While the process is still going, Offensive Coordinator Todd Monken's is pleased with Lamar Jackson's acclimation to the Ravens' new system.
On Thursday, Jackson talked about how much time he's spent in the playbook during the offseason, and Monken sees the work paying off. Jackson and Monken interact often during practice and have established a productive rapport.
"The thing you like about Lamar is, he's becoming more diligent," Monken said. "He wants to be great. He wants to be elite. I do not see a guy that signed a contract and said, 'OK, I've arrived.' [It's more], 'I want to be elite; I want this offense to be elite; I want to give ourselves a chance to win every week.' That's been impressive."
Monken believes that giving Jackson more responsibility will help him play at his highest level.
"I'm a firm believer that [if] you want your quarterback to play his best, you've got to empower him," Monken said. "[It becomes] 'I want to help with the gameplan. I want to see things – what they're doing defensively.'"
Monken Discusses the Determining Factors in How the Ball Will be Shared Offensively
Fantasy football owners want to know who's going to get the most targets and receiving yards for the Ravens this season. The additions of Odell Beckham Jr., Zay Flowers and Nelson Agholor to join Rashod Bateman and Devin Duvernay gives Baltimore a deep corps at wide receiver, while Mark Andrews leads a strong tight end group that also includes Isaiah Likely and Charlie Kolar.
Monken is most interested in scoring as many points as he can, and he said the players will help determine how the ball is spread around and how often certain players are targeted.
"Scheme is a part of ball distribution, and having enough skill players to where you want to distribute it to them [is also a part of it], because if you don't have enough skill players, you're not trying to create ways to distribute the ball to them," Monken said. "Everybody earns that right to touch the football. It doesn't matter what sport; you earn the right to get at-bats; you earn the right to get shots; you earn the right to get opportunities. And the better your players understand that and compete that way, and the better your skill players [are], the more fun it is to distribute it."
Monken Explains Why He Prefers Not to Use Play-Call Wristbands
Jackson has been calling plays and making line-of-scrimmage adjustments without wearing a play-call wristband since Monken took over as offensive coordinator. Monken explained why he would prefer Jackson to operate without a wristband, at least for now as he learns the offense.
"One of the most important things is your ability to communicate the calls, and the best way for that to happen is to not start with wristbands," Monken said. "He has to hear what I say; he has to process the call; he has to regurgitate to the players; he has to get the cadence. We can always go to wristbands. Wristbands are easy; you just read it. Hard is learning the offense, being able to process and make the calls."
In addition to operating without a wristband, Monken wants the Ravens to play at a faster tempo, getting in and out of the huddle quickly.
"The idea is to leave the quarterback enough time at the line of scrimmage to assess the defense, make changes and be in control," Monken said.
Chris Horton Sees Jordan Stout Trending Up in Year 2
Now that Jordan Stout has his rookie season under his belt, Special Teams Coordinator Chris Horton sees Stout punting with more confidence and consistency. A fourth-round pick in 2022, Stout ranked 24th in the NFL in punting average (45.9 yards) and placed 26 punts inside the 20 to tie for 14th.
"I expect him to be a lot better in every area than where he was last year," Horton said "Year 1 he was a rookie. He was antsy and things like that. This guy, he's improving. We're going to expect him to hit the balls that we want hit, and we expect him to be pretty good in that plus-50 area this year where maybe we didn't do so well every game. Towards the end of the year, we got better at that. So, we're just expecting him to kind of continue that track."