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Ravens Roundtable: Offensive MVP of the First Quarter

NFL: Baltimore Ravens at Cleveland Browns David Richard-USA TODAY Sports

At 3-1 and in control of the AFC North, the Baltimore Ravens are off to a strong start. Baltimore Beatdown staff’s Offensive MVPs through the first four games of the 2023 season:

Quarterback Lamar Jackson

Despite injuries to his supporting cast, including many of his best receivers and offensive lineman, Jackson has regained his league MVP form. Lamar has accounted for eight of the Ravens 12 touchdowns scored and 1,014 of the club’s 1,340 total yards from scrimmage. While ball security and accuracy have been suspect at times, his 17 rushing first downs is fifth best in the NFL, his 104.2 passer rating is seventh best and his 74.3% completion rate is second best. Todd Monken’s scheme has helped Jackson play some of the most efficient football of his career and a reasonable case can be made that no NFL player is more valuable than Baltimore’s dual-threat playmaker.

-Vasilis Lericos

Offensive Coordinator Todd Monken

I don’t blame anybody for taking Lamar Jackson here but I’ll opine for Monken. My biggest reason? Red zone production. Of the Ravens last 15 red zone possessions, they’ve scored on 80-percent of them. Last season, they were clawing to get into the end zone and failing. Now, Jackson and Co. are trotting in for six. Monken’s diverse play calling has seen each position group find the end zone. He’s been confident in Jackson’s arm and legs when the field gets short and execution has been clean. The speed at which they’re operating has been refreshing and it still feels the best is yet to come.

-Kyle Barber

Quarterback Lamar Jackson

Through the first four games of the 2023 season, behind what has been a patch work offensive line and throwing to what has been a depleted pass catching group for the most part, the two-time Pro Bowler has been sensational. He looks every bit worthy of not only the massive then-record-setting contract he was given on the night of the 2023 NFL Draft but of being firmly in the conversation for league MVP. In new offensive coordinator Todd Monken’s scheme, he has truly been the ultimate definition of a dual threat. It’s hard to believe that the best rushing quarterback in league history hadn’t thrown and run for a pair of touchdowns in the same game prior to Sunday but that is exactly the kind of well-balanced and well-rounded quarterback he has shown he can be thus far. His growth and efficiency as a passer, especially from pocket, has been masterful from an accuracy and ball placement standpoint each week.

- Joshua Reed

Quarterback Lamar Jackson

While there have been some slight hiccups, my pick for the offensive MVP for the Ravens through the first four weeks is undoubtedly quarterback Lamar Jackson. In a new offense under Todd Monken and surrounded by injuries to key players at running back, wide receiver, and along the offensive line, Jackson’s play has kept the unit afloat. Jackson is passing the ball at an efficient rate with an extreme level of accuracy so far this year, while also leading the team in rushing yards and scoring four times on the ground. Fumbles have been the only flaw in Jackson’s game so far this season, and I would like to see Jackson and the offense push the ball down the field more going forward, but it is hard to find fault with the performance of Baltimore’s $260 million man.

-Dustin Cox

Quarterback Lamar Jackson

After another season ended with injury and so much discourse about the contract and a new offensive coordinator, Jackson playing at an elite level immediately wasn’t a guarantee. He’s doing it anyways. In four games, he has four throwing touchdowns to just one interception. He’s averaging just under 200 yards a game with a 74.3% completion rate, eight points higher than his best year. He’s got a 104.2 passer rating and according to PFF, is the most accurate quarterback on throws 10+ yards downfield. Not to mention he’ has another four touchdowns on the ground and is averaging over five yards a carry again. More than anything, he just looks in control. The new offense has elevated his game. He’s making adjustments at the line and truly looks like the commander of the offense out there. With a couple more wins like the Browns game and cleaning up the fumbling issues, it won’t be long before we start hearing national talk about another possible MVP award.

-Zach Canter

Quarterback Lamar Jackson

Jackson has looked as sharp as ever for the majority of the first four games. He’s once again been the straw stirring the Ravens’ offensive drink. Jackson has made a big jump in accuracy and is a narrow second for the league’s best completion percentage at the moment. He’s also exceeded his rushing touchdown scoring from the past two seasons already and is on pace for a career-high in passing yards. This is all without Mark Andrews, Odell Beckham Jr., Rashod Bateman, J.K. Dobbins, Ronnie Stanley, and Tyler Linderbaum for at least one game, if not more. No other skill position player or lineman on offense has been nearly as consistent or impactful as No. 8.

— Frank Platko