that Id tracking Lamar was brilliant. Hey, it’s worked out beautifully, but it’s been a lot of the personnel decision since then. And saying hey, well, we’re gonna we’re gonna build a team banking on one wide receiver hit me up staying healthy and I
Nestor Aparicio 19:35
can’t get wide receivers to sign up. They drafted this kid from Florida that was bunkies with their quarterback and he hated the offense right? Because it’s me me me me me. This is not a me me offense. If you’re wide receiver, you’re gonna get Willie Snead, you’re gonna get 100 year old to Sean Jackson. He just wants back in the show. Jason would have never wanted a part of this offense eight when he had legs like literally get the ball went off. Well, anybody enough to make anybody that goes and gets the ball not named tight and end happy with the football?
Luke Jones 20:09
Well, then they have to look at their philosophy because this, this is where we look at this thing. Starting with 2019. I’m not talking to end of 18 You know, that was Lamar as a rookie Flacco was hurt Marty morning League was a coordinator. I think, as that offense went, it was clear that specific, whatever that seventh game run was, had a shelf life to it. It’s promoting Greg Roman, doing what they’ve done seeing an extraordinary 2019 offense, you know, which set records and best point differential in the NFL since the 2007, patriots 14 And two, all that and they got shocked in the divisional round. The problem is not that you expected them to be that extraordinary every single year. But I think lots of people were thinking, okay, probably not going to continue to run the ball at this extraordinary level of efficiency, Lamar, as he gets older, it won’t be quite as fast, you know, and not even talked about the injury scenario, just the scenario of as you get older, you’re not quite as fast. So it was always, to me, there was always an expectation that this thing needed to continue to evolve and the passing game, not that you’re gonna necessarily throw in a ton. Again, very few people said anything like that. And I feel like that’s a disingenuous argument that people try to make to defend the ravens and say, well, they’re not built to throw 45 times that that’s not what we’re saying here. We’re saying that the passing game needs to continue to be really efficient and good. And how do you do that? Well, probably means you need better receivers and better, you know, a bigger commitment to it, but that’s not the way they’ve gone. No, it’s they drafted Marquis Brown, great than two years later, they drafted Rashad Bateman and you’re thinking wow, they’ve got to first round wide receivers, but then they trade the first one and then they didn’t replace them. So you just kind of look at the thing and to your point. Now there’s not enough talent from a past catching standpoint. You know, they they drafted Isaiah likely and Hey, he’s shown some nice flashes, but he was a fourth round pick. And you know, it’s not as though this has turned into Mark Andrews Part Two, you know, they they’ve got one standout pass catching target on this roster, and he’s a tight end. Beyond that. Who is anyone any defense worth? Its salt, who are they worried about? Other than Mark Andrews in terms of past catching targets? No one I mean, it’s just the truth so
Nestor Aparicio 22:31
Mark can throw it to himself.
Luke Jones 22:34
Well, it bright Exactly. But but that’s but still this comes back to the philosophy and say, Okay, well, you know, cuz some people have said, well, Lamar doesn’t like throw in the, you know, he likes throwing the tight ends more, or Greg Roman is not going to use it. Well, then you need to reevaluate the entire thing because I don’t see something that’s continuing to progress and grow, I see something that at best, is stagnant, and at worst, is moving in the wrong direction. Now, John Harbaugh likes to say this a lot. He attributes it to Bo Schembechler I’m sure other people have said it. Because I’ve heard it in a variety of forums, but you’re either getting better, you’re getting worse, you’re not staying the same. Well, it feels like this ravens offense certainly isn’t getting better. Maybe it’s staying the same at best, you know, because they still do run the ball very well or they have the last few weeks since getting Dobbins and Edwards back. But otherwise, feels like it’s moving in the wrong direction. And, boy, that’s, that’s a unsettling proposition. When you’re talking about a pending free agent franchise quarterback who you’ve got to figure out whether it’s a long term deal, whether it’s tag him for another year, where is he in this thing? How’s he feeling about Greg Roman? I mean, or whether his
Nestor Aparicio 23:49
value in your value align? Shawn I mean, I think we’re starting to get to that point where they’re like, maybe you’re not a 50 million. I mean, we can’t win with you as it is. How are we gonna give you $50 million and find players to put around you that can make this work? I literally I mean, about the Stanley the money they have out the Humphrey the notion of ro Quan, you know, just like all of this right? I mean, they paid Andrews right. Paid answers be more productive than he’s been, quite frankly writer, and certainly not in this offense. I man we you know, it’s this doesn’t get carved up by you and me in the offseason. If this ends 10 and seven and a bad beat in the first round of the playoffs like literally right? Like this. And I’m telling you what if I’m, if I’m starting to write it number two pencil right now or get an outline together. I can tell you, it’s you know, call me January 15. And tell me where we are and I’m gonna tell you probably not still playing football.
