Ravens defensive coordinator Don “Wink” Martindale interviews for Giants head coach

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Baltimore Ravens defensive coordinator Don “Wink” Martindale became the fourth candidate the New York Giants interviewed as a candidate to replace Pat Shurmur as head coach.

Martindale, 56, brings more than three decades of coaching experience to the table with half of it coming at the NFL level. His coaching career began in the late 1980s as an assistant for the team he played for in college: the Division III Defiance College Yellow Jackets.

Martindale’s collegiate coaching career includes stops at Notre Dame (assistant 1994-95), Cincinnati (special teams/linebackers coach 1996-98), Western Illinois (defensive coordinator/linebackers coach 1999), and Western Kentucky (defensive coordinator/inside linebackers coach 2000-03). The head coach at Western Kentucky was Jack Harbaugh, father of Ravens head coach John Harbaugh and Michigan head coach Jim Harbaugh.

Martindale’s NFL career began in 2004 with the Oakland Raiders as an inside linebackers coach. After two seasons, he began coaching all of the Raiders’ linebackers. He stayed in this position for three seasons before moving on to the Denver Broncos in 2009. After a season as the team’s linebackers coach, he was promoted to defensive coordinator for the 2010 season.

After being out of coaching in 2011, Martindale returned to the NFL in 2012 with the Ravens for a four-year tour as the team’s inside linebackers coach. The Ravens defeated the San Francisco 49ers in Super Bowl XLVII in Martindale’s first season with the team. In 2016, Martindale began to coach all of the team’s linebackers. He has been defensive coordinator since 2018.

Between 2016-18, the Ravens led the NFL with 52 interceptions and were second with 79 takeaways (the Kansas City Chiefs led with 86). In 2018, the Ravens allowed an NFL-best 292.9 yards per game, 82.9 rushing yards per game (fourth in the NFL), 210 passing yards per game (fifth in the NFL), and 17.9 points (second in the NFL). The 2018 Ravens were the first team since the 1934 Detroit Lions to not allow a second half touchdown in the first six games of a season.

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In 2019, the Ravens defense allowed 300.5 yards per game (fourth in the NFL), 93.3 rushing yards per game (fifth in the NFL), 207.1 passing yards per game (sixth in the NFL), and 17.6 points per game (third in the NFL).

Martindale has built the Ravens defense into one of the most formidable in the NFL. He would bring an aggressive, blitzing style of defense that hasn’t been seen in the Meadowlands in quite some time. Losing key players to injury never slowed Martindale down as his improvisation skills are on point.

Martindale career in coaching makes him an attractive candidate in his own right. His rumored choice of offensive coordinator adds to his intrigue.

The NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport reported last week Martindale would attempt to bring LSU passing game coordinator Joe Brady to be his offensive coordinator. Brady, who was a member of Sean Payton’s New Orleans Saints staff, has been credited with turning the LSU offense into the nation’s highest scoring (48.9 points per game). LSU quarterback Joe Burrow won the Heisman Trophy by the largest margin in history. He could also potentially be the No. 1 overall pick in the 2020 NFL Draft. LSU will play in the College Football Playoff National Championship against defending national champion Clemson on Jan. 13.

The biggest knock on Martindale is that he has never been a head coach at any level. This could prove problematic for a Giants franchise which is desperate to move in the right direction quickly. There is concern over whether or not Martindale can lead an entire locker room as opposed to a position group.

Martindale was the second candidate interviewed by the Giants on Saturday. They also sat down with Kansas City Chiefs offensive coordinator Eric Bieniemy. Dallas Cowboys secondary coach Kris Richard and former Green Bay Packers head coach Mike McCarthy interviewed on Thursday and Friday respectively.

– Curtis Rawls is a Managing Editor for Full Press Coverage and covers the NFL and the New York Giants. Please like and follow on Facebook and Twitter. Curtis can be followed on Twitter @CuRawls203.

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