1. Mike Macdonald, DC, Ravens
On paper, the Ravens have one of the best defenses in the league, so if the Ravens yet again struggle and give up a league-worst number of passing yards, one man stands out as a potential culprit: defensive coordinator Mike Macdonald.
When you have a secondary consisting of Marlon Humphrey, Marcus Peters, Marcus Williams, Kyle Hamilton, and Chuck Clark, there are certain standards and expectations that just have to be met.
The Ravens got torn apart by potent passing attacks last season, allowing 293.29 opponent passing yards per game. That can’t happen again.
Whereas Don Martindale developed a blitz-heavy defensive scheme during his tenure in Baltimore, Macdonald’s style has yet to be revealed. Will he put out more three-safety packages given the immense amount of talent at that position? And how will he transform the team’s limp pass-rush?
As with any new hire, Macdonald will have to prove himself starting with the 2022 season. His job is safer than others — even if the defense doesn’t perform up to par in his first year, Macdonald will likely still get a few more chances to find his footing, but that doesn’t mean he won’t be painted as a scapegoat should the team’s defense regress.
Given the Ravens’ rock-bottom defensive performances last year and with heaps of talent in the backfield, it almost seems more difficult for the team to get worse than to get better.
Expect plenty of tinkering from Macdonald to get the Ravens’ defense back into the top-10 conversation. Otherwise, Macdonald might have to pucker up to a very sour start to his career in Baltimore.