Luke Jones 24:51
Yeah, well, and that’s where you look at this thing. And, you know, I don’t know how you don’t make a change and I think it Whether it’s all his fault or not, and I don’t think it is because I think you knew what he was. I think it starts with Greg Roman. And I think you have to, you have to find out. I was talking about this with Dennis Colossus last week, you have to find out before you are willing, and at a point where you’re going to commit lucrative long term contract extension alarm to Lamar Jackson, I need to see another, a coordinator to see what this can look like. And I need to see a more legitimate wide receiver core at this point, I do. That doesn’t mean you have to go out and get the best wide receiver in the NFL. But because I’m not saying that that’s simple to do. But you’ve got to have more there because you have to find out because if this is truly odd is and the Ravens might privately tell you that this is what they feel is best for Lamar, if that’s truly all it is. And you’re seeing what this is becoming, then it’s not gonna be good enough.
Nestor Aparicio 25:54
It’s just not I don’t want to interrupt you. But this let me jump in on this because we’re going long form here today. I coach trots and I got together a couple of weeks ago, and he’s talking about and in his, you know, his position to get a gig, another gig in the NHL, he wants to go someplace where he can win. And into finding that right? You in baseball, you would say there are places where there’s no money, right? You can’t win there are it’s going to be really hard. The NBA obviously, the the wizards are under fire again, like you can’t win there without this or that. In the NFL, you know where shanann takes pudding and makes it soup. And you know what I mean on a third string quarterback, and they have enough that other talent positions in the system, the system and like all of that. And in this league, where everybody has the same amount of money, same amount of draft picks and all that. One thing that’s really interesting is I remember going back to when Green Bay recruited Reggie White, right, they couldn’t get black players, they couldn’t get players, they couldn’t get any players in Green Bay, the weather, the weather, like all of that we can’t get them to play there. And some of that may be true for Florida kids playing in colder conditions, we put a dome up in Minnesota and in Detroit to keep you toasty and like and for the fans as well. I would say the recruitment part of the NFL. I don’t think maybe maybe the Bengals for a long time would have trouble getting players because their ownership was cheap. Or maybe you don’t want to play in a certain place like Cleveland a few Jackson’s there and you’re one and 15 If you’re a bad franchise, but as a recruitment tool in the NFL, there are very few places players won’t go and play for the most amount of money right like for the most part tax taxes aside for Lamar maybe in tamper in a Florida situation there’s a financial thing, but I would tell you that in this or any other offseason and this is the unspoken thing. They’re never gonna get away. I’m having an offseason conversation I haven’t said this in four months right we talked about this in the offseason. But you act like we’re gonna Lamar is just gonna bring wide receivers in because he’s boys. Dude, his boy rolled out what it out. Like, got out. God bless him in Arizona, whatever he’s getting out there and now their quarterback like the whole deal. But this is like and I bring this back to coach trots because I am full circle on these conversations, even though sometimes it sounds like a meandering coach tracks what they would have loved to have had him in Winnipeg. Right? I mean, he’s from that part of the world. They have enough talent, it would have been unbelievable thing and give him a lot of money, which he’s already gotten