Billick expands Shafer's duties

February 03, 1999|By Gary Lambrecht | Gary Lambrecht,SUN STAFF

Ravens coach Brian Billick, who hopes to complete his staff this week by hiring assistants to handle the offensive and defensive lines, has designated defensive backs coach Steve Shafer as his assistant head coach.

Shafer, 58, brings 31 years of coaching experience to Baltimore. He worked with the defensive backs in Carolina last year, after coaching the Oakland Raiders' secondary for the previous three seasons and serving as defensive coordinator at San Diego State in 1994. Shafer also coached defensive backs with Tampa Bay (1991-1993) and the Los Angeles Rams (1983-1990).

"That's the title Brian put on me," Shafer said of the assistant head coach title. "I don't know that it is going to be any different than coaching defensive backs. That challenge will keep me plenty busy."

Billick downplayed the significance of Shafer's appointment and how it could affect the duties of defensive coordinator Marvin Lewis, who has run the Ravens' defense since the team arrived here three years ago. The Ravens are sending three defensive players to this year's Pro Bowl.

"Steve and I have known each other and shared football ideas for 25 years. I believe he is the most fundamentally sound secondary coach in the NFL," Billick said. "Steve's experience and background will prove an invaluable resource for our players and other defensive coaches. Steve will be good for Marvin and Marvin will be good for Steve."

Added Shafer: "Marvin has been here. He knows the players and he knows the scheme. When you have that in place already, you fine-tune it."

Pub Date: 2/03/99

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