For the second time in three years, the Ravens will be searching for a new defensive coordinator with Mike Macdonald set to become the new head coach of the Seattle Seahawks.
A hot commodity as Baltimore became the first defense in NFL history to lead the league in points allowed (16.5), sacks (60), and takeaways (31), the 36-year-old Macdonald will now become the youngest head coach in the NFL. It’s an outcome for which head coach John Harbaugh and the Ravens had been bracing with multiple teams expressing interest in Macdonald since the end of the 2023 regular season, but his football acumen will surely be missed, especially after the defense shut out Patrick Mahomes and Kansas City in the second half of Sunday’s 17-10 loss in the AFC championship game.
The Ravens do have several viable in-house candidates, a list including assistant head coach and defensive line coach Anthony Weaver, secondary coach and pass game coordinator Chris Hewitt, defensive backs coach Dennard Wilson, and inside linebackers coach Zach Orr. All of the aforementioned names have drawn interest or interviewed for defensive coordinator openings elsewhere, and Weaver is also regarded as a finalist for Washington’s head coach position.
“We have phenomenal people here, and the organization and the team has helped us put us in these types of situations — all these coaches,” Macdonald said earlier this month. “You understand what type of talented people that we have. I’m excited for the coaches that have opportunities that definitely deserve it — phenomenal human beings, great leaders, great coaches — so you’re rooting for them throughout the process.”
Macdonald’s rise to become an NFL head coach is a positive reflection of the Ravens’ ability to develop assistants as they hired him as a defensive coaching intern in 2014. The University of Georgia graduate served as Baltimore’s linebackers coach from 2018-20 before departing to become the defensive coordinator for Jim Harbaugh at the University of Michigan. But after only one year with the Wolverines, the Ravens brought back Macdonald as their defensive coordinator to replace Wink Martindale, who parted with the organization after the 2021 season.
The Seahawks received an up-close look at Macdonald’s coaching chops in Week 9 when the Ravens flattened them in a 37-3 final at M&T Bank Stadium. Baltimore limited Seattle to just 151 yards and six first downs in arguably its most impressive defensive performance of the season.
Macdonald now becomes the fifth Ravens defensive coordinator to become an NFL head coach elsewhere, joining Marvin Lewis (1996-2001), Mike Nolan (2002-04), Rex Ryan (2005-08), and Chuck Pagano (2011).
“Nobody does it like him. Nobody cares like him. Nobody will do what he does. He will not rest until he has everything right,” Pro Bowl inside linebacker Patrick Queen said Monday. “Whoever gets him if he leaves is probably getting the best candidate out there. The guy’s all around just the best person I’ve been around coach-wise, person-wise. He really cares. He truly cares about the players, the people around the organization, and the fans.”