NFL Executives Expect Mike Macdonald and Todd Monken to Land Head Coaching Jobs
One of the byproducts of a winning season is the possibility of losing key people to other organizations.
In the case of the Ravens, both first-year Offensive Coordinator Todd Monken and second-year Defensive Coordinator Mike Macdonald are expected to be candidates for head coaching jobs.
Moreover, one anonymous general manager told The Washington Post’s Jason La Canfora that he believes both coordinators will land head coaching gigs in the next hiring cycle.
The expected interest in Monken and Macdonald validates Head Coach John Harbaugh's decision to bring them into the fold.
"After years of stability at the coordinator spots, Harbaugh altered the primary coaching voices on both sides of the ball, undoubtedly thinking he might enjoy a sustained run with at least one of the two new hires," La Canfora wrote. "Harbaugh stayed within his coaching tree by tabbing a rising wunderkind in Macdonald, who steadily worked his way up the team's ranks before spending one year running Harbaugh's brother Jim's defense at Michigan and then returning to Baltimore to replace Don 'Wink' Martindale. Harbaugh went outside his coaching circle to hire Monken from Georgia early this year, going with more of a grizzled play-calling veteran to expand the team's passing concepts beyond what former coordinator Greg Roman established.
"Losing both so quickly would be the kind of first-world problem many franchises could only aspire to have, and the Ravens are focused on trying to win another Lombardi Trophy. But it seems as if Harbaugh did such a good job replacing Roman and Martindale that he will probably be reshuffling his staff again."
There's been plenty of buzz about the 36-year-old Macdonald, whose unit is No. 1 in points allowed and No. 2 in yards allowed, being a hot head coaching candidate, but "one top executive with a team almost certain to be looking for a new head coach" is even higher on Monken. Monken, 57, interviewed for the New York Jets' head coaching position in 2019. He was the head coach of Southern Mississippi from 2013-2015, helping to turn around a program that went 0-12 the season before he arrived into a bowl participant in his final year.
"Baltimore is going to lose them both," the executive said. "I like the OC more than the DC. The OC is going to be somebody's head coach, man. He's done it [at Southern Mississippi] before. His offense was great at Georgia. He's ready.
"I look at the players to be my guide. Look at how happy Lamar [Jackson] is in this offense. Their scoring is way up. Monken's been through the process before. He knows how to handle himself. There's a lot of buzz about the young DC, too. I don't know as much about him, but I know people like him. But, man, I think Monken is going to get one."
Justin Tucker Not Concerned With All-Time Accuracy Mark at This Time
Justin Tucker lost the distinction of being the most accurate kicker in NFL history after his 44-yard missed field goal in Week 12 lowered his career conversion rate to 89.9 percent, putting him behind the Atlanta Falcons' Younghoe Koo (90.1 percent).
Tucker told ESPN’s Jamison Hensley that his place on the all-time accuracy list isn't something he's focused on.
"In a given moment, when I'm on the field preparing to send a ball through the uprights, I can tell you that's the last thing that I'm worried about," Tucker said. "That's like the furthest thing from my mind. "All I'm focused on is making that kick in that moment in time, for what it's worth, gathering all the data that I need to, applying what I've learned over the years in that given moment to do my best to put the ball through the uprights."
Tucker, who had been the career accuracy leader since Week 15 of the 2016 season, added: "When it's all said and done [and] when I'm done playing — hopefully a very, very long time from now — then I'll hopefully be able to look back and I'll have a couple of cool stats that other people can rattle off when they're talking about me. But it's not like I'm hanging my hat on being the most accurate kicker in NFL history while I'm still currently playing.
"I'm in the middle of the journey along with my teammates, and yeah, I could care less about that right now. I'm just doing what I can to make kicks."
In noting that Tucker's five missed field goals this season are his most through 12 games since 2015, Hensley pointed out that four of the five-time All-Pro's misses have come from 53 yards or longer. Tucker was wide right on a 59-yarder, short on a 61-yarder, hit the upright on a 53-yarder and had a 55-yarder blocked.
Justin Madubuike, Geno Stone Among Free Agents Who Have Raised Their Stock the Most
Pro Football Focus’ Brad Spielberger looked at pending free agents who raised their stock the most this season. Not surprisingly, defensive tackle Justin Madubuike and safety Geno Stone both made the list.
"Madubuike had already established himself as a good all-around defender with consistent down-to-down effort on tape and a developing pass-rush arsenal, but the fourth-year breakout here has been noticeable," Spielberger wrote. "Madubuike now has far more pressures (45) and nearly double the sack total (10) through Week 13 of this season than he's had in any full season prior, with his career-high 13.3% pass-rush win rate ranking 16th among interior defenders. Madubuike's 78.6 pass-rushing grade on true pass sets ranks 17th out of 114 qualifying interior defenders in 2023, and he has recorded eight of his sacks on those plays.
"Madubuike's 70.5 run-defense grade and 9.8% run-stop rate are also career highs. He has gone from a good all-around player to a great all-around player and, after the market explosion among interior defenders who can rush the passer last offseason, earned himself a ton of money along the way."
Last week, ESPN’s Adam Schefter noted that the Ravens attempted to sign Madubuike to a contract extension in the summer but Madubuike is "betting on himself."
Regarding Stone, Spielberger wrote: "Ball-hawking deep-third free safeties don't always cash in when free agency rolls around, as the league perceives some of the production to be largely predicated on the surrounding circumstances. Stone has certainly benefited from an ideal supporting cast with the Ravens and defensive coordinator Mike Macdonald this season, but his ball production can't be ignored.
"In his first season playing in a full-time role on a defense that deploys three-safety looks as much as any team in the NFL, Stone boasts an 89.6 coverage grade and an NFL-leading six interceptions through Week 13. Stone has been credited with allowing just 18 receptions for 120 yards on 29 targets into his coverage, surrendering just one touchdown and only two receptions of 15-plus yards. The knocks on Stone will be about his lack of deployment in the box or the slot and his poor run defense/tackling. However, if a team is looking for an eraser on the back end to make opposing quarterbacks think twice about chucking it deep, Stone has been that man this season."
Roquan Smith, Kyle Hamilton Named to PFF's Third-Quarter All-Pro Team
Inside linebacker Roquan Smith and safety Kyle Hamilton are two big reasons why the Ravens defense has been so dominant. Both players were named to PFF’s Third-Quarter All-Pro First Team.
"Smith paces the linebacker position with a 90.1 PFF coverage grade this season," PFF's Gordon McGuinness wrote. "He has allowed just one touchdown in coverage, and his six pass breakups rank second at the position. On track for a career-best 4.4% missed tackle rate, Smith has missed just six tackles all season."
The versatile Hamilton, who has made a huge leap in his second season, made PFF's team as a flex defender.
"The perfect player for the flex designation on this team, Hamilton has been a real defensive weapon for the Ravens this season," McGuinness wrote. "He excels close to the line of scrimmage, leading all safeties in PFF coverage grade when lined up in the box or slot (83.0)."