Before getting into my YouTube video breakdown of some key aspects to Romans offense, first things first. . .
The Dolphins just extended Xavien Howard, who is an All-Pro cornerback, Reshad Jones is a Pro Bowl safety, and Minkah Fitzpatrick will be eventually. The Dolphins won’t make the postseason and will take their fair share of lashings, but they’re still an NFL team that will win games this year.
Minkah Fitzpatrick allowed just one touchdown in coverage in 2018. Sunday he was targeted six times, allowing six receptions for 117 yards and three touchdowns receptions. The Dolphins aren’t a playoff capable team but they have Pro Bowl level talent, especially in their secondary.
Naysayers will say nay, and will say the same if the Ravens handle the Cardinals. Let them.
Moving along, let’s take a look at how the Raves dismantled the Dolphins.
Lamar Jackson continues to work out of shotgun almost exclusively. The Ravens used ‘Power Pistol’ formations frequently, with 12 personnel and 22 personnel.
Greg Roman didn’t dive too deep into the playbook, but he still showcased his three pillars: Play action, RPO and power blocking schemes. The Ravens offense is truly multiple. They also incorporated a share of iso/lead runs and zone blocking.
Bradley Bozeman pulled on a significant amount of snaps, including on both of Mark Ingram’s touchdown runs. Pulling is the staple of power football, and power football is a staple of a Greg Roman offense. Patrick Ricard and Bradley Bozeman were the primary lead blockers who attacked linebackers to clear out gaps and lanes.
Lamar Jackson was determined to show his prowess as a passer, and did so with incredible efficiency. Jackson’s 99.4 QBR was the highest in the NFL since a former Raven with the initials JF annihilated the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 2014.
Lamar Jackson's 16.2 YPA today was the highest of any QB in a single game in the past 10 years.— Sheil Kapadia (@SheilKapadia) September 9, 2019
Same goes for his 15.4 net yards per pass play (takes sacks into account).
The passing offense is predicated upon Jackson reading key defenders. Whether it’s a read option, play action, or vertical pass, Jackson is finding a linebacker, defensive end or safety and waiting for that defender to react to each plays “conflict.”
In an RPO, that’s reading whether the weak-side linebacker flows to stop the run, or drops into coverage. If he drops into coverage, let the RB take the ball. If he comes downhill to stop the run, Hollywood Brown will take a slant 47 yards to the house.
Jackson was so mentally sharp Sunday that the Ravens only had one play stopped behind the LOS. It’s the Lamar Jackson show, and get your popcorn ready.
The left guard competition resulted in Bradley Bozeman getting the first start and he ran with it. Bozeman was a key player in the run game, constantly pulling and kicking out defenders. He was impressive, although against low level competition. Until the Ravens face the Chiefs, Bozeman won’t really be tested. He was rock solid Sunday, as was the rest of the offensive line.
Roman didn’t deploy counters or misdirections, speed options, triple options, orbit motions among other bells and whistles that the Ravens will surely utilize in the near future against stronger opponents. They showed little more than they did during the preseason.
Hollywood Brown is a young DeSean Jackson. Hollywood was only involved in 14 offensive snaps, and had over 140 yards. That’s over 10 yards per. . . play.
The carousel of offensive playmakers, who Greg Roman brings in motion on nearly every snap is dizzying. Good luck, Cardinals, trying to find a tendency based on personnel or motion, because they don’t exist. Roman was mysterious, multiple, and aggressive. A truly outstanding performance by offensive coaches and players alike.