Baltimore Ravens designed offense to maximize Lamar Jackson, not feed belly-aching wide receivers

The most striking aspect of the Jackson-led Ravens always has been their unabashed approach to a particular style of offense. Head coach John Harbaugh continually celebrates the uniqueness of Baltimore’s run-heavy system, and he’s predictably prickly when critics question if such an approach can win a Lombardi Trophy in today’s pass-happy NFL. The Ravens consistently stick with the mantra that they are who they are. The people who don’t like it can simply change the channel if they want to watch a different brand of football.

The reality of both the complaints by Brown and Snead is that they are primarily direct attacks on Ravens offensive coordinator Greg Roman, the man who created this offense specifically for Jackson’s skill set. Brown felt he was underutilized, even though he just posted career highs in receptions (91) and yards (1,008) last season, with his 146 targets ranking 10th in the league. Snead’s main contention was that Roman, while strong as a run-game coordinator, wasn’t nearly as imaginative when it came to creating and capitalizing on matchups against certain pass coverages. Snead racked up 62 receptions during his first year in Baltimore, but then logged just 64 combined grabs over his final two seasons with the Ravens.

Again, this makes sense. Receivers, like players across the NFL, care about the kind of numbers that lead to better compensation. And at this position, paydays have exploded, with the best wideouts in the game now commanding $25 million to $30 million annually. But all these knocks on Roman’s offense sound petty when considering what Jackson has accomplished in this system. This is still the same unit that has ranked top 10 in points and/or yards in each of the last three seasons, with the 2019 unit leading the league in scoring while ranking second in total offense.

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