Well, it’s official! The Ravens have hired their next defensive coordinator, and I personally couldn’t be happier about the choice.
We have hired Mike Macdonald as our defensive coordinator.
— Baltimore Ravens (@Ravens) January 28, 2022
It’s hardly a surprising pick considering MacDonald’s history with the organization, and the Ravens seem pretty sure that Macdonald is the guy for the job. He was one of the first names mentioned when Wink Martindale left and he was even rumored to have gotten the job before the Ravens even finished interviewing other candidates.
When this organization is that confident in something, you can expect that they’re making the right decision.
MacDonald only spent one year at Michigan, but he had a huge impact, leading a defensive turnaround and overseeing the breakout of two first-round edge rushers: Aidan Hutchinson and David Ojabo. Listen to how Hutchinson, a Heisman finalist in 2021, talks about MacDonald here.
Here’s potential No. 1 pick Aidan Hutchinson on how Mike Macdonald changed his career after taking over at Michigan.
— Jonas Shaffer (@jonas_shaffer) January 26, 2022
One of the concerns about Wink was his adherence to his defensive scheme and principles regardless of personnel, opponent or in-game situation. While he used plenty of players in creative ways, “freedom” is not exactly a word that comes to mind with Wink. But MacDonald has proven to be an adaptable defensive coordinator who maximizes the unique skills of his players.
What Mike Macdonald did for Michigan this year went far beyond coordinating a defense. He was a massive force in the culture shift.
From Aidan Hutchinson in July: pic.twitter.com/Z8UZb9tSzj
— Anthony Broome (@anthonytbroome) January 28, 2022
Hutchinson also spoke about the culture shift that the Wolverines defense saw under MacDonald. While I don’t think the Ravens are in need of a culture shift, the importance of the “buy-in” from the players can’t be understated. In a year when teams started to turn to two-high safety looks while trying to get pressure with four rushers, Wink’s love of the blitz began to feel out of touch. I’m confident that MacDonald will not only make the necessary changes, but also institute them in a way that brings out the best from the Ravens.
MacDonald’s hiring could give us a few hints at Baltimore’s draft strategy, especially with that 14th overall pick.
David Ojabo is ready to shine like his Nigerian brotha 🇳🇬 pic.twitter.com/k0dZ4ILfI3
— PFF Draft (@PFF_College) January 27, 2022
The connections to both MacDonald and Oweh, a 2021 first-round pick, are too strong to not think that Ojabo is one of the team’s top choices at 14.
I want to see Baltimore get back to those Dumervil/Suggs, Boulware/Burnett/McCrary type combos. Oweh and Ojabo is such a dynamic pairing on paper, and a creative DC can have so much fun devising ways to deploy those two.
— Dev Panchwagh (@devpanchwagh) January 27, 2022
I’m with Dev here: having two freak athletes whose main job is to disrupt the lives of opposing quarterbacks sounds like a foundation for defensive success. They can pin their ears back and get pressure without blitzing, which will be huge in keeping the Ravens competitive against the top-tier quarterback talent in the AFC.
Finally, we’ve got some press conference dates to look forward to!
Ravens also announce timing of three press conferences next week.
Monday: John Harbaugh's season-ending PC
Tuesday: Mike Macdonald's introductory PC
Friday: Eric DeCosta's season-ending PC
— Jeff Zrebiec (@jeffzrebiec) January 28, 2022
I’m sure Harbaugh has plenty of season-ending thoughts to share, and MacDonald’s intro presser will be interesting as well.
But I’m most excited for EDC’s press conference, because I’m genuinely curious about his thoughts on the season. I’m sure we won’t get the pure, unfiltered truth in the presser, but it’ll still be some indication of what he’ll do in the offseason to get this team ready for next season.