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The Future of the Offense

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Lamar Jackson did not exactly offer a ringing endorsement for Ravens offensive coordinator Greg Roman.

The quarterback was diplomatic in his response to a question about the future of Roman in Baltimore, but he left open the possibility that he might be replaced.

“Coach Greg Roman has been great for us for these last couple of years since he stepped in,” Jackson said. “He’s a great coach, and we’re glad he’s here. I can’t get into that. I don’t really know what they’ve got going on upstairs. You’ve got to talk to ‘E.D.C.’ [executive vice president & general manager Eric DeCosta] and those guys about stuff like that. That’s not anything I … I don’t talk about stuff like that. He’s been good for us, though.”

Roman has been a polarizing figure for Ravens fans who are still frustrated by the lack of big plays in the passing game.

While the Ravens’ ground game has been dominant even after losing their top three running backs in training camp, the passing attack has not been as effective. Overall, Baltimore’s offense did not perform that poorly this season despite a myriad of injuries.

Here’s a breakdown

  • Points per game: 22.8 (17th)
  • Yards per game: 378.8, (6th)
  • Passing yards per game: 233 (13th)
  • Rushing yards per game: 145.8 (3rd)

The Ravens finished 8-9 and missed the playoffs for the first time in four years.

The team did have some prolific moments on offense.

Both wide receiver Marquise Brown and tight end Mark Andrews eclipsed 1,000 receiving yards on the season. They were just the second Ravens tandem to reach the 1,000-yard mark in the same season, joining Michael Jackson and Derrick Alexander who accomplished that feat in 1996.

The challenges with the offense extend beyond Roman this offseason.

Injuries and inconsistent play hampered the offensive line, which might have to undergo another overhaul this offseason.

Bradley Bozeman was effective after his transition from guard to center, but he is an unrestricted free agent. Bozeman is still unsure whether he’ll be back in Baltimore next season or playing with a different team.

The Ravens could use Trystan Colon as a stopgap at center if Bozeman leaves, but Colon is also a free agent.

The future of left tackle Ronnie Stanley is also uncertain. Stanley suffered a season-ending ankle injury last year and it continues to bother him. After playing in the regular-season opener against the Raiders, the Ravens shut down Stanley again for the season.

Pat Mekari has shown that he is a capable tackle and signed a three-year extension last month. Mekari is valuable because he has played multiple positions during his three-year NFL career. In 2021, he started 10 games at right tackle and was signed to an extension in December.

The Ravens signed Alejandro Villanueva prior to the season to fill the void at tackle after Orlando Brown Jr. was traded to Kansas City. Villanueva was largely inconsistent and will have to fight for a starting job if he is on the roster in 2022.

Ja’Wuan James could battle for a starting job at tackle if he can stay healthy. David Sharpe is a capable backup.

Tyre Phillips also was injured after having a mostly uneven season.

GM Eric DeCosta will look to add a tackle in this year’s draft.

Ben Powers was the starter at left guard but dealt with injuries. Rookie Ben Cleveland also dealt with injuries and needs more experience.

Kevin Zeitler was arguably the team’s best offseason signing and he played every snap at right guard. Zeitler said the offensive line was challenged because there were so many moving parts because of the injuries.

“I’ve been a part of a couple of O-lines [offensive lines] where it’s shuffled from year to year,” Zeitler said. “There’s truth to it that it takes time for an O-line [offensive line] to build rapport with each other and figure each other out, what everyone can do, how they do it. Eventually, everyone figures it out. In my personal opinion, whenever you can get as many guys to stay on a line together that have been together, it does make an impact.

“But just like you said, change is inevitable. We’ll move forward, working hard and getting ready to go.”

Jackson missed the last four games with a bone bruise in his ankle. He finished the season with 2,882 yards passing with 16 interceptions and 13 interceptions (87.0 rating).

Jackson admitted the offense has to be better, especially the passing attack.

“We have great running backs, we’ve got a great run game, but that passing game is going to help us even more, so we need to just keep doing that, keep getting better at that; keep getting better at everything – not just the passing game,” he said. “There’s always room for improvement with anything you do.”

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