Again the Baltimore Ravens have had a quieter week than those in the month of January. But that does not mean that important work is not happening – quite the opposite.
The last of the coaching staff vacancies was filled with the official announcement on Tuesday that Bobby Engram will serve as the new Wide Receivers Coach. He replaces the departed Jim Hostler – gone to the Buffalo Bills. The Ravens coaching staff at this point is certainly the rival of any in the NFL, as bold moves were made to address areas of need and concern.
Engram played college football at Penn State and is among the most profilic of alumni from that program. During his years of play in State College (92-95) the Nittany Lions were a combined 31-5. He was a three-time All-American and his 1,029 yards in his junior year earned him an award as the top receiver in the country.
Engram was drafted by the Chicago Bears in the second round of the 1996 draft. He was with them for five years, with the Seattle Seahawks for eight years, and finally for one season with the Kansas City Chiefs. With Seattle, he played in Super Bowl XL in a loss to the Steelers, catching six passes for 70 yards.
Engram’s best season was in 2007 where he caught 94 balls for 1147 yards and six TDs. For his entire career of 176 games, he pulled in 650 passes for 7,751 yards and 35 TDs.
His short coaching career of but three years since retirement includes a season with the 49ers, and two seasons with the University of Pittsburgh. I think this is a great acquisition for the Ravens, for Torrey Smith, Marlon Brown, and whomever else the Ravens add to the wide receiving corps.
New offensive coordinator Gary Kubiak said when he was hired a couple of weeks ago that he was anxious to get right to work. He certainly did. He has not been home to Texas since then, but rather has been in Baltimore putting together a play book for the season. And it is not a re-writing of that which he had in Houston with a “Baltimore Ravens” stamp on the front. Rather, with consultation and vision from John Harbaugh, he is writing uniquely from a Ravens’ personnel and philosophical basis. His view is that he needs to put this together as quickly as possible and get it into the hands of Joe Flacco in particular. It naturally will contain a new set of verbiage and football language necessary to get everyone literally on the same page.
As well, in this somewhat publically quiet season, there is much to evaluate in terms of the upcoming period of free agency, anticipating salary cap casualties from other teams, and what directions to take in the collegiate draft. Naturally as well, there are decisions to be made about current players relative to the salary cap and the needs for the future – evaluating who may be able to step up into certain positions for a lower total price, etc.
So, writers – such as here on The Baltimore Wire – ponder and speculate about these matters which are indeed critically important. And it is going to be an interesting offseason as all of this transpires. I believe there is going to be a significantly new look to the Ravens, not just in offensive philosophy, but with quite a sea change of personnel as well. The great challenge, of course, is doing this within the limitations of the salary cap.
The latest item that is breaking just as I write this post is that Ray Rice has been arrested in Atlantic City after some sort of altercation with a woman in a casino. Not good… though it sounds like it will be more of a misunderstanding than a huge affair.