Mike Jones, The Athletic
Baltimore Ravens: Todd Monken
Can Monken help Lamar Jackson regain his MVP form and reach another level as a passer?
Fresh off his massive contract extension, Jackson wants to contend for the Super Bowl and MVP. The league’s top dual-threat quarterback hasn’t passed for 3,000 yards since 2019, when he was the second unanimous MVP in league history (Tom Brady was the first in 2010). Jackson had 36 touchdown passes and just six interceptions in 2019, playing in 15 games. His touchdown totals dropped to 26 in 2020 (15 games), and 16 in 2021 and 17 in 2022 (12 games both seasons).
Monken knows how to design championship-caliber offenses, at least on the college level, where he helped guide Georgia to back-to-back national titles. But Jackson is a far different athlete than the quarterbacks at Georgia, and questions remain about the Ravens’ skill players despite the addition of Odell Beckham Jr.
How different will the Ravens offense look with Monken in and Greg Roman out? Jackson said he hopes to do less running and more passing. Can Monken help him accomplish this goal? Jackson did direct a pro-style offense at Louisville and was just as dangerous with his arm and legs, winning the Heisman Trophy in 2016.
Next Gen Stats’ 10 most explosive runners of 2022: QBs Justin Fields, Lamar Jackson, Josh Allen can fly
Nick Shook, NFL.com
Baltimore Ravens · QB
Explosive score: 88
10+ yard runs: 31
10+ pct: 27.7%
15+ mph runs: 41
15+ mph pct: 36.6%
Jackson’s injury issues have been well documented over the last two seasons, limiting him to 12 games each year. One might think that would eliminate him from consideration. That individual would be wrong.
Jackson qualified with 112 rushing attempts, and as is the case for a number of mobile quarterbacks, his advantage of unpredictability helped vault him up these rankings.
Surprisingly, Jackson didn’t threaten the leaders in top speed reached as a ball-carrier, but that didn’t keep him from earning the fourth spot on this list. Jackson still recorded 15 gains of 10-plus yards over expected, and his ability to pick up chunks of yards saw him break 10 yards on 27.7 percent of attempts. A 15-plus-mph percentage of nearly 37 fueled a good portion of his explosive score, reminding us of what we already knew: Jackson is a big-play threat on every down.
Gordon McGuinness, PFF
At 33 years old and in the final year of his contract, it’s fair to wonder how much longer Zeitler will extend his 11-year career, but he was still one of the best guards in the NFL with the Ravens a year ago. He has played more than 11,000 snaps since 2012, and his 2020 season with the New York Giants was the only one in his career where he earned a sub-73.0 PFF grade.
Cody Benjamin, CBS Sports
Top remaining needs for contenders
With Roquan Smith as the heat-seeking missile at the center of their defense, the Ravens are promising enough. But their pass rush is still built mostly on projection, with young guys like Odafe Oweh and David Ojabo seeking breakout performances. Adding a proven plug-and-play veteran could help their outlook off the edge.
Top post-June 1 cut and trade candidates
Aiming for a deep playoff run, the Ravens aren’t necessarily in the business of subtracting good players, but Queen is entering a contract year after Baltimore declined to exercise his fifth-year option, and the team just paid lucrative bucks to fellow inside linebacker Roquan Smith. In need of more pass-rushing juice (more on that below), the Ravens could look to reallocate resources to other spots. Dealing the former first-round pick would presumably net them draft capital, plus an instant $2.3M.
Ryan Mink, NFL.com
The rule change puts the ball at the 25-yard line if the receiving team fair catches the kickoff (or safety kick) inside its own 25-yard line. Harbaugh anticipates the play will create more high-speed trauma, and he elaborated on his belief in an interview on “The Rich Eisen Show.”
“The difference between the college game and the pro game is the kickers can kick it higher and the players can run faster. So those balls are going to be hit high and the players are going to get down there underneath it. When a fair catch happens late, nobody is going to stop playing because the fair catch is going to be late in the play. There’s going to be a lot of contact that’s going to happen on those fair catches.”
Even if it’s not contact to the returner, it could be additional hits that his blockers are taking because the kicking team is not sure whether a fair catch will be called or not.
In addition to more pop-ups, Harbaugh also expects to see a wider variety of other kicks, including more squib kicks. Essentially, teams will try to “create havoc around the ball.”
“There will be a lot of collisions in front of the ball for that reason,” Harbaugh said. “You will see the ball in the ground more, slopping around.”