Tag Archive | "Baltimore"

Flacco, wife welcome third son on Tuesday night

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Flacco, wife welcome third son on Tuesday night

Posted on 21 January 2015 by Luke Jones

After declining an invitation to play in Sunday’s Pro Bowl to remain with his expecting wife, Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco welcomed his third son into the world Tuesday night.

Flacco’s wife, Dana, gave birth to Francis Michael, who weighs nine pounds, seven ounces. The Ravens announced the birth during a conference call for new offensive coordinator Marc Trestman, who sent his congratulations to his new quarterback with a text message.

“Joe was fired up. He was fired up about it,” head coach John Harbaugh said Wednesday. “He had to decide [between] Dana or the Pro Bowl. We can all agree he made the right choice, right?”

The timing of the birth had created some discussion about Flacco’s potential availability had the Ravens advanced deeper into the playoffs, but the 30-year-old missed the birth of his second son, Daniel, that took place hours before Baltimore’s home opener in 2013. The couple has a rapidly-growing family after welcoming first son Stephen in the summer of 2012.

 

 

 

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Ravens hire Mornhinweg as new quarterbacks coach

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Ravens hire Mornhinweg as new quarterbacks coach

Posted on 21 January 2015 by Luke Jones

A day after securing Marc Trestman as his new offensive coordinator, Ravens head coach John Harbaugh continued restocking his staff with the hiring of former New York Jets offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg as the new quarterbacks coach on Wednesday.

The 52-year-old Mornhinweg is no stranger to Harbaugh after the two worked together for five years under Andy Reid in Philadelphia. Needless to say, Mornhinweg’s latest stop with the Jets did not go to plan, but the longtime NFL assistant has worked with Pro Bowl quarterbacks such as Brett Favre, Steve Young, Jeff Garcia, Donovan McNabb, and Michael Vick in his career.

He’ll now be able to add Super Bowl XLVII Most Valuable Player Joe Flacco to the list.

“Marty’s got a great history and background with the offense that we were running last year and that Marc is going to build on this year,” Harbaugh said. “He’s a great quarterback teacher of fundamentals, footwork, reads, quarterback mechanics, and stuff like that in the passing game. I’m really excited about that. Marty’s a great coach and is going to be a great addition for us. I know he’ll work really well with Marc and work really well with Joe.”

Mornhinweg is the former head coach of the Detroit Lions where he collected a 5-27 record in two seasons and was infamously known for once winning a coin toss and electing to have the wind in his favor instead of taking the ball in an overtime loss to Chicago. However, he has extensive experience working in the West Coast offense going back to his days with Green Bay and San Francisco in the 1990s. He most recently worked with Jets quarterback Geno Smith, who has failed to develop in his first two NFL seasons.

Despite having not worked with his new quarterbacks coach before, Trestman acknowledged Mornhinweg’s familiarity with Harbaugh and offensive line coach Juan Castillo as a plus in trying to continue the momentum created by Kubiak last season.

“He had great success as a quarterbacks coach and play-caller [in Philadelphia],” Trestman said. “I’m really looking forward to working with Marty. We’ve never really crossed paths, but we have mutual friends in the business. This is all going to be part of a formula to continue to play at a high level offensively and continue to get better.”

Harbaugh announced current quarterbacks coach Rick Dennison will call plays at the Pro Bowl before officially joining Gary Kubiak’s new staff in Denver.

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Deflate Gate and Wednesday rumblings

Posted on 21 January 2015 by Dennis Koulatsos

Lots of football news to talk about today, so I thought I’d put together a smorgasboard of things:

