John Harbaugh Sends Strong Message on Ravens OC Greg Roman

Greg Roman

Getty The Ravens could call a different game on one side of the ball in 2022.

Through the first three weeks of the 2022 regular season, the Baltimore Ravens have the top offense in the NFL and are averaging a league-high 33 points per game. Much of the credit has been given to their dynamic dual-threat quarterback and MVP front runner, Lamar Jackson, and deservedly so given that the vast majority of the unit’s production has been thanks to his sensational throwing and running ability.

However, the unsung hero of the team’s hot start to the season on that side of the ball is the person who designs and calls the plays. Ravens’ offensive coordinator Greg Roman has been the scapegoat that many disgruntled fans, various analysts, and countless media pundits have pointed to for most of the team’s shortcomings and inconsistencies over the last couple of years.

Doubters and critics have been calling for the team to relieve him of his duties dating back to the 2020 season when he was less than a year removed from being named Assistant Coach of the Year. In 2019, he was the orchestrator of one of the most revolutionary and prolific offenses in league history that resulted in Jackson winning just the second ever unanimous MVP, the Ravens finishing atop the AFC, rushing records being shattered.

Roman has overseen and played a part in the evolution of not only his offense but of his generational signal caller who, according to the Pro Football Reference, currently leads the league in passer rating (119.0), passing touchdowns (10), total touchdowns (12), and is tied for the fourth most rushing yards in the NFL (243). Ravens’ head coach John Harbaugh believes that Roman is “doing a great job” like he has “always done” in his fourth-year calling plays full-time which also happens to be Jackson’s fourth year as the full-time starter.

“If you ask any defensive coordinator or head coach in this league, they’ll tell you that this offense is hard to defend,” Harbaugh said in a press conference on September 26, 2022. “So, that’s a pretty a good measuring stick right there. Now, executing and then keeping it going and coming up with ways to keep people off balance, that’s what coaches do, that’s what coordinators do. I really believe Greg is one of the very best in the business at that.”

Awesome Adjustments In Short Yardage Situations

Part of what has made Roman and the Ravens such a dangerous opponent from week to week and sometimes even half to half in the same game this year is their ability to make key adjustments.

Not being able to convert in short yardage situations led to a debilitating turnover on downs twice against the Miami Dolphins in Week 2 that proved to be one of the key differences in the game swung momentum away from them and cost them a touchdown, Roman unlocked his fabled vault and got creative against the New England Patriots in Week 3.

The Ravens scored touchdowns on all five of their trips into the red zone on only one of Jackson’s four touchdowns when for more than five yards. With the Patriots selling out to stop the run every time they got to or inside the five-yard line, Roman dialed up short passing plays that included a shovel pass to All-Pro tight end Mark Andrews that looked like something straight out of Andy Reid’s playbook for the Kansas City Chiefs for the first points of the game.

The other two short scoring throws came on a one-yard pass to backup tight end Josh Oliver off play action for this first career touchdown and the other isolated emerging third-year wide receiver Devin Duvernay one-on-one in the right corner of the endzone where he made an incredible catch for a four-yard touchdown.

Blitz Beaters Have Been Great

Another major adjustment that Roman has made or rather allegedly already had but wasn’t being executed properly or consistently was counters designed to beat the blitz. The Ravens were one of the worst teams in the entire league at handling pressure last season.

Their inability to make opposing defenses pay for sending more defenders to rush the passer led to costly shortcomings on that side of the ball down the stretch as the team lost six-straight games to close out the 2021 season.

Through the first three games of this season, the offense and more importantly, Jackson himself have made a night and day improvement when it comes to combating blitzes, pressures, and simulated pressures. They aren’t only taking full advantage of one-on-one opportunities for the pass catchers, Jackson has been absolutely lights-out and frankly at his best against the blitz with the way he’s been shredding opposing defenses that dare send extra bodies in a pitiful attempt to rattle him, move him off his mark, or confuse him pre and post-snap.

While Jackson still deserves the bulk of the credit for recognizing pressure and making the proper checks and decisions with where to go with the ball once it’s snapped, Roman is the one who designed the plays and built on contingencies based on what the defense presents pre-snap and deploys post-snap.

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