The San Francisco 49ers' hiring of Jim O'Neil to run their defense likely means that the Ravens will hold onto their linebackers coach Don Martindale. An NFL Network report over the weekend said that new 49ers coach Chip Kelly was considering hiring Martindale to run his defense. However, he opted to go with O'Neil, the Cleveland Browns defensive coordinator the past two seasons.
That is good news for the Ravens who already lost linebackers coach Ted Monachino to the defensive coordinator role with the Indianapolis Colts. Monachino's departure means the role of Martindale, who worked primarily with the inside linebackers last year, will expand. Matt Weiss, the cornerbacks coach last year, will assist Martindale with the linebackers. The defensive coordinator for the Denver Broncos in 2010, Martindale has been on John Harbaugh's staff for the past four years and he's a well-liked and highly respected coach.
Steve Smith Sr. congratulates Panthers
Ravens wide receiver Steve Smith Sr. took to social media this week to congratulate the Carolina Panthers, his former team, for making it to the Super Bowl. It was a nice gesture by Smith, who obviously didn't see eye to eye with a couple of key Carolina decision-makers before his eventual release in 2014. Smith's family lives in the Charlotte, N.C., area and the wide receiver, who played 13 seasons in Carolina and holds numerous team records, still has friends on the team.
I'm sure he's happy for several of them to get an opportunity to play in the Super Bowl, which he did in 2003. However, the Super Bowl matchup has to be bittersweet for both Smith and rush linebacker Elvis Dumervil. Since Dumervil was cut loose by the Broncos after that infamous fax mishap, Denver has gone to the Super Bowl in two of three seasons.
With Dumervil and long snapper Morgan Cox having been added to the Pro Bowl, joining right guard Marshal Yanda and punter Sam Koch, the Ravens will have at least four selections for 10 consecutive seasons. The last time the Ravens had fewer than four Pro Bowl selections was following the 2005 season, when offensive tackle Jonathan Ogden was the team's lone representative.
Paul Schwartz, the New York Giants beat writer for the New York Post, tweeted out a cool picture from this week's Senior Bowl of Harbaugh standing on the sideline talking to Alabama coach Nick Saban. The Ravens have drafted seven Alabama players in franchise history, which equals the number of players that they've selected from Oklahoma. With the number of talented Crimson Tide players in this year's draft class, it wouldn't be surprising if the Ravens added to that total.
Crimson Tide inside linebacker Reggie Ragland said earlier this week at the Senior Bowl that he interviewed with Ravens officials. I can't see the Ravens taking him at No. 6 overall because inside linebacker is nowhere near the team's biggest need, but Ragland could be a guy that the team looks at if they trade back in the first round. But more than likely, the Ravens are just doing their due diligence, which they'll do with several hundred draft-eligible prospects.
Much is made these days about who meets and works out with whom, but the reality is that teams talk to just about everyone, even players that might not fit from a personality or scheme standpoint. It's just the way that things are done nowadays leading up the draft. Some teams even work out players that they have no interest in, trying to put up a smoke screen that they are interested in a player to improve the chances that a player that they really covet gets to them.
John Harbaugh and his brother, Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh, will team up from March 10-12 to put on what Michigan is billing the "Greatest Football Clinic Ever." The Wolverines and Ravens coaching staffs will both take part in the clinic, which will be on the Michigan campus. Guest speakers for the event are scheduled to include former Virginia Tech coach Frank Beamer, former NFL head coach Mike Martz and current Detroit Lions defensive coordinator and former Ravens assistant Teryl Austin.