Tag Archive | "brian pariani"

Harbaugh addresses slew of topics at NFL owners meetings

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Harbaugh addresses slew of topics at NFL owners meetings

Posted on 25 March 2014 by Luke Jones

Speaking to reporters gathered in Orlando for this week’s NFL owners meetings, Ravens coach John Harbaugh touched on an array of topics ranging Tuesday morning, from the status of running back Ray Rice to the backup quarterback position.

A day after owner Steve Bisciotti made it clear that Rice would remain with the organization despite his legal trouble, Harbaugh reiterated his support for the troubled 27-year-old while acknowledging the obvious embarrassment felt over the Ravens’ three arrests this offseason that have prompted many to question team leadership. Wide receiver Deonte Thompson and offensive lineman Jah Reid were also arrested in a three-week period that started with Rice’s domestic violence incident in Atlantic City last month.

Harbaugh confirmed what many assumed in stating that newly-acquired veteran Jeremy Zuttah projects to be the Ravens’ starting center in 2014, replacing incumbent and 2012 fourth-round pick Gino Gradkowski.

“We traded for Jeremy for him to be the starting center. That’s the plan,” Harbaugh told reporters in Orlando. “[I] had a conversation with Gino yesterday. It was good communication and he’s in a good place. Gino’s a solid young guy. Jeremy is a more experienced center/guard in this league. The thing I liked on tape – we studied him pretty hard – he’s a big, rangy guy. He’s got length, he’s got size in there, he’s got experience and he’s also got, we think, a knack for the scheme we’re going to run offensively. He’s a good fit for us.”

The coach added that the organization would prefer to keep Kelechi Osemele at left guard and views second-year lineman Rick Wagner as the current starting right tackle among players under contract. Of course, the Ravens are expected to continue the search for more help in free agency and the draft, so the offensive line remains fluid beyond the four known starters: left tackle Eugene Monroe, right guard Marshal Yanda, Zuttah, and Osemele.

After recent reports that the Ravens were interested in quarterback Brandon Weeden before he signed in Dallas, Harbaugh confirmed that the organization is exploring the possibility of adding another quarterback. Current backup Tyrod Taylor has one year remaining on his rookie contract, but the head coach confirmed that the Ravens haven’t been overwhelmed with how the 2011 sixth-round pick has played in limited opportunities. Baltimore has carried only two quarterbacks on its 53-man roster in each of the last four seasons.

“We’ve been very happy with Tyrod, and we feel like he has a great future,” Harbaugh said, “but we have been a little disappointed how he’s played in games certainly. We feel like he’s a lot better than he’s showed. I know he feels that way too. We feel like Tyrod’s best football is by far definitely in front of him, but he’s only got one year left with us, so we need to add a quarterback into the mix, whether it be offseason or in the draft.”

The tight end position remains a point of discussion as Harbaugh confirmed interest in re-signing Ed Dickson while acknowledging interest in former Houston Texans tight end Owen Daniels, who obviously has strong ties with new offensive coordinator Gary Kubiak and new tight ends coach Brian Pariani. Dennis Pitta and University of Maryland product Matt Furstenburg are the only tight ends currently under contract.

Reporters asked Harbaugh about the status of retired linebacker Rolando McClain, whose rights are still owned by the Ravens. The coach didn’t completely rule out a return for the 24-year-old but added that he hasn’t spoken to McClain and remains skeptical unless he receives proof that the former Oakland Raider is working hard and is serious about returning to football.

“Who [is he] as a person right now? Has he grown up?” Harbaugh said of McClain. “He had a lot of growing up to do obviously. And how hard he’s working, how hard he’s working at Alabama right now. If he’s working his rear end off, then I’m kind of excited about him. If he’s not, then I’ve got no interest in him being on our team.”

Harbaugh confirmed that the Ravens will pick up the contract option for 2011 first-round cornerback Jimmy Smith as this is the first year we’ve seen this part of the rookie system come into play after the collective bargaining agreement that went into effect in 2011 standardized four-year contracts for all drafted players. The system does present teams a fifth-year option to use for first-round picks entering the final year of their rookie deals. The Ravens hope to sign both Smith and wide receiver Torrey Smith — also entering the final year of his rookie deal — to long-term extensions to keep them in Baltimore.

Baltimore is still looking to draft a safety despite last week’s signing of Darian Stewart, and Harbaugh offered praise for Alabama’s Ha Ha Clinton-Dix, who is projected to be a first-round pick and regarded as the top safety in the draft. General manager Ozzie Newsome said at the start of the offseason that the Ravens would be looking to add a more athletic safety with 2013 first-round pick Matt Elam expected to play closer to the line of scrimmage.

“Safeties are interchangeable these days,” Harbaugh said. “There are certain traits you look for. I’m looking at the safeties now in the draft. You want tacklers and you want guys with range and you wants guys with ball skills.”

The Ravens would also like to add depth on the defensive line following the free-agent departure of Arthur Jones, but 2013 third-round pick Brandon Williams is the current favorite to take Jones’ starting spot.

According to the coach, Kubiak recently put the finishing touches on the Ravens’ new offensive playbook before it was then distributed to players. Harbaugh was also told that quarterback Joe Flacco has plans to get together with his wide receivers for informal throwing sessions before the start of the offseason training program next month.

