Matt Weiss

Coaching Notes: Giants, Rams, Ravens

The Giants have added a big name to Joe Judge’s second staff. New York has officially hired Jeremy Pruitt to be a defensive assistant, the team announced. Pruitt is coming off a high profile job after serving as the head coach at Tennessee the past three seasons. He was fired by the University last month as part of a housecleaning after an investigation found major recruiting violations took place. A former Nick Saban protege who was the defensive coordinator at Alabama before taking the Tennessee job, Pruitt has never coached in the NFL before. Judge was a special teams assistant at Alabama from 2009-11 while Pruitt was on staff, so there’s some familiarity here.

Here’s more from the coaching ranks on a quiet Sunday:

  • The Rams parted ways with highly regarded offensive line coach and run game coordinator Aaron Kromer a few days ago, and they aren’t wasting any time replacing him. Los Angeles will hire Kevin Carberry to be their new O-line coach, a source told Tom Pelissero of NFL Network (Twitter link). The speed with which Sean McVay made this move would seem to indicate it had been in the works for a while. Carberry was the run game coordinator at Stanford before taking this gig. As Pelissero points out, Carberry was on staff in Washington with McVay. He was Washington’s assistant O-line coach under OC McVay in 2016.
  • Those two coaches are leaving the college ranks for the pros, but we’ve also got a pro to college to pass along. Ravens running backs coach Matt Weiss is leaving to become the quarterbacks coach at Michigan, Ian Rapoport of NFL Network tweets. Weiss will go from coaching under John Harbaugh to his brother Jim Harbaugh at Michigan. As running backs coach in Baltimore the past two years, Weiss helped orchestrate one of the best ground games in the league.
  • The Steelers are undergoing a lot of change this offseason, including to Mike Tomlin’s staff. He’ll have a new secondary coach in 2021, as the team has hired Grady Brown to fill that role, they announced. He’s been the defensive coordinator at small schools McNeese State and Old Dominion in recent years. This is his first full-time coaching gig in the NFL.

Two More Ravens COVID-19 Positives Emerge

The Ravens are currently en route to Pittsburgh, but after an earlier report indicated the team did not see additional positive COVID-19 tests emerge Tuesday, it appears the team still has cases spawning.

One Ravens player and one staffer tested positive, according to ESPN.com’s Adam Schefter (on Twitter). The Ravens previously identified these two individuals as “potential positives,” Mike Garafolo of NFL.com tweets.

These latest cases notwithstanding, the Ravens’ 2:40pm CT Wednesday game against the Steelers remains a go. All players and staffers will undergo another coronavirus test Wednesday. The Ravens have now had a positive COVID test for 10 straight days. More than 15 players still reside on Baltimore’s reserve/COVID list.

While the Ravens did bring four players off their virus list Tuesday, they left two assistant coaches — offensive line coach Joe D’Alessandris and running backs coach Matt Weiss — in Baltimore prior to takeoff. The unnamed staffer who submitted a positive virus test, however, is not believed to be a coach, per Albert Breer of SI.com (on Twitter). It is not known which Raven player is the franchise’s latest positive test, though Breer notes the player is a backup. Neither the staffer nor the player obviously traveled with the team Tuesday night.

No NFL team placed any players on the reserve/COVID list Tuesday, marking an encouraging and somewhat surprising — considering recent events — development for the league. Wednesday’s game will commence without several key players — including Lamar Jackson, Mark Andrews and James Conner — but the NFL has been dead-set against using one of its end-of-season contingency plans and postponed this game three times in order to keep it on the Week 12 docket.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

AFC North Notes: Garrett, Steelers, Ravens

While last week’s focus on the brawl that ended with an indefinite suspension for Myles Garrett centered on his ugly on-field act, this week produced an explosive allegation from the Browns defensive end. Although Garrett did not accuse Mason Rudolph of using a racial slur publicly after the fight, he did say that occurred when pleading his case to the NFL. However, Garrett also told some of his Browns teammates the Steelers quarterback used the slur, Mary Kay Cabot of cleveland.com reports. Freddie Kitchens added that he believes Garrett, who is not permitted to communicate with the Browns until he’s reinstated. The Steelers have denied the slur occurred, as did Rudolph’s attorney. Garrett’s statement indicated Rudolph’s alleged slur does not excuse his actions, but with the Browns and Steelers set to play again next week in Pittsburgh, with Rudolph presumably under center, this is likely to come up again soon.

