Giants hiring blitzing maestro Don “Wink” Martindale as team’s new defensive coordinator

wink martindale, ravens, giants

The New York Giants have hired their next defensive coordinator, Don “Wink” Martindale. Brian Daboll’s coaching staff is shaping out with this hiring that will fill his last available coordinator position. Martindale will fill the position left behind by Patrick Graham after Graham left New York for Las Vegas last week.

What does Wink Martindale bring to the table?

Don Martindale runs a fast-paced, high-flying defensive scheme that was tremendously successful in Baltimore. No one blitzes more than Martindale.

Ravens Blitz percentage under Don Martindale:

  • 2018- 1st (39.6%)
  • 2019- 1st (54.9%)
  • 2020 – 1st (44.1%)
  • 2021 – 6th (31.1%)

Martindale is a blitz maestro. His blitz-heavy defenses ranked in the top three in the NFL from 2018-2020. Before an injury-filled 2021 season, the Ravens ranked No. 1 in the NFL in fewest yards (307.8) and points per game (18.2) in Martindale’s first three seasons as DC (2018-20).

Don Martindale has been regarded as one of the best defensive coordinators in the NFL during his time in Baltimore. His talent was recognized by the Giants in 2020 when Martindale interviewed for New York’s vacant head coaching position. Ultimately, the job went to Joe Judge, but now, two years later, Wink is joining the Giants’ staff as their next defensive coordinator.

What to expect from Wink’s defensive scheme:

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 will 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. Not only will the Giants’ pass-rushing improve under Martindale, but their rushing defense should improve, too.

Don Martindale’s rush defense:

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.

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.

3 reasons the New York Giants should hire “Wink” Martindale to be their new defensive coordinator

Don Martindale

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.

New York Giants hiring rising star Mike Kafka as offensive coordinator

mike kafka, giants, chiefs

The New York Giants have reportedly decided on an offensive coordinator. After striking out on Ken Dorsey of the Buffalo Bills, Brian Daboll pivoted toward hiring an offensive coordinator outside of upstate New York. According to Mike Garafolo, the New York Giants are expected to hire Kansas City Chiefs quarterbacks coach and passing game coordinator Mike Kafka as their next offensive coordinator.

Garafolo says that the deal is not yet finalized, “but that’s the way it’s headed.” Kafka will get the job with the Giants and Daniel Jones will get a quarterback guru as his next offensive coordinator.

Head coach Brian Daboll’s coordinator positions are now set:

  • HC: Brian Daboll
  • OC: Mike Kafka
  • DC: Patrick Graham
  • STC: Thomas McGaughey

Mike Kafka is a rising star

The Kansas City Chiefs’ explosive offense is led by Andy Reid and Eric Bieniemy. The lesser-known name involved with the offense’s success, though, is Mike Kafka. Mike Kafka was hired as the Chiefs’ offensive quality control coach in 2017 before being promoted to quarterbacks coach in 2018, the same year that Patrick Mahomes became the full-time starter and won MVP.

Mike Kafka is considered to be a “rising star” among coaches in the NFL. If Eric Bieniemy had been hired for a head coaching position, the Chiefs were expected to replace him with Mike Kafka (Albert Breer). Andy Reid has blocked teams from hiring Kafka several times in the past, but this year Kansas City finally let him go. New rules made blocks leading to a coordinator promotion illegal.

Mike Kafka has been extremely valuable to Patrick Mahomes’ growth in Kansas City (James Palmer). He helped coordinate one of the best passing attacks in the NFL and is only 34-years-old. Being involved with the development of Patrick Mahomes is important, but learning underneath head coach Andy Reid gives Mike Kafka a chance to be an elite offensive coordinator.

Andy Reid has a mightily impressive coaching tree that has spawned the likes of Ron Rivera, Sean McDermot, John Harbaugh, and others. If Mike Kafka can turn around the Giants’ 31st-ranked offense and turn another young quarterback into a titan, he too could get looks for a head coaching job one day. The first thing’s first for Mike Kafka, though, is collaborating with Brian Daboll to fix the New York Giants’ offense ahead of the 2022 season.

