Jim Harbaugh makes obvious hire to run Chargers offense

Los Angeles Chargers head coach Jim Harbaugh wants to establish a culture of toughness. He's bringing in a familiar offensive coach to help him do that.

Baltimore Ravens Mandatory Minicamp
Baltimore Ravens Mandatory Minicamp / Scott Taetsch/GettyImages
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The Los Angeles Chargers began the 2024 NFL offseason by hiring Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh as their next head coach. Now, the Chargers are close to securing an experienced offensive coach who is familiar with Harbaugh's culture.

Greg Roman has coached in the NFL for 25 years. As an offensive coordinator, he has worked with quarterbacks such as Alex Smith, Colin Kaepernick and Lamar Jackson. Roman has been tied to the Harbaugh family since 2009, when he joined Jim Harbaugh's staff at Stanford. In 2011, when Harbaugh became the head coach of the San Francisco 49ers, he brought Roman with him as the team's offensive coordinator. Now, the duo will look to repeat the early succes they found in San Francisco.

"The Chargers are expected to hire respected offensive mind Greg Roman for a prominent spot on the staff of Jim Harbaugh, as he's heading there [on Monday]," Rapoport posted on social media. "The two sides are working out details. The former Ravens OC set to join Harbaugh once again."

A look into Greg Roman's coaching history

Roman is one of the most experienced coordinators in the league. He began his career as an unpaid strength and conditioning coach for the Carolina Panthers in 1999. Since then, he has coached tight ends, offensive lines and quarterbacks for various teams.

Roman's ties to Harbaugh date back to 2009. Harbaugh hired Roman as an associate head coach at Stanford. In 2010, Roman was a finalist for the Broyles Award, given annually to the nation's top college football assistant coach.

Harbaugh left Stanford to become head coach of the San Francisco 49ers before the 2011 NFL season. Harbaugh hired Roman as his offensive coordinator. The long-time duo almost brought a Lombardi Trophy back to the Bay Area during the 2012 NFL season, but ultimately fell short against the Baltimore Ravens in the Super Bowl.

From 2017 to 2019, Roman coached under John Harbaugh in Baltimore. After two years of serving as the tight ends coach, he was promoted to offensive coordinator. During the 2019 season, he helped develop a new offense tailored to the skillsets of the Ravens' new franchise quarterback, Lamar Jackson. Roman used his experiences to develop a run-heavy offense with a tight end-centric passing attack. Roman earned the Associated Press 2019 NFL Assistant Coach of the Year award for his prolific offense.

With Jackson at quarterback, Roman's prolific offense led Baltimore to a 45-16 record — a .738 win percentage.

Roman will now get the chance to work with Chargers quarterback Justin Herbert. It's an interesting fit, considering Herbert isn't quite the dual-threat quarterback that Jackson and Kaepernick were. Still, Herbert could benefit from an improved rushing attack. During the 2023 NFL season, the Chargers ranked 25th in rushing yards per game (96.6).

Notable records set by Roman's offenses:

  • 49ers, 2012: Only team in NFL history with 300+ rushing and passing yards in the same game 49ers, 2012.
  • Ravens, 2019: Total rushing yards in a single season (3,296 rushing yards)
  • Ravens, 2019: Time of possession per game (34:47)
  • Ravens, 2019: First team with 200-plus rushing and passing yards per game

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