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Baltimore Ravens

Ravens’ Greg Roman offers little comment on Stanford rumors, says ‘singular focus’ is on fixing offense

Ravens offensive coordinator Greg Roman said little Thursday about his potential interest in coaching Stanford, indicating he’s wholly focused on fixing what ails his current team’s offense.

“All the rumors and whatnot aside, we’ve got a great group of players and coaches here,” he said. “Our singular focus is on this week’s game in Denver and their top-ranked defense. That’s really where it’s at.”

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Ravens coach John Harbaugh confirmed Wednesday that Roman had engaged in “very preliminary” talks with Stanford after longtime Cardinal coach David Shaw stepped down last weekend.

Roman answered one question about the Stanford job but spent most of his regularly scheduled podium session talking about sharpening the Ravens’ performance in the red zone.

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His offense stalled the first three times it moved inside the Jacksonville Jaguars’ 20-yard line Sunday, and those unexploited opportunities loomed large when the Jaguars rallied to win, 28-27. The Ravens have dropped to 24th in touchdown percentage inside the red zone after ranking 12th, 12th and second in Roman’s previous three years as coordinator.

“We moved the ball really well. We controlled the game. Third down was outstanding. Lamar [Jackson] did a great job managing certain situations,” Roman said. “But you’ve just got to finish those drives with touchdowns. … I think I can help with certain things. Execution-wise, we can do a little better. So it’s all of us.”

Ravens offensive coordinator Greg Roman said little Thursday about his potential interest in coaching Stanford, indicating he’s wholly focused on fixing what ails his current team’s offense.

Dropped passes, poor clock management, errant throws from Jackson and subpar run blocking undid the Ravens when they had chances to build their lead over the first three quarters against the Jaguars.

Roman knows the corrections will not come easily Sunday against a Denver defense that ranks third in the league against the pass and third in fewest points allowed.

The loss to Jacksonville followed an ugly 13-3 win over the Carolina Panthers, and those two performances have inspired a renewed wave of Roman naysaying from Ravens fans on Twitter despite the fact that his offense ranks eighth in scoring, 11th in total yards and fifth in Football Outsiders’ DVOA.

Harbaugh gave no indication of dissatisfaction with his coaching staff in reviewing the loss, but when asked about the red zone woes, he said “we’re going to look at the scheme part of it. We’re not going to say it’s not that; that has to be part of it, and what personnel groups are on the field, what plays we’re running, are we doing enough to cause problems for the defense?”

Roman noted that the Ravens have corrected other flaws in their offense — early inefficiency in the run game, for example — during the course of this season and said their struggles on a shorter field are no less fixable.

“We’re so close on some things,” he said. “It’s not that complicated when you really look at it, what’s going on down there. It’s something that’s easily fixed with hard work and focus.”

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He also addressed the Ravens’ recurring difficulties getting organized in time to beat the 25-second play clock, which bit them at key moments of the Jacksonville loss.

“Really what we’re talking about is a race to be in control,” Roman said. “It’s not, ‘Hey, how fast can we get to the line and snap it?’ It’s, ‘How can we do what we want to do and be in control of the situation.’ If we snap the ball an average of four seconds later than other teams, over the course of a 70-play game, now you’re talking four-and-a-half, five minutes where their offense can’t touch the ball. Those are treasures. When you’re having operational issues, and now you’re not in control and you’re rushing and things are hectic, that’s not what you’re looking for.”

He said headset problems and other ‘technical difficulties” contributed to the disorganization in Jacksonville. “We’ve got a protocol in place to handle that,” he said. “We’ve got to make sure we’re on top of that, starting with me.”

It’s not clear what the Ravens would do if Roman took the Stanford job with a significant portion of their season remaining. Would he stick around to the end? To whom would Harbaugh turn if he did not?

“We’ll cross that bridge when we get there,” Harbaugh said Wednesday. “I think we’re pretty far from that at this point.”

Internal candidates could include tight ends coach George Godsey, who worked as a coordinator for the Miami Dolphins and Houston Texans; wide receivers coach Tee Martin, who was a high-ranking offensive coach in college stops at Tennessee and USC; and quarterbacks coach James Urban, who has worked closely with Jackson since his rookie season.

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Fans eager to see Roman go will point back to the Ravens’ Super Bowl season in 2012, when Harbaugh fired offensive coordinator Cam Cameron after the team’s Week 14 loss to Washington and replaced him with Jim Caldwell, who helped unleash quarterback Joe Flacco. But the succession scenario was hardly identical: Caldwell had been head coach of the Indianapolis Colts the previous three seasons.

Week 13

Broncos at Ravens

Sunday, 1 p.m.

TV: Chs. 13, 9

Radio: 97.9 FM, 101.5 FM, 1090 AM

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Line: Ravens by 8 1/2


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