Mike Preston

Mike Preston: New OC Todd Monken plans to modernize the Ravens’ offense. Finally. | COMMENTARY

New Ravens offensive coordinator Todd Monken touched on a lot of subjects Tuesday at his introductory news conference, but his most important words were emphasizing the need to attack the entire field.

He deserved a standing ovation.


Time will tell if Monken is able to deliver, but he seems keen on turning the Ravens into a modern-day offense that passes downfield, gets players in space and stretches defenses.

“I think the game has changed,” he said. “The game has become more of a space game; using all 53-and-a-third yards and using the width and depth of the field, using space players and your skill players. I think that’s changed. Years ago, maybe it was inside-zone and run-duo downhill. Now, it’s utilizing athletic quarterbacks. The game has changed; it’s changing.


“At one time, it was taller pocket passers, and now you’re seeing more shorter, athletic players. The game has changed in terms of using their athleticism, using players’ athleticism, what they bring to the table because the game is about space. It’s about being explosive. Well, how do you create explosive [plays]? Well, part of it is creating space.”

The Ravens introduced Todd Monken, left, shaking hands with coach John Harbaugh, as their new offensive coordinator during a news conference at Under Armour Performing Center in Owings Mills on Tuesday.

The Ravens never achieved that under Greg Roman, who parted with the team Jan. 19 after four seasons as offensive coordinator. Despite having one of the best rushing attacks in the NFL during Roman’s reign, the Ravens were often predictable.

Even with different personnel on the field, they appeared to run to the right much more often than to the left. When quarterback Lamar Jackson was out with an injury, opposing defenses condensed the field and loaded the box because there was no fear of the Ravens breaking an outside run.

Deep passes were nearly nonexistent. Monken has a different philosophy.

“You have to do the things that give you the best chance to win every week,” said Monken, who helped lead Georgia to back-to-back national championships after serving as offensive coordinator with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Cleveland Browns. “But I do think that being able to use … I think players want to play in a game that spaces the field. I think when you go into an install meeting, all of your skill players want to say, ‘Where are my opportunities coming? Where am I going to get a chance to touch the football and showcase my ability?’

“Because to me, balance isn’t run-pass; balance is, make them cover all five of your guys; make them defend the field; make them defend the depth of the field. So, I think it’s all those things. That’s the way the college game has gone; that’s what they’re used to. They’re not used to anymore being under center, five-step drop; that doesn’t exist. They’re used to being in [shot]gun, RPOs [run-pass options], spreading the field, using space players; that’s what they’re used to. So, I think that’s the style they want to play.”

The Ravens don’t have the personnel of, say, Miami, which has speedy receivers in Tyreek Hill and Jaylen Waddle, but at least now they can open up the field like the Dolphins did in the second half of their game in Baltimore in September, when they scored 28 fourth-quarter points in a 42-38 come-from-behind victory.

Monken’s arrival will be a defining moment for several Ravens receivers. This group has been harshly criticized — some of it justified — because there wasn’t much production in Roman’s lackluster passing scheme. Now, maybe the Ravens will utilize the speed of Devin Duvernay on the outside or the possession skills and intermediate effectiveness of Rashod Bateman.


James Proche II needs to improve his practice and hustling habits, but he has some of the best hands on the team, which makes him valuable in the slot. Hopefully, Monken can get the same production out of Mark Andrews and Isaiah Likely that he did with Georgia tight ends Brock Bowers (63 catches, 942 yards, seven touchdowns in 2022) and Darnell Washington (28 catches, 454 yards, two touchdowns).

Monken called Jackson “elite,” said he was underrated as a passer and even insinuated that Jackson, who has yet to sign a contract extension with the March 7 franchise tag deadline looming, wouldn’t be that far behind if he held out of training camp.

One thing I learned about Monken already: He is good at posturing. He wasn’t about to irritate the star quarterback even though he acknowledged that he hasn’t yet spoken with Jackson.

“I really haven’t had the chance to talk to any of the players yet, really,” Monken said. “Just getting here last Wednesday, just trying to get my feet wet, working through a lot of things that come from staff, what we’re going to do moving forward, all that, just trying to figure out where I’m headed when I drive to the facility.”

That’s still strange. New offensive coordinators almost always speak with their franchise quarterbacks immediately.

I still say that if the Ravens receive the right offer, they will trade Jackson. If not, they’ll keep him around for another year on the franchise tag. But in his five seasons with the Ravens, Jackson has struggled to read the whole field, particularly outside the numbers, and throw the deep ball.


Can Monken fix that? He has a lot of work ahead of him. The Ravens are in catch-up mode.

“I’m excited to get started,” he said. “But again, like I always say, we’re paid to score, and if you don’t score, that’s no fun. I mean, I don’t know what else to say. Obviously, I get it.”