Tuesday morning, the Baltimore Ravens named Georgia Bulldogs offensive coordinator Todd Monken as the team’s next play-caller. After parting with Greg Roman following the 2022 postseason, the Baltimore Ravens get their next offensive coordinator to help jumpstart their offense.
Monken was a vital part of the National Champion Bulldogs, helping guide them to consecutive national titles. Before joining Georgia’s staff in 2020, Monken served as offensive coordinator for the Cleveland Browns in 2019, after spending three years in Tampa Bay. Monken also worked as the Buccaneers’ offensive play-caller in 2018 before leaving for Cleveland.
The Ravens offense was terribly underwhelming in 2022, especially after quarterback Lamar Jackson missed much of the season due to injury. According to Pro Football Reference, Baltimore ranked 19th in points scored, 16th in total yards, and 19th in passing touchdowns. Despite ranking very well as a rushing team, the Ravens’ passing attack struggled and something had to be done.
What Todd Monken Brings to the Ravens
Although there were other outstanding circumstances which led to their struggles, there was plenty of blame at the offensive play calling. Monken offers the same promise as run game coordinator, but with a far more expressive offensive attack. In his article for The Athletic, Seth Emerson quotes Monken in saying “I do like to throw”, while also referring to him as the “Air Raid Guy.”
Emerson also mentions some of Monken’s tendencies as a play caller. He notes Monken will often call passing plays in situations where most offensive coordinators will call for runs, and vice versa. According to Childs Walker of The Baltimore Sun in an interview with former NFL OL John Stichcomb, Monken’s best trait is his “adaptability.” To the average fan, this marks a big change up from their previous experience.
At Georgia, Monken had the luxury of having two great tight ends which he leaned on heavily, and he will be stepping into a similar situation in Baltimore. Monken also worked with incredible receivers like George Pickens, who he utilized heavily when available. Fans should have a similar expectation for his relationship with Rashod Bateman.
This is a positive step for the Baltimore Ravens offense. However, their work is not done. In order to get the most out of Monken’s capabilities, the team should continue its efforts in supplying receiving talent for him to work with. In Tampa, Monken had elite talent in Mike Evans and Chris Godwin, so expect the Ravens to at least try to add more receivers in the coming months.
For non-playoff teams, the 2023 NFL draft looms large. Despite not taking place until late April, the NFL’s yearly selection draft offers all teams an opportunity to improve. Front offices are investing their time in all-star games and player interviews while prepping for the NFL combine.
As for those of us in the media, it’s mock draft season. Although teams do their own simulations, the most notable works are produced by sportswriters. Most are for the general draft, while many others, including this one, are more team-centric.
The Baltimore Ravens are currently hunting for their next offensive play-caller while also evaluating this year’s new crop of college prospects. Baltimore’s process this year might be their most important in recent memory. With potential question marks at quarterback, while only possessing five draft picks, the onus is on the Baltimore Ravens scouting staff to nail their picks this year.
Baltimore Gets: 2023 second round pick (33), 2023 third round pick (65)
Houston Gets: 2023 first round pick (22)
With Marcus Peters entering his age-30 season and a current free agent, the Baltimore Ravens face a massive need at outside cornerback. Marlon Humphrey is one of the NFL’s premier corners, however he cannot be asked to face the AFC North’s receivers alone.
Kelee Ringo is a somewhat boom-or-bust prospect given some technical rawness. However, given his ceiling, he’s worth the risk at this spot. Ringo could see plenty of early reps given those athletic traits, which should hopefully speed up his development.
After the hypothetical trade, the Baltimore Ravens also picked up another third round pick which they use on their second biggest need. With Rashod Bateman’s rash of injuries and a lack of talent outside of him, Marvin Mims will be asked to contribute immediately. Mims is a quality separator with great concentration skills and can give the Baltimore Ravens a quality deep threat.
This is by far the best pick for the Ravens in this mock draft in terms of value. Noah Sewell was once billed as a top-ten prospect who’s seen his stock drop over the course of the season. Despite this, he’s a versatile defender who can fill the hybrid backer role for Baltimore. He’s got the weight and length to play the edge while possessing the IQ to cover space.
