Lamar Jackson Loving Todd Monken’s Offense: ‘You Can Change Things When You Want To’ (Unlike In Pittsburgh)
The Baltimore Ravens are building a new offense this year. I don’t know how much quarterback Lamar Jackson was behind it, exactly, but the team decided that former offensive coordinator Greg Roman’s offense had run its course and that it was time for a change.
The new offense will be helmed by Todd Monken, and Jackson is already liking what he sees. He expects to throw more, for one thing, but he also sees it as an offense in general that does more to put the quarterback in control.
“Coach is basically just giving us the keys to the offense, really. And like I said, I’m loving it”, Jackson told reporters last week during OTAs, via the team’s website. “You can change things when you want to. You see the defense, it’s not looking right to you, you see a guy blitzing, you might want your receiver to do something different, Coach has given you the free will to do whatever you want to”.
This will probably spark comparisons—or rather contrasts—to Matt Canada for many Pittsburgh Steelers fans, as there has been some, uh, conversation about just how much freedom was built into his system with rookie quarterback Kenny Pickett in 2022. How will that differ in 2023? But that’s another subject. For Jackson, his mission is learning, including a new vocabulary.
“The new offense is smooth. [There is] more verbiage than usual. I like it. I’m loving it so far”, he said. And that includes all the talking off the practice field from Monken. “He’s talkative and you’re enjoying it – the learning process of what he’s saying [when he’s] teaching us the new offense. It’s fun”.
Roman’s offense built in a lot of designed runs for Jackson. One wonders how much, or how little, authority he had to audible out of those plays. Either way, the manner in which he’s speaking, it sounds like he will have a lot more freedom to change things up under Monken, or it wouldn’t have been worth highlighting.
The Ravens have been throwing the ball more frequently in recent years with Jackson, it should be noted. He averaged over 31 pass attempts per game in 2021. He was averaging over 29 attempts per game prior to his injury last year as well.
That should only increase, particularly with the emphasis this offseason on building a stronger nucleus of pass-catchers around him, signing Odell Beckham Jr. and Nelson Agholor in free agency and using a first-round draft pick on Zay Flowers. They also have Rashod Bateman coming back and have a duo of pass-catching tight ends in All-Pro Mark Andrews and second-year man Isaiah Likely.
The bottom line is that it’s all setting up to fall on Jackson’s shoulders. Baltimore is giving him the tools to excel as a passer. Can he be a championship passing quarterback? The Ravens are paying a premium price to find out.