Reaction to Mike Macdonald’s hiring as Ravens defensive coordinator
As Smolka noted, Macdonald takes charge of a unit that has a rich tradition, but also a unit that is in transition.
“Unlike most previous Ravens defensive coordinators, Macdonald does not inherit a star-studded defense well-stocked with Pro Bowlers and studded with a future Hall of Famer or two,” Jeff Zrebiec wrote. from The Athletic. “Ravens have Pro Bowl-caliber corners after season-ending injuries in [Marlon] Humphrey and Marcus Peters, a few talented young players who are still trying to find a place in the NFL in [Patrick] Queen, Odafe Oweh and Justin Madubuike, and questions at all three levels of their defense.
“The Ravens’ defensive tradition makes it a coveted job, but there’s a ton of work to be done. [Head Coach] Harbaugh is taking a leap of faith that Macdonald will be able to pull it all together.”
Zrebiec said a defensive overhaul seemed essential if the Ravens were to once again become one of the best teams in the AFC.
“The Ravens have aged in some places and lack depth and elite playing ability in others,” Zrebiec wrote. “With a roster of free agents that includes Calais Campbell, Brandon Williams, Justin Houston, Pernell McPhee, LJ Fort, Anthony Averett, Jimmy Smith and DeShon Elliott along with some potential salary cap cuts, it’s almost certain that the defense Ravens will have a decidedly new look in 2022.”
That said, Zrebiec doesn’t expect the Ravens’ defensive philosophy to change under Macdonald, who joined the Ravens as a trainee in 2014 and spent six seasons as a defensive assistant before working specifically with fullbacks. defensive and then inside linebackers.
“Harbaugh is a strong believer in maintaining an aggressive defense,” Zrebiec wrote. “Macdonald will no doubt have his own wrinkles and ways of doing things, but he has spent much of his coaching career in Baltimore. These factors do not portend a drastic change in scheme and style.”
Macdonald, 34, returns to Baltimore after a highly successful one-year stint as Michigan’s defensive coordinator under Jim Harbaugh. At Macdonald, the Ravens had a rapid rise through the coaching ranks that earned a reputation as a quick learner, superb communicator and innovative thinker.
“Still, there is an obvious risk factor involved in hiring Macdonald that should not be discounted. He has exactly one year of experience as a defensive coordinator, and that was at the college level,” wrote Zrebiec. “As good as things went for Michigan last year – Macdonald was part of a defensive turnaround that helped secure a long-awaited victory over Ohio State and a berth in the playoffs at college football – he takes a significant step forward.
“You couldn’t have blamed Harbaugh if he’d gone for a more experienced hand during a hugely important time for the organization. It doesn’t show how much he believes in Macdonald’s coaching potential.”