  • It was the Ravens coaching staff that alerted the Colts coaching staff that the balls were deflated. The Colts confirmed it when Brady threw and interception in their matchup. That’s the buzz around the league today.
  • Marc Trestman is a very good fit with the Ravens, will be a good offensive coordinator for them. Has ties to Ozzie Newsome and John Harbaugh. Concern is that he won’t run the ball as much as Kubiak. He may not, but he does like to involve his backs more in the passing game than Kubiak.
  • Expect Marty Mornhinweg to be named QB coach for the Ravens. He has significant ties to Marc Trestman. Was way over his head as coach of the Detroit Lions.
  • Scientific evidence as to how a deflated football helps a team – in wet conditions, it is softer, and therefore easier to grip, throw and catch; the mass of the ball is reduced, and it doesn’t go as far when thrown; if a team is going to run the ball, it helps the running backs “squeeze” the ball, which of course increases ball security and makes them less likely to fumble. Hmmm……….
  • ECU wide receiver Justin Hardy would look great in a Ravens uniform. He had a great first day at the Senior Bowl yesterday. Good speed, hands, separation, instincts. Tracks the ball real well in the air, catches it at it’s highest point. Cat quick in and out of his breaks. I was hoping he’d stay under the radar so the Ravens could get him in the 3rd round of the 2015 NFL draft, but he’s no longer a secret. I’m afraid he’s moving up in to the 2nd round. Hopefully the Ravens trade out of the first, and use one of their picks to get him.
  • Patriots 3 prior Super Bowl wins tainted. They beat a supremely talented Kurt Warner/Marshall Faulk/Torry Holt/Isaac Bruce led team. Without the benefit of taping their practices and knowing what plays were coming based on alignment, don’t see how they could have beaten the Rams. Love to see them lose to the Seahawks, extending their Super Bowl losing streak to 3.
  • Would love to see the Pro Bowl turn in to something else for the players and for the fans. How about a “Super Stars” competition, just like ABC sports had back in the 70′s. The players could go through a series of events to see who was the strongest, fastest, etc. It would also be good for the fans see the players without pads.
  • Ravens loss to the Patriots and Colts subsequent loss to the same team, shows how close the Ravens are to competing for another ring. With another strong draft and some key free agent additions, I expect this team to go deep in to the playoffs next year, while giving us fans a home playoff game – or two. Being stout in the trenches on both sides of the ball enhances their chances.

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Kubiak clears air on his departure from Baltimore

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Kubiak clears air on his departure from Baltimore

Posted on 20 January 2015 by Luke Jones

Former Ravens offensive coordinator Gary Kubiak was introduced as the head coach of the Denver Broncos Tuesday, but took a few moments explaining his change of heart from a week ago.

After issuing a statement on Jan. 11 about his intentions to remain with the Ravens in 2015, Kubiak confirmed that the Broncos position becoming available was the only job for which he’d change his mind.

“This is a game changer. It’s as simple as that,” Kubiak said during his introductory press conference in Denver. “Those are the same words I used to coach [John] Harbaugh when we talked. This is where I got my start. This is home for me. This means so much to me.”

The overwhelming response from the Ravens to Kubiak leaving is one that lacks any animosity as the front office, staff, and players recognized his prior 20 years spent with the Broncos as a player and assistant coach. Harbaugh wasted little time finding Kubiak’s replacement by hiring former Chicago Bears head coach Marc Trestman on Tuesday afternoon.

Kubiak began his press conference on Tuesday by thanking the Ravens for the chance to return to his roots as a coordinator after a disappointing end to his eight-year run as the head coach of the Houston Texans.

“First off, I want to thank the Baltimore Ravens,” Kubiak said. “That was extremely important to me. It’s been a heck of year for [me], and without that organization giving me an opportunity about this time last year, I probably wouldn’t be here today. I really want to thank Steve [Bisciotti], Ozzie [Newsome], John, the players, and the organization.”

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Ravens hire former Bears head coach Trestman as offensive coordinator

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Ravens hire former Bears head coach Trestman as offensive coordinator

Posted on 20 January 2015 by Luke Jones

On the same day Gary Kubiak was formally introduced as the new head coach in Denver, the Ravens officially hired his replacement at offensive coordinator.

Former Chicago Bears head coach Marc Trestman has been hired to become Baltimore’s fourth offensive coordinator in four years and continues head coach John Harbaugh’s trend of appointing former NFL head coaches to the position. Despite two disappointing years in Chicago, Trestman carries nearly two decades of NFL coaching experience and has long been regarded as one of the bright offensive minds in the game.

