OWINGS MILLS, Md. — The Baltimore Ravens introduced Chuck Pagano to reporters Wednesday, less than 24 hours after promoting the former secondary coach to Defensive Coordinator. Pagano replaced Greg Mattison, who left for the same position at the University of Michigan.
Head Coach John Harbaugh described the selection of Pagano as an “easy choice” in a Wednesday press conference. “I think we’ve build just a tremendous defensive staff. Chuck has done a phenomenal job of coaching football here for the last three years.”
Pagano described the promotion as “bittersweet” due to the departure of his friend and mentor Mattison, but also said “I’ve spent 27 years preparing for this opportunity. I feel like I’m at the best organization in the National Football League (NFL), I work for the best owner in the NFL in Steve Bisciotti.”
Pagano and Harbaugh each made it a point to indicate that the team had no plans to drastically change their defensive philosophy during the transition to Pagano’s leadership.
“This hasn’t changed, and it ain’t going to change” said Pagano. “They’ve been playing great defense here long before any of us got here, and they’ll be playing great defense long after I’m gone. They’ve always been an attacking, swarming, tough, physical hard-nosed group of men.”
“It’s not a (former Defensive Coordinator/current New York Jets Head Coach) Rex (Ryan) defense, it’s not a Greg (Mattison) defense, it’s not a John (Harbaugh) defense, it’s not a Chuck (Pagano) defense, it’s not an anybody, it’s a Ravens defense. We believe in team around here.”
The Ravens tallied just 27 sacks this season, which tied them for the 5th fewest in the league. Pagano told reporters Wednesday he intends to lead an aggressive defense.
“I’ve always been around defenses that have been attacking defenses” said Pagano. “There’s a time and a place. I know (Harbaugh) is an aggressive guy and comes from an aggressive philosophy. I know (the defensive players) like to play that way. When it’s time to be aggressive, we’ll be aggressive.”
Pagano said he would orchestrate the defense from the sideline instead of the coaches’ box on gamedays.
“I’m pretty much a hands-on guy” said Pagano. “I understand that being in the box and getting away from the action, there’s a certain calmness to that. But I’m not really a calm type of guy.”
Ravens defensive players made their excitement about Pagano’s promotion apparent. DT Haloti Ngata, LB Jarret Johnson and S Haruki Nakamura were all in attendance Wednesday to show support. Defensive Line Coach Clarence Brooks, Linebackers Coach Dean Pees, Outside Linebackers Coach Ted Monachino and Defensive Assistant Roy Anderson were amongst a group of Ravens coaches in attendance as well.
LB Ray Lewis said in a statement Pagano “has an extreme knowledge of the game, and the way he communicates that with his players and fellow coaches is amazing.”
Lewis added “you have to respect how he studies opponents and how he prepares for the task at hand each week. He is truly a pure players’ coach. He is a man’s man, and there is nothing that I wouldn’t do for him. I am excited to see what we can do as a defense and as a team leading into next season.”
Harbaugh did not indicate any candidates to replace Pagano as Secondary coach, saying only “we’re going to find a great one.” He pointed out that Anderson would continue to work with the secondary no matter who was hired to replace Pagano.
NOTES: Hear from Pagano and Harbaugh now in the BuyAToyota.com Audio Vault here at WNST.net……Pagano also joined Rex Snider Tuesday on “The Afternoon Drive” on AM1570 WNST, that chat is available in the Audio Vault as well……Harbaugh said the team gave their approval for Offensive Assistant Al Saunders to meet with the Oakland Raiders about their vacant Offensive Coordinator job. NFL Network reported Saunders was in Oakland Wednesday as was accepted to get the job……Harbaugh said he had no further information regarding rumors other NFL teams were interested in talking to Quarterbacks Coach Jim Zorn. Zorn had been rumored in conjunction to openings with the Cleveland Browns and Seattle Seahawks…..Multiple outlets reported Wednesday the team had fired Offensive Line Coach John Matsko and was expected to promote Assistant Offensive Line Coach Andy Moeller to the post……Harbaugh, Bisciotti, Team President Dick Cass and General Manager Ozzie Newsome are scheduled to meet with reporters Thursday afternoon for the team’s annual season review press conference