The Baltimore Ravens were able to turn their fortunes around in the second half of the season following an injury to starting quarterback Joe Flacco, inserting rookie Lamar Jackson into the lineup. They finished the season on a 6-1 run to narrowly win the AFC North, and while they were eliminated in the first round of the postseason, it was the first time since 2014 that they had even made it to the dance.
A big reason for the turnaround was the ignition of the running game behind Jackson, fellow rookie Gus Edwards, and Kenneth Dixon. So it’s no surprise that the Ravens elected to promote their run game coordinator, Greg Roman, to the position of offensive coordinator as they transition to a Jackson-led offense.
Reportedly, it wasn’t necessarily a move that they were determined to make, but the pressure was on them before Roman was a name on the coaching lists around the league. Brian Flores, for example, is said to have been one head coaching candidate who had Roman’s name prepared for his interview with the Miami Dolphins.
Marty Mornhinweg had been their offensive coordinator. Baltimore wanted to keep him on board, perhaps as their passing game coordinator, but he understandably declined to accept the demotion and parted ways with the organization.
So the future of the Ravens’ offense is now in the hands of Greg Roman, who will have to continue to keep Jackson a running threat as defenses adjust to him, supplementing him with Edwards and the rest of the running backs behind him.
At the same time, he will be tasked with helping to nurture Jackson as a passer. We saw in the postseason that he will be forever limited in what he is capable of doing as long as he struggles or can only perform to a mediocre level from under center.
Right now, it’s almost hard to even call Jackson a running quarterback. He is almost a running back who throws the football. To that point, he set an NFL record for the most rushing attempts by a quarterback in NFL history, and did so while only making seven starts. He only had a handful more pass attempts than rushing attempts.
Roman deserves a great deal of credit for adapting the offense on the fly to a unit that was effective enough to win down the stretch, turning around a 4-5 start to the season, but this is a new year that everybody will be prepared for. The future of the Ravens franchise, with Jackson under center, depends upon it.