New head coach Brian Daboll and the New York Giants are putting together an impressive coaching staff. Brian Daboll was hired as the next head coach of the Giants this offseason and has already filled two of his three coordinator positions. At offensive coordinator, Mike Kafka takes over. Special teams coordinator, Thomas McGaughey remains. But trouble arose when defensive coordinator Patrick Graham left for Las Vegas. Now, the Giants are searching for Graham’s successor. Among the most exciting candidates is a name familiar to Giants fans: Don “Wink” Martindale.
Don “Wink” Martindale interviewed in person with the New York Giants yesterday, per sources. Giants fans should remember Don Martindale as one of the finalists to land the Giants’ head coaching position the last time it was on the market. In 2020, Joe Judge got the job, but Martindale was interviewed and made it deep in the running. Now, two years later, “Wink” could be in line to join the New York Giants as a defensive coordinator.
Experience coaching a top defense
Don Martindale was recently let go by the Baltimore Ravens after spending 2018-2021 as the team’s defensive coordinator. This move came as a surprise since “Wink” has led Baltimore’s defense to the top of the NFL over the past three seasons. Martindale was with the Ravens from 2012 to 2021, serving as the linebackers coach from 2012-2017.
The Baltimore Ravens defense has been one of the best in the NFL over the last decade. Under Martindale’s leadership as DC, the Ravens ranked in the top-three defenses in the NFL for three of the four seasons. In 2018, 2019, and 2020, Don Martindale’s defenses ranked second, third, and second in the NFL.
An aggressive scheme that matches NYG’s personnel
The New York Giants have been running a 3-4 defensive scheme for years now. Patrick Graham utilized a base 3-4 with a variety of unique blitz packages. A blitz-heavy 3-4 defense is exactly what Don Martindale would bring to the Big Apple.
Continuing with a scheme like this will provide at least some continuity for the Giants’ defensive players. But there is a chance that Martindale’s scheme would provide New York with a major upgrade.
The Ravens had the sixth-highest blitz percentage in 2021 (31.1%). In 2020, Martindale’s Ravens blitzed 44.1% of the time, the highest percentage in the NFL. They also ranked 2nd in the NFL in total defense last season. 2019 was Martindale’s most impressive and most aggressive season as defensive coordinator. That year, the Ravens blitzed a league-high 54.9% of the time and only allowed 15 total touchdowns.
Excellent run defenses
The Baltimore Ravens possessed a top-ten run defense in each of the four years that Don Martindale was the team’s defensive coordinator. This past season, the Ravens’ run defense ranked first in the NFL. The Ravens’ banged-up defense allowed only 1,436 yards on the ground in 2021. Head coach John Harbaugh expressed gratitude to Martindale for the great defenses he ran during his time with the team:
“We have had a great run on defense, and I am very proud of what has been accomplished and the work he has done.” – Ravens HC John Harbaugh on Don Martindale
For comparison, the New York Giants ranked 25th in the NFL in rushing defense. The Giants allowed 2,193 rushing yards this season. If hired as the next defensive coordinator of the Giants, Don “Wink” Martindale would instantly improve the team’s rush defense while installing an uber-aggressive 3-4 defense that has proven to be greatly successful.