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Continuity 'Critical' For Ravens

Posted Feb 12, 2014

While the Browns are changing regimes again, the Ravens’ personnel side has been constant.


The Browns have cleaned house once again, firing CEO Joe Banner and General Manager Michael Lombardi. This comes just a month after firing Head Coach Rob Chudzinski after one season.

The shake-up highlights the Ravens’ continuity – particularly in the player personnel department.

The Ravens have had one general manager in the franchise’s 18-year history – Ozzie Newsome. Assistant General Manager Eric DeCosta and Director of Pro Personnel Vincent Newsome have also been with the team since the start.

Senior Personnel Assistant George Kokinis has been a Raven since 1996 as well, except for one year when he took a job as Cleveland’s general manager. He is among the growing number of Browns executives with short stays.

Director of College Scouting Joe Hortiz, who has been with the Ravens for 16 years, talked about the benefits of Baltimore’s stability while at the Senior Bowl.

“I think it’s very critical,” Hortiz said.

“All of us grew up with the Ravens and Ozzie has taught us. He has instilled in us what we look for in players and what defines a Raven. There are so many facets that go into us, but it’s embedded. It’s planted in us, and the seed grows.”

Even the Ravens’ scouts and assistants have been with the franchise for a long time. Assistant Director of Pro Personnel Chad Alexander is 15 years in. National Scout Joe Douglas has 14 years under his belt. All of the area scouts have worked purple and black for at least five years.

“We speak the same language and we know each other,” Hortiz said. “We know what type of player appeals to each person.”

Phil Savage is one of the few player personnel executives to leave Baltimore. He came over in the move from Cleveland, and worked his way up to director of player personnel over eight years with the team. He left to be the senior vice president and general manager of the Cleveland Browns for four years.

Now Savage is the executive director of the Senior Bowl.

“The common thread for the Ravens has been through the player personnel part of the building,” Savage said in Mobile, Ala.

“Most every team in the NFL would agree that continuity is the No. 1 factor in terms of having long-term success. When you see teams make coaching or general manager changes every two to three to four years, you get going one direction and then you have to go another route. Through coaching changes, Ozzie and a good amount of that scouting staff have stayed the course.”

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