Luke Jones, Baltimore Positive
With so much discussion about the wide receivers, it’ll be fascinating to see how Monken deploys Mark Andrews, who has frequently lined up in the slot and even out wide. Acknowledging he’s received “a lot of attention” from defenses over the years, Andrews is embracing the pass-catching upgrades.
The most interesting absence from OTAs has been J.K. Dobbins, an opinion he seemingly reinforced with some tweets Thursday. Dobbins has been wildly productive when healthy, but I’d understand wanting to see a fully healthy season before committing too much for a contract extension, especially with a running back.
After missing the spring program and mandatory minicamp with “a personal matter” last year, Michael Pierce has been present throughout the spring and will need to provide veteran leadership, especially after Calais Campbell’s departure. Staying healthy will be his first objective.
Former St. Frances product Jordan Swann only signed to the 90-man roster on Wednesday, but he was quickly thrown into the 11-on-11 mix and came away with an interception of a Tyler Huntley deep ball intended for Dontay Demus. It’s always fun to track such players with local ties.
Clifton Brown, BaltimoreRavens.com
Marcus Williams hasn’t made a Pro Bowl – yet. That could change in 2023, with Williams looking confident and aggressive, flying all over the secondary during OTA’s. With 19 career interceptions already, Williams will garner even more national attention if the Ravens’ defense is one of the league’s best.
Speaking of safeties, Geno Stone had a pick during Thursday’s practice and continues to improve every year. Williams and Kyle Hamilton are clear starters, but Defensive Coordinator Mike Macdonald isn’t shy about using three-safety looks and Stone should have a role.
Undrafted outside linebacker Malik Hamm could be an unheralded player to watch. A Baltimore native, Hamm was Lafayette’s all-time career sacks leader and made his presence felt during Thursday’s practice. If he keeps stacking days, Hamm could earn himself a longer look.
Justin Houston has earned the right to wait until he’s ready to sign with the Ravens, or elsewhere. But Houston wants a Super Bowl ring, and I’d have to think that Jackson’s contract extension and the Ravens’ offseason moves make a return to Baltimore enticing.
Gordon McGuinness, PFF
Before an injury wrecked his second season in the league, Bateman was on pace for a 1,000-yard, eight-touchdown season and averaged 2.38 yards per route run from 120 receiving snaps in 2022. Quarterback Lamar Jackson has hinted that the 2023 version of the Ravens’ offense will feature “less running and more throwing” and that Bateman is his WR1. So, while the additions of Odell Beckham Jr. and Zay Flowers give him more competition, the offense itself should provide him with plenty of opportunities, as long as he can stay on the field.
Jamison Hensley, ESPN
Monken has stood out with a fiery demeanor, calling out drills, shouting out praise and making it loudly clear when something goes wrong. In just four months in Baltimore, Monken has already become the most vocal offensive coordinator in team history, which might become part of this new identity for quarterback Lamar Jackson and his supporting cast.
“I like the energy. I really like the energy,” Ravens coach John Harbaugh said. “We usually have energy, but I think Todd has got a style that kind of lends itself to an up-tempo-type of an offense. He’s got an up-tempo personality — you may have noticed.”
The Ravens have been the opposite of up-tempo in the past four seasons with Greg Roman as their offensive coordinator. Baltimore wanted to get “medieval” — as Roman put it — on defenses, running over teams and winning time of possession.
But the Ravens looked out of rhythm at times last season, struggling to get the ball snapped before the play clock expired. In 2022, Baltimore racked up the third-most delay-of-game penalties (eight) and averaged a play every 41.8 seconds of real time, which was the fourth-slowest rate in the league.
There was nothing sluggish about the Ravens’ offense at OTAs, where Monken was running all over the field. If players were slow to huddle up, Monken was sprinting out and moving players to the right spot in the huddle.
“He’s super enthusiastic about what he’s teaching,” Ravens tight end Mark Andrews said. “He really believes in his stuff, and it makes us believe in it, too.”
Judy Battista, NFL.com
The Ravens’ new look. The Ravens have gone all in on surrounding Lamar Jackson with the best wide receiving group he’s had in the NFL. Let’s see how Odell Beckham Jr. looks now that he appears to be fully recovered from his second knee surgery. Let’s see what first-round draft pick Zay Flowers does. And Nelson Agholor. And let’s see what new offensive coordinator Todd Monken has in mind for this offense, which was 28th in passing last season. During OTAs, Jackson said he was loving Monken’s offense. This is expected to be one of the most extreme makeovers in the NFL — and, given the contract investment in Jackson, one that has some of the highest expectations attached to it.