After bidding farewell to another assistant coach over the weekend, the Ravens are turning to one of John Harbaugh’s original staff members to fill the latest vacancy.
Longtime offensive assistant Craig Ver Steeg has been promoted to running backs coach after Matt Weiss became the second Baltimore assistant to join the University of Michigan coaching staff. According to NFL Network, Weiss will become the Wolverines’ quarterbacks coach after former linebackers coach Mike Macdonald was named the Michigan defensive coordinator last month.
Ver Steeg and special teams coach Randy Brown are the only members of Harbaugh’s original coaching staff hired in 2008 who are still with the organization 13 years later. The 60-year-old Ver Steeg most recently held the title of senior offensive assistant helping Weiss coach the running backs after also assisting with the quarterbacks in the past. The 38-year coaching veteran worked with former Ravens running back Ray Rice at Rutgers University and coached with Harbaugh at the University of Cincinnati from 1990-93.
“Craig is a highly-regarded member of our staff and someone who’s served as an integral part of our offense for many years,” Harbaugh said in a statement. “He has vast experience coaching and coordinating offenses, a thorough understanding of our schemes and techniques, and has a great relationship with our running backs. Craig is a dedicated coach and teacher who has a proven ability for getting the most out of our players.”
Ver Steeg will oversee a talented backfield headlined by second-year running back J.K. Dobbins, who rushed for just over 800 yards and led all NFL running backs in yards per carry (6.0) as a rookie. Restricted free agent Gus Edwards is also likely to return after eclipsing 700 rushing yards and 5.0 yards per carry for the third straight season. Baltimore rushed for over 3,000 yards for the second straight season with dynamic quarterback and 1,000-yard rusher Lamar Jackson leading the way once again.
Weiss is the ninth coaching assistant or analyst to depart this offseason, a list also including assistant head coach and wide receivers coach David Culley (Houston head coach), assistant tight ends coach Andy Bischoff (Texans tight ends coach), defensive line coach Joe Cullen (Jacksonville defensive coordinator), assistant defensive line coach Sterling Lucas (Jaguars assistant defensive line coach), defensive backs coach Jesse Minter (Vanderbilt University defensive coordinator), coaching analyst — and former Ravens inside linebacker — Zach Orr (Jaguars outside linebackers coach), and defensive coaching analyst Brian Duker (Detroit defensive assistant).
Several of those openings have been filled by outside hires, which include run game coordinator and defensive line coach Anthony Weaver, defensive backs coach D’Anton Lynn, wide receivers coach Tee Martin, inside linebackers coach Rob Ryan, pass game specialist Keith Williams, assistant linebackers coach Jay Peterson, and assistant defensive line coach Jason Brooks.