Clifton Brown, BaltimoreRavens.com
Ravens players have enthusiastically embraced Offensive Coordinator Todd Monken’s system since being introduced to it this offseason. Left tackle Ronnie Stanley said things are “really starting to click early.” Tight end Mark Andrews said on NFL Network’s “Inside Training Camp Live” that he had never seen the team more locked in.
However, Monken says it’s early in the process of building the high level of execution he’s looking for.
“It’s a work in progress,” Monken said. “We’re not nearly where we need to be, and we shouldn’t be. It’s early in camp, we have a lot of work to do.”
Monken said he appreciates how hard the players are working, and that they are open to doing whatever it takes to pick up the system quickly.
“I appreciate Mark saying that. It’ll only matter what we do on Sundays, what we do every day,” Monken said. “I wasn’t here in the past, so I can’t speak to what it looked like before. Am I appreciative [that] we’re locked in? Yes. That’s what being a pro is.
“This is a job. I don’t know how else to say it. We get to play a kid’s game, but don’t make any mistake about it, we’re paid to do a job. I take full advantage of that and I appreciate that they have been attentive … they’ve wanted to embrace the new system, what we’re doing. Now, we just got to continue to take those next steps because we’re not there yet.”
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Jordan Dajani, CBS Sports
Can Todd Monken strike a balance with new offense?
The most important thing the Ravens will do this preseason is install Todd Monken’s new offense. It’s certainly a reason to be excited about what Baltimore can accomplish in 2023, but striking a balance is important. Virtually everyone is expecting more passing with Monken, and the arrivals of Odell Beckham Jr. and Zay Flowers further support this hypothesis. At the same time, Lamar Jackson and the run game have been important to the Ravens’ recent success. Since 2018 — Lamar’s rookie year — the Ravens haven’t finished outside the top three in rushing offense. That’s pretty remarkable. If Monken finds that right mix of run and pass, the Ravens could be one of the best teams in the NFL.
Childs Walker, The Baltimore Sun
“I feel very comfortable with where we are right now in the process,” Stanley said Wednesday. “It’s probably the furthest along I’ve felt with any team I’ve ever been on at this point. We’re really starting to click early.”
The starting linemen are adapting to coordinator Todd Monken’s new offense, which could hinge on more zone-blocking concepts. They’ve struggled at times to keep Ravens defenders out of the backfield in the early days of padded workouts.
Stanley is enjoying his first normal training camp since 2020 and talking about regaining his All-Pro form from 2019. Linderbaum is a more assured on-field commander and capable of pushing for a Pro Bowl berth as soon as this year. Zeitler and Moses are the epitome of trustworthy starters.
Stanley said the unit could surpass the line he played on in 2019, which cleared the way for the most prolific ground game in NFL history.
“It’s vital,” Ravens offensive line coach Joe D’Alessandris said. “The unity of the offensive line, all five guys playing together, communicating — when each one talks to each other, they’re on the same page. They have to know how to fit the blocks, and they know how to do that together. Well, if you don’t practice, it’s not going to look as good. So the consistency, the continuity, it’s very important.”
Jonas Shaffer, The Baltimore Banner
Under new offensive coordinator Todd Monken, what Linderbaum does before the snap could be as vital as what he does after it. Ravens coaches have empowered quarterback Lamar Jackson to change plays at the line of scrimmage when he sees fit. But, if a play changes, so can the offensive line’s responsibilities. It’s Linderbaum who’s tasked with processing the adjustments and resetting the line’s protections.
After the mental challenges come the tests of strength. The 305-pound Linderbaum, who compared his rookie year experience to his freshman year experience at Iowa, struggled at times in pass protection last season. He allowed three sacks and 26 pressures, the fourth most among NFL centers, according to Pro Football Focus, and gave up three pressures four times, including in a regular-season loss to the New York Giants and a playoff loss to the Cincinnati Bengals. The opposing nose tackles in those games: Dexter Lawrence, listed at 342 pounds, and D.J. Reader, listed at 335 pounds.
“He’s very, very technically sound, but he can anchor a lot better,” Pierce said Monday. “I don’t know if he gained a little weight or not, or just getting stronger as he’s growing, but he’s definitely gotten a lot better. … Technique-wise, he was always sharp. But just like those grown-man things, dealing with those grown-man moves, different ‘hump’ moves, all that kind of stuff where you just need that muscle, that girth and that anchor, he’s definitely anchoring a lot better.”
Jeff Zrebiec, The Athletic
It’s been widely speculated that Baltimore could still add a cornerback. Yet, team officials seem focused on evaluating what’s already in camp. That doesn’t include Trayvon Mullen, who is dealing with a foot/toe issue and is on the non-football injury list. If he returns to practice soon, he could enter the mix, too.
Right now, though, there is no slam dunk favorite for the job. Asked what he is looking for out of the competition, Hewitt said, “Making plays. That’s what we’re going to be graded on, and that’s what those guys are being graded on. They’ve got to make plays when it counts.”
The next few weeks will be interesting. Either a young cornerback will step up and seize the No. 3 cornerback job, or general manager Eric DeCosta might be compelled to bring in a more proven corner later in training camp.