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Late For Work 1/18: Five Points About Ravens Coaching Changes That Matter


In case you missed it, here's the summary of the coaching changes the Ravens made over the weekend:

  • Leslie Frazier is the new defensive backs coach
  • Chris Hewitt, the DBs coach last year, will continue working with the defensive backs and assist Frazier
  • Matt Weiss will move from coaching defensive backs to linebackers
  • Joe Cullen is the new defensive line coach
  • Clarence Brooks is now the senior defensive assistant
  • Scott Cohen is changing from coaching consultant to a full-time coaching assistant and opponent analyst 

Now, here are five observations about these coaching changes that matter:

1)     Frazier hire is "big," Harbaugh values experience as he tries to turn around secondary

Frazier has been around the block a time or two.

He comes to Baltimore with two Super Bowl rings, both as a player and coach. His got his first when he was a cornerback on the vaunted 1985 Chicago Bears defense and the second was as a defensive backs coach with the 2006 Indianapolis Colts. Not to mention, he has 27 years of wide-ranging coaching experience. On the flip side, Hewitt and Weiss were in their first seasons as DBs coaches last year. 

The Ravens defense was victimized by big plays in the first half of the season, and while it admirably rebounded in the final eight games, there were still concerns about creating turnovers. The unit had a franchise-low six interceptions. After the season, Harbaugh emphasized the need to find ways to create more turnovers. Enter Frazier.

"Harbaugh was pleased with the progress the secondary made last season after a rough start, but Frazier gives the group a more experienced coach," wrote The Baltimore Sun's Jeff Zrebiec. "He should have his players' attention immediately."

While we still don't know if the Raven pursued Ed Reed, who will assist in coaching defensive backs in Buffalo, the Frazier hire may also have impacted the situation.

"What I also know is that plans had been well underway for Harbaugh to hire longtime NFL assistant Leslie Frazier as the Ravens secondary coach before Reed's new position was announced," wrote Zrebiec. "Did that have something to do with the Ravens' not hiring one of their best all-time players? Perhaps. It might have been tough for Frazier to establish his way of doing things and his influence on the defensive backs if Reed, who is idolized by many Ravens, was around every day."

2)     Frazier Coming To Baltimore Another 'Sign Of Respect' For Harbaugh

It doesn't hurt that Frazier and Harbaugh have a history from their days together in Philadelphia, but Frazier chose to come to the Ravens after he reportedly drew interest from Head Coach Hue Jackson to become the Cleveland Brown's defensive coordinator.

Frazier marks the ninth former head coach that Harbaugh has hired. The list also includes Gary Kubiak, Jim Caldwell, Al Saunders, Cam Cameron, Steve Spagnuolo, Marc Trestman, im Zorn and Marty Mornhinweg.

ESPN's Jamison Hensley called it a "respectable trend."

"Baltimore has been a great springboard for most of these coaches," he added. "Caldwell and Kubiak both left to become head coaches again, and Spagnuolo went to become the New York Giants' defensive coordinator."

What will a year in Baltimore mean for Frazier?

3)     Brooks Isn't Leaving And 'That's A Good Thing'

The addition of Cullen shouldn't be a sign that Brooks, who has been the defensive line coach for a decade, is going anywhere. Brooks is expected to have surgery in either January or February as he continues his battle against esophageal cancer.

"It's a difficult surgery and a long recovery and that is Brooks' focus," wrote Zrebiec. "When he returns, he'll have more of a part-time role as a senior defensive assistant. Brooks has coached the Ravens defensive linemen since 2005 and it's not a coincidence that position is seemingly always one of the team's biggest strengths."

4)     Sorting Out Linebackers Coaches

The Ravens had to do some rearranging when Linebackers Coach Ted Monachino left to become the Colts' defensive coordinator.

Instead of hiring a new outside linebackers coach, Zrebiec says it appears Inside Linebacker Coach Don Martindale will have a bigger role and coach the entire linebackers unit. Weiss will assist Martindale after moving from a defensive backs role.

5)     Ravens 'Happy' To Retain Cohen

The move to promote Cohen isn't a coaching move that garnered a lot of attention, but that doesn't make it any less important. Apparently the Browns had interest in Cohen for a front-office position, and his promotion helped Ravens keep the former New York Jets assistant general manager in town.

"[T]he Ravens are extremely happy to retain him," wrote Zrebiec. "The role of opponent analyst is a new one for the Ravens, but the organization feels that it will benefit greatly from Cohen's scouting and player personnel background, and his ability to spot tendencies in opponents."

Joe Flacco Breaks NFL Playoff Streak

SportsCenter published a powerful graphic as the divisional round of the playoffs came to end.

With the Denver Broncos and New England Patriots set to battle it out in the AFC championship next week, it guarantees that 12 of the past 13 Super Bowls after this season will have featured Tom Brady, Peyton Manning or Ben Roethlisberger. 

Guess who the one exception is?

Yup, Joe Flacco.

12 of the 13 last Super Bowls will have either featured Tom Brady, Peyton Manning, or Ben Roethlisberger. Posted by SportsCenter on Sunday, January 17, 2016

Does 49ers' Hiring Of Chip Kelly Affect Ravens' Bargaining Power?

The Ravens seemed to be in a good position to trade back in the 2016 NFL Draft.

We talked last week about how being one spot ahead of the San Francisco 49ers meant that quarterback-needy teams might want to trade with Baltimore to get one spot ahead of the 49ers. At that point, it was assumed that the unknown new head coach would want to start fresh with a quarterback not named Colin Kaepernick.

But now that Chip Kelly is officially the new head coach in San Fran, Hensley isn't so sure the 49ers will draft a quarterback with the No. 7 overall selection.

"[T]he Ravens' bargaining power might have taken a hit," wrote Hensley.

ESPN draft analyst Mel Kiper Jr. added: "San Francisco has Colin Kaepernick. I don't know if Chip Kelly, now the new head coach there, or Trent Baalke, the GM, will be saying, 'Hey, we have a guy who took us to the Super Bowl, we got to reinvent what he was and get him back to the way he was when he went to the Super Bowl. It fits with Chip. He's always had mobile quarterbacks."

Brandon Williams' New House

Defensive tackle Brandon Williams and his new fiancée/long-time girlfriend, Karel,  have found their dream home in Pikesville, Md., and The Baltimore Sun featured it in a photo gallery.

The 2,100-square-foot townhouse is spacious enough to accommodate the 335-pound nose tackle, Karel and 3-year-old son Ryder. One of the first things Williams did before purchasing it was step into the shower to make sure he could turn around.


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