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Ravens GM talks relationship with Michigan, ‘pipeline’ for good information

An interesting dynamic.

NFL: Combine Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

There’s been a pipeline of sorts between Baltimore and Ann Arbor between the Baltimore Ravens and Michigan Wolverines. Ravens head coach John Harbaugh and Michigan head coach Jim Harbaugh are brothers with a good relationship that share a lot of the same football philosophies. This dynamic has created coaches heading from the Ravens to the Wolverines, and vice-versa.

For example, Michigan hired Mike Macdonald as defensive coordinator in 2021, he was previously Baltimore’s linebackers coach. In the same cycle Michigan hired Matt Weiss from Baltimore — Weiss coached everything from defense to quarterbacks to running backs for the Ravens. Now Macdonald is back with the Ravens as their defensive coordinator, and he brought with him Michigan analyst Ryan Osborn as a defensive assistant. To replace Macdonald Michigan opted to hire Vanderbilt defensive coordinator Jesse Minter, who previously served as Ravens secondary coach.

“I think it’s an interesting dynamic with John and Jim,” Ravens General Manager Eric DeCosta said on Wednesday. “In some years, we’ve sort of allowed Jim to take some of our coaches, and now Jim has allowed us to bring Mike back. I’ve often though, and we’ve seen it sort of in different ways — I could reference (executive vice president) Ozzie (Newsome) and his relationship with Alabama, John and his relationship with Jim and Michigan.”

DeCosta pointed to how those relationships are valuable from a player personnel perspective as well and reaffirmed their willingness to allow a coach of theirs to head to Michigan again in the future.

“Having those kinds of connections sometimes, that pipeline where you can get good, reliable information. So, if we want to get information, say, on a Marlon Humphrey from a guy like Coach Saban down at Alabama, having Ozzie Newsome on staff, that’s going to really help us get the best information that we can on Marlon,” DeCosta said. “The same thing would hold true with the Michigan players and also the coaches at Michigan. And also, if Jim is looking for a coach, and maybe we have a good young coach that John thinks can help Jim, then we go that way, as well.”

Back in September, Jim Harbaugh noted that there are parallels between Michigan and Baltimore in terms of their overall football philosophies and schematics. “Offensive philosophy, defensive philosophy, special teams philosophy, coaches that have coached at the Ravens, coaches who’ve coached at the 49ers or Stanford,” Harbaugh. “As you know, as recently as last year, Mike Macdonald on the defensive side, Matt Weiss on the offensive side. My brother John, yeah, there’s a lot of similarities.”

With the NFL Combine underway, the Ravens will be undoubtedly evaluating some of Michigan’s players, we’ll see if the pipeline keeps flowing from Michigan to Baltimore.