Training camps across the NFL have begun and the excitement of the 2023 NFL season has arrived! But, before the first kickoff commences, it’s time to get a refresher on what happened over such an important offseason.
For the Baltimore Ravens, great changes and moves were made in the offseason, and you may need a refresher. Let’s begin with those who are no longer suiting up for the purple and black.
The biggest departure this offseason was offensive coordinator Greg Roman. After years as the teams’ play caller, the Ravens will have a new offense and new scheme for quarterback Lamar Jackson and Co.
Another offseason move was the Ravens parting ways with Steve Saunders.
The Ravens lost a few players to free agency.
- DE Calais Campbell
- OL Ben Powers
- OL Trystan Colon
- TE Josh Oliver
- OLB Justin Houston
- OLB Vince Biegel
- OLB Steven Means
- OLB Jason Pierre-Paul
- RB Kenyan Drake
- WR Sammy Watkins
- WR Demarcus Robinson
- CB Kyle Fuller
- CB Marcus Peters
- CB Kevon Seymour
- OT Ja’Wuan James
The greatest loses among the players include Campbell, one of the team leaders and an excellent defensive lineman and starting left guard Ben Powers, who signed a lucrative deal with the Denver Broncos. The Ravens are also without their No. 1 sack artist Justin Houston, who has remained linked to the Ravens but nothing has guaranteed an agreement will be made.
The Ravens retained a few of their own, including a former League MVP and a second team All-Pro long snapper.
- QB Lamar Jackson
- LS Nick Moore
- CB Trayvon Mullen
- RB Justice Hill
- S Geno Stone
- ILB Del’Shawn Phillips
- RB Justice Hill
They also restructured three contracts this offseason to retain a few Ravens.
- DT Michael Pierce
- RB Gus Edwards
- G Kevin Zeitler
Moreover, the exciting part, the free agent additions.
- WR Odell Beckham Jr.
- WR Nelson Agholor
- CB Rock Ya-Sin
And the 2023 NFL Draft class...
- WR Zay Flowers
- LB Trenton Simpson
- EDGE Tavius Robinson
- CB Kyu Blu Kelly
- OL Malaesala Aumavae-Laulua
- OL Andrew Vorhees
The local media have put great stock into the hirings this offseason, but there hasn’t been as much national attention paid to the coaching staff additions for the club.
- Offensive coordinator Todd Monken
- Outside linebackers coach Chuck Smith
- Running backs coach Willie Taggart
How these new players and coaches fit with the team
The addition of Monken is what will tie all of the other offensive additions together to make sense for the Ravens.
Monken is a more pass-centric coordinator, who believes getting the ball to the team’s stars is the best system, as opposed to a system that he plugs players into — a system that moves the chains on third downs and scores touchdowns in the red zone. Of course, it’s not that easy, but it’s more of an approach that shows Monken is adaptable and he’s not stringent about a system that requires certain players who may or may not be on the Ravens’ roster.
With that in mind, the Ravens needed more juice in the passing offense. They first did so by adding Agholor, a former first-round pick, to help bolster the depth, and drafting Flowers in the first round. This gave the Ravens three first-round picks, including Rashod Bateman, in the receivers room. Of course, they added Beckham to give them four, and re-signed Jackson with a full array of weapons for the quarterback, now playing on a long-term deal. Now, Jackson has a full wide receiver corps to complement the deepest tight end room in the NFL and two solid, starting-caliber running backs.
The addition of outside linebackers coach Chuck Smith is a huge one. He’s called “Dr. Rush,” and has been credited with being the reason for both Von Miller and Aaron Donald’s success. He’s looking to be the one to develop the Ravens’ young outside linebackers Odafe Oweh and David Ojabo, along with the veteran of the room, Tyus Bowser, and the rookie Robinson.
Few of the rookies look to have an immediate impact. The Ravens have a strong starting unit, and only Flowers looks to have a real role in Year 1. Simpson will be behind Roquan Smith and Patrick Queen, while Robinson has three to four edge players ahead of him. Blu Kelly has an opportunity to contend for the CB3 or even CB2 role with the Ravens, but it’s tough to see a fifth-round pick emerge so suddenly.
However, Aumavae-Laulu, or as the team calls him “Big Sala,” has been in contention for the open starting left guard role. He’ll contend with veteran John Simpson and Ben Cleveland.
This season’s odds, courtesy of our friends at DraftKings Sportsbook, opened with the Ravens at +250 to win the AFC North and -180 to make the playoffs. Since those lines opened, the odds have shifted, and the Ravens currently sit at +280 to win the division and -130 to make the playoffs.