The recent move the Baltimore Ravens made by trading quarterback Joe Flacco to the Denver Broncos is yet to be official, but it signifies a new beginning.
The Ravens also promoted former run game coordinator Greg Roman to their offensive coordinator position. Both of the moves were made with dynamic signal caller Lamar Jackson in mind.
Roman is looking forward to working with Jackson and putting together a new offense for Baltimore.
“I’m very excited about it. We’re re-imagining our offense. Lamar Jackson is a special player,” Roman said during a recent press conference. “You’re going to see a lot of elements. We have used a morphed offense over the years, but we want to start fresh and rebuild it from the ground up. Let’s build an offense that accommodates Lamar’s unique skill set.”
As the run game coordinator, Roman was largely responsible for the suffocating, run-heavy scheme the Ravens employed last season.
The Ravens were among the leaders in time of possession last year, which helped the defense. Roman wants to operate an efficient offense that is productive in situational football. He wants the scheme to be able to work when teams load up to stop the run and avoid being one dimensional.
“I stress balance and putting our players in position where the opponent can’t call our plays,” Roman explained. “I am not looking to blow up any statistical category. I’m looking to blow up the win column.”
The tight ends will be one of the groups that help create a variety of looks for the offense. Baltimore invested heavily in the position via the 2018 NFL Draft by selecting Hayden Hurst in the first round and Mark Andrews in the third round. Roman explained how he plans to use them in different packages next season.
“Those are two young guys we’re really excited about. We can work in a fullback too but definitely use some 12 personnel,” Roman added. “Mark Andrews and Hayden Hurst finished well. You’ll see a lot more of them this year and not just in traditional alignments. I’m excited about expanding with them this year.”
Regardless of what package the Ravens use, it won’t work unless the offensive line is strong. That concept isn’t lost on Roman. He pointed to the offensive line first when he was asked about the necessary personnel to make his offense work.
The past success that Roman had proves his point. The offensive line that was in place when Roman was in San Francisco was known as one of the most physical and nasty units in the league. Baltimore added to their offensive line when they used a 2018 third-round pick on Orlando Brown Jr. who along with Ronnie Stanley and Marshall Yanda make the front unit a good one.
Last year, the offensive line weighed on opposing defenses with a ball-control offense that emphasized Jackson’s electrifying ability as a runner. Baltimore rode their success to an AFC North division title after posting a 6-1 record with Jackson under center.
Now Roman has to highlight Jackson as a passer to compliment the running game. While members of the national media think Jackson is limited as a passer, Roman is confident in his quarterback. He even compared Jackson to a former NFL MVP.
“As far as him throwing the football, we feel great about it. We saw a lot of improvement and he’s only going go get better. The sky is the limit there,” Roman said. “He has a great feel for the game. He has really good field vision. Often times he’ll just see guys open. That takes his ceiling and moves it up. Steve McNair was like that. He had an uncanny ability to see guys that might not have been a part of the progression.”
It all has to come together to effectively for the Ravens. Roman is in the process of installing the scheme step by step. He likened it to putting together furniture from Ikea.
“You have to start off at the most basic parts. It’s like when you put together your kid’s furniture from Ikea. If you make one wrong move you have to take it apart and start over again. It’s a time intensive thing that has to all fit together. It’s a real grind and a lot of fun,” Roman added.