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Ravens’ offensive personnel changes evident during the preseason

Preseason games show the offensive transition under Todd Monken has already begun

NFL: Preseason-Baltimore Ravens at Washington Commanders Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports

After the hiring of offensive coordinator Todd Monken, it was widely assumed that the 2023 Baltimore Ravens’ offense would look much different from the ground-and-pound style that fans had come to expect for the last five years. In the first two games of the preseason, this assumption has come to fruition as the Ravens personnel groupings have expanded from primarily 12 and 21 personnel looks to more 11 personnel.

While teams often change personnel groupings each year or throughout the season, the Ravens evolution is one of the most extreme we’ve ever seen.

Per Sharp Football Analytics Warren Sharp, the 2022 offense ran 11 personnel on early downs of the first half 9.8% of the time, the lowest usage in the past decade. Comparatively, the team has run 11 personnel 64% of the time in the preseason thus far.

While the Ravens lack of wide receiver talent played into the decision to shy away from lighter personnel groupings in recent years, it’s still an extreme deviation in a league that has displayed the need for a versatile passing game.

With arguably the most talented wide receiver and tight end group in team history, expect to see far more spread looks that will stretch the field vertically and horizontally. As we saw on rookie receiver Zay Flowers’ touchdown Monday night, Monken is already making an effort to get his talented playmakers out in space, something he stressed early in his tenure.

When Flowers, Odell Beckham Jr., and Rashod Bateman take the field together for the first time, there will be an immense amount of stress on the defense to contain all three (not to mention tight end Mark Andrews). In recent years, defenses could bracket Andrews without much worry of the team’s wide receivers beating them. This year will be different. Andrews should have a much easier job getting open over the middle and up the seams while receivers like Flowers can work the field horizontally, catching a five yard whip route and showcasing the after the catch talent that led the Ravens to take him with the No. 22 pick in the NFL Draft.

Change typically breeds uncertainty and it takes time for a new offensive system to reach its best form. Fortunately, the Ravens have a group of very talented playmakers all over the offense and Monken has shown he knows how to get the most out of his players. While the offense might not click immediately, one thing we do know is it will look very different and hopefully position the team to make a deeper playoff run than recent years.