The Giants could pair an elite coaching tree around Daniel Jones with potential offensive coordinator hire

mike kafka, giants, chiefs

The New York Giants lost out on their favorite offensive coordinator candidate today. Ken Dorsey was promoted to offensive coordinator by the Buffalo Bills. Brian Daboll and the Giants will have to pivot and find a new potential offensive coordinator. According to Mike Garafolo, the Giants have already made a list of three finalists for their OC position: Mike Kafka, Pep Hamilton, and Chad O’Shea. Of those three names, Mike Kafka presents a rare opportunity to unite two of the best passing attacks in the NFL together in New York.

Pairing Brian Daboll with Mike Kafka

Mike Kafka is the quarterbacks coach and passing game coordinator for the Kansas City Chiefs. Kafka is considered to be a rising star in the NFL. He has helped develop Patrick Mahomes into the superstar he is while working alongside Andy Reid and Eric Bieniemy. Mike Kafka was hired as the Chiefs’ offensive quality control coach in 2017 before being promoted to quarterbacks coach in 2018, the same year that Patrick Mahomes became the full-time starter.

The Kansas City Chiefs have possessed one of the best offenses in the NFL over the past four years. Their passing attack is elite, and Kafka has played a big role in its development. But the Buffalo Bills have also had one of the best passing offenses in the league in recent years.

Brian Daboll was the architect of Buffalo’s offense that ranked third in points-per-game in 2021. Working in the offense that ranked fourth in the NFL in points-per-game and fourth in passing yards-per-game was Mike Kafka with Kansas City.

Patrick Mahomes on Mike Kafka

Mike Kafka is a former NFL quarterback that transitioned to coaching in his post-playing career. Patrick Mahomes has praised his QB coach on many occasions:

“He came in at the same time as I came into this locker room. Even before he came in as quarterbacks coach, he already had a big imprint on what I did in developing me to be the player that I am. He continues that. He stays on me.” – Patrick Mahomes on Mike Kafka via Chicago Sun Times

The New York Giants are working tirelessly to rebuild their offense. After finishing the 2021 season 31st in scoring, the Giants brought in offensive guru Brian Daboll as their head coach. Daboll helped develop Josh Allen and Mike Kafka helped develop Patrick Mahomes. If Mike Kafka is hired as the next offensive coordinator, the Giants will be setting Daniel Jones up with an elite coaching tree.

New York Giants: Bills OL coach Bobby Johnson to join Daboll’s staff

brian daboll, giants, bills

New York Giants head coach Brian Daboll had a popular reputation in Buffalo, and that popularity may help him secure other members of the Bills offensive staff. Not only is Ken Dorsey in the running for the Giants offensive coordinator spot, but it looks like Daboll is set to bring over his O-line coach from Buffalo, Bobby Johnson.

Buffalo O-line coach to join Giants, others could follow

Mike Silver from Bally Sports first reported the news, which has since been confirmed by Tim Graham from the Athletic. According to Graham, it’s already a done deal and the contract has been signed.

This, of course, is big for the Giants. While offensive line coach isn’t the most glamorous position, it’s nice to see it getting addressed early in the offseason with a signing that new head coach Brian Daboll is already familiar with.

The position has been anything but stable for the Giants during the past seasons, and that turmoil hasn’t helped an O-line that was afflicted this season by lack of depth and injuries.

Johnson was already there for one offensive line rebuild in Buffalo, and will have to help in another one thanks to the current state of the Giants line. He served two stints with the Bills, the first coming from 2010-11 and the more recent one lasting from 2019 until now.

The Giants may not be done signing coaches from Buffalo, however. According to Ryan Talbot from New York Upstate, assistant QB coach Shea Tierney and assistant O-line coach Ryan Wendell could be the next additions to join Daboll.

