Mark Andrews has led the Ravens in targets, catches and receiving yards in three of the last four seasons, establishing himself as one of the NFL's premier tight ends.
If the 2023 season requires Andrews to carry the heaviest load again, his shoulders are broad enough to handle it. However, the offseason additions of Odell Beckham Jr, Zay Flowers and Nelson Agholor have fortified a passing attack that already included Rashod Bateman, Devin Duvernay and young tight ends Isaiah Likely and Charlie Kolar.
Theoretically, Andrews may see fewer double teams in 2023 because opponents will have more weapons to worry about. If that's what happens, Andrews is all for it.
"In the last five years, it's been a lot of attention," said Andrews, who has caught 336 passes for 4,313 yards and 34 touchdowns during his five-year career. "I'm blessed to be able to be around these great players right now and have a lot of pieces to help me out, and I'm excited about that part [of] it. But at the end of the day, I'm going to go out and do what I do - win my one on ones, win my double teams - and just play ball."
It will be interesting to see how new Offensive Coordinator Todd Monken takes advantage of Andrews' vast skillset. A tight end who moves like a wide receiver, Andrews can be effective lining up anywhere and is a difficult cover for linebackers, safeties and corners. Inside linebacker Patrick Queen has often been frustrated trying to defend Andrews in practice.
"Mark, he's just deceptively fast," Queen said. "You look at him on film and you don't think he's that fast. But when you get into him in person, Mark can roll. His routes, [he has the] best routes out of the tight end group. He's everything that you want in a tight end. He's reliable, great hands, can run routes, big guy. He can go up and get the ball. He does it all. When you have a guy like that, that's why he got paid what he got."
Already an All-Pro tight end, Andrews wants a Lombardi Trophy and has reported to OTAs in peak condition, looking ready for another monster year. Whether he has another 1,000-yard season or not, Andrews wants the Ravens to be the last team standing and isn't caught up in who gets the most targets.
"I'm not one of those guys who cares about that," Andrews said. "I know that if all of us are doing our jobs, all of us are playing well, we don't have to worry about that type of thing. We're all going to make plays, we're all going to be happy for each other, and that's what makes a team great - is the unselfishness."
Arriving for the second week of OTAs has given Andrews his first glimpse of Flowers on the field, and his first chance to run routes in Monken's offense. Andrews likes what he sees and looks forward to working with Beckham once he arrives.
"Seeing Zay run some routes - he was running some incredible routes today and getting open - and then, obviously, OBJ and some of the other young guys that I'm excited about, I think it's going to be a dangerous offense." Andrews said. "I've really loved what Coach Monken has had to teach and the way he's teaching and his energy that he brings - very enthusiastic. So, I think the sky is the limit. I think for us, it's just about taking charge, taking control of this offense, making it ours."
Andrews' chemistry with Lamar Jackson is well documented, and Andrews could have his best season- particularly if he sees more single coverage. However, Andrews has been a part of four playoff teams, but has yet to reach an AFC Championship Game or Super Bowl. Regardless of his individual success next season, Andrews wants Baltimore to be the last team standing.
"I want to win a Super Bowl - that's No. 1," Andrews said. "I think this city, this place, this organization deserves that. We put a lot of work in. I think about the guys that were drafted in my 2018 draft class, and it feels like, kind of, what we started, what we built, and it's time; it's time. I'm extremely, extremely driven right now."