Robert Griffin III: 'If They Stay Healthy, Ravens Will Win the Super Bowl'
Robert Griffin III believes the revamped offense will take the Ravens a long way this season. In fact, the former Ravens quarterback predicted that, barring injury, they will go all the way.
"If the Ravens stay healthy, I believe the Baltimore Ravens will win the Super Bowl this year," Griffin said on "The Rich Eisen Show." "I just think Lamar Jackson with those weapons, if he stays healthy the entire season, he now has the Jimmies and the Joes to help him in the playoffs. X's and O's has always got them there and his obviously unique ability, but now he's got the Jimmies and the Joes that can make some plays when you need them late in the playoffs like we've seen from all the other Super Bowl winning teams."
Griffin pointed to the addition of wide receivers Odell Beckham Jr. and Zay Flowers to an offense that already had its share of playmakers as to why the Ravens are poised to capture the Lombardi Trophy.
"The Ravens stopped using Splenda, decided to get that original brown sugar for their offense," Griffin said. "They have been relying on Lamar Jackson to do everything for them for the past four or five years and now he's going to have an opportunity to have guys like OBJ, to have guys like Zay Flowers who has been the rave of camp. You get back Rashod Bateman healthy. You got Mark Andrews, one of the best tight ends in the entire NFL who continues to produce year after year after year. J.K. Dobbins is back, Gus Edwards, Justice Hill.
"I know all these guys because a lot of them were my teammates when I was in Baltimore. But I also went to practice last week and was able to watch those guys up close and personal."
Griffin also believes the Ravens will benefit from new Offensive Coordinator Todd Monken giving Jackson the keys to the offense.
"What you're gonna see from this offense is just a whole lot more control of it all at the line of scrimmage from Lamar Jackson," Griffin said. "Now he's gonna have the opportunity to go to the line of scrimmage and basically have the entire playbook at his disposal so he can play the game based off how he sees it. And Todd Monken has trusted him to do that, something that he hasn't been trusted to do in Baltimore before. But now he is and talking to Lamar he's super excited about that because it allows him to play the game a little bit more free. Which if you watch him play, he loves to play it free."
Ravens Offense Doesn't Crack Top 10 in The Ringer's Rankings
The Ringer’s Sheil Kapadia doesn't believe in the Ravens offense nearly as much as Griffin. The Ravens were No. 12 in Kapadia's rankings of every NFL offense.
Kapadia acknowledged that the Baltimore offense has plenty of potential, but he needs to see it to believe it. He also has injury concerns about the unit.
"On paper, this could be the best wide receiver group that Jackson has ever played with, but it's far from a sure thing," Kapadia wrote. "Jackson's legs set a relatively high floor for the Ravens offense. He could go down as the most dynamic running quarterback in NFL history and is still only 26 years old. The offensive line should be good, and we know that Mark Andrews will be one of the NFL's most productive tight ends. I see a high ceiling with this unit, but they're experiencing a lot of change for one offseason, and I'm not sure it'll be a smooth transition. Throw in the durability concerns with Jackson, and I can't quite put them in the same class as the top-tier offenses."
Jackson Among Top Five Offensive Win-Share Leaders
NFL Network analytics expert Cynthia Frelund projected win-share leaders based on a metric that was Inspired inspired by the idea of wins above replacement in baseball and real plus-minus in basketball.
Jackson had the fifth-highest win share among quarterbacks (6.29).
" My models really like the pairing of Jackson with new Offensive Coordinator Todd Monken," Frelund wrote. "My models also like the catch-and-run potential of the pass catchers on Baltimore's offense."
Frelund noted that the Ravens' shift in offensive philosophy makes it difficult to predict how the unit will fare, but she is betting on Jackson.
"My models do have some questions about the Ravens' defense, which means controlling the game on the offensive side of the ball becomes even more crucial in the very difficult AFC North," Frelund wrote. "The volatility in Baltimore's outcomes is higher than any other team in 2023 — the season could go really well, or it could be tough sledding. My models like the risk, though. And Baltimore was an extremely volatile projection for my models back in 2019, when Jackson went on to become just the second unanimous MVP in league history."
Flowers Named a Top Five Fantasy Breakout Candidate
With fantasy football drafts in full swing, Frelund named her top five fantasy breakout candidates. Flowers came in at No. 3.
"For me, it's all about catch-and-run candidates. These are guys who earn extra yards because they're able to get yards after contact," Frelund said. "This is what this whole offense is going to be about. We saw Zay Flowers catch some suspect passes at Boston College. He's going to be getting a lot better opportunities in this offense."
Four Ravens Make ESPN's Top 100 Players for 2023
ESPN’s NFL experts ranked the league's top 100 players based on expectations for the coming season. Here are the four Ravens who made the list, with comments from Jamison Hensley:
20. Jackson (2022 rank: 42)
2023 projection: 3,358 passing yards, 25 TDs, 12 INTs (922 yards/5 TDs rushing)
"Jackson has his best chance to return to his 2019 NFL MVP form with a new contract, a new offensive coordinator in Todd Monken and a new wide receiver group, which features Odell Beckham Jr. Since 2018, the Ravens are 45-16 (.738) with Jackson as their starter and 8-13 (.380) when he hasn't played."
47. Andrews (2022 rank: 33)
2023 projection: 73 receptions, 866 yards, 7 TDs (18 yards rushing)
"Even with the Ravens' new wide receivers, Andrews will remain quarterback Lamar Jackson's go-to because of his ability to get open and his reliability. He's the NFL's second most productive tight end behind Kansas City's Travis Kelce. Since 2019, Andrews ranks second only to Kelce in catches (258), receiving yards (3,238) and touchdown catches (26)."
55. Roquan Smith (2022 rank: 97)
2023 projection: 167 tackles, 2 sacks, 1 INT
"He's the Ravens' best leader in the middle since Hall of Fame linebacker Ray Lewis. There's a reason why team officials refer to him as 'a force multiplier.' After acquiring Smith at midseason last year, the Ravens gave up the second-fewest points (14.6) and the third-fewest yards (288.8) for the rest of the season."
93. Marlon Humphrey (2022 rank: 56)
2023 projection: 76 tackles, 1 sack, 1 INT
"Humphrey continues to make the case for being the best all-around cornerback in franchise history. He is definitely the top playmaking one. He's just one of three Ravens defenders to record double-digit interceptions (12) and forced fumbles (13) for a career, joining Hall of Fame players Ray Lewis and Ed Reed. Unfortunately for the Ravens, Humphrey is sidelined after undergoing foot surgery, and the timetable for his return is uncertain -- though Humphrey wants to be back for Week 1."
● John Harbaugh was No. 5 in The Associated Press’ head coach rankings.