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Ravens News 12/4: G-Ro’s rise, DVOA and more

San Francisco 49ers v Baltimore Ravens Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images

Greg Roman’s wisecracking rise from high school coach to Ravens’ offensive guru - Jamison Hensley

The roots of the NFL’s highest-scoring offense, as well as part of Roman’s unorthodox approach, can be traced back to a small Catholic school outside Atlantic City, New Jersey. The architect of an offense that has quarterback Lamar Jackson performing at an MVP level first called plays against the likes of Lower Cape May and Mainland Regional.

Following the 2007 season, Roman was part of Brian Billick’s staff that was let go after the Ravens’ 5-11 campaign. Roman, an offensive line assistant at that point, had spent all 13 years of his coaching at the NFL level but didn’t like any of the opportunities open at the time. He wanted to be a playcaller, and Ravens owner Steve Bisciotti suggested to him that he look at coaching outside the NFL.

Roman ultimately chose to become the offensive coordinator at his high school alma mater, where a longtime friend had taken over the program. He went from coaching a future Hall of Fame lineman in Jonathan Ogden to picking up teenage players to make sure they got to practice.

Taking risks and thinking outside the box have been staples of Roman’s offenses. After his one year at Holy Spirit, Roman produced as many creative wrinkles as points in his offenses at Stanford, the San Francisco 49ers and the Buffalo Bills, the team the Ravens face Sunday (1 p.m. ET, CBS).

In A Copycat League, Can Teams Replicate Baltimore Ravens’ Success? - Todd Karpovich

The NFL is often called a copycat league. So, will Jackson’s success as a dual-threat quarterback inspire other teams to find a player similar to Jackson?

That’s a challenge than could be easier said than done.

Jackson is a rare athlete with a unique skill set. He has made highlight reel plays throughout the season by utilizing spin moves and juking defenders.

So, other teams might try to emulate him, but they might not have the same success because there is only one Lamar Jackson.

Ravens Offensive Line Is No Longer Flying Under the Radar - Clifton Brown

The Ravens’ front five has been handling its business all season, winning battles week after week against some of the NFL’s top defenses. Sunday’s victory was the latest example.

Even without Ford (ankle), many expected the 49ers to have the advantage up front Sunday, especially with undrafted rookie center Patrick Mekari making his first career start after Matt Skura’s season-ending knee injury. However, the Ravens offensive line won another battle in the trenches during their 20-17 victory.

“The offensive line deserves a lot of credit in this game – and the tight ends – because that front just wreaks havoc against everybody they play, and they didn’t do that in our game. Our offensive linemen did a great job of blunting that and keeping them from playing in our backfield. Patrick and all those guys were a big part of that.”

“I’m having fun. Old dog, year 13, having a blast,” Yanda told NFL Network’s Deion Sanders after Sunday’s win. “We have the mindset that every Sunday we’re going to get after it. … We’re grounding and pounding and guys are making plays. We have a special team, for sure.”

Ravens Sign Patrick Ricard to a Two-Year Extension - Ryan Mink

The 6-foot-3, 303-pound bruiser brings a punishing physicality to the game that perfectly suits Baltimore’s style.

The Ravens lead the NFL in rushing (207.8 yards per game) with Ricard helping to pave the way. Baltimore is on pace to set an NFL team record for most rushing yards over a 16-game season.

“I think he’s excelled enough at the fullback position,” Roman said. “I mean, is there a better fullback in the league? I don’t know.”

Week 13 DVOA Ratings - Aaron Schatz

It’s lucky number 13 for the Baltimore Ravens, as their Week 13 win over the San Francisco 49ers catapults them into the No. 1 spot in the Football Outsiders DVOA ratings for the first time since they crushed Miami back in Week 1. It’s hard to imagine a game that the DVOA system would have rated more highly for both teams, as Baltimore had a single-game rating of 39.2% and San Francisco had a single-game rating of 32.1%.

The Ravens are currently ranked in the top four in all three phases of the game and are bidding to become just the seventh team to ever finish in the top five in DVOA for all three phases.

The Ravens are also climbing on our weekly table of the best teams in DVOA history through X games. Through 12 games, the Ravens are the best team since the 16-0 Patriots of 2007.