Ravens Part Ways With Offensive Coordinator Greg Roman, and it’s Glorious

Whenever a coach is relieved of his duties, or in this case, “steps down” (wink, wink) — it’s essential to look back upon their accomplishments. And in the case of former Baltimore Ravens offensive coordinator Greg Roman, there’s a lot to work with.

Hired in 2019, Roman built a system that successfully transitioned the Ravens from a pro-style pocket passing quarterback in Joe Flacco to Lamar Jackson, a much more athletically inclined option. Greg Roman was instrumental in jumpstarting the 2018 32nd overall pick’s career, aiding him to an MVP award during the duo’s first full season together. 

Go figure when your backfield consists of an MVP, the rest of your offense succeeds as well, and that year the Ravens averaged 33.2 points per game in the 2019 regular season, first in the NFL.

Despite the regular season success, the Ravens lost their first playoff game that season in a crushing defeat to the Tennessee Titans. Since 2019, Baltimore has not topped 11 wins in a season and have won just one playoff game. An apparent trend, and an ugly reality for the Raven faithful.

But why the sudden fall off after a dominant 2019 campaign? Simply put, Roman’s system is outdated. A scheme of heavy running and tight-end usage, option plays, and occasional play-action passing sprinkled throughout is great…given your opposition doesn’t see it coming. 

The style of play put the league on watch — and watching film is what opponents did. Designed Jackson runs became predictable, and targets to All-Pro Mark Andrews were defended as the only option downfield. 

Baltimore finished the 2022 season at 20th in the league in scoring and 30th in red zone offense, converting touchdowns on just 44.44% of their trips inside the 20-yard line. 

Angry Twitter users and feisty Instagram comments were impossible to avoid. As a Mt. Hebron student, you couldn’t carry a conversation around the team without mentioning how lackluster Roman’s play-calling has been. 

Members of the Ravens flock (the nickname for loyal fans) would sport “F*** Greg Roman” t-shirts and call for his firing after every failed third down or turnover. One widespread practice was circulating screenshots of Ravens receivers in close proximity to each other downfield, highlighting how awful Roman’s play design appeared. Other team blogs would even publish entire articles begging their management not to hire Roman for their vacant positions. 

Now whether or not I’m one of these aggravated fans…well, the title speaks for itself. But, it’s finally happened, Roman is gone. So, let’s talk about why it’s so good.

Exhibit A: The contract. (Jackson part 1)

The run-first, throws poorly on occasion quarterback we all knew and loved in 2019 wants to branch out. Yes, Jackson already won an MVP. Yes, he holds the single-season QB rushing record. Yes, he is already a phenomenal player. But he is still getting better.

During the 2022 offseason, Jackson put on twenty-five pounds of muscle and relentlessly trained accuracy, all with the hopes of becoming a better passer. It’s been clear for a season or two now that he believes in himself more than the most loyal of fans, and to get to the next level wants to become one hell of a passer. Under Roman, this isn’t possible — deep targets are few and far between. A new scheme means new plays, new routes, and new potential created in an instant. 

Exhibit B: The contract. (Jackson part 2)

Prior to the 2022 season, one underlying factor plagued the hearts of fans — Jackson was still on his rookie deal, and had not yet been re-signed. 

Current sports editor and Mt. Hebron senior Jeffrey Mansour even stressed in his 2022 season preview that prioritizing Jackson was a necessity at this time a year ago. But it just never happened. Jackson reportedly turned down a six-year deal with $133 million fully guaranteed, opting to bet on himself the upcoming season with the goal of giving management no choice but to pay him what he wants.

And, well, that was a horrible choice — following a sprained PCL, Jackson missed the team’s last six games, and the sample size of “holy freaking oh my goodness let’s pay this man millions to save our franchise” play was tiny. 

Regardless, Jackson is proven, and the team is doing all they can to lock him down.

Not only does removing Roman look like a favorable move for Jackson, but the team has also stated he’ll play a part in selecting a new coordinator. Additionally, and perhaps another bargaining tool in the Jackson sweepstakes, Baltimore has claimed cornerback Travyon Mullen off of waivers, a cousin of Jackson. Talk of the team bringing in five-time Pro Bowler Deandre Hopkins has also ramped up as free agency approaches. 

General manager Eric DeCosta has remained positive, telling the media on various occasions that he believes Jackson will be a Raven for years to come — but it’s going to take a monstrous contract and some other pawns to do so.

Exhibit C: The arsenal.

On the topic of Hopkins, to accommodate your franchise quarterback’s wishes, you must provide him with weapons. After all, even prime Tom Brady is useless if he’s throwing to nine-year-olds. By eliminating Roman’s system, there’s less focus on multiple tight-end sets and the run game. No wide receiver in their right mind would ever want to play for a team that runs 24/7, and this is a phenomenon we’ve already seen in Baltimore. 

First-round pick Marquise Brown left after being unhappy with targets. Fellow wideout Myles Boykin saw limited action and failed to develop with the Ravens. Additionally, notable veterans simply haven’t signed in Baltimore, leaving Jackson with third and later round talent to throw to like DeSean Jackson and Sammy Watkins — veterans oh so beyond their best days. 

A new scheme means new potential, not just for current young receivers in Devin Duvernay and Rashod Bateman but for future picks and free agent acquisitions — Hopkins included.

As Ravens fans across Mt. Hebron sit in football purgatory for the coming weeks, only one man can answer their prayers, and that’s Jackson. DeCosta is no longer in control, nor is head coach John Harbaugh. And as more and more cryptic tweets and Instagram stories float from Jackson’s accounts to all of our feeds, a very confusing future only gets more blurry — with Roman’s departure being the only definite for the flock to hold on to.