once. Right. Has he recruited in Winnipeg Canadian dollar? Right. It’s a problem mean there’s a lot of problems, right? How How’s Greg Roman and Eric to cost and John horrible. George McCain and how they go on recruiting a wide variety. I mean, I’m going back five years to Antonio Brown, Dez Bryant, Odell Beckham, and we’re going through all these really talented 100 120 reception a year. Give me the ball, give me the ball, 14 catches for 138 yards and two touchdowns every week. They’re my fantasy player before we can really gamble and get the juice on the juice right now, right? I mean, I look at this and think this is a recruitment issue. You know, in the same way that it sounds lovely for Barry trots to go to Winnipeg for everybody. Except Barry trots in the offseason, when he’s trying to get the star forward and just hasn’t, you might as well be recruiting at Towson. For kids that are going to go to Duke. You know what I mean? Like it’s just not, and that’s what this is smell to me. Like for five years. No one has said it. They have to draft their guide draft. They’re not until the draft they’re gonna kick comes in and says, My name is Hollywood dog. My name is not Pasadena. I’m not Angkor Wat not Hollywood. Give me the ball. And if you don’t give me the ball, I’m gonna leave. I mean, I like my boy and all but I need the ball. And that’s the league man. Am I am I am I wrong?
Luke Jones 30:16
Do you think Stefon Diggs was thrilled when he got traded to the Buffalo Bills? Josh Allen, two years into his career, much of what people have said about Lamar Jackson, forget about that Josh Allen was regarded in a way lower bid was way lower regard for Josh Allen, two years into his NFL career compared to Lamar and everything you were just saying. Look, you saying what you just said to me sounds like you’re saying that this is more of a Lamar thing than a Greg Roman thing. So here’s where I come back to. Okay. Lamar doesn’t want to sign. Are you going to keep Greg Roman as your offensive coordinator for Lamar Jackson? requests to trade and goes elsewhere? No, you’re not going to write? Why would you? Is there another Lamar Jackson coming along in the draft that you’re going to get? So the point is, if you’re gonna move on anyway, if that’s your your thinking, why would you try another offense coordinator before you’re even gonna see this thing? I mean, I hear what you’re saying about the recruiting thing, first of all, what the Ravens shown that they’re willing to pay as a wide receiver, at some point in time, they’re gonna allow you
Nestor Aparicio 31:18
to give them more 50 million, right. Well, but they,
Luke Jones 31:22
I mean, it just, this is a philosophy thing here like, you know, this isn’t. I mean, I just, I don’t know. I really feel at some point in time, like, what you’re just saying is like, you’re just resigned to the fact that they can’t get better wide receivers. And I think that’s bull.
Nestor Aparicio 31:39
I resigned to that I am. I’m being honest, in my assessment of when you are a free agent, Tim reagent offseason, so fire Greg
Luke Jones 31:54
Roman, then. I mean, are you really going to pick? Are you really going to choose Greg Roman in the coaching staff over over Lamar Jackson?
Nestor Aparicio 32:02
No. So you don’t ask one Lamar to throw the ball 42 times. So that
Luke Jones 32:09
it’s such a disingenuous argument to come back and say, Oh, you do want Lamar to throw 42 times? No, I want a better passing game Period. Period, this, this was the highest efficient efficiency rate passing game in the NFL three years ago. Okay, if they can’t do it again, fine. But my goodness, you’re not going to try a new offensive coordinator, you’re not going to try to bring in some fresh blood. You’re not going to try to upgrade at wide receiver and see what that looks like. Or are we just going to say, well, this is all it is? Well, then, okay, fine.