The 59-year-old has a strong reputation in working with quarterbacks — despite the failures of Chicago’s Jay Cutler this past season — and has guided the likes of Bernie Kosar, Steve Young, Jake Plummer, Rich Gannon, and even journeyman Josh McCown to strong seasons. Harbaugh’s brother Jim said in 2013 that Trestman “taught me everything” when they worked as assistants for the Oakland Raiders in 2002 and 2003, something that undoubtedly came up in the Ravens’ rapid search for Kubiak’s replacement. Trestman also served as the offensive coordinator for the Cleveland Browns in 1989 near the end of Ravens general manager Ozzie Newsome’s Hall of Fame career as a tight end.

In his first year in Chicago in 2013, the Bears ranked eighth in the NFL in total offense and second in points scored with McCown and Cutler splitting starting duties. Of course, 2014 was another story as Chicago plummeted to 21st in total yards and 23rd in scoring with Cutler starting all but one game. Trestman was fired at the end of the season following a disappointing 5-11 finish.

Trestman’s unconventional résumé includes a return to the collegiate ranks 10 years ago as the offensive coordinator at North Carolina State before accepting a head coaching position in the Canadian Football League with Montreal, where he spent five seasons and led the Alouettes to two Grey Cup titles. Of course, the Alouettes are the same franchise that was originally the Baltimore Stallions before relocating in 1996.

This will be Trestman’s fifth offensive coordinator job in the NFL after he previously held the same title in Cleveland (1989), San Francisco (1995-1996), Arizona (1998-2000), and Oakland (2002-2003). The Minnesota native has also spent time as an NFL assistant with Minnesota, Tampa Bay, Detroit, and Miami.

Trestman will inherit a Ravens offense that set franchise records in points scored and total yards under Kubiak in 2014. He has roots in the West Coast offense with more of an up-tempo style and a greater slant toward the passing game than what Kubiak employed in Baltimore.

Given Trestman’s age and how long his trek was to finally receiving an NFL head coaching opportunity that didn’t go well in Chicago, you have to wonder if stability could be a bonus for the Ravens as Trestman may not be viewed as a viable head coaching candidate after his ugly ending with the Bears. Of course, Harbaugh and the Ravens will be more focused on Trestman continuing the growth the offense experienced this past season after a difficult 2013 campaign.

He is the fourth offensive coordinator to be hired by Harbaugh and the fourth former NFL head coach to accept the position, joining Cam Cameron, Jim Caldwell, and Gary Kubiak.

 

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Flacco turns down invitation to Pro Bowl

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Flacco turns down invitation to Pro Bowl

Posted on 20 January 2015 by Luke Jones

Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco has never made the Pro Bowl, but he’s choosing family over an invitation at the conclusion of his seventh year.

With many fans surprised to see Matt Ryan and Andy Dalton selected to replace the Super Bowl-bound Tom Brady and the injured Aaron Rodgers, it turns out Flacco was invited to participate in Sunday’s game in Arizona. However, the 30-year-old elected to remain with his wife, Dana, who is expecting the couple’s third child this month.

Ravens wide receiver and teammate Torrey Smith broke the news via his official Twitter account after initially questioning why Dalton was chosen for the game instead of Flacco.

 

In his only season under offensive coordinator Gary Kubiak — who has now become the head coach of the Denver Broncos — Flacco set career highs in passing yards (3,986) and touchdown passes (27). His 91.0 passer rating was his highest since the 2010 season, and Flacco completed 62.0 percent of his passes, the third-highest completion percentage of his career.

In addition to head coach John Harbaugh coaching one of the rosters, the Ravens are sending four players to this year’s Pro Bowl including linebackers Elvis Dumervil and C.J. Mosley and right guard Marshal Yanda. Initially a first alternate, running back Justin Forsett was added to the game last week after Houston’s Arian Foster bowed out with an injury.

