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Late for Work 8/3: Mark Andrews Says Ravens Are 'The Most Locked in I've Ever Seen'

From left: TE Mark Andrews, S Kyle Hamilton
From left: TE Mark Andrews, S Kyle Hamilton

Todd Monken Has the Ravens 'The Most Locked in I've Ever Seen'

Todd Monken has elicited plenty of excitement from fans and media. But take it from the players on the field: there's a newfound energy and confidence.

"I think it's going to be an exciting, fun, fast, explosive offense," Andrews told NFL Network's Rhett Lewis and Brian Baldinger on Inside Training Camp Live. "I think it's going to look a little bit different."

And while Andrews announced the differences this offense may bring, he reminded fans that they are still the physical team that look to defeat opponents in multiple ways on offense, including the rushing attack.

"We're the Baltimore Ravens. We've got to be able to run the ball," Andrews said. "We have amazing backs, an amazing line and obviously we've got Lamar. Being versatile, being able to run the ball, being able to throw the ball, being versatile in that way, it's going to be hard to stop us."

A week into training camp, the offense has begun to hum, and highlights have hit social media. The practices, according to Andrews, have a unified roster.

"This is the most locked in I've ever seen this team be," Andrews said.

The potential of Monken's offense has Bleacher Report’s Gary Davenport believing Monken is one of the league's most impactful coordinators for the 2023 season.

"The Ravens play excellent defense. They certainly have no problem running the ball. If Monken can get the passing attack working half as well as the ground game, the Ravens are going to be a dangerous team in 2023," Davenport wrote.

Barnwell: Ravens Ranked No. 10 Among 2022 Playoff Teams to Make Postseason

The Ravens have been blessed with consistency over the years, making the playoffs in four of the past five seasons. However, getting back to the playoffs in a conference supercharged with talent will be more challenging than ever.

There looks to be 14-plus teams in the AFC vying for seven playoff spots. With that in mind, ESPN’s Bill Barnwell ranked the likelihood of those who made it to the dance last year among their peers. Barnwell ranked the Ravens No. 10 and gave an explanation.

"Why they're No. 10: Change breeds uncertainty," Barnwell wrote. "The Ravens could have stuck with what was working. As much as Baltimore fans had grown frustrated by the Greg Roman offense and the perception that it would come up short in the postseason, it sure did win a lot of regular-season games with Lamar Jackson at quarterback. Jackson was 45-16 as a starter since taking over in 2018, producing a winning percentage that trailed only Mahomes among active quarterbacks over that timespan."

Barnwell isn't saying the Ravens don't have a chance. More so, he's recognizing there's greater risk and reward in making such changes this offseason.

"If it works, the Ravens could challenge for the top seed in the AFC. If not, well, good luck! The AFC North could field four teams with winning records this season. The conference is loaded," Barnwell wrote.

Pundits Express Concern for Ravens' Pass Rush Depth, But Give Some Benefit of the Doubt

The 2023 Ravens look set to contend in an awfully talented AFC North, let alone the conference altogether. The offense has been revamped and training camp news shares excitement for both sides, but according to The Athletic's Robert Mays on The Athletic Football Podcast, the Ravens' pass rush is a concern.

"This is a team that is built to win the Super Bowl. … But you look at this Ravens team and think 'what is the one obvious hole on this roster' and it is their pass rush," Mays said. "Last year Justin Houston led them with sacks with 9.5 and nobody else had more than six. Calais Campbell was one of the guys with 5.5 [sacks]. He left this offseason. … That seems like a scary group that has Super Bowl aspirations right now."

Barnwell wrote the same when considering the Ravens' playoff aspirations.

"And while Baltimore routinely is great on defense, this has to be one of the thinnest pass rushes it has fielded in the John Harbaugh era, with the unit dependent on young players David Ojabo and Odafe Oweh to morph into difference-makers on the edge," Barnwell wrote.

But while both critiqued the depth at pass rusher, they both believe either Oweh or Ojabo will break out.

"Certainly, there are few teams that deserve the benefit of the doubt when it comes to developing defensive players more than the Ravens," Mays said. "It would hardly be shocking if Oweh or Ojabo suddenly had a nine-sack season and were in position to be impactful defensive players but would sure have loved to see it before this year."

"I'd bet on it happening given this organization's track record, but it would sure be nice to fall back on an edge rusher such as Myles Garrett, T.J. Watt or Trey Hendrickson," Barnwell wrote.

Quick Hits

·       Marlon Humphrey gave high praise for teammate Roquan Smith during Inside Training Camp Live. "Yeah, since the day he got here I think everyone obviously saw their game elevate but what people didn't see was from the Day 1 when he got here was, he was breaking us down in the team huddle," Humphrey said.

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