The Todd Monken era was supposed to be the dawn of a new day for the Baltimore Ravens’ offense. Under Monken’s tutelage, Jameis Winston was making big plays even though he was not consistent, and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers weren’t winning games. At Georgia, he turned Stetson Bennett into a 4,000-yard passer. With 2019 MVP Lamar Jackson at quarterback, the Ravens offense was supposed to rise from the ashes of Greg Roman’s run-heavy scheme.
Through six games the Ravens are 4-2 and atop the AFC North. They limped through an early rash of injuries and appear to be headed to the playoffs for the fifth time in the last six seasons. Not much needs to change about their play to make that a reality, but if they want to make a deep run then this new offense needs to deliver what was promised.
Against the Tennessee Titans in Week 6 the Ravens displayed some of the same offensive problems that have been plaguing them for years. They ran the ball 39 times, and currently lead the league in rushing attempts per game. It is effective, but not resulting in touchdowns. Justin Tucker’s field goals accounted for 18 of the Ravens’ 24 points against the Titans.
Their sole touchdown was scored in the first half which is another troubling trend for the Ravens. Over the last three games, they have averaged only 4.3 second-half points. This a continuation from 2022 in which they ranked 23rd in second-half points per game. They are also struggling mightily in the red zone, and this is as their offense has been getting healthier in recent weeks. In nine red zone tries in their last two games, the Ravens have managed one touchdown.
Monken appears to be more willing to take chances in the air during the first half, but then he starts relying heavily on a lot of the same zone-read plays that Roman was criticized for calling too often.
The Ravens have success running the football. That always needs to be a part of the offense. However, changing coordinators was supposed to be a changing of the guard moment. Of course Monken is comfortable with the run game. He spent three seasons at Georgia.
But he was hired to rely less on that style of offense. There is supposed to be more balance with him calling the plays. He has shown throughout his career that quarterbacks in his offense can put up big passing numbers, and he is currently working with by far the best passer of his career. Yet the Ravens have the 23rd most total pass attempts in the NFL this season. Just ahead of them are the Chicago Bears, and behind them are the Cleveland Browns.
It is not as if the Ravens just brought in Monken and asked him to overhaul the offense with no help. Rookie Zay Flowers has proven to be ready for NFL action since Day 1. Mark Andrews is still at tight end, and Odell Beckham Jr. and Rashod Bateman are back from early-season injuries. Beckham looked quite explosive when catching a pass in the first quarter. Besides those three, the back end of Ravens wide receiving corps includes Nelson Agholor and Devin Duvernay. As No. 1 or No. 2 wide receivers they are overmatched, but that kind of speed at No. 4 can be game-breaking.
Maybe the Ravens just need some time for the players and coaches to get settled this season. An early rash of injuries to the offensive line, backfield, and wide receivers did not help the adjustment process.’
All of that being said, late in games the Ravens are not playing aggressively as they should be on offense. Conservative play cost them a game they should have won Week 3 against the Indianapolis Colts, and they should have blown out the Titans.
The Ravens are going to have to put the ball in the air with more regularity come postseason time, especially in the second half of games. If not, they will not be able to score enough points to keep up with the AFC elite in a single-game elimination situation.
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