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Ravens fire running backs coach Wilbert Montgomery

Wilbert Montgomery AP

The Ravens fell well short of last season, and the lack of a consistent running game was only one of the issues.

“Wilbert has decided to pursue other coaching and life opportunities,” head coach John Harbaugh said in a statement, via Aaron Wilson of the Baltimore Sun. “I want to thank him for everything he did for our organization. Wilbert has been a tremendous coach for the Ravens.”

If that were entirely true, Montgomery probably wouldn’t be unemployed right now, after spending six years with the team. But the way their season went, something needed to change.

They rushed for franchise-lows of 1,328 yards and 3.1 yards per carry this year, as there were multiple problems with the offense. But this week, Harbaugh praised run game coordinator Juan Castillo.

Also, offensive coordinator Jim Caldwell is interviewing for head coaching jobs in Detroit and Washington, so the possibility of more changes exists.

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62 Responses to “Ravens fire running backs coach Wilbert Montgomery”
  1. micknangold says: Jan 3, 2014 3:51 PM

    Thank God you confirmed this two minutes later. Awesome job.

  2. bucrightoff says: Jan 3, 2014 3:53 PM

    Its pretty simply really, absoultely no one fears Joe Flacco, so stack the box and make him beat you. He cannot, so until he does, the run game will continue to suffer (i.e for the remainder of Flacco’s contract)

  3. Tyler says: Jan 3, 2014 4:03 PM

    Or maybe Ray Rice just isn’t that good anymore?

    I’d be interested to know how much of the Ravens field progress is attributed to deep-ball pass interference calls.

  4. lifeistoughtrustmeimadolphinsfan says: Jan 3, 2014 4:03 PM

    He owes my a hundred bucks for drafting Ray Rice in the first round in August. Thanks for nothing big guy.

  5. daddyb1gdrawz says: Jan 3, 2014 4:04 PM

    How is firing the RB coach the solution? All he does is tell the RB what hole to chose, blocking technique and not to fumble. Wow!!

  6. daltongang1 says: Jan 3, 2014 4:06 PM

    Too bad they aren’t going to cut that bum Flucco while there at it.

  7. siggtacular says: Jan 3, 2014 4:07 PM

    Flacco still a Super Bowl MVP tho..

  8. ravenbiker says: Jan 3, 2014 4:08 PM

    It’s amazing..The running backs do great for all the years he is here and then this year, after adding Juan Castillo, Harbaugh’s buddy to the mix, the running game stinks. So they fire the one that’s been a steady performer and keep the new addition to the puzzle which seems to have accounted for quite a bit of the horrendous blocking by the O-line and the destruction of the run game. Scapegoat anyone?

  9. narfmoo12 says: Jan 3, 2014 4:10 PM

    Was there a dumber move this offseason than trading Boldin for literally nothing? Flacco earned a huge contract throwing into double coverage and letting Boldin bail him out. The move hurt Flacco, the o-line, and Ray Rice.

  10. thebrownswillalwaysloose says: Jan 3, 2014 4:11 PM

    Great, now fire the “run game coordinator” Juan Castillo! Ravens had a good thing going with the O-line last year and that idiot comes in and changes everything around! If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it! With no running game, no O-line blocking (and two of his best receivers gone) Flacco never had a chance! Not to mention everybody knew what our offense would do cause Caldwell is so predictable. Quite frankly, I’m amazed we were in playoff contention till the end.

  11. thegreatgabbert says: Jan 3, 2014 4:14 PM

    Wilbert was as surprised as anyone to open up the paper and learn that he’d decided to pursue other coaching and life opportunities. He read the article through twice to see if there were any hints as to what those coaching and life opportunities were.

  12. braven4evr says: Jan 3, 2014 4:20 PM

    Harbaugh found a scapegoat for his buddy Juan Castillo the run coordinator. Running backs can’t gain yards when the O line isn’t blocking effectively. Run game was alright until Castillo became the run coordinator! O line was blocking pretty well until Castillo changed the blocking scheme also!

  13. natijim235 says: Jan 3, 2014 4:24 PM

    too bad – he was a better running back than ray rice

  14. logicalvaginasays says: Jan 3, 2014 4:25 PM

    Damn….that pic looks like a mugshot.

