OWINGS MILLS, Md. -- The Baltimore Ravens are keeping Marty Mornhinweg as offensive coordinator, but the team is unsure whether it will be able to keep senior offensive assistant Greg Roman after he helped fix the running game.
Roman can go anywhere, possibly as an offensive coordinator, after completing his one-year contract with Baltimore. He made a major impact in his first season with the Ravens, who went from No. 28 to No. 11 in the NFL in rushing.
Baltimore, which is hoping to keep Roman, improved by 24.6 rushing yards per game this season, which is surprising considering the Ravens lost both starting guards (Marshal Yanda and Alex Lewis) to season-ending injuries and last year's starting running back Terrance West was injured midway through the season.
But the Ravens' running game was one of the most consistent parts of the team this season. Roman mixed up the running schemes for each game, and Alex Collins went from being cut by the Seattle Seahawks to the NFL's 10th-leading rusher.
Roman's reputation has been built on fixing offenses that struggle to grind out yards on the ground. In 2011, in Roman's first season as San Francisco's offensive coordinator, the 49ers went from No. 19 in NFL rushing to No. 8. In 2015, the Bills' run offense jumped from No. 25 to No. 1 in Roman's first year as the play-caller, improving by a whopping 59.4 yards per game.
This season, Roman took over a Ravens rushing attack that in 2015 and 2016 averaged 91.9 yards per game in those two seasons combined. Only the Chargers and Lions averaged fewer yards over that span.
How important is the Ravens' running game? Baltimore is 24-8 (.750) under coach John Harbaugh when producing a 100-yard rusher.
Now, the Ravens' run game is back on track. The challenge next season could be repeating the success without Roman.