Oct 28, 2018; Charlotte, NC, USA; A Baltimore Ravens helmet lays on the bench in the game against the Carolina Panthers at Bank of America Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jeremy Brevard

(Credit: Jeremy Brevard-USA TODAY Sports)

Why the Greg Roman promotion is so important

Baltimore probably made one of their most important moves at offensive coordinator since Jim Caldwell took over for Cam Cameron.

January 11, 2019 - 12:00 pm

By: Kyle J. Andrews

The Ravens have reportedly promoted Assistant head coach and tight ends coach Greg Roman to offensive coordinator, per The Athletic's Jeff Zrebiec. Roman had previously served as Baltimore's senior offensive assistant, as the running game coordinator in 2017. He will replace Marty Mornhinweg, who could choose to stick with the team or find greener pastures elsewhere as a quarterbacks coach or offensive coordinator. This move is one of the most important in franchise history, but it has to be given some context. 

Roman has been an offensive coordinator in the NFL twice before. He served his first stint with the San Francisco 49ers from 2011-2014. In those four seasons under Jim Harbaugh with the 49ers, Roman's offenses finished 11th three times and 25th once in points scored.

Alex Smith had one of the better seasons in his career during the 2011 season with Roman and Harbaugh's guidance. The then 27-year old passed for 3,144 yards, 17 touchdowns and just five interceptions with a 90.7 passer rating. As Colin Kaepernick replaced Smith, Roman was able to use the 25-year old's dual-threat ability to reach the Super Bowl in 2012. In seven starts, Kaepernick passed for 1,814 yards, 10 touchdowns and three interceptions with 98.3 passer rating. He also rushed 415 yards and five touchdowns. 

In 2013 and 2014, Kaepernick rushed for 524 yards and 639 yards respectively. Neither one of those total Lamar Jackson's rookie total of 695 yards. Jackson's five touchdowns in 2018 would tie Kaepernick's career-high. Yes, Kaepernick rushed for over six yards per attempt for his career, but Jackson has shown such a gifted ability to make sharp cuts that it makes his running ability more dynamic.

Roman was also Tyrod Taylor's offensive coordinator under Rex Ryan from 2015-2016 with Taylor having his best two years under Roman as a passer. Taylor passed for 3,025 yards, 20 touchdowns and six interception with a 99.4 rating in the 2015 season. In 2016, Taylor passed for 3,023 yards, 17 touchdowns and six inteceptions with an 89.7 passer rating.

Losing Mornhinweg is the other key to the offense. Since Morhinweg took over from Marc Trestman after Week 4 in 2016, Baltimore's offense has been inconsistent. In 2016, they were 21st in points scored per game (21.4) and 17th in yards per game  (347.7). Though in 2017 they improved greatly in points scored per game (24.7, ninth in the NFL), they were 27th in yardage (305.4 per game). As Roman became more involved in the running game, the Ravens took a large step forward in yardage (374.9 per game, ninth in the NFL) and still scored 24.3 points per game (13th in the NFL). 

One can see the qualities of having Roman as the offensive coordinator with Jackson. Roman hasn't had a quarterback this dynamic in the running game in his career as a coach. With a full offseason to work, Jackson can digest a full Roman playbook to polish his game.

Follow Kyle on Twitter @KyleJAndrews_