OWINGS MILLS, Md. — A day after quarterback Lamar Jackson said defenses were calling out the Baltimore Ravens’ plays, offensive coordinator Greg Roman chalked it up to the usual chess match that happens during games.
“Calling out plays on the defense is nothing new,” Roman said Thursday. “They’re going to be right sometimes [and] they’re going to be wrong sometimes. I think we know that. But that’s definitely an element of the game. It always has been and probably always will be.”
The Ravens’ offense is in the midst of a significant drop-off from last season, falling from No. 2 in yards per game in 2019 to No. 23 at the midway point of the 2020 season. On Wednesday, Jackson told “The Rich Eisen Show” that Baltimore is too predictable on offense, saying, “They’re calling out our plays, stuff like that. They know what we’re doing.”
Asked about the reigning NFL MVP’s comments, Roman gave a two-minute response that began with how Jackson is a great competitor who wants to win every game and every play.
“He definitely gives me feedback on when people are calling something out and whatnot,” Roman said. “That’s definitely part of what we talk about.”
Is Jackson allowed to audible when he hears defenders calling out plays?
“There’s definitely some plays where these audibles are available and built in,” Roman said. “Some quarterbacks audible or have the freedom to audible every play. Sometimes that works out well for them, sometimes it doesn’t. Some people don’t do it at all. I would say we’re somewhere in between there.”
The Ravens’ struggles can’t all be blamed on the playcalling. Injuries have hit the offensive line, where two starters — left tackle Ronnie Stanley and right guard Tyre Phillips — are on injured reserve. This comes after Pro Bowl right guard Marshal Yanda retired in the offseason. Plus, Jackson has been more inaccurate this season (26th in completion percentage) and Baltimore’s wide receivers have almost as many drops through eight games this year (nine) as all of last season (10).
Still, there has been increasing frustration within the Baltimore offense this season. After the Ravens’ 28-24 loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers on Nov. 1, wide receiver Marquise “Hollywood” Brown vented in a since-deleted tweet that he isn’t getting used enough in the passing game. Now Jackson made it public that Baltimore is being too deliberate on offense.
“We’re very aware of our tendencies,” Roman said. “We’re aware that there are some now, and that’s where it gets interesting. When you’re good at something and you can keep pressing that button, then you have the opportunity to flip the script at some point moving forward.”