The Ravens’ running game was one of the worst in the NFL this season, and on Friday, the team experienced its first change toward shaking things up for 2014.
Coach John Harbaugh announced that running backs coach Wilbert Montgomery will not return to the team next season.
“Wilbert has decided to pursue other coaching and life opportunities,” Harbaugh said in a statement. “I want to thank him for everything he did for our organization. Wilbert has been a tremendous coach for the Ravens, and he has played an integral role in the success we’ve experienced over the past several seasons.
“I have a great deal of respect for the person Wilbert is - not just as a coach, but also as an outstanding family man and someone who inspires everyone around him. In addition to his knowledge of the game and ability to connect with his players, Wilbert brought a passion to the Ravens that helped our team - and the individuals on it - reach tremendous heights.”
Montgomery is a 17-year NFL coaching veteran who joined the Ravens when Harbaugh was hired in 2008. He has spent the past six seasons coaching the team’s running backs. During Montgomery’s tenure, Ray Rice earned three Pro Bowl nods, ran for 6,180 yards and added 3,034 receiving yards in six seasons. Rice’s 9,214 total yards from scrimmage are as the most in franchise history, while his rushing yards stand second only to Jamal Lewis’ 7,801. Former Ravens fullback Le’Ron McClain also went to two Pro Bowls while being coached by Montgomery.
Montgomery helped Rice lead the NFL with 2,068 yards from scrimmage (1,364 rushing and 704 receiving) in 2011, joining Hall of Famer Marshall Faulk (four times) as the only players in NFL history to register at least 1,200 rushing yards and 700 receiving yards in multiple seasons. Rice also did it in 2009.
In Montgomery’s second season in Baltimore (2009), the Ravens set a team record with 22 rushing touchdowns and ranked fifth in the NFL in rushing yards per game (137.5).
In 2013, however, the Ravens ranked 30th in the league with a franchise record-low 1,328 rushing yards.