The Baltimore Ravens and offensive coordinator Greg Roman decided to part ways after six seasons together, three of which came with him being the offensive coordinator. Baltimore’s offense was one of the NFL’s best rushing attacks under Roman, as shown by their league-record 3,296 rushing yards in 2019.
“Greg devised and led our offense to no fewer than 26 historical NFL and franchise achievements. He established an identity for our offense. We are grateful for Greg’s great work and abilities, and we wish him and his wonderful family the utmost happiness going forward,” Harbaugh said in a statement.
Despite the success, it was time for a Roman to move on.
“After visiting with Coach [John] Harbaugh and after huddling with my family, I have decided that now is the right time to move on from the Ravens so that I can explore new challenges and opportunities,” Roman said in a statement. “I’ll truly miss Baltimore, but at the same time I am excited to attack my next opportunity with focus and passion.”
Now the Ravens are searching for a new offensive mind to come in and find ways to put points on the board. Quarterback Lamar Jackson should be the focal point of their offensive coordinator search. Of course, that’s provided he gets a contract worked out during the offseason, or at least has the franchise tag placed on him. It’s obvious that Jackson is Baltimore’s best offensive weapon. In fact, he’s one of the league’s most dynamic playmakers.
Jackson’s MVP season in 2019 saw him lead the NFL with 36 passing touchdowns and only six interceptions. Not bad for a running back! Speaking of rushing, Jackson accumulated 1,206 rushing yards that season and followed up with 1,005 rushing yards the next year.
There’s this notion that Jackson can only operate in a run-heavy offense. That’s not true.
“We were unique; we have a quarterback that can do everything – that’s pretty unusual,” Ravens coach John Harbaugh said.
A look back to Jackson’s days at the University of Louisville gives a glimpse of what the next coordinator needs to do in Baltimore. In college, Jackson played under Bobby Petrino where they spread the field out and let Jackson go to work.
The Ravens have the personnel to operate in a spread offense. Rashad Bateman will be back from injury. Devin Duvernay is capable of being used on the perimeter and on a series of plays to get him the ball quickly and take advantage of his ability to make plays. Tylan Wallace and James Proche could serve as depth pieces if general manager Eric DeCosta decides to take a receiver like USC’s Jordan Addison with the No. 22 pick in the 2023 NFL Draft. A trio of Addison, Duvernay and Bateman along with Mark Andrews at tight end would give Baltimore a potent lineup. Add in J. K. Dobbins at running back and the result should be a pretty explosive offense.
Jackson has been criticized for his downfield passing outside the numbers. But his overall passing ability is much better than what has been shown under Roman. Former Ravens backup quarterback Robert Griffin III made an excellent point when he said Roman’s offense is geared more towards running backs and tight ends. A lot of the passing concepts were less complex and limited options that Jackson had in the passing game. The focus was on finding ways to run the football. Just look at how the Ravens totaled the third-fewest passing yards (194.1) in the past three seasons as proof.
An emphasis needs to be placed on the quick passing game. Run more hitches, bubbles, sticks, slants, etc. Incorporate more run pass options as well. This quick attack will help relieve the offensive line if they are struggling to pass protect and will counter a blitzing defense as the quarterback will immediately get rid of the ball before feeling any pressure. Ironically, those are two areas where the Ravens struggled over the years.
It wouldn’t hurt to mix in some seam routes and other deep passing concepts like a skinny post from the slot receiver. Things open up more for the offense because Jackson demands attention from the defense. Most times a defender must be dedicated to spying on Jackson. More times than not, that’s a mismatch on the open field. It also pulls one less defender out of pass coverage.
Getting a playcaller that understands how to showcase Jackson should be priority number one. That’s where current Ravens wide receiver coach Tee Martin comes to mind. Having orchestrated a spread offense as a National Championship winning quarterback at the University of Tennessee, he can see the game through the same eyes as Jackson. He has offensive coordinator experience on his resume from his 2016 – 2018 tenure at USC. Martin has been with the Ravens since 2019 and would be an intriguing name to become the next offensive coordinator.