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4 in-house options the Ravens could promote to Defensive Coordinator

They will likely look within before venturing out to find a replacement for “Wink” Martindale

NFL: DEC 26 Ravens at Bengals Photo by Robin Alam/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

After four years of faithful service, and impressive feats of resourcefulness, the Baltimore Ravens and Defensive Coordinator Don ‘Wink’ Martindale agreed to a mutual parting of ways on Friday, Jan. 21. Replacing a play-caller of his caliber will be no small feat considering that he was beloved by his players and is one of the most creative defensive minds in the game.

The Ravens have historically promoted from within instead of venturing out to fill vacancies on their coaching staff.

Here is a list of potential replacement candidates for Martindale.

Chris Hewitt, Pass Game Coordinator/Secondary Coach

NFL: Pro Bowl-AFC Practice Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Even though he isn’t the most experienced or tenured of the assistant defensive coaches, Hewitt is believed by many to be the most likely in-house candidate to get promoted to replace Martindale. He has been on the staff since 2012 and has held multiple positions, most of which involved working closely with the secondary along with scheming up pass defense.

While the Ravens ranked second-to-last in pass defense in 2021, that was more of a reflection on the team’s lack of talent and depth at the position (due injuries and COVID) than it was an indictment on Hewitt’s or Martindale’s coaching. Under his tutelage and armed with a pair of All-Pros at cornerback in Marlon Humphrey and Marcus Peters, the Ravens ranked Top-10 in the league in total points and yards allowed. His unit has helped the defense be NFL’s third-best pass defense since 2015, allowing an average of just 219.7 yards per game.

Anthony Weaver, Run Game Coordinator/Defensive Line Coach

NFL: NOV 21 Ravens at Bears Photo by Robin Alam/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Last offseason, the former second-round pick returned to the team that drafted him in 2002. Also, who he spent the first four years of his seven-year career for his 10th season coaching at the NFL level.

Before joining the Ravens, Weaver spent the previous five seasons with the Houston Texans, four of which came as the defensive line coach and the fifth was as the defensive play-caller in addition to his previous duties. He coached 2014 No. 1 overall pick, Jadeveon Clowney, to three straight Pro Bowls and future Hall of Fame defensive lineman J.J. Watt to his fifth First-Team All-Pro season in 2018.

Under his tutelage, the Ravens defensive line played a significant role in helping the unit rank first against the run in 2021 and saw young players show several flashes of dominance.

Rob Ryan, Inside Linebacker Coach

Baltimore Ravens v Detroit Lions Photo by Rey Del Rio/Getty Images

While he just finished his first season with the team, Ryan has over two decades of coaching experience at the NFL level under his belt including four stints as a defensive coordinator for the Oakland Raiders (2004-08), Cleveland Browns (2009-10), Dallas Cowboys (2011-12) and New Orleans Saints (2013-15). He is the twin brother of former Ravens’ Defensive Coordinator Rex Ryan, who called plays for some of the fiercest units in franchise history from 2005-08.

Ryan is a well-respected coach that has coached several different positions during his career and held other coaching positions with the Arizona Cardinals (1994-95) New England Patriots (2000-03), Buffalo Bills (2016), and Washington Football Team (2019).

Drew Wilkins, Outside Linebackers Coach

NFL: NOV 21 Ravens at Bears Photo by Robin Alam/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Of the defensive assistant coaches, Wilkins is the most tenured — having just finished his 12th season as a member of the staff and his second coaching outside linebackers exclusively. Under his mentorship and guidance, former Raven Matthew Judon made two straight Pro Bowls and 2021 first-rounder Odafe Oweh had a standout rookie season. Also, Tyus Bowser developed into one of the most complete players at the position that performs exceptionally well in coverage. He will get his first crack at calling plays at any level on Feb. 3 in Las Vegas at the East-West Shrine Bowl, where he will serve as the defensive coordinator.

Longshot —

D’Anton Lynn, Defensive Backs Coach

Wilkins’ head coach for the senior all-star game will be Lynn, who just finished his first season with the team coaching a defensive backs depth chart that was depleted by injuries and put in a blender at times in 2021. He is another former player and the son of NFL coach Anthony Lynn, who served as the Detroit Lions’ Offensive Coordinator in 2021 and the Los Angeles Chargers’ head coach before that from 2017-20.

Lynn has just under a decade of NFL coaching experience. Prior to joining the Ravens, he helped the Houston Texans win a pair of AFC South titles from 2018-19 as the assistant secondary coach before being promoted to secondary coach in 2020.