Football lifer Brian Baker could tell you coaching is the ultimate transient profession.
Before the Redskins announced Baker as the new outside linebackers coach in Washington, the Baltimore native and University of Maryland alumnus coached at four storied universities and seven other NFL clubs.
In the past 30 years, Baker developed multiple Pro Bowlers and studied under some of the game’s preeminent defensive minds.
Let’s examine the highlights in his coaching timeline.
2013: Outside linebackers coach, Cleveland Browns
Under Baker, rookie linebacker Barkevious Mingo put together a solid debut season for Cleveland. Mingo posted 42 tackles and ranked second on the Browns with five sacks. In a video on clevelandbrowns.com, Baker talks about his Terrapin background and describes himself as a passionate teacher.
“Sometimes when you hear that teacher you hear that real theoretical guy,” Baker said. “That’s really not me. I’m an animated coach. I enjoy getting after guys. I think football is played with a large degree of excitement. I try to provide that even as a coach.”
2011-12: Defensive line coach, Dallas Cowboys
Baker coached nosetackle Jay Ratliff to a Pro Bowl berth in 2011, when the Cowboys tied for seventh in the NFL with 42 sacks. He oversaw a 3-4 pass rush that produced two players with double-digit sacks in 2012.
In an interview with ESPN Dallas, the coach detailed why he went to Dallas after a short stint at the University of North Carolina.
2009-2010: Defensive line coach, Carolina Panthers
In two years playing under Baker, Julius Peppers made two Pro Bowls. He was named AP All-Pro in 2010 after recording 43 tackles, eight sacks, three forced fumbles and two interceptions. With help from Baker, Charles Johnson recorded his first season with double-digit sacks in, improving from four in 2009 to 11.5 in 2010.
In a video on carolinapanthers.com, Baker shows the pace he demands from his players in practice.
“We are an attack front, and we’re going to react to the offense,” Baker said. “Our first goal is to play on the other line of scrimmage.”
2006-2008: Defensive line coach, St. Louis Rams
Baker coached with Jim Haslett for three years in St. Louis.
In 2008, he directed a Rams defensive line that accounted for 20 of the team’s 30 sacks and ranked 11th in the NFL in sacks per pass play. During the 2006 season, Baker coached defensive end Leonard Little, who tied for fifth in the league with 13 sacks, and defensive tackle La’Roi Glover, who collected 5.5 sacks – the sixth most by a defensive tackle in the NFC.
2001-2005: Defensive line / linebackers coach, Minnesota Vikings
Baker coached the D-line in 2001 and from 2004-05. He directed the linebackers from 2002-03.
Under Baker, Kevin Williams developed into one of league’s premiere interior pass rushers. Williams made the Pro Bowl and earned AP All-Pro honors in 2004. That season, Williams led all NFL defensive tackles with 11.5 sacks and teamed with defensive end Lance Johnstone to give the Vikings the third-most productive sack tandem in the league with 22.5.
1997-2000: Defensive line coach, Detroit Lions
Under Baker, the Lions defensive line tallied 120.5 sacks, and two defensive linemen were selected to the Pro Bowl: defensive end Robert Porcher in 1997 and 1999 and defensive tackle Luther Elliss in 1999 and 2000.
Baker made his NFL coaching debut as defensive line coach for the San Diego Chargers in 1996 after working on the college level for 12 years, beginning in 1984 as outside linebackers coach at his alma mater, Maryland. Next, he went to Army as fullbacks coach in 1986. Baker then moved to Georgia Tech, where he coached outside linebackers from 1987-95, adding defensive coordinator responsibilities in 1995. He contributed to the staff that helped the Yellow Jackets win the National Championship as the nation’s only unbeaten team with an 11-0-1 record in 1990.
1996: Defensive line coach, San Diego Chargers
Baker made his NFL coaching debut, joining coach Bobby Ross in San Diego. Ross had a huge impact on Baker’s career, first coaching him as a linebacker at Maryland from 1980-83, then giving him his first job as an assistant at his alma mater. Baker also coached for Ross in Detroit and at Georgia Tech
“First and foremost I had the pleasure of playing for him in college,” Baker told clevelandbrowns.com. “He brought me into coaching. A lot of the attention to detail, the work ethic, the way of the simplicity of seeing players without getting distracted by all the other stuff… I’ve gotten something from every guy I’ve been with since.”
Tags: Bobby Ross, Brian Baker, defensive line, jim haslett, linebackers, maryland, redskins, Terrapins
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