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New Chargers OC Greg Roman wants to run the ball to help Justin Herbert

February 23rd, 2024

Greg Roman, the new offensive coordinator for the Los Angeles Chargers, has a vision for improving Justin Herbert. Coincidentally, it is exactly what Roman has done at his last three NFL stops.

Speaking with reporters two weeks after he was hired by new Chargers head coach Jim Harbaugh, Roman outlined an offense that runs the ball more, to theoretically help Herbert get better looks as a passer.

From ESPN:

“Can you imagine Justin Herbert with a great running game?” Roman said. “… We don’t know, but I can imagine what it might look like. So that’s kind of the vision.”

The Chargers hired Roman a season after he parted ways with the Baltimore Ravens, where he spent four years calling plays for the most rush-heavy offense in the NFL. Over those seasons, the Ravens ranked first, first, second and first in rush rate on first down. They fell to sixth last season with new coordinator Todd Monken.

Roman has also served as offensive coordinator for the Buffalo Bills and San Francisco 49ers, which were similarly — but not as severely — run-heavy with dual-threat quarterbacks Tyrod Taylor and Colin Kaepernick. One of those offenses reached the Super Bowl in 2013, which was Roman’s first season as an offensive coordinator.

Despite some past success, Roman was a frequent target for fan criticism in Baltimore. He helped guide Lamar Jackson to his first MVP trophy, yes, but the subsequent seasons featured an offense that failed to develop into a consistently elite unit. Jackson having two seasons ended by an injury didn’t help either.

FOXBOROUGH, MASSACHUSETTS - DECEMBER 03: Justin Herbert #10 of the Los Angeles Chargers throws during the game against the New England Patriots at Gillette Stadium on December 03, 2023 in Foxborough, Massachusetts. (Photo by Billie Weiss/Getty Images)

Justin Herbert might see some play-calling changes under Greg Roman. (Photo by Billie Weiss/Getty Images)

Obviously, Jackson and Mahomes are not the same quarterback. Roman still described his vision as a motion-heavy offense similar to his previous stints while promising the “diverse” passing game that never materialized there.

He even hinted at some designed runs for Herbert, via ESPN:

“It’s going to be a little different,” Roman said. “I think you’re going to see probably a multiple running game. You’ll probably see the use of motions and shifting, and then you’ll see a pretty diverse passing game.

“… Right now, everybody’s got a blank slate of who we can be or what we can do. Could be anything right now, our principles and whatnot of what we do offensively won’t change, but how they come to life on the field will.”

Still, Roman isn’t dismissing the idea of any designed runs for Herbert next season.

“We’ll give it to anybody that can gain yards,” Roman said. “And then will Justin run the ball? … It’ll probably be more as a scrambler. Will we have some of that other stuff in our back pocket? Remains to be seen.”

Herbert has rushed for 911 yards and 11 touchdowns in four seasons in the NFL.

Any uptick in running will be a significant change for the Chargers, who ranked 27th in the NFL in first-down rush rate last season and have not finished in the NFL’s top 10 in rushing yards per game since 2007.

The team’s current personnel is constructed to focus on passing, with two wide receivers with a cap hit over $30 million (Keenan Allen and Mike Williams) plus another receiver that got taken in the first round last season (Quentin Johnston). Former starting running back Austin Ekeler, a pass-catching specialist, is a free agent though, and could be replaced by a player who better aligns with Roman’s priorities.

This content was originally sourced and posted at Yahoo! Sports – News, Scores, Standings, Rumors, Fantasy Games »
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