Today is Extension Day for the San Francisco 49ers as the team not only signed Justin Smith to a two-year extension, but it was also reported Greg Roman received a two-year extension as well. Roman has served as the Niners offensive coordinator since 2011. The new deal will keep him with the team through the 2015 season.
There is no doubt Roman deserved and earned an extension from the 49ers. He has been Jim Harbaugh’s offensive guru developing packages and schemes for the team not often seen in the NFL. To say the plays he draws up on offense are creative is an understatement. Some examples include Roman lining up eight offensive linemen on the field for a play, pulling both guards on sweeps, using multiple personnel groups to confuse defenses and using a version of the pistol offense.
One of the most creative things Roman has done for the offense is not allowing defenses to be able to get a read on what the 49ers are going to run. Case in point, the 49ers will often have a Jumbo package on the field, which defenses think a run is coming, and then they pass from the formation. Sometimes the pass will be to an offensive lineman on the field as eligible receiver. He will also do the reserve where he runs the football out of a passing formation.
It is one thing to have a creative offensive coordinator, but you also need players with the right skills set to run his type of offense. But instead of forcing the 49ers front office to go out and get the players with the skills Roman needs to run his offense, he changes his offense based on the players already on the roster. One example of this was creating and running an offense that best suited Alex Smith’s skill set. It is no coincidence that Smith’s career was rejuvenated after Roman came to the 49ers. When Harbaugh replaced Smith with Colin Kaepernick at quarterback, Roman drew plays to great success that were a combination of the read-option and the pistol offense to suit Kap’s running skills.
We try to be creative, try to keep people off balance, try to have fun. I think what we do stimulates our players. When they come in every week there’s always something new and they get really excited about what’s next. It’s a lot of fun.
Greg Roman on his offense
The extension Roman received from San Francisco is more of a reward for having turned around the team’s sluggish offense than trying to keep him from signing on as a head coach with another NFL team or in the college ranks. The deal allows him to interview for head-coaching jobs after the upcoming season.
Had it not been for the 49ers Super Bowl run last season, Roman would likely be the Jacksonville Jaguars current head coach. He was considered a “strong candidate” for the job as his friend and college teammate, David Caldwell, is the general manager for the Jaguars. But the Niners success in the postseason meant the Jags would have had to wait until after the Super Bowl to hire Roman. Instead, the team hired Seattle Seahawks defensive coordinator Gus Bradley before the NFC Championship game.
My hope is the 49ers continue have success deep into the playoffs, not only because I bleed Red and Gold, but that will also mean Roman chances of receiving a head coaching job are less. After years of terrible offensive coordinators and the 49ers going through nine of them from 2003-2010, having Roman’s continuity is something to treasure. Even if that means he won’t receive an offer to become a head coach.
It’s a little bit of irony — the more you win, the less chance you have of getting those jobs. I was talking on the phone with my agent, Dave Dunn, and he told me that, and I said, ‘So wait a second — you’re telling me that if we win, I lose?’