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News & Notes: Todd Monken Reflects on Run Game in AFC Championship

OC Todd Monken
OC Todd Monken

Todd Monken Reflects on Run Game in AFC Championship

Facing the media Thursday for the first time since the AFC Championship game, Offensive Coordinator Todd Monken calmly reflected on the loss that ended Baltimore's season.

The Ravens equaled their lowest point total of the season during their 17-10 loss to the Kansas City Chiefs. Another offensive oddity was how infrequently Baltimore gave the ball to its running backs. Gus Edwards and Justice Hill both only had three carries during the game, as Lamar Jackson led Baltimore's rushers with eight carries for 54 yards.

Monken knew questions about that game would be coming, and he was straightforward in answering them.

"Obviously, I try not to look back," Monken said. "But it is what it is. We didn't play well enough, we didn't coach well enough. Didn't execute at a high level, and that starts with me.

"The only way you look back is to learn and get better. What was the plan we went in with? Was it execution, or did we not stick with the plan? Disappointed, but on to 2024."

Monken was asked specifically about Baltimore not having more rushing attempts.

"I'm not trying to justify, I promise you that," Monken said. "In general, we needed to run the ball better. That's a fact. You can't control the game if you can't run the football.

"We did give ourselves a chance in the second half. But we've got to attack them the way we planned to attack them, and I've got to a better job. That's what I'm paid to do – to do it against the best when it counts."

Monken and Baltimore's players expect the offense to operate more crisply in Monken's second season. The Ravens did an excellent job adjusting to Monken's scheme in 2023, finishing fourth in the league in scoring and sixth in total offense, while Lamar Jackson won his second MVP award.

That's a solid foundation to build on, and Monken is encouraged by what he has seen during OTAs.

"We want to make it better for all of our players, Lamar especially," Monken said. "Streamline it in a way that we become a more consistent offense. I thought there was a lot of good things we did last year. We've got to work to start faster. That's inevitable, but Year 2 we should be able to do that."

Todd Monken Has 'Seen Tremendous Growth' in Rashod Bateman

Another offensive change Monken anticipates is an increased role for wide receiver Rashod Bateman in his fourth season. Bateman had 32 catches for 367 yards and a touchdown in 2023, but Monken believes a healthy Bateman has only scratched the surface of his potential.

"As the year went on, Rashod really came on, and I've seen tremendous growth," Monken said. "I expect a tremendous year from him, and we certainly could have found a way to get him the ball more."

Zach Orr Discusses Options in Competition for No. 3 Safety

The Ravens had the best backup safety in the NFL last season in Geno Stone, who finished second in the NFL with a career-high seven interceptions. All-Pro safety Kyle Hamilton and Marcus Williams return as the starters, but Stone signed with the Bengals and the Ravens are looking for someone to fill Stone's role.

The Ravens reportedly hosted three-time Pro Bowl safety Jamal Adams for a visit on Tuesday. Meanwhile, Ar'Darius Washington, seventh-round rookie Sanoussi Kane, and undrafted rookie Beau Brade of Maryland are among those competing to win the No. 3 safety competition.

Defensive Coordinator Zach Orr believes the Ravens will find a No. 3 safety who will allow Hamilton to roam as a multidimensional defender.

"Obviously, with Kyle being the ultimate chess piece, the third safety position is important," Orr said. "I feel like we have some great in-house candidates that have been working their butts off since Day 1, so we're excited. They had a good first three days of practice, so we're excited to see where it goes. But yes, that position is important."

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