No, it's not confirmed. No, it's not official. I'm talking, of course, about Defensive Coordinator Mike Macdonald's departure from Baltimore come February or March.
What is official, confirmed, sealed, and delivered is the fact that Macdonald has been so good this season leading the Ravens' defense that he might actually be coaching himself out of Baltimore on his way to becoming the head coach of an NFL franchise wanting his services next season.
That's nothing unreasonable, crazy, or nonsensical to think about. The whispers are growing louder each passing week, and many football insiders are starting to put Macdonald on the radars of many teams with hot seats at the head coach position right now or that will entertain the idea of pulling off a change by the end of the 2023 season.
Just this past Sunday, facing the vaunted Lions offense, Baltimore reached the fourth quarter boasting a 35-0 lead and having allowed no points at all to Detroit.
In fact, the Ravens limited the Lions to a meager 13 yards through their first three drives while allowing them to get just 97 yards on offense by halftime.
Entering Week 8, the Ravens have the second-best defense in EPA per play. They have allowed a ridiculously low 6 TDs to opposing offenses through seven games. They are allowing the fewest points per game, second-fewest passing yards, and ninth-fewest rushing yards.
No matter the stat you look up, the Ravens are in the top 10, and most probably in the top 5 without much trouble. And that is, of course, having navigated more injuries to their linebacker and secondary units than any other team in the NFL this season--by a good mile.
In his post-game story, Jeff Zrebiec of The Athletic wrote that "Macdonald's group went out and completely overwhelmed one of the league's hottest offenses," adding that "Macdonald's star is on the rise," and indicating that he is expected to start getting more and more attention as we approach fire-season and franchises start to think about head coach replacements.
Fellow The Athletic writer Mike Sando covered Week 7 and in his weekly column, he included a section in which he wrote about "six coaching jobs I really like so far," including Mike Macdonald's.
"The Ravens’ defense ranks second to Cleveland in EPA per play, a leading reason Baltimore won while its offense worked through injury and execution issues early. Baltimore has allowed six touchdowns to opposing offenses, one fewer than the famed 2000 Ravens defense allowed through seven games," he wrote about Macdonald and the Ravens defense.
All of those flowers thrown Macdonald's way are well deserved and awesome to see going his way. Now, while all of this is great for him and the Ravens and their chances at making a run at winning this year's Super Bowl... it's also concerning for next year and going forward.
The Ravens decided to go all-in this summer when they signed Todd Monken, Lamar Jackson, Odell Beckham, etc... to bolster their offense while adding many veteran defenders to the squad later throughout the summer and with the regular season already started.
Considering he upward trend the team is currenty experiencing, Baltimore better take advantage of this supremely optimalsituation and make that run a reality.
This season has been a tough one with all of the injuries and problems that have impacted the franchise early, but no team out there would have dealt with all of that better than the Flock and everything is looking better--including Mike Macdonald's masterful defensive scheming--each passing week.
It's time to win that third Super Bowl.