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Former Ravens tight ends coach Harman to join Falcons staff

Posted on 07 February 2014 by Luke Jones

After his 15-year run as Ravens tight ends coach came to an end late last month, it appears Wade Harman is catching on with the Atlanta Falcons coaching staff.

Harman is expected to be hired by Falcons head coach Mike Smith, who coached on the Ravens staff under Brian Billick from 1999 through 2002. FootballScoop.com reported that the pair will reunite after Harman was replaced by new tight ends coach Brian Pariani, who arrived with new offensive coordinator Gary Kubiak from the former Houston Texans staff.

The only coach to be with the Ravens for both of their Super Bowl wins, Harman coached a number of talented tight ends including Hall of Famer Shannon Sharpe, Todd Heap, and Dennis Pitta.

 

 

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Ravens appoint Spagnuolo as new secondary coach

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Ravens appoint Spagnuolo as new secondary coach

Posted on 29 January 2014 by WNST Staff

PRESS RELEASE

The Baltimore Ravens have appointed Steve Spagnuolo to be their secondary coach and have hired Brian Pariani as tight ends coach, head coach John Harbaugh announced Wednesday afternoon. It was also announced by Harbaugh that Spagnuolo has been named the team’s assistant head coach.

A 16-year NFL coaching veteran, Spagnuolo was hired as the Ravens’ senior defensive assistant in 2013. Prior to his Baltimore arrival, Spagnuolo was defensive coordinator for the Saints (2012) and head coach of the St. Louis Rams (2009-11). Also spending two seasons (2007-08) as the New York Giants’ defensive coordinator, Spagnuolo was the defensive architect of their Super Bowl XLII Championship team (2007), guiding a unit that ranked in the NFL’s Top 10 in eight single-season statistical categories, including a league-high 53 sacks.

“How fortunate are we to have a former NFL head coach, former defensive coordinator and secondary coach become the Ravens’ coach for our defensive backs?” Harbaugh said. “Steve is one of the outstanding teachers in the NFL, and he already worked with our defensive staff and players last season as a senior assistant. Our players respect him, and a number of our veteran defensive backs recently said to me that they wanted Steve to coach them.”

Spagnuolo has coached for teams that have clinched eight playoff berths, won six division titles, made five conference championship game appearances, won two conference titles and won Super Bowl XLII. He also spent eight seasons (1999-2006) on the Philadelphia Eagles’ coaching staff with Harbaugh, specifically coaching the secondary for three seasons (2001-03). In his first campaign as defensive backs coach, Philadelphia ranked second in pass defense (179.0 ypg), second in points allowed (13.0 ppg) and seventh in total defense (293.8 ypg). Under Spagnuolo’s tutelage, CB Troy Vincent (2001-03) and S Brian Dawkins (2001-02) earned multiple Pro Bowl honors.

Pariani, who enters his 24th season of NFL coaching, spent the past eight years (2006-13) as the Houston Texans’ tight ends coach while serving under Gary Kubiak. Kubiak, Houston’s head coach of eight seasons (2006-13), was hired as the Ravens’ offensive coordinator on Jan. 27. Additionally, Rick Dennison, who spent the past four years (2010-13) on Kubiak’s staff as offensive coordinator and worked closely with Pariani, joined the Ravens as quarterbacks coach on Monday.

“Brian has earned a reputation as one of the NFL’s top tight ends coaches, and we’re excited that he was available and willing to join us,” Harbaugh stated. “Another factor that immediately makes him valuable to us is his familiarity with the offense we want to run. We are making changes on offense, and Brian will be able to help teach and implement them.”

Pariani served as Syracuse’s offensive coordinator for one season (2005) following 10 years (1995-04) coaching the Denver Broncos’ tight ends. From 1991-94, he was an offensive coaching assistant in San Francisco after originally beginning his pro coaching career in 1990 as a scouting assistant with the 49ers.

Under Pariani’s guidance the past several seasons, Texans TE Owen Daniels emerged as one of the NFL’s top offensive players. Earning two Pro Bowl appearances (2008 and 2012), Daniels posted 385 catches for 4,617 yards and 29 touchdowns in eight seasons with Pariani, including career highs in receptions (70) and receiving yards (862) during the ’08 campaign.

While with the Broncos, Pariani coached TE Shannon Sharpe, a 2011 Pro Football Hall of Fame inductee. Sharpe led the NFL in receptions by a tight end from 1996-98, averaging 72 catches over the three-year span. He produced 425 receptions for 5,373 yards and 38 touchdowns with Pariani.

Sharpe retired in 2004, finishing his career as the NFL’s all-time record-holder among tight ends with 815 receptions, 10,060 yards and 62 touchdowns (all marks since broken by TE Tony Gonzalez).

After earning his bachelor’s degree in political science from UCLA in 1989, Pariani began his career as a graduate assistant at his alma mater under Terry Donahue. Pariani was born in San Francisco and was a three-sport athlete at Marin Catholic (Kentfield, Calif.) High School. Brian and his wife, Stephanie, have two daughters, Jessica and Gianna.

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