Thu, 26 Nov 2020

Greg Roman Says Ravens Offense Will 'Forge a New Identity'

Baltimore Ravens
20 Nov 2020, 22:25 GMT+10

Ryan Mink

While the loss of tight end Nick Boyle to a season-ending knee injury didn't prompt breaking news alerts around the NFL media landscape, those in Baltimore knows what it means for the Ravens offense.

The spearhead of the Baltimore's rushing attack is now not quite as sharp without Boyle, who is one of the best blocking tight ends in the league and a pivotal piece in Offensive Coordinator Greg Roman's game of chess.

Thus, Roman knows this isn't just another plug-and-play, next-man up situation.

"We'll kind of forge a new identity moving forward. That's just how it goes sometimes," Roman said Thursday.

"Nick has been a very integral player for us. His understanding and knowledge of the offense and all the adjustments going without saying. His attitude, his toughness and what he brought every single day really should be emulated. He's a very valuable player."

Roman said it's a "great opportunity for others to step up" but who those players will be, and how the Ravens' identity will shift moving forward remains to be seen.

One obvious possibility is less of a reliance on the ground game and more on the right arm of Lamar Jackson.

Jackson threw the ball 34 times - the second-most he has all season - in a monsoon in New England last week. The Ravens trailed by just six points when Boyle was injured, and Jackson threw the ball 14 times compared to five runs after.

Ironically enough, Boyle also went down with an injury on the Ravens' first drive of their playoff loss to Tennessee last year and the Ravens had to change gears.

Baltimore soon trailed by 22 points after a failed fourth-down rush, fumble and back-to-back Titans touchdowns, so the Ravens were forced to go pass-heavy and rallied with an eight-play drive, followed by three-straight 10-play drives, though they scored on only one of those drives.

The Ravens currently rank 31st in the league in passing offense, averaging just 184.1 yards per game. While they certainly haven't been as efficient as they'd like, part of that is also because they've attempted the second-fewest passes in the NFL (250).

Still, Baltimore needs to be better in the passing game if its offense is going to carry more of the load. Jackson has completed more passes the past two games - 83 percent vs. the Colts and 70 percent against the Patriots in the rain.

The other part is his targets. Willie Snead IV has been the team's most consistent receiver in recent weeks, but rookie Devin Duvernay has also flashed when given opportunities. Top receiver Marquise "Hollywood" Brown is looking to break out, and particularly open up the deep passing game, but Jackson has no doubt that will happen.

"Just keep going after it, keep shooting my shot, just keep giving him an opportunity - that's all," Jackson said Wednesday. "We're going to be good, for sure."

There's been recent media buzz about the predictability - and supposed simplicity - of the Ravens' passing attack. Some pundits have said the Ravens have too many tendencies that opponents have picked up on this season after last year's "revolutionary" offense wreaked havoc on the NFL.

"That's probably a little overstated. I think we're fairly balanced," Roman said. "There are a few tendencies for sure and that could be a good thing moving forward."

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