Rick Dennison had been Gary Kubiak's offensive coordinator at Houston for 8 years before both got the axe this winter…and then landed together at Baltimore as a seemingly package deal.
Rick Dennison hasn’t specifically or by title coached quarterbacks before. But it's all set up in Baltimore so that he’ll be much more than a quarterbacks coach.
“We have a chance to tie the whole thing together, and to me that’s the most important thing,” Head Coach John Harbaugh said on Monday. “We’re going to have a chance to take the quarterback room and tie it to the running back, tight end, the offensive line, the wide receivers. And that’s what Rick is going to give us a chance to do.”
Harbaugh joked that new Offensive Coordinator Gary Kubiak and Dennison are attached by a string at the hip.
Dennison and Kubiak go way back together even before the Houston Texans' coaching partnership. They played together in Denver for eight seasons. Kubiak was a backup quarterback to John Elway. Dennison was a linebacker.
Then they began coaching together. Dennison has worked with Kubiak for 15 of his 19 years coaching in the NFL, first in Denver and then as Kubiak’s offensive coordinator in Houston.
They’ll continue to work together coaching Joe Flacco.
But one of Dennison’s primary tasks, especially early on, will be to help Kubiak spread his system to the rest of the existing Ravens staff. It’s similar to when Harbaugh became head coach in 2008 and appointed Jerry Rosburg as his assistant head coach. Rosburg helped relay Harbaugh’s methods to the other coaches.
“Having been in the system so many times before – he’ll be an extension of Gary in the quarterback room, but also across the whole offense,” Harbaugh said. “That’s what got me excited about him. … It’s a unique way of doing it, and it’s going to be a really effective way of doing it.”
Dennison doesn’t have as much experience coaching quarterbacks as Kubiak, but said he was predominantly in the quarterbacks room with Kubiak during his time in Houston.
“I know how he thinks with a quarterback, how he coaches a quarterback, having spent my time with him,” Dennison said. “But also I’m going to touch as many areas as I can. I know what kind of system he likes – run and pass – having dealt with it for a long time. So, I’ll try to do as much as I can to help that whole process.”
Dennison is quite familiar with how important the quarterback position is, and isn’t afraid to jump in.
“Football is football,” he said. “There may be some terminology things here and there, and maybe Gary can answer this better than I can, but you definitely build your offense around your quarterback. It starts with Joe, and those are conversations that we’ve had going forward. So, we are going to do whatever we can to make Joe the best player he can be, and Joe is pretty fired up about that.”
Ryan Mink of BaltimoreRavens.com got some interesting fan reactions to his write-up on the topic above:
Polish Rifle: "My guess is, that Kubiak (a former QB coach and former QB) will spend most of his time with Flacco, while Dennison will be an extension of Kubiak out of the QB room to the other parts of the offense. That's at least what I think Harbaugh ment in the presser, when he said, that Dennison will "tie the team together".
Ralphie From The League: "With the signing of Kubiak, I doubt Tyrod Taylor will make it past the cuts come September. Looking at all of the rosters Kubiak has coached on, going all the way back to 1994 as the QB coach in SF, the mobile QB has never been a part of his teams. During his time as OC in Denver he had Jake Plummer, who could run, but was a pocket passer. Same with Brian Griese. Schaub has never been a runner. Even the backups in Houston have been pocket passers, TJ Yates, Sage Rosenfelts, Jake Delhomme, Dan Orlovsky, and David Carr. I'm not saying it will happen…but do not be surprised if the Ravens look for a BACKUP QB who fits the mold of the Kubiak QBs. "