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Coaching Matters: 2021 Baltimore Ravens Coaching Staff Preview

After every NFL season, NFL teams take the time to evaluate not only the players but also the coaching staff and front office as well. While many teams choose to retain the same head coach, offensive coordinator, and defensive coordinator, a few other teams opt to go in a new direction with their coaching staff.

One team that managed to maintain their core coaching staff this offseason was the Baltimore Ravens, with head coach John Harbaugh, offensive coordinator Greg Roman, and defensive coordinator Don Martindale all returning for the 2021-22 season.

This article will look at the potential impact this coaching staff will have on the players and try to pinpoint the Ravens players' fantasy values in it.

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The Baseline

To get a better understanding of the value the Ravens coaches help bring to this team, we can look at the NFL league averages in each of the past two years in a variety of statistical categories and then compare them to the averages achieved by the Ravens' coaches. Here are 'The Baseline' NFL league averages over the past couple of years:

QB Impact

Year Team Pass Att. Team Pass Yds. Team Pass TDs QB Carries QB Rush Yds. QB Rush TDs
2019 League Average
34.87 251.78 1.56 3.56 15.04 0.16
2020 League Average 35.19 254.88 1.70 4.19 18.43 0.25

RB Impact

Year RB Carries RB Rush Yds. RB Rush TDs RB Rec. RB Targets RB Rec. Yds. RB Rec. TDs
2019 League Average
21.77 92.96 0.68 5.10 6.64 40 0.19
2020 League Average
21.68 95.13 0.75 4.71 6.14 34.94 0.18

WR Impact

Year WR Rec. WR Targets WR Rec. Yds. WR Rec. TDs
2019 League Average
12.05 19.59 158.39 0.95
2020 League Average
13.24 20.21 166.67 1.04

TE Impact

Year TE Rec. TE Targets TE Rec. Yds. TE Rec. TDs
2019 League Average
4.70 6.88 50.99 0.38
2020 League Average
4.76 7.03 51.29 0.45

Defense Impact

Year Points Allowed Pass Yds Given Up Run Yds Given Up Plays Against Yds/Play
Turnovers Forced
22.8 235 112.9 63.5 5.5 1.4
24.8 240.2 118.9 64.3 5.6 1.3

 

2021 Offense

2021 Offensive Coordinator: Greg Roman

Greg Roman was initially hired by the Baltimore Ravens in 2017 to be the team's tight ends coach and eventually was promoted to offensive coordinator in 2019. Before joining the Ravens, he served as the offensive coordinator for the San Francisco 49ers (2011-2014) and the Buffalo Bills (2015-2016). Let's dive into some statistics from Roman's prior experiences as an offensive coordinator to get a better understanding of how the Ravens may utilize their offensive players in 2021.

QB Impact

Year Games Team Pass Att. Team Pass Yds. Team Pass TDs QB Carries QB Rush Yds. QB Rush TDs
2019 Ravens 16 27.5 209.38 2.31 12.31 79.81 0.44
2020 Ravens 16 25.38 182.44 1.69 11.63 69.63 0.44
Roman's Career Averages (OC/HC) 114 27.68 207.44 1.51 7.58 43.39 0.27

RB Impact

Year Games RB Carries RB Rush Yds. RB Rush TDs RB Rec. RB Targets RB Rec. Yds.
RB Rec. TDs
2019 Ravens 16 24.56 122.13 0.88 2.56 3.63 22.63 0.31
2020 Ravens 16 22.63 117.94 1.06 2.38 3.19 19.94 0
Roman's Career Averages (OC/HC) 114 23.80 108.26 0.81 2.38 3.35 19.66 0.11

WR Impact

Year Games WR Rec. WR Targets WR Rec. Yds. WR Rec. TDs
2019 Ravens 16 7.19 11.38 88.69 1.06
2020 Ravens 16 8.56 13.81 108.06 1.06
Roman's Career Averages (OC/HC) 114 9.59 15.61 123.90 0.85

TE Impact

Year Games TE Rec. TE Targets TE Rec. Yds. TE Rec. TDs
2019 Ravens 16 7.81 11.25 95.13 0.88
2020 Ravens 16 4.56 6.75 51.63 0.56
Roman's Career Averages (OC/HC) 114 4.61 7.22 57.25 0.51

 

Greg Roman Takeaways & Expectations

Over the course of Greg Roman's career, his offense hasn't attempted many passes - averaging just 27.68 pass attempts per game. That hasn't changed in his past two years with the Baltimore Ravens, with the team attempting 27.5 passing attempts in 2019 and 25.38 passing attempts in 2020 - significantly fewer attempts than the 2019 league average (34.87) and 2020 league average (35.19). This passing usage makes it more difficult for Lamar Jackson to put up high passing yard totals and limits the number of fantasy-relevant pass-catchers in this offense.