All in all, it’s clear the Giants staff will hardly look the same next season as old names are moved out and more influence from a winning organization is brought in. It’s an exciting time, and for once, it feels like the Giants are doing what they need to do to start winning.

Giants close to a clean sweep of Bills’ offensive staff with pursuit of Ken Dorsey at OC

ken dorsey, giants, bills

The New York Giants are proudly beginning a new era under Joe Schoen (general manager) and Brian Daboll (head coach). This new dynamic duo found great success in recent years rebuilding the Buffalo Bills into one of the NFL’s best teams. Now that Brian Daboll has been officially introduced as the team’s head coach, the search is on for the Giants’ next offensive coordinator. Reportedly, Daboll has his eyes on Ken Dorsey, one of his colleagues up in Buffalo.

According to Bobby Thompson of Fansided, the Giants have offered Ken Dorsey a “lucrative” deal to become the team’s next offensive coordinator. This falls in line with what Joe Schoen said today in Brian Daboll’s introductory press conference:

Ideally, the offensive coordinator calls the plays, but, again, I’m not going to say that’s set in stone because we’re going to let Brian make that decision. – Joe Schoen via Giants.com

Joe Schoen would like Brian Daboll to hire an offensive coordinator to call plays for the Giants’ offense. But, as Brian Daboll pointed out today, “the two head coaches in the Super Bowl right now are calling plays.” So while Daboll and Schoen are both hoping to find an offensive coordinator to call plays, Daboll is open to doing it himself.

Could Ken Dorsey be the Giants’ play-caller in 2022?

Ken Dorsey has been working as the Buffalo Bills’ quarterbacks coach since 2019. In 2021, his role expanded as he became the passing game coordinator in addition to the quarterbacks coach for Buffalo. Dorsey has not called plays before, though, and is in line to become the Bills’ next play-caller with the departure of Brian Daboll. However, Daboll and the Giants seem interested in making Ken Dorsey a first-time play-caller in New York.

According to Dan Salamone, Brian Daboll said he’s comfortable hiring a first-time play-caller if he’s the right fit. Dorsey could be that guy, if he is willing to walk away from the opportunity to call plays for Josh Allen.

The Buffalo Bills also seem to be preparing for the possibility of losing Ken Dorsey. Buffalo has begun conducting interviews with other offensive coordinator candidates as the Giants pursue Dorsey. This could be a sign that the Bills feel like they are about to lose their quarterbacks coach.

Hiring Ken Dorsey would give the Giants a clean sweep of the Buffalo Bills, hiring their GM, HC, and OC all from upstate. These are all of the most important positions that the Giants needed to fill this offseason. With Schoen and Daboll in place, the Giants are nearly there, but aggressively pursuing Ken Dorsey to complete the sweep.

Report: Giants expected to retain Patrick Graham as defensive coordinator

New York Giants, Patrick Graham

One of the priorities for the New York Giants this off-season was to bring in an offensive-minded head coach. That is a primary reason they elected to hire Brian Daboll as the team’s next HC, but retaining a bit of consistency on the defensive side could be a benefit.

With several high-profile defensive coordinators on the market, including Vic Fangio and Wink Martindale, reports have indicated that the Giants are hoping to retain Patrick Graham as their coordinator on the defensive side.

Daboll is hard at work trying to assemble his coaching staff, insisting that he is looking for a unit that emphasizes teaching and collaboration.

“My immediate goal is to assemble a coaching staff — a strong staff that emphasizes teaching and collaboration and making sure our players are put in the position to be their best and, ultimately, to win games,’’ Daboll said. “That’s why all of us do this. To teach, to be successful, to develop talent, and to win.’’

However, Graham represents a familiar face within the Giants’ organization, enjoying success over the past two years, despite a drop off last year mainly due to a lackluster offense.

The defense ranked 23rd in points allowed per game with 24.5, but being put in poor field positions and staying on the field for the majority of the game due to a lack of offensive possession put the defense between a rock and a hard place.