  15. sasquash20 says: Jan 3, 2014 4:27 PM

    They need to get oline help.

  16. Joemontanaflacco says: Jan 3, 2014 4:40 PM

    Smart move. In Harbaugh we trust.

  17. ravensterps says: Jan 3, 2014 4:41 PM

    bucrightoff says: Jan 3, 2014 3:53 PM

    Its pretty simply really, absoultely no one fears Joe Flacco, so stack the box and make him beat you. He cannot, so until he does, the run game will continue to suffer (i.e for the remainder of Flacco’s contract)

    ———

    Don’t watch a lot of football, eh? Not a single hole was opened all season by that line and Flacco was hit on almost every play.

    Not that he’s Peyton Manning or anything, but to blame Flacco for how awful his line was last season is laughable.

  18. ravensterps says: Jan 3, 2014 4:42 PM

    narfmoo12 thinks that letting go of Boldin hurt the O-line…. let that sink in….

  19. dcapettini says: Jan 3, 2014 4:45 PM

    Monroe is a decent LT and Yanda a first rate RG. Get rid of Gradkowski, who can’t run block or pass block, and Oher who can’t keep the snap count straight and is otherwise barely adequate. Move Shipley back to 2nd string. If they didn’t have to keep everybody in to pass block, maybe somebody would only have single coverage. How soon you guys forget that Flacco is the SB MVP and will be until February 2. Give him time to throw and more than 2 receivers in patterns and he may get that honor again some day. Yeah, and ditch Castillo.

  20. killerstiller says: Jan 3, 2014 4:47 PM

    Bruce Arians retired, too!

  21. ideofact says: Jan 3, 2014 4:53 PM

    There must be some mistake here. I’m pretty sure–and Andy Reid will back me up on this–that Juan Castillo coaches defense, not offense…

  22. crownofthehelmet says: Jan 3, 2014 4:55 PM

    After watching Rice lose his cool against the Steelers, they should replace Wilbert with an anger management coach.

  23. jmblosser82 says: Jan 3, 2014 4:55 PM

    So last year Caldwell was the best, now he is predicable. Last year both Pierce and Rice were beasts, Rice is old for a RB, what’s Pierce’s problem? Bad o-line for Flacco he is doomed to fail, Roethlisberger has had one of the worse, including the last playoff run and he’s still been statistically better since Joe has been around. You know, excuses are like @ssholes, everyone has one.

  24. olefballcoach says: Jan 3, 2014 4:56 PM

    They should have fired the O line cuz they suck!!

  25. orivar says: Jan 3, 2014 4:58 PM

    SCAPEGOAT! Always looking out for friends, maybe Juan Castillo should stick to lines.

  26. pbastille says: Jan 3, 2014 5:04 PM

    That “tiptoe and fall down” style of running Rice used when hitting the hole didn’t help ol’ Wilbert that much. Happy trails, amigo.

  27. tdubdizzle says: Jan 3, 2014 5:04 PM

    Wherever Juan Castillo goes he makes a playoff contender a playoff pretender.

  28. Nofoolnodrool says: Jan 3, 2014 5:05 PM

    siggtacular | Jan 3, 2014, 4:07 PM EST
    Flacco still a Super Bowl MVP tho..

    I am sure that helped him a lot this year on 3rd and 15. And you rag steeler fans for six rings…pathetic.

  29. elcampion2 says: Jan 3, 2014 5:06 PM

    Pretty sure more changes to the offensive coaching staff are coming. You can’t be 29th in run offense and stand pat.

    For the haters, how is this Joe’s fault? If you think he sucks now, then logic says teams have always put 8 in the box and made him beat them. Ask the Colts, Broncos, Patriots, and 49ers how that worked out.

  30. toybkshr says: Jan 3, 2014 5:18 PM

    That’s a shocker – Someone had to be the fall guy!

  31. baltimorons says: Jan 3, 2014 5:19 PM

    Yah that’ll change everything!!! Haaaa!!!! They should fire Flacco and try to recoup some of that awful contract they gave him.

