Luke Jones and Nestor discuss the Ravens late win over Broncos behind Snoop Huntley and the impact of an apparent PCL injury to Lamar Jackson on season hopes in Baltimore.
I didn’t want to get out in front of it, because it’s football week around here, and we’re winning football games. Luke Jones joins us now. Hope you read my column nests on the aftermath, Luke will be trickling in with all sorts of thoughts on the backside of the game. But the first thought is, how’s Lamar doing? Luke? Because like that’s, that’s everything right? Like, as quick as Lamar can get up, this team will have a chance again. And that’s not that’s not to dissuade Snoop from doing what he did on Sunday. But Sunday was sort of a breathtaking win and a lot of ways because people will remember that one.
Yeah. And it’s reality that Lamar Jackson’s health is all that matters right now. Little kid they won 10 to nine times is going to tell whether the Ravens actually won on Sunday or not. I mean, that’s just the truth. We can talk about Tyler Huntley, who certainly did what he needed to do on the final drive of the game. And that was great to see against a tough Denver defense. And we talked about this Denver defense going into Sunday’s game that didn’t expect the ravens to just march up and down the field. Without any resistance. The defense holds Denver to three field goals held the Broncos outside of the red zone. And what’s funny about this is you look at Russell Wilson, statistically, it was actually one of his better games of the year in terms of yards per passing attempt QBR but no touchdowns, Broncos worst offense in the NFL in terms of scoring, and that continued on Sunday. So we can go through your special teams, a great kick coverage. And we saw that a show up on a number of occasions throughout Sunday’s game. But it comes back to the health of Lamar Jackson, how long is he going to be out when assuming he does return before the seat before season’s end? And I think that’s the expectation. What does he look like? And if this team is going to make a run it assuming it makes the playoffs and I still think they’ll make the playoffs. So though certainly the AFC North complexion changed pretty dramatically on Sunday with Lamar is health and with what the Bengals did against Kansas City. But it comes down to is Lamar Jackson going to be right? Is he going to be upright? Is he going to be mobile? And is this ravens offense going to be able to write itself and we just don’t know those answers. Certainly didn’t know those answers after the game on Sunday and John Harbaugh and company wanted to dwell on the positive which I get. It’s an emotional game. It’s the NFL you never apologize for a win. But reality suggested Sunday was one of those days where we’re gonna have to find out whether this is a day that we’ll remember because of a 10 Nine win. Or we’ll remember because the Ravens season and their chances for doing something special in 2022 came to an end. With all intents and purposes if Lamar Jackson’s not right the rest of the year, we just don’t know and going to be plenty of holding our breath and waiting for updates and what kind of updates we’ll see. But I’m guessing it’s at least for the next couple of weeks probably going to feel very similar to what we looked at last year, which for me, as I wrote it, Baltimore positive.com, even in victory tickets very difficult for the ravens to fight off that feeling of deja vu. 51 weeks after Lamar hurt his ankle in Cleveland, which this was the last play the first quarter. In that game. It was the first play of the second quarter. So you know, it was very eerie in that way. And I think it’s really going to be a case where time is going to tell whether this was a nice win and a win to kind of keep themselves in position in the AFC north. Or if this is going to be more of a beginning of the end kind of situation we just we don’t know but that’s reality when you’re talking about the health of your franchise quarterback in early December.
What Some nice win. I mean for what it was to come out of that game with a win, snatching defeat out of the, or wins out of the jaws of defeat, because it was, it was bleak. And let’s change strategy a little bit. I mean, we’ll get to James krochet, throwing the past which that needs to be gotten through, because that really happened. And that could have cost them the game thinks it could cost them the game fine. But things that could have won the game for the Broncos, I was just blown away. Then when it came to nut cut time for them with a couple of minutes left to go in the game. They were trying to throw the bomb. Like, I don’t know why they didn’t try to really just grind it out and run the ball. They all they needed was one field goal to win the game. Right? Literally, right. That’s where they were. And I found their strategy to be very, very curious. Obviously, their coaches getting fired, right. I mean, that’s, that’s pretty apparent. That thing’s a mess. But there were other ways the Ravens could have lost that game on Sunday, including self inflicted wounds, like throwing interceptions from backup wide receivers, you’ve never thrown a pass and in, in an organized football from what we understand.
