By Trevor Woods
The revolution is well underway in Baltimore.
Head coach John Harbaugh made that prediction for the Ravens' offense and his words have turned out to be true.
“The stuff that we do is so complex, there’s so many moving parts, I don’t think there’s anything like it in the NFL,” tight end Hayden Hurst said. “Which, I think, in turn, our passing game feeds off that, because you’ve got different guys in different looks. They’re expecting run, and then all of a sudden, we pop a pass on them.”
The Ravens offense is making defenses second-guess themselves, and in the midst of that momentary confusion, Baltimore is able to capitalize in a variety of ways in Roman's massive playbook.
"I think what he’s (Roman) done such a great job of, is he’s adjusted the scheme to fit the personnel and to maximize guys’ opportunities to make plays and do what they do best," Rams head coach Sean McVay said this week, who's focused on their Monday night tilt vs. Baltimore. "That’s a sign of a great coach. Certainly, he’s a guy that I’ve always respected from afar at the various stops that he’s been. But what he’s done an outstanding job of is implementing some things that are very rare, what they can activate, but still really put a lot of conflict, a lot of pressure, on a defense. And you can see there’s an intent behind everything that they’re doing, and they intentionally put the defense in a lot of conflict based on what he’s doing and some of the plays that he’s selecting.”
The Ravens offense is doing everything it possibly can to give their playmakers one-on-one matchups in open space. Sometimes that's a read-option run by Jackson, others it's a pass to a tight end, others it's a vertical shot to the likes of Willie Snead or Marquise Brown.
Roman's thought-process involves dialing up plays that will make a defense guess incorrectly on a given play. Sure, the element of smash-mouth football is evident, but creating confusion, or pressure as McVay put it, is what Roman prides himself in doing just as much as the physicality of the offense.
“It’s really about how you disguise things, how you present them, how you get in and out of plays in certain situations,” Michael Christianson said, a former assistant with Roman in San Francisco. “For Greg, he’s phenomenal at that. He really understands the big picture.”
“He understands defenses so well,” Christianson said. “He could make a play and create five or six plays out of it just buy a simple look or a simple tweak, whatever our formations were. He was able to see something that a lot of people just missed.”
The credit goes not only to Roman and the players executing his scheme, but it should also be extended to the assistant coaches implementing the schematics. Even with that in mind giving credit where it's due, Roman is the one powering the attack and putting Lamar Jackson & Co. in opportune positions time and time again. Roman was considered an offensive genius in San Francisco, and now that banter is starting to pick up again once more, and deservedly so.
We'll see if the revolution continues against the Rams on Monday Night Football, and beyond.