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Ravens' Marcus Williams confident in first-year DC Zach Orr: 'He definitely has the respect of the room'

Baltimore looks to maintain one of the NFL's top defenses without a couple of key figures in 2024, but Marcus Williams is confident Zach Orr is up to the task.

During an appearance in Thursday's edition of The Insiders, the Ravens' veteran safety explained how and why Orr already has the respect of the defense despite him being a 32-year-old first-time defensive coordinator.

"He definitely has the respect of the room," Williams said. "He comes in every day and puts in that time and that work -- age is just a number -- you put in that time and that effort to come out and be the best at your role as he did as a player, he's gonna do as a coach. I have the utmost respect for him; the way he presents himself, the way he carries himself, how he coaches us and how he listens to whatever we have to say. He doesn't have an ego where we can't put our input. So, that's a good thing, but he isn't going to hold back just because he feels we're about the same age. He's still going to give you that good, hard coaching."

Following the offseason exit of former DC Mike Macdonald, who accepted the head coaching job in Seattle, Orr was promoted within after spending the past two years coaching linebackers. Anthony Weaver, the Ravens' assistant HC/defensive line coach the past two seasons, left for Miami soon thereafter to once again become a DC in the NFL, bringing forth immense change on that side of John Harbaugh's staff.

Williams believes the Ravens' propensity to adapt on and off the field will be a key facet in adjusting to Orr, who's spent time with the club as both a player and coach under Harbaugh. He takes over a Baltimore defense that led the league in sacks (60.0) and turnovers (31) in 2023, a season that fell one win short of appearing in Super Bowl LVIII.

"A lot of people think they got it figured out and then you change something," Williams said of the defense's many looks and ability to change. "You got to be chameleons when you're in this league because people, you know, they adapt, and they see you on film, they can see how you stand, how you align, and each and every week you got to be able to change a little here, a little there. We have a good thing going in our group and we're able to see what the offense is doing to try and attack those defense and those coverages. That defense is really good for us -- depending on which one you're talking about."

The Ravens' defensive personnel will also have to deal with the losses of safety Geno Stone and linebackers Patrick Queen and Tyus Bowser in 2024, but the club's longtime reputation precedes a unit that brings in a potential rookie starter in cornerback Nate Wiggins, a first-round selection.

Williams is excited to start the process of preserving the great defensive play in Baltimore, which employs a mentality that isn't exclusive to those who don the purple and black.

"It's all about how you come together in training camp, that camaraderie, those long days and long nights," he said. "Just being together, locking in on the film room and locking in on the field because every day is important and every day counts. When you go into the season, you know every season is not going to be the same -- a lot of people are going to leave, a lot of people are going to come [in] -- but we always have that next-man-up mentality. Everybody will be practicing as if they're a starter because if you practice as a starter then anybody can go in there and play. I think we do a good job with our coaches, our staff, our players, by having that mentality."

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