Ravens Player Finds Clears Message Outside of Team Facility

Ravens OC Greg Roman

Getty The campaign to "Fire Greg Roman" has gone too far.

The Baltimore Ravens offense is clearly at a crossroads with offensive coordinator Greg Roman at the helm for the fourth year in a row. Since the team returned from its bye week, the unit has woefully underperformed. They’ve been averaging just 13.8 points in their last five games and their struggles in the red zone reached a crescendo in Week 15 when the team only managed to put up a field goal in a 13-3 loss to the Cleveland Browns on December 17, 2022.

The campaign among a contingent of the team’s fanbase that has been calling for Roman to no longer be the play caller on offense reached a fever pitch and crossed a line on Sunday night December 18, 2022. Ravens outside linebacker Tyus Bowser posted a video on his Instagram story of notes that were left on the ground outside of the team facility that all read the same clear message, ‘Fire Greg Roman’.

Some have speculated on Twitter that they might have been left by a player or another member of the organization. However, it’s highly unlikely that an employee would risk their job security on such a juvenile act. The notes were clearly left by a very intense yet misguided fan who wanted to express the same frustrations many fans, pundits, and analysts that follow the team share.

Should Roman Get Let Go or Just Shift Roles?

The fourth-year play-caller is not far removed from being named Assistant Coach of the Year after he orchestrated a revolutionary run-based offense that highlighted the strengths of franchise quarterback Lamar Jackson and propelled him to just the second-ever unanimous MVP-winning season.

Sadly, the 2019 season that shattered franchise and league records feels like a distant memory, and Roman has not elected to consistently lean on the Ravens’ resurgent rushing attack that nearly totaled 200 or more yards on the ground in back-to-back weeks.

Instead, he has opted to stray away from his roots and what the team does best and try to fix an inept passing attack on the fly that doesn’t have the requisite weapons outside of the tight end to consistently create explosive plays.

The players have vehemently defended Roman at every turn and have wanted to put the blame for the offense’s shortcomings on themselves and their lack of consistent execution. While some of it has come down to poor execution at times whether it’s a missed block, dropped pass, or turnover committed by a skilled position player, they also haven’t consistently been put in a position to succeed or highlight their strengths.

Roman’s unwillingness to fully commit to their clear, effective, and productive identity on that side of the ball doesn’t mean he deserves to be unemployed because his prowess as a run-game designer still makes him a valuable asset to the team. However, it might be time to relieve him of his play-calling duties and give one of the other offensive coach coaches on the staff a chance and keep him on as the run-game coordinator which was his previous title in 2018 before being promoted the following offseason.

When the Ravens’ offense went through a similar slog a decade ago during the 2012 season, the change from Cam Cameron to Jim Caldwell as offensive coordinator gave the unit the jolt they needed on that side of the ball that year.

The transition eventually set the table for Jackson’s predecessor, Joe Flacco, to go on one of the most prolific postseason runs by a quarterback in league history in which he threw 11 touchdowns to no interceptions and recorded passer ratings of over 100 in four straight playoff games.

It’s unrealistic to expect anyone that would be promoted internally to have the same success as Caldwell did when he went from quarterbacks coach to offensive coordinator but a coach in the same position as he was in before his ascension that is on the current staff in James Urban. He has been serving as the Ravens quarterback’s coach since Jackson’s rookie season in 2018 and has a close relationship with the star signal caller.

As the most logical in-house choice, he’d be responsible for helping the unit find consistency and both get and stay within a rhythm during games down the stretch. Saturday’s results against the Browns aside, the Ravens’ backup quarterbacks have done a great job keeping the team competitive in games when Jackson has missed time over the past two seasons.

Head coach John Harbaugh told him as much following the team’s Week 14 win over the Pittsburgh Steelers calling his work with third-year pro Tyler Huntley and undrafted rookie Anthony Brown “one of the best coaching jobs” that he has “ever seen”.

A couple of other in-house candidates that fans have been clamoring to get a chance at calling plays are Wide Receiver coach Tee Martin and Pass Game Specialist Keith Williams. Both are in their second years on the staff and were integral in helping guide Mark Andrews to a First-Team All-Pro season and former Ravens wide receiver Marquise ‘Hollywood’ Brown to the first 1,000-yard receiving season by a player at the position since 2016.

Two-time Superbowl Champion Criticizes State of Ravens WRs

Before he was employed as an NFL analyst by ESPN, Damien Woody played 12 years in the league, was voted to one Pro Bowl, and helped establish the New England Patriots dynasty as a member of two championship-winning teams. He knows what it takes to win it all and isn’t confident that the Ravens have the weapons in the passing game on the perimeter to win all.

He took to Twitter during their game against the Browns to air his biggest grievance with the Ravens’ lackluster passing attack and called their situation at wide receiver in particular “malpractice”.

They came into the season hedging their bets that 2021 first-round pick, Rashod Bateman, would be their No. 1 wideout and stay healthy all season without making another notable move at the position outside of trading away 2021 leading wide receiver, Marquise ‘Hollywood’ Brown.

While Bateman did begin to emerge, he couldn’t stay healthy and is on injured reserve after electing to have season-ending foot surgery. After they opted to not acquire one via trade at or ahead of the midseason deadline, signing a well-seasoned DeSean Jackson and former second-round pick Andy Isabella, and bringing back undrafted rookie Shemar Bridges have been their only additions.

The Ravens’ focus and emphasis to provide more depth and plan ahead for their defense instead of taking more swings at wideout in the NFL Draft, in particular, has caused them to miss out on some dynamic players at the position in recent years who became instant difference makers for their respective teams.

Last year they selected a pair of wide receivers for the fourth year in a row and third straight with general manager Eric DeCosta at the helm of the front office by taking Bateman in the first round and doubling down with former Oklahoma State standout Tylan Wallace in the fourth round.

They selected Wallace at 131 overall but a player at the position that came off the board 19 picks earlier in the same round was former USC star Amon-Ra St. Brown who has been the far more productive player in their first two seasons.

St. Brown quickly established himself as one of the better young receivers in the league who is explosive, reliable, and can be used in a multitude of different ways. His production with the Detroit Lions dwarfs Wallace’s with the Ravens who has just five receptions and 44 receiving yards in 25 career games and is currently on injured reserve. In 30 career games, St. Brown has recorded 179 receptions, 1886 receiving yards, and 11 receiving touchdowns and has run the ball 15 times for 156 rushing yards and a score per Pro Football Reference.

The Ravens had the second to last pick in the third round but elected to use it on defensive back Brandon Stephens at No. 104 overall who started 11 games as a rookie at free safety. He primarily plays cornerback now as a backup after the team handed a five-year contract worth $70 million to Marcus Williams in free agency.

In the second round of this year’s draft, with fans foaming at the mouth and practically begging them to take former Georgia standout wide receiver George Pickens, they selected former Michigan edge rusher David Ojabo a month after he suffered a torn Achilles.

They used the No. 45 overall selection on Ojabo who took one snap in his NFL debut against the Browns while Pickens when to the Steelers seven picks later at No. 52 overall and has been playing well for their archrivals all season. Pickens has recorded 42 catches for 643 receiving yards, a pair of touchdowns, and averages 15.3 yards per catch.

They have several impending free agents that will need new contracts at other positions this upcoming offseason, most notably Jackson and recently acquired two-time All-Pro inside linebacker Roquan Smith.

That means that unless they trade some high draft capital for a proven commodity at wide receiver, they’ll need to continue to take earlier swings at the position until they find more than one dynamic playmaker to give their star franchise quarterback.