After Ravens' record-setting season on offense, OC Greg Roman looking to keep defenses guessing

Daniel Oyefusi, The Baltimore Sun on

Published in Football

BALTIMORE -- A year ago, Ravens offensive coordinator Greg Roman was tasked with any offensive mind's dream, asked to design a system from the ground up.

Given the offense's superlatives from last season -- the all-time NFL rushing record, the league's top-scoring offense, the sport's Most Valuable Player -- Roman's work should be considered a success.

But after the league's most efficient offense sputtered in a stunning divisional-round loss to the Tennessee Titans, Roman was sent back to the drawing board, left to ponder how to make adjustments for future success while retaining the roots that made the offense so potent.

"I think once the score kind of got out of hand on us, that's when things really flipped from a balanced attack," Roman told reporters Tuesday, speaking for the first time since the season-ending loss.

"A game like that, as a coach you always blame yourself first. You always look inwards, you always want to push the right buttons and pull the right levers. I'm the first person I look at when that happens. But it's really just a function of a lot of the little things that we did during the regular season, we just didn't execute at a high enough level."

With offseason workout programs becoming virtual because of the coronavirus pandemic, the first time Roman will be able to install his latest modifications will likely come in late July, when teams are scheduled to report for training camp. With defenses now having a season's worth of film, the trick will be to stay ahead of the curve.


"I think we've definitely tweaked things," Roman said. "We haven't had the luxury of the OTAs and whatnot to kind of test run certain things, so we've got to be really judicious with how we use that time in training camp to experiment. I think experimenting is going to be very selective."

Questions about the long-term viability of the offense will ultimately lie with quarterback Lamar Jackson, who broke Michael Vick's single-season rushing record and passed for a league-high 36 touchdowns but struggled in the loss to the Titans.

"There's a magic to his style and how he plays, some creativity," Roman said. "And we always want to focus that creativity and that energy into winning football and winning football decisions on the field. Accuracy, timing, vision, all those things. There's certain things we want to work on and emphasize more. Throwing the ball into different parts of the field, for example."

Even with returning a bulk of the offense's production from last season, key questions loom, mainly regarding Jackson's supporting cast. Jackson's improvement as a passer was well-noted, but he struggled targeting receivers outside the hashes, compared to over the middle of the field.


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