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Greg Roman Talks About Balancing Ravens' Running Attack

Posted Feb 13, 2017

The Ravens’ new senior offensive assistant/tight ends coach said the message he’s gotten from Head Coach John Harbaugh and Offensive Coordinator Marty Mornhinweg is that the Ravens want to be balanced. With that said, they’re not going to be a ground-and-pound attack.

New Ravens Senior Offensive Assistant/Tight Ends Coach Greg Roman officially joined the Ravens’ coaching staff one month and one day ago.

Since then, he’s been primarily learning. He’s getting on the same page with Head Coach John Harbaugh, Offensive Coordinator Marty Mornhinweg and the rest of the offensive coaching staff.

So far, Roman has gotten the impression that the Ravens plan on running the ball more next year, and he’ll be part of that process.

“I definitely think we want to be a balanced offense. That’s what I’m getting from Marty and John,” Roman said in his first interview since being hired. “That’s how you win in his league consistently. I’m really excited about that.”

That said, don’t expect a wild swing to the other side of the pass-run ratio. With franchise quarterback Joe Flacco under center, the Ravens aren’t suddenly going to abandon the passing game.

“I wouldn’t try to pigeonhole us just yet that we’re going to try to be ground and pound,” Roman said. “Who really wins big doing that? I think you have to have balance. But that doesn’t mean we’re not going to make people respect us in that phase of the game.”

Last season, the Ravens finished 28th in the league in rushing yards per game (91.4) and 21st in rushing yards per attempt (4.0) last season.

Baltimore is banking on Roman, who brings a track record of strong run attacks, to help turn that around. While at the Senior Bowl last month, ESPN’s Adam Caplan said Roman’s reputation around the league is as “one of the best run-game designers in the National Football League.”

During Roman’s four years as San Francisco’s offensive coordinator (2011-14), the 49ers ranked second in total rushing yards (8,912) and rushing yards per game (139.3), third in rushing attempts (1,965) and sixth in yards per carry (4.54).

He was Buffalo’s offensive coordinator in 2015 when the Bills led the league in rushing yards per game (152) and yards per carry (4.8), and tied for the lead league in rushing touchdowns (19). They also ran the ball the second most times (509) in the NFL behind the Carolina Panthers.

The Ravens ran the ball the third-fewest times in the NFL last season (367) and seventh-fewest (383, tied) times in 2015. Meanwhile, they led the league in passing attempts (679).

“If we’re going to run the ball well, we’re going to commit to it,” Roman said. “We won’t be afraid to adapt and adjust when we need to.”

Roman didn’t go into specifics on what changes he could bring to the Ravens’ running game, but he did indicate the they’re in the works. Roman is known for bringing more of a power running game, combined with creativity.

Baltimore wants to get more physical offensive linemen this season, and the Ravens would like to add a dynamic playmaking running back to the mix.

The team already has some very strong pieces along the line, including six-time Pro Bowler Marshal Yanda and No. 6-overall pick Ronnie Stanley, as well as a running back tandem that showed promise last year in Terrance West and Kenneth Dixon.

“There’s a lot of good players here. You need good players to have success in any phase of the game,” Roman said. “We’ve got to get them indoctrinated a little bit into a little bit of a new way of doing things.”

While there will likely be changes to how the Ravens run the ball, part of the difference this offseason will likely be in the mentality. Every member of the coaching staff and front office have made it clear that improving the run game is a major priority.

“I think we’ll all get our marching orders and make a decision on what direction we want to go,” Roman said. “If we put our minds to it, we’ll get it done.”

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