Nestor Aparicio 32:42
I think a wide receiver means drafting somebody. I mean, I think they will resign. That’s not me saying what they’re doing right. And I think even going into the offseason, thinking they’re gonna give $18 million to wide receiver that the kid that signed with the Raiders that went back to play with car right like that he was that that kind of player would want to be in the system. And you’re saying that that’s Romans fault. I’m saying it’s not the Moors fault. It’s what this is this. Hey, left tackle, trap the center, have a tight end have the quarterback shimmy move. RPO have fat back for the second half. How about have a go the distance back for the first time, like have a Ray Rice, this kid looks so much like Ray Rice, he’s wearing his number. Every time he gets the ball. He kind of explodes before this injury in that way. Like, I see all of that. And you think somehow there’s an Anquan Boldin, I guess or that kind of receiver that might only want the ball eight times a game and be more muscley I don’t know Calvin Johnson. I’m making this up. Dude, I don’t even DeAndre Hopkins. None of these guys in this offense would get the ball enough for their tastes. I just don’t believe that.
Luke Jones 34:06
Great, so they had the worst group of wide receivers in the NFL currently. I mean, it’s either that or you have to have the worst. I mean, there’s no, there’s plenty of middle ground here. And for them to be fielding the group of wide receivers that they’re fielding right now is an indictment on the organization. I agree with that. Okay, it is so and I just keep coming back to this is a philosophy. At the end of the day. This isn’t a Greg Roman thing as much as it’s a philosophy thing. You know what we know what Greg Roman was before the Ravens even hired him, and it looked great, but at some point in time, and I’m certainly not kicking out Lamar Jackson to keep Greg Roman. I mean, I don’t think anyone would suggest anything like that. But if I’m at a point now where I’m at the crossroads with memoria that he’s going to become more expensive now. I still need to see what this thing looks like. I mean, teams don’t just get rid of their franchise quarterbacks when they have to extend them now, you’ve some some probably would have been better off doing that than extending their quarterback but before I
Nestor Aparicio 35:08
do that if they if they throw them all over the side of the boat for whatever their real reason would be be very easy to say we didn’t like the system anymore. And we thought the system was gay. I mean they would front face that and say we don’t like a $50 million version of Lamar and more $1 million third round wide receivers. And like I mean at some point you and me are going to take pencil the paper and the salary cap at the end of the year and look at numbers and dead money and cat money and who’s getting what and who’s back and who’s not. And I really you want these amazing wide receivers and where’s Where is no I
Luke Jones 35:48
went for good wide receivers. Again, you’re making this a false choice. You’re you’re saying they have to have the absolute best or there’s there’s plenty of middle ground here. The Ravens didn’t have the best wide receivers in the NFL back in 2012. In Kwan Bolden wasn’t a top five wide receiver at that point in his career. Torrey Smith was a good number two wide receiver Jacoby Jones was a perfectly fine number three wide receiver and Pro Bowl return specialist. That standard is not unreasonable. This is not that they have to have Davante Adams The idea is that you’re not throwing to James pro Shay on fourth downs in mid December AFC North Road game that’s what my the standard here is. It’s a very low bar and it’s amazing this year they managed to not even clear that because they they put all their eggs in the Rashad Bateman basket and he got hurt. It was it was a suspect plan even if Rashad Bateman became Jerry Rice this year, because he what other position then they say well, we we can only have one and if he gets hurt well then sorry. Shrug. I mean, that’s what keep I keep coming back to and no, that doesn’t mean that they have to have Devonte Adams there’s a wide range here. They were at a point where I actually was feeling okay about their wide receiver group when they had Marquis Brown and they had Rashad Bateman. I bet you two number
Nestor Aparicio 37:11
ones away. They they were number one trumpet, you should feel good about that. But then they traded one and said, well, well, that was their plan to their plan. And it was lousy plan. No, their plan was we can’t sign a wide receiver. We need to draft them. And then this kid came in and wanted the ball. And and they’re like, alright, well, maybe we need a senator. I mean, that’s literally what they did. They weren’t counting on the running back ripping his knee up either, by the way, right. I mean, we’re now last year, two seasons into that we’re two seasons into the left tackle, you know, ripping his leg up. Right, Mike? So there have been a lot of things here that haven’t gone to
Luke Jones 37:53
plan. Right and haven’t haven’t. And having the worst wide receiver group is unavoidable, then I guess.