With news of more fines being handed out, here is the latest from the AFC North:

  • Rudolph, Garrett and Maurkice Pouncey led the way in fines for this ugly scene, but overall, the league doled out a whopping $716K in total fines assessed to the teams and players involved. While Larry Ogunjobi was suspended for a game, the Browns defensive tackle was not fined by the league for his role in the skirmish. Overall, 32 players were fined for varying roles in the fight, with most of them being charged just more than $3K, per Tom Pelissero of NFL.com (on Twitter).
  • A young staffer has John Harbaugh‘s ear during Ravens games. Football analyst Daniel Stern communicates win probabilities to the 12th-year Baltimore coach from the booth, according to Jeff Zrebiec of The Athletic (subscription required). Current running backs coach Matt Weiss previously held this role, but Stern, a 25-year-old Yale graduate, is now tasked with aiding some of Harbaugh’s key game-management decisions. Be it the fourth-and-2 touchdown against the Seahawks or two-point conversion attempts against the Chiefs, the Ravens have been noticeably more aggressive this season.
  • The Browns worked out former Colts safety Jake Thieneman this week, according to the Houston Chronicle’s Aaron Wilson (on Twitter).
  • The Bengals will have left tackle Cordy Glenn back in their starting lineup on Sunday.

Ravens Rumors: Frazier, Cullen, Front Office

Leslie Frazier will join the Ravens’ coaching staff as the team’s secondary coach, Jeff Zreibec of the Baltimore Sun reports (Twitter links).

The former Vikings head coach was dismissed recently, when the Buccaneers opted to not pick up his option to remain on staff as their defensive coordinator.

Frazier and the Ravens do not have a contract in place yet, but a verbal agreement’s been established, per Zreibec (on Twitter).

Although Frazier, the Vikings’ head coach from 2011-13, coached the Colts’ defensive backs during their Super Bowl campaign in 2006, his title was assistant head coach. A defensive coordinator or head coach since the Bengals hired him in 2003 to run their defense, the 56-year-old Frazier hasn’t been purely a position coach since presiding over the Eagles’ secondary from 1999-2002.

The Bucs’ defense ranked 25th and 23rd the past two seasons, respectively.

Here are some more items regarding the Ravens’ coaching staff and front office.

  • Joe Cullen will move alongside Frazier from the Bucs to the Ravens, joining John Harbaugh‘s staff as defensive line coach, per Zac Jackson of Pro Football Talk. Cullen coached the Bucs’ defensive line last season and guided the Jaguars’ defensive line from 2010-12. He was arrested in 2006 as a member of the Lions’ coaching staff for driving through a Wendy’s drive-thru naked. The Ravens’ previous defensive line coach, Clarence Brooks, will serve as a senior defensive assistant, per Zreibec (on Twitter). Brooks will undergo surgery in January or February for esophageal cancer but is expected to be ready for the 2016 season.
  • Chris Hewitt will assist Frazier in coaching the Ravens’ secondary after being in charge of the group this season, Zreibec tweets. The 41-year-old Hewitt also served in this capacity in 2014.
  • Matt Weiss will transition from cornerback coach to a job working with the linebackers under Don Martindale, who’s been the Ravens’ inside linebacker coach since 2012, Zreibec tweets. Outside linebacker coach Ted Monachino recently signed on as the Colts’ defensive coordinator.
  • Lastly, the Ravens retained and promoted Scott Cohen, who the Browns sought for a front office position, according to Zreibec (via Twtter). He’ll remain in Baltimore and work with opponent analysis.