The Ravens made two significant additions to their coaching staff in the last year by hiring Steve Spagnuolo and Juan Castillo. The coaches are veterans in the NFL ranks, and they bring decades of experience with them to Baltimore.
Spagnuolo was brought on as a senior defensive assistant and Castillo was hired as the run game coordinator. The two coaches have gone right to work during offseason workouts and practices, and they are already drawing praise from their respective coordinators.
"The guys listen to him," Offensive Coordinator Jim Caldwell said about Castillo. "They gravitate towards him. He's a diligent, hard-working guy, and he knows his craft."
"He's doing a great job," Pees said about Spagnuolo. "I'm very pleased that he is here."
Spagnuolo and Castillo both have ties to Head Coach John Harbaugh dating back to their days as assistants in Philadelphia under Andy Reid. The three coaches spent eight years together on the Eagles' staff.
Spagnuolo eventually left Philadelphia to become the New York Giants defensive coordinator for their 2007 Super Bowl team. He went on to get hired by the St. Louis Rams as their head coach, where he spent three seasons before getting fired after the 2011 season.
He's seen all levels of the NFL coaching spectrum, and adding him to the mix has been a resource for the defensive staff.
"Steve is a guy that kind of whatever we ask him to do – whether it's draw cards, whether it's to do a special project, no matter what it is, it's kind of nice to have him here to bounce stuff off of," Pees said. "And also it just takes a load off of other guys having to do some of the things that he's doing."
Castillo's focus as the run game coordinator has been working with the offensive line. He spent 12 years as the offensive line coach in Philadelphia before becoming the Eagles' defensive coordinator in 2011.
"Juan is a veteran with a lot of experience," Caldwell said. "He's been around the block a bit, and he's coached a lot of good players."
Castillo is working with Offensive Line Coach Andy Moeller, and a number of players have spoken highly of Castillo's involvement. Veteran left tackle pointed to Castillo as one of the reasons he opted to return to Baltimore and participate in the voluntary offseason conditioning program.
"From a schematic standpoint, obviously, he has helped us tremendously, not only in our running game, but also with our pass game as well," Caldwell said. "He's been an integral part of the discussions that went on during the offseason. He's doing a great job."