Ravens Hire New Defensive Backs Coach With Super Bowl Experience

Ravens HC John Harbaugh

Getty Ravens HC John Harbaugh found a replacement for D'Anton Lynn and believes the team's new RB coach will have a profound impact on the offense.

The Baltimore Ravens lost a talented young ascending coach when safeties coach D’Anton Lynn decided to follow the Mike Macdonald plan and head to the college ranks to be the defensive coordinator for a team in a Power 5 conference with the UCLA Bruins as of February 27.

On Tuesday, March 7, 2023, they announced the hiring of Dennard Wilson as their defensive backs coach. He is an experienced and well-respected coach around the league with local ties in his home state of Maryland.

“Dennard joining our defensive coaching staff is a strong addition to our team, and he will help us continue to develop our players and scheme in the strongest possible way,” head coach John Harbaugh stated. “Dennard is a proven coach who has brought the best out of his units consistently throughout his NFL career. His history of working with defensive backs at the highest level will bring a wealth of knowledge and experience to our room. We’re excited to welcome Dennard to the Ravens and know he’s looking forward to coming home to Maryland.”

Wilson starred as a player and spent the early stages of his coaching career at the high school and college he attended. He was the defensive backs coach and passing game coordinator DeMatha Catholic High School in Hyattsville, Md. from 2004-06 and a graduate assistant at the University of Maryland, College Park from 2007-08.

He will be entering his 12th season coaching at the professional level and ninth coaching defensive backs specifically. Wilson spent the past two seasons on the Philadelphia Eagles coaching staff serving as defensive passing game coordinator/defensive backs in 2022 during the team’s run to Superbowl 57 and defensive backs coach in 2021.

Under his tutelage and mentorship, the Eagles fielded the league’s No. 1 pass defense with an average of 179.8 yards per game, produced the third-best opponent passer rating at 81.6, and according to Jonas Shaffer of The Baltimore Banner, the unit finished No. 1 in pass defense DVOA as well.

Last season he coached veteran cornerbacks Darius Slay and James Bradberry to Pro Bowl and All-Pro seasons. He is beloved by his former players who believe that he is worthy and well on his way to being a full-fledged defensive coordinator at the highest level without having to take a detour back down to the college ranks.

Harbaugh Calls Recently Hired Offensive Coach a ‘Game Changer’

Wilson isn’t the only new addition to the coaching staff that the team is excited about. During his media session at the 2023 NFL Scouting Combine, Harbaugh raved about how much of a profound impact he believes that new running backs coach Willie Taggart will have on the team’s offense moving forward.

“[He’s a] groundbreaking person, groundbreaking coach,” he said. “He’s a game-changing-type of a person to me. [He’s] one of the great offensive minds in the game, for sure. He’s going to bring so much to our offense.”

Harbaugh also said that Taggart is without a doubt “one of the best coaches in football” and that new offensive coordinator Todd Monken who will be designing and calling plays “already loves him”. He believes that “players are going to love him” and that he is a “difference maker” not just a positional coach.

He will be working with one of the league’s best backfield tandems in Baltimore with J.K. Dobbins and Gus Edwards. Last season, both players were working their way back from season-ending injuries suffered the year before and will be more than two years removed from their respective setbacks by the time the 2023 season gets underway.

Dobbins was one of the most productive and dangerous running backs down the stretch in 2022 after he returned from having a midseason knee scope procedure. He ran for nearly 100 yards a game from Week 14-17 and in the Wildcard round of the playoffs, he recorded 105 scrimmage yards and a touchdown on just 17 total touches in the team’s 24-17 loss to the Cincinnati Bengals.

Ravens Excited About Internal Promotion of Offensive Coach 

One of the holdovers from the previous offensive coaching staff under Monken’s predecessor, Greg Roman, that the team is excited about is the promotion of Tee Martin from wide receivers coach to quarterbacks coach.

“I think Tee has been preparing for this for his whole life,” he said. “Tee is a quarterback guy. He played the position, studies the position, and I can tell you this: When we interviewed him for it, he blew us out of the water with it.”

Martin was a star quarterback in college at Tennessee from 1996-99 where won a national title in 1998 and played three years in the league before hanging up his cleats to get into coaching. He is an ascending coach that has interviewed for offensive coordinator positions at the NFL level in the past and most recently with the Indianapolis Colts this offseason on February 16.

He will have the chance to coach a former unanimous league MVP in recently franchise-tagged quarterback Lamar Jackson, hopefully for years to come. This could be the next stepping stone toward setting him up to be a prime candidate to be hired as a play caller in the future as the Ravens offense with Monken calling plays and Jackson is a recipe for an elite offense.

The Ravens still have a vacancy on their offensive staff at the wide receivers coach position where they have some intriguing internal options but could branch out and make an external hire as they did with Wilson. The top two in-house candidates are likely Kieth Williams and James Urban.

Williams has been on the staff for the past two years serving as the pass game specialist and is a renowned wide receiver guru. Urban is the coach who Martin is replacing and had been serving as the Ravens’ quarterbacks coach since 2018. Prior to that, he served seven years coaching receivers for the Bengals from 2011-17.