Greg Roman

Ravens, OC Greg Roman To Part Ways

Greg Roman‘s time as Ravens offensive coordinator will end after four seasons. Roman is stepping down to pursue other opportunities, the team announced.

A veteran OC, Roman had been with the Ravens since 2017. The team promoted him to offensive coordinator in 2019, coinciding with Lamar Jackson‘s first season as the team’s full-time starting quarterback. Thursday’s news comes not long after John Harbaugh said he was confident in his staff and did not expect any changes.

After visiting with coach Harbaugh and after huddling with my family, I have decided now is the right time to move on from the Ravens so that I can explore new challenges and opportunities,” Roman said in a statement thanking the Ravens, via his agency (on Twitter).

Having developed a reputation for revamping offenses geared around dual-threat quarterbacks, Roman did his most notable work in Baltimore. Jackson morphed from a player who dropped to No. 32 in the 2018 draft to a league MVP by his second season. While Roman became a somewhat polarizing figure for Ravens fans during his four-season tenure as OC, Jackson soared to three Pro Bowls and became a superstar during this period.

The Ravens have reached a rather pivotal point with Jackson, who is set for free agency (or, almost certainly, a franchise tag) in March. Frustration built within the organization about Jackson’s lingering PCL sprain, to the point the self-represented quarterback released a statement detailing his injury. Jackson then did not travel with the team to Cincinnati, and his Monday Instagram post fueled more speculation about a potential separation between he and the Ravens. While select NFL execs believe Jackson will be available in a trade, the Ravens have continued to insist they want to hammer out an extension. The sides have tried and failed to do so for two years.

Roman, 50, served as OC for both the 49ers and Bills prior to his six-year Ravens run. His San Francisco stay offered a prelude to the Ravens’ Jackson-rejiggered offense, with the team pivoting to a Colin Kaepernick-centered attack midway through the 2012 campaign. That change helped drive the 49ers to two more NFC championship games and Super Bowl XLVII, where they narrowly lost to the Ravens. Roman also aided ex-Raven Tyrod Taylor to a nice run in Buffalo. The Bills led the league in rushing in both 2015 and 2016, though Roman was fired early in the ’16 campaign.

Under John Harbaugh in Baltimore, mixed results came. The Ravens glided to a 14-2 record in 2019, and Jackson became a unanimous MVP. His 1,206 rushing yards that season shattered a quarterback record. The Ravens made the playoffs from 2018-20 and returned this season, but Jackson has largely flatlined as a passer after showing initial growth. Baltimore has ranked 27th, 32nd, 20th and 28th in passing from 2019-22, and while Jackson’s historic run-game abilities and the team’s receiver investments have much to do with those placements, Roman’s presence became a sore spot with fans in recent years. The Ravens finishing the past two seasons without Jackson, who has missed 11 games since 2021 because of injuries, obviously hindered their cause as well. Baltimore’s point totals decreased in each of Roman’s four seasons as the play-caller.

Greg devised and led our offense to no fewer than 26 historical NFL and franchise achievements,” Harbaugh said. “He established an identity for our offense. We are grateful for Greg’s great work and abilities, and we wish him and his wonderful family the utmost happiness going forward.

Roman spoke with Stanford about their HC vacancy last month but did not appear a serious candidate. He emerged on the NFL HC radar in 2020, following Jackson’s MVP run, but has not been connected to a job since that offseason. Considering the Ravens’ relationship with Jackson and his uncertain contract status, this becomes one of the league’s most intriguing vacancies.

AFC North Notes: Zimmer, Ravens’ Staff, Watson

The Bengals were struck with tragedy in October when assistant coach Adam Zimmer passed away. The 38-year-old had been hired to come back to Cincinnati earlier this year to work as an offensive analyst. The son of longtime Vikings head coach Mike Zimmer, Adam had been in Minnesota since 2014 prior to that.

As detailed by Paul Walsh of the Minneapolis Star Tribune, the Hennepin County Medical Examiner’s Office ruled that Zimmer died of chronic alcohol abuse. Specifically, his passing came about due to “complications of chronic ethanol use disorder,” and was deemed to be natural. Zimmer had worked as an NFL staffer starting in 2006, spending time with the Saints and Chiefs before one year with the Bengals in 2013. He worked as a co-defensive coordinator of the Vikings in 2020 and 2021 before taking his final NFL role, the first which involved work on the offensive side of the ball.

