PLEASE NOTE: The opinions, analysis and/or speculation expressed on BaltimoreRavens.com represent those of individual authors, and unless quoted or clearly labeled as such, do not represent the opinions or policies of the Baltimore Ravens' organization, front office staff, coaches and executives. Authors' views are formulated independently from any inside knowledge and/or conversations with Ravens officials, including the coaches and scouts, unless otherwise noted.
PLEASE NOTE: The opinions, analysis and/or speculation expressed on BaltimoreRavens.com represent those of individual authors, and unless quoted or clearly labeled as such, do not represent the opinions or policies of the Baltimore Ravens’ organization, front office staff, coaches and executives. Authors’ views are formulated independently from any inside knowledge and/or conversations with Ravens officials, including the coaches and scouts, unless otherwise noted.
By now, Joe Flacco and new quarterbacks Coach Jim Zorn’s relationship, what they’re working on and their hopes for the upcoming season have been dissected.
But what about the two other new Ravens coaches?
While Zorn and Flacco have grabbed headlines, new Linebackers Coach Dean Pees and Outside Linebackers Coach Ted Monachino have been teaching technique on the defensive side of the ball.
Defensive Coordinator Greg Mattison has already seen the results. Asked if the Ravens’ defensive line was the defense’s deepest and strongest position group, Mattison shifted the focus to the linebackers.
“I love our linebacker crew,” Mattison said. “I think our linebackers made tremendous gains this offseason. I think they improved a great deal on their technique and understanding of all packages.”
Pees, who spent the last five years as the New England Patriots’ defensive coordinator, has been teaching all the linebackers to play different positions. Dannell Ellerbe said he has learned to play inside (Jack and Mike) and outside linebacker positions (Will and Sam), as has Tavares Gooden.
The thought is that the more positions a player knows, the more packages they can be included in and, therefore, the more snaps they can get. That’s incredibly important to the players as the team has a logjam of talent at linebacker.
“If a guy goes down, [Coach Pees] doesn’t just want to play the guy that’s just behind him,” Gooden said. “He wants to put the best people out there. He said, ‘If you don’t know all the positions, I may have my best linebacker on the sidelines.’”
Pees was also frequently rotating the linebackers into organized team activity practices, giving everybody equal chances to prove themselves.
Gooden says it has made the linebackers feel more like part of a “brotherhood,” than a competition.
“He’s rotating everybody so everybody believes they’re going to be part of something special,” Gooden said. “With us, we don’t care who starts. I know we’re all going to play. When we get in, that’s our time to show off.”
Monachino has been spearheading the Ravens’ pass-rush campaign this offseason, which has been perhaps the defenses’ greatest focus a year following a season in which the Ravens notched 32-sacks (18th in the NFL).
Earlier on this offseason, Monachino was teaching the linebackers how to line up in the appropriate spot and get a jump off the snap. During the last few weeks of OTAs, his lessons were on placement and how to knock blocker’s hands off your body.
Monachino, the former four-year Jacksonville Jaguars defensive line coach, has brought “a real passion for coaching,” according to Mattison. And he has impressed the players.
“Ted Monachino is good at what he does,” Gooden said. “He and Coach Pees do their combination. Ted, he’s helping me out with my pass-rushing tremendously.”