By Joe Schiller
In the first day under new general manager Eric DeCosta, the Baltimore Ravens spent little time shuffling around their offensive coaching staff.
John Harbaugh announced the promotion of Greg Roman from assistant head coach/tight ends coach to offensive coordinator, subsequently ending Marty Mornhinweg’s tenure at the position.
Mornhinweg was reportedly asked to remain on staff but “decided to move on.”
Lost in the news was a smaller, yet significant change. The team announced wide receivers coach Bobby Engram would replace Roman as the tight ends coach.
This presumably leaves the Ravens in search of a new wide receivers coach this offseason and it’s a hire they need to get right.
Throughout 23 seasons as a franchise, the Ravens have solidified themselves as a team predicated on playing smash-mouth football. They’ve boasted historically great defenses led by homegrown, Hall of Fame players
Ray Lewis, Peter Boulware, Ed Reed, Terrell Suggs, the list of defensive talent goes on.
But Baltimore has struggled to develop those kinds of players at the wide receiver position and it’s been a glaring crutch.
Of the 26 wide receivers the Ravens have drafted over the course of franchise history, only one has posted a 1,000 yard season in Baltimore.
Torrey Smith accomplished that feat with 1,128 receiving yards in 2013.
Engram’s tenure as wide receiver coach left much to be desired. Former first-round pick Breshad Perriman totaled just 576 yards and three touchdowns in three seasons.
Following his release last offseason, Perriman found life within the AFC North and caught for 340 yards and two touchdowns with the Cleveland Browns in 10 starts.
That included a 28-yard touchdown catch in Week 17 against his former team.
The shortcomings of drafted wide receivers has led the Ravens to rely on signing veteran pass catchers. Players such as Derrick Mason, Anquan Boldin and Steve Smith Sr. reaped the benefits. Others like Lee Evans, Jeremy Maclin and T.J. Houshmandzadeh never found their footing.
All have served as band-aids covering up a bigger wound.
The Ravens are slated to have six wide receivers under contract next season - Michael Crabtree, Willie Snead, Chris Moore, Jordan Lasley, Jaleel Scott and Quincy Adeboyejo. The impending offseason figures to change the makeup of this group.
If the Ravens want Lamar Jackson to be the franchise quarterback moving forward, they must surround him with adequate pass catchers. That begins with developing talent from the inside out.