The easiest way to spot Jim Fassel at a Baltimore Ravens' training camp practice is to first find quarterback Kyle Boller.
Look behind Boller, and chances are the Ravens' new senior consultant will be there, watching carefully and offering advice to the second-year quarterback.
It's a new role for the former New York Giants coach, who was fired last year after a 4-12 season. He's no longer a head coach, the man who's constantly in motion and keeps an eye on everything that's taking place on the field. For one season, at least.
"There's no question that I want to return next year as a head coach," Fassel said. "I'm not doing this to be a quarterback coach. I've already done all that. But it does give me the ability to get back and do something I've always loved doing."
Fassel is best known for the seven years he spent as the Giants' coach, when he won 58 regular season games to become the third-winningest coach in Giants' history and led New York to two NFC East titles and one Super Bowl appearance.
But he made his name in the NFL as a quarterbacks teacher. He worked with John Elway for two years in Denver, helping the Hall of Fame quarterback to his finest season in 1993. He also tutored Phil Simms and Kerry Collins with the Giants.
Now the Ravens hope Fassel can help accelerate Boller's improvement before another head coaching job opens up.
Boller started the first nine games last season before being sidelined with a torn quadriceps. He completed 51.8 percent of his passes for 1,260 yards and seven touchdowns with nine interceptions. His quarterback rating of 62.4 was the lowest in the AFC.
"You're always looking for someone that can bring something to the table," Ravens Coach Brian Billick said. "He's one of the best quarterback coaches in the league, a proven offensive mind."
"He's got an incredible knack for just looking at a quarterback throw the ball and start to immediately evaluate his fundamentals," Ravens offensive coordinator Matt Cavanaugh said. "Watching his feet, watching his delivery, watching his eyes, watching his body position, all the things a quarterback has to have -- he's a master at it."
That's what Fassel is doing with Boller: He's trying to help him with everything from his footwork to the way he carries the ball.
"Coach Fassel has really done a great job with me, on my mechanics and fundamentals," Boller said. "It's so key in being an accurate passer and sometimes as a rookie I got away from having good fundamentals and mechanics."
During the offseason, Fassel interviewed for head coaching jobs with the Arizona Cardinals, Buffalo Bills and Washington Redskins. When he wasn't hired, Billick stepped in and persuaded his friend to spend a year with the Ravens as a consultant. Fassel will help develop game plans and advise the offense, but his main job will be to work with the quarterbacks.
It's an unusual situation -- the first time in NFL history that two Super Bowl coaches are on the same coaching staff -- but it's one that works because of the relationships between the key figures.
Billick, 50, and Fassel, 54, have been friends for nearly 25 years, since the days when Billick was an assistant director of public relations with the San Francisco 49ers and Fassel was the offensive coordinator at Stanford. Every year, around the time of the Senior Bowl or scouting combine, Billick and Fassel would set aside a night and go to dinner together.
The most interesting dinner they shared, Fassel said, was the one following Super Bowl XXXV in 2001. Billick's Ravens beat Fassel's Giants, 34-7, that year. At dinner, both men shared what they did right, what they did wrong, and what they would've changed. And Billick paid.
"I think in a lot of ways, we're similar, personality-wise," Fassel said. "There's a mutual respect for each other. He would call me for advice on certain things, coaching situations, and I'd call him and ask him something. It was very comfortable. I feel like I can be myself around him, and he feels like he can be himself around me."
So far, Fassel is enjoying his new role. If being a head coach is like being a father, then being a consultant is like being a grandfather, he says.
"Nobody can appreciate all the hats you wear [when you're a head coach], and that every problem in the organization crosses your desk, and that you deal with everybody and everything," Fassel said. "It's like being a father. With your kids, you deal with all their problems and all their issues. When you're a grandfather, you can kind of enjoy your grandkids and play with them, and teach them some things and then send them back to their parents."
This was an ideal situation for Fassel. It's an easy drive or train ride to the Ravens' practice facility in Owings Mills, Md., from his home in New Jersey.
Once the season begins, he intends to be in Baltimore on Mondays and Tuesdays. Fassel does not plan to attend games, mainly because that would require a greater time commitment, and he has a list of things that he wants to accomplish during this year away from head coaching.
He wants to see his son, John, coach a game or two at New Mexico Highlands University, for instance. He wants to watch his youngest son, Mike, play his final season at Boston College.
He would like to finish putting together an "operations manual" that will detail his ideas about running an NFL franchise -- everything from drafting to salary cap management to schedules -- and that he can present to potential employers.
"Part of this thing is that I hope the Baltimore Ravens help me a lot in growing, as far as how they do things," said Fassel, who drove down to Baltimore on the first day of the NFL draft so he could watch the Ravens at work.
And Fassel, who figures he worked eight months out of the year as a head coach, wants to have some down time, some rest time away from football.
"I'm not going to say football has been his life, because he has five kids and he's been married for over 30 years," John Fassel said. "But football has been a major portion of our lives. It was always the topic of conversation."
When Fassel was coaching the Giants, his ideal vacation was to spend a week or two at the Jersey shore. He didn't have to take an airplane to get there, and he could stay in a house that had a computer, phone and fax machine, which allowed him to stay connected with his team.
This summer, Fassel managed to take two vacations. He went to Hawaii, Arizona and Mexico on one trip. On the other, he and his wife of 33 years, Kitty, spent 19 days aboard his boat. They traveled up and down the East Coast, stopping to visit friends along the way.
Fassel had never been able to take that kind of trip before because he had never been able to completely disconnect for an extended period of time.
"I didn't need to stay connected this summer," Fassel said. "That's being the grandfather. You just go relax. Brian's the one that had to worry."
But next summer, Fassel wants to be worrying again, somewhere. Anyone who thinks that he might get comfortable in his role as grandfather just needs to look at that boat he spent so much time on this summer.
For six years, Fassel's boat was named "Big Blue." This year, it has a new name.
"I'll Be Back."