Tag Archive | "Bobby Engram"

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Plenty of intrigue surrounding Ravens wide receivers

Posted on 19 June 2015 by Luke Jones

OWINGS MILLS, Md. — You can easily be fooled by what you observe during spring football practice, but the Ravens’ young group of wide receivers displayed much to like over the last month.

It would be unwise to guarantee that the Ravens won’t experience any growing pains at the position following the free-agent departure of Torrey Smith, but there are many reasons to be intrigued with the upside of the group. More than a few showed their talents before the Ravens wrapped up their mandatory minicamp on Thursday, now turning their attention toward the start of training camp in less than six weeks.

“They come in all different sizes, certainly, and we have them here,” said offensive coordinator Marc Trestman of the young receivers. “But at the end of the day, it’s the guys that are really specialists that know how to get off the line and get open, and particularly when it’s bump-and-run, because that’s when it’s usually crunch time.”

Of course, introducing the threat of contact will be the real test as countless receivers over the years have shown ability while knowing they aren’t about to be leveled by a hard-hitting defensive back or linebacker over the middle. This time of the year always favors the offense with defensive players lagging behind until the pads serve as the equalizer beginning in late July.

Perhaps the most comforting aspect about the group that allows so much optimism is the man who spent the entire spring mentoring them while continuing to look like the best player on the field in the process.

While other notable veterans skipped voluntary organized team activities and didn’t arrive in Owings Mills until this week’s mandatory minicamp, the 36-year-old Steve Smith spent the last month working with the likes of rookies Breshad Perriman and Darren Waller as well as helping young receivers such as Kamar Aiken and Marlon Brown. It’s easy to like your potential at a position when a seasoned commodity with five Pro Bowl selections and 13,000 receiving yards remains at the head of the class.

“He put in the time physically and he put in the time mentally to really grasp the changes that we were making and further enhance how he understood this offense,” wide receivers coach Bobby Engram said. “And, when he pulls a young guy aside, they’re going to listen. And when they see his work ethic, they better listen. His experience and his leadership has been invaluable not only for the receivers but for our entire team.”

While Smith continues to lead the way at the position, there were three young receivers who stood out this spring in particular.

Selected with the 26th overall pick in the first round of this year’s draft, Perriman has been as advertised with his combination of size and speed, and he appears to be ahead of where Torrey Smith was at this point in his rookie season. The Ravens made no secret about their desire to work him hard this spring as the Central Florida product consistently took reps with the first, second, and third-team offenses during practices, often battling fatigue to make sensational catches.

He wasn’t perfect as he suffered some drops from time to time — it hasn’t been a chronic issue — but the 6-foot-2 rookie feels good about his place in Trestman’s offense and adjusted well to the speed of the game when the full squad reported for practices this past week.

“I just like how they have the ability to move all the receivers around,” Perriman said. “For me, I’m decent at going deep, but at the same time, they have the ability to move me around and put all the receivers in different positions. Everyone can be a slot receiver and run different routes. That’s what I like about it.”

Perriman has drawn the outside attention as the team’s first-round draft pick, but Aiken may have impressed the most this spring with his consistency and strong rapport with quarterback Joe Flacco. After rising from anonymity to make last year’s roster, the 6-foot-2, 215-pound Aiken caught 24 passes for 267 yards and three touchdowns in the regular season while adding another touchdown reception in the playoffs.

It would be premature — and unfair — to label Aiken a poor man’s Anquan Boldin, but perhaps he could be the poor man’s poor man’s version of the former Baltimore receiver, showing good strength and an ability to make catches in traffic. He is the current leader in the clubhouse to start opposite Smith — the Ravens almost always defer to their veterans over rookies to begin preseason competitions — but Aiken figures to be a meaningful part of the passing game, regardless of where he lands on the depth chart by the time September rolls around.

Aiken said this spring that he has never lacked confidence, but last year’s success has made him comfortable in preparing to just be himself instead of trying to do too much to make the roster as he was forced to do earlier in his career. Whether beginning the year as a starter or succumbing to Perriman, Aiken is confident he’s a good fit in a critical portion of the field.