Vinny Testaverde is the only quarterback in franchise history to be chosen for the Pro Bowl, and that selection came in the Ravens’ inaugural 1996 season.

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Gase interviews for Ravens offensive coordinator job

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Gase interviews for Ravens offensive coordinator job

Posted on 19 January 2015 by Luke Jones

The Ravens wasted little time in officially beginning the process to replace offensive coordinator Gary Kubiak by interviewing Denver assistant Adam Gase Monday night.

Serving as the Broncos offensive coordinator in each of the last two years, Gase traveled to Baltimore to meet with head coach John Harbaugh before the Ravens staff traveled to Arizona to coach the Pro Bowl this week. Though interest has been lukewarm for Gase in trying to become a head coach this offseason, Jacksonville and several other teams have courted the 36-year-old to become their offensive coordinator.

Gase has come highly recommended by Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning as he helped orchestrate the NFL’s top-ranked offense in 2013 and No. 4 unit in 2014. However, some have questioned how much of Gase’s success should be attributed to working with a Hall of Fame quarterback who has essentially run his own offense in Denver.

After spending time as an offensive assistant with the Detroit Lions and San Francisco 49ers, Gase was hired by then-coach Josh McDaniels to join the Broncos staff in 2009 and was retained by John Fox when he was hired in 2011. As a quarterbacks coach, Gase was credited for getting enough production out of quarterback Tim Tebow to get the Broncos to the playoffs in 2011 before Manning arrived on the scene the following year.

The hiring of Gase would likely bring a shift in offensive philosophy as he is known for an up-tempo, pass-happy style that differs from Kubiak’s West Coast offense that worked so well in Baltimore this past season. However, Gase adapted to a more run-oriented attack in the second half of 2014 when Manning struggled through the final weeks of the season with a quadriceps injury, leading you to believe his system can be more balanced.

A certain amount of mystery remains over how successful Gase can be as an offensive coordinator without Manning — or his many offensive weapons in Denver — but his credentials are impressive for someone who didn’t even play college football, let alone compete in the NFL. He began his coaching career as an undergraduate at Michigan State helping out coach Nick Saban, who then took Gase with him to Louisiana State as a graduate and recruiting assistant. Given general manager Ozzie Newsome’s relationship with the current Alabama coach, you can assume the Ravens have done their homework on a man regarded as one of the finest young offensive minds in the NFL.

Should the Ravens decide Gase is the right choice to replace Kubiak, they may need to move quickly given the interest he’s drawn from other teams and the high number of offensive coordinator jobs that remain unfilled around the league.

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Duquette’s silence on status remains deafening for Orioles

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Duquette’s silence on status remains deafening for Orioles

Posted on 19 January 2015 by Luke Jones

It just wouldn’t be a new week without another tidbit or two on the uncertain future of Dan Duquette in Baltimore.

Despite last week’s comments from Orioles owner Peter Angelos stating a transaction won’t take place, the Orioles executive vice president of baseball operations continues to be pursued by the Toronto Blue Jays, who are apparently receiving assistance in their efforts, according to a FOX Sports report:

 

There are a couple different ways to look at this latest development. Baseball could simply be trying to facilitate a deal in hopes of preserving the industry courtesy — but hardly a rule — of allowing an executive to accept a promotion elsewhere. One way or the other, a resolution is in order to remedy what appears to be an unhealthy situation in the Orioles’ front office, and maybe new commissioner Rob Manfred sees that like virtually anyone else.

The other more cynical view would be to wonder why MLB feels compelled to get involved in one team’s pursuit of an executive who still has four years remaining on his contract with his current club. On the heels of the 2016 All-Star Game being awarded to San Diego instead of Baltimore, baseball attempting to get involved in the Duquette saga makes some wonder if this is the latest example of fallout from the ongoing MASN dispute.

An update from FOX Sports later on Monday suggested the league isn’t actively involved in discussing any terms of a potential deal and is unlikely to force Angelos to release Duquette from his contract.

