Ravens part ways with five assistant coaches

OWINGS MILLS -- The Baltimore Ravens dismissed four assistant coaches Tuesday, including wide receivers coach David Shaw, special teams coach Gary Zauner, secondary coach Johnnie Lynn and assistant special teams coach Bennie Thompson, according to a team source. Running backs coach Matt Simon asked out of his contract with one year remaining.

Simon opted out of his deal after he wasn't considered to succeed offensive coordinator Jim Fassel if he's named an NFL head coach. Rick Neuheisel will be the next offensive coordinator if Fassel garners a new job.

"I know that we need to improve some of our coaching," owner Steve Bisciotti said earlier in the day prior to Ravens coach Brian Billick meeting with assistants for evaluations.

Fassel has been linked to the Minnesota Vikings' coaching opening and is also reportedly a candidate for the Oakland Raiders and Kansas City Chiefs.

Assistant secondary coach Dennis Thurman is expected to be promoted as head secondary coach.

Meanwhile, Zauner didn't have to wait long to find a new job, being hired by the Arizona Cardinals where he'll work for former Vikings boss Dennis Green.

QUICK HITS: Bisciotti said he was comfortable with middle linebacker Ray Lewis' decision to remain in Florida following hamstring surgery, adding that Lewis' injury was significant and required several stitches from his hamstring to his butt. Lewis attended a bowl game in Orlando, Fla., and appeared in a television interview on crutches. Bisciotti said that Lewis attended his son's football game earlier in the day in Florida. "There's no reason for Ray to come up here to stand on the sideline just to make some sort of show," Bisciotti said. … No announcement was made regarding Deion Sanders, who's still expected to retire and probably is deciding on which national outlet he'll break the 'news.' ... Bisciotti acknowledged that he was somewhat embarrassed by the team's conduct in a loss to Detroit with a franchise-record 21 penalties and two player ejections. "It was a defining moment because it showed we were losing composure while we were losing," Bisciotti said. "The mark of a good team is that they don't lose composure when bad things happen. If anything, it reinforced the passion that they have and maybe it was out of control that day and embarrassing for us. Heck, I have done stuff to embarrass my family. I'm not that quick to judge people by one specific instance. I think you should judge people over time."

In addition to being a long time contributor to RavensInsider, Aaron Wilson writes for the Carroll County Times in Westminster Maryland.

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