From Paul Brown to Colin Kaepernick: Greg Roman known for innovation

OWINGS MILLS, Md. -- Greg Roman was promoted to Baltimore Ravens offensive coordinator on Friday, replacing Marty Mornhinweg as the team's playcaller.

Roman, 46, spent the past two seasons as Baltimore’s assistant head coach/tight ends coach. His priority is to oversee the evolution of Lamar Jackson as the Ravens' next franchise quarterback.

Here are some interesting aspects of Roman's background:

Paul Brown influence: In his early teenage years, Roman spent some time with his uncle writer Jack Clary at Cincinnati Bengals training camp. Clary co-wrote the Bengals founder's autobiography, "PB: The Paul Brown Story." As a ball boy, Roman tried to learn as much as he could from Brown, a visionary who created everything from the first face mask to the first radio transmitter inside a quarterback's helmet. Roman once said Brown served as his inspiration to get into coaching (and perhaps his knack for innovation himself).

Known for being innovative: This isn't the first time Roman will call plays for a Harbaugh. From 2011 to '14, Roman's first job as an NFL offensive coordinator was under Jim Harbaugh in San Francisco. Leading up to the Super Bowl between the Ravens and 49ers, Jim Harbaugh was asked to describe Roman. "Innovative," he said. “I believe he’s changed a lot about football this season in terms of bringing the traps back to football, bringing the counter back to football, bringing wham plays back into football." Roman used many of these same blocking techniques in 2018, when Baltimore finished as the league's second-best rushing attack.

A wanted man: Roman's coaching path has been anything but typical. Helped by a connection with the Carolina Panthers, Roman jumped right into the NFL for his first coaching job as an offensive line assistant. After 13 years in the NFL, he took an offensive coordinator position -- at his old high school. Then, three years later, Roman was back in the NFL as the 49ers' playcaller. Over the past two years, Roman has been in high demand. The Ravens added the title of assistant head coach last offseason after there had been considerable speculation that he was leaving. Last week, coach John Harbaugh promoted Roman to offensive coordinator after other teams expressed interest in him for that role, including the Miami Dolphins.

Run game mastermind: Few coaches understand and excel at the run game quite like Roman. In Roman's five full seasons as an NFL playcaller, all of his offenses ranked in the top eight in rushing: No. 8 (2011), No. 4 (2012), No. 3 (2013), No. 4 (2014) and No. 1 (2015). His reputation was only strengthened in his time in Baltimore, where his unofficial title was run game coordinator. In 2017, Roman mixed up the running schemes for each game, and Alex Collins went from being cut by the Seattle Seahawks to the NFL's 10th-leading rusher. Last season, Roman helped change Baltimore's pass-heavy offense into a run-dominated one. With Roman, Jackson and underfed rookie Gus Edwards were the focal points for an offense that rushed for at least 190 yards in five straight games. The last NFL team to achieve this feat was the 1976 Steelers.

Colin Kaepernick experience: If you want to groom a crazy athletic yet somewhat raw passer into an NFL offense, Roman is the right offensive coordinator to have. He incorporated a lot of what made Kaepernick successful in college -- from pistol formations to designed runs -- to get him comfortable at the pro level. In watching how the Ravens used Jackson in the second half of this season, it looked strikingly like Kaepernick with the 49ers when he was playing at his best. But, with Kaepernick, his passer rating and average yards per pass attempt decreased in each of his three seasons with Roman. That's one trend that the Ravens hope Roman can avoid in the development of Jackson.