Luckily for fantasy football purposes, the rushing work a quarterback receives can easily offset lower passing totals and be a bit of a cheat code. The good news is Greg Roman is the king of getting rushing production out of his quarterbacks. In his 114 game career as an offensive coordinator, Roman's quarterback room has averaged 7.58 carries per game.

Roman has worked with mobile quarterbacks like Colin Kaepernick, Alex Smith, and Tyrod Taylor, but with the Ravens he's gotten the opportunity to design an offense around the quarterback of his dreams in Lamar Jackson. Jackson is already one of the greatest running quarterbacks of all time, and Roman will give him plenty of opportunities to take off. Roman's offense combined with Lamar Jackson's rushing ability makes Jackson one of the most intriguing quarterbacks in fantasy leagues for the 2021 season with Jackson having the legitimate upside to be the number one fantasy quarterback in 2021.

Examining Greg Roman's running back rooms over the course of his career it's a bit of a mixed bag. In the 114 games that Roman's been an offensive coordinator, his running back room has averaged 0.81 rushing touchdowns per game which is above-average. In addition, his running backs have averaged 23.80 carries per game which is also slightly above-average.

Clearly, Roman's running back room will get a decent number of carries during the 2021 season if old tendencies hold true. But in terms of the distribution of carries, how often is it going to one player versus Roman rolling with a running back by committee approach?

Examining the data, Greg Roman tended to take a bell cow approach earlier on in his career and has utilized a running back by committee approach more in recent years. With Mark Ingram II out of the picture and J.K. Dobbins emerging at the end of last year, Roman will give Dobbins somewhere between 50-75% of the team's season tailback carries in 2021.

The final aspect we should look at concerning Greg Roman's running backs is how much he has traditionally utilized them as pass-catchers. Over the course of his career, Roman's running back room has averaged a putrid 3.35 targets per game which is one of the worst marks among active play-callers.

This receiving usage is discouraging to see and limits the Ravens running backs fantasy ceilings quite a bit - particularly in PPR formats. Overall, Greg Roman will provide his running backs with plenty of carries, has been successful with both the bell cow and running back by committee approaches, and won't utilize his backs much in the passing game. Based on this information, running back J.K. Dobbins will get his fair share of carries but have a capped ceiling with the lack of receiving work and teammate Gus Edwards eating into his workload a little bit.

Looking at the wide receiver position, Roman has provided his wide receivers with just 15.61 targets per game over the course of his 114 game career as an offensive coordinator.

Roman's usage of the position is especially concerning in recent years, with his wide receiver room failing to have more than 14 targets per game in each of the last two years. This kind of usage suggests that the Ravens are only capable of supporting one fantasy-relevant wide receiver, so keep that in mind when looking at Marquise Brown or Sammy Watkins as fantasy options.

Finally, Roman's historical usage of tight ends is pretty encouraging. Over the course of his career as an offensive coordinator, Roman's tight end room has averaged 7.22 targets per game.

Greg Roman will give his tight ends a fair amount of work in the passing game, which makes Mark Andrews a strong fantasy option if you miss out on Travis Kelce, Darren Waller, or George Kittle. In addition, if the team can return to the levels of high tight end usage as it had in 2019, Josh Oliver may have some appeal as a streaming option in deeper leagues as well.

Fantasy Relevant Players: Lamar Jackson, J.K. Dobbins, Gus Edwards, Justice Hill, Marquise Brown, Rashod Bateman, Tylan WallaceSammy Watkins, Miles Boykin, Mark Andrews, Nick Boyle, and Josh Oliver

 

2021 Defense

2021 Head Coach: John Harbaugh

John Harbaugh primarily comes from a special teams background, spending time as the Philadelphia Eagles special teams coordinator from 1998-2006. But because of Harbaugh's background as a defensive back in his college football playing days at Miami University Ohio (1980-83) and his time as the defensive backs coach for the Eagles in 2007, we will look at some of the defensive statistics of his teams since he became the Ravens head coach in 2008.

Year Games Points Allowed Pass Yds Given Up Run Yds Given Up Plays Against Yds/Play Turnovers Forced
2019 Ravens 16 17.63 207.19 93.38 57.56 5.22 1.56
2020 Ravens 16 18.94 221 108.75 63.56 5.19 1.38
Harbaugh's Career Averages (DC/HC) 208 18.92 217.95 97.48 62.64 5.04 1.59

 

2021 Defensive Coordinator: Don Martindale

Don Martindale has been coaching on the defensive side of football since 1986. He has primarily been a linebackers coach in this time but has also spent time as a defensive coordinator for the Denver Broncos (2010) and the Baltimore Ravens (2018-Present). Let's take a look at some of the team defensive statistics of these teams during Don Martindale's time as the defensive coordinator.

