OWINGS MILLS, Md. — Ravens tight end Mark Andrews is having perhaps the best season of his young career.
He has big plans for National Tight End Day, which falls on Sunday when Baltimore hosts the Cincinnati Bengals in a key AFC Noth matchup.
"Going off" is how Andrews plans to celebrate the day.
Andrews has already gone off this season.
He leads the Ravens with 44 targets and receptions (340). Andrews is second on the team with 468 yards receiving and three touchdowns.
Andrews is tied with the Kansas City Chiefs Travis Kelce for the most receiving yards among tight ends.
“That’s cool," Andrews said. "But obviously, it’s very early on in the season, and there’s a lot of work left to be done. The job is not finished yet. At the end of the day, there’s really only one thing that I care about, and that’s at the end of the season.”
Lamar Jackson agrees that Andrews is having his best season as a pro. Andrews gathered momentum when he was working out in his native Arizona this summer.
“I don’t know what it is; it’s just his hard work ethic, I’ll say," Jackson said. "He was getting after it in Arizona when we were working out. He just wants to be the best, and that’s what you need out of your players. Your tight end – whatever position they play – you want the best out of them, and that’s what he’s shown.”
The work ethic is nothing new for Andrews, who took over the starting job as a rookie in 2018 and has become one of the team's most valuable players.
In September, the Ravens reached a four-year, $56 million extension with Andrews, making him the highest-paid tight end in the NFL over that span.
Andrews is one of six tight ends in NFL history with at least 2,000 receiving yards and 20 receiving touchdowns in his first three seasons, according to NFL Research.
"When he first got here, like one day in, maybe two [days in], I was coaching the tight ends at the time, and I went upstairs and basically told everybody, ‘This guy has got a feel. He just has an instinct.’ I think that’s one of his greatest strengths," offensive coordinator Greg Roman said. "He knows pretty much how to get open. He has a good feel for it, setting up defenders. He just has a really natural feel for it. He’s always trying to improve.
"I think he spent a lot of time this offseason working on releases and different nuances of route running that’s really, really showing itself on game day. But he’s doing a great job, and we have high expectations for Mark. He does for himself, and that’s where it all starts.”