INDIANAPOLIS — Ravens outside linebackers coach Rob Leonard has accepted a job as the Las Vegas Raiders’ defensive line coach, coach John Harbaugh said at the NFL scouting combine Wednesday.
Leonard, who joined the Ravens last year, is the second defensive assistant to leave the Baltimore staff this offseason. Safeties coach D’Anton Lynn was named UCLA’s defensive coordinator on Monday. Along with those two vacancies, the Ravens will fill out their staff with a new wide receivers coach.
The offensive staff remains a “work in progress,” Harbaugh said, as coordinator Todd Monken settles into his role. James Urban and Craig Ver Steeg, who previously served as quarterbacks coach and running backs coach, respectively, could move into new assistant positions or serve in a “senior-assistant-type game-plan role,” said Harbaugh, who added that he’d “love” to have them back.
“Those guys are a big part of what we’ve been doing,” he said.
Pass game specialist Keith Williams will return “in some kind of role,” Harbaugh said.
New quarterbacks coach Tee Martin, who joined the Ravens’ staff as wide receivers coach in 2021, has “been preparing for this [job] for his whole life,” Harbaugh said.
“He played the position,” Harbaugh said of Martin, who won a national championship at Tennessee and had a brief NFL career. “He studies the position. I can tell you this: When we interviewed him for it, he blew us out of the water with it.”
Harbaugh also called new running backs coach Willie Taggart, a longtime college coach, “one of the best coaches in football.”
“He’s a game-changing type of a person, to me,” he said. “One of the great offensive minds in the game, for sure. He’s going to bring so much to our offense. Our players are going to love him. I know Todd already loves him. He’s a difference maker.”
The Ravens’ staff changes extend to their strength and conditioning staff. The team parted ways last week with head strength and conditioning coach Steve Saunders and promoted Scott Elliott to strength and conditioning coordinator.
Saunders was criticized for his role in the Ravens’ coronavirus outbreak in 2020. A year later, a historic injury rate derailed a promising 2021 season. Harbaugh said the Ravens’ approach to soft-tissue injuries was “vastly improved” this past season, but the team’s strength staff received an F-minus grade in an NFL Players Association survey of players released Wednesday, by far the league’s worst mark. Players provided feedback from March 1, 2022, to April 1, 2022, according to the players’ union.
Less than 40% of players said they received an individual plan for their strength training, and “many complained that the training room is understaffed,” according to the survey.
“Things move for different kinds of reasons, and I think what Steve did for us, what he brought to this thing for the last eight years, was pretty revolutionary itself,” Harbaugh said. “We are one of the strongest teams in football, one of the most physical teams in football, one of the most conditioned teams in football. That’s why our record in December and January is really pretty phenomenal — November, December and January. It’s pretty remarkable. So a lot of that has to do with the way we condition. So I appreciate Steve in that sense. There’s going to be some opportunities for him, I’m sure, going forward.”