OWINGS MILLS, Md. (AP)Greg Roman figures the second-guessing comes with the territory as Baltimore’s offensive coordinator.
He can even do a bit of it himself sometimes.
”We were moving it really well on the ground, for sure, and some quick passes and whatnot,” Roman said. ”Could we have stayed into that mode more? Probably.”
Roman is a target of Ravens fans right now for a couple of reasons. For several weeks, the offense could charitably be described as unspectacular. Then last weekend at Cleveland, Baltimore didn’t stick with the one thing that was working well – running the ball with J.K. Dobbins and Gus Edwards. The Ravens almost completely abandoned the run in the fourth quarter of a 13-3 loss.
Baltimore was down two scores in the fourth quarter, so there was some value in trying to increase the tempo, but the more pass-heavy approach – with star quarterback Lamar Jackson out with a knee injury – didn’t work at all.
The Ravens (9-5) can clinch a playoff berth as early as this week, and their next game is at home Saturday against an underwhelming Atlanta team. Still, the team faces plenty of questions down the stretch.
After Baltimore closed the season poorly in 2021, the Ravens changed defensive coordinators. So even though coach John Harbaugh expressed confidence in Roman this week, the speculation about the future of the team’s offense is understandable.
”The first thing you’re told when you get into this profession is, `Don’t listen to any of the noise,”’ Roman said. ”That’s what everybody’s told everywhere, and if you’re an offensive coordinator and you don’t think that’s going to happen in the NFL, it comes with the job.”
Roman says that without any real bitterness toward his critics.
”I’m a fan. I sit in the stands at Orioles games or whatnot. I know what it’s like to be a fan,” he said. ”You love the passion, you love the emotion, and with the emotion comes – that’s what comes with it.”
While Baltimore can make strategic changes such as running the ball even more, the overall direction of the offense may be harder to fix.
Jackson has missed the past two games with a knee injury and hasn’t practiced this week either.
Tyler Huntley, who started in Jackson’s place, was limited in practice Wednesday with a right shoulder issue.
The Ravens are also without wide receivers Rashod Bateman and Devin Duvernay, both on injured reserve because of foot problems. Duvernay went down this week.
”We’ll have to shift gears a little bit without him, but we really feel like there’s some guys that can step in and do some of the things he was doing,” Roman said.
Baltimore claimed receiver Sammy Watkins off waivers Tuesday in another attempt to bolster the receiving group with an available veteran.
Demarcus Robinson, who was acquired in August, has 44 catches for the Ravens. DeSean Jackson, who arrived in October, has only seven.
Tight end Mark Andrews is Baltimore’s leader with 61 catches for 702 yards and five touchdowns this season. The Ravens haven’t had a wide receiver catch a TD since Week 3.
Baltimore has scored touchdowns on 48% of its red zone chances, ranking 29th in the league.
The offensive line seems in decent shape health-wise, and with their next two games at home against Atlanta and Pittsburgh, the Ravens might be able to get back on track relying on defense and the running game. In four of Baltimore’s past five games, both teams were held under 17 points.
”Everything that we can do is still ahead of us,” Andrews said. ”There’s no like `poor me’ – there’s none of that in this building. That’s all outside noise. We’re fired up (and) we’re going to be ready to go. Everything’s in front of us, so be ready.”
NOTES: DE Calais Campbell (knee) and CB Marcus Peters (calf) did not practice Wednesday. T Ronnie Stanley (ankle) was limited.
Follow Noah Trister at https://twitter.com/noahtrister
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