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Sunday, May 29, 2022

Five potential candidates to replace Don “Wink” Martindale as Ravens defensive coordinator.

With Friday’s surprise announcement that he has parted ways with defensive coordinator Don “Wink” Martindale, Ravens coach John Harbaugh has created a major hole in his staff. Harbaugh was always hiring from the inside, choosing his next coordinator, but he could also turn to familiar faces outside the organization.

Here is a preview of potential candidates:

Mike McDonald

Harbaugh spoke of the 34-year-old McDonald as a future defensive coordinator when he served as the Ravens’ assistant from 2014 to 2020. McDonald then proved he could excel in that role at the college level by working for Harbaugh’s brother, Jim, in Michigan. With McDonald at the helm, the Wolverines held the opposition to 17.4 points per game, ranked eighth in the nation, and included potential first-round draft picks Aidan Hutchinson and David Ojabo. Michigan allowed 34.5 points per game the year before McDonald arrived from Baltimore. He served as the Ravens’ linebacker coach, earning praise for his work with individual players and for linking the defense. McDonald’s future may depend in part on Jim Harbaugh’s plans, as there are rumors that the younger Harbaugh could return to the NFL.

Anthony Weaver

If Harbaugh wants to advance from within, the 41-year-old Weaver will come in with recent experience as an NFL coordinator. He ran the Houston Texans defense in 2020 and then joined the Ravens as game coordinator and defensive line coach last season. The Ravens led the league in run defense, with Weaver leading them in that area. The Texans struggled in their only season as coordinator, finishing 30th in total defense and 27th in scoring defense. But Weaver built a great reputation coaching Houston’s defensive line from 2016 to 2020. Superstar quarterback JJ Watt called him “an incredible coach” and “a great man”. Weaver played seven years in the NFL as a quarterback, the first four with the Ravens, who selected him in the second round of the 2002 draft from Notre Dame.

Chris Hewitt

Although Hewitt, 47, has no experience as a defensive coordinator, he has coached the Ravens minor team since 2015 and has coordinated the team’s passing defense for the past two seasons. The Ravens finished last in pass defense in 2021, which could work against Hewitt despite his unit’s excellent record in previous seasons. The minor player was decimated by injuries to starting cornerbacks Marlon Humphrey and Marcus Peters and starting quarterback DeSean Elliott, but struggled to prevent explosive play throughout the season. Hewitt has a long relationship with Harbaugh, who coached him at the University of Cincinnati. He played three seasons as a quarterback for the New Orleans Saints and coached at Notre Dame and Rutgers before joining the Ravens in 2012. Harbaugh praised Hewitt’s “serious” style, carried over from his playing days.

Joe Cullen

Cullen, 54, served as the Jacksonville Jaguars’ defensive coordinator in 2021 after spending the previous five seasons as the Ravens’ defensive line coach. His status in Jacksonville hung in the air after the Jaguars fired coach Urban Meyer in December of his rookie season. The Jaguars finished 20th in total defense and 28th in scoring defense under Cullen, but they put in some great performances, holding the Buffalo Bills to six points in a losing game in Week 9 and the Indianapolis Colts. » to 11 points in the final victory of the season. . Despite a difficult season in Jacksonville, the leading quarterbacks have expressed hope that their straight-line coordinator will stay. “I support him 100%,” linebacker Miles Jack told Jacksonville.com. “Our defense has been successful.” Cullen also earned the respect of his players in Baltimore. He served as a defensive line coach for four other NFL teams before moving to the Ravens in 2016, and his experience of nurturing the inside liner could be appealing to a team that needs to rebuild its front.

Jim Leonhard

The former Ravens quarterback may be a good fit compared to some others, but he’s built an excellent track record in five seasons as defensive coordinator at his alma mater in Wisconsin. The Badgers have averaged 16.2 points per game against opponents, fourth in the nation in 2021, and ranked in the top 10 in the previous two seasons. Leonhard started 13 games for the Ravens in Harbaugh’s first season as a coach and was known as a smart and versatile player throughout 10 NFL seasons. He has no professional coaching experience, but last winter he was a defensive coordinator candidate for the Green Bay Packers.

World Nation News Desk
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