The Ravens officially introduced Greg Roman as their new offensive coordinator Tuesday, and it went as expected with Roman saying the offense will be built around quarterback Lamar Jackson, who will be entering his second season.
Roman, though, would not say if he would be calling plays from the sidelines or a coaches’ booth in 2019. He said he might alternate between the two during the preseason before making a final decision going into the regular season.
But one thing is certain. The Ravens’ old West Coast offense is dead having gone West with Joe Flacco to Denver. It’s not known if this new offense will work, especially with an inconsistent throwing quarterback like Jackson, but the Ravens are investing full-time and have been building since they lost to the San Diego Chargers in the Wild Card playoff game.
Flacco was inconsistent with his mechanics like Jackson, but he played well enough to win any game. The Ravens appear to have the right formula, a strong running game and good defense, but there are still a lot of questions. Jackson did better than expected last season, winning six of seven final regular season games. It’s hard learning to play in the NFL, even harder when you are a quarterback, which is the most difficult position to play.
Plus, rookies have already been through a long process. They have to get ready for their senior season in college, play the regular season, possibly participate in a bowl and then prepare for the combine. Then a player of Jackson’s caliber has to gear up for the draft, prepare for various minicamps and then get ready for the NFL regular season.
That’s a lot for a 21-, 22- or 23-year-old. But that’s over now.
During this offseason, Jackson has a chance to work with a private tutor on his mechanics, and Roman will build an offense that is made for his ability as opposed to an improvised one that was created when Flacco went down with an injury midway through the 2018 season.
The Ravens get a chance to retool, possibly adding an offensive lineman or two and maybe a fast running back. Both of their tight ends, Mark Andrews and Hayden Hurst, will be in their second year and Jackson will be in more control of this offense.
Roman made a valid point Tuesday by saying that some rookie quarterbacks didn’t even call their own plays or got in a huddle in college. At least this season, the Ravens will probably have a few offensive plays or will know the sets that Jackson used at Louisville. According to Roman, the Ravens will have four or five tempos to their offense.
It’s an exciting time over at The Castle, but there are still concerns about Jackson’s ball handling and accuracy. One of the reasons the Ravens were so ineffective in the red zone in the second half of the season was because the windows for a quarterback to make throws is so much smaller and Jackson couldn’t deliver.
Flacco had the same problem, too, in his first season in 2008. After that, they groomed the offense around Flacco’s talents and he won the Super Bowl title in 2012.
Can it happen again?
At this point, it’s OK to at least dream.