The Baltimore Ravens ranked ninth in the NFL last season in yards per game, the first time since 1997 that they cracked the top 10 in that category. Nevertheless, it wasn’t good enough to save offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg’s job: Five days after Baltimore’s wild-card loss to the Los Angeles Chargers in January, Coach John Harbaugh fired him and replaced him with Greg Roman, previously the team’s tight ends coach and a former play caller for the 49ers and Bills.
Naturally, there will be change: The playbook is different, and the terminology is new. But apparently no one on the Ravens felt the need to break this news to quarterback Lamar Jackson, who is entrenched as Baltimore’s starter after Joe Flacco was shipped off to Denver in February.
“Coming in, I didn’t know we would have a totally new offense,” Jackson told reporters Thursday after the Ravens’ third day of organized team activities, explaining that he has been working on mechanics during offseason workouts in Florida.
Suffice to say, it has been slow going for the Ravens’ offense during OTAs.
“I’d say my first day, I sucked,” Jackson said Thursday with a grin. “Second day, I played better. . . . Today was all right, but it could’ve been better. Always trying to be perfect in practice.
“When I got here, Coach was like, ‘Yeah, we have a totally new system. You’re going to have to go through this and that,’ ” Jackson continued. “It’s been getting to me a little bit."
Harbaugh reminded everyone that the season still is more than three months away. The Ravens will have more OTAs, plus minicamp next month, plus training camp in August to get everyone on the same page, particularly a 22-year-old quarterback who has started just seven NFL games.
“It’s a process, so we’re not exactly clicking on all cylinders yet, but I’m really happy with the progress and where we’re going,” he said.
Roman, who will be Harbaugh’s sixth offensive coordinator in 12 seasons, obviously is going to tailor the Ravens’ offense around Jackson’s skill-set, but that apparently means burning the old playbook and starting from scratch.
“We’re literally redefining everything we do as a staff, as a group,” Roman said in February. “Literally everything: every formation, every route, every run, every route concept. How can we make this offense — which up until this point has been good — we’re trying to make it as great as we can be.”
And now that Jackson has been filled in, they can move forward.
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