Making the case that Ravens' midseason MVP isn't even on roster

From ESPN - November 10, 2017

OWINGS MILLS, Md. -- The leading candidate for the Baltimore Ravens' midseason Most Valuable Player is cornerback Jimmy Smith, who's been the top playmaker on turnover-forcing defense. Another popular choice is Alex Collins because the running back is the most explosive weapon on offense.

But Baltimore's true MVP -- Most Valuable Person -- is senior offensive assistant Greg Roman. Despite a series of tough injuries and a lack of additional resources, Roman has turned one of the league's worst rushing attacks into one of the NFL's best.

The Ravens rank No. 8 in the NFL in running the ball, averaging 120.9 yards per game. This comes a season after Baltimore was No. 28 in the league with 91.4 yards rushing per game.

This is a credit to Roman, the tight ends coach whose more accurate job description is run game coordinator.

"The constant push is to really improve it," Roman said during Baltimore's bye week. "How can we get it better? I think once the season is over, if we earn the right to be at the top, then thatll be time when we can really look back and say, Wow, look at what we accomplished. But we have a lot of work yet to do."

Roman joined the Ravens this offseason after they set franchise records for fewest rushing attempts each of the last two seasons. Baltimore brought him in to fix a run game that had fallen in despair since Gary Kubiak left after the 2014 season.

His challenge was heightened after Baltimore lost its starting two guards (Pro Bowl player Marshal Yanda and Alex Lewis) and running back Kenneth Dixon to season-ending injuries. Pro Bowl fullback Kyle Juszczyk left in free agency and the front office decided not to upgrade the lead running back spot either in free agency or the draft.

Somehow, the Ravens are on pace for their second-highest rushing total in a season since 2009 by relying on Collins, who was cut by the Seattle Seahawks at the end of the preseason, and going with James Hurst (who had never lined up at guard previously) and Matt Skura (a practice squad player a year ago) on the interior.


Continue reading at ESPN »