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FFL: Preseason | NFL: Week 1

Roman overhauls Ravens offense with QB Lamar Jackson in mind

Tue Feb 19 2:24pm ET
By DAVID GINSBURG
AP Sports Writer

Players: Joe Flacco, Tyrod Taylor, Gus Edwards, Lamar Jackson

In this Jan. 6, 2019, file photo, Baltimore Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson (8) walks off the field after an NFL wild card playoff football game against the Los Angeles Chargers, in Baltimore. Greg Roman is off to a running start in his new role as offensive coordinator of the Baltimore Ravens, working on a ground game that will coincide with the skills of agile quarterback Lamar Jackson. (AP Photo/Nick Wass, File)


In this Aug. 8, 2017, file photo, Baltimore Ravens head coach John Harbaugh, left, speaks with then-senior offensive assistant/tight ends coach Greg Roman as offensive tackle Ronnie Stanley prepares to run a drill during an NFL football training camp practice in Owings Mills, Md. Roman is off to a running start in his new role as offensive coordinator of the Baltimore Ravens, working on a ground game that will coincide with the skills of agile quarterback Lamar Jackson. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)


OWINGS MILLS, Md. (AP) Greg Roman is off to a running start in his new role as offensive coordinator of the Baltimore Ravens, working long hours to construct a unit that can fully utilize the talents of quarterback Lamar Jackson.

The Ravens closed the regular season with a 6-1 run behind Jackson, who keyed an effective ground game with frequent forays out of the pocket and downfield. Baltimore ended a three-year hiatus from the playoffs, winning the AFC North before losing to the Chargers.

The goal this offseason is to make an effective attack even better. Promoted last month from assistant coach/tight ends coach, Roman is rewriting a playbook that was originally devised for a pass-oriented offense led by Joe Flacco.

''We're trying, soup to nuts, from the ground up ... to hit the sweet spot with how we put this offense together,'' Roman said Tuesday.

The focal point is Jackson, the 32nd overall pick in the 2018 draft. After Flacco injured his right hip in November, Jackson took over and displayed the slick moves and elusiveness that earned him a Heisman Trophy at Louisville.

The rookie finished as the team's second-leading rusher with 719 yards. He spearheaded a ground game that finished second in the NFL with 152.6 yards per game - including an league-high 1,607 yards rushing over the final seven games.

''You're going to see a lot of elements of that this year,'' Roman said.

The result, he hopes, is something on a much grander scale.

''We have run an offense here that has kind of morphed over the years, and we really want to start fresh, start new,'' Roman said. ''Everything from our language, our formations, how we do everything. Rebuild the thing. That's one angle.

''The other angle is really, how do we want to move forward with Lamar Jackson? He's a unique player with a unique skill set, so let's build an offense that really accommodates that, as opposed to try to fit him into something that other people had once done.''

Roman took over for Marty Mornhinweg in part because of his work as an offensive coordinator in San Francisco and Buffalo, where he helped construct effective attacks with running quarterbacks in Colin Kaepernick and Tyrod Taylor.

At the time of Roman's hiring, coach John Harbaugh said, ''Increasing Greg's responsibilities will help us get where we're going on offense.''

Constructing a new playbook is not an easy process.

''It's a real grind. We're really looking at this as a completely new beginning, as if we were a new staff,'' Roman said. ''I've kind of compared it to putting your kid's furniture together from IKEA or something. If you make one wrong move, you've got to take the whole thing apart and start over again.''

For the offense to work, the Ravens must fortify the offensive line, get a rugged receiver capable of blocking downfield and hope Gus Edwards can continue to develop after a rookie season in which he was activated from the practice squad in October before running for a team-high 718 yards.

Most of all, however, they need Jackson to be better. His running prowess and determination are fine, but he had only one 200-yard passing game and fumbled 12 times.

''Moving forward, consistent fundamentals are what's really going to take him to the next level,'' Roman said, ''because he's got all the ability in the world.''

Player Notes
Deebo Samuel Jul 18 2:40pm ET

Approaching training camp, the San Francisco 49ers first two picks of 2019 remain unsigned. Defensive end Nick Bosa, the second overall pick, and wide receiver Deebo Samuel represent two of the eight total 2019 NFL draftees that have not reached a deal. Bosa, who many experts expect to make an immediate impact, could lift the Niners defense from its 28th-ranked fantasy DST. More worrisome is Samuel, who will miss valuable reps with quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo if hes unable to report to camp on time. With a crowded receiving corps, the rookie could conceivable sink on the depth chart, severely negating any redraft value he currently possesses.

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Sidney Jones Jul 18 10:43am ET

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Damon Harrison Jul 18 9:03am ET

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Matt Judon Jul 18 8:40am ET

Baltimore Ravens linebacker Matt Judon said this week that his representatives have opened contract extension talks with the team. He is entering the final season of a four-year, $2.595 million rookie deal, and he can be an unrestricted free agent after the 2019 season. Judon has registered 131 total tackles with 19 sacks, three forced fumbles and seven passes defensed in three NFL seasons, and he has 15 sacks over the past two campaigns. He is a key member of a Ravens defense which will be a Top 5 fantasy DST again this season.

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Miles Boykin Jul 18 8:20am ET

The Baltimore Ravens signed rookie wide receiver Miles Boykin to a four-year contract this week. Boykin signed his four-year rookie deal, the team announced on Wednesday, and the club now has all of its rookies signed just in time for them to report to training camp. Boykin, a third-round pick out of Notre Dame, missed time during offseason training activities (OTAs) due to a hamstring injury. He will be jockeying with Willie Snead, Seth Roberts and Chris Moore for a meaningful role in the Baltimore offense to start.

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Luke Stocker Jul 18 8:10am ET

The Atlanta Falcons brought in free-agent tight ends Logan Paulsen and Luke Stocker during the offseason to provide depth behind Austin Hooper, who is in a contract year. Stocker, who signed a two-year, $5.5 million deal in the offseason, received a $1.5 million signing bonus. He might also see some time at fullback in addition to tight end, but neither is expected to move the needle in terms of fantasy appeal unless disaster strikes Hooper. TE Jaeden Graham has also seen some time at fullback during offseason practices.

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Eric Saubert Jul 18 8:10am ET

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Austin Hooper Jul 18 8:00am ET

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Grady Jarrett Jul 18 7:50am ET

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Zach Zenner Jul 18 2:43am ET

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Fantasy Spin: At this point, Johnson is the only sure thing in the Lions backfield, so you'll need to keep an eye on the preseason to see how Anderson, Zenner and Theo Riddick slot in behind him to see if anyone other than Johnson warrants a selection in fantasy drafts.

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Derrick Henry Jul 18 12:00am ET

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Cameron Brate Jul 17 10:13pm ET

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Peyton Barber Jul 17 10:03pm ET

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Fantasy Spin: Jenkins projects Barber to be the every-down back for the Bucs this season. The 25-year-old caught 20 of 29 targets while starting all 16 games last year, but he went for just 92 yards and one touchdown through the air. He's an adequate RB3 play in standard leagues if he's able to hold off Ronald Jones II in training camp, but Jones has the higher upside.

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Rashard Robinson Jul 17 5:23pm ET

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