Odell Beckham Jr. to John Harbaugh: 'You Run a World Class Operation'
Odell Beckham Jr. appeared on "The Rich Eisen Show" yesterday to discuss a variety of topics. It was abundantly clear just how impressed the three-time Pro Bowl wide receiver is with the Ravens organization and how excited he is to be a part of it.
Here are some highlights from the conversation:
Why he chose to sign with the Ravens: "It was like that quote, 'Go go where you're celebrated and not tolerated.' … The owner, Steve [Bisciotti], wanted me to be a Raven. It was just that energy of, we want you here, want to use you, we want your skill set, we need you here to be a leader.' Being an older guy is a little weird but I've embraced it and I actually enjoy it. I'm at an age where you want to be where you're wanted. … I texted Harbs [Head Coach John Harbaugh] the other day. I was like, 'You run a world class operation around here.' It's been very refreshing. It's been a breath of fresh air for me."
How far the Ravens can go this season: "I've seen what it takes [to win a championship], and I don't think there's a piece missing here to where this team can't be competing for a championship. … I don't think this is a team to take lightly. The way Harbs and these guys run this program is serious. They care about winning and that's all they care about."
His mindset at this point in his life: "I'm just in a place of peace and gratitude. Don't get me wrong: the person that had that passion that we'd always seen — I was fiery on the field — I don't think I'll ever be able to lose him completely, but I can definitely say that I've grown up a lot, and it's refreshing when you get to see this me and not the me when I was younger and I had a little less patience."
There was another interesting tidbit from the interview. When Beckham was asked to name his top five wide receivers in the NFL this season, he mentioned the usual suspects: Justin Jefferson, Davante Adams, Cooper Kupp, Tyreek Hill, and Ja'Marr Chase.
Beckham then said there's another player who has the potential to become a member of that elite group.
"The biggest one to watch out for this year creeping into everyone's top five is Zay Flowers," he said.
ESPN Pundit Likes Flowers' Chances of Being Offensive Rookie of the Year
Beckham isn't the only one who is bullish on Flowers. ESPN senior national reporter Dan Graziano said he wouldn't be surprised if Flowers won Offensive Rookie of the Year.
Graziano even compared the first-round pick to a young Beckham.
"Flowers' ability to create separation is really standing out in training camp. Other than tight end Mark Andrews, there's no one in the Ravens' receiving corps who has a ton of experience with quarterback Lamar Jackson, so there's nothing stopping the rookie from becoming his second-favorite target," Graziano wrote. "Once upon a time when I was covering the Giants, I remember Eli Manning telling us a rookie receiver named Odell Beckham Jr. was doing a great job of getting open in practice. Beckham went on to set rookie records. If you're open, you're the QB's best friend, and Flowers can get open.
"If Jackson clicks in the new offense right away, Flowers — who went for more than 1,000 yards and caught 12 touchdowns at Boston College last season — could put up massive numbers."
Harbaugh and Jackson Are No. 2 in Sports Illustrated's Coach-Quarterback Duo Rankings
Harbaugh is one of the best head coaches in the NFL and Jackson is an elite quarterback, so it's no surprise the pair placed high in Sports Illustrated’s Matt Verderame’s rankings of every team's coach-quarterback duo.
Harbaugh and Jackson landed at No. 2, trailing only the Kansas City Chiefs' Andy Reid and Patrick Mahomes.
"Both Harbaugh and Jackson are firmly in the top 10 of their lists, and it's realistic to make the case each should be in the top five," Verderame wrote. "However, while Harbaugh has a Super Bowl ring, Jackson has only a single playoff win on his résumé. At some point, the Ravens should break through, but will it be this year? The offense is in new hands as coordinator Todd Monken takes over, and his influence could be the tipping point."
Ravens Crack Top 10 'Triplets' Rankings
In addition to a top coach-quarterback duo, the Ravens also have a pretty terrific trio.
Jackson, running back J.K. Dobbins, and Andrews came in at No. 10 in Next Gen Stats’ Keegan Abdoo’s rankings. The trio was ranked 14th last season.
"The offense stagnated under Offensive Coordinator Greg Roman in 2022, especially the passing game, which struggled with spacing. Expect new coordinator Todd Monken to open things up for Jackson and empower his abilities as a dropback passer," Abdoo wrote for NFL.com. "Andrews is still the top dog in the passing game, but new receivers Zay Flowers and Odell Beckham Jr. are a natural fit for Jackson, who has averaged the third-most EPA per attempt (+0.42) targeting in-breaking routes since 2019. The makeup of this offense will look drastically different this year. Baltimore used 11 personnel on just 12 percent of plays last season; the Ravens were the only team to fall under the 30 percent mark.
"Dobbins has missed more games than he's played in since he was drafted in 2020, but he has been super efficient in limited action. Regardless of who lines up next to Jackson in the backfield, the RB should benefit from the attention defenses have to pay to the QB's game-breaking mobility."