Yet again, another value pick for the Ravens here in this mock draft. Jaelyn Duncan is a highly-touted offensive tackle prospect who has plenty of great athleticism, but is viewed as a developmental prospect at this point. Luckily, the Baltimore Ravens are in a position to draft, and stash, a player like Duncan with both Ronnie Stanley and Morgan Moses already on the roster.
Back-to-back Maryland picks here for the Baltimore Ravens. Rakim Jarrett had a disappointing 2022 season and has fallen in this simulation to the fifth round. Even so, Jarrett could get plenty of early snaps given the Baltimore Ravens needs at the position. Jarrett has solid ball skills and could grow into a potent slot weapon for whichever offensive coordinator Baltimore adds.
Round Six: Pick 200 – Jaren Hall – Quarterback – BYU
Best player available is the strategy with the Ravens final selection of this mock draft. With Lamar Jackson’s contract currently in dispute, quarterback could become a much bigger need if things do not progress positively. If Jackson is gone, Tyler Huntley could be looked at as the stop-gap quarterback while they search for a permanent option. Jaren Hall is an older prospect, but has plenty of tools at his disposal that could make him some money as a backup.
The Baltimore Ravens 2022 season was another rough outing, despite the team finishing with a 10-7 record and a playoff berth. Baltimore’s star quarterback Lamar Jackson missed the latter half of the season with an injury and the offensive struggles mounted in his absence.
The last few weeks have been tough sledding for fans and the team itself as all of their frustrations boiled over following Baltimore’s Wild Card loss to the Cincinnati Bengals. With rumors swirling about Jackson’s departure, there is little room for optimism for fans.
Despite this, the Baltimore Ravens staff is already taking steps into rectifying their recent failures. Chiefly, the team announced Thursday afternoon they will be parting ways with maligned offensive coordinator, Greg Roman.
In addition to a new offensive coach, the Ravens have several positional needs that must be filled. The team possesses only five draft picks, so they may need to rely more heavily on free agency this time. Despite this, here are the following positional needs for the Baltimore Ravens.
Baltimore Ravens Needs by Position Heading into 2023
It’s a tale as old as time for the Baltimore Ravens. Wide receiver is a position that has the team perpetually snakebit, and is always a topic of conversation. Every off-season the Ravens seek to add receiver talent, with varying degrees of success. The team has found quality players in Rashod Bateman and Devin Duvernay, however, the former has struggled with injuries early in his career.
Unfortunately for the Ravens, the free agent class of receivers isn’t stellar this year, with many of the potential additions playing past their prime in 2022. Many fans clamor for veterans like DeAndre Hopkins, but with limited draft capitol it may be a bit more difficult to trade for a player of that caliber.
Conversely, the 2023 NFL Draft boasts several exciting receiver talents. USC’s Jordan Addison, Ohio State’s Jaxon Smith-Njigba, and UNC’s Josh Downs are three players that would be immediate upgrades on offense. With a late first-round pick, the Baltimore Ravens could be in range for either one of those players to address their needs at wide receiver.
Marcus Peters and Kevon Seymour will be free agents and will be entering their age-30 seasons this year. Kyle Fuller is coming off of a knee injury and may not return in 2023, despite a promising start. Brandon Stephens and Pepe Williams have flashed in their limited playing time this past year but are not enough.
Similar to the wid receivers, the free agency pool isn’t inspiring however the draft has far more promise. While they’re likely out of range for star players such as Christian Gonzalez or Joey Porter Jr., Baltimore could settle for someone like Devon Witherspoon or Kelee Ringo — great consolation prizes for Mike MacDonald’s defense.
Five-Technique Defensive End
Calais Campbell is 36 years old and mulling his retirement, while Brent Urban is a free agent yet again. Both have been key parts of Baltimore’s past defensive philosophy, and a lot of what they do up front hinges on a stout five-technique.
Urban is younger and could come back on a team-friendly minimum deal. Additionally, veterans like Dean Lowry, A’Shawn Robinson, and Matt Ioannidis would be typical Baltimore Ravens signings that would help bolster their front seven.