  32. laxer37 says: Jan 3, 2014 5:19 PM

    Ray Rice led the Ravens in receiving AND rushing when they were good.

    Now they let Flacco throw the ball down the field more in an attempt to justify the absurd contract they gave him. Flacco is better when he’s moving the chains with short dump offs to Rice, not throwing Hail Marys on every other down.

  33. jmblosser82 says: Jan 3, 2014 5:23 PM

    Also Flacco lost his top 2 receivers(one for most of the season anyways), look at Brady. He lost 5 of his top 6 due to injury, FA, or jail. He got Edelman back but he didn’t have anyone the caliber of Torrey Smith, how did his team finish? Oh yea 12 wins and the second seed, and I would argue that Baltimore had a better defense. Face it you paid an average, efficient, low mistake guy elite money and you still wonder why your team struggled.

  34. drs76109 says: Jan 3, 2014 5:34 PM

    Welcome home to Philadelphia, Wilbert!

  35. drs76109 says: Jan 3, 2014 5:37 PM

    Interesting though. Castillo is a true Andy Reid flak. Montgomery of course is more associated with the Eagles and the Dick Vermeil coaching tree. So it is kind of not surprising that Harbaugh would do this, since he is from the Reid tree…

  36. baltimoresnativeson says: Jan 3, 2014 5:48 PM

    Wasn’t Montgomery the RB coach the 5 years they had a great running game?

    The problem was the new center, new guard, and new “RUN GAME COORDINATOR”

    Just fire Castillo and get it over with please, stop the horse crap.

  37. itsfootballbaby says: Jan 3, 2014 5:50 PM

    Apparently Juan didn’t like Wilbert and, god knows, Juan couldn’t possibly be the problem…… They fired the wrong guy!!!!!

  38. r8rsfan says: Jan 3, 2014 5:52 PM

    Does Juan Castillo have compromising pics of several NFL head coaches? To my knowledge he’s coached O-line, defensive coordinator and running game coordinator. How can 1 man be in the top 32 of 3 different coaching positions? Vince Lombardi is jealous.

  39. billycundiff says: Jan 3, 2014 5:58 PM

    This is further evidence that John Harbaugh is not a great coach. I am a Ravens fan, but I noticed this after his second year. He inherited a team that was in great shape with the defense that was still excellent. It was his choice to run leaders out of town that he thought threatened his authority, Bernard Pollard, Anquan Boldin, Ed Reed, and if he could have gotten away with it, Ray Lewis. All of this to protect is friend, Juan Castillo. There were reported issues with him late last year and they intensified this year. Mark my words fellow Ravens fans, we are in for tough times ahead with John Harbaugh at the helm…there’s a reason why special teams coaches don’t often become head coaches, Harbaugh is proof as to whyl

  40. coachjohnharbaugh says: Jan 3, 2014 6:12 PM

    we will be back hoisting the lombardi (AGAIN) next year

    i guarantee you that

  41. dowhatifeellike says: Jan 3, 2014 6:16 PM

    Castillo’s zone blocking scheme has got to go. The increase in sacks, false starts and holding penalties are a direct result. Even in max protect guys still get through unblocked. It’s absolute garbage.

  42. dackjawson says: Jan 3, 2014 6:16 PM

    Is this the same Juan Castillo that took over the defense for the late Jim Johnson in Philly? Even though his area of expertise was offensive line or special teams or something? And Andy Reid stuck with this guy through the whole ordeal when everyone knew Castillo wasn’t qualified? Coach Killa!!! Brush up that resume, John-Boy! You’re next…

  43. pv1960 says: Jan 3, 2014 6:18 PM

    Someone had to take the fall.

  44. Nofoolnodrool says: Jan 3, 2014 6:18 PM

    coachjohnharbaugh | Jan 3, 2014, 6:12 PM EST
    we will be back hoisting the lombardi (AGAIN) next year

    i guarantee you that

    I guess if they follow your plan to injure other players that might happen…not. Dreams are are a wonderful place to live.

