Chuck Smith

Ravens Updates: Urban, Departures, Hewitt

After leading the league in scoring defense and finishing sixth in yards allowed this season, the Ravens saw their defensive staff get dismantled as several other teams around the league decided to provide opportunities for upward mobility to several assistants. Now begins the process of hiring replacements on new defensive coordinator Zach Orr‘s staff.

The first two new additions we see in Baltimore come from the college football ranks. First, University of Michigan defensive analyst Doug Mallory makes the move from one Harbaugh to another, per Matt Zenitz of CBS Sports. After working with Jim Harbaugh in Ann Arbor, Mallory heads to Charm City to work with his former coach’s older brother, John Harbaugh. Mallory will be taking the defensive backs coaching job, a role he previously held at the NFL level with the Falcons. He replaces Dennard Wilson, who now holds the defensive coordinator position in Tennessee.

Orr’s former position of inside linebackers coach will be filled by another former college staffer. Former University of Kansas defensive analyst Mark DeLeone is expected to fill his new boss’s former job coaching inside linebackers, according to Bruce Feldman of The Athletic. DeLeone has coached the same position group with the Chiefs, Bears, and Lions over the years.

With those two positions filled, and Chuck Smith perhaps staying as outside linebackers coach, the sole vacant position remaining to fill would be the defensive line coaching gig vacated by new Dolphins defensive coordinator Anthony Weaver.

Here are a few other coaching updates for the AFC runner ups:

  • We already knew of the departures of Wilson, Weaver, and defensive coordinator Mike Macdonald. The Athletic’s Jeff Zrebiec provided an update on a few other staffers who aren’t expected to return in 2024. On the offensive side of the ball assistant quarterbacks coach Kerry Dickson and assistant offensive line coach Mike Devlin will not be back next season. Devlin is set to serve as the Chargers‘ new offensive line coach. On special teams, assistant T.J. Weist is also not expected to return. Additionally, senior analysts James Urban and Craig Ver Steeg and director of football research Scott Cohen will not retain their roles in 2024.
  • With all the loss and new additions, longtime staffer Chris Hewitt has been rewarded once again for his longevity. A Ravens coaching assistant since 2012, Hewitt has moved through the ranks from assistant special teams coach to assistant secondary coach to defensive backs coach to pass defense coordinator to pass game coordinator and secondary coach. While Hewitt will remain the team’s pass game coordinator on defense in 2024, he will do so with the additional moniker of assistant head coach, per Aaron Wilson of KPRC 2. The title was previously held by Weaver.

Ravens Add Dennard Wilson, Chuck Smith To Staff

In consideration for the Eagles and Browns’ defensive coordinator jobs this year, Dennard Wilson is joining the Ravens. Baltimore hired the former Philadelphia assistant as its defensive backs coach.

The Eagles had Wilson in place as a potential Jonathan Gannon successor, and the veteran position coach at a point looked like the frontrunner. Philadelphia promoted from within to fill Shane Steichen‘s OC position, elevating QBs coach Brian Johnson. But the NFC champions went outside the organization to replace Gannon, hiring Seahawks assistant Sean Desai. As could be expected, this meant a separation with Wilson.

Wilson, 40, will return to his home state. He both played high school and college football in Maryland; his Terrapins career spanned from 2000-03. Wilson both coached at his high school and was a graduate assistant at Maryland in the 2000s. He has been an NFL assistant since breaking into the league with the Rams in 2012. Nick Sirianni added pass-game coordinator to Wilson’s responsibilities in 2022, and the Eagles ranked first in pass defense last season. Wilson previously worked as DBs coach for the Rams and Jets. The Browns interviewed Wilson early during this year’s lengthy coordinator hiring period but went with Jim Schwartz.

It appears Wilson will work alongside Ravens defensive pass-game coordinator Chris Hewitt, who has been with the team since 2012. Hewitt previously held the title of defensive backs coach. Former Ravens safeties coach D’Anton Lynn, however, left this offseason to become UCLA’s DC under Chip Kelly. Lynn, 33, worked as Baltimore’s safeties coach over the past two seasons.

The Ravens are also hiring Chuck Smith to be their new outside linebackers coach, Dan Graziano of tweets. The former Falcons defensive end represents a bit of an unusual hire, having not coached at the pro or college levels in recent years. He coached at the University of Tennessee in 2010, though The Ringer’s Lindsay Jones notes Smith has worked alongside Von Miller at the latter’s annual pass rush summits (Twitter link). Smith, 53, played for the Falcons from 1992-99, being part of their Super Bowl XXXIII defense and finishing his career with three double-digit sack seasons. He will replace Rob Leonard, who left last week to become the Raiders’ defensive line coach.