If we look back to the 2020 regular season, the Giants were a top 10 team in points allowed per game, also featuring one of the league’s best run defenses. With a more proficient general manager in Joe Schoen, who has a better track history in the NFL draft, Graham can expect an injection of talent and a more competent offense under Daboll.

Another worthwhile point to make is that both Daboll and Graham worked with the New England coaching staff from 2013 to 2015. While they worked on opposite sides of the ball, they have a mutual respect that provides optimism Graham will be retained.

However, I fully expect Brian to do his due diligence on potential defensive coordinators from other clubs. With names like Fangio and Martindale on the open market, there’s no doubt considering them should be a priority. The familiarity and continuity that Graham would bring opens up time for Daboll to invest more in his offense, which is currently the Giants’ biggest priority.

Giants’ HC Brian Daboll reportedly ‘loves’ Daniel Jones, adding another wrinkle to the QB situation

brian daboll, giants, bills, daniel jones

After spending four seasons as the offensive coordinator for the Buffalo Bills, Brian Daboll will be the next head coach for the New York Giants moving forward.

One of the biggest selling points on Daboll was his ability to develop Josh Allen into an elite quarterback, watching his statistics increase significantly over the past few seasons.

Allen now ranks among some of the best quarterbacks in football, just missing the MVP last year and arguably having an even better season in 2021. He was recently knocked out of the post-season in a shootout with Kansas City as a result of a coin toss.

Daboll has helped Allan rise from throwing just 2,074 yards in 2018 to 4,407 yards, and 36 touchdown passes this past season.

The Giants hope he can instill a similar confidence and productive style in Daniel Jones, who looked robotic under coordinators Jason Garrett and Freddie Kitchens, for the short while that Kitchens had him.

Jones had his best season back in his rookie year, throwing 3,027 yards and 24 touchdown passes. Jones has been more efficient with turning the football over, but throwing just 10 touchdown passes this season is unacceptable for a quarterback that needs to be far more proficient.

One of the ways that Daboll got the most out of Allan was by giving him the luxury of flexibility and using his instincts. It is borderline impossible for the Giants to elevate Jones to the status that Allan currently holds, but at the very least, they might be able to extract a competent quarterback for 2022 as they decide on their future at the position.

In fact, the Giants’ new head coach reportedly “loves” Jones and what he has to offer, but general manager Joe Schoen indicated they would review the film and determine his long-term plan in the near future.

It is possible that the Giants only use Jones as a stopgap quarterback, looking ahead to the 2023 draft for a new passer like Bryce Young or C.J. Stroud out of Ohio State.

The 2022 NFL draft will give us a great preview of what the new strategy is. If they elect to trade back and add more value for a draft, it could indicate they have a quarterback in mind or at least a backup plan in case Jones struggles to take a step forward in his fourth season.

One thing is for sure, the evolution of Daboll’s playcalling will undoubtedly provide Jones with a better opportunity to succeed. Joe Judge and his conservative style limited Jones’s production significantly, and Garrett running the 2004 Norv Turner office severely restricted his development.

Either way, Daboll offers the best opportunity for Jones to reach his potential, and owner John Mara indicated during Schoen’s opening press conference that they’ve done everything possible to screw the kid up.

Should the New York Giants sign Mitchell Trubisky this offseason?

mitchell trubisky, knicks

The New York Giants just hired their general manager and head coach. Joe Schoen (GM) and Brian Daboll (HC) were both hired from the Buffalo Bills. Giants fans are excited for the modernized approach that the Schoen and Daboll brain trust will provide. Brian Daboll’s reported “love” for Daniel Jones helped him secure the job. But should the Giants consider adding Mitchell Trubisky, a Bills quarterback that has learned from Daboll, to compete with Daniel Jones?

Daniel Jones has missed starts dealing with injuries in each of his first three seasons. Last offseason, the Giants opted to go with Mike Glennon as their backup quarterback rolling into 2021. When Daniel Jones missed the season’s final five games with an injury, New York realized they made a mistake by not investing more into the backup quarterback position.

