Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson is locked in in Baltimore, and if his words are to be believed, he couldn’t be happier about it.
The star will enter the first year of his five-year extension with a new offensive coordinator in former Georgia OC Todd Monken, whom he praised Wednesday for the verticality he is introducing to the Baltimore offense.
Monken, who has been a part of back-to-back national championships for the Bulldogs in Athens, oversaw the No. 4 passing offense in college football last season with Stetson Bennett at the helm. Georgia was also fourth in yards per attempt last year, something that Jackson seems particularly enamored with.
“Coach is basically giving us keys to the offense. Like I said, I’m loving it,” Jackson said Wednesday, per NFL.com.
“Just being able to throw the ball down the field,” Jackson said. “… Running can only take you so far. I feel like with this new era of teams and offenses in the league, I feel like we need that, and coach Todd Monken, what I’m seeing in this offense so far, it’s tremendous.”
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Why Todd Monken’s Ravens offense suits Lamar Jackson
While some may look at Jackson’s comments about running and scoff, Jackson has reason to be excited about extending the field.
Jackson’s 8.8 intended air yards in 2022 were middle-of-the-road last season among QBs, as were his 6.1 completed air yards. But with new receiving options, he clearly thinks Monken’s offense could open something up for the Ravens this year.
As for the running comment, Jackson has missed December in the past two seasons because of injuries. It doesn’t take a lot of football knowledge to realize Jackson is better when he’s on the field, and he’ll be on the field more if he’s hit less. To that point, he’ll be hit less if he’s spending more time in the pocket, airing the ball out.
Jackson also said Monken’s offense is encouraging his creative side.
“You can change things when you want to,” he said. “You see the defense, and it’s not looking right to you — see some guy blitzing — you might want your receiver to do something different. Coach giving you the free will to do whatever you want to.”
If Jackson is able to leverage that versatility into better matchups, the Ravens could well be a force to be reckoned with this season. Rigidity is something a lot of NFL coaches and coordinators seem to struggle with — which is to say, they try to mold players into their system instead of molding the system around the players.
While they’re all platitudes in May, if Monken lets Jackson run free and improvise offensively, we should see the results for the Ravens early and often come September.