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Staff Reactions: Seahawks hire Ravens DC Mike Macdonald as new head coach

The Beatdown gang share their reactions the loss of Mike Macdonald

Miami Dolphins v Baltimore Ravens Photo by Todd Olszewski/Getty Images

On Wednesday, multiple reports announced the Seattle Seahawks have hired Ravens Defensive Coordinator Mike Macdonald. Below are the reactions from the Baltimore Beatdown staff.

It felt inevitable. Macdonald is too brilliant a coordinator to not earn a head coaching opportunity elsewhere. As I’ve said, he’s proven himself at every level, from being an intern with the Ravens organization to commanding a dominant University of Michigan defense to coordinating the NFL’s best defense.

It’s a frustrating loss in the fact the Ravens can’t keep their staff for multiple years without being poached. They churn out talent, from players to coaches to front office minds. This, though, could be the biggest loss in some time.

Now, the Ravens are tasked with a formidable offseason. It was already challenging, what with the 28 pending free agents and navigating a post-rookie quarterback contract. This now includes some big-time hires or promotions. General Manager Eric DeCosta and Head Coach John Harbaugh have a hard road ahead. — Kyle Phoenix

Mike Macdonald’s career journey from low-level to intern with the Ravens to now head coach is an inspiring one. Macdonald is the quintessential story of working your way up and earning new opportunities. He shined as Michigan’s defensive coordinator in 2021 and quickly emerged as one of the best young minds in the NFL over the past two seasons. The Ravens are fortunate to have had him as the team’s defensive play-caller the past two seasons, where he orchestrated a historically-good unit in 2023. Macdonald led an elite coaching staff as the youngest defensive coordinator in the league and was well-respected by players and coaches alike.

It’s a true shame that he now walks out of the door and the Ravens could not find a way to keep him in-house. Ultimately, the only path to doing so was likely promoting him to head coach in Baltimore and moving off John Harbaugh; or if Harbaugh was willing to transition into a front office role. Time will tell if Macdonald’s departure proves to be a pivotal negative point in the Ravens’ trajectory. Fortunately, the Ravens have a good track record of promoting and developing defensive coaching minds. Still, losing Macdonald is undoubtedly a significant blow. He certainly earned his opportunity to lead the Seattle Seahawks as the now-youngest head coach in the league. — Frank Platko

While this doesn’t come as a surprise in the slightest given what Macdonald did to elite quarterbacks with what was at his disposal the past two years, it still stings nonetheless as it further underlines just how much a golden opportunity the 2023 Ravens squandered with their baffling offensive performance in the AFC title game. Even though they didn’t make it to the Super Bowl, their all-star coaching staff might be getting picked and poached from as if they were.

Part of me was holding out hope that the Ravens would be able to get both Macdonald and Todd Monken back for one more run, but after Lions Offensive Coordinator Ben Johnson decided to head back to Detroit, those hopes were extinguished. There’s no doubting that the Ravens saw this coming and likely already have plan of succession with some in-house candidates that have been around and learned from Macdonald so they can maintain the same system. Elevating former Second-Team All-Pro Zach Orr turned coach to replace him would be sticking with the trend of promoting a former inside linebackers coach that worked out so well the last time. I also fully believe that the Seahawks will have a top 10 if not top five defense and will be a serious contender in the NFC right away as a result. — Joshua Reed

For Mike Macdonald, the move makes too much sense. A franchise that is often compared to the Ravens is a perfect fit. Macdonald absolutely earned this hire as one of the brightest up-and-coming young minds in football. You can see it in his game plan, his performances and the way his players feel about him. It’s a well deserved promotion and many will be rooting for him. Enough simply can’t be said about him. He was arguably the only reason the Ravens were even involved in the loss to the Chiefs for the AFCCG. To lose him doesn’t come as a surprise as he was the best candidate, to lose him without even a Super Bowl appearance leaves a bad taste in the mouth.

For the Ravens, its one of the largest blunders in franchise history. After laying an egg against the Chiefs and once again failing to deliver Super Bowl appearance with a top seeded team, to allow Macdonald to walk away is malpractice. The man was practically made in a laboratory to be a head coach for the Baltimore Ravens with all the virtues needed. The locker room and players loved him, he spent nearly a decade here and understands the Raven way. How you don’t do whatever is needed to keep him in the building is incompetence.

Instead, the foreseeable future still lies with Head Coach John Harbaugh, who besides his past success, has now allowed two No. 1 seeded teams to accumulate one playoff win and no Super Bowl appearances. The Lamar Jackson Era of six years has a total of two playoff wins, largely due to Harbaugh allowing the offense to go away from made them great. A pattern is forming and as much as Harbaugh may not deserve to see the door, it may be needed to avoid the past repeating itself. — Zach Canter