Here are some other notes from the AFC North:

  • The Ravens clinched a playoff spot yesterday, and a division title is still within reach. Their offense has struggled throughout much of the season, however, especially in recent weeks with Lamar Jackson sidelined due to a PCL injury. That has led to calls for changes on the sidelines and increasing scrutiny on offensive coordinator Greg Roman in particular. No such move will be coming in at least the near future, though; head coach John Harbaugh stated (via ESPN’s Jamison Hensley, on Twitter) that he remains confident in his staff as is, adding that he is not considering any personnel changes at this time. Baltimore’s issues in the redzone have been a near-constant in 2022, with the team’s touchdown percentage of 46.3% ranking 30th in the league. In the three weeks with backup QB Tyler Huntley playing, that figure has plummeted to 22.2%.
  • The pursuit of Deshaun Watson was one of the league’s top storylines this offseason, with the Browns ultimately winning out. A large reason the recently-suspended passer chose to go to Cleveland was the nature of their fully-guaranteed, $230MM contract offer, of course, but another factor loomed large. The presence of head coach Kevin Stefanski was a “major reason” Watson chose to join the Browns, notes Mary Kay Cabot of Cleveland.com. The third-year HC has been reported to be on the hot seat this season, one in which the team has fallen short of expectations. A strong connection between he and Watson could help the Browns put together an encouraging end to the campaign, though, and help Stefanski remain in his post for at least 2023, the first year where Watson will be available for a full schedule since his acquisition.

Jason Garrett, Greg Roman Out Of Running For Stanford HC Job

DECEMBER 9: Garrett is no longer pursuing the Stanford HC gig, he announced (via Twitter). The former Cowboys coach, who was in the running for the Duke HC job last year, will remain at NBC.

DECEMBER 8: Settling in as an NBC analyst, Jason Garrett may soon return to the sidelines. The longtime Cowboys head coach is one of two finalists for the Stanford HC gig, Pete Thamel of ESPN.com reports (on Twitter).

Garrett joins Sacramento State HC Troy Taylor as the known finalists, per Thamel, who adds Garrett is expected to visit this week. Garrett, 56, has never coached at the college level but was close to landing the Duke HC gig last December. He rose from Cowboys offensive coordinator to interim HC to full-time HC, keeping the final position for nine seasons. The Cowboys fired Garrett after the 2019 campaign, but he resurfaced as the Giants’ offensive coordinator for most of the next two seasons.

This report stands to put Ravens OC Greg Roman out of contention to replace his former Stanford coworker, David Shaw, who left his post after 12 seasons last month. Roman, who is in his fourth season as Baltimore’s play-caller, spoke with Stanford reps last week about returning to Palo Alto. Roman was a position coach under Jim Harbaugh at Stanford, but the current John Harbaugh staffer appears to be staying put. Roman is no longer in the running, Stewart Mandel of The Athletic reports (subscription required).

Stanford considered both Roman and Vic Fangio, per Mandel. Having been fired after three Broncos HC seasons, is sitting out this year. But he has alluded to returning to the NFL sideline. He is aiming to coach in 2023, per Nicki Jhabvala of the Washington Post.

Holding only one NFL coaching job before becoming Cowboys OC in 2007 (Dolphins QBs coach), Garrett became one of this era’s longest-tenured head coaches. While calls for his firing persisted during the back half of his Dallas tenure, the longtime NFL backup guided the team to playoff berths in 2014, 2016 and 2018. Garrett, however, missed the playoffs during his first three full seasons and went 8-8 four times as Cowboys HC. Mike McCarthy replaced him in 2020.

The Giants hired Garrett to be their play-caller under Joe Judge, but the team struggled for most of this stretch. Garrett ended up being fired midway through his second season at the helm of the Daniel Jones-piloted attack, leading him to NBC.

Ravens OC Greg Roman On Radar For Stanford HC Job

DECEMBER 4: While John Harbaugh classifies the talks between Roman and Stanford as “preliminary,” Ian Rapoport of NFL.com says Roman is indeed interested in the position. The school’s athletic director, Bernard Muir, was reportedly encouraged by his recent conversation with Baltimore’s OC, who would “strongly consider” returning to the Cardinal.

NOVEMBER 30: Longtime Stanford head coach David Shaw stepped down from his post heading the Pac-12 program. The Cardinal will conduct their first coaching search in many years, and Ravens offensive coordinator Greg Roman is believed to be a part of that process.

