The Ravens said an offensive revolution was coming. Now that it's hit the NFL's shores, the hardware is coming with it.
Offensive Coordinator Greg Roman – the chief architect of that revolution – was named the NFL Assistant Coach of the Year for 2019 Saturday night at NFL Honors in Miami.
It wasn't quite unanimous like Lamar Jackson's MVP, but the voting wasn't close. Roman received 41 of the 50 votes for the award with San Francisco 49ers Defensive Coordinator Robert Saleh coming in second with three votes. Ravens Defensive Coordinator Wink Martindale received two votes.
"I would like to thank the commitment from every coach, player and organizational staff member for this award," Roman said via a statement. "Out of this commitment, special and amazing achievements were born. We look forward to coming together again in the spirit of team to create a bright and exciting future."
In his first year as the Ravens' coordinator, Roman built an offense unlike anything the league had ever seen – a modernized twist on old-school schemes. Lamar Jackson, the league MVP, was the driver behind the wheel.
The Ravens broke a 41-year-old record, rushing for 3,296 yards as a team this season. The 1978 New England Patriots ran for 3,165 yards.
Baltimore finished as the highest-scoring team in the league (33.2 points) and posted the second-most offensive yards per game (407.6), trailing only the Dallas Cowboys (431.5).
It was the most prolific and highest-scoring offense in Ravens franchise history. Baltimore had always been known for defense, but this year, it was the offense that garnered the bulk of the attention.
Roman and his talented staff went to work last offseason developing an offense tailored around Jackson's unique skillset.
They schemed runs for him, used numerous shifts to identify coverages better and a read-option offense to put extra stress on defenders. They let Jackson rip the ball down the field as a passer and take off running when needed (or wanted).
The mark of a good coach is putting players in position to do what they do best. With Jackson winning the MVP in his first full season as starter, at just 23 years old, it's clear Roman did just that.
It went well beyond Jackson's success. The Ravens had seven offensive players go to the Pro Bowl. They leaned heavily on their tight ends, and Mark Andrews led the team in receiving. They utilized a 300-pound fullback. They even broke out a Heisman package featuring Jackson, Mark Ingram II and backup quarterback Robert Griffin III.
Each week, Roman had something new for his opponent to prepare for, and coaches admitted it was extremely difficult to be ready in a week.
Roman came to Baltimore in 2017 with a reputation as a run-game savant. He proved more than that in his return to offensive coordinator, a role he last had in Buffalo in 2016 before being fired early in the season.
Baltimore's passing game didn't post huge numbers, but it was effective. The Ravens were the second-best team in the league in the red zone, and Jackson's NFL-leading 36 touchdown passes attest to high efficiency.
The run game was the meat and potatoes, however, harkening back to the early days of football. It's not just that the Ravens ran more than any other team in the league this season (by far). They also ran it better, averaging a league-high 5.5 yards per carry.
Roman interviewed for the head coaching job of the Cleveland Browns after the regular season finished, but it ultimately went to Kevin Stefanski, the former offensive coordinator of the Minnesota Vikings. The Ravens are glad to have their Assistant Coach of the Year back.