As for the NFL Draft, there are quite a few players who fit the Baltimore Ravens mold at the defensive end. Tyree Wilson is the best of the bunch, while Iowa’s Lukas Van Ness is a high-upside player who could be more in their range. Conversely, later options such as Keion White from Georgia Tech or Colby Wooden could be plug-and-play starters for Baltimore.
A sneaky need for the Baltimore Ravens, as both Ben Powers and Trystan Colon-Castillo are set to hit free agency. Additionally, Baltimore may not feel comfortable playing former-third round pick Ben Cleveland after his struggles during camp and in the preseason. Given the free agency crop this year, Baltimore may be better off signing one of the two rather than taking a chance with a veteran past their prime.
However, prospects such as O’Cyrus Torrence and Emil Ekiyor feel like players Baltimore could feasibly target — despite their limited picks in 2023. Torrence is often mocked in the latter half of first-round mock drafts, which is right in range for the Ravens.
Justin Houston and Jason Pierre-Paul are both aging free agents that are not guaranteed to return to Baltimore in 2023. Former first-round pick Odafe Oweh had a sophomore slump in 2022, despite expectations. Rookie David Ojabo flashed in his limited play time, so the jury is still out if he can become the elite pass rusher the Baltimore Ravens envisioned for him.
This isn’t as much of a pressing need for the Ravens as other positions, so signing low-risk free agents such as Clellin Ferrell, Arden Key, or Jadeveon Clowney would be smart.
The 2023 edge class is also incredibly deep, so locating a rotational pass rusher on day three is on the table as well. Names to watch for Baltimore include CMU’s Thomas Incoom, Iowa State’s Will McDonald IV or Auburn’s Eku Leota.
By now we all know by now that DeSean Jackson has signed with the Ravens for what we believe to be a rest-of-the-season contract. The 35-year-old veteran wideout is looking to revitalize his career with the Baltimore Ravens after recovering from injury.
Some people would say, “beyond his playing time.” Others, including myself, would like to believe that this team is the team to go to when you want to rebuild and/or restart your career. Others would not agree with that statement.
The Ravens had brought in proven vets in other positions, like just a few weeks ago, EDGE rusher Jason Pierre-Paul — or JPP — who is proving to be a huge asset. In previous years, WR Dez Bryant, for example, did alright but nothing major or flashy. Two different guys in different positions, but similar situations. DJax, the team, and the fan base are about to find out which side of the chart he will land.
Jackson has bounced around the NFL a bit with two stints in Philly with the Eagles, (2008-2013, 2019-2020), three years in Washington (2014-2016), two years in pre-Tom Brady Tampa (2017-2018), and most recently with both the Los Angeles Rams and Las Vegas Raiders in 2021. The Rams were kind enough to include him as a part of their Super Bowl-winning team.
During his time with all of these teams, he made a difference early as a WR1 speedster, and later as a solid third/fourth option for the offensive schemes he was in. If you don’t believe me, we can take a look at all his stats, thanks to Pro Football Reference.
What can Desean Jackson do with the Ravens?
I think he’ll fill in somewhere between DeMarcus Robinson and James Proche. Most likely, he will rotate at WR3 with Robinson, if anything. We all know WR1, Rashod Bateman, is still out with a foot injury, and WR2, Devin Duvernay, has been taking in a good workload — both before and after the Bateman injury. Tight end Mark Andrews is Lamar Jackson’s security blanket, so there goes another read.
If DeSean Jackson can fit in and do well in a Greg Roman offense, then we know the Ravens got something good out of this bargain deal.
I do believe DeSean Jackson will put up numbers against opposing defenses either way. This gives Lamar a dedicated speedster, and another weapon in many different spots on this offense.
Dolphins ATB recap their Week 1 victory against the Patriots and preview the keys to success, and key battles in their Week 2 matchup against the Baltimore Ravens.
Dolphins vs Ravens Game Details
Date: Sunday, September 19
Time: 1:00 PM ET (18:00 UK Time)
Venue: M&T Bank Stadium, Baltimore, MD
TV: CBS and NFL Gamepass International
Record: Dolphins (1-0) Ravens (1-0)
Week 1 Recap
The Miami Dolphins are off to a winning start in 2022, following a convincing performance against the New England Patriots. With all 11 starters returning to the Dolphins’ roster, defensive continuity proved key as Josh Boyer’s defense picked up right where they left off with another dominant performance.