Yeah. I mean, you really saw the reasons why, despite the fact that they have a top five defense, the Broncos are three and nine. Yeah, their offense has been awful. Russell Wilson has been bad. Certainly Nathaniel Hackett, as you mentioned, it’s a matter of the only question is really, whether he’s going to survive the entire season. Or he’s going to get fired and put out of his misery by you know, before Christmas, which I don’t think that’s going to happen. I mean, some people draw some comparisons, and I even heard a few of the Denver reporters, I overheard them in the press box after the game. They’re kind of saying, well, Urban Meyer didn’t make it through last year in Jacksonville. But there were circumstances beyond what was happening on the field that led to that with Urban Meyer, as far as you know, just how he was conducting himself and what have you. I don’t think Hackett’s a bad guy in the way that you looked at some of the things that happened with Meyer and you really question What the heck was going on, but it’s a disaster. And you have a football team that is averaging roughly 14 points. I think they’re just under 14 points per game, after what we saw on Sunday. I mean, since 1976, that’s that’s ridiculous. I mean, we talked about some of the issues that Ravens have had offensively. I mean, it pales in comparison to what Denver’s done or what they haven’t done, I should say. So you said it. I mean, it’s it’s a team that led for most of the game. And at times, it felt like they needed to be more aggressive and they weren’t. And then there were other times, like you said, where they’re throwing deep balls when
they were on the 48 yard line with five and a half minutes left to go. Like literally two first downs there they kick a field goal, Lamar, Lamar, and Snoop gets the ball back at the two minute warning, Harbaugh would have to start burning timeouts. I mean, like, I don’t know what they were doing. Like when they when they threw the first bomb. I’m like, Alright, fine. Your second and 11 get to get back in the huddle and let him run the ball in his swing, pass do something. I was just blown away that they just allow the Raiders to get the ball back with five minutes left to go with the side of the pond. It was crazy.
Yeah, I mean, it’s like I said, no, they have no feel for the game right now whatsoever. The Broncos coaching Russell Wilson’s had this issue all all season long. At times, I felt they needed to be more aggressive. Like early in the game, they run in that third down and they they try a 52 yard field. Well, now McMahon has made it. But it was a case where Why are you running there? I mean, don’t you want to continue this drive rather than just settling for three. And then as you mentioned, some times where it felt like it made more sense to, you know, be maybe not completely conservative, but at least be a different kind of aggressive than what we saw in there. And they’re chucking deep ball. So it made no sense. Again,
literally, right. I mean, yeah, I mean, but
you just look at that team, and they lost 10 to nine, they’ve lost games like that all year, you know, whether it’s 13 to 10, or 1413 10. Nine, I think they want 12. Nine, they had a final score of that. So I mean, it’s, it’s where they been the other defense has been excellent. I think when you look at the ravens, I mean, certainly, you don’t want to be in a position where you’ve scored three points as you’re making your final drive of the game in the fourth quarter. I’m not saying that that’s acceptable. But if you were told me, Lamar Jackson goes down at the end of the first quarter and Snoop Huntleys their quarterback, I’m guessing against the Broncos defense, I’m gonna say, wow, they probably didn’t score very many points. So that part of it’s less surprising. But the Ravens found a way. I don’t want to sit here and say that this was an impressive win. It was champion.
Three. I mean, we’re not going to do that. Right. I mean, it’s a victory there.
But I’m not gonna throw a parade about it either. As my point my point is, this is what the Broncos have been all year. You know, if people could say well, and even John Harbaugh talking to in the postgame press conference saying well, that’s still Russell Wilson over there. Is it?