According to ESPN’s Buster Olney, the league’s involvement has left other clubs confused as well:

 

As has been the case since early December, Duquette continues to add to the uncertainty as he declined to address the situation when reached by The Sun on Monday. His silence is deafening as it relates to his true intentions as he would have shot down the rumors of wanting to leave the Orioles weeks ago if they weren’t true.

“At this point, there really is nothing to say on the issue,” Duquette told The Sun. “I don’t have a comment on the issue you want to talk about.

“I will talk about it when the time is appropriate.”

When that time comes is anyone’s guess, but this stalemate can’t be considered healthy for a club that’s failed to make a significant offseason acquisition with less than a month remaining until the start of spring training.

Wanting an executive to honor his contract or at least demanding proper compensation from the Blue Jays is understandable, but continuing on much longer with a man entrusted to run the organization who isn’t committed to the job is a recipe for significant trouble.

At what point does it stop being about what’s best for the Orioles and simply become a matter of winning the fight?

Or has it already gotten to that point?

 

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Sifting through potential candiates to replace Kubiak

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Sifting through potential candiates to replace Kubiak

Posted on 19 January 2015 by Luke Jones

With Gary Kubiak off to Denver and taking Rick Dennison and Brian Pariani with him, the Ravens are essentially back to where they started a year ago as it relates to their offensive coordinator position.

Of course, having a 30-year-old franchise quarterback in Joe Flacco and an above-average offensive line with all five starters under contract for 2015 should make the job attractive to potential suitors. The most logical fit outside the organization appeared to be Kyle Shanahan — who was a finalist for the position a year ago — before reports surfaced Sunday night that he would be accepting the offensive coordinator position with the Atlanta Falcons as part of Dan Quinn’s staff when the Seattle defensive coordinator is officially hired.

It will be interesting to see if head coach John Harbaugh conducts a search as extensive as last year’s when the Ravens replaced Jim Caldwell. The Ravens would likely prefer maintaining the principles that Kubiak brought to the offense, but any new coordinator understandably would want to put his own fingerprints on the system.

Keep in mind that the Ravens will also need to fill their quarterbacks coach, tight ends coach, and secondary coach positions, so those jobs will also be discussed as Harbaugh reaches out to various candidates. If last year was any indication, the head coach will even explore the collegiate ranks as he did when hiring current running backs coach Thomas Hammock and wide receivers coach Bobby Engram.

Below are four candidates who could potentially draw interest with their most recent position in parentheses:

Adam Gase (Denver offensive coordinator)
Why he fits: The 36-year-old is a hot commodity and is “soon” expected to interview with the Ravens, according to NFL Network. Gase has received endorsements from 14-time Pro Bowl quarterback Peyton Manning and has likely taken valuable lessons from the future Hall of Famer while overseeing the league’s top-ranked offense in 2013 and the No. 4 unit in 2014.
Why he doesn’t fit: The Manning factor could also be viewed as a negative as the veteran quarterback ran his own offense in Gase’s two years as the coordinator in Denver. Based on his limited body of work in Denver, Gase appears to have a higher propensity to throw the ball, which wouldn’t jive with Harbaugh’s mentality to be a physical, run-first offense.

Greg Knapp (Denver quarterbacks coach)
Why he fits: The 51-year-old carries two decades of NFL coaching experience and has served as an offensive coordinator in San Francisco, Atlanta, Oakland (twice), and Seattle. Part of the expansive coaching tree that started in San Francisco, he also served on Kubiak’s staff in Houston for two years and has experience with the West Coast offense the Ravens ran in 2014.
Why he doesn’t fit: Kubiak could entice him to remain on the Broncos staff, and Knapp could be viewed as too much of a retread after mixed results at different points in his career. Even if Kubiak recommends him to Harbaugh, his lack of any clear ties to the Baltimore head coach makes you wonder if it would be a fit.

