Lamar Jackson Photo credit: Jessica Rapfogel-USA TODAY Sports

The Baltimore Ravens will kick off the 2023 season on Sunday, September 10, 2023 by hosting the Houston Texans at M&T Bank Stadium. Expectations are high in Baltimore after going 10-7 last year and making it to the Wild Card round of the playoffs, despite not having quarterback Lamar Jackson for the final five games.

Now, Jackson is fresh off a new five-year, $260 million contract. Worries of him possibly leaving to play for another team have been replaced with excitement about new offensive coordinator Todd Monken’s scheme. Jackson has even gotten to have input on plays being added to the playbook.

“Coach listens to me. It made me feel good,” Jackson said.  “I was just on social media, and I saw a couple of routes, and I sent it to Coach Tee [Martin] and he was like, ‘I’m going to relay the message to Coach [Todd] Monken,’ and Coach Monken liked the play, so he put it in practice. I feel like it will be good for us.” 

The additions of Odell Beckham Jr., Nelson Agholor and Zay Flowers have the wide receiver room looking much improved. 

“The leadership of the veteran players – Nelson [Agholor] and Odell [Beckham Jr.] – has really been superb,” general manager Eric DeCosta said. “And the younger guys have really brought their game every single day.

“And it’s encouraging for us to see them every single day. [The] guys are stepping up and making contested catches and making big, explosive plays. The attitude and the energy is very, very good.”

Another reason for optimism is tight end Mark Andrews’ return to practice after missing some time last month. Ravens head coach John Harbaugh said he’s “not pushing the panic button.” Andrews had been the Ravens leading pass catcher in each of the last three seasons. 

The defense will be good as well. The addition of Jadeveon Clowney brings a veteran presence to a young group of outside linebackers. DeCosta hopes to get similar production from Clowney to previous seasons when they added veterans Jason Pierre-Paul and Justin Houston.

Inside linebacker Roquan Smith was acquired at the trade deadline last season and had a very productive second half of the season. Smith now has a full offseason under his belt and signed a five-year, $100 million contract during the offseason. He’ll continue to lead the Ravens defense as the play caller and engine that drives the unit. 

Baltimore will however be without cornerback Marlon Humphrey as he recovers from foot surgery. He’s expected to miss the first couple of games including next week when the Ravens travel to Cincinnati to face the division rivals Bengals. 

In the meantime, Baltimore signed veteran cornerback Ronald Darby to a one-year deal to rebuild their depth. The pieces are in place for an exciting season. It all starts on Sunday. 

“The home opener is always exciting especially when it’s ‘the’ [season] opener,” Harbaugh said. “We love having our fans. We can’t wait to see our fans in [M&T Bank] Stadium. I know they’re going to be loud.” 

Tyler Hamilton
Click Here to See More posts by this Author