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Todd Monken's Six Pillars to a Good Offense

OC Todd Monken
OC Todd Monken

Todd Monken has a proven recipe for success, and it contains six ingredients.

The Ravens' new offensive coordinator is flexible and creative when it comes to calling plays and working with different personnel. However, Monken's vision of a successful offense revolves around six basic elements:

  1. Don't turn it over
  2. Be explosive
  3. Score touchdowns in the red zone
  4. Be good on third down
  5. Don't have lost yardage plays
  6. Have an athletic quarterback who can make off-schedule plays

"The rest of it just falls into that," Monken said.

"I don't care if it's with a fullback, without a fullback, four wide [receivers], three wide [receivers]. The reality is that there are a lot of ways to skin a cat, but still the principles of how you win are the same."

Here's a look at how the Ravens fared last year in Monken's key categories, and how he may target improvement.

Don't Turn It Over

The Ravens were among the better teams at taking care of the football in 2022 with 21 turnovers – 13 interceptions and eight lost fumbles – tied for eighth fewest in the league. However, their most costly turnover came during Wild Card Weekend against the Bengals, when Tyler Huntley's fumble on a quarterback sneak resulted in Sam Hubbard's 98-yard fumble return for a touchdown.

Monken wants the Ravens to be aggressive and high scoring, but not reckless. At his introductory press conference, Monken drew laughs when he referenced his one season as Tampa Bay's offensive coordinator in 2018, when the Buccaneers were No. 1 in passing offense, but also led the league with 26 interceptions.

"We had quarterbacks that loved to throw it – sometimes to the other team, but they liked to throw it," Monken said.

Monken is still irked when he thinks about those interceptions. He wants the Ravens to be aggressive throwing the football, but he will preach to the quarterbacks that they can't afford to be reckless.

Be Explosive

The Ravens hope their passing attack takes a major leap in producing big plays. In 2022, they had just 20 completions of 25+ yards and ranked 30th in the NFL. Only the Rams and Giants, with 16 plays apiece, had fewer 25+ yard completions.

The Ravens' big-play passing capability took a major hit after their top two receivers, Rashod Bateman and Devin Duvernay, suffered season-ending injuries. Monken will obviously hope they stay healthy, but he also hopes to create more space and opportunities for playmakers to thrive.

Meanwhile, Monken will inherit one of the top rushing attacks in the NFL. Baltimore led the NFL in running plays of 10+ yards in 2022 with 88. Monken isn't looking to tear down what the Ravens have built with their run game.

"I first started watching, and I'm like, 'Wow, they do really good stuff in the run game. Like, holy cow, that is very creative,''' Monken said.

Score Touchdowns in the Red Zone

This is another area where the Ravens need major improvement. They ranked 30th in red zone efficiency in 2022, ahead of only the Jets and Patriots.

The Ravens were often effective moving the ball down the field, only to squander opportunities near the goal line. Expect Monken to put the microscope on Baltimore's red zone offense, constantly looking for ways to finish drives with touchdowns.

"Like I always say, we're paid to score, and if you don't score, that's no fun," Monken said.

Be Good on Third Down

Baltimore ranked 12th in third-down conversion percentage in 2022 (41.05%), but unproductive late-game drives were particularly costly for the Ravens. They failed to protect leads in deflating losses to the Dolphins, Bills, Giants, and Jaguars when Baltimore's offense fizzled and sent the defense back onto the field. If the Ravens convert more third downs, especially in the second half, they should become better at closing out games.

Don't Have Lost Yardage Plays

Monken's last game as Georgia's offensive coordinator was a clinic in offensive football. The Bulldogs scored 65 points and averaged 8.2 yards per play. Staying out of second-and-long and third-and-long made it easier for Monken to put TCU at his mercy en route to a National Championship.

Staying ahead of the chains against NFL defenses will be a much tougher test, but it's one that Monken looks forward to.

"The challenge to do it against the best in the world. I think everybody aspires to have that challenge," Monken said.

The Ravens have a strong offensive line, an effective running back tandem of J.K. Dobbins and Gus Edwards, a Pro Bowl fullback in Pat Ricard and capable blocking tight ends. Monken thinks the Ravens can run the ball effectively and protect the quarterback, which is a good foundation for avoiding negative plays.

Have An Athletic Quarterback Who Can Make Off-Schedule Plays

The Ravens have had two mobile quarterbacks in Lamar Jackson and Tyler Huntley and Monken believes quarterbacks who can move well give Baltimore's offense an advantage. The two quarterbacks who played in the Super Bowl earlier this month, Patrick Mahomes and Jalen Hurts, consistently use their mobility to extend plays, avoid sacks, and attack defenses. Monken called Jackson's talent "elite", and loves having a quarterback room that can stress defenses with their running as well as their passing.

"There are more and more athletic quarterbacks; there's more spread," Monken said. "The more spread you are and the more empty you are, it's more fun if your guy is athletic. He can get you out of trouble. Like, he can buy yards. In the Super Bowl, I think Mahomes had 40 [rushing] yards with a bad ankle, and [Jalen Hurts] had 70. Well, that's hidden yardage; that's auxiliary yards. It gets you out of trouble."

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