Greg Roman on How the Ravens Plan to Beat Blitzes

Left: QB Lamar Jackson; Right: Offensive Coordinator Greg Roman

The Ravens were put under siege by the Miami Dolphins a week ago, and their inability to handle the pressure has sounded alarms around Baltimore.

But as Offensive Coordinator Greg Roman spoke for the first time about the issues in the Ravens' 22-10 loss and worse offensive performance during his tenure as the Ravens' play-caller, he brought a level-headed outlook.

Roman acknowledged how poorly the Ravens played in Miami, but he and his unit quickly turned their attention toward fixing the problems this week.

"Overall, really, it was a straight to DVD performance, and we know it," Roman said. "So, you get back in, you make the corrections, you bring the requisite energy to our preparation, and we'll go.

"I think we had a lot of opportunities in that game that we didn't capitalize on. But that's a great learning experience for all of us, so we can play our best football moving through the rest of this season."

With extra time after a Thursday night game, the Ravens held long meetings Friday after the loss, and Roman said it allowed his unit to "make some corrections, look at things, tweak some things and try to get it right." Then they have gotten some full-speed work against it this week, which they didn't have last week with only walk-through practices on a short week.

Lamar Jackson carved up teams when pressured in 2019, but he hasn't had as much success dealing with pressure this season. Jackson is the second-most blitzed quarterback in the league behind Tyrod Taylor, as opponents have brought heat on 36% of Jackson's drop-backs.

When blitzed, Jackson is 21st in yards per attempt, 25th in big-time throws, and 26th in passer rating. When he is not blitzed, Jackson ranks first, third and eighth in those categories, respectively.

According to Pro Football Focus, Jackson has a passing grade of 47.7 when under pressure, which is ranked 36th in the league. Of course, executing against pressure doesn't fall all on Jackson's shoulders. The Ravens need the right call, good protection and receivers able to make the defense pay.

When an opponent dials up the ultimate pressure – a Cover Zero blitz – like the Dolphins did routinely Thursday night, it puts the offense under that much more stress. However, it also presents an opportunity to make them dearly pay. The offense just has to be sharp enough to pull it off, and it wasn't in Miami.

"Cover Zero, we see it. We've seen it. It forces you to play quick and efficiently," Roman said. "If people are going to throw the dice out there, you have to make them pay, or you're just going to keep seeing it."

The adage is that the NFL is a copycat league. When one team sees something work – as the league did watching "Thursday Night Football" – they're going to try it. Head Coach John Harbaugh said earlier this week that he expects the Bears to blitz more because of what they saw from the Dolphins.

It would go against how the Bears and first-year Defensive Coordinator Sean Desai have operated this season, however. The Bears have blitzed just 16% of the time this season, down from 24% last year with former Ravens Defensive Coordinator Chuck Pagano.

"You have to be ready for anything, and we generally are," Roman said. "We're definitely going to see [Cover Zero] again this year. It could be this week. It could be the next week."

Center Bradley Bozeman said Jackson has done a great job operating against the blitz, making sure the Ravens are in the right protections. The Dolphins, however, got creative by bringing extra blitzers off the edge and dropping interior defensive linemen into coverage to patrol the short, middle-of-the-field throws.

"Defenses are definitely trying to adapt to us," Bozeman said. "We've struggled a little bit with [cover] zero. We're still trying to build and fix those things. Like [Roman] said earlier, it's a race to get better right now. So, we're just going to continue to build, keep trying to pick those things up and make defenses throw different things at us to try to stop us."

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