Nestor Aparicio 38:01
Now you’re you know, that’s what you’re
Luke Jones 38:04
doing when you’re when you’re saying that? Oh, I think Lamar should throw 42 times. That’s not I mean, it’s just we’re not getting anywhere. We’ve had the same argument how many different times I mean, it just comes down to this. It’s a lousy wide receiver group. It was a lousy plan at wide receiver. My issue was not trading. Remember that, though? We really thought. But I just I mean, it just comes down to before we even start talking about the future of Lamar Jackson don’t doesn’t the organization owe it to itself to see what this looks like with a new coordinator. What this looks like with a more concerted concerted effort to bring in past catching weapons. Well, that’s what they’re gonna
Nestor Aparicio 38:43
do when they tag Lamar and bringing in the next gene. Where this is going to go and let’s Lamar. That’s what they should do. And Mrs. combustible and is unhappy, then Jude,
Luke Jones 38:55
you don’t think he knows that? Right? Oh, I’m not you don’t think any
Nestor Aparicio 38:58
chance in March that he has an agent that speaks out like I don’t know, I’m making this up. But then at some point, he just says, I want out I want a different I don’t even want the next guy you’re gonna hire and you’re gonna let Lamar pick your offensive coordinator is that I mean, that’s probably the way this is gonna have to go if you’re gonna marry Lamar, right? Well, I
Luke Jones 39:17
mean, that him picking it? No. Should he have some input? Sure. I thought Joe Flacco should have had more input at times before they hired Marc Trestman to replace Gary Kubiak as one example. That doesn’t mean the quarterback makes the call. But if you’re in a position as the Ravens were with Flacco then as they you know, whether it actually happens or not still envisioning went entering a long term partnership with Lamar Jackson, then yeah, he should have input in that and but at the same time, I I’m in full agreement with you and from the standpoint of, I need to see what this looks like with someone else running it. Meaning someone else other than Greg Rowe. Oh man, I need to see what it looks like need to bring it certainly bring in better pass catching weapons again, doesn’t mean they have to have the best wide receiver. They don’t have to have Tyreke Hill and Jalen WADL but it’d be better it’d be nice to have something that’s at least akin to what the Ravens had a decade ago at wide receiver which again was not the best group and the
Nestor Aparicio 40:20
the mindset that Bateman was going to be any good I thought Yeah, I thought it’s
Luke Jones 40:24
gonna be good but I was the thought of you’re putting all your eggs into this basket of a guy who missed a chunk of his rookie year and what’s gonna happen if he gets hurt yeah again you need to
Nestor Aparicio 40:36
have well they believed in do for name for che they really did they put him on the roster and you know, they still I mean Hardwell still trying to like get give him a pass they shouldn’t ever get let it pass the football but they believed in these guys they drafted these guys they stand that they that’s generally the way this works in the league, right? You stay with the guy until you burn with a guy right? Like your potential is gonna get me fired as coach pillock would always say, I
Luke Jones 41:03
hear you to a point but did the Ravens do that with you? No. It’s not as though they didn’t bring in Edge rushers because, you know, they were confident in Jalen Ferguson God rest his soul the last couple years or daylon. Hayes last year. I mean, those
Nestor Aparicio 41:18
are the reason Houston and JP are here is because always been a like it’s you know, like not
Luke Jones 41:23
right. But that’s yeah, we I mean, we can talk about that at some point. That’s when you bring into Sean Jackson and DeMarcus Robinson. My point is, but what what other position to the Ravens? Where do the Ravens operate where they’re just not even going to give competition to a number three, a third round wide receiver like du Vernay, or a sixth round ride wide receiver like James Brochet, especially a sixth rounder? In what universe? Is a team going to say? Well, oh, our sixth round pick needs to play even though he’s completely unproven. No, you don’t. They don’t operate that way at any other position that it’s not as though they Metzker just was undrafted and just oh, let’s just put him in the starting lineup it it develops over time a guy proves himself. Do you have her she hasn’t proven anything other than he can get some passes and training camp and even the preseason games. It’s not as though he put up monster numbers. So
Nestor Aparicio 42:15
