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HomeSportsWhat the Ravens hiring Todd Monken means for Lamar Jackson, Baltimore's offense

What the Ravens hiring Todd Monken means for Lamar Jackson, Baltimore’s offense

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Can Todd Monken stop the Ravens offense from being flat-out offensive?

Even though Lamar Jackson won an MVP award under Greg Roman, the Ravens offense has felt more than a bit stale in recent years. The run-heavy scheme deployed by the now-former offensive coordinator played heavy into Jackson’s abilities as a runner, but never quite accentuated his skills as a passer.

After ranking first and seventh in points scored in 2019 and 2020, the first two years of the Jackson era, the team skidded to 17th and 19th in 2021 and 2022, leading to the dismissal of Roman. Enter Todd Monken.

On Valentine’s Day, the Ravens made a move Jackson should love, hiring Monken away from Georgia to be the team’s next offensive coordinator. 

MORE: The pros and cons of giving Lamar Jackson a super contract

While the Ravens still have to navigate Jackson’s contract situation, the hiring could mean that they’re ready to really let Jackson loose should he stay in Baltimore. There are a few reasons for this.

First, Jackson reportedly played a part in the OC search, according to Josina Anderson. That could bode well for relations between Jackson and the team:

Second, Monken’s offense typically allows the quarterback to dictate more of the game from the line of scrimmage, something that was fairly rigid underneath Roman. Giving Jackson, a former league MVP, the freedom to, well, play quarterback should galvanize him.

The third is that Monken has proven he has more than a handle on modern NFL offenses and has oftentimes changed his scheme to benefit his players. That’s a great thing for a pretty stale offense in desperate need of a facelift.

MORE: NFL head coach hiring rankings: Texans impress, Panthers not so much

In the NFL, Monken’s offenses typically ranked near the top of the league in passing attempts. Some of that was because of the bad defenses that the Buccaneers had between 2016 and 2018, when Monken was Tampa Bay’s offensive coordinator. It’s a simple equation: Bad defenses = more points allowed = bigger hole to climb out of = more passing. More of the passing has to do with Monken’s love of chucking that thing.

Monken, though, does have an understanding that running the ball, especially in 2022 NFL, is an important part of the offense. That should play well for John Harbaugh’s liking, as he has historically deployed a run-heavy offense. 

“You can’t control the game if you can’t run the ball comfortably. You can’t. You can’t control the game,” Monken has said in the past (via The Athletic). “You can have a bunch of statistics and make it look better and make you feel better. But if you can’t run the ball comfortably you can’t win the game. And that’s from a guy that likes to throw it. My whole background is wideouts and quarterbacks. So I do want to throw it, I enjoy throwing it.”

There’s a sizable difference between coaching at the college level and the pros, but recent successes should give Ravens fans hope for a new-look offense. Monken also redesigned the Georgia offense, leading to back-to-back national titles in 2021 and 2022 as he pulled the most out of college veteran QB Stetson Bennett in the process.

MORE: Ranking the 15 best available QBs this offseason

With the Bulldogs’ top-tier defense, Georgia wasn’t exactly pass-happy, but the team also passed a bit more in each of Monken’s three seasons in Athens, The Athletic notes. That’s a boost for the Ravens offense, which ranked 32nd, 32nd, ninth and 28th in passing attempts over four seasons of Roman’s offense. In fairness, the Ravens’ rushing offense was good — but not good enough for such a disparity between rushing attempts and passing attempts.

With a focus on the passing offense but remaining multi-dimensional, utilizing tight end talent and big-play wide receivers, there should be a drastically different offense for the Ravens come Week 1 in 2023. Some NFL insiders and former players argue that that’s a great thing for Jackson — if he sticks around: 

All this to say, it appears the Ravens have figured out the future of their offense. Next, figuring out the future of Lamar Jackson.


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