Ravens’ New DC Zach Orr Latest Young Coach Granted Opportunity
I’d admit that as a child, there were many coaches from middle school, high school, college, and the NFL rankings that were older individuals. When I got into coaching in 2017 at the young age of 18 years old, fresh out of high school, there was a challenge for me as many programs were nervous to hire such a young assistant coach.
Fast forward to 2024, I am doing just fine and have been around some great mentors who gave me the opportunity to coach and instill my passion and knowledge in others. I remember it being such a huge deal when Sean McVay was named the head football coach of the Los Angeles Rams in 2017. The media absolutely thought he would be a bust and would not be able to command a room full of NFL athletes around his age, or even older than him (Andrew Whitworth).
Look at how that turned out…
McVay has several career highlights and awards. He was the youngest head coach in NFL history (30). He was the youngest head coach to reach the Super Bowl (33) and then he was the youngest head coach to win the Super Bowl (36).
Age is just a number. If you’re knowledgeable and can lead a group of men, it does not matter to organizations.
After the Baltimore Ravens lost their defensive coordinator Mike Macdonald, age 36 I might add, to the Seattle Seahawks as their new head coach, the organization turned to a familiar face that many fans know – Zach Orr.
Zach Orr was an undrafted linebacker out of North Texas in 2014 and quickly rose up the depth charts for the Ravens. He began as a key special teams player before taking meaningful snaps in the 2016 season. He started 15 games and recorded 132 tackles, five pass deflections, three interceptions and one forced fumble at inside linebacker. He was on track to be one of the premier linebackers in all of football until something tragic occurred.
Orr announced his retirement in 2017 after a serious neck/spine condition. He received several different diagnoses and then came out of retirement but never played another down of football, after many NFL teams just did not want to take the risk of a more severe injury occurring later on.
In 2017, Orr decided to retire once again but this time for good. He joined the Ravens as a defensive analyst and spent three seasons with the team. In 2021, he joined the Jacksonville Jaguars as their outside linebackers coach and then from 2022 to present day he rejoined the Ravens and was their inside linebackers coach.
On February 1, 2024, head coach John Harbaugh decided to take a chance on the 31-year-old former athlete turned coach and promoted him to their defensive coordinator. Orr was given a chance at a young age to take an already solid unit and potentially make it even better. Age is just a number and is starting to fade away as the years progress.
Orr is someone who should be rooted for as he has been through a lot in his life. This is just another chapter that could continue to prove to the naysayers out there that sometimes if you know your content and can command a room full of individuals, the birth year is the least of a team’s worries.