it’s been a lot of that with Myles Boykin. I mean, this franchise is flashed these wide receivers that think maybe that guy will be a sufficient to
Luke Jones 42:24
go trade for one they traded for row Quan Smith, why can’t they go trade for a library they traded for Anquan Boldin 12 years ago. So at some point in time, you have to recognize what’s a weakness and how are we going to approach it. Now to be clear, that doesn’t mean I don’t think they should draft wide receivers they absolutely should but in the meantime, like if their plan this offseason is they’re just going to draft another wide receiver and hope that Rashad Bateman comes back healthy then we’re gonna be talking about the same thing a year from now. I mean, they they have they are gonna have to hope that Rashad Bateman gets healthy, right? Well, that’s part of it. But they have to bring in a veteran, they have to bring in someone who can help them. It doesn’t mean the guy’s an All Pro. But it’s got to be something better than they can’t do this, again, from
Nestor Aparicio 43:11
my mental health as much as anything. Relationship force.
Luke Jones 43:15
I’d be a facetious to a degree. But I mean, I guess again, this gets back to the point that I think we are on the same page on I think I find it very difficult, you know, regardless of what happens, unless we see a miracle, Joe Flacco like postseason run from Lamar Jackson here, which again, he’s not throwing it and con board and Torrey Smith and Dennis Pitt on Jacoby Jones. So how feasible is that for Lamar, especially coming off of an injury. But assuming that scenario doesn’t play out, I think you have to make a change coordinator. And I think you need to, you’ve got to upgrade, you got to find a way to upgrade your past catching talent. Again, that doesn’t mean they’re going to be best in the league doesn’t mean I want them to start throwing it 50 times. But we’ve got to see what this looks like. Because before you’re going to enter into a long term contract, and look, Lamar Jackson might be fine with that, with that set of circumstances as well and say, Look, yeah, I want to see what this looks like. And I’ll play on the tag because I’m not sure either. Yeah, but he might privately be saying that to them, too. And if that’s the case, bring in a new coordinator, upgrade the talent at wide receiver. And let’s see what this looks like. And to be clear, that doesn’t mean you’re not going to still be more of a run first team. And that’s, of course, that’s going to be a big part of what you do. But again, you have to be more efficient passing. It’s not as though you just, you know, people who keep trying to diminish the passing game. It’s not as though you look at your defense and say, well, well, we’re gonna be a great run defense and well our past defense and that will stop the run. Well, at some point in time you got to be you have to be able to do both right. Inevitably, teams we’ve seen it we’ve seen how this has played played out teams that have been able to especially come January, neutralize not shut down but neutralize their running game. him, and then it becomes more of a hey, can you make enough plays in the passing game buffalo did a great job of neutralizing their running game two years ago in January. And then we saw what it looked like they lost and they only scored three points. So we’ll see how it plays out. And again, I mean, so much of what we’re talking about. It’s not going to pertain to what we see Saturday against Atlanta. You know, I think we’re gonna see probably another slog for lack of a better term, but I do expect them to win. I think they can do the same thing to Pittsburgh is what they did in Pittsburgh, a week ago. So we’ll see how it plays out after that. But after, after these next two games, the competition, they’re going to be playing the big boys starting with Cincinnati, and depending on their drawl, maybe the wildcard round will be a little more manageable if you if you are the wildcard and you’re going to Tennessee, or who knows maybe Jacksonville but the way they’re looking jaguars are looking good, by the way. But you know, Kansas City and buffalo are looming, and in Cincinnati, or is looming and week 18. So we’ll have to see how it plays out. But yeah, exhale, you and I, we, we’ve argued, man, I
Nestor Aparicio 46:13
mean, I’ve got eggnog here in my cup, my arms, right. I
Luke Jones 46:17
mean, I’m Dan and to be and to be clear, I still think from a big picture standpoint, you and I are closer to being on the same page than then it might sound for anyone listening to us in here it is the start to
Nestor Aparicio 46:30
