Don “Wink” Martindale is gone, and Greg Roman is not. Those have been the two biggest developments of the NFL’s annual postseason coaching carousel as it pertains to the Ravens, and as he predicted a couple of weeks ago, John Harbaugh seems close to completing his staff for 2022.
The Ravens recently finished an injury-marred season at 8-9, losing the final six games and finishing with a losing record for just the second time in Harbaugh’s 14-year tenure.
Shortly after the season ended, the Ravens parted ways with Martindale, who had been with the team for 10 years, the past four as defensive coordinator. He has since resurfaced in that same role with the New York Giants.
Roman, the Ravens offensive coordinator since 2019, has been a lightning rod for fan criticism when the Ravens have scuffled, most notably during early postseason exits in three straight seasons, but it appears he will return for his fourth season as the team’s primary offensive architect and play-caller.
The Ravens had to play this entire season without any of their presumed top three running backs, All-Pro tackle Ronnie Stanley (ankle) played in just one game and quarterback Lamar Jackson missed five games, one with illness and four with a foot injury.
“We’ve done some pretty darn good things here over the past three years offensively,” Harbaugh said at his postseason news conference when he said he expected Roman to return. “I think we have a really good vision and understanding of what we want to build offensively, the players we want to build around and what we need to do it.”
Ravens defensive line coach Anthony Weaver and wide receivers coach Tee Martin both interviewed for coordinator positions elsewhere, though those jobs ultimately went to others.
While there is still a chance that a lower-level assistant or coaching interns could be added, here is a quick rundown of how the Ravens coaching staff has changed since the season has ended. The Ravens have announced only the defensive coordinator change; other changes are based on various media reports:
OUT: Don “Wink” Martindale
IN: Mike Macdonald
The Ravens, who had been a top-10 overall defense in Martindale’s first three seasons as defensive coordinator — including No. 1 in 2018 — slipped to No. 25 overall, their lowest ranking since 1997. The Ravens ranked No. 1 overall against the run but No. 32 against the pass, and they allowed 4,742 passing yards, the most in franchise history. Opponents gained 5.98 yards per play, the highest total in the league.
The Ravens’ defense was crippled by injuries, but players on the field suffered from miscommunication and coverage breakdowns in the secondary, subpar tackling and a lack of turnovers. They finished with 15 takeaways, the second-fewest in team history.
In a statement announcing Martindale’s exit, Harbaugh said the duo had agreed to “move forward in separate directions. … Sometimes the moment comes, and it’s the right time.”
Macdonald, who spent seven years with the Ravens before joining Jim Harbaugh’s staff at Michigan this past year, returns to Baltimore after gaining a year of defensive coordinator experience with the Wolverines. At 34, he is the youngest defensive coordinator in the league.
Macdonald didn’t offer specifics about his defense, but he figures to incorporate much of what he learned under Martindale while also hoping for the kind of success he enjoyed at Michigan. Wolverines edge rusher Aidan Hutchinson (14 sacks) blossomed into a Heisman Trophy finalist, and David Ojabo, a potential target by the Ravens with the No. 14 overall pick, finished with 11 sacks.
Outside linebackers coach
OUT: Drew Wilkins
IN: Rob Leonard
Wilkins, who spent 12 years with the Ravens working up from a video internship to become outside linebackers coach, has joined Martindale’s defensive staff with the New York Giants.
He will be replaced by Rob Leonard, according to The Athletic. Leonard has spent the past three seasons with the Miami Dolphins, working as the outside linebackers coach this past season. Before that, Leonard spent six seasons with the New York Giants and was the team’s outside linebackers coach in 2018.
Leonard takes over a group with significant concerns. Tyus Bowser, who led the Ravens with seven sacks this past season, tore his Achilles in the season finale and his status for the start of the season isn’t known. Odafe Oweh (33 tackles, five sacks, three forced fumbles, two fumble recoveries) flashed as a rookie, while Jaylon Ferguson underperformed. Justin Houston and Pernell McPhee are both pending free agents, so this group needs an influx if young, impact talent sooner rather than later.
Inside linebackers coach
OUT: Rob Ryan
IN: Zachary Orr
Ryan, who was close to Martindale, is joining the staff of new Las Vegas Raiders coach Josh McDaniels, according to ESPN. In Ryan’s place, the Ravens welcome back Zachary Orr, a popular player with the team whose career was cut short after three seasons by a degenerative spine condition.
Signed out of North Texas, Orr joined a long list of players who went from undrafted to starting linebacker with the Ravens. He led the Ravens with 133 tackles and recorded three interceptions in a breakout 2016 season, but he retired in 2017 after a doctor cautioned him against playing because of his spine condition. Orr considered a comeback but could not get any teams to clear him medically.
Orr then joined the Ravens as a coaching assistant and worked for the team for four seasons before joining the Jacksonville Jaguars this past year as outside linebackers coach.
Orr will be charged with harnessing the talent of 2020 first-round pick Patrick Queen, who regressed early this past season but later thrived after moving from middle to weak-side linebacker. Another 2020 draft pick, third-rounder Malik Harrison, dropped out of the defensive picture entirely, playing one defensive snap during the final seven weeks.
Tight ends coach
OUT: Bobby Engram
IN: George Godsey
Engram, who spent eight seasons with the Ravens, including the past three as tight ends coach, is the new offensive coordinator at the University of Wisconsin.
According to The Athletic, he will be replaced by Godsey, who has spent the past three years as tight ends coach of the Miami Dolphins. Dolphins tight end Mike Gesicki averaged 63 catches for 742 yards the past two seasons. Godsey also held the role of co-offensive coordinator this past season.
He has also spent time with the New England Patriots, Houston Texans and Detroit Lions, and served as the Texans’ offensive coordinator for two seasons (2015-2016).
Godsey is in the enviable position of inheriting first-team All-Pro Mark Andrews, who set Ravens records this year with 107 catches and 1,361 receiving yards, and a Greg Roman-designed offense that relies heavily on the tight ends.
Nick Boyle missed most of the season recovering from a 2020 knee injury, and the Ravens are probably in the market for another pass-catching tight end, either via free agency or the draft.
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