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Late for Work 9/17: Greg Roman Would Win Assistant Coach of Year 

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Greg Roman Would Win Assistant Coach of Year

With the Ravens offense’s hot start to the season, Offensive Coordinator Greg Roman has to be in the early discussion for the Assistant Coach of the Year award.

Actually, there is no such award. But if there was, Roman would be the leading candidate, NFL Network’s Brian Baldinger said.

“Can we give an Assistant Coach of the Year award? Because right now Greg Roman is winning,” Baldinger said in “Baldy’s Breakdowns” on Twitter.

Baldinger made the comment while breaking down two consecutive running plays from late in the first quarter in which the Ravens rushed for 16 yards on each.

Mark Ingram II got the first carry on a play Baldinger referred to as “power football at its best.” On the ensuing down, Roman called the exact same play -- with one major difference. This time, Lamar Jackson faked the handoff and took off.

“The Cardinals are all looking at their power game. Here goes Lamar on the boot,” Baldinger said while analyzing the film. “Exact same play. Exact same formation. Exact some motion -- except Lamar keeps it this time. They don’t even touch him until he gets out of bounds.

“Right now, Greg Roman is the assistant coach of the year in this league.”

One of the main reasons Roman is such an effective coordinator is because of his knowledge of defenses, said Michael Christianson, an offensive assistant under Roman with the San Francisco 49ers from 2011-2013.

“He understands defenses so well,” Christianson told NBC Sports’ Andrew Gillis. “He could make a play and create five or six plays out of it just by a simple look or a simple tweak, whatever our formations were. He was able to see something that a lot of people just missed.

“It’s really about how you disguise things, how you present them, how you get in and out of plays in certain situations. For Greg, he’s phenomenal at that. He really understands the big picture.”

Before the start of the regular season, NFL.com’s Gregg Rosenthal wrote that Roman and Jackson are an ideal fit.

“It's hard to imagine a better coach for Lamar Jackson than Greg Roman,” Rosenthal wrote. “Elevated to offensive coordinator in January after influencing the Ravens' running game as an assistant in 2018, Roman has the chops to get weird. He helped Colin Kaepernick be a supernova for a few seasons in San Francisco and worked with Tyrod Taylor in Buffalo. After building the Lamar offense on the fly at midseason last year, Roman now has an entire offseason to do his worst.”

So far, Roman’s “worst” has made the Ravens the best offense in the NFL after two weeks. The Ravens lead the league with 541.5 yards of total offense per game.

Steve Young on Patriots: AFC is a Wrap

As impressive as the Ravens have been on both sides of the ball -- they have the No. 2 defense in the league, allowing just 274. 5 yards per game -- it’s obviously too early to be talking about a deep playoff run.

It would be pointless anyway, according to ESPN analyst Steve Young, who said the AFC Championship Game is already a done deal: It’ll be a rematch of last year’s game between the two-time defending Super Bowl Champion New England Patriots and Kansas City Chiefs, and the result will likely be the same.

The Hall of Fame quarterback crowned the Patriots during last night’s “Monday Night Countdown” show.

“It’s a wrap in the AFC except for the Chiefs,” Young said. “I know that’s going to make the Buffalo Bills mad, it’s going to make the Ravens, a lot of teams, the Chargers. … To me, it’s a wrap to the championship game.

“[The Patriots] are going to take the division. They face the Chiefs in early December; they win that game, they get home field. We’ve seen this movie so many times. Why would we think it’d be anything different?”

Young’s based his opinion in large part on the Patriots’ acquisition of All-Pro wide receiver Antonio Brown.

“The last time they had a superstar receiver, they went undefeated,” Young said as he motioned to his broadcast colleague, Randy Moss.

MSN’s Christopher L. Gasper shares Young’s belief that that the Patriots have no competition in the AFC except for the Chiefs.

“We’re two weeks into the NFL season, and the Patriots look head and shoulder pads above the rest of the field in the AFC,” Gasper wrote. “They’re the most complete team, with only the offensively inclined Kansas City Chiefs capable of mounting any real threat or resistance. It’s a two-horse race at best, and one of those horses happens to have the greatest jockey of all-time in Patriots coach Bill Belichick.”

Gasper didn’t completely overlook the Ravens, though.

“The magical Patrick Mahomes and his Chiefs, who put up a bevy of points but no wins against the Patriots in two thrillers last season, and, maybe, the Baltimore Ravens with dynamic dual-threat QB Lamar Jackson look like the only two AFC teams that pose a puncher’s chance against the Patriots,” Gasper wrote.

“Mobile quarterbacks mess with the precise order, organization, and communication of a Belichick defense. But I’m not even sure the Ravens are for real, considering they beat the worst team in the league this year, Miami, in Week 1, and the worst team in the league last season, the Arizona Cardinals, in Week 2. It just so happens that the Chiefs and Ravens meet this Sunday for early-season AFC runner-up bragging rights.”

Not everyone is ready to punch the Patriots’ ticket to the Super Bowl just yet. The Big Lead’s Geoff Magliocchetti tabbed the Ravens as a contender in his “Contender or Pretender?” article.

“The Ravens are sitting pretty in the North right now,” Magliocchetti wrote. “The Bengals are in the midst of a garish rebuild, the Browns are a pressure-cooker fueled by ego who badly lost their first game to the Titans, and the Steelers lost their franchise quarterback for the season. … If the Ravens get three-quarters of the Jackson they’ve been getting, there should be no issues. The North is theirs for the taking.”

More Love for Lamar

The rave reviews continue to roll in for Jackson. Picking up where we left off with yesterday’s Late for Work, here’s a sample of what the national media is saying about the second-year quarterback:

Sporting News’ Tadd Haislop: “‘Can Lamar Jackson throw the ball?’ — a concern that should have been silenced long before Jackson buried Arizona on Sunday with a 41-yard, third-down, fourth-quarter dime to Hollywood Brown — needs to be replaced by, ‘Is Lamar Jackson on his way to becoming one of the best quarterbacks in the NFL?’ … At this point, there are more facts to support the idea that Jackson has a chance to be a special NFL QB than there are to support the notion that he might struggle as he develops.”

NFL.com’s Adam Schein: “His fourth-quarter ‘drop it in the bucket’ throw to Hollywood Brown -- a gutsy heave into tight coverage on third-and-11 -- was picture perfect, putting the game on ice. Cue up that tape anytime some foolish talking head questions Jackson's throwing ability. And I love the way Lamar has used tight end Mark Andrews in the passing attack, with the second-year man logging his second consecutive 100-yard game. That playoff debacle against the Chargers feels like a lifetime ago. And that's not a surprise to me.”

NFL.com’s Jeffri Chadiha: “The Ravens look pretty smart right now. There was a lot of talk around the team this offseason, most of it focusing on the notion that Baltimore was going to unveil an offense that would blow people's minds. Given how rudimentary the Ravens looked late last season -- when they essentially had Jackson running read options nearly every down -- such hype sounded more like bluster than something worth believing. Today there is little doubt the Ravens have found something special. … The longer he plays this season, the scarier he's going to become.”

Quick Hits

Hollywood Brown topped Sports Illustrated’s Alaa Abdeldaiem’s list of the most impressive rookies through the first two weeks of the season.

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