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In a Greg Roman Offense, Tight Ends are Just as Important as Wide Receivers

February 07, 2019 - 8:01 am
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By Joe Schiller

With Greg Roman promoted to offensive coordinator, replacing Marty Mornhinweg, the Baltimore Ravens take on a new offensive identity – one we saw the final seven games of the 2018 season.

The Ravens’ run-first attack finished averaging 152.6 yards per game, ranking second-best in the NFL. Contrary, the passing attack averaged 222.4 yards per game, good for 22nd best in the NFL.

It’s no secret the Ravens must improve their receiving core. It’s a top priority as Lamar Jackson is set to enter his first full season as the team’s starting quarterback.

But as history tells us under Roman’s offensive reign, tight ends are just as important in the passing game as wide receivers.

Roman served as offensive coordinator of the San Francisco 49ers from 2011-2014. He worked with a quarterback with a similar skillset to Jackson in Colin Kaepernick.

In three out of four seasons as OC, a tight end finished as the team’s second-leading receiver with at least 548 yards or more. The 49ers finished with a combined 36-11-1 record in those three seasons, including a Super Bowl berth in 2012.

That trend moderately followed with Roman to Buffalo before being fired just two games as the offensive coordinator into the 2016 season.

Now in Baltimore, Roman possesses a promising group of tight ends, headlined by 2018 first-round and third-round picks, Hayden Hurst and Mark Andrews.

While Mornhinweg called the plays last season, Roman’s influence as tight ends coach was made apparent.

Hurst battled through a foot injury to finished with 163 receiving yards and one touchdown in 12 games. Andrews flashed, setting a franchise tight end rookie record with 552 yards.

Nick Boyle and Maxx Williams are set to become unrestricted free agents in March but both could return to Baltimore on new deals. The Ravens are expected to have cap flexibility and neither Boyle nor Williams are expected to warrant ground-breaking contracts.

A young core of four tight ends would make for the perfect pieces in Roman’s offensive formula. It could give General Manager Eric DeCosta and the front office some breathing room to draft and develop rookie receivers knowing they have established receiving talent at tight end.

The Ravens are expected to be a run-oriented offensive in 2019 but as Lamar Jackson develops as passer, tight ends will be just as important as receivers in Greg Roman’s offense.