Ravens Promote Neuheisel To Offensive Coordinator

The Associated Press
Monday, January 15, 2007; 5:37 PM

OWINGS MILLS, Md. -- The Baltimore Ravens promoted Rick Neuheisel to offensive coordinator Monday, although coach Brian Billick said he'll continue to call the plays next season.

Billick fired Jim Fassel as offensive coordinator on Oct. 17 and manned the position himself, a move that rejuvenated both the head coach and the Ravens' attack.

With Billick directing the offense, Baltimore went 9-1 before being eliminated from the playoffs with a 15-6 loss to Indianapolis on Saturday.

The Ravens expect to rebound next season with virtually the same roster, and Billick anticipates an identical coaching staff _ barring the possibility of defensive coordinator Rex Ryan being hired as a head coach elsewhere.

Billick did, however, bestow the title of offensive coordinator on Neuheisel, who will maintain his responsibilities as quarterbacks coach. Neuheisel will help devise the game plan, provide input on personnel decisions and continue his work with quarterbacks Steve McNair and Kyle Boller.

A head coach at Colorado and the University of Washington before coming to the Ravens two years ago, the 45-year-old Neuheisel brings a host of experience to his new job.

"Rick's abilities are well-documented. He's a very established coach," Billick said. "He's got a great rapport with the players, he's very creative, and he's developed a great relationship with Steve and Kyle."

He worked well with Billick, too.

"Rick and I were able to communicate very readily with one another. It's a great working relationship," Billick said. "He deserves that mantle, and I have no doubt it can be a platform for Rick at some point to be a head coach again at some point."

In an effort to maintain the "continuity" from this season to next, Billick said he will continue to call the plays on Sundays.

"The way it has provided me to connect and stay connected to the players, it is not something that I would readily give up," Billick said. "And at the end of the day, quite frankly, I enjoyed it. It's been a long time since I enjoyed myself that much."

But if Billick finds that calling plays proves to be too taxing next season, he won't hesitate to pitch the task to Neuheisel.

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