Greg Roman Talks Rams, Moss and More


San Francisco 49ers offensive coordinator Greg Roman typically opens up his weekly press conferences with a short opening statement.

Usually it's a brief opening to his media gathering that sheds light on the play-caller's eagerness to take on the weekly challenge. Once again, Roman offered his statement on Thursday, prior to a Sunday NFC West contest against the St. Louis Rams at Candlestick Park.

"It was good in the bye week," Roman began, "got a chance last week to really kind of analyze ourselves and start to get to work on the Rams, a team that's ranked on defense in the upper half of the league. I think they're doing a very good job. Coaching them, obviously [Rams head coach] Jeff Fisher knows what he's doing. He's been doing it a long time at a high level.

Roman continued.

"I think their D-line is playing very well. I think their linebackers are playing extremely well. In the secondary, they've got a lot of different looks in their secondary and they do a nice job handling a lot of different stuff. We all know the challenge ahead of us here, a division opponent. Any questions?"

Several questions came Roman's way and in each case, the cool-headed coordinator addressed each offensive inquiry.

It was really interesting stuff. Not to say Roman doesn't provide top-notch insight into his process, but this week was different, the 49ers offensive coordinator had reporters chuckling at times and frantically jotting down Roman's thoughts on a variety of topics – ranging from Frank Gore's unselfishness, to Randy Moss' downfield blocking, to Delanie Walker's do-it-all role.

First, Roman explained how the passion for football makes Gore and backup Kendall Hunter two of the best backs in the league.

"The first thing that jumps out about Frank and Kendall, not from a talent standpoint but from just their mindset standpoint, is they love football," explained Roman, who has guided San Francisco to the No. 1 rushing attack in the NFL midway in his second season. "These guys are natural born football players and they love football, they understand football, love to compete."

"There's nothing about them at all, not one iota where you ever question their effort, because it's always great. Protection, I think we've made a lot great strides up to this point with our young guys in protection across the board really. But those guys, they're difference makers at the position. We're very fortunate to have them."

Roman went on much later in his press conference to describe his creative run schemes, many of which were learned during his time in Carolina working under former 49ers Super Bowl champion coach George Siefert.

Asked specifically about Roman's usage of split-back sets, San Francisco's offensive coordinator said it all relates to his running backs being able to carry out various play calls, even some in unique formations seldom used in the NFL today.

"I think certain types of backs can run that stuff and certain types of backs you really wouldn't want to run that stuff with," Roman shared. "And we have backs that are multi-dimensional that can run that stuff. So, it's good."

After discussing Anthony Davis' development at right tackle, Roman dropped two impressive sound bites.

First, he compared offensive line coach Mike Solari's November beard to one of famous actor, Sean Connery. Roman received more chuckles when he referred to Rams defensive end Chris Long as a "rolling ball of butcher knives."

Roman added insight with his humor when discussing Davis' growth.

The man affectionately known as "G-Ro" by his players, however, went on to curb the humor when discussing the efforts of much talked-about wideout Moss.

Roman couldn't help but slip in one comment at the start of his response to a Moss-related question.

Asked if he enjoyed Moss' de-cleating downfield block on Kerry Rhodes or the future Hall of Fame wide receiver's 47-yard touchdown catch against the Arizona Cardinals, Roman said, "Did we score on the knockdown block?"

The reporter responded, "No."

Roman continued, "I'll take the touchdown."

Roman paused and then went into a thorough explanation of Moss' role with the team.

"Starting in the Houston game in the preseason, Randy was wearing people out blocking," Roman shared. "And, can't stress enough how professional, how team-oriented Randy Moss is. As a coach sometimes you say, 'Alright, what do I tell the players? What don't I tell them?' At some point you can tell them too much, right? Everybody's got a saturation point. Well, I don't know that he does.

"He asks the questions on the smallest little details even in the running game, let alone the passing game, that you say, 'That's the question that you should ask right now, that's the question that should be asked. That's a great question.' So, he's selling out to do his job every play."

Roman added that Moss understands the game well enough to raise other ideas in meetings.

"That's productive," Roman said. "That's progress."

The 49ers offensive coordinator went on to praise another player doing the bulk of his work behind the scenes in tight end Walker.

Roman said the 49ers versatile tight end who plays on special teams has been, "outstanding."

"I call him Mr.Do-It-All," Roman said. "Not afraid to admit it. He does a tremendous amount in our run game, pass game, everything. He does it all. He carries a lot on his plate week in and week out and we rely on him a lot. He's a very dependable football player. Again, another guy that loves football, comes to work every day with a smile on his face and a great attitude ready to go. Great player."

Roman brought the goods at the podium, now it's a matter of his players executing his vision on Sunday.

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