I mean, I feel like I’m going to be writing tunes about this in the offseason economist because I I think this is going to be an interesting offseason, if they don’t win the Super Bowl right now thinking they’re not going to win the Super Bowl. It’s always interesting, but it’s more interesting than ever, how far we are into this with our ball and d’acosta and drafts and results and money and contract time. And the strangeness of the offense in general. I mean, they have zag when everybody else is Zig. It’s been pretty good. But it hasn’t been good enough. And what else will it take that it doesn’t have that it needs other than good health? I mean, there’s a whole part of this. When the books written in hardball and the costs are on their farm, they’ll look back at all this and say, everybody got hurt. For two years, everybody got hurt. We put all the money in the left tackle, left tackle, unreliable, maybe when he’s there, he’s great. But he’s not the quarterback. Same thing. He runs into linebackers by week 12. He’s beaten up no wide receivers wanted to sign here that the offensive coordinator tried to make everything really basic and vanilla, because like we know players that can function in that concept, because we have third string guys in there to begin with, that didn’t know where to line up. So I you know, I think that that there might be more of that story for that’s the real story, then we weren’t good enough or reg Roman steaks, or Lamar is no good. Or they didn’t have enough depth or they didn’t draft. I mean, it’s all of that to me. But all of that plays out over the next three hours of football where, man this is pulled up. This is this is why they play it’s Christmas week. They’re nine and five. They’re you know, they’re trying to get their quarterback healthy. Yeah, there should be no excuse as to why they can’t go out on the field compete with the Cincinnati Bengals. Except right now they don’t look good enough to do it. Yeah, eyeball test said they don’t look good enough to do it.
Luke Jones 48:24
I mean, can they compete with them? Sure. Can they beat them? That’s where I really have my doubts at this point in time. But just one final thought you mentioned Greg Roman, for me, it’s the chicken or the egg thing you mentioned. While they can’t do more than what they’d been doing scheme wise, because they lacked the talent or is it the other way around that you bring in some better talent and and see what this looks like? I think I agree. All of those things have played a part. It’s never just one thing. Let’s be very clear about that. But as things stand, as were the week of Christmas, it’s looking more and more difficult for me to envision Greg Roman, being the offensive coordinator in 2023. I just, I think you at a minimum, you’ve got to bring in a fresh set of eyes and a fresh brain to kind of look at what they have. I mean, they’ve got a generational talent, a special talent at quarterback see if someone else I mean, if Greg Roman was going to take the Stanford job, which he didn’t get, then they were gonna have to make that change anyway.
Nestor Aparicio 49:25
Point counterpoint all day, but Greg Romeu be a freaking genius. If Ronnie Stanley played every snap the last two years Hollywood Brown, want to get out that if Dobbins didn’t blow his knee out, and if Gus Edwards didn’t blow his knee out and down the line, I mean, let’s just go down the line of what the cost is tried to put on the field. And I’m not making excuses for him because nobody sold me out quite the way Eric Acosta has in recent days as I sit with my face pressed to the glass and I can’t go to games and ask questions anymore, and he pretends he’s never met me before that’s fine, but I’m not here to defend the caster but I would They like two years ago, he did not think for a moment in this system that Stanley would be hurt that that Hollywood Brown would want out as quickly as he did that this was the complementary idea he had conceptually for how to make an offense work that they were going to build this with old fart offensive lineman, which they’ve been trying to do for three or four years now right that that’s what they they want veteran old fart cheaper offensive lineman, not guys not named just go through the list. Jensen goes through all those guys and they love Stanley and that was their guy right? But this Pat Ricard saying that they dreamed up and making him this power back to blow people up and they didn’t have a bad plan, dude. And when you lose Bateman and your other one opts out and your left tackle can’t play half the time and your quarterback can’t play after Thanksgiving. You get your ass kicked. I mean, like if I’m really right, that’s that’s the column you get your ass kicked when that happens, I think.
