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John Harbaugh Explains His Coaching Staff Changes


The Ravens' recent change at offensive coordinator was based on what the offense will look like going forward rather than the events of 2018, Head Coach John Harbaugh said Friday.

Soon after the Ravens' season ended with a playoff loss to the Los Angeles Chargers earlier this month, the team announced Greg Roman would replace Marty Mornhinweg as the OC. Mornhinweg, who had held the job since the middle of the 2016 season, is known as a passing-game expert, while Roman is a renowned run-game guru.

It made sense to go forward with Roman, Harbaugh said, because with Lamar Jackson, a dynamic runner, replacing Joe Flacco as the starting quarterback, the Ravens are turning to more of a run-based offense in 2019 and beyond.

"That's the direction we need to go, from the way our offense is going to be built from the ground up. We need to start with the running game," Harbaugh said. "Then build in the play-action pass. Then the drop-back pass. Kind of build around our quarterback and what he brings to the table going forward; that's Lamar Jackson.

"So that's the best way to organize it. It's a little overrated, who is in charge. Who calls the plays is important, no doubt about it. But those (offensive coaches) work together. … It's going to continue to be a collective effort, but I felt like it need to be centered around that (running) part of the offense, and that's Greg's role."

Mornhinweg turned down an offer to remain in the organization in a new role.

"I totally respect Marty's decision, no question about it," Harbaugh said. "He felt like it would work better for him and for us if he moved to the next thing. So that's just the way it worked out."

Harbaugh reiterated that the move to Roman doesn't mean the Ravens are abandoning their passing game. To the contrary, the goal is balance and Jackson's development as a passer is crucial to the offense's success.

"Sometimes we put people in boxes. Greg knows the passing game, too," Harbaugh said.

Though an important change at the top has already occurred, the offensive staff remains a work in progress. Harbaugh needs to hire position coaches for both the wide receivers and running backs.

Thomas Hammock, who coached the Ravens' running backs from 2014 through last season, recently became the head coach at North Illinois, his alma mater. Bobby Engram, who coached the team's wide receivers for the past five years, will now coach the tight ends.

Harbaugh said he "probably" would fill the opening at wide receiver first, then hire Hammock's replacement.

"Could go outside (the staff), could stay inside with that one," he said of the running backs opening.

Harbaugh said he was "very excited" about the idea of Engram coaching the tight ends because of Engram's experience with receivers. The Ravens are counting on their young tight ends, Hayden Hurst and Mark Andrews, becoming productive targets for Jackson. Andrews led all rookie tight ends in receiving yards (552) in 2018.

"Bobby is a great coach and a great person and it's going to add to our tight ends room (and) the development of the passing game," Harbaugh said. "It also expands Bobby. He's going to be an offensive coordinator, going to be a head coach in this league."

As for Hammack, Harbaugh offered congratulations.

"Very deserving. He'll be a great head coach. Very tough, very smart," Harbaugh said.

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