“I like going across the middle, so I’ve never feared a route going across the middle,” Aiken said. “I feel like that’s where you make your money at. But [the coaches] do a lot of good things as far as mix and matching, just putting us in different areas [where we are] able to run different routes.”

While Perriman and Aiken have already become household names for Ravens fans, the biggest wild card could end up being Jeremy Butler, who spent his rookie season on injured reserve after turning a few heads during last summer’s training camp. It wasn’t a coincidence that Baltimore took advantage of Butler’s late-summer shoulder injury to stash him on IR, which essentially gave the Tennessee-Martin product a “redshirt” season to learn and improve.

At 6-foot-2 and 218 pounds, Butler earned plenty of praise for his consistent hands over the last month. And while there have been many young players over the years to have good springs before disappearing in training camp and the preseason, it’s worth paying attention to Butler this summer after quiet acclaim from coaches last year and the compliments offered by Smith and Flacco this week.

If anything, Butler figures to offer some strong competition for Aiken in the slot as he occasionally received some first-team reps over these last few weeks.

“He might have had 1,500 yards in a three-day minicamp. He was incredible,” Flacco said. “He caught the ball extremely well. [He has] little things here and there to work on, but the biggest thing is catching the ball, and I think these guys are doing a really good job of that.”

With the ageless veteran Smith leading the way, the Ravens hope they’ll face some difficult decisions as far as how many receivers they will be able to keep. Perriman is an obvious lock and Aiken is an excellent bet, but how the depth chart plays out after that is anyone’s guess.

You’re always waiting for the 6-foot-5 Brown to take the next step after an impressive 2013 rookie season, but he didn’t do much to stand out this spring — good or bad — and you’d like to see him better utilize his massive frame, especially inside the red zone.

Campanaro has flashed potential as a return man and at receiver, but his latest quadriceps injury creates more doubt about his ability to stay on the field.

A sixth-round pick out of Georgia Tech, the 6-foot-6 Waller has shown promise, but will he develop quickly enough to justify a roster spot as a rookie?

Can rookie free agent DeAndre Carter stand out as a receiver to augment his chances for winning a roster spot and serving as a return specialist?

Of course, not all of these names will pan out, but it’s tough not to like the Ravens’ chances to break camp with a group of young receivers having room to grow, especially with a franchise quarterback in the prime of his career throwing to them. Smith is looking forward to having a front-row seat for the battles this summer as he prepares for his 15th NFL season.

“It’s very competitive,” Smith said. “I’m actually going to sit back and watch it and just root for those guys and see them make plays.”

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New Ravens receiver Perriman likens himself to Julio Jones

Posted on 01 May 2015 by Luke Jones

OWINGS MILLS, Md. — Drawing predictable comparisons to Torrey Smith after being drafted with the 26th pick of the 2015 draft, new Ravens wide receiver Breshad Perriman envisions a higher upside for himself.

Asked which player he shares similarities with in the NFL, the Central Florida product likened himself to two-time Pro Bowl receiver Julio Jones. At 6-foot-2 and 212 pounds, Perriman’s frame stacks up favorably to the 6-foot-3, 220-pound Jones.

Baltimore hopes his kind of production will eventually follow as the Atlanta Falcons receiver has amassed more than 4,000 receiving yards and 26 touchdowns in only 49 career games.

“He’s kind of a big receiver like myself, but he can play as a small receiver as well,” Perriman said. “He can stretch the field vertically, he has great quickness, and he’s physical. That’s the one I like to compare myself to.”

Such a comparison may sound too ambitious for a player who competed in the American Athletic Conference, but the Ravens drafted Perriman with hopes of him developing into the high-impact No. 1 receiver quarterback Joe Flacco has never enjoyed in his career.