I mean, this was
like, as I said, this was One of his better performances of the year that shows you how bit bad it has been for them. So I’m not saying that to be dismissive of the Ravens winning a football game, it’s just it comes back to what we’re going to continue to say throughout our conversations. Not just as we’re talking now, but until he’s back on the field. And we see he’s right, it comes back to Lamar Jackson, it comes back to the state of this offense, it comes back to when he’s going to be on the field and what he’s going to look like whenever he is back on the field. And because that’s what’s paramount? Yeah, I mean, we, we can talk about the passing game, we can talk about the lack of, of weapons on the offensive side of the football, which holds true whether it’s Huntly or Lamar Jackson at quarterback. But as I said, on Sunday, it really will look back at it and time is going to tell whether that was a win that kind of kept them on track. And Lamar is back after one game two games, whatever it ends up being, and they’re fine, and they still have a chance to make a run and get themselves going for January. Or if it’s a case where he misses more time, or he comes back and he’s not right. And it’s a diminished version of Lamar Jackson physically, then we’re gonna say that the season, like I said, it was kind of the that game where you’re gonna look back and say, yeah, things kind of ended right there. And then but as I, as I alluded to, it’s nice to get the win. I think as much as you’re going to have that feeling of deja vu. And here we go again, unlike last year, where the Ravens had already lost the week before at Pittsburgh, they lost that day in Cleveland when Mr. Jackson got hurt, even though certainly Tyler Huntley gave them a chance in that football game. We know the Ravens didn’t win again. From the time Lamar got hurt. They at least have a wind under their belt, looking at it this time. But now you talk about the prospects of going on the road to AFC North games where I get it. It’s Pittsburgh and Cleveland. Neither one of those teams have played all that well this year. But
the ravens are not a better team than either way. Certainly not with Tyler Huntley. Right. I mean, if you look at them and say how much better are the Ravens in the Steelers eight weeks ago, 10 weeks ago, how much better than they were they then Jacoby percent and the Browns when the Browns could run the ball and can’t play defense? All the same issues are there, except I’m seeing a better version of the Cleveland team with a quarterback now I’m seeing the better version of Steelers team at least they’ve worked with this kid a couple of weeks. They won a football game this week. And now the ravens are the ones limping as we go into the holidays. It is I think it’s impossible. No matter how big of a fan you are, no matter how big of a sycophant you are, or whether you’re just immediate guy like us looking at this, looking at this ravens team. And as I pointed out in my column is the last time they played good football was when when when have they put together that kind of effort that is going to beat that four o’clock show I watched with Cincinnati and Kansas City or watch what we saw with buffalo the other night, when when’s the last time they look like a playoff caliber playoff winning football team? It’s been a while Luke it really has been.
Yeah. And I think it’s really what you said the ladder of what you said a playoff winning caliber team. I mean, they’re they’re aiming for let’s let’s you know, let’s not diminish what they have accomplished. And I’m not saying that that means that they’re a serious top shelf Super Bowl contender, but they’re a playoff team. You know, they’re a division leader
from now, and they go and win in Pittsburgh and Cleveland, we’re going to talk about them differently, right? Well,
it depends what it looks like. Let me put you stack wins, you get wins. And that’s where I will come back to as much as we’re talking about the big picture and the Morris health and that being paramount here, which it still is, yeah, you get wins. And you don’t take that for granted. Because you do see what a team like the Denver Broncos looks like right now you I mean, as much as we’re talking about Jacksonville, look what happened to them the following week that shows how difficult it is to be consistent in this league, even if it’s not a dominant consistent if you’re still finding ways to win games, which the Ravens have done. But to go back to your point, as far as when this team really looked top shelf in that way. I mean, we could go back to before the bye week, you know, the New Orleans performance was pretty complete, you know if we’re being honest, but again, competition we’re talking about the saints are talking about the NFC South, you know, so, for me, I really go back to I mean, the first half of the Buffalo game that late in the Cincinnati game. I mean, we’re talking this is late September early.