Marc Trestman (Chicago head coach)
Why he fits: Even if his two-year tenure with the Bears ended in disappointment, the 59-year-old has an excellent offensive mind and has coached the likes of Bernie Kosar, Steve Young, Jake Plummer, Rich Gannon, and even journeymen Josh McCown to good seasons. He worked with Jim Harbaugh for two years in Oakland, so the Ravens coach can draw further insight from his brother.
Why he doesn’t fit: The Bears were so dysfunctional in Trestman’s final year that you wonder if there will be some lingering effects at his next job. With issues along the offensive line, the Bears faltered in the running game under Trestman in 2014, finishing 27th in the NFL. His wide-open approach may not jive with the Ravens’ philosophy unless they’re willing to shake things up.

Marty Mornhinweg (New York Jets offensive coordinator)
Why he fits: The 52-year-old spent five years coaching with Harbaugh in Philadelphia under Andy Reid and worked with some successful offenses with the Eagles. Familiarity is a powerful factor in hiring coaches, so it wouldn’t be surprising to see the Ravens reach out to the former Detroit Lions head coach to join the staff in some capacity.
Why he doesn’t fit: Mornhinweg spent the last two years in New York as the Jets couldn’t find any success offensively. He didn’t have much to work with, but he also didn’t help Geno Smith’s development after the Jets invested a second-round pick in the quarterback. Mornhinweg is considered a more pass-happy play-caller, which conflicts with the Ravens’ mindset.

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Kubiak agrees to become Broncos head coach

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Kubiak agrees to become Broncos head coach

Posted on 18 January 2015 by Luke Jones

All that awaits is the official announcement as Ravens offensive coordinator Gary Kubiak has agreed to become the head coach of the Denver Broncos.

A week after stating his commitment to remaining with Baltimore for the 2015 season, the 53-year-old now returns to the organization where he spent 20 years as a player and coach. Kubiak appeared content with the Ravens until Broncos general manager John Elway parted ways with head coach John Fox on Monday, which led to a change of heart from where he stood less than 24 hours earlier.

The Ravens were preparing for the strong possibility of Kubiak leaving from the point that he accepted an interview with the Broncos on Friday morning. Elway and Broncos president Joe Ellis traveled to Houston to close the deal with Kubiak on Sunday.

“Kubs did a great job with us and gets another shot at a dream job for him,” wide receiver Torrey Smith wrote on his official Twitter account Sunday night. “How can you be mad at a guy who did his job and was rewarded with a dream opportunity that wasn’t available when he said he was staying?”

The Denver Post reported Kubiak was finalizing a four-year contract with Denver on Sunday night.

Under Kubiak, the Ravens set franchise records in points score and total yards and finished 12th in the NFL in total offense and eighth in points scored. A disastrous running game that averaged a league-worst 3.1 yards per carry in 2013 rebounded to finish eighth in yards per game behind a revamped offensive line.

The Ravens will now have their fourth offensive coordinator in the last four seasons after Cam Cameron held the job for nearly five seasons at the start of head coach John Harbaugh’s tenure. Kubiak’s departure is particularly disappointing after quarterback Joe Flacco had arguably the finest regular season of his career, setting single-season highs in passing yards (3,986) and touchdown passes (27).

Quarterback coach Rick Dennison and tight ends coach Brian Pariani will be joining Kubiak on his staff in Denver, according to The Sun. To make matters worse, another potential candidate, Kyle Shanahan, is set to become the new offensive coordinator of the Atlanta Falcons, per an ESPN report.

Since Dennison and Shanahan are no longer potential replacements, the Ravens could look at others such as former Denver offensive coordinator Adam Gase and former Chicago Bears head coach Marc Trestman. In his last search for a new offensive coordinator, Harbaugh wasn’t afraid to explore the collegiate ranks when he took a look at names such as Auburn offensive coordinator Rhett Lashlee and former Oregon State and current Nebraska offensive coordinator Danny Langsdorf.

With Steve Spagnuolo departing to become the defensive coordinator of the New York Giants last week, Harbaugh will now be faced with the task of replacing his offensive coordinator, quarterbacks coach, tight ends coach, and secondary coach this offseason. Offensive assistant Jay Harbaugh also left the Ravens last week to become the new tight ends coach at the University of Michigan under his father and new head coach Jim Harbaugh.

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