At times, he looks like a maestro, mixing in the pass and run beautifully while carving up defenses like Thanksgiving turkey. Remember when the Niners thoroughly manhandled the Tampa Bay Buccaneers 48-3 in 2011, or the Buffalo Bills 45-3 a week after smashing the New York Jets on the road 34-0 in 2012 or even last season’s rout of the Houston Texans 34-3? Those are the games where Roman looks brilliant.
Then there’s the bad. Not just bad, really bad. You don’t have to look far to find examples. Just last season, the Seattle Seahawks shut down the Niners in the second half of their Week 2 matchup and the Carolina Panthers limited Colin Kaepernick to a paltry 91 yards passing in Week 10. To compound matters, despite Kap’s long-throwing ability, San Francisco had the 30th ranked passing offense. Those are the thoughts that permeate through 49er message board with “Fire Roman” threads.
While those are valid arguments from Roman detractors, the onus cannot entirely be placed upon him. Sure, his play calling seems rather vanilla or too conservative at times, but it all fits into Jim Harbaugh’s power style of football. Pound it on the ground, pack in the tight ends and let that open up the passing attack. The read option was only used sporadically last season, despite proving to be an effective weapon in 2012, but it wouldn’t surprise me if it became a part of the offense once again this season.
Despite that change in the offense, it’s hard to argue with the win-loss record. Since taking over as offensive coordinator in 2011, when Harbaugh was hired as head coach, the 49ers have gone 32-14-1, including the postseason, with three consecutive NFC Championship appearances and one Super Bowl. While that alone is impressive, when you stack it against the 37-59 combined record of the last six offensive coordinators who preceded him, it’s exceptional.
But who is Greg Roman? The 41-year old has been coaching since 1995 where he began as an offensive line assistant with Carolina. From there, he moved on to Houston as the tight ends and quarterbacks coach from 2002-2005 before landing in Baltimore as an offensive line assistant once again from 2006-2007. After he spent a year as OC for Holy Spirit High School in Absecon, NJ, Roman would link up with Jim Harbaugh at Stanford in 2009 and help deliver the Cardinal a #4 overall ranking and a 2010 Orange Bowl win over Virginia Tech 40-12. When Harbaugh left for the NFL, he chose Roman to come accompany him to the Niners.
Roman has hinted that a head coaching job may be in his future, but he’s returning to the 49ers in 2014, and they could use him for as long as he decides to stick around. Roman and Harbaugh turned Stanford into a BCS program, and they have brought winning football back to San Francisco. Yes, there are times when the play calling makes me want to hurl my remote at the TV, but the Niners haven’t seen this success since the 90s. If the 49ers want to continue their Quest for Six, Greg Roman has to come along for the ride.