A look at New York Giants’ new signing Blake Martinez and what he offers the defense:
The New York Giants sign Blake Martinez to a three-year, $30 million deal this off-season to shore up their middle linebacker position. Martinez will immediately plug the void and act as their bonafide starter.
Martinez has four years of NFL experience with the Green Bay Packers, starting all 16 games in his last three campaigns. He will be 26 years old in 2020 with the Giants, and heâ€™s coming off three consecutive seasons of leading the NFL in tackles.
What the Giants are getting in Martinez is essentially a fantastic cleanup linebacker who will limit big plays, but also an extremely intelligent player that can diagnose opposing offenses quickly. He made it apparent that the defense he is joining with the Giants is far more inclusive for the middle linebacker position. He stated that Green Bayâ€™s defense did not value the position, and they asked him to be more of a cleanup type of player, which attests to his high tackle totals.
â€œI was taught and told to be the clean-up-crew guy,â€™â€™ he told the NY Post.
â€œI think the way [the Packers] value the inside linebacker position, especially in that defense, it wasnâ€™t as valued as other places I guess, in my opinion,â€™â€™ Martinez said.
Comparing Martinez to Alec Ogletree, who previously played for the New York Giants the last two years — the difference is astronomical. Ogletree never recorded over 93 combined tackles with the Giants, and he posted a 15.8% missed tackle rate last season. Not to mention, he allowed an 83% completion rate and three touchdowns against.
Martinez, on the other hand, logged a 10.4% missed tackle rate but also allowed an 83.8% completion rate against and two touchdowns. However, he was often utilized in a mesh zone scheme, which didnâ€™t allow him to play man coverage and follow opposing receivers. This hurt his coverage stats and was often knocked for being in the area but not on a receiver.
Martinez has 522 total tackles in his career, averaging about nine per game. He also has 10 sacks, 29 tackles for loss, and 17 passes offended. Overall, in a more middle linebacker happy defense, he should be able to maximize his talents and expand on his previous success. While nothing is guaranteed, Martinez is preparing to take a step forward and not a step back.
â€œOverall, there is going to be a lot of freedom for me to make checks, make calls and adjustments on a given play pre-snap to give guys chances to make plays,â€™â€™ Martinez said. â€œThere is going to be a lot of communication across the board.â€™â€™
When asked about his transition over to New York and what made him choose the big apple, Martinez stated:
â€œGoing through the process, I just thought about what kind of fit [would be best] for myself, individually, my play style and those types of things,â€ Martinez said during a Tuesday appearance on NFL Networkâ€™s â€œGood Morning Football.â€ â€œObviously, looking at the potential places I could go to, New York just jumped off the tape for me. Just seeing the guys that are on the team, the young talent across the board, obviously a new head coach [Joe Judge].
â€œThen my old inside linebacker coach [Patrick Graham] is now the defensive coordinator. Everything kind of just paired together easily. I was just super excited that I had the chance to go be a Giant.â€
Reconnecting with Patrick Graham should also be beneficial for Martinez, who had some of his best seasons while he was Green Bayâ€™s linebackers coach. Hopefully, he can adapt to a revised role that expects more of his position, because the Giants desperately need an upgrade over Ogletree, who missed tackles faster than Adam Sandler in the Waterboy.