New Ravens Quarterbacks Coach Rick Dennison hasn’t coached quarterbacks before.
But what makes him qualified for the position in Baltimore is that he’ll be much more than a quarterbacks coach.
“We have a chance to tie the whole thing together, and to me that’s the most important thing,” Head Coach John Harbaugh said on Monday.
“We’re going to have a chance to take the quarterback room and tie it to the running back, tight end, the offensive line, the wide receivers. And that’s what Rick is going to give us a chance to do.”
Harbaugh joked that new Offensive Coordinator Gary Kubiak and Dennison are attached by a string at the hip.
They played together in Denver for eight seasons. Kubiak was a backup quarterback to John Elway. Dennison was a linebacker.
Then they began coaching together. Dennison has worked with Kubiak for 15 of his 19 years coaching in the NFL, first in Denver and then as Kubiak’s offensive coordinator in Houston.
They’ll continue to work together coaching Flacco.
But one of Dennison’s primary tasks, especially early on, will be to help Kubiak spread his system to the rest of the existing Ravens staff. It’s similar to when Harbaugh became head coach in 2008 and appointed Jerry Rosburg as his assistant head coach. Rosburg helped relay Harbaugh’s methods to the other coaches.
“Having been in the system so many times before – he’ll be an extension of Gary in the quarterback room, but also across the whole offense,” Harbaugh said. “That’s what got me excited about him. … It’s a unique way of doing it, and it’s going to be a really effective way of doing it.”
Dennison doesn’t have as much experience coaching quarterbacks as Kubiak, but said he was predominantly in the quarterbacks room with Kubiak during his time in Houston.
“I know how he thinks with a quarterback, how he coaches a quarterback, having spent my time with him,” Dennison said. “But also I’m going to touch as many areas as I can. I know what kind of system he likes – run and pass – having dealt with it for a long time. So, I’ll try to do as much as I can to help that whole process.”
Dennison is quite familiar with how important the quarterback position is, and isn’t afraid to jump in.
“Football is football,” he said. “There may be some terminology things here and there, and maybe Gary can answer this better than I can, but you definitely build your offense around your quarterback. It starts with Joe, and those are conversations that we’ve had going forward. So, we are going to do whatever we can to make Joe the best player he can be, and Joe is pretty fired up about that.”