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Late for Work: Mike Macdonald Says Zach Orr Is Going to 'Knock It Out the Park'

Defensive Coordinator Zach Orr
Defensive Coordinator Zach Orr

Mike Macdonald: Zach Orr Is Going to Do a Tremendous Job

The Ravens' new defensive coordinator has gotten a ringing endorsement from his predecessor.

On the same day that Mike Macdonald was introduced as the Seattle Seahawks' head coach, the Ravens promoted Inside Linebackers Coach Zach Orr to succeed Macdonald as defensive coordinator.

"I love Zach Orr," Macdonald said on 105.7 The Fan’s “Inside Access.” "He's going to knock it out of the park. He is a future head coach in this league, so enjoy him while you have him. But the guys are going to play with their hair on fire and they're going to play together, I know that. Zach understands what it looks like in Baltimore, and he connects with the players better than anyone I've ever been around. And Zach's going to do a tremendous job."

There were reports out of Seattle that Macdonald could have brought Orr with him to be his defensive coordinator.

Another former Ravens defensive coordinator, Chuck Pagano, also praised the hiring of Orr.

"He's been there, been with Macdonald, knows the system, terminology, obviously has a great relationship with all those players. This is probably a really good hire for them," Pagano said on ESPN's "The Pat McAfee Show."

Former Ravens quarterback Robert Griffin III wrote on X that Orr "is a leader of men who knows how to get the best out of his players and is consistent."

Local Pundits React to Orr's Hiring

Here's a look at what pundits who cover the Ravens said about Orr being named defensive coordinator:

The Athletic's Jeff Zrebiec: "Orr has developed a strong rapport with the Ravens players, including Roquan Smith, the outspoken leader of the team's defense. Orr's energy and charisma are evident both on the sideline, where he's regularly exhorting and celebrating with the players, and on the practice field, where he sprints from drill to drill. He's known as an energetic leader and motivator who can reach and relate to players, and who has put in the time to learn what it takes to be an effective coach."

The Baltimore Banner's Giana Han: "Orr has worked under coach John Harbaugh in Baltimore for six of the past seven years. For the past two seasons, he coached the inside linebackers. Roquan Smith and Patrick Queen were Pro Bowl selections this year. Smith was named first-team All-Pro, and Queen received second-team honors. … Orr might lose Queen in free agency, but his player development skills were showcased when rookie Trenton Simpson took the field during the team's season finale against the Pittsburgh Steelers, when many veterans were rested. After being limited to special teams for most of the season, Simpson debuted on the defense with a sack and seven tackles."

**The Baltimore Sun’s Childs Walker:** "The move to replace Macdonald with Zach Orr — a young, sharp, personable coach who might have gone to work for his old boss in Seattle if Harbaugh had not promoted him — was pure Ravens. They applaud when head coaching chances arise for their assistants and often have a promising in-house candidate primed to step up. It's a healthy ecosystem.:

**The Baltimore Sun’s Brian Wacker:** "While Orr might seem a surprising choice, there were signs that he could be the top candidate. He is close to Macdonald, impressed fellow coaches and is a hard worker who brings high energy and has a dynamic personality that resonated."

**Baltimore Beatdown’s Joshua Reed:** "Orr is widely regarded as one of the brightest young coaching minds in the game [and] was in contention for the Green Bay Packers 'and linked to the Seattle Seahawks' defensive coordinator vacancies. It's great to see the Ravens not only retain him but elevate him to a position that he is clearly qualified and ready for. He follows the trend of the Ravens hiring a young former inside linebackers coach to be their defensive coordinator. At just 31 years old and not too far removed from being a former Second-Team All-Pro player himself, Orr can relate to his players in a unique way that not even his predecessor could. I love the hire and couldn't be more happy for Orr whose promising playing career was cut short after he went from undrafted free agent to a borderline elite defender."

2000 Ravens Named One of the 20 Most Influential Teams in NFL History

Sports Illustrated is counting down the 50 most influential teams in NFL history, based on voting by a 31-person blue-ribbon panel consisting of media members, analysts, former front office personnel, and more.

The 2000 Ravens, who rode a historically dominant defense to win Super Bowl XXXV, came in at No. 20.

"Perhaps no defense — and certainly none since the new century — has been more overpowering than Baltimore that year," Sports Illustrated's Matt Verderame wrote. "The 2000 Ravens were a team built on interior size up front and pursuit at the second level. Baltimore had a pair of monsters in the middle with 330-pound Tony Siragusa and 350-pound Sam Adams, while Super Bowl MVP and first-ballot Hall of Fame linebacker Ray Lewis roamed behind them.

"Offensively, Baltimore showed it's possible to win without a star quarterback. The previous seven Super Bowls had all been won by future Hall of Fame signal-callers, including Troy Aikman, Steve Young, Brett Favre, John Elway and Kurt Warner. The Ravens did it with defense and the ground game, a formula used by the Patriots and Buccaneers over the coming years."

Brian Billick, the Ravens' head coach from 1999-2007, said: "It had been a long time, maybe since the '70s Steelers, since you saw a team that was based so heavily on defense and was so dominating. And it was dominating in a record fashion. That captured the personality and the interest of the fans. [The NFL] had good defensive teams, don't get me wrong, but in the era of it's all about the offenses and all about the quarterbacks, it was starkly different than the teams that had won prior to it, and quite frankly, the teams that have won since."

Analysts Choose Lamar Jackson for MVP, Macdonald As Co-Assistant Coach of the Year’s analysts made their picks from among the finalists for the league's individual awards ahead of the NFL Honors ceremony on Feb. 8.

Not surprisingly, Lamar Jackson was the overwhelming choice for MVP. The Ravens quarterback received 23 of the 32 votes.

Macdonald shared Assistant Coach of the Year with Detroit Lions Offensive Coordinator Ben Johnson, with each receiving 12 votes. Offensive Coordinator Todd Monken tied for fourth with two votes.

Meanwhile, ESPN’s analysts placed their votes for MVP, and Jackson received nine of the 12 votes.

"His command and control of Baltimore's offense reached new heights in his sixth season when his passing acumen, vision and feel made him one of the league's most electrifying quarterbacks," ESPN's Courtney Cronin wrote.

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