Stanford has discussed the position with Roman, according to The Athletic’s Stewart Mandel (on Twitter). Roman, who has been Baltimore’s OC since 2019 and on John Harbaugh‘s staff since 2017, was an assistant at Stanford during Jim Harbaugh‘s time in Palo Alto. Roman was a Stanford position coach from 2009-10.

Both Shaw and Roman have been connected to NFL HC jobs in the past, though such talk has died down for both. Roman, 50, went through his most recent HC interview following the 2019 season, when he met with the Browns. No known HC meetings have taken place since, and Roman’s place as Baltimore’s OC was somewhat in question entering the 2022 offseason. John Harbaugh assured Roman would be back, and he is calling Ravens plays for a fourth season.

Roman has both been given credit for redesigning the Ravens’ offense to fit Lamar Jackson, leading to the run-oriented quarterback’s MVP season, and blamed for holding the dual-threat talent back. The Ravens ranked 17th in scoring offense last season, one played without their top two running backs, and are up to eighth this year despite more J.K. Dobbins and Gus Edwards injury trouble. Baltimore is also playing without No. 1 wide receiver Rashod Bateman, who is out for the season. Jackson is also on pace for a third 1,000-yard rushing season, averaging 68.6 rushing yards per game.

Tailoring schemes to dual-threat quarterbacks has been a Roman staple. He made over the 49ers’ offense for Colin Kaepernick as Jim Harbaugh’s OC in San Francisco and did the same for Tyrod Taylor in Buffalo. The Bills fired Roman during the 2016 season, leading him to Baltimore. Roman’s offenses contrast to Shaw’s; the latter’s pro-style attacks produced the likes of Andrew Luck and Davis Mills and garnered the offense-oriented HC NFL interest. Shaw was on Harbaugh’s staff during Roman’s two years there.

Other names will come up in this search, and it would be quite interesting if Roman bailed on coaching Jackson. But he has never been a head coach and has seen that well dry up at the professional level. As the Ravens vie for their first AFC North title since Roman’s first year on the job, this will be a storyline to monitor. Stanford, which employed Shaw as HC for 12 years, has gone 3-9 in each of its past two campaigns.

Panthers’ Post-Rhule Fallout: Termination, Replacement, Trades

The NFL news circuit was set ablaze today when news broke of the firings of Panthers head coach Matt Rhule and defensive coordinator Phil Snow. The termination of Rhule was not necessarily a surprise, as he’s been firmly on the hot seat all year and the possibility of firing Rhule had been discussed “well before” today, according to Josina Anderson of CBS Sports, but it did create a newsworthy fallout of information that is of interest to those who follow the sport.

Many have talked about the contract implications of Rhule’s termination, alluding to the millions of dollars still remaining on his contract. While it’s completely applicable to Rhule’s situation, it doesn’t sound like it is a concern to Carolina. Ian Rapoport of NFL Network tweeted out that “Carolina is on the hook for this season, but the salaries for the ensuing seasons are offset by what his future college job pays him.” Essentially, Rhule will absolutely get his guaranteed money, but the onus won’t be on Carolina to pay it. Whenever Rhule, who is presumed to be a top college coaching candidate for next year, gets another job, his salary from the new school will offset the amount the Panthers owe him.

It was also announced that Panthers defensive passing game coordinator & secondary coach Steve Wilks will sub in as the interim head coach for the remainder of the season. The defensive-minded former head coach of the Cardinals has apparently already begun to make the team his own. When Panthers owner David Tepper was asked why Snow was fired, he reportedly pointed the finger at Wilks, telling reporters to direct that question to the interim head coach, according to ESPN’s David Newton.

Here are a few more fallout items from today, starting with some ideas on Rhule’s replacement:

