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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
Ronald Jones II Aug 5 3:10pm ET

Tampa Bay Buccaneers running back Ronald Jones II was called "the main guy" in the running back room by his coach Bruce Arians. Arians said he is confident in Jones II and that the other guys are fighting for roles. The other guys include third-round draft pick Ke'Shawn Vaughn, who will lose valuable practice time after he hit the COVID-19 list, and veteran running back LeSean McCoy, who won't challenge for a lead back role at this point in his career. Jones II looks the part after an offseason spent bulking up and catching hundreds of passes to address a weakness in his game. The 23-year-old has RB2 upside in the 7th round but it's likely that Vaughn and McCoy cut into his ceiling in 2020, despite what Arians said.

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Travis Benjamin Aug 5 9:23am ET

San Francisco 49ers WR Travis Benjamin has opted out of the 2020 season.

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Maxx Williams Aug 4 6:33pm ET

Arizona Cardinals TE Maxx Williams (undisclosed) passed his physical Tuesday, Aug. 4, and was taken off the Physically Unable to Perform list.

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D.J. Hayden Aug 4 6:33pm ET

Jacksonville Jaguars DB D.J. Hayden (knee) passed his physical and was removed from the Physically Unable to Perform list Tuesday, Aug. 4.

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Ukeme Eligwe Aug 4 6:23pm ET

Updating a previous story, Las Vegas Raiders LB Ukeme Eligwe was placed on the Reserve/Opt-Out list Tuesday, Aug. 4.

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Allen Hurns Aug 4 6:23pm ET

Updating a previous story, Miami Dolphins WR Allen Hurns was placed on the Reserve/COVID-19 list Tuesday, Aug. 4.

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LeSean McCoy Aug 4 6:13pm ET

Updating previous stories, free-agent RB LeSean McCoy (Chiefs) officially signed with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers Tuesday, Aug. 4.

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Vincent Taylor Aug 4 6:03pm ET

Buffalo Bills DT Vincent Taylor was activated from the Reserve/COVID-19 list Tuesday, Aug. 4.

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Devontae Booker Aug 4 6:03pm ET

Las Vegas Raiders RB Devontae Booker was activated from the Reserve/COVID-19 list Tuesday, Aug. 4.

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P.J. Hall Aug 4 5:43pm ET

Updating a previous story, Las Vegas Raiders DT P.J. Hall was released after failing his physical with the Minnesota Vikings and the trade was nullified.

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Trenton Cannon Aug 4 5:23pm ET

New York Jets RB Trenton Cannon was claimed off waivers by the Carolina Panthers Tuesday, Aug. 4.

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Ukeme Eligwe Aug 4 5:23pm ET

Las Vegas Raiders LB Ukeme Eligwe opted out of the 2020 season Tuesday, Aug. 4.

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Mohamed Sanu Aug 4 5:13pm ET

New England Patriots WR Mohamed Sanu (undisclosed) passed his physical and was activated from the Physically Unable to Perform list Tuesday, Aug. 4, according to a source.

Fantasy Spin: Sanu won't warrant much fantasy consideration heading into the season regardless of who is under center for the Patriots. He may become a streaming option later in the year.

From TheHuddle

P.J. Hall Aug 4 5:03pm ET

Oakland Raiders DT P.J. Hall (undisclosed) failed his physical with the Minnesota Vikings Tuesday, Aug. 4, and reverts back to the Raiders. They intend to cut him.

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Cordrea Tankersley Aug 4 4:43pm ET

Miami Dolphins CB Cordrea Tankersley was waived Tuesday, Aug. 4.

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Jimmy Garoppolo Aug 4 4:23pm ET

San Francisco 49ers QB Jimmy Garoppolo provided an update on his knee Tuesday, Aug. 4, saying the difference has been night-and-day from last season and 'it's able to do whatever it needs to do.'

Fantasy Spin: Garoppolo didn't seem to be hindered too severely while guiding the Niners to the Super Bowl, and he has never provided much in terms of fantasy contributions via rushing yards. Perhaps an improved ability to scramble would help him cut back on last season's 13 interceptions. He should be viewed as a low-end QB1 or high-end QB2.

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Allen Hurns Aug 4 4:13pm ET

Miami Dolphins WR Allen Hurns opted out of the 2020 season amid COVID-19 concerns Tuesday, Aug. 4, according to head coach Brian Flores.

Fantasy Spin: Hurns had been penciled in as the starter opposite DeVante Parker. Look for Preston Williams to play a larger following his surprising rookie season as an undrafted free agent.

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Matthew Stafford Aug 4 4:13pm ET

Detroit Lions QB Matthew Stafford was removed from the COVID-19 list and placed back onto the active roster Tuesday, Aug. 4. His positive test for COVID-19 was determined to be a false-positive.

Fantasy Spin: Any concern over his status and availability for the regular season should be gone. He's a strong target as a low-end QB1.

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Rashaad Penny Aug 4 2:53pm ET

Seattle Seahawks RB Rashaad Penny (knee) was placed on the Active/Physically Unable to Perform list Tuesday, Aug. 4.

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Ben Roethlisberger Aug 4 1:10pm ET

Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger told ESPN reporter Aditi Kinkhabwala that his arm "feels really good" in a Zoom call on Tuesday. Roethlisberger missed almost all of the 2019 season after tearing three flexor tendons in his right elbow. The veteran quarterback also stated that he has thrown way more than usual during the offseason and is in tremendous shape entering his age-38 season. Many signs point to a revitalized Pittsburgh offense this season with Roethlisberger back under center, although there is at least some concern as he's entering his 17th NFL season and has a long injury history. That being said, he's still a huge upgrade on offense over Mason Rudolph and Devlin Hodges from a year ago. Draft Big Ben as an upside QB2 in fantasy drafts this month.

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