Perriman should appeal to new offensive coordinator Marc Trestman, who coached big targets like Brandon Marshall and Alshon Jeffery in Chicago. Wide receivers coach Bobby Engram agrees with Perriman’s comparison to Jones, who was the sixth overall pick of the 2011 draft and led the NFC with 1,593 receiving yards last year.

“The same guy he mentioned, but you look at a guy like Alshon, [too],” Engram said. “There are a lot of bigger receivers in the league. To me, you take him as his own guy for his skill set and his ability. I’m excited for what he’s going to bring to the Ravens.”

Engram and Ravens national scouting direction Joe Douglas studied Perriman up close and personal during his pro day in which he ran the 40-yard dash in a blazing 4.22 seconds. This came after he didn’t work out at the NFL scouting combine in February due to a hamstring injury.

Such a performance certainly helped solidify Perriman as a first-round pick, but the Ravens liked more than his blinding speed. And that includes the way he caught the football, which is a concern talent evaluators have expressed about the 21-year-old Georgia native. Several members of the organization have expressed confidence that Perriman can improve his concentration in order to limit the drops that occasionally plagued him in college.

“We saw a guy that moved really well. Quick, agile for his size,” Engram said. “He caught the ball fluidly. Obviously, he ran really fast and I think that got everyone’s attention, but that was just a piece of the puzzle. When you’re evaluating and look at a guy like Breshad, you try to gather as much information as you can and make that decision. I feel very fortunate that we have him in the building.”

The Ravens know that Perriman isn’t a finished product, which is part of his appeal after he caught 50 passes for 1,044 yards and nine touchdowns in his junior season. He must refine his routes after being asked to primarily go vertical in college.

Despite the question marks, the Ravens see a young receiver who’s only going to get better after forgoing his senior season. Upon being selected on Thursday night, Perriman received very clear advice from his father Brett, who played 10 seasons in the NFL.

“Celebrate it. Enjoy the whole process,” Perriman said. “But when the day is over, it’s really time to go to work.”

“I like that message from Dad,” Engram added.

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Harbaugh says pedigree as player, coaching experience reasons for Engram hire

Posted on 11 February 2014 by WNST Staff

ENGRAM HIRED AS RAVENS WIDE RECEIVERS COACH

The Baltimore Ravens have hired Bobby Engram as their wide receivers coach, head coach John Harbaugh announced Tuesday morning.

Entering his fourth-overall season of coaching, Engram spent the past two years (2012-13) as wide receivers coach at the University of Pittsburgh. He began his coaching career as an offensive assistant with the San Francisco 49ers in 2011. Prior to becoming a coach, Engram, 41, produced a 14-year playing career as a wideout with the Chicago Bears (1996-2000), Seattle Seahawks (2001-08) and Kansas City Chiefs (2009).

“When you combine Bobby’s NFL pedigree as a player and his coaching experience, you see why we’re excited to add him to our staff,” Harbaugh stated. “He comes highly recommended, he did an outstanding job at San Francisco and Pitt, and he’s an impressive person. He’ll help our receivers and our offense become better.”

In 2013, Engram guided a Pitt receiving corps that was led by true freshman Tyler Boyd, who earned second-team All-ACC honors and set school marks for receptions (85) and receiving yards (1,174) by a freshman. Both records were formerly held by current Arizona Cardinals standout Larry Fitzgerald. Senior Devin Street completed his Panthers career in 2013 after setting school marks in all-time receptions (202) and finishing third in receiving yards (2,901).

In his first season with Pittsburgh (2012), Engram guided wide receivers Mike Shanahan (62 receptions for 983 yards) and Devin Street (73-975), who each garnered All-Big East honors in the same season, marking the first such occurrence in school history.

As an offensive assistant with the 49ers in 2011, Engram was part of a team that earned its first NFC West title in nine seasons and reached the NFC Championship game.

“What an opportunity to join a team that has won, knows how to win and does all it can to make sure they continue to win,” Engram said. “I’m ready to be part of that and ready to work.”

