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More Playing Experience Added To Coaching Staff


It doesn't take NFL player experience to be a good coach. After all, Ravens Head Coach John Harbaugh's knees didn't allow him to play beyond safety at Miami (OH) University.

But experience as a player in the NFL definitely doesn't hurt. And it's a dynamic Harbaugh has added more of to his staff this offseason.

Last season, the Ravens had three coaches on staff with NFL playing experience. This season, they'll have five, and two are rising within the ranks.

Offensive Coordinator Gary Kubiak, Quarterbacks Coach Rick Dennison, Wide Receivers Coach Bobby Engram, Assistant Secondary Coach Chris Hewitt and Assistant Offensive Line Coach Todd Washington all suited up in the league.

The moves are already paying off.

Wide receiver Steve Smith said part of the reason he agreed to come to Baltimore was because of Engram. He liked that a former NFL receiver would be coaching him.

"Bobby Engram is very similar to a [Panthers Receivers Coach] Ricky Proehl, a former player and wide receivers coach," Smith said.

Engram has a long NFL pedigree, playing in the league for 14 seasons and catching 650 passes for 7,751 yards and 35 touchdowns. He played for three different teams in Chicago, Seattle and Kansas City.

Engram will oversee NFL wide receivers for the first time during his four-year coaching career, and he feels his experience will assist him.

"I think it definitely helps," he said.

"You would think it would bring some credibility, but at the end of the day, as a coach I have to help them get better, have to help them become the best player that they can be and have to help us win games."

Kubiak was a backup quarterback for the Denver Broncos for nine years (1983 – 1991). He never started a game because Hall of Famer John Elway was ahead of him.

Like Kubiak, Dennison played for the Broncos for nine seasons (1982 – 1990). Dennison played at linebacker in 128 games and made 6.5 career sacks and four interceptions.

"Throughout our career, unfortunately, we might have been tied at the hip," Kubiak joked at his introductory press conference. "But no, it's nice. Obviously, we have a great respect for each other. We worked and played together, all those things."

Washington moved up in the coaching ranks after Offensive Line Coach Andy Moeller moved on to the Cleveland Browns. Washington played on the offensive line for eight seasons (1998 – 2005) between the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Houston Texans.

Hewitt was a defensive back for the New Orleans Saints for three years (1997 – 1999). He is moving from assistant special teams coach to assistant secondary coach this offseason.

The Ravens did replace Wilbert Montgomery, a former NFL running back, with Thomas Hammock, who played running back at Northern Illinois but did not reach the league.

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