It’s hard to ignore all the new changes the Baltimore Ravens made to the offensive side of the ball this summer. It’s been one of the main talking points of the 2023 NFL offseason.
First, they moved on from Greg Roman and brought in Georgia’s Todd Monken for an offensive redesign. Then they added more talent to the wide receiver room by signing Odell Beckham Jr., drafting Zay Flowers in the first round and adding Nelson Agholor. The third and final piece was getting a deal complete to re-sign franchise quarterback Lamar Jackson to a long-awaited extension.
While there are still some questions on the offensive side of the ball — who will start at left guard, for instance — the Ravens unquestionably got better on paper. But to quote linebacker Roquan Smith from Tuesday, “It’s easy to be paper champs, but what really matters is what you do between those lines.” So, what will it finally look like on the field?
As full-squad practices for the Ravens begin Wednesday, we should finally start seeing a bit more of what’s to come on that side of the ball. There will be key showdowns, flashy plays, padded practices and a sample of new offensive juice the Ravens could deploy this season.
Here’s an overview of how Wednesday will go and a look at what we’re paying attention to.
The first day of full-squad training camp practice starts at 2:30 p.m. at the Under Armour Performance Center in Owings Mills. After practice, Ravens head coach John Harbaugh will speak with the media, followed by several players.
What we’re looking for
Lamar Jackson and the new offense
The Ravens have a long way to go to know what is and isn’t working in Monken’s new offensive system, but Wednesday will show more glimpses of what it could look like this season.
Monken’s offense is expected to utilize more tempo and spread alignments to ignite the Ravens passing attack. At Georgia, Monken wasn’t afraid to maximize the talent at his disposal on that side of the ball. The Ravens added more talent in that area this summer than they ever have, so expectations are high.
With Jackson financially secured, this camp will be all about his new system and not a contract battle. Jackson talked earlier in the offseason about how excited he was for Monken’s offense and now the real work will start to ramp up. That includes communicating at the snap and becoming more vocal, getting the ball out faster and learning more of the nuances that come with mastering a whole new system. This is the first time Jackson’s had to learn a new offense from the beginning since Roman took over in 2019.
Who gets the early edge at left guard?
Left guard is the only starting job on the offensive side of the ball up for grabs heading into training camp. The competition has a few names in the mix.
The Ravens have a trio of contenders for it: John Simpson, Ben Cleveland and Malaesala Aumavae-Laulu. This list could expand to five depending on how the Ravens decide to utilize Patrick Mekari and Daniel Faalele.
There will be eyes on this battle all throughout camp and in the preseason, so whoever is on the field with the first-team offense today doesn’t mean a lot just yet, but it may indicate who has the early edge in the race among the group. Simpson has the most starting experience, Cleveland is great in pass-protection but not as much in run-blocking, while Aumavae-Laulu, a 2023 sixth-round pick, played tackle in college and is a bit unrefined.
Ravens pass rushers
There are high expectations and eyes will be focused on Ravens pass rushers Odafe Oweh and David Ojabo throughout camp and the preseason.
On one side, Oweh is looking to bounce back from a disappointing second season, where he recorded just three sacks and 11 quarterback hits despite playing more defensive snaps (634) for Baltimore than any member of the front seven except Patrick Queen (1,036) and Justin Madubuike (655). On the other, Ojabo, who was limited to just two games as a rookie rehabbing from a torn Achilles tendon, could be on the verge of a breakout season if he looks like he did in minicamp. Now healthy, Ojabo flashed so much of the athleticism and quickness that had him projected to be a first-round pick before his injury. If he brings that out starting today, and Oweh can take a step, the Ravens — who still could add a veteran like Justin Houston — may be in solid shape off the edge.
Follow for updates from today
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