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Late for Work 8/18: Zay Flowers Comments on Chances of Being Offensive Rookie of the Year, Connection With OBJ

WR Zay Flowers
WR Zay Flowers

Zay Flowers Comments on Chances of Being Offensive Rookie of the Year, Connection With Odell Beckham Jr.

The past two Offensive Rookie of the Year winners have been wide receivers. Could Zay Flowers make it three straight?

The Ravens' first-round pick was asked about the possibility of winning the award during a conversation with CBS Sports' Josina Anderson.

"I think it's possible. I just have to keep working and doing what I'm doing," Flowers said. "But I want to win first before anything."

Garrett Wilson of the New York Jets and Ja'Marr Chase of the Cincinnati Bengals won the award the past two seasons. The last wide receiver to be Offensive Rookie of the Year prior to that was Flowers' teammate, Odell Beckham Jr. in 2014.

Flowers talked about forming a connection with Beckham on and off the field.

"He always hypes me up. He's always there for me," Flowers said. "No matter what I do, I'll run back to the sideline and he'll be like, 'Yo, you crazy.' He'll just throw me little hints in there, and I'll ask him questions about his schedule — how he did it, how he kept his body good for a whole season — and he'd give me lessons on ball skills, how to track the ball, what he does to keep a defender on either side when he wants to catch it on his outside shoulder. So I've been talking to him a lot.

"We hung out a couple times already, too. It was at the crib."

Cris Collinsworth: Ravens' New-Look Offense Is 'Going to Be Great or Going to Really Struggle'

The Ravens' new-look offense, featuring the additions of Flowers, Beckham, Nelson Agholor, and Offensive Coordinator Todd Monken, continues to generate buzz as the start of the regular season nears.

On “The Mina Kimes Show,” ESPN's Kimes and NBC's Cris Collinsworth both said they "can't wait" to see the Baltimore offense in action and whether the shift from a run-oriented offense to a more balanced attack can be successful.

"It's possible that they're great this year," Collinsworth said. "That they're scoring 30 and Lamar Jackson is MVP again. Maybe all that stuff happens. They have invested a lot of resources in the passing game, and they have won a lot of games not in the passing game and not investing in the passing game, and basically relying on Lamar to make plays. So this is a paradigm shift.

"I think it's going one way or another in Baltimore. I think it's going to be great or it's going to really struggle. … I think they're one of the more intriguing teams to watch early in the year."

Kimes said: "I have been so over-the-top excited about this Ravens offense and imagining what it could be. … There's been so much excitement about the [new] receivers, but the Ravens offense was good. When Lamar got hurt they were a top three efficient offense in the NFL last year. The run game has been absolutely dominant. It's been especially hard for defenses to stop because of the way defenses are built now. So there is a little bit of a risk that as you make this transition to spreading things out more, maybe the run game doesn't look as good.

"I personally think that [with the] space, and Lamar, and the offensive line, it'll be fine even with fewer blockers on the field, but it's a question. We haven't seen it. It's a total experiment in Baltimore."

Meanwhile, Fox Sports analyst Warren Sharp of Sharp Football Analysis said he expects the Ravens to score more points than they did last season, when they averaged 20.6 per game, which ranked 19th.

"The Ravens drove into the red zone at the #5 highest rate of any team but simply could not buy a touchdown when there (#30)," Sharp wrote. "There is no reason a top-five offense at driving into the red zone should rank #30 in scoring touchdowns when down there. … I believe with Monken's new offensive direction, the 2023 Ravens will be scoring in the red zone at a rate more in line with their overall offensive efficiency."

Three Second-Year Ravens Predicted to Have Breakout Seasons.

Next Gen Stats’ Mike Band named one breakout candidate for each team, and for the Ravens it was safety Kyle Hamilton.

"The 14th overall pick in the 2022 NFL Draft entered the league with the highest overall draft score of any safety prospect over the last decade, according to the Next Gen Stats predictive draft model," Band wrote. "Hamilton's combination of elite size, plus athleticism and uber production has him primed for an every-down role in his second season on a talented defense.

"Hamilton's versatility was evident last season. Primarily utilized in nickel and dime packages, Hamilton took 49 percent of his snaps as a slot corner, 28 percent as a box safety and 23 percent as a deep safety. Even more notably, the first-year pro led all rookie defensive backs with seven quarterback pressures and posted five hustle stops during the regular season (hustle stops are defined as a successful tackle where the defender traveled 20 or more yards from the snap). His intense training camp battles with Pro Bowl tight end Mark Andrews in one-on-one drills further underscore his potential as a matchup-driven coverage defender."

The Athletic's Nick Baumgardner put tight end Isaiah Likely and edge rusher David Ojabo on his list of second-year breakout players.

"Likely showed great ability to get in and out of a break in college, as well as a knack for winning at the release point and when high pointing the ball," Baumgardner wrote. "Likely was a high school wide receiver-turned-TE who played outside the Power 5, which scared teams off a bit. However, when Baltimore asked him to run block last season, he was more than capable. The more reps Likely sees in Baltimore's offense — with Lamar Jackson running the show — the better he'll get. He's got all sorts of pass-catching tools.

"Had Ojabo not blown out his Achilles during a pro-day drill ahead of the 2022 draft, he'd likely have been a first-round pick — maybe even a relatively high one. Ojabo was outstanding in his lone year as a starter at Michigan, opposite Aidan Hutchinson (with current Ravens DC Mike Macdonald calling plays), and his testing at the combine might have been even better. Ojabo still had development in front of him before the injury, but he did get into two games late last season, registering a strip-sack in the finale."

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