Todd Monken's Review of Ravens' Week 1 Offense: 'Too Much Drag'

OC Todd Monken

The debut of Todd Monken's new offense didn't go off as spectacularly as hoped or planned, and Monken didn't mince his words about the response.

"The only reason you look back is to correct [stuff]," Monken said. "You don't look back to feel sorry for yourself. You look back and say, 'That has to be fixed, that has to be better, that has to be better.' That's what the word coordinator means. It means fix it."

Odell Beckham Jr. called the play of the Ravens' wide receivers specifically an "undercooked appetizer." Monken hadn't heard that one and had some fun with it Thursday afternoon when told by reporters. Monken's assessment was a little simpler.

"It was just off," he said. "I would just say that it's a work in progress. The best thing we have is another opportunity to correct it [and] fix the things that are controllable. What's controllable? The things we do every day in practice. The things we design that give our players a chance, so we don't have the drag. There was too much drag."

By drag, Monken means there were too many simple mistakes that held the offensive execution back.

"Everybody had a hand in that, including myself, in terms of mistakes and how we do it better," Monken said. "It's not broke. We just need to get better at the simplest of things to allow yourself to function at a high level. That's the drag. That's all the drag that stops you from, 'Almost. God, if we just would have done this.' That's not where you want to be. You want to get out of that zone, out of that zone of the almost. Make them beat us."

The Ravens only had 265 yards of offense in Week 1, but still scored 25 points, tied for the 8th-most in the league. That was not lost on Monken or his players.

"I feel like we had a good first, sloppy game, and you still put up 25 points. So, the bad thing is there were a lot of mistakes, a lot of miscommunications, a lot of those things; the good news is there is room for improvement," Beckham said Thursday.

"I think this week was a lot better as far as being locked in with each other and on all the assignments, and you've just got to know that the sky is the limit with that, and we'll go as far as we want to go. So, I definitely feel like it was a much better week. Rome wasn't built in a day."

Monken reviewed various aspects of the offense in Week 1 and what he anticipates moving forward:

On the effect of not playing in the preseason, it being Week 1:

"All of the above. It's a new system. A little bit of rust probably. The communication part of it. The anxiety of playing. Lamar for the first time in a game hearing my voice when he has to do it. It's one thing to hear it and everybody else has to do it [in a preseason game]."

On the pass protection:

Per NextGenStats, the Texans got pressure on 42.3% of Lamar Jackson's drop backs in Week 1. That was the eighth-highest pressure rate of any team in the league. Now the Ravens could be without left tackle Ronnie Stanley and center Tyler Linderbaum against the Bengals.

"To me, it was fine. You're going to have against the best in the world, some leakage, you're going to have some pressure," Monken said. "We can do it better schematically. We can do it better in terms of timing, in terms of where our eyes are, our route-timing, so we don't have to hold the ball.

"Pat [Mekari has] played a lot of football here. That's why he's on our roster playing left tackle. So has Sam [Mustipher]. Sam played last week, Sam played in the preseason, played a lot of center. We have a lot of faith in those guys. Everybody has injuries throughout the year and the bottom line is we expect them to play well."

On the run game without J.K. Dobbins:

The Ravens averaged just 3.4 yards per carry (32 runs for 110 yards) and Lamar Jackson led the way with just 38 rushing yards. Now the Ravens will be without top running back J.K. Dobbins and will turn to Gus Edwards and Justice Hill to lead the way.

While losing a player of Dobbins' caliber hurts, Monken said the offense doesn't fundamentally change without him because there wasn't a lot built specifically for Dobbins.

"I feel really good about the guys that we have," Monken said. "All of them have played. Gus has played a significant role over the years, as Justice has. And having Melvin here, how cool is that? The guy has played a lot of snaps in the NFL and is eager to continue to play and show that he can play at a high level."

On handling pre-snap blitz communication, which will get tougher on the road:

"I think the second week will help from the first week to a second week. I think every day that we practice in the same system, I think the more he hears the calls, what the expectations are. As we get better with our communication across the board because everybody had a hand in that. Everybody had a hand – including myself – in terms of mistakes and how we do it better."

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