Ravens make changes to coaching staff, part ways with strength coach Steve Saunders

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A day after new offensive coordinator Todd Monken said the coaching staff remained “a work in progress,” the Ravens have announced several moves for the 2023 season with additional changes to come.

In a Wednesday statement released by the team, head coach John Harbaugh announced former Florida State head coach Willie Taggart would become the new running backs coach and previous wide receivers coach Tee Martin would now serve as the quarterbacks coach. The statement didn’t mention the status of previous running backs coach Craig Ver Steeg or previous quarterbacks coach James Urban, but the Ravens are “continuing the process of completing their coaching staff,” meaning either could still remain in a different capacity. Ver Steeg has filled various roles on Harbaugh’s staff since 2008 while Urban has been with the Ravens since 2018 and was the wide receivers coach for the Cincinnati Bengals from 2011-17.

Baltimore also “parted ways” with strength and conditioning coach Steve Saunders, who had been with the Ravens since 2016.

With head coaching stops with the Seminoles, Florida Atlantic, Oregon, South Florida, and Western Kentucky, Taggart brings extensive collegiate coaching experience to Owings Mills. The 46-year-old is very close with the Harbaugh family after playing for and coaching with Harbaugh’s father, Jack, at Western Kentucky and coaching with Harbaugh’s brother, Jim, at Stanford.

“He has a proven track record for developing players as a position coach, as an offensive coordinator, and as a head coach,” Harbaugh said in a statement. “A leader and a highly effective motivator, Willie’s reputation for building strong relationships with his players and fellow coaches will serve our offense well moving forward.”

After serving as the wide receivers coach for the last two seasons, the 44-year-old Martin will now coach the quarterbacks in Monken’s first year as offensive coordinator. He previously served as a passing game coordinator and quarterbacks coach at the collegiate level.

Martin was also a successful college quarterback, succeeding future Hall of Famer Peyton Manning at Tennessee and leading the Volunteers to a national championship in 1998.

“Tee has coached every aspect of the passing game and has played and coached the quarterback position at the highest levels,” John Harbaugh stated. “A dynamic and dedicated coach, he is a high-character individual who is uniquely qualified to build upon the foundation and success of our quarterbacks.”

Saunders made headlines for the wrong reasons in 2020 after being suspended for violating the NFL’s COVID-19 protocols. Those infractions coincided with a team-wide virus outbreak that forced multiple postponements of the Ravens’ Week 12 tilt at Pittsburgh. Saunders also drew fan criticism — and the occasional barb from ex-Ravens players — in the midst of Baltimore’s injury-plagued 2021 campaign, but Harbaugh frequently defended his work and did again in announcing his departure.

“He is one of the finest strength and conditioning coaches in the business,” Harbaugh stated. “His methods, passion, and commitment are well proven throughout his career. Steve helped our players be the strongest and best conditioned athletes they could be. He is an outstanding coach, father, husband and friend. We wish him and his family all the very best going forward with their pursuits.”

Former assistant Scott Elliott will become the team’s strength and conditioning coordinator while Anthony Watson, Ron Shrift, and Kaelyn Buskey will serve as strength and conditioning coaches.

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