  45. bigtrainrr says: Jan 3, 2014 6:45 PM

    Montgomery is the fall guy indeed. Castillo changed something that worked, we had road graders not dancers on the O line. And if I hear another Ravens fan say we should have kept Anquan Boldin one more time, I’ll scream. That includes John Harbaugh. Anquan was good but didn’t Marlon Brown put up similar numbers and he’s cheaper and younger. With an injured Osemele and having Oher and Gradkowski failing to produce, it’s no wonder the offense couldn’t open holes for our running backs. Add into it Rice and Pierce both were injured at least part of the season and there you go. But it’s all Montgomery’s fault. SMDH

  46. wildcatjoe says: Jan 3, 2014 6:47 PM

    “Ray, you were horrible this year. What’s the problem.”

    “Wilbert!”

    -gone-

  47. theeperspective says: Jan 3, 2014 6:52 PM

    For all of you calling for Castillo’s head, try playing the game before you post. The problem was and is, our line is terrible. Not Ray Rice, not Castillo, not Montgomery. The Ravens will be using more zone blocking next year. It’s effective if you have the players to do it. Look at the Eagles and McCoy, lots of Zone schemes. I understand the Ravens didn’t have the players to run it, but you don’t know until you try and with strict practice rules your only opportunity is in the game. It didn’t work, they changed it mid year. The rushing average changed from 2.9 to 3.1 YPC. So either way the line sucked. Get an O-line and keep Castillo who has been a successful line coach for over a decade in the NFL. Zone blocking is tougher it’s not hit the guy in front of you. AQ Shipley, Gino Gradkowski, and Michael Oher botched it for everyone. Later Big Mike.

  48. Joemontanaflacco says: Jan 3, 2014 7:01 PM

    Ravens know what they have to do to get that third ring in 2015. With Flacco leading the charge, it’s going to happen. Meanwhile, good luck to the 49ers in their quest for six! With only one loss, they can easily get back on top of SB history.

  49. narfmoo12 says: Jan 3, 2014 7:02 PM

    ravensterps says: Jan 3, 2014 4:42 PM

    narfmoo12 thinks that letting go of Boldin hurt the O-line…. let that sink in….

    —————————

    Yes. Losing a star wide receiver means defenses don’t have to devote as many players to pass coverage, which allows them to stack the box against the run and blitz more players more often. It also allows the safeties to focus more on the run game because they don’t need to help their corners as often. All of those things hurt the offensive line and it’s ability to open holes for the running back. Thanks for the snarky comment though!

  50. Nofoolnodrool says: Jan 3, 2014 7:15 PM

    Joemontanaflacco | Jan 3, 2014, 7:01 PM EST
    Ravens know what they have to do to get that third ring in 2015. With Flacco leading the charge, it’s going to happen. Meanwhile, good luck to the 49ers in their quest for six! With only one loss, they can easily get back on top of SB history.

    Knowing and doing are two different things . Sorta like the the truth and distortions of the truth which you like to swim in. Reality is setting in the ravens are toast skippy and you will be picking crow out of your teeth for years to come. Cheers.

  51. theeperspective says: Jan 3, 2014 7:50 PM

    To the Flacco haters… you don’t watch the games, you don’t know. Flacco isn’t flashy, but he wins. To those who say the defense won all the games. Ray and Ed were washed up, we had no secondary with Webb always hurt, Suggs and Ngata were it (usually ranked around 15th in the league the last 4 years). The QB situation before Joe was a long list of failed QBs, most recently Kyle Boller. The Ravens needed to sign Joe at market value. For the slow people, market value means that someone else would have paid him that money had we not. So do the Ravens let Joe go to another team, probably the Browns a division rival, and spend another 15 years searching for a QB that can win not only regular season games, but also playoff games? No. Why? Because you can’t just replace a QB. Ask the Browns, Raiders, Bucs, Vikings, Jets, etc. Is Joe worth all the money? Probably not, but 11 TD’s 0 INT’s and 3 out of 4 years going to the AFC Championship… Yeah you can’t do that with a scrub playing QB. QB’s need blockers folks. Watch the game, not the highlights ESPN nerds.

  52. thegreatgabbert says: Jan 3, 2014 8:24 PM

    Trudging home from the stadium, Wilbert saw an employment ad on a passing bus but couldn’t make out the number. He pursued that life opportunity for nine blocks but never quite got close enough to read it clearly.

