OWINGS MILLS, Md. — Greg Roman has decided to step down as the Baltimore Ravens’ offensive coordinator on Thursday amid fan outrage and player frustration.
Roman had one year remaining on his deal, which was believed to be a team option.
“After visiting with Coach [John] Harbaugh and after huddling with my family, I have decided that 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. “… I’ll truly miss Baltimore, but at the same time I am excited to attack my next opportunity with focus and passion.”
Roman’s most impressive feat was devising an outside-the-box offense around quarterback Lamar Jackson, producing the NFL’s most prolific offense in 2019. But Roman never came close to replicating that unpredictable and dominant attack.
The Ravens’ scoring had decreased in each of Roman’s four seasons as Baltimore’s playcaller, from an NFL-best 33.2 points per game in 2019 to 20.6 points per game in 2022 (19th in the league). Roman’s downfall was the inability to put together a passing game to complement a record-setting run game and his questionable play-calling in the red zone.
The Ravens’ scoring had decreased in each of Roman’s four seasons as Baltimore’s playcaller, from an NFL-best 33.2 points per game in 2019 to 20.6 points per game in 2022 (19th in the league). Roman’s downfall was the inability to put together a passing game to complement a record-setting run game and his questionable playcalling in the red zone.
“Greg devised and led our offense to no fewer than 26 historical NFL and franchise achievements. 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,” Harbaugh said in a statement.
After the Ravens’ 24-17 playoff loss at the Bengals on Sunday, running back J.K. Dobbins complained about not getting any touches in the red zone in the second half, specifically on the drive where backup quarterback Tyler Huntley’s fumble on a sneak was returned 98 yards for a touchdown. Baltimore finished 30th in red zone this season and was 1-of-4 inside the 20-yard line on Sunday.
Roman faced mounting scrutiny toward the end of the season, when Baltimore struggled without the injured Jackson. The Ravens failed to score more than 17 points at any point in Jackson’s six-game absence (including postseason).
It was only last month when someone left makeshift, handwritten flyers that read “Fire Greg Roman” scattered just outside the entrance of the Ravens’ facility. A few weeks before this, someone posted a video on Twitter in which fans were shouting obscenities at Roman while he walked from the stadium to his car after the game. “Get the f— out of here, Greg,” one fan shouted.
Baltimore finished this season ranked 16th overall (338.8) — its worst in six seasons — and 28th in passing offense (178.8) in an injury-filled season. There wasn’t one time this season that Roman had his No. 1 running back (Dobbins), No. 1 wide receiver (Rashod Bateman) and All-Pro left tackle (Ronnie Stanley) available in the same game.
Under Roman’s innovative run game strategies, the Ravens became the only team in NFL history to produce more than 3,000 yards rushing in a season. Baltimore did it in back-to-back seasons, which were also Jackson’s only two full seasons (2019 and 2020). Roman put together the NFL’s best all-time rushing attack in 2019, when the Ravens ran for 3,296 yards, the most in a 16-game season in league history.
But Jackson and the passing game never progressed. Over the past two seasons, Jackson threw 33 touchdown passes and 20 interceptions. The Ravens totaled the third-fewest passing yards (194.1) in the past three seasons.
Entering his 16th NFL season, Ravens coach John Harbaugh will look for his seventh offensive coordinator. His previous ones were Cam Cameron, Jim Caldwell, Gary Kubiak, Marc Trestman, Marty Mornhinweg and Roman.