The Baltimore Ravens shifting from Wink Martindale as their defensive coordinator to Mike MacDonald was a huge shift overall. They went from the old veteran who has years in the NFL to the young college coach who is going to need to get used to the NFL.
Beyond that, the two have different styles of how to play defense. It should be no surprise that the defense took a few weeks to adjust to the new look, but once they understood their roles, the unit improved as the year went on. Now that MacDonald has been able to install his principles for a second OTA session, what are things that will become staples of the unit?
3. Baltimore Ravens will blitz a lot less
When you think of Wink Martindale, you think about his blitzing. He essentially did not even worry about the personnel, the down and distance, and other factors, he was sending the house. Actually, it is true that he would blitz even more on third down, so down and distance did play a role.
On the flip side, Mike MacDonald is going to run a much more conservative defense. Last year, the Ravens blitzed on 21.3% of their snaps. This ranked 21st in the NFL. For comparison, the Giants ranked first in the NFL in the percentage of snaps they blitzed.
The Ravens ranked first in the NFL in 2020. However, if you remember, it started to catch up with them a bit. In 2021, the Ravens tried to dial it back, but Martindale still blitzed 31% of the time, which was good for eighth in the NFL.
The Ravens got burnt even worse by not having a strong enough back end to blitz that often, and that ended up being part of why the team split ways with Martindale. So, from 44% in 2020 to 31% in 2021, down to 21% last year, the blitz rate by the Ravens has dropped substantially in the past few years.
The realization is that MacDonald may have eased back the usage from last year, and 2023 may have them bottom five in the NFL in blitz rate. The question will be if he can get pressure with four. They struggled to do so last year, but they are also expecting big years from Odafe Oweh, and David Ojabo. Can this duo make the Ravens even less blitz happy?