RAVENS NOTEBOOK: Might Zorn take the parkway north to Baltimore?

Street Talk RAVENS NOTEBOOK: Might Zorn take the parkway north to Baltimore?

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MOBILE, Ala. Now that Hue Jackson and Vic Fangio have left the building and linebackers coach Dean Pees has officially joined the staff, the Baltimore Ravens have another decision to make.

Who’s going to replace Jackson as quarterbacks coach with him joining the Oakland Raiders as their new offensive coordinator?

The Ravens are focusing primarily on former Washington Redskins coach Jim Zorn and offensive consultant Al Saunders as candidates for the job.

“I’ve heard the Ravens have an opening now,” Zorn said Tuesday while attending the Senior Bowl practices. “I’m definitely interested in coaching this year. We’ll see what happens next.”

Zorn was fired by the Redskins after two seasons in Washington.

He has significant experience as a former quarterback with the Seattle Seahawks and coached quarterbacks for the Seahawks previously. He worked with Matt Hasselbeck and Charlie Batch in Seattle and Detroit, respectively.

Saunders is a veteran NFL assistant who has coached for the San Diego Chargers, Kansas City Chiefs, St. Louis Rams and Redskins.

He has been in the league for 27 years, including stints as an offensive coordinator, assistant head coach and wide receivers coach. He hasn’t been a quarterbacks coach in the NFL, though.

Jackson had a strong relationship with quarterback Joe Flacco that might be difficult to replace. He counseled Flacco and operated as a go-between him and offensive coordinator Cam Cameron.

Jackson will assume play-calling duties with the Raiders after cancelling a scheduled interview for the Chicago Bears’ offensive coordinator vacancy.

“After much consideration I have decided to accept a position as offensive Coordinator with the Oakland Raiders," Jackson said in a statement. "I will miss the fans here and I thank them for all the encouragement and support they have shown me while I called Baltimore my home. I’d like to extend my deepest gratitude to Steve Bisciotti, Ozzie Newsome, Dick Cass and especially Coach John Harbaugh who brought me to Baltimore.

“Baltimore will always hold a special place in my heart and I’m especially thankful for the opportunities I’ve had to work with a world class organization, a top notch coaching staff and some of the best talent in the league.”

Jackson has previously coordinated offenses with the Atlanta Falcons and the Redskins.

He has worked with Raiders coach Tom Cable before at Cal.

"I think it’s a good decision by the organization," Cable said at the Senior Bowl. "It’s someone that I’m familiar with. It’s someone that I think can help us take the next step, so we’re all pretty excited about it."

Meanwhile, the Ravens brought in Pees as the replacement for Fangio.

The 60-year-old Pees was the New England Patriots’ defensive coordinator last season.

He wasn’t brought back after coaching the Patriots to the No. 11 defensive ranking last season.

Pees has had health problems recently. He was hospitalized as a precautionary measure due to experiencing shortness of breath during the Patriots’ loss to the Houston Texans.

He had prostate cancer last summer, but underwent surgery and is now cancer-free.

Pees was a head coach at Kent State and has been coaching for 37 years.

“I’ve known Dean for 27 years, and he’s our type of coach: energetic, hard-working and innovative,” Ravens coach John Harbaugh said in a statement. “He has worked with all three levels of defense, defensive line, linebackers and secondary. His experience and wealth of knowledge speak for themselves. D

“Dean has also earned respect from his players and fellow coaches because he has been a coordinator. He’ll help our linebackers complement the guys up front and in the back end. He’ll fit in with us well, and we’re excited to get him.”

Last season, the Patriots allowed 320.2 yards of total offense per game and ranked fifth in scoring defense. New England allowed 17.8 points per contest.

Pees has strong ties to Harbaugh.

He coached him at Miami (Ohio) as the defensive coordinator where Harbaugh played safety and contributed on special teams.

“He was the one coach who thought I could play,” Harbaugh said.

Pees worked at the Naval Academy as secondary coach from 1987 to 1989, where he worked alongside Ravens defensive coordinator Greg Mattison.

“It’s a privilege and an honor to be a part of an organization like the Ravens,” Pees said. “I’m very anxious and excited for the opportunity to work with Coach Harbaugh and also Greg Mattison, with whom I have coached. I think this is a tremendous opportunity and something that my family and I are very excited about. I can’t wait to get to work.”

NOTES: The Ravens are expected to make a formal offer soon to unrestricted free agent defensive end Dwan Edwards, according to his representative. … The agent for unrestricted free agent wide receiver Kelley Washington said he’s been informed that the Ravens want to re-sign him. … Free safety Ed Reed hasn’t changed his stance about contemplating retirement, but acknowledged that he made his comments at an emotional time following the AFC divisional playoff loss to the Indianapolis Colts. “The comment was made right after the game because that’s the truth of the matter,” Reed said during a Sirius radio interview. “I’ve got things to take care of before I continue to go there, but the comment hasn’t changed. It still is what it is. For most people in the world, 50-50 is just that. If I can walk and talk, I’m out there communicating and making plays.” … In the wake of backup quarterback Troy Smith’s agent lobbying for a trade, Buffalo Bills safety and former Ohio State teammate Donte Whitner endorsed the idea on his Twitter account. “I think we should get Troy Smith to be our QB, please!” Whitner wrote. “Troy is a proven winner and leader! Joe Flacco is the franchise in B’More. It’s only right. Troy can come in and compete with the guys we have and the BEST man will win the job! Coach [Chan] Gailey would make him so dangerous! He’s great I promise u! Something like never seen before!!!”

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Aaron Wilson

About Aaron Wilson

Aaron Wilson covers the NFL for National Football Post as well as the Baltimore Ravens for The Carroll County Times and Ravens24x7.com. He has previously covered the Jacksonville Jaguars and Tennessee Titans and has covered the NFL since 1997.  He has won several regional writing awards, including, most recently, Best Sports News Story for the state of Maryland in voting conducted by the Associated Press managing editors.  More from Aaron Wilson


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