The Ravens are welcoming back Mike Macdonald as their new defensive coordinator.
Macdonald spent seven seasons (2014-20) on Head Coach John Harbaugh's defensive staff. The 34-year-old Macdonald continues his rapid rise in coaching after serving as a defensive assistant, defensive backs coach and linebackers coach in Baltimore before leaving to become the University of Michigan's defensive coordinator last season.
"Mike is one of us – a Raven through and through," Head Coach John Harbaugh stated. "During his initial seven seasons with us, it was evident that his leadership, intelligence and passion would earn him the opportunity to be a defensive coordinator in the NFL.
"Mike has continuously proven himself, including when he led one of the country's best defenses at Michigan last year. He is a proven play-caller who knows our system well. He also fully understands the standard of playing defense in Baltimore."
The Wolverines had a defensive resurgence under Macdonald, which was instrumental in helping them win the Big Ten title under Head Coach Jim Harbaugh. Michigan surrendered 100 fewer yards per game in 2021, an average of 330.8 after giving up 434.3 in 2020. They went from ranked No. 106 in defensive efficiency, per ESPN's FPI, to No. 13.
A strong pass rush was a staple of Macdonald's defense at Michigan, which was evident during a signature win against Ohio State, where Wolverine defensive lineman Aidan Hutchinson had 15 quarterback pressures. Hutchinson, who will be one of the top picks in this year's draft, recently talked about the impact Macdonald had on his career on the "Green Light Podcast with Chris Long."
Macdonald's familiarity with the Ravens culture and many of the team's coaches and players should make the return to Baltimore fairly seamless. He has already worked closely with current Ravens linebackers Patrick Queen, Malik Harrison, L.J. Fort, Chris Board and Tyus Bowser before his departure to Michigan. Queen had a fantastic rookie season under Macdonald's watch.
From 2018-20, Macdonald led a Ravens linebackers corps that helped Baltimore produce the NFL's No. 1 overall defense (307.8 yards per game) during that span, while also permitting the league's fewest points per game (18.2). Veteran linebackers Matthew Judon (2019-20) and C.J. Mosley (2018) also each earned Pro Bowl nods under Macdonald's tutelage.
Macdonald had never been a coordinator at any level before last season, but John Harbaugh recommended him to his brother as a quick study, superb communicator and innovative thinker. He graduated summa cum laude from Georgia with a degree in finance, then became a graduate assistant coach for the Bulldogs before starting with the Ravens as a coaching intern in 2014.