Why the Redskins want him:
Greg Roman has 15 years of NFL experience going back to when he broke into the league as defensive and offensive quality control assistant for the Carolina Panthers in their inaugural year, 1995. Roman has spent all but the first two years on the offensive side of the ball. First as a quality control coach, then as an assistant offensive line coach with the Panthers. Roman moved on to the expansion Houston Texans where he served as the tight ends coach for two years and then two more years as the quarterback coach. After Houston and his time with TE’s and QB’s, Roman went back to the offensive line serving as an assistant OL coach with the Ravens in 2006-2007. After a year as a H.S. offensive coordinator, Roman got the coordinator job at Stanford under Jim Harbaugh.
At Stanford Roman’s primary responsibilities initially were the running game, tight ends and the offensive line. That role expanded the next year where he had a greater impact on the passing game and Andrew Luck as well. While at Stanford, Roman helped turn their offense into one of the most effective in college football. He coached two Heisman runner-ups in Toby Gerhart and Andrew Luck in both of his years at Stanford. In 2009 the Cardinal set a school record for rushing yards and all 5 starting offensive linemen gained postseason honors. In 2010 Roman led the Stanford offense to 9th in points scored, 14th in yards per game, 17th in rushing yards and 1st in time of possession. Over his two seasons with Stanford the offensive line allowed just 13 sacks in nearly 700 drop backs. Roman also helped develop future 2nd round TE’s, Coby Fleener and Zach Ertz.
Roman moved on with Jim Harbaugh to the 49ers, and quickly had to turn around a stagnant offense and work with what was considered a bust for a quarterback in Alex Smith. The 49ers once proud offense had grinded to a halt in recent years when Roman took over. They hadn’t finished higher than 18th in points scored, since Jeff Garcia was quarterback in 2003. In Roman’s three years in San Francisco they’ve finished 11th each time. Roman also helped Alex Smith go from being one of the biggest 1st round draft busts of the last 10 years to a playoff caliber quarterback. Instead of asking Smith to do stuff that he wasn’t as comfortable with, Roman tailored the offense to his strengths and taught him to be more of a game manager and read the defense. Smith stopped forcing the ball down the field. Smith led the 49ers to a 13-3 record his first season, and followed it up with a 6-2-1 record before he was replaced by Colin Kaepernick last season. Smith continued his success in Kansas City going 11-4 and leading them back to the playoffs.
Now Roman obviously can’t take full credit for Alex Smith‘s success as Jim Harbaugh and QB coach Geep Chryst deserve credit as well, but Roman was definitely a big part of the turnaround. Roman also helped develop 2011 2nd round quarterback Colin Kaepernick these past three seasons. Kaepernick took over for Alex Smith mid year in 2012 when Smith went out with a concussion, and joined the year of the running quarterback. The 49ers tweaked their offense to run the pistol, read option style of play that Kaepernick used in college and he was able to have an instant impact. He led the 49ers to the Super Bowl last year and they were a play or two away from winning it. Kaepernick’s year this season wasn’t as good as the 49ers hoped, but the beauty of the Roman offense is it didn’t put much pressure on the quarterback.
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Greg Roman is a run first guy and has been a top 10 team in yards and attempts all three years in San Francisco. This has allowed the 49ers to amass a 36-11-1 record in three seasons (that is 12 more wins than Mike Shanahan had in 4 seasons), and grind their opponents down. The 49ers have invested heavily in building up their offensive line and ground game under Roman and it’s paid off.
Roman has worked heavily and been successful with every position on offense with the exception of receiver, but his strengths fit what the Redskins need:
QB’s: Has worked with young quarterbacks David Carr (Carr had his best season when Roman was QB coach), Colin Kaepernick and Andrew Luck in college. He also got the most out of Alex Smith and helped turn his career around. He’s familiar with zone read and pistol stuff and he understands about putting his quarterback in good situations.
OL: Has a long offensive line track record for success, both in the pros and in college. He’s not going to tolerate failure among this unit and he’s the type of head coach that will prioritize the line and get them into shape.
RB: The Redskins best weapon right now is Alfred Morris, they need to ensure the new coach understands that and will utilize him. Roman will build his offense around Morris and the ground game and it should quicken the Redskins ability to contend. Also, a focus on the ground game should help make Griffin’s development smoother.
TE: Roman has had success with tight ends coaching in Houston, at Stanford and currently with San Francisco. He’s the type of coach who will know how to utilize Jordan Reed and get him even more involved in the passing game.
-I like the fact that he worked with two expansion teams. Those are extremely tough gigs, but you can learn quite a bit from those experiences. A coaching change is in many ways like a mini-expansion team exercise since there are so many new players brought in and they have to learn new concepts. With so many players free agents or likely to be cut, the Redskins can really clean house this season and Roman has good experience in this department.
-I like that he’s been around some quality teams and organizations as well. Both during his time in Baltimore and these last three years in San Francisco. Not only has this led to winning, but he has seen how effective front offices are run.
-I like his college experience, particularly in a major conference. I think that gives him still a fresh and unique perspective over a lot of guys. It also could help him get the most out of young players and rookies.
-I like that while an offensive guy, he can appreciate the value of a top notch defense (and special teams). He got his start under Dom Capers (and was again under him in Houston), but he also was on the Ravens when their defense was top notch under Rex Ryan, and at Stanford and the 49ers with Vic Fangio (who was actually also the DC for Carolina and Houston as well). Roman as a head coach will understand the importance of defense.
-I like that he is still very young, 41 years old, despite plenty of experience. He could be the type of coach who stays around for 10-15 years.