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Ravens retain run-game guru Greg Roman, give him assistant head coach title

Greg Roman, the Ravens assistant who was primarily responsible for the revamping of a formerly struggling running game, will be returning to the team after all, just with a little different title.

Roman, whose one-year contract was set to expire after the season, explored his options but opted to stay on John Harbaugh’s staff. The Ravens named him the assistant head coach after he spent the 2017 season as the tight ends coach and senior offensive assistant.

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Ravens special teams coordinator Jerry Rosburg remains Harbaugh’s associate head coach.

The team has given out the assistant head coach title in the past, including with secondary coach Steve Spagnuolo in 2014.

“I’m thrilled to be back with the people and organization that is the Ravens,” Roman told the team website Friday. “I enjoy coming to work every day and look forward to building upon what we did this year.”

Alex Marvez of the Sporting News first reported Friday that Roman would return to the Ravens after there was considerable speculation in recent days that he’d be leaving the team.

Roman signed a one-year contract last offseason, which allowed him to explore other options this year. Multiple reports from University of Michigan insiders had him likely becoming the Wolverines next offensive coordinator for Jim Harbaugh, who was Roman’s boss with the San Francisco 49ers.

The Ravens, though, ultimately got Roman to stay in hopes they can build on the improvements that were made in 2017 with the running game.

Despite playing almost the entire season without starting guards Marshal Yanda and Alex Lewis and with a first-year starter at center in Ryan Jensen and a lead back in Alex Collins who started the regular season on the practice squad, the Ravens finished 11th in the league in rushing yards per game (116), 10th in rushing touchdowns (14 touchdowns) and seventh in rushing attempts (460).

It marked a significant turnaround and a renewed commitment from the run than what was in place in the previous two seasons. In 2016, the Ravens ranked 28th in rushing yards per game (91.4), tied for 22nd in rushing touchdowns (10) and 30th in rushing attempts (367).

In 2015, they ranked 26th in rushing yards per game (92.4), tied for 21st in rushing scores (eight) and tied for 25th in rushing attempts (383).

The hiring of Roman, a former offensive coordinator for the 49ers and Buffalo Bills, was a clear signal that the Ravens were serious about fixing their running game and it paid dividends in 2017.

Roman worked with offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg and offensive line coach Joe D’Alessandris and designed multiple run schemes that changed week-to-week to take advantage of the opposing team’s weaknesses.

Roman’s decision comes a day after John Harbaugh announced that Mornhinweg will return as the offensive coordinator in 2018.

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