Roquan Smith on Zach Orr's promotion to coordinator: I know it’s going to be great for us

Shortly after Mike Macdonald departed Baltimore to become the Seahawks' head coach, the Ravens promoted Zach Orr from inside linebackers coach to defensive coordinator.

Orr, 31, started coaching with the Ravens in 2017 once his playing career with Baltimore ended due to injury after just three seasons. He was the Jaguars’ outside linebackers coach in 2021 but came back to the Ravens in 2022 to be the club’s inside linebackers coach.

That means Orr has spent plenty of time around linebacker Roquan Smith over the last two seasons. In a statement released by the team, Smith expressed his excitement for Orr to take over as DC.

“I have an immense amount of respect for ‘ZO’ and the way he goes about work, day-in and day-out,” Smith said. "While it’s unfortunate that his career was cut short due to an injury, I feel like he carries that passion over to the game of football and coaching. You don’t know which day will be your last, so you have to give everything you have while you have it; I see he lives by that.

“Yes, I’m extremely happy for him. He brings passion on the field, off the field and in the meeting room, as well as his football IQ and the ability to relate to players. He’s very young and has been in the game recently, so I think overall, it’s a really good fit for our defense. Everyone around the building respects him; it’s not just because of what he says, but because of his actions and the way he goes about things. I think it’s going to be great for our defense, and I’m fired up with him leading the charge. I know his mentality is very similar to mine, so I’m stoked. I just know it’s going to be great for us.”

With Orr as his position coach, Smith led the Ravens with 158 total tackles in 2023. He had five tackles for loss, five QB hits, 1.5 sacks, eight passes defensed, an interception, and a forced fumble.