The Washington Commanders are looking for an offensive coordinator. So are nine other NFL teams. One look at Washington, and you’d think it’s probably not one of the more attractive options.
However, Washington has talent on offense. The problem is the Commanders need a quarterback. We’ve heard that before. And there’s also the talk of Ron Rivera’s status entering year four. Rivera needs to win big in 2023 with new ownership looming.
After firing Scott Turner last week, the Commanders have interviewed Pat Shurmur, Charles London and Ken Zampese for their vacant offensive coordinator position. They wanted to speak with Jim Caldwell and Darrell Bevell, who both declined for different reasons. It isn’t known if Dolphins running backs coach Eric Studesville will interview with Washington.
On Thursday, another notable offensive coordinator hit the open market. And he makes too much sense for Rivera.
The Baltimore Ravens and offensive coordinator Greg Roman mutually parted ways. Roman spent the past six seasons in Baltimore, the previous four years as the offensive coordinator for star quarterback Lamar Jackson.
Why would Roman make sense for Rivera and the Commanders?
Remember Rivera and general manager Martin Mayhew’s season-ending press conference where they spoke of Washington’s formula, even saying the Commanders wanted a 2-1 run-to-pass ratio. That statement earned laughs around the league and groans from the fans. It’s 2023, after all.
That ratio Mayhew and Rivera spoke of, leads us to Roman. There is perhaps no better designer of the running game currently in the NFL outside of Kyle Shanahan than Roman. Even former Washington quarterback Robert Griffin III, who played for three years under Roman, complimented his ability to design a running game.
As you can see from Griffin’s final sentence, Roman isn’t the best with the passing game. And for a Washington team that has one of the top receiving trios [Terry McLaurin, Jahan Dotson & Curtis Samuel] in the NFL, that could be a problem.
However, if you consider Rivera’s strategy to win with a stout defense and a ball-control offense, Roman coming aboard can bring that philosophy. And he can also help quarterback Sam Howell. Roman can design an offense that uses Howell’s athleticism as he learns the quarterback position in the NFL.
Let’s focus on Roman’s 10 seasons as an NFL offensive coordinator [49ers, Bills & Ravens]. Check this out from JP Finlay of NBC Sports Washington. In those 10 seasons, his teams have finished No. 1 in rushing offense four times and never lower than No. 8.
This approach could be smart for a Washington team that wants to develop Howell, fix the offensive line, and keep some of its young defensive pieces.
But the best defense for Roman as an offensive coordinator came from former NFL player Emmanuel Acho. Acho credited Roman for turning Alex Smith’s career around and for getting the best out of Colin Kaepernick.
Obviously, no one knows how things will turn out for Jackson with Roman elsewhere, but if you’re a team with a young quarterback, you have to like those numbers.
Perhaps the talk of Roman and wide receivers struggling under him is more due to him not having great receivers during his time in the NFL. That’s one thought. Could things be different with Washington’s talented trio?
That remains to be seen.
Washington fans should consider there’s no better alternative than Roman. He can help the Commanders win in 2023 while helping develop Howell. Do you trust Shurmur to do that? Or Zampese? Roman has proven he can develop a winning offense. It may not fit the NFL’s current prototype of playing fast and throwing the ball 45 times per game, but it works. And there is no better coordinator in the NFL that fits Rivera and Mayhew’s desire than Roman.
While Baltimore fans were elated to be rid of Roman, other teams could benefit from him. Washington is one of those teams. But Roman should have options, and why would he choose one guaranteed year with the Commanders?
Why one year? Rivera needs to win big next season. He is entering year four coming off back-to-back disappointing seasons. Oh, and there is also a prospective new owner. A new owner will eventually want his own guy, but Rivera winning can make it difficult. No offensive coordinator available could help Rivera more in 2023 than Roman.
Bringing Roman aboard may not be a popular move, but considering where Washington is right now and what’s ahead, it’s the right move.
Will the Commanders bring Roman in? And will Roman even be interested? Things should get interesting in the coming days.