Regardless of whether or not Baltimore Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson had any say in his hire—regardless of what he did or did not say about the quarterback—the prevailing belief around the football sphere is that Todd Monken is a man who can get the most out of him.
As the Ravens’ new offensive coordinator, that’s what he’s tasked with. He just completed a three-year stint in which he turned around the Georgia Bulldogs’ offense and made them two-time national champions, of which Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver George Pickens was a product.
Now, Jackson has been among the least of Baltimore’s problems, at least when it comes to their efforts to win games. He has among the highest winning percentages in NFL history through this point in his career. But there’s a reason Monken’s here now and not Greg Roman. And a lot of that has to do with trying to take the offense to another level, ideally with Jackson. And a former collaborator believes that’s just what Monken will do.
“If they sign him long-term, then Todd’s going to use Lamar Jackson differently than he’s been used before”, Oklahoma State head coach Mike Gundy said of Monken. The two worked on the same staff on multiple separate occasions in the early 2000s and then again a little over a decade ago, according to Childs Walker of the Baltimore Sun. “Todd is going to figure out whatever he does best and how he does it best”.
“The difference with Todd is he’s going to find a way for him to run the football that can stress a defense”, Gundy added, “and then he’s going to tie the play-action pass in with it and do things that can exploit a defense based on all his abilities, not just his running ability”.
Since his league MVP season in 2019, Jackson’s passing numbers haven’t necessarily been electric. He still ranked in the top 10 in 2022 in touchdown percentage even though he only threw 17 touchdowns in 12 games, and his interception percentage was in the lower half of the league as well.
But he threw 36 touchdown passes in 2019, then 26 a year later. He’s missed five games in each of the past two seasons. Would he have thrown another 10 touchdowns in those games missed? His touchdown percentages were lower in the past two years than in the previous two.
His completion percentage has also trended in the wrong direction, hitting a career low as a starter of 62.3% last season, among the lowest in the NFL—though not much worse than Kenny Pickett. Perhaps most concerning was his career-low 6.9 yards per pass attempt. He also had fewer than 20 deep pass completions.
How much of that was a product of the limitations of Roman’s offense, rather than the limitations of Jackson’s repertoire and a byproduct of the league being more familiar with him? Can Monken figure out how better to utilize his rare talents?
More importantly—can he do anything to help him avoid significant injuries better? Because being on the field has been a good starting point for him and the Ravens.