  • The biggest nugget to come out of today concerning Carolina is that, as most NFL executives expected Rhule to lose his job, many in league circles are expecting the Panthers to start dealing veteran assets in an attempt to accrue draft capital that might make the head coaching position more attractive, according to Jason La Canfora of the Washington Post. The Panthers currently only hold four draft picks for 2023: first-, second-, fourth-, and fifth-round picks, supporting the idea that trading away veterans could improve their current situation. Trading away veterans with expensive contracts, such as star running back Christian McCaffrey or wide receiver Robbie Anderson, could prove troublesome, according to La Canfora, so the Panthers are reportedly willing to eat some of those salaries in order to facilitate moving those assets. Early reports claimed that the Bills have reached out about McCaffrey and that they did in the offseason, as well, according to Person, but Tom Pelissero of NFL Network clarified that, while every team will be calling about McCaffrey, the Panthers haven’t engaged in any trade talks yet. In addition to McCaffrey and Anderson, Jonathan Jones of CBS Sports expects wide receiver D.J. Moore, defensive end Brian Burns, and defensive tackle Derrick Brown to be on the table.
  • Jeff Howe of The Athletic posed the question today of who might replace Rhule and offered quite a few suggestions. Howe started the list with Cowboys defensive coordinator Dan Quinn who took the Falcons to the Super Bowl as head coach in 2016. Next, he mentioned 49ers defensive coordinator DeMeco Ryans. Ryans interviewed for the Vikings’ job this offseason and was expected to interview for the Raiders’, as well. The 38-year-old has rocketed up coaching boards since retiring as a player in 2015. Another name mentioned was Eagles defensive coordinator Jonathan Gannon who also interviewed for the Vikings last year, in addition to the Texans and Broncos. Howe went into great detail on every candidate, seeming to list anybody who may be up for a head coaching job in the next few seasons. His list included former NFL head coaches including the retired Sean Payton, Steelers senior defensive assistant and linebackers coach Brian Flores, Bills defensive coordinator Leslie Frazier, and former Colts and Lions head coach Jim Caldwell, as well as the current interim head coach, Wilks. Other serious candidates Howe mentioned were Rams defensive coordinator Raheem Morris, Chiefs offensive coordinator Eric Bieniemy, Eagles offensive coordinator Shane Steichen, Patriots inside linebackers coach Jerod Mayo, and Raiders defensive coordinator Patrick Graham. The list essentially devolved into an article about anybody who may make the jump to NFL head coach in the next few seasons, pointing out “wait and see” candidates such as Rams offensive coordinator Liam Coen, Ravens offensive coordinator Greg Roman, Buccaneers offensive coordinator Byron Leftwich, Bengals defensive coordinator Lou Anarumo, Bills offensive coordinator Ken Dorsey, Giants offensive coordinator Mike Kafka, Dolphins offensive coordinator Frank Smith, Cowboys offensive coordinator Kellen Moore, Broncos defensive coordinator Ejiro Evero, Jaguars defensive coordinator Mike Caldwell, and Giants defensive coordinator Don “Wink” Martindale.
  • One interesting name that came out of today’s rumors was former Panthers All-Pro linebacker Luke Kuechly. Joe Person of The Athletic advised that an eye be kept on Kuechly, who remains close with Wilks and new defensive coordinator Al Holcomb, to come back in some capacity. After retiring from a pro scout position last year, Kuechly has been working as an analyst on Panthers radio broadcasts.

Ravens Expected To Retain OC Greg Roman

It is already know that the Ravens will have a new defensive coordinator in 2022. However, head coach John Harbaugh made it clear on Monday he plans on retaining Greg Roman as the team’s offensive coordinator (Twitter link via ESPN’s Jamison Hensley). 

[Related: Ravens Hire Mike Macdonald As Defensive Coordinator]

During his press conference, Harbaugh gave Roman a vote of confidence as the man at the helm of the offense. “I’m excited about that”, he said. “I think we have a really good vision of what we want to build offensively”. The team took a major step back on the offensive side of the ball, in particular down the stretch, though injuries to a number of key contributors played a big role in that.

From quarterback Lamar Jackson, to left tackle Ronnie Stanley, to running backs J.K. Dobbins and Gus Edwards, the unit wasn’t at full strength at any point in the campaign. While backup QB Tyler Huntley generally filled in admirably for the former MVP, scoring increasingly became a problem during the team’s six-game losing streak to finish the season. Baltimore finished 17th in points per game this season (22.8), in large part due to struggles on third down (36.4%, 26th).

The team’s passing game was a sore spot, especially late in the year. After the best start to his career, Marquise Brown didn’t top 55 receiving yards in a game from Week 10 onwards. The lack of a downfield passing attack is nothing new for Roman-led offenses, though 2021 did also see tight end Mark Andrews set a franchise record in receiving yards (1,361).

The 49-year-old has been with the Ravens since 2017, and the offensive coordinator for the past three years. His overall body of work – predicated on the ground game, just as it was when he was in San Francisco and Buffalo – has earned him at least one more season at the controls. The offensive staff is already going to be different, however, as The Athletic’s Bruce Feldman tweets that tight ends coach Bobby Engram is leaving to become the OC at Wisconsin. In addition, it came out yesterday that wide receivers coach Tee Martin is a candidate for the Bills’ OC position.

