Perhaps it’s fitting that the Ravens hired a relative unknown to become their new tight ends coach with so much uncertainty surrounding the position this offseason.
Head coach John Harbaugh announced Wednesday that former NFL tight end and 2014 coaching intern Richard Angulo was being promoted to oversee a position that could look very different for the Ravens next season. With Owen Daniels an unrestricted free agent and Dennis Pitta’s future still unclear, only 2014 third-round pick Crockett Gillmore is a sure bet to be in the mix next season.
Gillmore is looking forward to working with Angulo after both men were new to the Ravens this past season. Handling offensive quality control duties under former coordinator Gary Kubiak, Angulo worked two seasons as the offensive line and strength and conditioning coach at Trinity International University before coming to Baltimore in 2014. The 6-foot-8 Angulo made 17 catches for 155 yards and a touchdown in a six-year career with stops at St. Louis, Minnesota, Chicago, Jacksonville, and Cleveland.
“He helped me out a lot last year,” Gillmore told WNST.net on Super Bowl Radio Row in Phoenix. “He’d come in and we’d work on some little things, but he’s done a really good job throughout my [learning] process. He’s a player. He’s been around the league, so he has that insight. It’s really pretty much a fresh start for us. He was around, but he had other duties. Now that he can just focus on this, I’m really excited to see what he can do.”
With new offensive coordinator Marc Trestman bringing former Chicago Bears tight ends coach Andy Bischoff with him to Baltimore, many assumed he would have the same title in Baltimore, but Harbaugh hasn’t shied away from hiring younger position coaches after hiring running backs coach Thomas Hammock and wide receivers coach Bobby Engram from the collegiate ranks last year. Bischoff will instead be an offensive quality control coach with Angulo coaching the tight ends.
Angulo will hope to have some veteran experience to work with as the Ravens would like to re-sign Daniels at the right price. After Pitta was limited to just three games before suffering a second devastating right hip injury in a 14-month period, the 32-year-old Daniels caught 48 passes for 527 yards and four touchdowns.
Harbaugh has expressed cautious optimism regarding the football future of Pitta whenever asked for updates over the last couple months, but the eighth-year coach declined to offer specifics last week about the results of the tight end’s recent meeting with specialists.
“I did get kind of an overview of that report from our trainer that I wouldn’t really want to share until Dennis has had a chance to kind of consider all of the ramifications of it,” Harbaugh said. “But I think we’ll have something on that in a couple of weeks, kind of on Dennis’ time frame. We’ll see where that goes.”
For now, Gillmore is the surest thing on the roster despite only making 10 catches for 121 yards and a touchdown in the regular season. However, the Colorado State product became a bigger part of the offense as the season progressed and caught six passes for 98 yards over the final five games of the season counting the playoffs.
A year ago at this time, Gillmore was just coming off playing in the Senior Bowl and in the midst of the draft process. Now, he’s glad to be an NFL player attending the Super Bowl on Sunday before diving into his first full offseason.
“I know there’s a lot to work on. Nobody’s perfect, but I feel really good about the season I’m coming off of,” Gillmore said. “I did what I wanted to do as far as getting on the field and making an impact in the passing and running games and special teams. I want to continue to build on all three aspects.”
The Ravens will likely take a look at the draft as well as free agency if Daniels departs via free agency, but they’re hoping Gillmore’s late-season improvement is a sign of more to come from a tight end who has admitted to having more of a blocking mentality than that of a pass-catcher.
Catching both of his touchdowns — one in the wild-card round — against the Pittsburgh Steelers was a good start in helping his popularity in Baltimore.
“I like that. I like spiking it into the stands,” said Gillmore as he smiled. “I like scoring on Pittsburgh. I like beating Pittsburgh.”