Anthony Weaver is coming home. Baltimore has hired Weaver, who the Ravens drafted in the second round in 2002 and played four seasons at defensive end in Baltimore, to be its new Run Game Coordinator/Defensive Line Coach.
Weaver replaces Joe Cullen, who has been reportedly hired as the Jacksonville Jaguars’ defensive coordinator.
Weaver was a defensive coordinator for the first time in 2020 with the Houston Texans. He coached in Houston for five seasons.
"Anthony is highly regarded throughout the NFL," Head Coach John Harbaugh stated. "As a former Ravens draft pick who made significant contributions while playing here, he understands the culture of our organization and the standard to which Baltimore defense is held."
He spent the previous eight years as an NFL defensive line coach with the New York Jets (2012), Buffalo Bills (2013), Cleveland Browns (2014-2015) and Texans (2016-2019).
In Houston, Weaver coached three-time NFL Defensive Player of the Year J.J. Watt and top-overall pick and Pro Bowler Jadeveon Clowney.
The Ravens took on Weaver's Texans in Week 2 this season and Harbaugh had very positive things to say about him before the matchup.
"Coach Weaver has put together a mindset that is an attacking-type style. On third down especially, they give you every kind of look, every kind of blitz, the coverages behind it are very impressive. They move J.J. Watt around a lot so you can see he's thinking about matchups all the time," Harbaugh said.
"We wouldn't expect anything less. He's a very well-respected coach in the league. He also believes in fundamentally sound defense, and guys who play fast. Those are things we'd expect from a former Raven, of course, and he's doing a great job."
Houston ended up having a difficult season, finishing 30th in the NFL in total defense (416.8) and last in the league in rushing yards allowed per game (160.3).
There were many reasons for that, however. The Texans lost one of their best run stuffers in nose tackle D.J. Reader in free agency last year, then had multiple season-ending injuries to top defenders and their best cornerback suspended.
While Weaver's first season as a coordinator didn't go as he hoped, fans would be foolish to hold it against him. There are a lot of factors that play into a team's success or lack thereof.
Wink Martindale came to the Ravens as the linebackers coach in 2012, two years after being the defensive coordinator of the Denver Broncos when they finished last in the league in yards allowed. Martindale has since risen to become one of the NFL's best defensive coordinators in Baltimore.
The Texans are in the midst of their head coaching search after Bill O'Brien was fired midseason. One of their candidates is Ravens Assistant Head Coach/Pass Coordinator/Wide Receivers Coach David Culley, but whoever is hired may want their own, new coordinators and Weaver didn't wait.
As a player, Weaver was a 6-foot-3, 290-pound defensive lineman out of Notre Dame. He was Baltimore's next pick after Ed Reed in 2002 and spent four years as a starter with the Ravens. A highly-respected player, Weaver had 14.5 sacks in four seasons in Baltimore.
He played for three more seasons as a Texan before retiring following the 2008 season. Weaver started his coaching career two years later and jumped to the NFL after two years at the college level.