With, presumably, healthier personnel, along with a familiar play-caller in 2022, the Ravens will look to reclaim their place as one of the league’s most unique, and most effective, offenses.

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.

Browns To Interview Greg Roman

The Browns will interview Greg Roman on Thursday night, according to NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport (on Twitter). The Ravens offensive coordinator is one of the hottest coaching candidates out there and would be a logical fit for the playing style of quarterback Baker Mayfield

[RELATED: Browns To Interview Mike McCarthy]

Under Roman’s tutelage in 2019, Lamar Jackson threw for 3,127 yards and a league-leading 36 touchdowns against just six interceptions. He also rushed for 1,206 yards and seven touchdowns – all inside of just 15 games.

The Ravens dominated the AFC North in 2019 even though many expected this to be a breakthrough year for the Browns. That didn’t come to fruition, thanks in large part to their dysfunctional offense. Mayfield’s production fell off of a cliff under Freddie Kitchens – he completed just 59.4% of this throws with 22 touchdowns and 21 interceptions.

The Browns have made a point to utilize Mayfield more as a pocket passer than a runner, but Roman could flip the script, somewhat. Even though he has never served as a head coach at any level, he could be an appealing option for Cleveland. He’ll be the second candidate to interview for the HC post, following Mike McCarthy.

Cowboys Eyeing Greg Roman?

Some Cowboys officials have Ravens offensive coordinator Greg Roman in mind for the head coaching position, if it comes available (Twitter link via Charles Robinson of Yahoo Sports). As of this writing, the Cowboys still have Jason Garrett as their head coach, so they have not requested an interview with Roman. 

Roman’s stock has skyrocketed this year along with the play of quarterback Lamar Jackson. While Dak Prescott is a different type of player, the pro-Roman crowd in Dallas believes that the Baltimore OC can jumpstart the offense with his run-dominant concepts.

Under Roman’s tutelage in 2019, Jackson threw for 3,127 yards and a league-leading 36 touchdowns against just six interceptions. He also rushed for 1,206 yards and seven touchdowns – all in just 15 games, since he was rested in Week 17.

Since breaking into the NFL in 2011, Roman has served as the OC of the 49ers, Bills, and the Ravens. He has never served as a head coach at the collegiate or professional level.

Black Monday Rumors: McDaniels, Bieniemy, Browns

The Giants have fired head coach Pat Shumur, the Browns have fired head coach Freddie Kitchens, Cleveland GM John Dorsey‘s fate is up in the air, Bruce Allen is out with the Redskins, Ron Rivera looks like he’s in, and we have a lot more to pass along:

  • The Giants are rumored to be targeting Baylor head coach Matt Rhule, but they have requested an interview with Chiefs OC Eric Bieniemy, as Adam Schefter of ESPN.com tweets. Ian Rapoport of NFL.com adds (via Twitter) that the Panthers have also requested a summit with Bieniemy, a branch of the fruitful Andy Reid coaching tree whom Reid feels is ready for an HC job.
  • We heard this morning that the Browns have requested an interview with Patriots OC Josh McDaniels, and they also want to interview Ravens OC Greg Roman, per Schefter (via Twitter). Nate Ulrich of the Akron Beacon Journal tweets that Cleveland is expected to interview Vikings OC Kevin Stefanski again. Stefanski was a finalist for the Browns’ HC job last year before they elected to hire Kitchens.
  • Schefter says the Browns have asked permission to interview 49ers DC Robert Saleh (Twitter link), and Mary Kay Cabot of Cleveland.com says the team plans to interview Mike McCarthy as well (Twitter link). Cleveland had an interview scheduled with McCarthy last year, but by that time, the club had already zeroed in on Kitchens, so the interview never happened. McCarthy and Dorsey worked together in Green Bay, so Dorsey may be rooting for a McCarthy hire.
  • In addition to the Browns, the Giants and Panthers have also requested interviews with McDaniels, as Schefter tweets.
  • Despite recent reports indicating that he wants to stay in Baltimore, Ravens DC Don “Wink” Martindale is generating a great deal of HC buzz, as Rapoport tweets. If he is hired, Martindale would want to pluck LSU passing game coordinator/wide receivers coach Joe Brady from the collegiate ranks to be his OC. If you’ve watched college football this year, you can’t blame Martindale for that choice.
  • Jaguars head coach Doug Marrone will meet with owner Shad Khan tomorrow to discuss his fate, as NFL insider Adam Caplan tweets.