The more sedate week of activity is in some part due to Coach Harbaugh departing the USA on Monday for a trip to visit with troops in the Middle East – specifically in Afghanistan and Turkey. Harbaugh has a heart for the military and its personnel and is active with the Wounded Warrior project. He also went to Iraq in 2009.
But still, what’s a week without the Ravens hiring a new coach? This week it was Thomas Hammock being named as the new Running Backs Coach. He will come to Baltimore after working the past three years in that capacity with the University of Wisconsin. The Badgers led the Big 10 in rushing over those three seasons, along with being in the first handful of teams nationally in all rushing categories. Prior to coaching at Wisconsin, Hammock was the offensive coordinator at the University of Minnesota. On the same day Hammock was announced, former coach Wilbert Montgomery was hired by the Cleveland Browns.
All the new hires for the Ravens leave but one vacancy – at Wide Receivers Coach. And the word is that former NFL wide receiver Bobby Engram will be secured for this position. The former 14-year veteran will be coming from the University of Pittsburgh. The best receiver ever at Penn State, Engram retired in 2009, coached one year for the 49ers in 2011 and the past two years at Pitt.
Varied Ravens sources are filled with speculations about the college draft, free agents, and what players will be retained. Of particular focus is the position of tight end. Since this position factors heavily into the scheme of new offensive coordinator Gary Kubiak, the desire to keep Dennis Pitta becomes a prime topic of conversation. Along with being a close friend of Joe Flacco, Pitta has this endorsement from Ozzie Newsome, “Going forward, we would like to have Dennis on our football team.” A way to do this is with the possible use of the franchise tag. Ravens fans can expect to see Pitta through one means or another, though Ed Dickson and Dallas Clark are unlikely to wear the purple (unless they are in Minnesota).
But what about another tight end? Well, several sources have written about the possibility of drafting TE Eric Ebron from the University of North Carolina. This is a different twist on the direction to go than has been more often discussed (like by me HERE, earlier this week). The three other categories are an offensive tackle, a wide receiver, or a safety to pair with Matt Elam. But at 6-4 and 230 pounds, this Ebron fellow could be a factor in a Kubiak two tight-end set, while providing another passing resource for Flacco.