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Assistant coach of the year: Greg Roman

In hindsight, it looks obvious that Lamar Jackson is a superstar quarterback in the making: With his ability to beat defenses with his arm or with his legs, how could he not be great?

But, of course, it wasn’t obvious at all before Jackson did it this year. In fact, there are talent evaluators with Hall of Fame credentials who not only doubted that Jackson could put together the kind of MVP season he did, but even doubted that he could be an NFL quarterback at all. So with our assistant coach of the year award, we’re recognizing the coach who built an offense around Jackson’s talents: Ravens offensive coordinator Greg Roman.

Some NFL coaches are wedded to their own systems and expect the players to fit themselves into the system the coach runs. Not Roman, who spent the offseason reshaping the Ravens’ offense to make it work for what Jackson does best. The results were clear: Jackson is the league MVP, the Ravens have the league’s best offense, and they finished the season with the best record in the NFL.

Also worth recognizing among the top assistant coaches this year was Ravens defensive coordinator Don “Wink” Martindale, who did an excellent job with a Ravens defense that got better as the year went on.
And Vikings assistant head coach Gary Kubiak deserves a lot of credit for the work he did with the offense in Minnesota this season.

But only one coach is our assistant of the year, and it’s a clear choice: Roman was the best assistant in the NFL this year.