Baltimore Ravens: Greg Roman must improve passing scheme
By Peter Panacy
For the second year in a row, the Ravens were eliminated in the playoffs because of a lackluster passing offense, meaning Greg Roman has work to do.
It’s no secret Baltimore Ravens offensive coordinator Greg Roman runs one of the most complex and innovative rushing offenses in the NFL.
What he hasn’t done with much consistency, however, is develop a fully functional pass offense.
Just over a year ago, this was on display against the Tennessee Titans during the divisional round of last year’s playoff push. While quarterback Lamar Jackson managed to throw for 365 yards and a touchdown, Tennessee’s defense flustered Jackson with a lot of zone looks and ultimately forced him into two interceptions with four sacks taken.
Hence the 28-12 loss in a game many thought the Ravens would easily cruise to victory.
Then again in the divisional round this season, this time against the Buffalo Bills, Roman’s offense again did Jackson no favors. The star quarterback went just 14-of-24 for 162 yards, no touchdowns and that now-infamous pick-six interception:
No underneath routes. None of Baltimore’s tight ends or running backs slipping out underneath coverage to assist with a would-be dump-off, even if the play was on a 3rd-and-goal. Not one ounce of “let’s trust a receiver to make a play with the ball in his hands after the catch.”
Granted, Jackson has to bear some of the blame for what happened in the lackluster 17-3 playoff-exit defeat at the hands of the Bills. He missed some open targets, and some may begin to question his true accuracy. The Ravens offensive line isn’t complete either, and his receivers not always separating despite facing a lot of zone coverage last weekend wasn’t helpful.
But if the idea of getting Baltimore’s offense into elite-level status goes to the top, the ultimate responsibility falls on Roman.
Greg Roman must apply his run-design abilities to Ravens pass game
Roman is a good coordinator. But he’s often relied far too heavily on the ability to move the ball on the ground. When it’s working, it works well. Just take a look at those run-heavy San Francisco 49ers offenses under head coach Jim Harbaugh between 2011 and 2013.
But the lack of creativity through the air has become something of a problem on its own.
NFL Network’s Brian Baldinger broke down how Roman’s passing schemes lack creativity. Against a good defense like that of the Bills this season or the Titans a year ago, those deficiencies become massively apparent.
For Roman to get Baltimore’s offense to a continued level of success, more importantly, one that can thrive in the playoffs, he’ll need to find a way to develop some of the intricate and beneficial play-calls to better utilize the available talent.
Yes, the Ravens could do more to help Jackson, too, perhaps by investing in some additional pass-catching help and ensuring the offensive line remains deep.
But to not give Jackson all the tools he needs to succeed, which includes a fundamentally sound offensive system, points to Roman falling short of where he needs to be.