With New Offensive Coordinator Todd Monken in Place, What Comes Next?
The Ravens got their guy in new offensive coordinator Todd Monken, so what's next? For starters, the team will look to fill out the rest of the offensive coaching staff.
"The determination on the final makeup and tapestry of the Ravens offensive staff will include 'a collaborative effort' between Head Coach] John Harbaugh and new OC Todd Monken, per league source,” [CBS Sports’ Josina Anderson reported. "More decisions to come soon."
In addition to building the staff, "there is a ton more work to do" this offseason in regard to rejuvenating the offense, The Athletic's Jeff Zrebiec wrote.
The uncertainty surrounding Lamar Jackson's future in Baltimore obviously looms large.
"If Jackson is tagged and there's been no compromise on a new contract, that will open up trade scenarios. If he does stay and is in line to play the 2023 season on the tag, the possibility exists that Jackson will hold out for much of the offseason program and training camp," Zrebiec wrote. "That would make things extremely difficult for Monken, who will have to install a new offense without Jackson on the practice field."
Monken also will be working with a wide receiving corps in Baltimore that is in the midst of being rebuilt.
As offensive coordinator at the University of Georgia, Monken helped the Bulldogs win the national championship the past two seasons by leading an offense that was one of the most productive in the nation despite not having top NFL receiving prospects or a first-round quarterback. His offense averaged nearly 40 points per game the past two years.
"That Monken, who has certainly enhanced his reputation with his work in Athens, was willing to take the job with so many questions about Jackson and the Ravens' offensive personnel has to be considered a coup for Baltimore," Zrebiec wrote. "It also may reveal plenty about one of Monken's biggest strengths: his ability to adapt and succeed with the personnel he has."
What Monken's Scheme Could Bring to Ravens
The Baltimore Banner’s Jonas Shaffer looked at what Monken's scheme could bring to the Ravens. Here are some excerpts:
"Schematic flexibility has been a feature of Monken's offensive evolution, taking him from one extreme in play-calling (Oklahoma State's "Air Raid" offense in 2011, a wide-open, pass-first approach) to another (Georgia's heavy-personnel, run-dominant offense in 2022) in just over a decade.
"In Baltimore, the Ravens should enter next season with one of the NFL's deepest tight end rooms and most established running games. But if the front office can revitalize their wide receiver position this offseason, Monken could have even more flexibility in how he wants the offense to look."
"Last season, the average Ravens play-action call added little to the offense: just 0.03 EPA per play, 25th best in the NFL, both lows under [Offensive Coordinator] Greg Roman.
"At Georgia, Monken leaned heavily on play-action plays, and to great effect. According to TruMedia, 44.1% of [quarterback Stetson] Bennett's early-down passes over the past two seasons used a run fake. Overall, he went 173-for-258 (67.1%) for 3,102 yards, 24 touchdowns and eight interceptions on play-action passes over that span, with just eight sacks taken on 279 drop-backs."
"In 2021, Bennett averaged nearly three RPO passes per game, finishing 29-for-39 for 247 yards and six touchdowns. Last season, Bennett averaged over four RPO passes per game, finishing 44-for-63 for 338 yards and a touchdown.
"In Baltimore, even amid rough patches for his passing offense, Roman was largely reluctant to turn to RPOs."
The Significance of Patrick Mahomes' Cap Hit for Ravens and Jackson
Before Patrick Mahomes led the Kansas City Chiefs to victory in the Super Bowl, no quarterback had won a Super Bowl with a salary cap hit higher than Steve Young's in 1994 (13.1%), the league's first year with the cap, per Shaffer.
Mahomes' $35.8 million cap hit accounted for 17.2% of the Chiefs' space, according to Spotrac.
It's an interesting statistic given the contract situation with the Ravens and Jackson. As has been well-documented, if a long-term deal cannot be reached and Jackson plays under the exclusive franchise tag, the Ravens will be in an unenviable position cap-wise.
"If the Ravens and Jackson, a pending free agent, can work out a long-term deal this offseason, his cap hit would likely exceed 13.1% in most, if not all, of the years he's under contract," Shaffer wrote. "If Jackson signs an exclusive franchise tag tender for the 2023 season, however, his projected $45 million cap hit would represent a daunting 20% of the Ravens' available spending, nearly double his 2022 figure (11.2%)."
Early- and Late-Round Draft Fits for Ravens
Pro Football Focus’ Trevor Sikkema identified early- and late-round fits for all 32 teams. Here's what he came up with for the Ravens:
Early Pick: CB Joey Porter Jr., Penn State
Late Pick: WR A.T. Perry, Wake Forest
"With cornerback being a major potential need for the Ravens, hitting a strong class at the position in the first round would be to their advantage. The long, tall Porter would be just what they're looking for. As many will note, however, they also need wide receiver help, specifically players who can win vertically. At 6-foot-3 and 195 pounds, Perry would give Baltimore both a bigger wide receiver and one who has a knack for winning deep down the field. He recorded a 16.2-yard average depth of target over the past two seasons."
Porter in a Ravens uniform would be wild considering how nasty the Ravens-Steelers rivalry was when his father played for Pittsburgh from 1999-2006. Perry is projected as a fourth-round pick by NFL Mock Draft Database.