2024 is the year in which former players rise to prominence with their respective clubs.
Dan Morgan. Jerod Mayo. And now, Zach Orr.
The Baltimore Ravens promoted Orr, a former Ravens linebacker, to defensive coordinator Thursday.
"Zach is a homegrown Raven in every way," Ravens coach John Harbaugh said in a statement released by the team. "His energy, intelligence, work ethic and strong communication skills have been on display since the day he joined our organization as a player in 2014."
Orr ascends from the role of inside linebackers coach to the top defensive coach after defensive coordinator Mike Macdonald accepted the top job in Seattle this week. He brings with him eight years of coaching experience tacked on top of three years of playing experience in the NFL, all spent with the Ravens.
The former undrafted free agent began his coaching career only after earning second-team All-Pro honors in 2016 and retiring early due to a neck/spine condition. He cut his teeth as a defensive analyst in Baltimore from 2017 through 2020 before leaving to coach under Urban Meyer in Jacksonville in 2021. Orr returned to Baltimore in 2022 as an inside linebackers coach, and will now oversee the entire Ravens defense at a crucial point in which continuity is key for a unit that was only just peaking down the stretch of the 2023 campaign.
"From making our team as an undrafted rookie, to becoming an All-Pro linebacker, then later transitioning to an assistant coach who helped mentor multiple Pro Bowl defenders, Zach has excelled at every level of his football journey," Harbaugh said. "He knows our players and understands our standard as well as anyone. I'm confident that he is prepared to take on the challenge of continuing to develop our players and scheme as our next defensive coordinator."