Offensively, the Dolphins were as expected. A relatively conservative game, focusing on the short-to-intermediate passes.
While the offense was not always clicking, fans were treated to glimpses of this Mike McDaniel system shining through, with receivers gaining plenty of YAC — no one more so than Jaylen Waddle. The Dolphins motioned on 75% of their snaps, using their speed and explosiveness to create separation early and often.
Tua had a good day. Not perfect, but good. Tua went 23/33 for 270 yards, a TD and a 104.4 QB rating. However, it was clear he left several plays on the field, with some questionable decisions late in the game leaving him fortunate to finish the game without a turnover.
Secondary excelled despite fears over CB depth
Tua delivered in key situations, especially on 3rd down
Hill and Waddle’s explosiveness and separation proved to be key
Left side of the line looked solid
Defense adapted quickly and suppressed the Patriots’ running game effectively.
Right side of the line was overpowered and left battered and bruised
It is very surprising to think that Kader Kohou was only on the field for 18 plays, given his productivity and ability to make key plays in his NFL debut. Kohou was an unlikely star in Miami’s opening day victory.
The fan base is united with Kohou being the consensus pick for Player of the Game, despite solid performances all over the field. Tyreek Hill and Terron Armstead were noticeably huge upgrades, together with Connor Williams who was the top-ranked center in the NFL after Week 1 (Editor’s note: Chiefs center Creed Humphrey has since passed Williams with his performance on Thursday night).
Ravens Week 1
The Ravens opened their 2022 campaign with a win on the road against the Jets. During the first half the Ravens’ offense looked sluggish and was not able to sustain drives. Like the Dolphins, the Ravens’ struggled to get their run game going, with former Dolphin Kenyan Drake their leading rusher with only 31 yards and 2.8 YPC.
However, in the second half, Jackson stepped up with some big-time throws downfield to Devin Duvernay to secure a 24-9 win over Miami’s division rival.
Keys to Success
1. Contain Lamar and blitz heavy
With the Ravens down their top two tackles, the Dolphins have the chance to repeat their successes from last season in containing Lamar Jackson. Miami’s ability to disguise their coverages keeps not only CBS announcer Adam Archuleta confused, but also every offense lining up opposite them.
In the Dolphins vs Ravens game last season, Miami’s blitz package was able to neutralize an otherwise lethal run game. With the Ravens struggling for depth at tackle, the Dolphins’ pass rush — especially Jaelan Phillips — can cause havoc for the Ravens.
2. Increased consistency from Tua
Tua is the epitome of the Miami Dolphins. While at times he shows real promise, looking off defenders and throwing a perfectly placed ball to Jaylen Waddle for a TD, there are other occasions whereby he struggles to get his feet set, resulting in some questionable throws or him holding on to the ball for too long. There were also some questionable decisions later on in the game.
When facing teams such as the Ravens, Tua needs to step up and elevate his game to a level which will allow him to take the game to this Ravens defense, in the event that the game turns into a shootout.
Having Tyreek Hill is a dream that all NFL franchises dream of. However, Tua cannot become too reliant on Tyreek Hill. In the Week 2 show down between the Chiefs and Ravens in 2021, Hill had three catches for 14 yards. Miami has to have a plan in the event that Hill is shut down.
The Dolphins’ offense is loaded, and Tua needs to utilize all of his play-makers to keep the Ravens’ defense guessing. Jaylen Waddle did not feature until late in the first half, while Mike Gesicki did not see the ball more than once. This has to change if Miami is to make the most of their play-makers and come away with the win.
The Dolphins were dealt a huge loss on Friday, with Austin Jackson now on IR for at least the next four games and Terron Armstead now listed as questionable. Depth at offensive line is likely to be tested heavily in the coming weeks.
Other notable injuries include defensive tackle Christian Wilkins, who will be key in stopping the Ravens’ running game, and wide receiver Cedric Wilson.
As for the Ravens, they too are also heavily banged up. Baltimore are also without their top two tackles, with cornerbacks Marcus Peters and Marlon Humphrey also nursing injuries.