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Mailbag: How Will Greg Roman Adjust After Ugly Miami Game?

Baltimore Ravens offensive coordinator Greg Roman walks on the field prior to an NFL football game against the Indianapolis Colts, Monday, Oct. 11, 2021, in Baltimore. The Ravens won 31-25 in overtime.
Baltimore Ravens offensive coordinator Greg Roman walks on the field prior to an NFL football game against the Indianapolis Colts, Monday, Oct. 11, 2021, in Baltimore. The Ravens won 31-25 in overtime.

Mink: There are a lot of spicy takes about Greg Roman this week in #RavensMailbag that I think are totally ludicrous. The Ravens had a rough game in Miami, and they didn't adjust quickly enough to beat the Dolphins' heavy and relentless blitz. That doesn't all fall on Roman's shoulders. Lamar Jackson and his targets missed some opportunities, too. Bad games happen sometimes for everybody, and when it's as ugly as it was in Miami, there were widespread problems.

For those wanting Roman's head, you're off your rocker. The Ravens are No. 2 in total offense this season despite not having their top two running backs, their franchise left tackle, a revolving door of other injuries on the offensive line, no Nick Boyle to this point, injuries to top receivers Rashod Bateman and Sammy Watkins, etc. Every offense deals with injuries, but the Ravens' are excessive. And, yet, they have still been one of the best offenses in the league.

Of course, Lamar's fantastic/heroic play this season is a major reason why Baltimore's offense has done so well. But as much as I love Lamar, you can't give him all the credit for the success and Roman all the blame for any failures. Roman's schemes help Jackson and Jackson sometimes puts the team on his back.

Also, any Ravens fan who wants to switch offensive coordinators must have amnesia because Baltimore didn't even have a top-10 offense for 20 straight years – from 1998-2017. Again, Jackson's arrival is a big reason, but Roman's scheme that maximizes his rare talents is also a huge factor in the Ravens' offensive success of the past three-plus years. Apparently, the grass always is greener on the other side. There is nobody better than Roman to orchestrate this unique offense, which has also made major improvements in the passing game.

Now, to the question above, the Ravens will certainly work more on their blitz-beaters this week. Having full-speed practices (as opposed to the walk-throughs of last week) will help. If teams want to run a carbon copy of what the Dolphins did (which the Bears won't) they will get beat. The Dolphins kind of caught the Ravens off-guard with the amount of blitzes and frazzled them. It's not that the Ravens aren't capable of beating the blitz; they just didn't Thursday night.

Downing: This is an observant question. It's hard to quantify whether Jackson is getting to the line later this season compared to previous years, but there have been too many times that he's getting the snap off just before the play clock expires. That hurt the Ravens on the opening drive of Thursday's game, as the team took a delay-of-game penalty that stalled the drive and ultimately led to the Ravens settling for a field goal. We don't know exactly what's delaying that process. There is a communication mechanism from Roman in the coach's booth to Jackson on the field, and maybe they just need to be more efficient in that process.

The substitutions could also be part of the equation, as the Ravens keep defenses off-balance with a variety of looks they deploy. Substitutions take time, and that may be slowing the Ravens down in terms of getting to the line. NFL rules stipulate that when offenses substitute, they need to give defenses time to substitute as well. That could be part of what's happening as well. Overall, this is a difficult question to answer because we can't see or hear the communication from the coaches to the players on the field, but it is something the Ravens need to improve in some critical situations.

Mink: The Ravens' offensive line actually wasn't that bad against the Dolphins as it might seem. Alejandro Villanueva, Bradley Bozeman, Ben Powers and Kevin Zeitler all got high marks from Pro Football Focus, particularly in pass protection, in the Miami game. It wasn't that they didn't block well for the most part; they were just outnumbered, which led to free blitzers that the Ravens did not handle well.

Overall, the offensive line play has been spotty at times. It could certainly be better, but it could be a whole lot worse too. The Ravens should be better once right tackle Patrick Mekari returns, which I expect to be in the next couple weeks. Ben Cleveland could be the first one back, as he was working out on the field before the Dolphins game. He would probably re-enter a timeshare with Powers, and can hopefully pick up where he left off as a powerful blocker before his knee injury.

Downing: It's a tough blow to lose Derek Wolfe for the rest of the season. The Ravens had high hopes for the veteran defender when signing him to a new contract this offseason, but the back injury from training camp ended his season before it even started. In terms of getting someone from another team, I wouldn't rule out that possibility. General Manager Eric DeCosta is always looking to improve the roster and he'll turn over every stone to make that happen. The Ravens are tight against the salary cap, so don't expect a big-time signing because the Ravens simply don't have money to pull off a move like that. The trade deadline has also passed, so that's not an option. But the Ravens could add a depth player to the defensive line, like they did with nose tackle Isaiah Mack when signing him to the practice squad Wednesday.

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