John Harbaugh On Roman, Jackson, WRs

John Harbaugh shut down the prospect of the Ravens revamping their offense on Wednesday. Greg Roman will be back for a third season as Baltimore’s offensive coordinator, Harbaugh said (via Jeff Zrebiec of The Athletic).

Roman garnered interest for HC positions last year, following Lamar Jackson‘s unanimous MVP season. But Jackson’s less dominant 2020, and another Ravens playoff game involving offensive struggles, has lowered Roman’s stock. No teams reached out to him about a head coaching position this year. Nevertheless, the veteran assistant will be the team’s OC for the 2021 season. Harbaugh does not expect changes to his offensive staff, Zrebiec adds, though the Lions have interviewed QBs coach James Urban for their OC job.

The 13-year Ravens HC also said the team will extend Jackson either this year or in the 2022 offseason. Although Jackson experienced inconsistency this season, he remains in line for a monster extension.

With the Bills set to explore a Josh Allen re-up this year, Jackson would stand to benefit. The prospect of the salary cap returning to its usual growth in 2022 would increase Jackson’s earning potential as well. The Ravens will pick up Jackson’s fully guaranteed fifth-year option by May, extending his rookie contract through 2022.

The Ravens, however, are coming off another disappointing playoff loss that featured its run-centric offense unable to keep pace. (Though, Jackson’s concussion obviously affected the Ravens’ ability to do so.) The team features one of the NFL’s lowest-profile receiving corps, and although the upcoming free agency market could well include several high-end wideouts, the Ravens are not in a strong position to convince one to join their unique offense.

Still, Harbaugh said the team could target a possession-type receiver to play alongside Marquise Brown.

I think a big, physical receiver would be awesome for us. We can use anybody who is talented and good,” Harbaugh said. “… I’m not going to beg anybody to be here. I’m not a college coach and I don’t have to recruit anybody. If you want to win, if you want to be part of a great organization and you want to be part of a team, you want to love coming to work every single day and you love football, playing in the AFC North, come here.

If you don’t, if you’re all worried about stats and numbers and your stat line and how many balls you catch necessarily and that’s all you care for, then there’s a lot of other teams you can play for and we’re looking forward to lining up against you.”

Brown led the Ravens in receiving, with 769 yards, this season. The team has featured just one receiver (Brown) surpass 500 yards in each of the past two seasons. Willie Snead is not under contract for the ’21 season.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

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4 comments on “John Harbaugh On Roman, Jackson, WRs

  1. Ak185

    The Roman offense was innovative, hard to stop, versatile, and perfect to get Jackson off the ground and comfortable in the NFL using his natural skillset. It’s time to move on.

    Teams have seen it, and know it. Before, they did not know that they did not have to defend the deep outside of the field because they didn’t know that the Ravens were not going to go there. They did not know Jackson would not throw certain routes or reads because they did not know how he or the Ravens would attack through the air. Now they do. They know where to sit, and how long Jackson will wait, and when he’ll pull the ball and keep it himself. The offense got Jackson a set of plays and confidence when the NFL didn’t know what he was about. Now the Ravens need to rely on Jackson as a quarterback to make more varied plays on the field and need to give him opportunity to step up and prove that he can. Part of that is a possession receiver, which Dez was meant to help with in some fashion, and what I personally would have loved to see last year. But the playbook needs to change so that Jackson can have the chance to himself.

    One thing that Jackson has that many other mobile QBs who have been drafted may not have is the clear willingness to work hard at getting better as a passer. He has expressed many times his need to develop his patience and field vision, and clearly has the humility to acknowledge his areas of need. I think that he’s committed, and certainly has the physical talent. Right now, the Ravens have him in a good position to succeed in terms of confidence and accomplishments to become a great franchise QB going forward. They need to do their part in building a successful and more complex passing offense to let Jackson have the chance to develop those necessary skills and not hold his development in place where it is now.

    Roman was a great hire and did a great job. I don’t know if he can give them what they need now, but he will have to change if he is going to.

  2. MileHighFan

    So Harbaugh is laying the blame for Jackson’s lack of downfield throws on his current receivers?
    Sorry, but Jackson’s lifetime of playing the QB position using his legs as his primary weapon isn’t going to be changed by putting better wide receivers on the field.

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