Rex Ryan says Greg Roman, Ravens shouldn’t ‘apologize for winning’ originally appeared on NBC Sports Washington
As much as the Ravens’ offense has underperformed relative to their record-setting season from a year ago, it hasn’t translated to any problems in the win column.
Baltimore is set to go into its bye week with a 5-1 record after outlasting the Philadelphia Eagles 30-28 on Sunday. The offense scored 30+ points for the fourth time in six tries and accrued its highest yardage total (355) since Week 2, but a slew of penalties and missed opportunities to push that score even higher left some players wanting more out of the group.
“The mentality here with Lamar and ‘G-Ro’ [Offensive Coordinator Greg Roman] and everything that Lamar brings to the game is scoring every drive,” offensive tackle Orlando Brown Jr. said on a Zoom call with reporters after the game. “That's where we want to get to. We want to be perfect.
“We want to be the best offense to touch the field in the world, consistently — play-in, play-out, series-in, series-out. We're just not there yet. We understand that we've got a lot of work to do.”
While there are areas Roman might like to fix on the offensive side of the ball, one former NFL head coach wants him to slow down a bit. Rex Ryan coached the New York Jets and Buffalo Bills for parts of eight seasons before retiring from the league and joining ESPN as an analyst. Ryan talked Monday on NFL Live about what he wants to see from Roman and the Ravens.
“Sometimes, I’ve seen it before, as coordinators, they want to elevate themselves,” Ryan said. “‘I’m gonna make Lamar Jackson a pocket passer and we’re gonna throw a traditional passing game.’ That’s not what you have. Be who you are, let Lamar be who he is and don’t apologize for winning. You’re going to get a head coaching job based on wins, nothing else. You’re not a genius, you have a once-in-a-lifetime player, a talent at that position. Just use him.”
Jackson has taken a step back as a passer this season, throwing for 189.2 yards per game with a 63% completion percentage and 6.2% touchdown rate on pass attempts. In 2019, he finished with 208.5 passing yards per game, a 66.1% completion percentage and an NFL-best 9.0% TD rate. But while he’s attempting nearly the same number of passes per game, Baltimore has scaled back Jackson’s carries.
The reigning MVP ran the ball 11.7 times per game in 2019. That number is down to 8.3 this season, which falls in line with the offense’s overall decline in rushing attempts (37.3 APG in 2019, 30.2 APG in 2020). But Jackson is averaging 6.9 rushing yards per attempt this season, the exact same rate that he paced the league with last year. His decline total rushing yardage of 57.7 YPG (80.4 in 2019) has been a result of how he’s been used.
Ryan doesn’t want Roman to scale back Jackson. He believes the Ravens should rely on their rare talent and put him in the best situation to succeed with the skillset he has. While there is certainly work to do on the offensive side — the Ravens punted the ball seven times Sunday, only the third time they’ve done so since Jackson was drafted — Ryan doesn’t want Baltimore to worry about explaining why it’s dropping 30 points a game instead of 40.