The Baltimore Ravens put up 59 points on opening weekend, not a bad way for Greg Roman to start his tenure as offensive coordinator. It was both the most ever scored on opening weekend, and the most the Ravens have ever scored in their history. Granted, it was against a team that is tanking so outwardly that players are asking to be traded, but nevertheless, there are good things Roman is doing.
Not that everything can be viewed from one game. Baltimore ran the ball heavily and extensively in week one, which won’t necessarily be the norm. Second-year quarterback Lamar Jackson said that he expects to throw the ball around 30 times per game this year, which would still be below the norm, but on Sunday, he only threw 20 passes.
That’s in part because they were able to get out to a commanding lead and turn to the ground game, and also in part because they hit on some big plays. Marquise Brown became just the third player, I believe, in NFL history to record touchdowns on his first two receptions, and both of them came from distances of 40 yards or more.
And yet Jackson, who recorded 147 runs in 2018, the most by a quarterback in a single season in NFL history (even though he only started seven games), only carried the ball three times. Asked about that, Roman said, “It’s going to vary every week, I would say. You just can’t predict that. You just can’t”.
It’s also worth noting that the Ravens were up by so much that even Robert Griffin III got into the game to replace Jackson, who had already thrown five touchdown passes, and his backup, the veteran, added one more. Running back Mark Ingram had another two on the ground.
Baltimore has the potential for a potent running game with Ingram and Gus Edwards, a rookie last year who was impressive with Jackson under center after he was called up from the practice squad, adding in the quarterback’s running ability himself. But Roman also understands the need for them to be able to do everything.
“What are people generally trying to do? They’re going to try to take away your strengths and make you fight the left-handed fight, if you’re a righty”, he said about teams potentially working to stop the run and put the ball in Jackson’s hands. “It’s good to be ambidextrous”.
I think many Pittsburgh Steelers fans would argue that their offense isn’t very ambidextrous, and that’s not based on the opener, but rather the entirety of the 2018 season, during which they finished with the second-most imbalanced run-pass ratio in the NFL.