  53. jmblosser82 says: Jan 3, 2014 9:45 PM

    Had joe actually hit the open market we would know if someone would over pay him. His first 4 years the run game and defense carried the team team. Joe wasn’t terrible and he didn’t lose games but this year he was terrible and he did lose games. In the last 3 games the ravens went the whole lions game with no TDs(the D and Tucker won that game), 1 garbage time TD in a blow out loss to the Pats and 17 points in a 17 point loss when they still had a chance at the playoffs. Flacco is not the only problem but he was a big problem.

  54. blackngold4life says: Jan 4, 2014 12:00 AM

    Now its the RBs coaches fault Rice had a awful year? So its the QBs coaches fault Flacco had 18 INTs?? EIGHTEEN! ! LOL

  55. drbob117 says: Jan 4, 2014 8:27 AM

    Wilbert had to know his days were numbered when Harbaugh brought in a “run game coordinator” for a team that already had a RB coach. Castillo was a decent OL coach,but more and more coaches are now teaching the “blocking in space,use your athleticism” stuff to supplement read option plays ,whereas Juan is real old school. Everything else Juan touches turns to dust, like the Eagles defense last year, and the Ravens run game this year. He’s real good with the “accountability game”, where he pretends to be accountable while someone like poor Wilbert actually takes the blame, Andy Reid finally figured it out last year, Harbaugh just hasn’t figured it out yet…but he will.

  56. kpizzow says: Jan 4, 2014 8:42 AM

    Yes the O line was awful but Castillo made no adjustments or changes. If it ain’t working – try something else. The offense looked SLLLLOOWW all year. I’m watching all these other teams move receivers and run interesting routes and our guys did nothing. That is on Caldwell and Harbaugh. And the play calling inside the 10 sucked. First and goal – run, run, incomplete pass. You need to throw the ball in the end zone 3 times. We can’t the run the ball for 90 yards and now we think we can run it in from the 5 ?? It’s like leaving a birdie put short – it never had a chance !

  57. ktrimbach42 says: Jan 4, 2014 11:09 AM

    This bothers me a lot! I was curious when they brought in Caldwell last year. This allowed them to fire Cam Cameron mid-season. That obviously worked out well. That was Jim Caldwell running the Cam Cameron/Norv Turner offense.
    So I was unhappy to hear that Caldwell was putting in HIS offensive system this past offseason. Then they bring in Juan Castillo which was suspicious. I don’t know how good of an OL coach he was, but he was terrible as DC . That was the weirdest coaching decision I have ever seen and directly led to Andy Reid being fired.
    So the Ravens OL goes from being dominant in the playoffs last year to being the worst in the league this year. And then they fire the RUNNING BACK coach?! Hey, I love Ozzie and think the world of John Harbaugh, but color me highly skeptical!
    It doesn’t help that Wilbert (nicknamed “The Quiet One”) has been one of my favorite players ever since he was “quietly” breaking all of Steve Van Buren’s rushing records with the Eagles. IMHO, he should be being considered for the HOF, but I never even hear him mentioned. Hopefully, the senior’s committee will remedy that.

  58. scoobies05 says: Jan 4, 2014 2:25 PM

    so jm. with ben putting up “great stats” how did the steelers do. i will be patiently awaiting your what ifs and excuses

  59. scoobies05 says: Jan 4, 2014 3:47 PM

    as far as this move goes, juan is the one that needs to go. all was well until they made up a position for him. it didnt work

  60. maninbrown says: Jan 4, 2014 8:26 PM

    Get rid of Juan Castillo, he sucks and we can do better.

  61. cri33 says: Jan 5, 2014 2:11 PM

    So yet another team that won the SB last year fails to make the playoffs this year. No surprise. Since the head coach is (probably) not going to fire himself he makes others feel like its their fault in spite of winning the big one last year. Yeah ok..sounds like the head coach has his scapegoat.

  62. guitarkevin says: Jan 6, 2014 8:53 AM

    SMH at the Ravens front office, coaches and players for the entire 2013 season.

    Failures across the board.

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