This offseason, the Giants need to place a greater emphasis on the backup quarterback position. QB2 is important, especially when your starting quarterback has missed eight games in the last two years due to injuries. The Giants just hired the Buffalo Bills’ offensive coordinator as their next head coach. Brian Daboll could collaborate with Joe Schoen to bring a Bills backup quarterback to New York: former first-round pick Mitchell Trubisky.

Should the Giants consider signing Mitchell Trubisky?

Mitchell Trubisky is best-known at this stage in his career for being a first-round bust with the Chicago Bears. The Bears drafted the quarterback out of UNC with the second overall pick in the 2017 NFL Draft. Trubisky lasted only four years in Chicago before the team moved on and drafted his replacement. Mitch spent the 2021 season playing the backup role behind Josh Allen in Buffalo. With the Bills, Trubisky rarely saw the field, however, he did benefit from being coached by some of the brightest offensive minds in the sport.

Brian Daboll, the former offensive coordinator of the Buffalo Bills, is ready to step in as the next head coach of the New York Giants and help Daniel Jones take his game to the next level. But the Giants should have learned in 2021 that they need contingencies at the quarterback position.

Mitch Trubisky was once a first-round pick and was also once a Pro Bowl quarterback (2018). His career has not gone as planned just yet, but there is still time for Mitch to turn things around or at least find success as a long-term backup. Transitioning from Buffalo to New York would give Mitchell Trubisky continuity in coaching. The offense that Daboll runs in New York is going to be very similar to the one he ran in Buffalo. In fact, Daboll is even looking to bring over Ken Dorsey (Bills quarterbacks coach) as his offensive coordinator with the Giants.

Daniel Jones’s starting position seems pretty safe. John Mara and Joe Schoen publicly stated their intentions to build around Daniel Jones. But bringing in Mitchell Trubisky could provide Jones with some competition, forcing the Giants’ starter to play better and hopefully reach his potential. However, Trubisky should serve as an upgrade even as a backup quarterback. He knows Daboll’s scheme and could help get others up to speed, too. This offseason, the New York Giants should absolutely consider signing Mitchell Trubisky.

Giants’ head coaching search boiling down to a battle of the Brians | Flores interviewing with Saints

Brian Daboll, giants

The New York Giants head coaching search is boiling down to a battle of the Brian’s.

Both Brian Daboll and Brian Flores are finalists for the job, but the Giants are taking their time reviewing each candidate in determining who is best fit to lead their franchise into the future.

Both finalists have pros and cons, ranging from a lack of head-coaching experience to plenty of experience and success taking down teams like the New England Patriots with Bill Belichick at the helm. Flores spent the last three years with the Miami Dolphins, and despite losing the first seven of eight games of the season this year, the Dolphins went on a tear and enjoyed a 9–8 record.

Flores has experience commanding a locker room and motivating players, but he is a stringent defensive mind. Patrick Graham and Flores split up in Miami because the Dolphins head coach wanted to call plays on the defensive side.

With that being the case, Graham will likely depart if Flores is hired, but there’s a bigger question regarding the finalist.

Can he retain an offensive staff?

Flores churned through offensive coordinators and position groups with Miami, and whether that was a lack of synergy with the general manager and offensive hiring or simply premature firings, it is undoubtedly a red flag.

Either way, the Giants have competition for both candidates, as Flores is expected to interview with the New Orleans Saints over the weekend, and Daboll is reportedly one of the top targets for the Dolphins head coaching vacancy.

Daboll is entirely different than Flores, offering a modern offensive mind who played an instrumental role in developing Josh Allen into an elite quarterback. Having the skill set to grow and assist a young quarterback is essential, especially since the Giants have to make a decision on Daniel Jones and may end up drafting a young player to build around.

The last time the Giants had an offensive-minded coach was Pat Shurmer, and he proved to help Daniel Jones succeed on the football field, but the ineptitude of Dave Gettleman stood in the way.

Ownership is expected to decide on the vacant head coach spot within the next two days, but they better step on the gas if they don’t want to lose their top candidates.