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When in Roman

Greg Roman
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Might The Roman Empire Fall in Baltimore?

After the Ravens lost yet another nail-biter, this time to the Los Angeles Rams, word is that John Harbaugh was livid. Typically John will at least publicly support his players and coaches, and if he takes issue with any, it’s done in private. That’s the mark of a great leader. Keep family problems in the family.

This is purely speculative on my part but you have to think that at least on a temporary basis, the bane of his existence is offensive coordinator Greg Roman. Going 0-for-2 in goal-to-goal situations is infuriating and it cost the Ravens the game and probably the season.

2021 has been marred by injury and scarred by COVID. But to put the season’s failures exclusively on those uncontrollable variables would be a big mistake. Even if every player from the lengthy IR list returns in 2022, there are still changes that need to be made. Just bringing back those players to active status will not cure all of the team’s woes. A change at the offensive controls may be in order. But don’t count out former Ravens safety and Twitter troll Bernard Pollard among those who concur.

Bernard Pollard

If you want to follow Pollard on Twitter, hit him up @Crushboy31. He’s entertaining in a reality series kind of way. File his posts under fiction. Hey, remember when Pollard was training for a comeback in 2021. Twenty. Twenty. One. That’s funny. I remember following the 2012 folks in the know said that Pollard couldn’t cover a corpse with a blanket — nine years prior!

Roman Culpable But So Are Others

We’ve seen time and time again throughout the 2021 season, how the Ravens offense has left plays on the field. The biggest culprit, in retrospect, has been the consistently inconsistent play of the Ravens offensive line which has forced the Ravens quarterbacks to hasten the play clocks in their respective heads. And that usually morphs into missed opportunities. Throughout the campaign we’ve witnessed, courtesy of All-22, big plays left on the field and that isn’t because the plays were poorly designed. They were poorly executed.

But that doesn’t mean change isn’t in order. In 2022, possibly 2023, the Ravens will make their biggest financial commitment in team history. Of course I’m talking about the pending contract extension of Lamar Jackson. Based upon the 2021 season, there has to be some concern over whether or not Lamar is worthy of the dollars paid to Josh Allen by the Bills. He’s missed meaningful time due to injury and he struggled through several games with blitzing defenders for which he had no answer. Is that a schematic flaw or is it a weakness of Jackson’s and if so, how long will that take to overcome? Is it conquerable for Lamar?

Perhaps the only way to get a clear read is to separate Lamar from Roman. This is arguably the most challenging of the difficult decisions that lie in wait for the Ravens brain trust.

I haven’t been one to regularly beat on Roman but as they say, the struggle is real. That said, one of my pet peeves is Roman’s refusal to go back to the well during the same game, for a play that worked brilliantly. Here’s one, courtesy of Baltimore Beatdown’s Spencer Schultz.

So You’re Telling Me There’s Still a Chance?

Despite the five-game skid, the Ravens still have a chance to make the playoffs. The chances are slim and hinge on the Jacksonville Jaguars ability to upset the Indianapolis Colts at TIAA Bank Field. The horseshoes are 15 ½ point favorites. Yeah, I know…

But the Ravens must first take care of their own business against the Steelers at The Bank. Baltimore is currently a 5 ½ point favorite. Once again this week, the big question is, “Will Lamar play?”

John Harbaugh is hardly a quitter and he knows that the only thing in this wild card race that he can influence is the 2021 season finale against Pittsburgh. And the bet here is if Lamar can go, he will dress. But count me among those whose gut feel is that he’s physically incapable of the start and once again, it will be Tyler Huntley. For those of you who believe that even a healthy Lamar is no better than Huntley and it doesn’t matter who is at the offensive controls, what game are you watching?

Here’s a look at the Ravens at Rams from 2019 and a reminder of what the Ravens have been missing on offense.

Patrick Queen

Since the insertion of Josh Bynes into the Ravens lineup, Patrick Queen has flourished, save of course his bad outing v. the Rams last week when he largely disappeared. Among those who have taken notice, is Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin.

Tomlin is a master motivator and I wouldn’t put it past him to put this kind of tape out there to inspire his own linebackers who will need a big game on Sunday if the Steelers are to keep their playoff hopes alive and advance to (9-7-1).

With the Steelers win on Monday Night over the Cleveland Browns, they assured Mike Tomlin of another non-losing season. Tomlin might not always make the best in-game choices and like his counterpart on the opposite sideline on Sunday, John Harbaugh, he’s been criticized as a game manager. But also like John, no one can question Tomlin’s ability to get his team ready to play even in the most adverse of conditions and that’s how an NFL coach stands the test of time. That’s how an NFL coach can go 15 trips around the NFL sun without a losing season.

The Ravens v. Steelers rivalry has been an intense one for two decades. The games are hard fought, almost always close and they have been wildly entertaining, particularly for those fans who observe from the sidelines without a true rooting interest. They don’t invest their nervous systems like fans in Baltimore or Pittsburgh.

Fortunately the rivalry is built on respect and not the disdain that the Ravens and their fans feel towards the Titans and their sophomoric head coach Mike Vrabel. Steve Bisciotti is on record professing his admiration of the Steelers organization and that it is one to emulate. Here’s Mike Tomlin sharing some of his own admiration for the Ravens.

[Related Article: The Myth About Sacks & Ben’s Final Curtain Call]

Chuck Clark Knows

Chuck Clark was my pick for Player of The Game this past Sunday v. Rams. Clark doesn’t have the most impressive array of physical gifts by NFL standards but he makes up for it in preparedness and football IQ. As former Ravens head coach Brian Billick describes, Clark was outstanding with his reads and execution on Sunday and it makes one wonder if he should be assigned more robber roles once the Ravens are back to full strength in the secondary.

With The __ Pick in the 2022 NFL Draft

The Baltimore Ravens select…

Some have adopted the notion that it’s better for the Ravens if they lose to the Steelers on Sunday so that they can secure a better pick in the 2022 NFL Draft. As they analytically minded PrinceMoose, aka @Yoshi2052 reminds us, a win or loss against the Steelers doesn’t affect the pick all that much.

Losing intentionally sends a really bad organizational message. Players currently on the team don’t care where the Ravens draft in 2022. Why should they be excited about hiring a player who might damage their earnings potential. Besides, do the Ravens really want to carry the baggage of being swept by the Steelers in two consecutive years and a six-game losing streak into 2022?

Ravens News, Notes & Observations From Twitterverse

On This Day In Ravens History

Nothing happened! At least nothing meaningful enough for to record. However…

On January 4, 2009 during the Wild Card game at Miami, the Ravens’ four INTs off Dolphins QB Chad Pennington (who threw only seven during the regular season) tied for the most in team playoff history. S Ed Reed stole two from Pennington, returning the first pick 64 yards for a TD.

WARNING: The NFL, unlike MLB, will usually squash embed code on websites and if that happens, it’s worth extra click to watch on YouTube.

UPDATE 01/06/21 8:31 AM: Screw it! I made a screen recording of the YouTube vid and slapped it on Facebook. We’ll see how long this lasts…

Have a great lunch everyone and enjoy the rest of your day!

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