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After falling 24-17 to the Cincinnati Bengals in the Wild Card round, the Baltimore Ravens have hired University of Georgia offensive coordinator Todd Monken as their new coordinator.
The 57-year-old has extensive college and NFL experience, having played for teams like the Cleveland Browns and Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Additionally, he has head coaching experience having led Southern Miss for three seasons from 2013-15.
After an extended search for their new offensive coordinator, the Baltimore Ravens have finally selected Todd Monken. He served as quarterbacks coach and offensive coordinator at University of Georgia for three years, helping the Bulldogs earn back-to-back national championships.
Harbaugh was impressed with Monken's college work and his NFL experience (2016-18 with Tampa Bay and one season with Cleveland), both of which stood out to him. This made him an ideal candidate to help fix an offense that had become too one-dimensional under former coordinator Greg Roman.
In 2022, the Ravens ranked eighth in total offense and third in points per game; however, their passing attack was less than efficient. Particularly, quarterback Lamar Jackson and running back Gus Edwards struggled with accuracy on their passes.
Last season, the Ravens boasted one of the league's best rushing attacks. They registered 2,056 yards on the ground and scored eight touchdowns - led by Nick Chubb at running back. Despite its struggles in the passing game, they still had one of the league's most effective runs.
Monken's success was due to his use of package-based offenses that fit his team's personnel and physical style. They often utilized a "12" personnel set, consisting of one running back, two tight ends and two wide receivers - an approach only two other FBS teams ran more often in 2022 according to TruMedia data.
Monken has extensive coaching experience at the NCAA level, and his ability to adapt his strategies to fit each player will be essential for his success in Baltimore. He served as quarterbacks coach and offensive coordinator at Georgia for three years, leading an offense that scored the fifth-most points in America.
He also assisted in the development of future first-round picks Dwayne Bowe and Buster Davis.
Last month, the Baltimore Ravens and offensive line coach Greg Roman parted ways, leaving Monken as a top candidate to fill the position since the team started interviewing candidates in late January. According to Mike Garafolo of NFL Network, Monken will receive his second interview today for the job.
John Harbaugh on Todd Monken's Hiring as Offensive Coordinator: 'It started with a call'
After an extensive search, the Ravens finally found their offensive coordinator. After conducting 21 interviews with 14 candidates, they selected former Georgia coach Todd Monken after conducting 21 interviews.
Monken, 57 years old, has spent the past three seasons designing Georgia's offensive system that won back-to-back national championships. During his tenure there, he increased rushing yards per game by 6% and passing yards by 13%; additionally he helped transform walk-on quarterback Stetson Bennett into Heisman finalist Stetson Bennett while creating a run-heavy system for Kenny McIntosh and Daijun Edwards, two top running backs in program history.
Monken must create an offense that can score points and generate a balanced rush. This is especially crucial given that J.K. Dobbins and Gus Edwards, two of the NFL's premier running backs, are known for their prowess at breaking tackles and making big plays on the ground.
Monken in Baltimore wants to create an offense that forces opponents to defend vast territory both horizontally and vertically, leaving more room for playmakers to make big plays. He especially hopes to construct a defense that allows Jackson and the other team's receivers to attack one-on-one coverage.
He wants to create an offense that gives Jackson the autonomy he's been missing under Roman. He wants the versatile QB a system that lets him take what the defense gives him while still allowing him to make audibles at the line of scrimmage on everything from blocking assignments to running plays and passing plays.
Jackson at the helm and his talented wide receivers, the Ravens are poised to become one of the NFL's most potent offenses once again. If Jackson can stay with the Ravens, this set-up will give him a chance to showcase his strengths even more fully.
But the real test will be whether or not Monken's offense can be successful. Even if they retain their star-studded defense, their new scheme must be effective enough for them to compete for wins. With Lamar Jackson and Mark Andrews as their top receivers, the Ravens need an offense that can move the football quickly and efficiently. While Monken certainly has his work cut out for him, it is evident that they made the right decision in hiring him as offensive coordinator.
Lamar Jackson is set to become an unrestricted free agent in March, potentially giving Baltimore their most valuable player the option of leaving town. But if the quarterback and Ravens can't come to terms, then the team could likely place the franchise tag on him, keeping him with Baltimore for another two seasons.
That would be unfavorable news for the team, which has seen its offense decline to 30th in terms of expected points per play when Jackson is absent, according to Ben Solak of The Ringer. That marks a stark contrast from when their offence was among the league's top 10 units in that statistic during Jackson's first two years with the organization.
Jackson has not only helped the offense when he is present, but there are plenty of reasons for him to stay in Baltimore. Over his first two seasons as a starter, Jackson led the league in completion percentage and passer rating; moreover, his touchdown-to-interception ratio of 12.1 has been an impressive feat that the Ravens have struggled to replicate recently.
The Ravens have been adamant about signing Jackson to a long-term deal since negotiations began last September. General manager Eric DeCosta and head coach John Harbaugh made it clear Thursday at their season-review press conference that they want this done quickly.
DeCosta said he believes Jackson "truly wants to finish his career in Baltimore." While he declined to address any potential trades, DeCosta expressed his confidence that Jackson will be the starting quarterback for Baltimore by 2023.
Though the team remains optimistic that they can reach a long-term deal with Jackson, it appears the odds are against them in the near future. Even if they do manage to make it work, it appears unlikely the team would provide Jackson enough guaranteed money to guarantee his presence in Baltimore for the long haul.
Although Lamar Jackson's future remains uncertain, it's essential to remember that he's one of the game's premier quarterbacks. His ability to deliver big plays and make sound decisions in the pocket made him a first-round pick in 2018. It should come as no surprise that Jackson has taken advantage of leading the NFL's best offense over the past two seasons; however, Baltimore cannot afford to put his short-term success ahead of their own long term interests.
After a three-week search, Baltimore Ravens head coach John Harbaugh has announced the hiring of Todd Monken as his offensive coordinator. Monken has an impressive college resume; serving as both offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach for Georgia in each of the last three seasons; during those years, he helped lead them to back-to-back national championships.
Monken's hiring is a significant step forward in the quest to build an offense capable of consistently producing championship-worthy performances. Lamar Jackson, free agent and likely to be franchise tagged next season, remains an option; however, the former MVP has struggled to improve as a passer in recent years.
A new offensive coordinator (OC) can be a huge asset in developing players like Jackson and J.K. Dobbins, as well as young running backs who have not had much success with the pass game thus far.
Monken has extensive experience balancing the run and pass games, making him well-suited to collaborate with Jackson. Additionally, his versatility on offensive systems provides him with a distinct edge.
As Florida State's wide receivers coach, he implemented a system that prioritized passing the ball but ran it more in certain spots - something which will be essential for him in his new position.
Monken had a stellar NFL career with both Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Cleveland Browns, excelling as both a play caller for various personnel groups and an excellent run game designer.
It remains to be seen if Monken can maximize Jackson and Baltimore's passing game. If he does, the Ravens would be in a better position to challenge for the NFL title.
At his first press conference as offensive coordinator, Monken discussed his coaching philosophy and what he has learned from previous experiences. He also deflected credit, emphasizing that an offensive coordinator and play caller are only as good as their personnel.
Monken must help Jackson return to form in 2019, since Jackson remains on the roster and still carries the franchise tag. If he can do this, it will be a tremendous asset for the Ravens' offense in 2019.