Year Games Points Allowed Pass Yds Given Up Run Yds Given Up Plays Against Yds/Play Turnovers Forced
2019 Ravens 16 17.63 207.19 93.38 57.56 5.22 1.56
2020 Ravens 16 18.94 221 108.75 63.56 5.19 1.38
Martindale's Career Averages (DC/HC) 64 20.98 218.61 109.91 62 5.30 1.28

Looking at the Baltimore Ravens defensive statistics under John Harbaugh and Don Martindale there's a lot to be encouraged about. They've been above-average across the board in categories such as points allowed, passing yards allowed, rushing yards allowed, yards per play, and turnovers forced. Based on this information, the Baltimore Ravens D/ST should be a strong play in fantasy football leagues next year and one of the first defenses off the board in your fantasy drafts.

 

Other Notable Assistants

Special Teams Coordinator: Chris Horton - Chris Horton is a former NFL player who has been the Baltimore Ravens special teams coordinator since 2019. His previous coaching jobs include being the quality control assistant at UCLA (2012-2013) and the assistant special teams coach of the Baltimore Ravens (2014-2018).

QB Coach: James Urban - James Urban has been the Baltimore Ravens quarterbacks coach since 2018. He's been involved in coaching since 1997 with previous roles as the Philadelphia Eagles quarterbacks coach (2009-2010) and the Cincinnati Bengals wide receivers coach (2011-2017).

RB Coach: Craig Ver Steeg - Craig Ver Steeg has been with the Baltimore Ravens since 2008 in a variety of roles and became the team's running backs coach in 2019. He's been coaching since 1984.

WR Coach: Tee Martin - 2021 will be Tee Martin's first year as a coach in the NFL after coaching at the high school and college levels from 2006-2020. Prior to joining the Ravens, the former NFL quarterback was the assistant head coach and wide receivers coach for the Tennessee Volunteers (2019-2020).

TE Coach: Bobby Engram - Bobby Engram has been with the Baltimore Ravens since 2014. He worked with the team as the wide receivers coach from 2014-2018 before making the transition to being the team's tight ends coach in 2019. Engram also played in the NFL for 14 years as a wide receiver.

OL Coach: Joe D'Alessandris - Joe D'Alessandris has been involved in coaching since 1977. At the NFL level he's been the assistant offensive line coach for the Kansas City Chiefs (2008-2009), the offensive line coach for the Buffalo Bills (2010-2012), the offensive line coach for the San Diego Chargers (2013-2015), and the Baltimore Ravens offensive line coach since 2017.

DL Coach: Anthony Weaver - Anthony Weaver is brand new to the Baltimore Ravens coaching staff and will be serving as the defensive line coach & run game coordinator in 2021. He's been involved in coaching since 2010 and had jobs in the NFL with the New York Jets as an assistant defensive line coach (2012), the Buffalo Bills as a defensive line coach (2013), the Cleveland Browns as a defensive line coach (2014-2015), and the Houston Texans as a defensive line coach (2016-2020) & defensive coordinator (2020). He also played in the NFL as a defensive end for the Baltimore Ravens (2002-2005) and the Houston Texans (2006-2008).

ILB Coach: Rob Ryan - Rob Ryan is new to the Baltimore Ravens coaching staff, and will be serving as the inside linebackers coach in 2021. He's been coaching since 1987, with roles in the NFL as the New England Patriots linebackers coach (2000-2003), the Oakland Raiders defensive coordinator (2004-2008), the Cleveland Browns defensive coordinator (2009-2010), the Dallas Cowboys defensive coordinator (2011-2012), the New Orleans Saints defensive coordinator (2013-2015), the Buffalo Bills assistant head coach (2016), and the Washington Redskins inside linebackers coach (2019).

OLB Coach: Drew Wilkins - Drew Wilkins has spent his entire NFL coaching career with the Baltimore Ravens, serving in a variety of roles. He became the outside linebackers coach in 2018.

DB Coach: D'Anton Lynn - D'Anton Lynn will be spending his first year with the Baltimore Ravens as their defensive backs coach. His previous NFL coaching roles include being a season intern for the New York Jets (2014), a defensive assistant for the Buffalo Bills (2015-2016), a defensive assistant for the Los Angeles Chargers (2017), an assistant secondary coach for the Houston Texans (2018-2019), and the secondary coach for the Houston Texans (2020).

 

Enjoy this series? Be sure to check out all of the other 'Coaching Matters' team previews: Houston TexansJacksonville JaguarsIndianapolis Colts, Tennessee Titans, and Cleveland Browns

 

Follow Eli Grabanski on Twitter: @3li_handles



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