When the Ravens added Greg Roman to the coaching staff, he was described by some (maybe us; I can’t recall) as the team’s next future interim offensive coordinator. The future soon could be the present, if coach John Harbaugh decides yet again to make a change.
Despite his recent support for current offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg, Harbaugh has to be concerned by the bottom line for the offense in the bottom-line business that is the NFL.
As noted recently by Jamison Hensley of ESPN.com, the Ravens currently average 159.7 passing yards per game, down sharply from last year’s full-season average of 256.3 yards per game. That’s a decline of nearly 100 yards per game.
The last time teams experienced such a drop, via Hensley, came in 2011, when the Colts were adjusting to life without Peyton Manning and the Broncos were adjusting to life with Tim Tebow.
Mornhinweg isn’t the only problem. Quarterback Joe Flacco has a career-low passer rating of 66.1. Deep throws specifically have been an issue; Flacco has completed only five of 23 passes that traveled at least 15 yards in the air.
There’s not much the Ravens can do with Flacco, who parlayed a Super Bowl win into a market-level contract that had a three-year trigger into, eventually, a market-level restructuring. As of next year, cutting or trading Flacco would cause $28.475 million to hit the cap. And while keeping him costs only $12 million in case, his cap number will be $24.75 million.
So the Ravens have no option but to stick with Flacco, at least through 2018. After that, they could move on for a total cap charge of $16 million, and that could be split between two years.
However it plays out, his career is beginning to feel as played out as the “is Flacco elite?” joke.