I remember then playing Cincinnati, I literally don’t remember much of that game to be honest, like eons ago,
and well, it was I mean, the Ravens weren’t firing on all cylinders offensively at that point. And Cincinnati was really finding themselves or trying to find themselves at that point. But if you want to talk about the last time, they really like it really felt like it was humming. I don’t know do you go back to the New England game? I mean, that’s you look at they scored 37 points in that game. Remember the Defense Force dollars takeaways in the fourth quarter? So
I’m gonna say this to you about their team and their offense and Lamar has value and his money okay? If Lamar doesn’t look like Lamar and I don’t mean passing because he’s gonna overthrow he’s gonna He’s I get it but his ability to shake and bake his ability to go the distance on any play he doesn’t have that in his legs literally if he doesn’t it’s like watching Russell Wilson run around and saying oh, he’s lost half a step he suddenly looks like Johnny Unitas in San Diego right like that’s what happens when you’re a fast quarterback and you’re not fast this week this week right here right now Lamar looked fast in New Orleans Lamar looked fast against Cincinnati Lamar look like a factor and and a threat to take the ball to the house and break your legs every time if keeping up the steps the I don’t we’ve all had bad legs we all he’s playing professional football to think that he’s gonna go be out you can the Steelers, safeties and linebackers in five days is that’s not realistic. I mean for his wheels. And I think without his wheels, because we’re talking about when did the Ravens look great? They look great when Lamar can throw it or run it and when he has people to throw it to and people to block for him so he can run it. So it for me it has it starts with Lamar looking like Lamar and I mean physically like Lamar, because week to week, the passing could be in it could be out whatever, but if he’s healthy, he’s a hell of a threat. He’s a $50 million quarterback when he’s healthy. You know, he had been healthy a little while now he’s less than healthy. It it’s hard to like the Ravens right now. It’s it would be hard to go on to my mobile wagering get you under Wi Fi free right now. I bet nesta.com that if you do that. Will anybody bet on the Ravens winning the Super Bowl today? I don’t think so. And if the narrative is this thing turns around and they win a game or two and Lamar comes back and they go beat buffalo beat Kansas City. You and I are in Phoenix in 10 weeks, give or take right? Eight nine weeks, give or take. i That is such an unlikely narrative from where they are. And that kid walking up into the locker room on Sunday. It just it feels like they’re a long way away. To your point. It feels like oh, boy, the circling of the train has begun because that’s where that’s what happens when Lamar is not healthy. Because we talked about the last time they looked great. Lamar looked great. Lamar looked healthy look Spry, he looked fit. He looked fast, you know?
Yeah, no question about it. And I want to be clear, when you say circling the drain it, that’s what we’re talking about it in terms of this team Super Bowl aspirations. I mean, there are still there are still a number of scenarios between the season being completely over and winning the Super Bowl that could occur that I mean, they’re eight and four. I mean, I don’t think they’re going to lose out like they did last year, even if Lamar doesn’t come back for better make
the playoffs? Sure. Yeah. I mean, yeah, I’m worried about that. These are row games in the division, like, I mean, in any year, and even if Cleveland had Spurgeon win, and the Steelers had Tommy Maddox, I still would look at them and say, you get to go there and win and you got to go win with half your team at this point. It’s not the full complement of a Ravens team here. This is this is December football. I mean, you’re not going to be healthy. You just have to hope your quarterbacks healthy.
Yeah. And that’s where I mean, you made the point about whenever Lamar is back in the field, whether it’s by chance, it’s this week, or next week or week after that. I mean, who knows? I mean, you’re seeing a lot of the early speculation that we saw on Sunday evening, some David Charles of the Twitterverse. You know, the medical types that look at video and try to analyze. Now they’re talking about it being a PCL injury, which is the back of the knee. If you recall, that was actually the original Rashad Perriman injury his rookie year, which, you know that that was something where it wasn’t thought to be a season ending injury at first, and we know how that went. So I’m not gonna say that that’s what it is. But if that means it’s a tricky situation where Okay, Lamar Jackson after one week, or two weeks or three weeks, is he healthy enough to play? Is that the same thing as him being fully mobile and fully explosive and fully healthy? That’s a different animal. And that’s where we go back to all the other concerns about this offense, whether you’re talking about the lack of weapons in the passing game, whether you’re talking about the health of the running backs, you know, I mean, let’s face it, Gus Edwards since coming back hasn’t looked at as promising as it looked. When he first returned back
more like Nick job coming back, quite frankly, which is not as effective as what the other guy used to be.
