Jonas Shaffer, The Baltimore Banner
“Very excited about Monk,” inside linebacker Roquan Smith, a former Bulldogs star, said after practice. He tuned in for plenty of their wins during last year’s national championship season. “Obviously, watching the Dawgs — even though they made it look easy a lot of the times — just how he utilizes everyone in their position, a lot of eye candy and things like that, I’m like, ‘Man, if some of this stuff was brought to the league, it’s going to create some problems.’ Because I know it made me think a little bit.”
Monken’s building blocks already look different from Roman’s. He has not waited long to port over elements of his Georgia offenses to Baltimore. The hallmarks of those powerhouse Bulldogs attacks — a mix of shotgun and under-center formations, a diverse screen game, a quicker tempo between plays, run-pass-option plays, presnap motion that can change the offense’s entire look or probe the defense for one particular clue — have been evident through three weeks of workouts in Owings Mills.
It was a good day for new faces. Cornerback Rock Ya-Sin, signed this month, had a pass defense on a throw to wide receiver Tarik Black. Flowers, the team’s first-round pick, was active as a runner and receiver. Wide receiver Nelson Agholor, signed in March, also had a handful of catches.
Jeff Zrebiec, The Athletic
The Ravens are saying they are still open to signing Queen to an extension, and they’ve shown time and time again that they’ll spend on their own, particularly on the defensive side of the ball. However, when Baltimore made Roquan Smith the highest-paid off-ball linebacker in the sport ($20 million per year) in January, it immediately became hard to imagine Queen getting the type of contract he seeks. It would be extremely difficult to pay two inside linebackers big bucks, especially going forward with Jackson’s new deal on the books.
Now to a new rule that Harbaugh and the Ravens weren’t in favor of: Kick returners can now signal for a fair catch inside their own 25-yard line and get rewarded with a touchback and the ball being placed at the 25. The new rule may not make kick returns obsolete, but it certainly figures to limit them. It also leads to the question of just how much the new rule could impact Baltimore’s roster construction. The Ravens are known for earmarking a handful of spots on the backend of their 53-man roster for their better special teams players who likely wouldn’t make the team based on their offensive or defensive roles. That practice may continue, but if you don’t have to worry as much about returning and covering kickoffs, you probably don’t need to keep as many special teams-only players.
Bo Smolka, PressBox
The running back room hasn’t exactly hit its stride yet.
With so much talk about the revamped receiving corps, and Lamar Jackson’s desire to “throw for 6,000 yards,” it’s fair to wonder how running backs might fit in this new, non-Greg Roman offense. Thus far, it’s impossible to get any real indication.
Of the backs expected to stick on the 53-man roster, only Justice Hill was in uniform. J.K. Dobbins was not at the workout, and Gus Edwards and Pro Bowl fullback Patrick Ricard watched from the sideline out of uniform. Edwards did do some conditioning work on a side field.
Dobbins and Edwards are both entering contract years. Both lost the entire 2021 season to knee injuries, and both returned last year in fits and starts, never quite getting up to full speed. They each add a different dimension to this offense, Dobbins with his elusiveness and burst, and Edwards with his no-nonsense power at 238 pounds, but also an underrated zip to the edge.
How Monken utilizes his running backs, relative to Roman, will be one of the fascinating storylines of the season.
With a newfound commitment to a revamped passing game, and still just one ball to go around, Dobbins might still have those concerns, but Jackson, speaking broadly about distributing the ball to so many skill players, downplayed any potential problem.
“I feel like if we’re winning, everybody should be happy,” Jackson said. “So we’ll see how it goes.”
Gordon McGuinness, PFF
On his best day, Stanley is one of the most natural pass protectors in football, allowing just 10 total pressures on 543 pass-blocking snaps back in 2019. It’s been a long road back from injury for the former sixth overall pick in the 2016 NFL Draft. He missed the bulk of the 2020 and 2021 seasons, but he looked close to being back to his best after returning to the field in Week 5 last season.
While the down-to-down consistency isn’t always there with Moses, he was a dependable pass blocker for the Ravens over the course of the 2022 season and had some huge games as a run blocker, including three outings with a 90.0-plus PFF run-blocking grade.
Cynthia Frelund, NFL.com
RT · Age: 32
Average salary per year (APY): $5 million (21st among right tackles).
In terms of return on investment, the signing of Moses last offseason has been a home run. During a season when the Ravens were beset by injuries, including to left tackle Ronnie Stanley and quarterback Lamar Jackson, Moses was a bright spot. Computer vision shows Moses improved as the 2022 campaign went on, especially at run blocking; his win share increased by more than 18 percentage points between Week 4 and the end of the season, the third-best figure among right tackles in that span.
Pro Football Focus graded Moses as the 13th best tackle (including left tackles) with a 78.6 grade last season; his run-blocking mark (80.7) ranked eighth. Moses helped lift the Ravens’ offensive line to an 82.5 pass-blocking grade (second-best in the NFL, behind the Eagles) and a 70.6 run-blocking grade (ninth). Beyond the value Moses provides at the position, based on his current APY ranking among right tackles, he’s set to count for just 2.3 percent of the Ravens’ cap charge this season.