Todd Monken's creative schemes at Georgia helped the Bulldogs average 40.7 points per game in 2022, while winning their second straight national championship.
Now Monken has accepted his next challenge – taking the Ravens' offense to the next level as their new offensive coordinator. How will Baltimore's offense change? Following his introductory press conference on Tuesday, here are five clues to what Monken's offense will look like:
Creating Space and Attacking All Areas of the Field
Monken hunts for explosive plays, but his philosophy extends beyond just taking shots downfield. He loves to stress the defense from sideline to sideline, attacking all areas of the field to create more space for playmakers to utilize their talents.
The Ravens have two of the NFL's fastest receivers in Rashod Bateman and Devin Duvernay. They have a versatile Pro Bowl tight end in Mark Andrews who consistently defeats one-on-one coverage. They have an explosive running back in J.K. Dobbins and a bruising ball carrier in Gus Edwards. They have the NFL's best running quarterback ever in Lamar Jackson, who also has the arm strength to attack downfield.
Monken hopes to develop a Baltimore offense that forces opponents to defend vast territory, both horizontally and vertically, producing more room for playmakers to make plays.
"I think players want to play in a game that spaces the field," Monken said. "I think when you go into an install meeting, all of your skill players want to say, 'Where are my opportunities coming? Where am I going to get a chance to touch the football and showcase my ability?"
"The game has become more of a space game; using all 53-and-a-third yards and using the width and depth of the field, using space players and your skill players. The game has changed; it's changing. At one time, it was taller pocket passers, and now you're seeing more shorter, athletic players. The game has changed in terms of using their athleticism, using players' athleticisms, what they bring to the table because the game is about space. It's about being explosive. Well, how do you create explosives? Well, part of it is creating space."
Monken likes his offense to dictate tempo and going no-huddle is one of his preferred tactics. It doesn't mean the Ravens will be exclusively or primarily no-huddle. But it's likely to become a bigger part of their offensive DNA.
No-huddle makes it more difficult for the defense to matchup with situation substitutions, while also forcing opponents to play at a faster pace. Head Coach John Harbaugh alluded to the Ravens using more no-huddle next season on Tuesday while introducing Monken.
"Different kinds of tempos, huddle, no-huddle, real fast, controlled tempo, call plays at the line, don't call plays at the line … These are all things that you talk about [and] things that he brings to the table that he's really very versatile with," Harbaugh said. "That's going to be very valuable for us."
Using more no-huddle will be an adjustment for the players, but Monken is confident it can be a smooth transition.
"It's a little bit different because of the dynamics of a signal system, and then the [radio communication] green dot to the quarterback," Monken said. "So, you have to work through some of that. That will take some working through, but it's a speed bump, not a hurdle."
Using Tight Ends to Create Mismatches
Not only do the Ravens have Andrews, they have perhaps the NFL's deepest tight end room that also includes Isaiah Likely, Charlie Kolar, free agent Nick Boyle and pending free agent Josh Oliver.
Georgia's leading receiver last year was tight end Brock Bowers (63 catches, 942 yards, seven touchdowns) who won the John Mackey Award as the nation's top tight end. No. 2 tight end Darnell Washington (28 catches, 454 yards, two touchdowns) was also heavily featured in Georgia's offense.
Monken knows tight ends, and with a tight end tool box as deep as Baltimore's, he's got plenty to work with.
"Mark (Andrews) has done it for X number of years," Monken said. "Then you're got a young player (Likely) who is learning how to play at the professional level. But they both have the ability to make plays down the field, run after catch. So, it's a great starting point, because I think they're tough matchup guys."
Strong Run Game Foundation
Monken has never ignored the run game despite dialing up prolific passing attacks at his various stops in both the NFL and college. Georgia's top two running backs last season, Kenny McIntosh and Daijun Edwards, both averaged 5.5 yards per carry last season.
Monken knows what Dobbins and Edwards can do, and he has seen how the Ravens' talented offensive line is capable of controlling the line of scrimmage. In Baltimore, Monken hopes to have a balanced offense that won't stray from having a strong run game.
"I first started watching (film), and I'm like, 'Wow, they do really good stuff in the run game. Like, holy cow, that is very creative,''' Monken said. " Obviously, the better you run the football, the better you throw it, so it starts with an excellent run game and then go from there."
Using Quarterback Mobility to Stress Defenses
Georgia quarterback Stetson Bennett tied for the team lead with 10 rushing touchdowns last season, and Bennett can't run like Jackson or Tyler Huntley. Using the quarterback's mobility as a weapon, particularly in the red zone and on third down, adds another problem for the defense.
Jalen Hurts led all NFL quarterbacks with 13 rushing touchdowns last season, helping the Eagles reach the Super Bowl, while Josh Allen of the Bills and Daniel Jones of the Giants both had seven rushing touchdowns leading their teams to the postseason.
Monken likes having quarterbacks who are running threats, and that part of Baltimore's offense won't disappear.
"There are more and more athletic quarterbacks; there's more spread," Monken said. "And the more spread you are and the more empty you are, it's more fun if your guy is athletic. He can get you out of trouble."