Yeah, yeah. But you know, no, Ronnie Stanley on the field, and what’s JK Dobbins gonna look like as he’s back practicing now? I mean, there’s just so many question marks that don’t change whether it’s Lamar or Tyler Huntley. I Behind center. But it really is a case of with Lamar specifically we talk about this all the time, everything they do, whether you’re talking about running backs carrying the ball, whether you’re talking about receivers and their ability to get open, whether you’re talking about the offensive line and their ability to run, block or pass protect, it all comes back to what the legs and the athleticism of Lamar Jackson. So if he comes back, and he is not a 100% version of himself, and that’s not to say that they’re going to try them out there. If he can barely jog, you know, they’re not going to do that. But to your point, there’s no such thing as 100% and December in January, you know, all of these guys are probably somewhere between 85 and 95. At this point, there are very few guys in the locker room at this point in the season that are completely, fully healthy. So what does that look like? And what does that mean for the rest of this offense? It means everything else becomes that much more difficult. Look, Tyler Huntley was 27 of 32 on Sunday, and, you know, he did some nice things when he absolutely had to at the end of the football game, but it’s a different standard. You know, people make these comparisons because they expect the world out of out of Lamar, and when he’s not playing at his absolute best people will then see Tyler Huntley do some nice things relative to the lack of expectations for him. And then people start saying silly things like, Oh, they’re moving the ball better with Huntley. They score 10 points on Sunday. I mean, let’s just let’s not, let’s not shine it up to be more than what it is. And that’s not a knock on Huntley. It’s just, it tells you how different how dramatically things change, when you don’t have number eight out there, and he’s not healthy. And he’s,
Damon’s and you sit there and watch burrows and mahomes go out there and look like the best and what they do. And you’re lying. And if we hadn’t been watching that the last couple of weeks here.
Yeah, I mean, that what we saw Kansas City and Cincinnati and get the Bengals credit. I mean, they’ve won four straight now they beat Tennessee on the road the previous week. I mean, I feel like the complexion of the AFC north, and I’ve been as guilty of this as anyone thinking that. Yeah, the ravens are going to win this division, they have an easier schedule on paper. And I stressed on paper all along because something like this happens to Lamar Jackson, or Joe burrow or Patrick mahomes, or Josh Allen or whatever franchise quarterback, you want to talk about Jimmy Garoppolo and San Francisco, we’ll see what happens there knowing he’s done for the year. But it changes things up, it changes things dramatically. And now you look at this thing and say, okay, the Ravens won, the Bengals won, they’re tied in the AFC, North ravens still have a tiebreaker. They still have an easier schedule on paper. But boy, the complexion, the outlook of the division feels much different now than it did even at one o’clock on Sunday afternoon. And that’s not to say that the Ravens still won’t find a way to win this division. And that’s not to say Cincinnati is going to win out. We don’t know. But that feels very tenuous, at best to kind of look at that thing right now. Not knowing when you’re going to have Lamar Jackson back on the field. And that’s just reality. And the ravens are gonna have to try to hold down the fort and hope you get Lamar back sooner rather than later. And we’ll see what happens from there.
All right, Luke’s writing, I’m writing to find my columnists out at Baltimore. positive.com Luke’s gonna be writing all sorts of things. You’ll find our words our deeds getting us ready for the Maryland crab cake tour this week at fade Lee’s we’re going to be next week at costus celebrating 31 years so Baltimore radio day in 1570. And I got a new sponsor drug city Dundalk man what do you look at that look you won’t want to use I know you do I know you need to drug City at the fountain as well. Drug city with a since 1954. That’s 14 more years and I’ve been around a big appreciation to Georgia and and shocking everybody down there make sure you get down there visit them we’ll be doing the crabcake tour truck city yet again next year as well. It’s all brought to you by the Maryland lottery in conjunction with our friends at Goodwill and window nation. Also want to give a shout out to Bill coal and coal roofing and our friends here for providing our royal farms coffee in the cup. We’re gonna be getting ready for Pittsburgh all week Luke’s gonna be making his way up to Brees what lucky you meet Mr. Rooney’s roast and having those cookies there. So Pittsburgh, Baltimore and his Pittsburgh week around here. We’ll be talking to folks in Pittsburgh as well. I’m sure Charlie batch will be happy to chime in this week. I am Nestor. We are wn st am 1570, Towson Baltimore. And we never stop talking. Baltimore positive