What you can and cannot pin on Greg Roman with Ravens offense
The Baltimore Ravens are 4-1. That’s good. The offense is not functioning smoothly. What can you pin on Greg Roman as the offensive coordinator?
What you can pin on Roman:
When something goes wrong with the Ravens offense, the offensive coordinator is the first person to get blame. Then you go after individual players, like the quarterback and the offensive line. The Ravens haven’t done the flashy job they were hoping to do this season when it comes to the offense. It hasn’t been a disaster, in fact Baltimore only has one loss. It just hasn’t been great either, so concern and the blame game come with the territory. So let’s look at what Greg Roman, the offensive coordinator, is accountable for.
The first thing that comes to mind with the offense is the first thing that fans notice. When things go poorly, rushing attempts go down and Lamar Jackson passing attempts go up. The Ravens haven’t done well as a pass happy team. That’s why it’s shocking to see Jackson throw it 37 times against the Bengals. Going back to the playoff loss last season, Roman has looked to the pass game at an alarming rate and this shift happens at the first sign of trouble. Then you have to look at the problems from an exclusively 2020 lens.
The Ravens run game isn’t producing the way it did a year ago. Is that all on Roman? Absolutely not. However, Roman isn’t letting any of his running backs pick up any momentum or flow. The rotation of running backs hasn’t been useful, it’s been disruptive to the offense. You get a little Mark Ingram then he goes to the bench. You get a little Gus Edwards then he goes to the bench. You get a little J.K. Dobbins then he goes to the bench.
Mark Ingram has 205 rushing yards. Edwards has carried the ball for 192 yards while Dobbins has 126. Ingram has 45 carries compared to the 34 of Edwards and Dobbins has 16 carries. By the way, the quarterback is the leading rusher of the offense. Dobbins is averaging 7.9 yards per carry, has the longest run from a Baltimore running back this year and is getting the fewest touches by a good bit. Edwards is picking up a full yard more per carry than Ingram, yet Ingram has the most carries of the three.
Do the blocks need to be better? Yes (getting there in a bit). Let’s not pretend however that Roman is pulling the right strings in the run game when the number of a running back’s touches obviously has nothing to do with the results. It’s a weird balance with no reasoning behind it.
Roman needs to come up with some answers for the problems this offense is facing. Jackson isn’t getting a ton of help from his offensive line. The Ravens don’t call enough screens to slow that down. With the speed of Marquise Brown, Devin Duvernay and the running backs on this team getting creative is certainly one way to slow down pass rush. The Ravens need to do more in general to get fast play-makers the football in the open field. Plays that get yards after the catch could and should be a cure for some of the Ravens problems. Devin Duvernay for example had a 42 yard run and went back to being an afterthought.