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Hey-Hey, Ho-Ho, G-Ro’s Got To Go!

Ravens revolutionary offense
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For a few weeks to start this NFL season, the Baltimore Ravens offense looked a juggernaut. In one of my earliest Hot Take articles, I even wrote that this year’s attack would be the best in franchise history. Given the way things had gone, I stand by my initial reaction. Despite that, as the year comes to an end, that take aged poorly.

I believe the reason for that is Offensive Coordinator Greg Roman, who should be fired at the season’s end.

Normally, I’d agree that coaches should not be scapegoats fired for poor performances by injury-riddled teams. Anyone calling for the heads of HC John Harbaugh or DC Wink Martindale are plain wrong. The difference with Roman, however, is that the defensive unit and the team on whole have arguably over-performed given the circumstances.

The players fight for Harbaugh, and the defense has largely improved across the year despite continued injury issues. Now for my argument on Roman.

Baltimore’s offensive issues began against the Miami Dolphins, who persistently played Cover-0 without any rebuttal from Roman’s unit. Teams used this same strategy in following weeks, and we have yet to see an adequate answer in offensive play calling. Some of this comes down to both Lamar Jackson’s lack of execution and overall poor play before getting injured, but Roman also must put the offense in positions to succeed against Cover-0. He simply hasn’t done that.

Secondly, as the Ravens have enjoyed WR Devin Duvernay’s explosiveness in the return game, they had promised to use him creatively on offense late in the year. Roman claimed that there were packages “in the vault” for Duvernay, but with one game remaining, it appears that vault only included ends-around. The lack of ingenuity with dynamic skill position players has been an issue for multiple years, and it doesn’t just apply to Duvernay. Baltimore’s offense must be able to more frequently get athletes like him and Marquise Brown the ball with space to operate.

Finally, to use this most recent loss as an example, the Ravens offense stalls far too often. The issue came to a head late in Sunday’s game, as Baltimore faced a 1st and Goal from the 4-yard line and failed to score a TD. Take a look at the clip below as I analyze the play calls:

On the first two downs, Roman called inside runs before opting to pass. While Baltimore did move the ball effectively this way for a great portion of the drive, the Red Zone inevitably crowds the field, especially toward the line of scrimmage. The Rams already have a scary defensive front led by Aaron Donald, but these plays required Latavius Murray to pick his way through the D-Line, as well as linebackers and safeties.

These are just two plays that stood out from the loss, but we’ve seen consistent issues in short-yardage Red Zone situations, headlined by 2-pt conversion calls. Baltimore ranks 24th in the NFL with a 25% 2-pt conversion success rate, despite being one of the most aggressive teams in the league. Across the league, the NFL average is 49%, and at a certain point, the Ravens’ deficiencies in the area again come down to play calling.

In my opinion, Greg Roman is still riding the high of Baltimore’s 2020 season, when Lamar Jackson took the league by storm. Since then, the Ravens have been inconsistent, even with improvements in Jackson’s passing.

For Jackson, this offense, and this team to take the next step, Roman must go.

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