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Greg Roman Discusses How Running Game Will Change in 2017


As soon as the Ravens started discussing their plans for the 2017 season, a clear priority was to build a more effective running game.

The Ravens didn't run the ball with enough volume or success last year, and they finished the season with the league's 28th-ranked rushing* *attack. They came into the offseason intent on fixing the ground game, and hiring veteran offensive coach Greg Roman was part of the solution.

Roman joined the Ravens as the senior offensive assistant and tight ends coach, and the Ravens have liked his influence on the run game. Several players have said Roman has helped implement more of a downhill running scheme, rather than the stretch-zone system they had primarily used since 2014.

"I think we wanted to just really refocus, retool and come up with a plan that we felt suited us best moving forward for the organization, and I think a lot of staffs do it every year," Roman said. "But this kind of gave us an opportunity to really start at ground zero and see what we wanted to do."

Roman dismissed the notion that the Ravens are "overhauling" their run game, and he sees it as more fine-tuning. He also doesn't plan to completely move away from the zone concepts, as the schemes could vary based on the opponent.

"I thought that they did some really good things here – some things that we want to keep and build on," Roman said. "I think we are definitely going to try to expand on that. Some weeks will be a little bit more of this and some weeks will be a little bit more of that. But, we will come together on a week-to-week basis and figure out where we want to draw from."

Veteran offensive lineman Marshal Yanda has been through a couple scheme changes during his time in the NFL, and he sees the Ravens new ground game as a combination of several elements.  

"I think it's a little blend of everything," Yanda said. "Greg talked about being balanced, so it's not all going to be about the run game; it's going to be pass, too. The runs that they are running, it's a good dose of everything, to tell you the truth. Inside zone, outside zones, gap, pin and pull schemes – just everything."

Whatever scheme the Ravens end up using on a week-to-week basis, the main point is they want to be able to rely on the rushing attack. Baltimore has made significant investments to give them one of the league's most talented defenses, and the old saying goes, "a defense's best friend is a good running game."

Establishing a running game allows teams to control the clock and creates opportunities in the passing game, and the Ravens are intent on building an offense that takes advantage of all of that.

"I think we want to make a defense that won't just screw their cleats in the ground on us," Roman said. "At times, they're going to have to hopefully say, 'Man, where's this coming from? Over here? Over there?' We will describe that in very colorful ways to our players that I can't talk about right now. But, we're definitely going to push the envelope and try to be multi-dimensional with how we attack the defense."

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