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Baltimore Ravens promote Greg Roman to offensive coordinator to replace Marty Mornhinweg

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OWINGS MILLS, Md. — The Baltimore Ravens promoted Greg Roman to replace Marty Mornhinweg as offensive coordinator Friday, a significant move in the development of quarterback Lamar Jackson.

Roman, 46, the assistant head coach and tight ends coach last season, coordinated the Ravens’ dominant running game while Mornhinweg called the plays. Much of the system that Baltimore ran with Jackson mirrored what Roman had done with Colin Kaepernick when he was the offensive coordinator in San Francisco from the pistol formation to the read-option plays.

Mornhinweg, who was the Ravens offensive coordinator since October 2016, will have the option to stay in a significant role in a reorganization of the offensive staff.

This reshuffling allows the Ravens to keep Roman from becoming a coordinator elsewhere, ends speculation that Harbaugh will coach elsewhere in 2019 and puts Jackson on his best path for success. In his rookie season, Jackson went 6-1 as a starter and led all quarterbacks 695 yards rushing.

Mornhinweg’s demotion comes five days after the Ravens produced a season-worst 229 total yards in a 23-17 loss to the Los Angeles Chargers in a wild-card playoff game. Many Chargers players talked after the game that they could anticipate what the Ravens were running because they hadn’t changed their game plan from the previous meeting a couple weeks earlier.

In his second season with the Ravens, Roman turned a struggling running game into one of the league’s best. Baltimore, which ranked 28th in rushing in 2016, has finished No. 11 in 2017 and No. 2 last season. With Jackson, the Ravens rushed for at least 190 yards per game in the final seven games of the regular season, becoming the first team to do so since the 1976 Pittsburgh Steelers.

Left tackle Ronnie Stanley referred to Roman as “a genius” earlier this week.

“He calls a lot of great schemes against a lot of these tough defenses in the NFL,” Stanley said.

This is Roman’s third NFL offensive coordinator job. He had that role under Jim Harbaugh in San Francisco (2011-14) before calling the plays in Buffalo (2015-16). Roman’s offenses have centered around mobile quarterbacks, from Kaepernick to Tyrod Taylor.

Roman becomes the sixth offensive coordinator under Harbaugh, following Cam Cameron, Jim Caldwell, Gary Kubiak, Marc Trestman and Mornhinweg.

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Tampa Bay Buccaneers hire former USC Trojans running backs coach Todd McNair who sued NCAA

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TAMPA, Fla. — Former USC running-backs coach Todd McNair, who spent the past seven years fighting the NCAA over the Reggie Bush scandal and lost, will return to coaching in 2018 as the running backs coach of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, a source confirmed to ESPN on Friday.

McNair’s hiring was first reported by Pewter Report.

In a high-profile defamation lawsuit, McNair accused the NCAA’s Committee on Infractions of destroying his coaching career when it found him guilty of unethical conduct when Bush accepted improper benefits at USC, where McNair coached for six seasons and helped guide Bush to a Heisman Trophy in 2005.

McNair has not coached at the college or NFL level since 2010, but has been coaching high school football in Sun Valley, California.

A four-year NCAA investigation concluded that McNair knew or should have known that Bush had accepted $280,000 worth of improper benefits. McNair claimed he had no knowledge of Bush or his family accepting those benefits.

McNair’s attorneys argued that the NCAA tried to make an example out of him. He testified that after he lost his job at USC, his wife, Lynette, took a job as a parking-lot attendant. He said he was also forced to use his retirement funds and had to live off of food stamps.

In May, the jury ruled in favor of the NCAA. McNair’s attorneys filed a motion for a new trial in December, with a hearing scheduled for January.

This isn’t the first time that Bucs new head coach Bruce Arians has hired a staff member who struggled to find work after being subjected to harsh and controversial punishment from the NCAA. Arians offered an internship with the Arizona Cardinals in 2015 to David Kelly, a former University of Central Florida assistant who was forced to resign from the school in 2011, despite the fact that the school appealed its sanctions and won. Kelly has since landed on his feet as Florida State’s wide receivers/recruiting coordinator.

McNair played for Arians at Temple University and with the Kansas City Chiefs in 1989-1993, before coaching with him on the Cleveland Browns staff from 2001 to 2003.

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Steve Wilks firing ‘hurt a little bit’ amid lack of black hires

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TAMPA, Fla. — Tampa Bay Buccaneers new assistant head coach and run game coordinator Harold Goodwin didn’t mince words Friday when asked about his disappointment over the firing of Steve Wilks by the Arizona Cardinals after one season and the lack of minority hires.

“That hurt a little bit,” Goodwin said. “He’s a friend of mine. We worked together back in the day with the Bears. It’s hard to build something from the ground up with one year. It’s like, ‘Hey, I want you to start this Fortune 500 company, but you’ve got one year. That’s impossible. And that’s what he was tasked with. But God will look after him. He’ll be OK in the long run and hopefully he’ll get another opportunity.”

This offseason was particularly difficult for minority coaches. Five of the eight coaches fired either during or after the 2018 season — Wilks, Hue Jackson of the Cleveland Browns, Todd Bowles of the New York Jets, Marvin Lewis of the Cincinnati Bengals and Vance Joseph of the Denver Broncos — are black. That has left just Anthony Lynn of the Los Angeles Chargers and Mike Tomlin of the Pittsburgh Steelers as the only black head coaches in the NFL.

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Miami Dolphins zeroing in on Brian Flores

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The Miami Dolphins concluded their interview process for a new head coach Friday — and the candidate they intend and hope to hire is Brian Flores, ESPN’s Jeff Darlington reports.

Flores, currently linebackers coach of the New England Patriots, was the first person Miami interviewed (on Jan. 4) in the wake of its Dec. 31 firing of Adam Gase.

The Dolphins chose Flores, most notably, for his impressive leadership skills. They did not look for somebody who was specific to offense or defense — but rather someone who would serve as the best head coach they could find.

Flores’ long-standing relationship with general manager Chris Grier made him a favorable candidate from the start, and his interview solidified their early impressions.

No deal has been agreed upon, and no negotiations on a contract have taken place, Darlington reports. The Patriots host the Los Angeles Chargers in the AFC divisional round Sunday.

The Dolphins stayed in-house and interviewed special teams coordinator Darren Rizzi and offensive coordinator Dowell Loggains on Friday. They’ve interviewed six candidates total, with Kansas City Chiefs offensive coordinator Eric Bieniemy, New Orleans Saints defensive coordinator Dennis Allen and Dallas Cowboys defensive play-caller Kris Richard the others.

Flores, the 37-year-old Patriots de facto defensive coordinator, started his career the same way as Grier — as a New England scout.

Flores has coached offense, defense and special teams along with the stint as a scout in New England. He has spent his entire coaching career – since 2004 – with the Patriots.

If hired, Flores would be the first African-American coach in Dolphins history and their 10th head coach (including interims) overall since 2004.

Miami has finished between 6-10 and 10-6 in each of the last 10 seasons, the only team in the NFL to do that. It went 7-9 in 2018, losing its last three games by a score of 100-41.

The Dolphins allowed 6,257 yards this past season, 29th in the NFL and the most in franchise history. The offense, which finished 31st, wasn’t much better.

Information from ESPN’s Cameron Wolfe was used in this report.

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