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Chargers OC Greg Roman’s plan for Justin Herbert: Run the ball

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By jeenmediaa


COSTA MESA, Calif. — Los Angeles Chargers offensive coordinator Greg Roman told reporters Thursday that he is confident the Chargers will establish a consistent running offense, which he expects to elevate quarterback Justin Herbert.

“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 last had a feared rushing offense over a decade ago, ranking outside the top 10 in rushing yards per game every season since 2007. The Chargers finished 24th in rushing YPG, and running back Austin Ekeler averaged the fewest yards per carry (3.5) of his career.

“I think in this league, you can really, really help dictate the defenses if you have a strong running attack,” Roman said. “If you really talk to most defensive coordinators in this league and got ’em off to the side when they’re playing a really good running team, they’re sweating a little bit. They’re sleeping a little less that week.”

Roman, who was most recently the offensive coordinator with the Ravens in 2022, put together some of the most prolific rushing offenses in sparking quarterback Lamar Jackson to win the second unanimous MVP award in NFL history in 2019. That same season, Roman won the AP Assistant of the Year award.

During Roman’s four seasons with the Ravens (2019-2022), they led the league in rushing yards per game (175.2) — a 30-yard difference between the next closest team — in part because of Jackson’s mobility. Roman led a similar rushing offense when he last coached with Harbaugh with the San Francisco 49ers from 2011 to 2014, where the 49ers were second in the NFL over that span in rushing yards per game (139.3).

Herbert isn’t an immobile quarterback; that was evident last season in his 73 rushing yards against the Packers, the second most of his career, or when he scrambled and juked Raiders outside linebacker Maxx Crosby. Herbert, however, isn’t the runner that Colin Kaepernick or Jackson is.

Herbert is at his best when passing, which Roman acknowledged, saying that his offense wouldn’t look the way it has with Jackson and Kaepernick.

“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.”



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