Carroll County Times

Ravens notebook: Harbaugh names Castillo OL coach

OWINGS MILLS - The only change the Ravens will be making as far as Juan Castillo is giving him a new job title.

Castillo received blame from fans, the media and reportedly even his own players for the Ravens' offensive line issues this year, but coach John Harbaugh said Wednesday at Baltimore's annual "State of the Team" news conference that Castillo will be back with the Ravens for the 2014 season.

He will also be taking the title of offensive line coach from Andy Moeller. Harbaugh said that Castillo served as Baltimore's offensive line coach this year, although his title was run game coordinator.

"I can understand why Juan is a lightning rod right now because of the way that was set up and structured," Harbaugh said. "Then, we go into the season, and we have our worst year ever running the ball, and he's got that [run game coordinator] title.

"So that's on me. When we hired Juan, and we added Juan and had a chance to add Juan last year, the idea was to add another great coach into our mix. ... Going forward, our plan right now is to improve, is to get better."

What Castillo staying means for Moeller is unclear.

"The rest of it is a little bit in flux right now," Harbaugh said.

Moeller has been with Baltimore since 2008. He was the assistant offensive line coach from 2008 to 2010 and the offensive line coach from 2011 through this year.

But what's clear is that Castillo will be back and that Harbaugh, general manager Ozzie Newsome and the rest of the front office are hoping that he can help to improve the offensive line that struggled so much while under his direction this season.

The Ravens not only averaged the fewest-yards per carry in the NFL (3.1) but were also tied for fourth-worst in sacks allowed with 48.

KEEPING AROUND: The Ravens have 14 players set to become unrestricted free agents. Tight end Dennis Pitta may be their biggest priority among those soon-to-be free agents.

"Going forward, we would like to have Dennis on our football team," Newsome said.

Pitta missed most of this season after fracturing and dislocating his hip early in training camp, but he had 61 catches for 669 yards and seven touchdowns in 2012, and he had 20 catches in the four games he played in this year after returning from the hip injury.

"We saw Dennis for three weeks before we put him on the field, and he still has the skills and the skill set to be a very productive receiver in this league," Newsome said, later adding, "He is a mismatch for defenses, and I've seen other teams in the league kind of take that prototype and use it now - having a guy like Dennis on their team and the matchup problems that it presents."

The Ravens' brass will meet in Jupiter, Fla., this weekend to put together their plan for the offseason.

"He is someone we will be talking about down in Jupiter, and we'd like to have him," Newsome said. "There are no guarantees. [That is] one thing about this business."

GOING UNDER THE KNIFE: Ravens running back Bernard Pierce is expected to undergo shoulder surgery that will likely require four to five months of rehabilitation, according to a report from the Baltimore Sun.

That could sideline Pierce for all of Baltimore's organized team activities as well as its mandatory mini camp in June, although Pierce would likely be back in time for training camp.