Selected out of Penn State in the second round (52nd overall) of the 1996 NFL Draft by Chicago, Engram appeared in 176 career games (113 starts), recording 650 receptions for 7,751 yards and 35 touchdowns. He also played in nine career playoff games, including an appearance in Super Bowl XL with Seattle. He was the Seahawks’ Ed Block Courage Award recipient in 2005.

Engram is one of the most productive and decorated receivers in Penn State history. A three-time All-American and three-time All-Big Ten selection, he helped the Nittany Lions produce a 31-5 record from 1992-95. In 1994, Engram recorded 52 receptions for 1,029 yards en route to earning the inaugural Biletnikoff Award as the nation’s top receiver.

A native of Camden, S.C., Engram graduated from Penn State in 1995 with a bachelor’s degree in exercise and sport science. Bobby and his wife, Deanna, have two daughters, Bobbi and Phoebe, and two sons, Dean and Trey.

COACHING BACKGROUND

Years                  College/Pro Team                         Position
2011                    San Francisco 49ers                       Offensive Assistant
2012-13              University of Pittsburgh              Wide Receivers
2014                    Baltimore Ravens                           Wide Receivers

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Engram reportedly to join Hammock to complete Ravens’ offensive staff

Posted on 06 February 2014 by Luke Jones

On the same day the Ravens made the hiring of new running backs coach Thomas Hammock official, it appears that head coach John Harbaugh has taken the final step to complete his coaching staff for the 2014 season.

Former NFL wide receiver and current University of Pittsburgh assistant Bobby Engram is set to become the Ravens’ new wide receivers coach, according to Pete Roussel of CoachingSearch.com. Engram would be replacing the departed Jim Hostler, who accepted a position with the Buffalo Bills last week after he did not receive Baltimore’s offensive coordinator job that went to Gary Kubiak.

Engram spent 14 years playing in the NFL before spending the 2011 season with the San Francisco 49ers and head coach Jim Harbaugh, who presumably gave him an endorsement in speaking to his older brother. A record-setting receiver at Penn State, Engram spent the last two years as Pitt’s wide receivers coach.

Spending time with Chicago, Seattle, and Kansas City in his professional career, Engram amassed more than 7,500 receiving yards and 35 touchdowns.

The Ravens officially announced Thursday that they’d hired Hammock, who has 11 years of collegiate coaching experience and spent the last three seasons as the University of Wisconsin’s running backs coach and assistant head coach. Hammock previously spent time coaching the running backs at the University of Minnesota (2007-2010) as well as at Northern Illinois (2005-2006), his alma mater.

“Take a look at Thomas’ college resume,” Harbaugh said in a team statement. “It’s impressive, and it’s clear he can teach, coach, and help players become better. He’s an impressive person, and we’re looking forward to seeing him coach our players.”

During Hammock’s three seasons as the Badgers’ running backs coach, they ranked third nationally in rushing yards per attempt (5.7), fourth in rushing touchdowns (121), and seventh overall in rushing yards per game (251.1), with each category also leading the Big Ten during this span.

Hammock’s most famous pupil was 2013 second-round pick Montee Ball, who won the 2012 Doak Walker Award as the nation’s best running back and set the NCAA all-time record for rushing touchdowns (77). With Ball off to the NFL to play for the Denver Broncos last season, Hammock guided senior James White and sophomore Melvin Gordon to rush for a combined 3,053 yards, an NCAA single-season record for a pair of teammates.

“The opportunity to coach at the highest level excites me,” Hammock said. “To come to an organization that is committed to winning and has a coaching staff that is so respected is a tremendous opportunity, and I’m looking forward to getting started. Working with coach Harbaugh, learning the offense and working with coach Kubiak, and then coaching these outstanding Ravens players, is special.”

Engram and Hammock will join Kubiak, quarterbacks coach Rick Dennison, and tight ends coach Brian Pariani as new additions to Harbaugh’s coaching staff this season. Senior defensive assistant Steve Spagnuolo was appointed as the new secondary coach to replace Teryl Austin, who became the new defensive coordinator of the Detroit Lions last month.

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