Giants officially part ways with defensive coordinator Wink Martindale after 2023 season

NFL: New York Giants at Philadelphia Eagles
Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports

Following reports of a muddied relationship between Head Coach Brian Daboll and Defensive Coordinator Wink Martindale, the New York Giants, and the aforementioned Martindale have mutually decided to part ways. Turmoil between the two parties emerged after the firing of outside linebackers coach Drew Wilkins, as the Giants also fired his younger brother Kevin Wilkins.

It was a relationship that simply had to come to an end, as you could cut the tension between the two sides with a knife, and the two sides officially parted ways this afternoon. Wink Martindale is now free to sign with any organization, and the New York Giants aren’t on the hook for the $3 million, this saga comes to a dramatic albeit sudden end.

Giants Begin Search For New Defensive Coordinator

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Defensive coordinator Wink Martindale and head coach Brian Daboll after the defense stopped Houston in the red zone in the second half. The Houston Texans at the New York Giants in a game played at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, NJ on November 13, 2022. The Houston Texans Face The New York Giants In A Game Played At Metlife Stadium In East Rutherford Nj On November 13 2022

It seems as if both Brian Daboll and Wink Martindale had enough of each other, and Daboll firing the Wilkens brothers was the nail in the coffin for their work relationship. Reports surfaced that Martindale cursed out Daboll and stormed out of the building on Monday, and those firings played a huge role in his display of frustration. It wasn’t as if the Giants were wrong to shake things up in their coaching staff however, as while Bobby Johnson drew plenty of ire from fans due to how poorly the offensive line played this past season, the defense wasn’t spectacular either.

Kayvon Thibodeaux looked like a budding star after his first season in the NFL with the playoff-bound Giants, but just as New York took a step back, it felt as if he did as well. While he had 13 sacks this past season, his missed tackle percentage, pressure rate, and PFF grades all took a noticeable hit this past season, which is surprising given just how athletic and gifted the former first-round pick is, and how he can take over a game with his pure strength and burst.

As a whole, the Giants’ defense ranked 26th according to PFF in Defensive Grade (67.9) and they finished 22nd in EPA/Play allowed (-0.007), and last year there were leaks as well. Despite their winning record and playoff win, the defense did New York no favors, as in their matchup with the Vikings on Wild Card Weekend, the Giants had to play perfect offense in order to narrowly hang onto their lead and topple Minnesota.

While on the surface, losing Martindale and continuing the carousel of coaches reflects poorly on the organization, it would have looked worse to fire another Head Coach. Furthermore, the team has overperformed it’s roster talent under Daboll, as the 2022-2023 team wasn’t expected to get to the postseason, and the 2023-2024 team lost their starting quarterback to an ACL tear and didn’t have a reliable option under center as even Tyrod Taylor would deal with injuries during the year

The Giants need to overhaul aspects of their roster, but they also need a foundation of coaching that can continue to maximize and optimize the in-house talent. The aforementioned Thibodeaux headlines an impressive class of young defensive players on their roster who can improve next season, but having the infrastructure in place to do so is of the utmost importance.

It’ll be an extensive hiring cycle for the New York Giants, who officially add the Defensive Coordinator role to their list of coaching vacancies to fill this offseason.