Greg Roman has to make things easier for the young Ravens Offense. Greg Roman will need to take this offensive unit to another level once again.
Greg Roman is known in the NFL as a master of the run game. Roman is not heralded about his prowess of passing plays, but rather about the way he can produce effective run-first offenses in today’s passing league. Some would say that Roman is in love with the run game to a fault. I believe If Roman can utilize more passing concepts and open up the route tree the Baltimore Ravens will be poised to win their first playoff game in the Jackson era and strengthen their case for Super Bowl contenders.
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In order to revitalize the passing game Roman will have to look back in Ravens history. Former Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco was lovingly referred to by some fans in Baltimore as “check down Joe”. Flacco would often dump the ball off to his playmaker in the backfield Ray Rice. Even though Ravens fans would lament the checkdown it would often lead to positive yards or even a first down. Jackson’s version of the Flacco checkdown would be scrambling for 20+ yards and breaking ankles along the way. If Roman can emphasize the checkdown this year instead of scrambles there could be a decrease in sacks when extending a play goes wrong. Some of the most efficient quarterbacks have had substantial help by checking it down to their playmaking running back.
In order to have an effective pass game Roman must make the game easier for his young quarterback. A strong screen game would be an excellent complement next to his safety blanket tight end. The effectiveness of the screen was on full display against the Ravens defense Monday night. The screen adds stability to the passing game by being a low-risk high reward. Roman has running backs like Justice Hill and J.K Dobbins who could fit this role and have the potential to take it all the way at any given time. The speedster Marquise Brown should also be the recipient of bubble screens/flood screens when cornerbacks are playing 10-15 yards off the line of scrimmage. Defenders should not be let off the hook by not having to make tackles in space.
Roman has to get as creative in the passing game as he is in the run game. Roman’s passing attack can be summarized as Andrews putting pressure down the seam/middle of the field, Brown going deep, and throwing the ball to a possession receiver after a play action. It is imperative that Roman opens up the route tree for more intermediate routes in order to move the chains. Obviously opening up the route tree is half the battle, receivers will have to be able to create separation and Jackson will have to make the pass outside the numbers. Roman can help facilitate this by giving Jackson more options at the line of scrimmage via audibles. Coming into the second year of Roman’s offense Jackson should have a more complete knowledge and he should be taking steps to curate the offense as he sees fit.