Luke Jones 51:04
Yeah, but at the same time, where does it go perfectly? Like what what team has things go perfectly for them? I everything you said I totally agree with for last year. That’s why it was played last
Nestor Aparicio 51:15
week. Josh Allen played last week, like let’s Okay, so no right
Luke Jones 51:20
and that’s this this judgment on Greg Roman is not based on the last two weeks it’s you know, again as I wrote it, Baltimore positive.com Look at Lamar as numbers since week four. I mean, this passing game is broken. It’s broken. Period it’s broken. And we’ve seen it look decent for maybe a half year or a half there you know, fourth late in the Jacksonville game and second half of the Tampa Bay game but you know it you have to be able to throw the football in the NFL and that doesn’t go
Nestor Aparicio 51:47
to you next year about this okay.
Luke Jones 51:50
Net Well, are you next week but in the meantime, Merry Christmas to you and hey, as much as anyone hearing this segment Thanks, mate. We’re making it sound like the ravens are the worst team in the league far from they’re pretty good. I’m not sure they’re better than pretty good that’s what’s disappointing at this point, but hey, we’ll watch it play out. I don’t think Greg Roman is going to ultimately survive this so to speak. He’s probably going to get too much blame and the amount of blame
Nestor Aparicio 52:19
exact Thank you make sure you tombstone when he’s getting paid
Luke Jones 52:23
the way it always says though. Any coach any
Nestor Aparicio 52:28
Joe Flacco got kicked off should be running to give me my press pass back after this segment because I have sat here and defended the caster hardball and Greg Roman I hear you I hear you and like I say are the trainers maybe that’s horrible then I don’t know. Merry Christmas. Okay, Christmas some good and good as it gets some eggnog. Enjoy being Uncle Luke and Deacon Jones and it just don’t don’t head slap anybody at the at the at the church. All right. Don’t Don’t do the other Deacon Jones. By the way, I’m going through a lot of best stuff stuff here this week. And you may hear some of that or see some of that stuff out. There’s just so much stuff you want. I’ll give you an example Diamond Dallas Page, right? Like I found that the other day like that stuff from the last seven or eight years since my wife’s illness and we changed our format back in 2014. I found a bunch of modern stuff, but there’s still a bunch of older stuff that still needs to get up and be a part of what we’re doing. So I’ll be doing that next couple weeks. All right, Deacon Jones.
Luke Jones 53:26
Sounds good. Merry Christmas. Happy New Year and we’ll we’ll reconvene I’m sure having something to complain about as it pertains to the Falcons. But I do expect a woman on Saturday. I think it’d be a merry Christmas for the Ravens even even if all their problems aren’t going to go away magically. On Saturday.
Nestor Aparicio 53:41
Look, man gives me a whole nother year to be wrong about everything next year. All right. So look, Joe is here he is Baltimore Luke, you can find him out and Owings Mills or find him on the interwebs or find him at his church with his family hanging out doing holiday things hanging out with beautiful, nice and having a good time. We have great international visitors coming to us here. As the man who saved my wife’s life. Nielsen and his wife friends are making their way over for the holiday. So we are going to be drinking some eggnog eaten some kielbasa and sauerkraut from wise markets. I’m picking up a hammer. Did I try to see how many points I have? Because I always go to my y’s app. I’ve got so much better about using my y’s app, my rural farms app. I mean, I’m like a young man now, but I gotta get the 400 points on my rewards to get the ham. I’m still stuck at 296 I gotta go spend some money. I am Nestor. We are wn st am 15 70,000 Baltimore wishing you and your yours a happy holidays. And make sure you wear this out of Baltimore positive.com